Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Minnesota for 2022. This state, also known as The Land of 10,000 Lakes, is home to many successful women change-makers who lead within some of the most well-known companies in the United States. Others are leading in educational fields as activists, driving social change, and breaking barriers for future generations that follow. One thing that remains consistent among all this year’s awardees is their dedication and commitment to the industries they serve.
Among this year’s awardees is Andie Christopherson, Vice President and Chief Actuary for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, who works collaboratively to develop creative solutions to unique problems within the healthcare system; Sara Burdak, Chief Audiology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Strategy for Starkey, an audiologist who is dedicated to bringing impactful programs to the hearing aid manufacturers’ global clients; and Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer for Medtronic, who has operationalizing a long-term roadmap that builds a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture for the organization.
We applaud this group of successful women for their achievements and assiduity in their respective roles. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Minnesota for 2022.
1. Sheryl Wallace
President of North America Grain, Cargill
Sheryl Wallace is the President of Cargill’s North American Grain business. Cargill is the largest privately owned company in the U.S. and its 155,000 global employees work relentlessly to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way by partnering with customers in more than 125 countries. Wallace joined Cargill 26 years ago and has had an expansive career working in agriculture, oilseed processing and refining, energy, flour milling and financial services businesses and in the corporate risk management function.
Wallace started with Cargill as a commodity merchant in 1996 and progressed her career through roles in trading, sales, commercial management, fiduciary oversight of credit, market, and balance sheet risk, and executive leadership. Her roles were based in rural areas of the U.S., Minneapolis, and abroad in Geneva, Switzerland. During this time, she's had the opportunity of serving customers and leading operations in over 50 countries. She also serves as the Cargill Women's Network executive sponsor and is passionate about advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry. Outside of Cargill, she serves on the National Grain and Feed Association and Foundation as well as devotes time to Feed My Starving Children. Wallace graduated from the University of Minnesota with an undergraduate degree in business from the Carlson School of Management.
2. Sally Saba
Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Medtronic
Sally Saba is the first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer (CIDO) at Medtronic. In this role, Saba is responsible for delivering on the vision for Medtronic to be recognized as the global inclusion, diversity, and equity leader in healthcare. This work enables Medtronic to advance its Mission – to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life for patients around the world. Known for her “listen and learn” leadership approach, Saba joined Medtronic as CIDO in March 2020. Under her leadership, Medtronic is operationalizing a long-term roadmap that builds a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. A fervent believer in responsibility for inclusion and diversity starting at the top, Saba aims to equip leaders with the tools needed to drive local, meaningful action.
Prior to joining Medtronic, Saba served as VP of equity, inclusion, and diversity at Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals in Oakland, California. In her role, Saba defined the inclusion, diversity, and equity strategy for the largest non-profit integrated healthcare system in America. Saba holds a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery from Cairo University, an MBA in international business from ESLSCA Business School in Paris, France, and executive leadership certificates from both Harvard Business School and Cornell University. She serves as a board member of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce to enable the region to further focus on equity and building out the local ecosystem for the OneTen initiative. In 2015, Saba was named one of the “Most Influential Women in Business” by the San Francisco Business Times.
5. Larissa Bodine
Senior Vice President, CBRE
Larissa Bodine is a Senior Vice President with CBRE, the global leader in commercial real estate services and investments. She first joined the company in April of 2015, specializing in agency leasing in the downtown Minneapolis market. Bodine brings an organized, methodical approach to property leasing and has a passion for building repositioning.
Prior to joining the CBRE team, Bodine was a director of brokerage services for Cushman Wakefield/NorthMarq for 8 years. During this time, she actively represented building owners in the Minneapolis Suburban market, as well as local and national tenants. Bodine graduated from Augsburg University with an undergraduate degree in finance and business management.
7. Andie Christopherson
VP and Chief Actuary, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Andie Christopherson is the Vice President and Chief Actuary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. She is a proven leader and passionate about working collaboratively to develop creative solutions to unique problems within the healthcare system. Christopherson thrives in situations where someone has set an ambitious vision and needs a smart, critical thinker to execute. She first joined the company in 2017.
In addition to her roles with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Christopherson is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and an active member of the profession. She has served as an elected board member of the Society of Actuaries, and recently began serving as a trustee for The Actuarial Foundation. Christopherson graduated from St. Olaf College with an undergraduate degree in mathematics with a concentration in statistics.
8. Susan Gudenkauf
VP of Strategy, Planning, & Operations, VMware
Susan Gudenkauf is a strategic, customer obsessed executive with 25 years of experience working with technology companies. Most recently she has focused on growth-stage startup companies based out of Silicon Valley where she honed her skills at building high-performance teams. Starting her journey in technical support, and evolving it to run entire organizations, she has had a storied career where she has found great success in roles within sales, services, customer success, support, and R&D. Due to her technical background, and her passion for innovation and customer engagement, Gudenkauf’s ability to create critical alignment between GTM and product and engineering teams has become her signature.
Using data to inform decisions, Gudenkauf has built out numerous programs and processes which have optimized the way companies run their businesses and given them increased scalability as they migrate to high growth times. She is currently the Vice President of Strategy, Planning & Operations for the Cloud Infrastructure Business Group at VMware. Gudenkauf graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with an undergraduate degree in international business and earned a Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate in entrepreneurial studies.
9. Barb Lammers McGivern
General Manager, Thomson Reuters
Barb McGivern is General Manager of the Mid-Size law firm segment at Thomson Reuters, where she leads a team of SaaS sales, strategy, and commercial revenue management professionals. Their mission is to enable mid-size law firms to deliver the best counsel and results for their clients and grow their practices with a broad portfolio of editorial content and AI driven technology solutions. She is a member of the Thomson Reuters Legal Professionals Executive Leadership Team, a co-sponsor of Women at Thomson Reuters, and mentor to a diverse group of high performing talent.
With more than twenty years’ experience in the legal industry, Barb was previously CMO and VP of marketing and strategy for the large and mid-size law firm segment, VP of product management and CMO for FindLaw and Super Lawyers, VP of acquisition integration and VP of product, content and marketing for Thomson Web, an internal start-up charged with developing vertical Web search engines in Thomson Reuters vertical markets of legal, tax, healthcare, IP and science. In the early years of her career, Barb held a myriad of product development and user interface design leadership roles during a time of rapid innovation, resulting in market leading product introductions including westlaw.com, Westlaw Litigator, PeopleMap and KeyCite - all considered indispensable to the practice of law to this day. Barb is a board member, director and audit committee member of the American Arbitration Association, and serves several community and youth based organizations in her hometown of Eagan, Minnesota, where she has raised three children with her husband. Barb holds a BA in journalism and advertising and an MBA in marketing and management from the University of St Thomas.
11. Angie Snavely
VP, Chief Corporate and Governance Counsel, & Assistant Secretary, Teradata Corporation
Angie Snavely is a seasoned public company corporate, M&A, securities law, and corporate governance attorney and leader of corporate ESG strategies and initiatives that focus on both a company’s value proposition and stewardship. She is currently VP, Chief Corporate and Governance Counsel & Assistant Secretary for Teradata Corporation, where she is a member of the Law Leadership Team and has global oversight for a variety of legal areas, including corporate governance and Board of Director matters, securities law, mergers and acquisition, corporate finance and treasury, and other corporate matters. She also supports Teradata’s ESG program and serves as the Co-Chair of its Citizenship Council.
Prior to her role at Teradata, Snavely was assistant general counsel and assistant secretary at The Toro Company where she had global oversight for a variety of corporate and governance legal matters, intellectual property, and its ethics and code of conduct program. She also influenced, developed, and led Toro’s ESG platform, including by serving as its first Sustainability Committee Chair and leading the team that developed Toro’s first formal ESG strategy, initiative, and public disclosures. Prior to joining Toro, Snavely practiced as a corporate attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels. Before becoming a lawyer, Snavely was a CPA and worked in a variety of audit and finance professional capacities. Snavely serves as an advisory board member for the CorporateCounsel.net, Practical ESG, and Minnesota Women Lawyers. She earned an LLM in organizational ethics and compliance from the University of St. Thomas Law School, a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law, and an undergraduate degree in accountancy from the University of North Dakota.
View the complete list of awardees.
13. Jennifer Forbes
Partner & Attorney, Kutak Rock
Jennifer Forbes is a Partner and Attorney with Kutak Rock, a U.S. law firm, founded in 1965 in Omaha, Nebraska. Forbes is an expert in health law and has been representing health care providers for over 20 years. Throughout her career, she has provided legal counsel to hospitals, physicians, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, allied health professionals, and other providers.
In addition to her work with Kutak Rock, Forbes has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations. She first got her start in 1987 as an associate attorney at Moss & Barnett before eventually moving on to become an attorney and partner at Felhaber, Larson, Fenlon & Vogt, her most recent position prior to joining Kutak Rock. Forbes graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School with a JD and from St. Catherine University with an undergraduate degree in psychology and biology.
14. Sara Burdak
Chief Audiology Officer & EVP of Product Strategy, Starkey
Dr. Sara Burdak joined Starkey as an audiologist on the Hearing Research and Technology team in 1999. She currently serves as their Chief Audiology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Strategy. During her time at Starkey, Burdak has worked to bring impactful programs to their global customer base. She is responsible for developing and aligning Starkey’s global audiology strategy as it relates to education and training programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and customer and industry relations. Burdak is also responsible for Starkey’s corporate marketing and product management teams, leading product releases to global markets through an organized and strategic approach.
Burdak earned her bachelor's degree in audiology and speech sciences from Michigan State University, her master's degree in audiology from Wayne State University, and her AuD from the Arizona School of Health Sciences.
15. Stefanie Hopwood
Senior Vice President, Ketchum
Stefanie Hopwood is a Senior Vice President at leading communications consultancy firm Ketchum. In her role, Hopwood oversees a diverse group of CPG, retail, home, and food companies and is a member of Ketchum EXCEL, a group of top client director leaders within the organization. She is a proven leader in earned media storytelling, strategic product launches, and developing integrated brand-building campaigns to drive awareness and business results for some of the world's most widely recognized brands. She enjoys building strong cross-functional teams while working closely with her clients to become immersed in their businesses.
Prior to Ketchum, Hopwood worked in New York City and Chicago where she led account teams of all sizes across fashion, wellness, CPG, and hospitality clients. Her career began in the Global Healthcare practice at MS&L where she was an instrumental team member working alongside multimillion dollar pharmaceutical clients. Hopwood is a graduate of the University of Iowa.
17. Beth Klehr
Chief Human Resources Officer, Entrust
Beth Klehr, Chief Human Resources Officer of global tech company Entrust, has built a 20-year career based on one foundational rule of thumb: always putting people first. This guiding principle has been instrumental to fostering a positive work environment at Entrust, where belonging, empowerment, and collaboration aren’t just values on a poster.
Klehr joined Entrust corporation in 2010, from the outset, showing up as a trusted and strategic partner to the business and quickly moving up the ranks as a result. She brought years of prior experience from HR leadership roles with Prime Therapeutics and ADC Telecommunications and took her time to build a creative team of HR leaders dedicated to nurturing the learning culture at Entrust. Her drive and commitment to organizational excellence have made all the difference, as Entrust can boast achieving year after year of benchmark-crushing employee experience scores. Recognized by Twin Cities Business Magazine as a 2021 notable HR leader, Klehr has prioritized employee wellness and flexible work offerings, colleague connection, inclusion, and the removal of barriers to enable colleagues to do their best work. From offering bias elimination training to investing in diverse leadership development, Klehr’s transformational leadership has helped to set Entrust Corporation apart as a global tech industry employer of choice. Klehr graduated from St. Mary’s University with an undergraduate degree in human resources.
18. Kimberly Olson
Chief Compliance Officer, St. Croix Hospice
Kimberly Olson is the Chief Compliance Officer of St. Croix Hospice, the largest hospice agency in the Midwest, headquartered in Oakdale, Minnesota. With more than 20 years nursing experience, Olson began her career in labor and delivery before bringing her talents to hospice care where she is now certified in Healthcare Compliance and as a Hospice & Palliative Care Nurse.
In addition to her roles with St. Croix Hospice, Olson also serves on the NHPCO Legislative Affairs Committee, Co-Chairs Minnesota Hospice and Palliative Care Policy Committee, and volunteers for the Hospice Action Network as an advocate of hospice and palliative care utilization. In 2021, Olson co-authored the Post-Acute Care: Hospices chapter of the HCCA Complete Healthcare Compliance Manual. She graduated from The College of St. Scholastica as a registered nurse.
20. Julie Henson
Chief Client Officer, Taft Stettinius & Hollister
Julie Henson is the Chief Client Officer of Taft Stettinius & Hollister. She is a driven leader with over two decades of transforming relationships and driving revenue coaching high-performing individuals within law firms, corporations, and professional athletics. Henson is a client strategist and diplomat who is key in expanding client relationships by bridging the gap between client and customer, driving key growth, sparking innovation, and impacting and recreating a healthy and authentic culture that drives revenue.
Henson is known for leading organizations through transformational change including assessment, strategy, and execution around each phase of highly complex mergers and reorganizations with a focus on client and talent integration. She co-founded and leads the Strategic Coalition of Law Firms of Minneapolis which brings together 20 top law firm managing partners to leverage their shared commitment to the City of Minneapolis by stepping up as vocal leaders in supporting their business community through the challenges presented by Covid-19 and social unrest.
21. Lisa Sterling
Chief People Officer, SmartRecruiters
Lisa Sterling is the Chief People Officer of SmartRecruiters. SmartRecruiters is used by high-performance organizations for making the best hires. It has full functionality for recruitment marketing and collaborative hiring built on a modern cloud platform with an open marketplace for 3rd party recruitment services. Sterling is a forward thinking, engaging, and dynamic leader who has been disrupting the business and HR landscape to create cultural and organizational performance excellence the past 20 years. She joined SmartRecruiters in 2021 and is leading their growth and transformation of their people and culture as well as serving as a thought leader to HR and tech professionals and global organizations.
Previously serving as a chief administrative HR, culture, and people officer, Sterling led one of the most radical cultural transformations for a fast growing, high-tech company. She has navigated people and organizations through successful IPOs and served as an advisor, mentor, and coach to CHRO’s and up and coming HR leaders across the globe. Sterling graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an undergraduate degree in business administration and management.
View the complete list of awardees.
22. Caroline Hood
President & CEO, RS EDEN
Caroline Hood is the President and Chief Executive Officer of RS EDEN. RS EDEN develops safe and affordable housing to help individuals and families get housed. It provides property management services to support individuals and families, and helps people build new beginnings by overcoming barriers including homelessness, substance abuse, and past incarceration. With over 20 years of experience working within human service organizations, from direct clinical service to executive management, Hood has spent her career serving underserved populations and advocating for equity. She has a passion for non-profit work and the community.
Hood first got her start in 2007 as a service coordinator at Step Up on Second. From there, she went on to WISE & Healthy Aging, before eventually rising to become the VP of programs at The Family Partnership, her most recent position prior to joining RS EDEN. Hood graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in social work and from Columbia University in the City of New York with an undergraduate degree in psychology.
24. Mia Delano
VP of Business Development & Engagement, WBENC
With 24 years of experience as a diversity, equity, and inclusion leader, Mia Delano currently serves as a member of the leadership team and Vice President of Business Development & Engagement for the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Headquartered in Washington, DC, WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, operated, and controlled by women in the United States, and is the nation's leading advocate for women-owned businesses as suppliers to America's corporations. In her current role, Delano oversees the development channels and revenue streams for WBENC on the national level and leads the development team in the implementation and growth of inclusive diversity programs of the Fortune 500 to ensure opportunities exist for diverse suppliers within these global supply chains.
Prior to her position with WBENC, Delano spent 15+ years with the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) in Chicago, aiding the organization through its largest years of growth. The WBDC is the forerunner of women's business development in the country and is a nationally recognized leader for its advocacy on behalf of small, minority, and women-owned businesses, and for its responsive, innovative, and effective programs. In her final position for over a decade, she served as a member of the leadership team and as the director of development, overseeing funding and building strategic partnerships. Delano also served as the director of the annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference, the oldest conference and business opportunities fair for women business owners in the country and the largest marketing, publicity-generating, and fundraising tool for the WBDC. Under her leadership for over a decade, the Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference tripled in size and still serves as one of the premier events for women business owners in the nation. A highly skilled strategic implementation, fundraising, communications, and public relations expert, Delano is also a steadfast advocate for the growth and advancement of diverse businesses. She attended both the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and Columbia College Chicago earning a BA in marketing communications and public relations.
25. Laura Jensen
Chief Marketing Officer, Absolute Resolutions Corp.
Laura Jensen joined Absolute Resolutions Corp. in 2012 as the Director of Business Development serving in progressively more senior roles until appointed as Chief Marketing Officer in 2022. She began her career in the ARM industry in 2002 and has been responsible for many areas of business operations including business development, portfolio sales and acquisitions, vendor management, recovery management, project management, compliance, and client services. In her current role, she oversees all sales and marketing, portfolio and strategic acquisitions, portfolio analytics, market research, competitive insight, and relationship management with financial institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Jensen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1999. She is an alumna of the Leadership Program of the Rockies and has been recognized by the Colorado League of Charter Schools as an A+ Advocate. She received her Certified Receivables Compliance Professional designation in 2019 and in 2022 Jensen was re-elected by the Receivables Management Association International membership to its Board of Directors.
27. Heidi Silton
Partner, Lockridge Grindal Nauen
Heidi Silton is a Partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen. For over 40 years, Lockridge Grindal Nauen has served clients throughout the Midwest and in Washington, DC. Silton serves in the firm’s antitrust department and practices primarily in complex business litigation. She represents mainly small and mid-sized businesses in complex litigation involving other businesses and litigates in Minnesota and across the country. She and the firm are regularly appointed lead and co-lead plaintiffs’ class counsel by courts in nationwide antitrust litigation.
For the past several years, Silton has been named one of Minnesota’s top 50 women lawyers, and top 100 lawyers, by a peer review list of leading Minnesota Lawyers. She currently serves as the president of The Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws (COSAL), as an advisory board member of the American Antitrust Institute (AAI) and is the current chair of AAI’s Private Enforcement Awards Judging Committee. She also serves as vice-chair to the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section Membership and Diversity Committee and as an advisor to the American Bar Association’s Global Private Litigation Committee. In addition to her litigation practice, she is a member of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice’s Membership and Engagement Committee and a member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She believes in the value of mentorship and works to mentor other attorneys both inside and outside her firm. Silton graduated from Valparaiso University with an undergraduate degree in East Asian history and German, and with a JD from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
29. Jamie Hurewitz
General Counsel, eSSENTIAL Accessibility
Jamie Hurewitz is a legal executive with over 15 years of experience advising tech start-ups and mature organizations in corporate matters, securities, intellectual property, and compliance. She is a proven legal leader that has guided fast-growing technology companies and built high-performing teams. A capable business strategist, Hurewitz can navigate complex issues involving both legal and business matters. She is experienced in preparing for and leading companies through mergers and acquisitions, as well as attending to all matters of compliance. A confident communicator, she has advised executives, coached and trained staff, and successfully advocated cross-functionally on behalf of the legal department throughout several organizations. She currently serves as the General Counsel for eSSENTIAL Accessibility.
In addition to her roles with eSSENTIAL Accessibility, Hurewitz is the founder of All Remote Legal, a resource for in-house attorneys supporting remote work forces. She is a mentor for MentorCloud and Techstars and an active investor for Remmie Health and Kintsugi. Earlier in her career she was the VP of legal for GitLab Inc. Hurewitz graduated from DePaul University with an undergraduate degree in business administration, from the University of St. Thomas with an MBA, and with a JD from Hamline University School of Law.
30. Rebecca Kanninen
Partner, Lockridge Grindal Nauen
Rebecca Kanninen is a Partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen (LGN) and leads the firm’s state and federal government relations teams. With more than 20 years of government relations experience at the firm, she is known at the Minnesota State Capitol, and state Capitols throughout the Midwest as a leader and bipartisan political strategist who is well-respected for her thoughtful approach to positively position the firm’s clients for success.
As partner at LGN and SVP of Primary Strategy Group (PSG) the firm’s Midwest public affairs and lobbying subsidiary, she advises some of the Midwest’s largest corporations and trade associations on reputation management, political profile, government relations services, and public affairs campaigns. Kanninen manages her practice area’s business development plans and strategies to provide comprehensive services to clients. Her government relations work focuses on the areas of energy, telecommunications, technology, insurance, general business, labor management, and election law, and has translated into many successful policy initiatives on behalf of the firm’s clients. Her legal practice focuses on campaign finance and election law. Kanninen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an undergraduate degree in English and with a JD from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
33. Kristin Prestegaard
Chief Audience Officer, Minneapolis Institute of Art
Kristin Prestegaard is the Chief Audience Officer for the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Over the past 15 years, Prestegaard has steadily risen toward senior leadership by being a visionary, savvy communicator, and a roll-up-her sleeves doer. Under her leadership, the division of Audience has set a new vision for museums. She oversees brand, communications, engagement and programs, learning, and audience strategy. As one of the first to develop an Audience Engagement Division, Prestegaard is also a founding member of the International Audience Engagement Network.
Prior to joining the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Prestegaard was the director of marketing and communications for the Edina Chamber of Commerce. Before that, she was a marketing manager for WCCO-TV and an advertising assistant for Fox Sports Net. Prestegaard earned her undergraduate degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree in leadership from St. Catherine University. She holds certificates from Cornell University, The Wharton School, and Harvard Business School.
View the complete list of awardees.
34. Heather Bagby
Vice President of Business Development, Summit Salon Business Center
Heather Bagby serves Summit Salon Business Center (SSBC) as its Vice President of Business Development, board member, facilitator, and consultant. Bagby’s enthusiasm and passion for organizational development is instrumental in leading salons to consistently deliver management solutions that drive growth and achieve organizational effectiveness.
Bagby is a graduate of Auburn University, holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Rider University, and a certificate in association management from DePaul University. Prior to joining SSBC, Bagby was an association executive with SmithBucklin Corporation, an association management firm serving as the executive director for several professional associations.
35. Dana Mortenson
CEO & Co-Founder, World Savvy
Dana Mortenson is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of World Savvy, a national education nonprofit working to educate and engage youth as responsible global citizens. For 20 years, she has been influencing and changing the conversation about education with educators, administrators, parents, and community members. Since 2002, Mortenson has led World Savvy through a significant national expansion, reaching more than 808,000 middle and high school youth and 7,000 educators across 45 US states and 32 countries, from offices in Minneapolis, San Francisco and New York. World Savvy supports change agents in K-12 education to create more inclusive, adaptive schools that ensure all young people can develop the skills and dispositions needed to thrive in a more diverse, interconnected world. Her organization's work has been featured on PBS, The New York Times, Edutopia, and a range of local and national media outlets covering education and innovation.
Mortenson is an Ashoka Fellow, a Nation Swell Council Member, named one of The New Leaders Council's 40 under 40 Progressive American Leaders, and winner of the Tides Foundation's Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Excellence in Public Advocacy. She is a frequent global education and social entrepreneurship speaker at high-profile convenings. Mortenson is an advisor and board member to a range of nonprofits working at the intersection of education, global citizenship, and innovation. She earned an undergraduate degree in international relations from Connecticut College and a master's degree in International Affairs with a concentration in economic and political development from Columbia University.
38. Nicole Sullivan
President, Youth Frontiers
Nicole Sullivan is the President of Youth Frontiers, a nationally recognized non-profit that provides schools and business leaders with experiences that inspire character, civility, and community. As President, Sullivan oversees the day-to-day operational plan including leading the executive team and driving the execution of organizational goals. She brings over 14 years of executive coaching, organizational effectiveness, and operational management experience to the position.
Most recently, Sullivan served as Chief of Staff at NorthRock Partners, where she served as a strategic advisor and counselor to the CEO and president, while managing the agenda of the executive office. Previously, she worked as an organizational effectiveness consultant for FCC Services, where she oversaw the employee engagement survey practice, served as a primary facilitator for leadership development programs, and guided organizational development consulting services. A passionate advocate for change, Sullivan is active in her community where she has served in numerous board leadership roles within the Junior League, Mile High United Way Emerging Leaders Council, and Special Olympics Young Professionals Board. Sullivan holds a business degree from DePaul University and a graduate certificate in executive coaching from St. Thomas University’s Opus College of Business.
39. Tamara Gray
Founder, Executive Director & Chief Spirituality Officer, Rabata
Tamara Gray is the Founder of Rabata, an organization dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through creative educational experiences. She holds a doctorate in leadership from the University of St. Thomas, a master’s degree in curriculum theory and instruction from Temple University and spent twenty years studying traditional and classical Islamic sciences, Quran, and Arabic in Damascus, Syria. Gray worked in the field of education for twenty-five years before moving into the nonprofit world. She is now both the Executive Director of Rabata and its Chief Spirituality Officer. Her work includes the daily nitty gritty of project design as well as the support and mentorship of hundreds of women around the world. She is the instructor for more than ten subjects at Ribaat, teaches RabaTeens, and contributes to curriculum development.
Gray is also an author and translator. Her publications range from several culturally appropriate English language curriculum programs to translations of sacred texts. She has authored two books: Joy Jots: Exercises for a happy heart and Project Lina: Bringing our whole selves to Islam and co-translated the Mukhtasir al-Jami’ fi al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya by Samīra Zayid. In addition to her work at Rabata, Gray sits on the Collegeville Institute’s Inter-religious Fellows Program, working to develop educational programming for faith leaders around social justice issues. She also serves as both faculty and an academic council member for The Islamic Seminary of America, teaches at the United Theological Seminary of the TwinCities and is a Senior Fellow at the Yaqeen Institute. She has recently joined the Fiqh council of North America in addition to her other responsibilities
40. Kim Ries
Partner, Ernst & Young
Kim Ries is a Partner of Ernst & Young’s Advisory Services practice in Minneapolis. She has more than 30 years of information systems, operational risk management and process improvement experience and has served as the coordinating partner for several multinational organizations.
Ries first got her start in 1986 with Hubbard Milling Company before moving on to Land O'Lakes where she served as a manager of internal audit. She is a Certified Public Accountant, Information Systems Auditor, and is an active member of the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants. She is also a former officer of the Minnesota Chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. Ries graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
42. Chanda Smith Baker
Chief Impact Officer & SVP, The Minneapolis Foundation
Chanda Smith Baker is the Chief Impact Officer and Senior Vice President of The Minneapolis Foundation. She first joined the organization in 2017. The Minneapolis Foundation drives collective action to realize strong, vibrant communities. They cultivate generosity by taking action on the greatest civic, social, and economic needs, partnering with nonprofits, facilitating grantmaking, driving research and advocacy, and providing services to donors seeking to make a difference in their communities. Smith Baker is an executive leader with over 20 years of experience working in, with, and for the community. She sits at the intersection of the social sector, business, philanthropy, government, and community.
In addition to her roles with The Minneapolis Foundation, Smith Baker is an adjunct faculty for St. Catherine University. She was previously a president and CEO at Pillsbury United Communities. Smith Baker earned an MA in organizational development from Concordia University-St. Paul and holds certificates from the University of Michigan and Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.
43. Deb Schoneman
President, Piper Sandler
Deb Schoneman serves as President of Piper Sandler. She joined Piper Sandler in 1990 in the accounting department, and has held several senior management positions, including global head of equities, chief financial officer, finance director of both equity and fixed income capital markets, and treasurer.
In addition to her roles with Piper Sandler, Schoneman serves as chair of the board of directors of Allina Health, a not-for-profit healthcare system based in Minneapolis, MN. She also serves on the board of directors of SIFMA and the board of trustees for the University of St. Thomas. Schoneman is a member of the Board of Advisors for Scholars of Finance and a director emeritus of BestPrep, a nonprofit organization focused on business, career, and financial literacy skills, and was its chair for two years. Schoneman graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in finance and from the University of St. Thomas with an MBA.
View the complete list of awardees.
45. Gwen Martin
Partner, Scouts Talent
Co-Owner, Amma Parenting
Gwen Martin is a Partner at Scouts Talent, a talent firm representing accounting and financial professionals on a project basis in the Minneapolis and St. Paul marketplace. Additionally, she is the Co-Owner of Amma Parenting, the largest parenting education resource in the Midwest and expanding across the country. Offering new parent and birth prep classes as well as grandparent and infant CPR, Amma is the #1 go-to for new parents. Amma partners with hospitals, provider clinics, as well as corporate benefit programs as a trusted partner for patients and employees to build confidence and balance mental health.
An initiator and entrepreneur at heart, Martin has spent her career building and growing businesses in a variety of industries. Companies she has led have been recognized among the Best Places to Work in Minnesota multiple years, achieved a Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies status, and ranked on the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 lists multiple times as well as the Eureka award for innovation. She has been recognized as a Minneapolis Woman Executive to Watch, Woman on the Move, and serves on boards. Most energizing for her is seeing potential, connecting people, executive coaching, and fostering entrepreneurs. Martin graduated from the University of St. Thomas with an undergraduate degree in international business.
46. Terresa Moses
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design & Director of Design Justice, University of Minnesota
Terresa Moses is a proud Black queer woman dedicated to the liberation of Black and brown people through art and design. She uses creativity as tools of community activism like her recent solo exhibition, Umbra. Moses is the Creative Director at Blackbird Revolt, a social justice-based design studio. She is also an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and the Director of Design Justice at the University of Minnesota. As a community engaged scholar, she created Project Naptural, a natural hair initiative centers the experiences of Black women and co-collaborated to create Racism Untaught, an anti-racist design research framework.
Moses earned her MFA in design research and anthropology at the University of North Texas and is currently a PhD candidate in social justice education at the University of Toronto. She serves as a core team member of African American Graphic Designers (AAGD) and as a collaborator with the Black Liberation Lab.
47. Mikisha Nation
Executive Director, Teach for America Twin Cities
Mikisha Nation is the Executive Director for Teach For America’s Twin Cities region. With Nation at the helm since 2017, TFA Twin Cities has provided training, support, and mentorship to teachers and leaders who are committed to re-imagining education excellence in Minnesota so that more students learn, lead, and thrive. Nation, whose career has been centered around health and educational equity, has 20+ years of experience in corporate, government, and nonprofit leadership.
Nation is a graduate of Dartmouth College and previously worked for Target and was the Executive Director for Breakthrough Twin Cities, a nonprofit that prepares under-resourced students for college success and cultivates the next generation of educators. Nation has served on multiple boards, and she was honored as part of the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2018. She has a passion for family and parent organizing and she completed the 2019-2020 Education Equity Parent Fellowship with Voice for Racial Justice. She is also the co-chair for Minneapolis Public School District (MPS) World’s Best Workforce Committee, which provides advice to the MPS School Board of Directors on district priorities, progress, and outcomes related to key equity goals. Additionally, in 2020 Nation was selected for Minnesota Young American Leaders Programs and was invited to join the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.
49. Kristi Anderson
Global Executive Director, AMIN Worldwide
Kristi Anderson is The Global Executive Director of AMIN Worldwide, (Advertising & Marketing Independent Network Worldwide). AMIN is a global alliance of 65 independent marketing agencies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Representing 30 countries and 30 different languages, AMIN members consist of approximately 4000 global employees, and Allies. In her role as Global Executive Director, Anderson uses her intuitive understanding of team cohesion, dynamics, and interpersonal communication to guide international collaborative opportunities for the network, its members, and clients. As an accomplished executive, strategist, and business leader Anderson is known for innovative thought leadership, creative problem solving, and her invigorating impact on others.
With 20+ combined years of experience, Anderson has held leadership positions in marketing, business development, global conference management, and operations. These positions have provided her with the unique opportunity to provide award winning solutions, to lead global change management, process improvement, and openly challenge the world for the organizations she has worked for. As AMIN's Global Executive Director, Anderson proactively identifies and negotiates vendor contracts, facilitates AMIN events, implements ongoing professional development, advances member engagement initiatives and peer interaction, facilitates partner growth in global markets, CSR, and tracks emerging trends. As an Activist, an Author, a Mother, beyond her role as Executive Director, Anderson continues to blaze a trail; whether it be justice, responsibility, or mentoring many who attribute her leadership and enthusiasm as a prime example for pursuing and following their own aspirational journey or calling.
View the complete list of awardees.