“Never underestimate the power of one,” says Anne Siess. This is a motto that Anne lives by and puts into practice consistently. One would guess that a full time working mom with 3 active children would not have a lot of extra time for civic engagement, but somehow Anne does. She served on the Stillwater Planning Commission for 9 years, still serves on the Washington County Parks Commission and of course serves on the board of SCVANOW as our Vice President. She also volunteers with Girls Who Code Club.
Maybe it is not so surprising that Anne is so involved in the community. She grew up surrounded by role models involved in activism. One of her grandfathers was president of the union, for an Ohio newspaper. Her other grandfather served as County Commissioner. Her mom was on the school board and also ran for State Representative twice. Her neighbor, Ruby Johnson persuaded her parents to attend the local DFL caucus and her dad ended up becoming treasurer.
With a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and a Masters in Journalism, Anne has an excellent skill set for making a difference in our community. She’s written Op-Eds about the lack of affordable housing and spearheaded a city ordinance passed that requires people with in-ground pools to be fenced in for safety. This came about because she noticed the danger for small children and pets and spoke up about it.
Her reason for joining the Alliance is perhaps unique. Unlike many of us who joined this group of progressive women as a reaction to the 2016 election, Anne got involved with the Alliance because while serving on the Stillwater Planning Commission, she experienced several acts of cronyism. It was demoralizing and it made her feel incredibly insecure and unworthy. On the brink of quitting she asked the advice of a neighbor who suggested that she reach out to this “new Women’s Alliance” for support. Being a part of our progressive group gave Anne the support she needed to finish her term on the Commission. She has been actively involved ever since she joined.
Anne sees the Alliance as an undeniable presence in the Valley, with over 100 chapter members and over 1000 followers on Facebook. She hopes it will continue to grow as a group of comradery and support for progressive women in the Valley. It excites her to have her kids witness a progressive change in their hometown.
“One cannot complain if one doesn’t speak up,” she says. How lucky we are to have Anne Siess’s voice to speak up, and lead us onward to a more equitable future.