"We need to continue to really work on the power of healing that comes from this idea of bringing your community together."

About Mehring: She started the first CaringBridge website in 1997 to help close friends share information about their premature baby. Now, millions use CaringBridge each year to create websites where friends and loved ones can stay informed on health care episodes. Before founding the Eagan-based nonprofit, Mehring ran a consulting firm that developed Web pages.

Personal File: Mehring was born and raised near Appleton, Wis., and studied computer science at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She has three adult children.

What's big in 2015: Keeping up with technology is a constant challenge for CaringBridge, which is working to improve its website and apps for mobile devices. Users need to post messages around the clock, Mehring says, so many of CaringBridge's 50 full-time employees are focused on technology. Another challenge: boosting awareness of the organization, particularly among health care professionals. The nonprofit is funded almost completely by donations from individuals.

Final word: "I've always thought [that] CaringBridge should be prescribed. … These communities come together and become a healing effect and impact, not only for that patient but for that caregiver and even the community itself."