Scout Member Highlight: Doug Niemela
Company: Minnesota Environmental Fund/The Minneapolis Hustle
Website: www.mnenvirofund.org and www.theminneapolishustle.com
Instagram: @dougniemela, @theminneapolishustle
Facebook: @MNEnviroFund, @theminneapolishustle
So Doug, tell us about yourself...
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
For me the most exciting part of each day is meeting and interacting with people. I just find endless joy in interacting with people. There is always something new to learn and experience when you open yourself up to those around you! Also, I cannot stand to have furry teeth, so the need to brush my teeth first thing really gets me moving even if I am not going to be seeing any people that day!
Do you have a personal mantra or motto?
This is something that is an ongoing and fairly nebulus piece for me as I am constantly encountering new and insightful perspectives and philosophies. But at the moment I have really been drawn to a statement that I heard while watching a YouTube video with Terry Crews talking about his most iconic roles in television and the movies. He was talking about the first time he felt entitled to being treated like a star and how that really made him unhappy with everything and everyone around him. Then he heard a saying and it totally revamped his perspective and once he started living that mantra things immediately turned around for him. And that is “There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path”. This really dovetails with another personal philosophy I have and that is “You get out of the world what you put into it”. So if you are a negative, entitled person you get and only see negativity and entitlement from the world. But if you are a happy and generous person you get and get happiness and generosity back from the world!
What are you currently working on?
As I mentioned above I am always striving to become the best Doug I can be, but also understanding that I am aiming for excellence and not perfection in that quest. On a not quite so existential note, I have been going through a big work transition since July after I left my job running a national effort to protect the Boundary Waters from the threat of sulfide ore copper mining. Recently I excepted and started a new position as Executive Director of the Minnesota Environmental Fund, which focuses on workplace giving that supports 22 environmental nonprofits across the state! Also, during this transition I started my podcast The Minneapolis Hustle. Which is basically just an excuse for me to sit down and make my friends talk for an hour about how cool they are and then I get to embarrass them by bringing out the old photo of them playing the clarinet in junior high band! (I know how to click through to the fourth and fifth page of a google search so NOTHING is safe!)
All time favorite project?
Maybe not a project per se, but last year I had the opportunity to be a part of the third class of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy put on by the Outdoor Industry Association. It was an amazing opportunity to work with 34 other individuals who were, and still are, seeking to become the leaders we want to see in the world. In the program we ice climbed, stayed in the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, and learned about ourselves and each other in very open and vulnerable ways. Plus I get to do product testing for Smartwool and get a bunch of free sweet gear!
Why did you choose to become a member of Scout Workshop?
I first met Heather while on a dog sledding expedition with Studio/E and she explained this project she was cooking up with Kim. At the time I was into my third year as a member of the co-working space formerly known as CoCo and considered myself a bit of an expert on these places, so when she got into the details of her and Kim’s vision I was immediately let down, because at the time I was leading a team of 13 staff and that type of membership was not what they were looking for. BUT as soon as I began my transition and went out on my own I knew there was no other place I could be than Scout. I did a cursory tour of a few other places just to be sure, but the entire time I knew I was going to be making my community this community!
Ok, we have a few more...just for fun!
Favorite holiday tradition?
The Nordic Holiday Rooms at the American Swedish Institute! The Finnish room is always the best and I do not say that only because Ancestory.com told me I am 68% Finnish. All the other rooms seem to always have a very traditional religious take on the holidays, but the Finnish room is almost always highlighting their relationship with the land. Past years have included tributes to the goddess of the forest and hunt and scenes from their epic creation myth The Kalevala.
Favorite holiday album?
Not a full holiday album, but the David Bowie/Bing Crosby duet is always such a strange strange experience I have to watch it every year.
Holiday food/dish of choice? To make and/or eat!
My grandfather used to make these amazing apple turnovers when I was a child, unfortunately the recipe passed on when he did.
All time favorite holiday gift you received as a child?
Christmas 1989, I was 12 years old and got a Vision Psycho Stick skateboard. Since it was winter in Minnesota me and my buddy Tom Klatt would hang out at our church and skate in the community room! By the time spring came around I could ollie over a folding table (the short way, but still!).
“Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown and “A Conjuring of Light” by V.E. Schwab. The former is one of the best books I have encountered with regards to personal development and the later is the third book in a pretty decent fantasy series I am reading while waiting for the next George R.R. Martin book in the Song of Fire and Ice series.
Currently listening to…
All the podcasts! How Did This Get Made, Pod Save America, The Daily, The Adventure Zone, Hello from the Magic Tavern, and Men in Blazers to name a few. As for music I have really been digging on J.S. Ondara recently!
Rewatching Game of Thrones ahead of the series finale this coming spring and also really getting into DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on The CW. That show is just so lovably bonkers for the superhero genre, you can just tell they are having a blast writing and filming it!
Thank you Doug for taking the time to sit down with us and we encourage anyone reading this post to reach out and connect with him!