Our 2023 Empower Gala will support TeamWomen and Empower Leadership Academy’s pursuit of inspiring women and girls to rise together through leadership development, mentoring, and youth empowerment. 

Our sponsors and partners will also share details about their dedication to making a difference in the world, one woman and girl at a time.

For organizations and individuals interested in making a greater impact, we have several sponsorship opportunities and levels available for this event. We also are looking for donations! If you’re interested in donating to our auction, please email info@teamwomenmn.org.

The Schedule

5pm: Social Hour & Silent Auction

6pm: Program Begins + Live Auction

7:15pm More Social Hour

7:30pm Silent Auction Closes

8pm Program Ends

Meet Our Special Guests

Since playing basketball for the University of Minnesota, where she studied journalism and mass communication, Lea has worked for NBCSN, ESPN’s national WNBA coverage, and currently is a game analyst for the Minnesota Lynx and a television sideline reporter for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Bally Sports North.

Lea has also broadcast both the boys and girls Minnesota State high school basketball tournaments.

As a motivational speaker, Lea challenges athletes, coaches, and business professionals to rethink winning at all costs. Lea founded Rethink the Win in 2015 to help preserve a healthy environment for athletes to thrive in.

She was also named to the 2023 Twin Cities Business 100 list. Lea played basketball for the University of Minnesota before launching her sports journalism career and is the only Minnesotan to sit on the Board for Bell Bank.

Karen Sorbo’s dedication, effusive energy, commanding yet elegant stage presence and precision techniques have engaged audiences across North America, Central America, Hong Kong, Mexico and several African Countries. Karen has raised over $900 million dollars conducting over 2,800 auctions since graduating from the World-Wide College of Auctioneering in 1993.

Karen has achieved National and International recognition as a Benefit Auctioneer and a Non-Profit advocate. Highly regarded for her knowledge and expertise, Karen has been featured in local and national media. In 2011, she was selected as part of the 2011 “Women of Influence” Speaker Series. In January 2012, Karen’s exemplary efforts as a leading benefit auctioneer were showcased on Access to Experts TV.

She joined the Women Speakers Association (WSA) in 2012 as a founding member. She has mentored others and worked diligently to expand the exposure, presence, and caliber of Benefit Auctioneers. She was featured in the WSA April 2012 newsletter as one of the “Women You Need to Know.”


When you join us as an attendee at our 2023 Empower Gala, you will have the exclusive opportunity to bid on unique experiences in our live auction!

Punch Bowl Social

Grab your family or friends and make memories at Punch Bowl Social! This fun package donated by Felicia Miller includes a voucher for Bowling for 10, an 8 person punch bowl of your choice, Punch Bowl Swag, and a $100 gift card for appetizers/food!

Silk Road Dinner

Immerse yourself in a thousand-year culinary journey with this exquisite 5-course meal inspired by the legendary Silk Road, donated by former 3M Executive Dr.  John Pournoor. John will guide four lucky individuals from Xi’an, China, to Istanbul, creatively presenting each city’s unique flavors and spices. Throughout the event, a stimulating trivia game unfolds: each dish contains a mystery ingredient, native to its featured city but foreign to the country, a tribute to the vibrant exchange on the historic trade route. Guests will delight in identifying these ingredients, blending gastronomy with the rich tapestry of Silk Road history.

Margarita Pool Party

Unleash the ultimate summer vibe at a Margarita Pool Party donated by Heidi Humphrey! Dive into a refreshing day where the pool is cool, the margaritas are perfectly blended, and the atmosphere is electrifying with the delightful company of 20 TeamWomen attendees who win this reverse auction experience!

Airbnb Arizona Villa Stay

Enjoy a 4 night stay at Alissa and Lucas Henriksen’s fabulous luxury Airbnb Lookout Mountain Villa, a boho-themed resort-style home conveniently located in North Central Phoenix near the best restaurants, shopping, hiking trails, golf courses, and more!

This private oasis designed to provide the most luxe, relaxing, and beautiful vacation imaginable. Blackout dates November-April 1st.

2 Hour Safety and Assault Prevention Class

Not Me!™ provides assault prevention and safety classes for all ages: Pre-K through college-aged to professional adults. Their unique, life-changing training program conveys more than instruction, it delivers a new level of impactful personal safety awareness, designed to empower people with prevention savvy. Thank you to Kelly Johnson for the donation!

Tour Lake Minnetonka with Katy Burke

Spend the day on the lake with TeamWomen’s Executive Director, and 30-year resident of Lake Minnetonka, Katy Burke! Tour Grays Bay, Wayzata Bay, and Robinson’s Bay and take a dip in the beautiful water. Boat to Wayzata for lunch or dinner. Pick your day: June – August (4th of July excluded)

Private Yoga Class for 10

Enjoy a private yoga class for up to 10 people at Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center in Excelsior, MN, donated by Nicole L Lovald. This class is available to adults, adolescents, or a combination of both. It will be a 60 minute class, customized to meet your needs.

Lake Sylvia Cabin – 4 Night Stay

Enjoy a 4 night stay at Lake Sylvia 2 bedroom, 2 bath home, just a one hour drive from Minneapolis, donated by Brandi Warmbier! Home has bar with ice maker, game table, lake access, outdoor games and two separate deck spaces to enjoy.  Great getaway for a group of friends or for a family! Pontoon rental available as well.  

Meet Our Speakers

Reelika Schulte is a certified international business coach with an honors degree in business, and the founder of Design Dream Lifestyle, where she teaches women from around the world how to use their life experiences to launch their own thriving online coaching business.

Growing up in Estonia, Reelika developed an entrepreneurial mindset after watching her parents start their own business after the fall of the Soviet Union. After working in her parents’ business and also in corporate finance for 10+ years, and running a personal finance blog, Reelika became an expert in balancing the personal and professional. She uses this business background and online savvy to encourage other women in the online coaching field and to expand their reach through sales funnels, conversions, lead generation, and passive revenue methods.

Her work has appeared in publications like Forbes, Shining Mentor Magazine, and The Huffington Post. She loves to speak about finding clients through automated marketing, creating signature coaching programs that sell, and building evergreen global coaching businesses.

Maryjane is the visionary Chief Marketing Officer behind JonnyPops, the beloved ‘better-for-you’ frozen treat born in a St. Olaf dorm room. With an unwavering commitment to quality, simple ingredients, and kindness, Maryjane has played a pivotal role in scaling JonnyPops into a nationally recognized brand sold in every state. Maryjane oversees all marketing initiatives and is responsible for new product innovation, surprising and delighting consumers at every turn to create lifelong fans!

Maryjane’s journey is a testament to her deep-rooted belief that we can all make the world a better place. Crediting countless mentors for her career development, Maryjane is passionate about unlocking the unique skillset that exists in every individual to build high-performing, high-growth teams. She believes that every team member deserves the opportunity to grow, make a positive impact, and truly enjoy the work they do. Maryjane is proud to work for a kindness-based company where putting people, and communities, first is truly core to their DNA. JonnyPops’ mission is to create “A Better Pop for a Better World” and believes that every action, big or small, is an opportunity to make the world a better place! This includes a kind deed printed on every single pop stick.

Prior to JonnyPops, Maryjane led the Marketing team at Ovative, a digital-first media and measurement firm. Leading through explosive growth is nothing new to Maryjane, while she was at Ovative the organization grew over 1,275% in 7 years. Maryjane has also spent 10+ years launching industry-disrupting marketing programs and innovation incubators for startups to global powerhouses including Coach, UnitedHealthcare, Sleep Number, Polaris, Michigan Lottery, and many more.

Peyton N. Owens, III is an Empower Leadership Academy Coach guiding youth through our proprietary curriculum to help them build confidence, resilience, mental wellness, and leadership skills. He joined the Golden Gophers in 2005 and currently serves as Senior Associate Athletics Director, Leadership & Inclusion.  As of January ’21 Owens was elevated to Executive Leadership and accepted the new title of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, where he is charged with continued focus and growth in social justice, inclusion and education.  He also provides strategic direction for staff education, training, and professional development initiatives to build and sustain a commitment to champion Diversity and Inclusion.  

In addition to his intercollegiate athletics and greater academy responsibilities, Owens’ leadership and partnership extends into the B1G Conference and the NCAA.  This includes serving as a member of the B1G Equality Coalition as a Co-Chair for the Community Engagement Subcommittee, and serving as the Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee (ADID) for the University of Minnesota.

Ophelia stands out as a multifaceted athlete in her second year as a varsity cross-country runner and gymnast. Her commendable prowess has earned her All-American status twice at the Junior Olympic Track & Field Nationals. Beyond these accolades, her peers recognize her leadership, serving as a junior captain for her Club Track & Field team for three consecutive years. Despite her athletic commitments, Ophelia’s 11-year-long passion for dance remains unwavering. Off the field, track, and stage, she is a compassionate individual who cherishes time with family and friends, and tenderly cares for her dogs and chickens, demonstrating her well-rounded character and deep values.

Kaiya has a profound passion for dance that has shaped her entire life. As a dedicated competitive dancer, Kaiya relishes every moment at the studio, not only for perfecting her art but also for the cherished bonds she forms with friends. This year, her sights are firmly set on refining her turns and enhancing her technique. Embarking on a new dance year, Kaiya’s excitement shines as she eagerly anticipates mastering fresh skills and continuing her growth in the dance world.

2022 Empower Gala

2 Videos

Presenting Sponsors

Champagne Toast Sponsor

Cheerleader Table Sponsors

Brandi Warmbier


Contact Us

1633 West End Blvd
Minneapolis, MN 55416

(612) 200-2684

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