Linda (Olson) Pancrantz, ’76, grew up in Grand Forks and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from UND, graduating with honors. She also attended Executive Development programs at the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Today, Pancratz is Chairman and CEO of Mountain Capital, LLC, an investment company, after spending much of her professional life in telecommunications. She held a number of senior management positions with US West before moving to the UK in 1995 to manage a business the company acquired. Two years later, she participated in a management buyout of TDL Infomedia Limited. Under her leadership, a subsidiary, Thomson Directories Limited, was recognized as one of the “Times Top 100 Companies in the UK” and received the “Investors in People Award.” When the business was later sold to an Italian company, she stayed on as Chairman and CEO until she retired. She also served on a variety of company boards in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy.
“We thought we were moving to the UK for a couple of years and ended up buying the business and staying for 12 ½ years,” Pancratz said. “It was an incredible experience living and working abroad, being involved in a number of businesses across Europe and creating some new ones.”
Pancratz has given her time and talents to many community organizations over the years, including Junior Achievement and the American Cancer Society. She is President of the ELM Family Foundation and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Vail Mountain School. She has served on the UND Alumni Association and Foundation Board of Directors, was chair of the UND Foundation Board and co-chaired the National Campaign Steering Committee for North Dakota Spirit | The Campaign for UND. The campaign raised $324 million.
“UND is a very special place,” Pancratz told UND graduates as the Winter Commencement speaker in 2007. “A place where an ordinary person like me, a girl from Grand Forks, can get an extraordinary education, an education that is priceless and transformational, an education that changes opportunities and changes lives.”
Pancratz and her late husband, Mark, ’77, have loyally and generously invested in UND. Their gifts include establishing the Pancratz Career Development Center at the College of Business and Public Administration.
“One of the primary ways that students and parents measure the success of their education and the return on investment is based on the jobs that they secure after graduation. So, we wanted to create a ‘Career Development Center’ within the College of Business and Public Administration focused on adding value for our students throughout their careers by providing career guidance and coaching, connecting them with mentors and helping them seize internships. Ultimately, it is about supporting the initial job search as well as providing ongoing support for our alumni to facilitate their career advancement.”
Pancratz lives in Colorado with her daughter, Elizabeth.
This article first appeared in the UND Alumni Review in Fall 2013.