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Blandin Foundation names Bahr director of leadership

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.  – Dr. Malissa Bahr has been selected by Blandin Foundation as its Director of Leadership, effective immediately, following the retirement of Dr. Valerie Shangreaux.  A resident of Grand Rapids, Minn., Dr. Bahr has been part of the Foundation’s community leadership training team for the past 20 years, most recently as its senior program manager.

“We searched nationally for the best candidate to fill this core position,” said Wade Fauth, Blandin Foundation vice president.  “Blandin Foundation’s leadership programs are known throughout the country as excellent, so candidates came forward from across the country.  Dr. Bahr rose to the top because of her expertise in adult learning psychology and her deep commitment to Minnesota’s rural leaders.  We are delighted to welcome Malissa to the foundation’s senior leadership team in this new role.”

The Blandin Community Leadership Program was founded in 1985 and has served more than 7,000 leaders from more than 600 rural Minnesota communities.  Dr. Bahr also will oversee specialized programs for leaders in reservation communities, ethnically diverse communities and Leaders Partnering to End Poverty.

“Skilled community leaders never have been more important,” said Dr. Kathleen Annette, Blandin Foundation president and CEO.  “In this time of tremendous disruption, Minnesota communities can know that trained leaders at every level–informal and formal, seasoned and emerging–are prepared to do whatever they can so their communities remain resilient and healthy.”

Dr. Bahr holds a master’s degree in organizational/industrial psychology where she focused her studies on effective small groups and leadership development and a Ph.D. in educational psychology with emphasis on adult learning and program assessment. Her undergraduate degrees were in law enforcement and business law from Mankato State University. Prior to working with the Blandin Foundation, Malissa spent seven years in the field of law, specializing in class-action litigation. She was raised in northeastern Minnesota and graduated from Eveleth-Gilbert High School.

The foundation does not intend to fill the manager positioned vacated by Dr. Bahr at this time.

Details on Blandin Foundation’s leadership programs are available at the Foundation’s web site,


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