Michelle Kommer, Labor Commissioner for the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights, will join the panel discussion “How to Access Human Rights in North Dakota and Minnesota” on Wednesday, November 15, at The Fargo Theatre during the North Dakota Human Rights Film & Arts Festival.

Kommer has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector, leading human resource, operational and legal functions in the financial services, health insurance and energy/manufacturing industries. She most recently served as chief administrative officer and general counsel for Western State Bank, where her in-house practice included contract negotiation and management, labor and employment matters, and corporate governance. Her executive experience includes leadership of the strategic planning, human resources, project management, information technology, operations and legal functions.

Kommer is licensed to practice law in both North Dakota and Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Mayville State University, her master’s degree from the University of Mary and her law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Outside of work, Kommer has been a passionate advocate for child welfare in North Dakota, both as a foster and adoptive parent and in founding a non-profit organization, the North Dakota Heart Gallery, to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for North Dakota children.

Kommer has served on numerous nonprofit boards in the Fargo-Moorhead area. She was named one of the “Top 25 Women in Business” by Prairie Business Magazine in both 2014 and 2015, and YWCA’s “Woman of the Year” for Child Advocacy in 2016.

The Department of Labor and Human Rights’ main responsibilities relate to the enforcement of state labor standards and human rights laws. The department also is responsible for issuing sub-minimum wage certificates, verifying independent contractor status and licensing employment agencies.

The panel will be moderated by North Dakota State Representative Joshua Boschee, Panelists schedule to participate include: Jennifer Cook, the North Dakota Chapter of the ACLU; Dave Lanpher, the Fargo Human Relations Commission; Michelle Kommer, North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights; Kevin Lindsey, Minnesota Department of Human Rights; Barry Nelson, the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition; and Michelle Rydz, High Plains Fair Housing Center.

The mission of the North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival is to educate, engage, and facilitate discussion around local and world-wide human rights topics through the work of filmmakers and artist. 2017 is the inaugural year for both festivals.

The North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival will take place November 15, 16 and 17, 2017, at the Fargo Theater in Fargo, North Dakota. Panel discussions will take place each evening of the film festival.

The North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival will be exhibited November 13, 2017 through January 5, 2018 at the Spirit Room in Fargo, North Dakota. A public reception and awards ceremony will be held at The Spirit Room on Saturday, November 18 from 5 to 7.

Click here to purchase tickets for the Wednesday night film screenings and panel discussion with Michelle Rydz at the historic Fargo Theater in downtown Fargo, North Dakota.

Learn more about the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition at their website.

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