Kathryn Helgaas Burgum became First Lady on December 15, 2016, when her husband Governor Doug Burgum was sworn in as the 33rd Governor of North Dakota.
As First Lady, Kathryn's priority is supporting and developing initiatives to eliminate the shame and stigma of the chronic disease of addiction in North Dakota's communities.
In long-term recovery for 16 years, she shares her personal experience and encourages others to do the same to normalize the conversation around the disease of addiction. She is spreading the word that addiction is a chronic disease and not a character flaw. Kathryn plays an active role in supporting the Office of Recovery Reinvented as the chair of the Advisory Council.
Her advocacy work has enabled her to partner with advocates, experts in the field, and stakeholders nation-wide including the White House, Faces and Voices of Recovery, the Addiction Policy Forum, and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation where she serves on the board of trustees.
The second youngest of four children, Kathryn grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota, where her family was in the John Deere business for over 35 years. She held her first job at the family business working in the parts department. She graduated with honors from Jamestown High School, where she was involved in student council, choir, varsity tennis, and cheerleading.
She earned her undergraduate degree in retail business at Arizona State University and a master’s of business administration degree in human resources from the University of North Texas.
Her 25-year career in human resources and marketing has spanned industries, including retail, biotechnology, software, manufacturing, agriculture and real estate development.
Over her life, Kathryn has donated her time and leadership to many charitable endeavors including at-risk women and children, animal welfare, visionary artists and the arts, and addiction and recovery. Kathryn enjoys reading, fishing, horses, snowboarding and is an avid college football fan.
To learn more about the First Lady's platform and initiatives visit https://recoveryreinvented.com/