Mandy Frogner

Mandy Frogner is from Milbank, South Dakota, and if that name sounds unfamiliar, she wouldn’t be surprised.

“Not many people have,” she said. “My parents farm, so I grew up on a farm, and it’s a town of about 3000 people. It’s a very small town.”

Frogner works as manager of store operations for Profile by Sanford, a weight loss and nutrition branch of Sioux Falls-based health care nonprofit Sanford Health. The company provides “nutrition, activity and lifestyle coaching to help our members reach their health goals,” Frogner said. Their program emphasizes long-term and behavioral change, with support ranging from short-term use of retail meal replacements to bigger-picture education on the importance of sleep and other healthy habits, ultimately aiming to give clients a healthy lifestyle. 

Frogner holds a bachelor’s degree in consumer affairs and a master’s degree in business administration. But higher ed wasn’t the only place she learned the skills she brings to her job. There’s a Midwestern attitude, a “glass half-full” optimism and focus on niceness that informed her professional attitude and commitment to service.

Frogner lives with her boyfriend in the Springs, enjoying hiking, camping and running as choice pastimes — she finished her first marathon in 2019. However, smoke from recent fires has made it harder to spend time in Colorado’s wild spaces.

“It was super bad,” she said. “I can’t imagine being a firefighter working on it.”

How long have you lived in Colorado Springs and how did you come to live here?

I will [have been] in Colorado Springs three years come October…  I’m originally from South Dakota, and I graduated [from South Dakota State University] there, and then I went to grad school [at University of Sioux Falls] and was initially interested in working in athletics. I was a graduate assistant where I did marketing for an athletic department, and that was for a college in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. From there, I actually moved to Florida for about a year, and I worked with a university there in their athletic department, marketing for them. 

After that, I wanted to get closer to the Midwest. 

It was lucky how I ended up getting this position here in Colorado Springs. When I was in grad school, I was actually a waitress, and somebody I knew through the golf course I was a waitress for worked with Sanford Health, which is the health system that I currently work for. So I just reached out to him one day and [asked], ‘Do you know of anything within Sanford that would be opening that I can apply for?’ 

And he said [they were] opening up Profile by Sanford in Colorado Springs if [I’d] be interested in moving out there. So that’s how I got to Colorado. I really enjoyed working in athletics, but I was just wanting something different, a change of pace for a little bit. I enjoy working in health, and I’m very interested in that. So this kind of fit really well with what I wanted to do.

What are your day-to-day duties at your job?

We provide one-on-one health coaching. So I do health coaching, and then along with that, I do all the manager [duties] with scheduling [and] ordering our [retail food stock]. Customer service is a huge part of my day-to-day, [such as] making sure everyone is having a really good day, whoever comes in contact with us. That’s another big part of it. And then we also have other health coaches on staff, so I’m in charge of training them and making sure that they feel heard and that they enjoy their job and, you know, look forward to being at work every day.

Demographically, what does your clientele tend to look like?

So our clientele is usually between ages 35 to 60, female, usually moms. A lot of times it’s the mom who does everything and kind of puts everyone else in front of herself. So we deal with a lot of that kind of demographic. We do have men come in the door, too, and work with us, but that’s typically what we see for our day-to-day.

And what do they get from you and your company that they can’t get other places?

In our company, we really focus on behavior change… It’s something we really try and dive into and figure out why it is that [a client has] this habit. What is [their] trigger? And we talk about that, we try to get to the bottom of it, and then we try and retrain [them] to develop new habits that are going to be lasting, healthy, and that are gonna [help them] with that goal that [they’re] trying to achieve… not that quick fix. We try to get away from that. That’s why I feel like a part of the family, because I talk with these people for a long time usually because, obviously, changes don’t happen overnight.

How has COVID changed your job?

Right away, we obviously had to shut down, and we transitioned to all virtual [work], so we’re using Zoom to [stay in contact and provide health coaching and advice for] our members. We recently opened up our store again, so they can come in and utilize [our services] in person as well as purchase [diet-friendly health foods, books and accessories] in person, too, so that has been good... We’re a small staff, so it’s been pretty easy rotating [between employees] coming into the store, and we never had to shut down the store completely. We were able to work from home for a while there — I think it was probably three weeks that we were working from home. Then [our employees were] just going into the store and doing more of like a curbside pickup for anyone who needed food from us or anything like that. So that changed a little bit, but really, we didn’t have to change a whole lot. We’re still able to do our coaching, just through Zoom.

Talk about your professional goals.

I moved into this manager role [around] March. So it was right when COVID happened. I was assistant manager before that… I would like to stay in a managerial position. I do like a role in leadership. And I have really enjoyed my time in the health care realm of things. So my goal, I guess, would be to continue to work for companies that keep … people’s best interests in mind when they’re doing work every single day. ... In general, my goal for my career is to continue to work up in that leadership role, to continue working with companies that I believe have the same kind of interest that I have in mind and that have really good … morals and ethics.  

What do you think you bring to this job that makes you stand out?

I hope I bring positivity, I hope that’s one thing that people get out of a conversation with me. I also try to work as hard as possible. On a day-to-day basis, I try to put my best foot forward and really dig deep and work as hard as possible. Through that, what I’m doing is for the betterment of the entire company and for the individuals I work with. I really try and keep their goals in mind [as well]. 

Was there culture shock moving to bigger cities?

Yeah, definitely. Especially moving to Florida. Coming from the Midwest, yeah, huge culture shock there, but it was such a great experience. I met amazing people there, and they really treated me like family because so many people weren’t around their actual family there, so everyone held on to one another... And it was really nice to get into a bigger city. Huge shock, but there’s a lot of fun things that come along with that. I do miss the small town feel every now and then, but it’s really nice to have accessibility to awesome restaurants, really fun things to do and all that fun stuff.

[As for] the downsides… I grew up in such a small community and on a farm, so I really didn’t have an interaction with people on a day-to-day basis, so that was a huge change. It took some adjustment.