Fabulous People: Katherine Fossler

Katherine Fossler is the director of Small Business Development Center at University of Wisconsin, River Falls, as well as the founder of Pleasant Pasture Animal Sanctuary & Education Center in New Richmond. “Pleasant Pasture Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit with a twofold mission: provide a forever home for animals in need and connect people with nature, community and themselves.” Learn about Katherine Fossler…

Hometown: Little Canada, MN, originally. Now I live in New Richmond, WI.

First job: Woolworth Department store, selling records (vinyl!) and making keys – none of the keys ever worked, I am for sure.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: Snowmobiling, running, motorcycling, hiking – it is beautiful in every season!

Your biggest accomplishment and why: Lady Katherine: women’s fitness with a touch of sass. I created a fitness brand from scratch, built the business to two successful studio locations – one in Minnesota, one in Wisconsin with 18 on staff, and sold it after five years. It is now on it’s third owner. This is my biggest accomplishment (so far) because I listened to what the universe was telling me to do – and did it! Even though it was w-a-y outside of my comfort zone and the universe came through, sending hundreds of women to my classes and events.  

The biggest obstacle you overcame: Healing from a TBI (traumatic brain injury) I suffered early 2019 from an automobile accident. The recovery took over two years, during which I had many limitations and setbacks. I am still “different” than I was pre-accident, but I am learning to love the new me.  

Someone who inspires you and why: I am inspired daily by the entrepreneurs that I meet at my job. They see a problem to be solved, have created a solution and are willing to do whatever it takes to bring it into the world. I am honored to come alongside them and assist.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: For the Small Business Development Director position, it’s important to get some small business experience up close – to realize how the owner does just about everything at first, and to witness how pieces get broken off, made into “jobs” and given to someone else. It is very fascinating. For the Animal Sanctuary work, passion is everything – find the spark of passion in people and use that to connect them to your nonprofit. 

Favorite quote: “Everyone is just doing the best they can.” –my mother

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I love fish, snails and aquariums. I just downsized from five to three aquariums – the sound of the water, the graceful movements of the fish and the snails. They are just so fascinating! I have learned much from watching my water friends. 

What makes someone fabulous: Their unique take on life, and their story – we are all fabulous!

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