About Us

Why We Do This Work

We were founded in the conviction that the world is a better place when people are successfully pursuing work they are passionate about. When we partner with small businesses, public sector agencies or nonprofits, we see people fully committed to their purpose – no matter the headwind. Our job is to help them overcome roadblocks, envision a new future and plot a path to new heights. Client by client, we believe we are shaping a world of more fulfilled and effective individuals.

What We’re Really Good At

Optimistic, realistic and creative problem-solving

Tackling challenges from the root cause. No band-aids here!

Providing accountability (having or facilitating those tough conversations)

Building authentic connections

Being curious about the status quo

Consensus-building work that ensures all voices and perspectives are heard

Creating an environment where everyone is welcome to show up as their authentic selves

Helping you set big goals with actionable plans for achieving them

Teaching you to fly and then letting you soar

“Fair Winds’ active thinking and commitment to ensuring our organization’s longevity, contributions to the community and success for clients, staff and residents are invaluable.”

– Executive Director, Relationship Safety Alliance

Our Values

Connection | Authenticity | Accountability | Optimism | Inclusivity

Meet the Team

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Kristi Ackley, Founder & Lead Strategist

Kristi is a skilled facilitator with experience in visioning and goal setting with organizations and communities, donor-centric fund development, and community and volunteer engagement. Her training and technical expertise ranges from creating an effective fundraising campaign to leading a highly productive board. She has worked with hundreds of nonprofit and community boards to help them accomplish their goals. Prior to launching her company, Fair Winds Consulting, she was the Community Philanthropy Manager for a regional foundation serving 14 counties in central Minnesota.

Before joining the nonprofit sector, Kristi served almost 12 years in the US Navy as a cryptologist and career counselor. This experience was invaluable in her leadership development, understanding of organizational structure and the importance of culture on morale and team effectiveness.

Kristi holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in accounting, is a Journeyman Career Counselor and a graduate of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s “The Fund Raising School.” She helped co-found the Women’s Leadership Fund in central Minnesota, created the “A Legacy of Generosity” podcast for planned giving and fundraising professionals, and continues to serve as a volunteer on various boards.

A creative visionary, she leads teams to discover innovative solutions and dream big.

Connect with Kristi

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Amy Gray, Facilitator & Grant Writer

Amy is a strategic thinker, finds excitement in the collaborative planning process, and values the inclusion of all voices, especially those who will be impacted by programs and policies. A graduate of the Art of Hosting group facilitation training, Amy is a skilled facilitator who brings out the best in individuals and groups. Amy holds a master’s degree in advocacy and political leadership and has a knack for making complex ideas and processes accessible to everyone.

A natural strategist and connector, Amy is gifted in finding opportunities and forging connections to serve the bigger picture. She has served on the board of the Central MN Housing Project, worked in downtown redevelopment, served on the City of Brainerd rental housing commission, and is currently the executive director of Kinship Partners, a youth mentoring organization serving the greater Brainerd Lakes Area. Passionate about equality and equity, Amy recently led her organization through an LGBTQ+ ally certification process.

Amy’s focus on collaboration and genuine curiosity inspires even the most reserved group member to feel comfortable and able to participate in group discussions. She brings out the best in us all!

Connect with Amy

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Mark Hendrickson, Business Development Advisor

Mark brings twenty-five years of corporate leadership with him in the areas of banking and finance.  He’s also enjoyed/survived the joys of being a small business owner.  A freelance writer and consultant, Mark brings his own brand of insight and observation, along with an ability to connect easily to people and interpret challenges quickly.  When he’s not writing feature movie scripts bound for the slush pile, Mark enjoys playing the piano, attending sports and music events, hiking, meeting new people, and engaging in long winded discussions about everything and nothing.  There are no strangers in Mark’s world. 

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Levi Ackley, Relationship Manager

Levi is the king of customer service. His natural abilities to connect with anyone and make people feel at ease combined with his genuine curiosity about others builds bridges where none existed before. He is deeply rooted in his faith and works his best to bring grace and humility in all he does. Levi leads our Chasing Light program, a faith-based mentorship curriculum for churches and faith organizations. 

When not supporting our Fair Winds clients, Levi works as a manufacturing supervisor. In his downtime he loves a good brewery, taking his rescue lab-mix for walks, fishing and hunting “up north”. 

Connect with Levi