MUM alumna Anna Bruen was recently named executive director of Pathfinders, a local organization devoted to natural resource conservation and community development in Southeast Iowa.
Anna grew up in Fairfield and learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique as a child. She has always had many interests, but when she took a permaculture class at MUM, she enjoyed it so much she decided to major in sustainable living. She also minored in business and improvisational movement and graduated in 2008.
Anna liked the flexibility and support at MUM and how quickly things could manifest. “There had never been an artisanal food class,” said Anna. “Some students and I talked to a professor about it, and in the next semester he created it.”
After graduation Anna worked for a few businesses, but her interest in community development led her to Iowa State University, where she earned a dual master’s degree in community and regional planning and sustainable agriculture.
In 2014, while in graduate school, Anna was hired by Pathfinders to work on a watershed project. In her current role as executive director, she manages a variety of projects, from helping farmers to market their grass-fed beef to organizing solar energy fairs and helping the City of Fairfield with an environmental assessment of its wastewater treatment plan. Anna enjoys her job and is motivated by her curiosity and desire to “work with good people on good projects.”
Anna appreciates how the TM® technique enhances every aspect of her life. “TM has become an anchor for me,” she said. “It helps me feel centered and grounded because there is so much to do all the time. I find that if I carve out the time to practice meditation, it feels like there is more time to do everything else.”
In addition to her full-time job, Anna serves on the board of Maharishi School and chairs the board of another nonprofit — Women, Food and Agriculture Network — which supports women in sustainable agriculture. In her free time she teaches yoga and participates in dance performances.