Congratulations to FUANs May 2019 Advocate of the Month, Molly Olson. Molly was chosen due to her national leadership with Leading Women For Shared Parenting, her constant perseverance on being one of the most well known and persistent Family Law Reform advocates in Minnesota. Her progress there continues to set milestones. And despite all of this somehow, Molly found the time to be our leading article contributor for the Families United Action Network website.
Molly’s passion for results and entrepreneurial ideas has been engrained in her since her youth. As long as she can remember, she’s had a passion for driving results and helping others achieve success through leadership, communication, and conflict resolution. Her “don’t take no for an answer” spirit has propelled her career with tenacity, persistence, and detailed preparation for all she works to accomplish.
She attributes her compassion to her mother who she refers to as a saintly woman who always put others ahead of herself; to her grandmother who taught her to have a heart for those who couldn’t help themselves; and to her mother and aunts whose lives inspired unity and valued cooperative family togetherness.
Molly has a great appreciation for hard work. She attributes this value to her father and grandfather. Growing up, she observed the growth of the family business started by her grandfather and expanded by her father, whose favorite inspirational quote greatly impacted her choices:
“There ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common.” – Satchel Paige
In 1982 her entrepreneurial inclinations blossomed right out of college, when she began start-up departments within corporations, developing inside sales departments from scratch for businesses including (but not limited to): Dorsey Laboratories/Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Meyers Pharmaceuticals, Great Plains Accounting Software, LA Loving Ad Specialty Apparel, Arden Fasteners, Liberty Check Printers, and more.
In 1998 she began independent consulting in the same capacity for companies in a wide range of industry types and sizes ranging from multi-billion dollar Schwan’s Ice Cream – expanding their business with online ordering by building stronger customer relationships, to RJM Dental – a small rapidly growing discount dental supply company positioning itself for sale.
Also in 1998, she further developed her consulting expertise by becoming a certified professional leadership and communication trainer for a worldwide program called Leader Effectiveness Training (LET). She conducts a three-day course for corporations committed to teaching their leaders and emerging leaders new and practical communication and leadership skills.
The focus of the LET program is how to collaboratively confront conflict in a way that will enhance the relationship not destroy it and work together with others in a more productive way to achieve results, by building trust, loyalty, and respect in all levels of the organization.
Expanding her leadership training expertise, she began speaking at conferences, associations, and other corporate meetings as a keynote speaker and Professional Speaker/Trainer. Related back to what she learned from her grandfather and father, her keynote called “Hang in There: The Key To Achieving the Unexpected” has been well received by a wide range of audiences.
Molly takes her corporate expertise in communication and conflict resolution and helps couples save their troubled marriages through more effective communication and conflict resolution skill building. In cases where divorce is imminent, she mediates divorce settlement agreements to help ensure more amicable win-win outcomes that better position parents to co-parent more successfully.
During her business career, while working for companies of all sizes, Molly volunteered time for non-profits such as United Way, churches, and many professional organizations. Eventually, she volunteered for the board of directors for a series of various non-profits including professional sales/service association, credit union, and a counseling agency, before starting her own non-profit in 2003 called Center for Parental Responsibility (CPR). Molly grew up learning to give back to the community.
Between 2000 – 2003, Molly began volunteering time helping 3 dads (family/friend) to understand and sort through the complexities of their family court issues. During this time, in 2000, Molly turned 40 years old. She was single with no children of her own. Never imagining her life without children she began a dutiful search to adopt and/or volunteer with children.
Meanwhile, through her “accidental” and “unofficial” volunteer work with three fathers, she recognized the huge problems with family courts. As a concerned citizen, she brought her first bill to the Minnesota Legislature in 2001 with the goal of protecting father-child relationships with fit parents. Quickly she recognized the futile nature of one citizen up against the 3 branches of government and the entire divorce industry all too ready to protect the status quo.
Molly then started an organization she named the Center for Parental Responsibility (CPR). Her goal was to mobilize like-minded citizens affected by family courts and develop an all-volunteer people-helping-people organization until funding allowed otherwise. Educating policymakers became a big part of the work. She is also a Co-Founder of
Leading Women for Shared Parenting
Since 2000, Molly has volunteered an extraordinary amount of time to her non-profit organization without pay. This has been done with an incredible sacrifice to her own personal career and personal savings. Despite this, she remains committed to helping children have a better life.
Since she was unable to have any children of her own and wanted to make a difference in the lives of children in a meaningful way, she believes she has been uniquely positioned and called to this volunteer work as a mission field, to fulfill the CPR mission.
From 2006-2010 Molly was also a co-host of CPR TV – a regular weekly TV show for the family law reform community that aired on Metro Cable Channel 6, with a projected possible audience in the Twin Cities Seven County Metro area of one million viewers.