COMMUNITY PROGRAM MANAGER
& POLICY LEAD
Nicole Benson serves as the Community Manager and Policy Lead for Blue Zones Project® – Grand Forks. Born and raised in the community, Nicole has the energy and resources to create an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone and is passionate about helping her community live longer, better lives. Her advocacy for nearly ten years has helped bring Blue Zones Project to Grand Forks. Nicole’s drive to make her community a healthier place led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Paralegal. She is currently completing her master’s degree in Public Health.
Nicole is married to one of her best friends from high school, Justin, who is a middle school teacher and basketball coach in Grand Forks. Together, they have a son named Julian and daughter named Blake. When they are not in a gym, on a field, or at a golf course, you will find them surrounded by family. Nicole enjoys living an active life by taking advantage of the Greenway, group fitness classes at the YMCA, and through her yoga practice. She is further committing to her yoga practice by beginning her yoga instructor training and can’t wait to share this practice with others in the future.
My Power 9
My favorite Power 9® is Family First. Through tragedy comes strength. When my father passed away when I was young, our extended family wrapped their arms around me, my mom, and my sisters. The value and importance of family being by your side in good times and in bad has made me who I am today. My biggest hero is my 90-year-old grandpa who takes daily bike rides to see his great grandkids and, as a former coach, cheers them on from the sidelines.Return to Our Community
Ashlee Kleveland joins Blue Zones Project® – Grand Forks as their Organization Lead. She has always had a passion for a holistic approach to wellness with her most previous work being in mental health advocacy and access, and harm reduction. With a bachelor’s degree in Biology and master’s degree in Public Health, Ashlee strives to help underserved communities have a voice and gain access to services that increase and enhance well-being.
Ashlee and her husband, Chris, have a beautiful baby boy named KJ, a dog named Bear, chickens, and worms that they care for on their growing hobby farm. When they aren’t doing chores, you can find them fishing during rain, shine, snow, or ice!
My Power 9
My favorite Power 9® is Downshift. It is so easy to go into autopilot to keep up with the demands of life. Downshift is my reminder to be present and take a breath; it allows me to be a better friend, wife, mom, and employee.Return to Our Community
MARKETING & ENGAGEMENT LEAD
Whitney joins Blue Zones Project® – Grand Forks as the Marketing and Engagement Lead. She has a burning passion for community outreach and promoting the well-being of others. Whitney has her bachelor’s degree in social work and is determined to serve the Grand Forks community well.
Whitney and her son Keagen enjoy the lake country, UND Hockey, and spending time with family and friends in their free time.
My Power 9
My favorite Power 9® is purpose. It is so important to live intentionally and find what motivates and strengthens us through life.Return to Our Community