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Making Waves with Ann Bailey

This month, we're getting to know Commodore Ann Bailey. Ann is married to her college sweetheart, Randy. If you see Ann at an event, chances are that Randy is capturing your interaction so we can post it! Read on to learn more about Ann!


Favorite Food:

food that comes with a memory:

  • grilled sirloin steak with rosemary was a weekend treat growing up.

  • Homemade Chex Mix (called Nibbles)

  • German chocolate cake for birthday cake

  • ice cream!


I enjoy growing vegetables and cooking. We have a couple of small gardens and pots that produce a variety of peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and herbs. I love Italian cooking because the recipes are simple and use the fresh produce for wonderful results. We enjoy traveling and travels often inspire me to learn more about a cuisine. A trip to New Mexico introduced a lot of Southwest flavors and recipes, and last year's trip to Southern France gave me a new respect for herbs de Provence!


I started as a computer science major, but switched majors to business. I graduated with a BS in Business from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

What is your job, and what does a typical day look like?

I am in my dream job. As the President at DARTS, my primary role is to speak to elevate older adults – raise the awareness as to how we can continue to help them be connected in the community and how DARTS can help us all age well. Our mission is creating connections that enrich aging and that is much of what I do. I also oversee all the operations for our $2 million business. That means I continually am learning about a topic. All those things that magically happen as an employee like how much vacation you accrue or what health insurance options you have are decisions that I need to make on our behalf. I guide the organization by ensuring they know the strategic goals for the year and that they take the high level goals and make them into something more tangible and create measures. I am so proud of the work the team does and their ownership and commitment to our mission. They put our older adults first and that dedication shows in our work.

As an Ambassador...

What was it about being Commodore that appealed to you?

The word that caught my attention was “mentoring." As I reflect back on my career, without using that word, there are people that stand out as having been mentors and role models for me. I love the idea of being one of the people who can help a young woman see the possibilities, hone an idea or solve a problem. On the Commodore Medal, the rope goes around two spindles on the wheel to remind me of the generations of strong women leaders in my family – both my mom and her mom were active community leaders.

Having a platform to advocate the value in intergenerational connections was appealing as well but honestly, how the year is shaping, it’s much more about underscoring the great community that we see in our travels rather than any spoken message that I believe needs to be said. As Marjorie, Jackie, and I discussed our mission for this 80th year, we developed the tagline “Strength with Compassion." On the Commodore medal, the rope represents strength and it ties into a heart to represent compassion.

What has been most memorable so far in your year?

The deepest memories are like pictures flashing across the screen: the little boy in Sauk Rapids sitting up straight with his chest out, so proud to have receive the Commodore’s medal; The Honorary Commodore Award recipient in Montrose who cried at being recognized by her community; Queen Haley speaking at New Ulm so personally about the impact of volunteerism; Princess Mandy at Anoka making women young and old light up when she told them they were beautiful; Princess Courtney’s compassion and warmth with Carol when we raked her yard; Jackie’s ready laugh; Marjorie’s joy; Randy holding all our purses and taking pictures. The memory is that we are a family.

What are you excited about?

Because we’re already planning the details for the Commodore Dinner, it’s making me excited for the 2019 Aquatennial – the celebration of the year and all that we all have learned.

Word Association

What comes to mind when you

People coming together for a common cause, their purpose so great that differences are forgotten.

What comes to mind when you hear...leadership?

Setting a vision for the future and staying engaged to help take the steps to achieve the vision, gain new insights and refine the goal as needed.

What comes to mind when you hear...volunteer?

Putting another’s needs above your own.

Next month, we'll learn more about Aquatennial Princess Mandy Rochel! Stay tuned...

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