Natalie Ginter has been around basketball all her life. Her parents, Keith and Lydia Noll of Colfax, Wis., began the Wisconsin AAU girls basketball program in 1987, and Ginter was one of the first AAU girls basketball players in the state.
Since then, her passion in both her personal and professional lives has been focusing on healthcare, promoting healthy, active living and environmental changes. So it’s fitting that on Tuesday at Target Center, Ginter was honored for her work in her community on the most prominent basketball court in the state.
As part of the Minnesota Lynx’s Inspiring Women program, Ginter, of Faribault, spent Tuesday with the Lynx as they took on the San Antonio Silver Stars. She received an ovation at center court during a second quarter timeout and accepted a team autographed ball from Lynx President Chris Wright.
It was a fitting nomination made by her mom—the person Ginter says is the most inspiring person in her life—and the perfect location. As a person who has been around the game all her life, Tuesday night acted as a means of meshing Ginter’s passions of basketball and helping others.
“It’s kind of funny,” she said. “Like it has come full circle.”
The Inspiring Women platform is a league-wide initiative to celebrate women who motivate others through personal and professional leadership, in hopes that their stories will inspire others to do the same.
Ginter is the Community Engagement Manager for the South Region of Allina Health where she is responsible for managing the hospitals philanthropy activities, as well as partnering with area communities and residents to support their vision for health that focuses on environmental changes, policies and more that promote healthy, active living. In her spare time she serves as Vice President of United Way of Faribault and as a board member for So How Are the Children.
Her nomination focused on her nearly 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector mixed with her activities partnering with area communities and residents to support their vision for health that focuses on the environment and healthy living.
“I have my work and I have my volunteering, and t hey kind of blend together because they are either or financial stability or education related, and so I just kind of pick and choose what I want to be involved in,” she said. “There is some overlap with the field of work I’m in and then I do a lot in the community. The lines blur in what’s work and what’s actually just volunteering and helping the community. I don’t mind that at all, because you really have to be passionate and enjoy what you’re doing every day. And I am.”
But oddly enough, she had another unique connection on Tuesday at Target Center.
Since her parents have headed the Wisconsin AAU program over the past 30 years, they’ve gotten to know a collection of standout basketball players who ended up playing collegiately, overseas and in the WNBA.
One of those players is Lynx center Janel McCarville.
Ginter said part of the enjoyment being at Target Center on Tuesday was watching McCarville play and admiring how she has developed as a player since her days in high school. She was good back then, Ginter said, but she has turned into an incredible professional.
It’s not always easy to fit basketball into her life these days—she’s got her job, her volunteer work and a 9-year-old who plays “about 5 different sports,” she said—but getting to make the trip to Target Center was a way to merge it all together.
“I haven’t been able to get to games, so tonight’s a real pleasure and I appreciate the Lynx inviting me up here,” she said. “It’s been great. I’ll definitely keep track of them more often now. These games are awesome. I love the environment and the people are really engaged in the games. It’s awesome.”
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