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Miss America Cara Mund passes on message of leadership in Bismarck

Cara Mund, the reigning Miss America, passed a message of leadership to the area businessmen and women at the annual Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce dinner on Thursday night. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK — As a business graduate of Brown University, Miss America 2018 and Bismarck native Cara Mund saw herself as an attendee of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner.

She did not expect to one day find herself as the events speaker.

"I think it's great," Mund said of the business environment in her hometown. "I think it's really a booming town and it feels so different now even since leaving for college."

Mund spoke to the group of area business leaders about her experience leading up to becoming Miss America. She founded North Dakota's annual Make-A-Wish Fashion Show 10 years ago and she hopes others see that age makes no difference for those who want to be leaders.

It was Mund's message of leadership that Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce President Brian Ritter hoped would be passed on to the organization's membership.

"She is a tremendous example for this entire community," he said. "She's an inspiration and hopefully she inspires everyone in this community to try for more."

From a personal perspective, Ritter said both he and Mund were born and raised in Bismarck.

"It's incredible to see someone with the same background and what she's been able to accomplish at such an early age," he said.

As for Mund, she's proud to be from North Dakota and is hopeful she will leave a legacy inspiring men and women from the state and beyond. Upon winning her title she said she received many messages from others living in a rural area who before didn't think it was possible for someone from a small town to accomplish.

Even she was surprised.

"I don't know why I didn't dream big enough," she said, but the process taught her she was just as capable as any woman from another state.

Mund said she faced many people who told her she couldn't reach her goals and it took her a number of times to win the Miss North Dakota title. But she didn't give up.

"The only person who can limit you is yourself," Mund told the crowd.

"She exemplifies what Leadership Bismarck-Mandan Alumni Association stands for," said association president Amy Hornbacher. "She's driven; she's passionate; she brings vision to reality."

And she can inspire others to dream big, Hornbacher said of Mund.

Hornbacher said having Mund as a representative of Bismarck shows the country, "we're good people here and we can reach huge goals."