We’re honored to highlight Baker Tilly as this month’s sponsor spotlight! With more than 2,800 talented and passionate individuals strong, Baker Tilly is a top 15 full-service accounting and advisory firm with specialized professionals who connect with you and your business through refreshing candor and clear industry insight.

What drew you to sponsoring TeamWomen?

TeamWomen’s focus on providing career development and leadership opportunities for women aligns with Baker Tilly’s values. We were drawn to TeamWomen because it not only gives women a place to meet and network, but also provides training and professional development events that teach women the skills they need for the professional world. TeamWomen truly lives out their mission, supporting women to rise up together. It is a positive and welcoming organization with down-to-earth members who genuinely care about each other’s development.

How do you create a culture of prosperity and inclusion in your company?

Baker Tilly is passionate about our employees’ personal and professional development and is committed to creating an environment where every person can succeed. Achieving our vision relies on the cultivation of a diverse, engaging and inclusive environment in which exceptional people thrive. We have a group called GROW (Growth and Retention Of Women) that is made up of women leaders and acts as an advocate for the women of the firm. GROW is specifically designed to enhance the recruitment, retention, development and advancement of women by providing internal and external opportunities to network, share information, acquire skills and form rewarding professional relationships. The SOAR (Supporting Opportunity, Advancement and Recognition for all) program is another way we focus on our people. SOAR encourages and supports the evolution of a diverse, inclusive workforce with opportunity for all members to maximize their potential, create value and deliver our promise of exceptional client service with focuses on race, ethnicity and LGBT groups.

What are three things (serious or fun) that separate you from other companies within your industry?

Our company culture sets us apart. Starting at upper-level management and the partners, there is an open and welcoming environment in our offices. Everyone wants each other to succeed and is willing to go the extra mile to help a coworker. We strive to provide exceptional service and insights to our clients each and every day to assist their business. It isn’t competitive or cut-throat, but a fun place where people enjoy their coworkers and work together as a team.

As part of our culture, we want to make sure our employees have the chance to meet people outside their teams and create non-work related friendships. We have socials, potlucks, games and other activities throughout the year that give our employees an opportunity to meet and socialize and also relieve some stress.

As part of Baker Tilly’s commitment to community, each year the firm hosts Stewardship Day. Stewardship Day is an entire workday dedicated to community service, giving and education. Firm offices from across the country volunteer at a variety of organizations that represent causes close to Baker Tilly team members and their communities. Since Stewardship Day’s inception in 2016, Baker Tilly team members across 32 cities have collectively given more than 21,000 hours of services, volunteering at more than 80 not-for-profit organizations.

What are some of the big things happening for your company in 2019?

At the beginning of December, Baker Tilly went through a complete rebrand. This included everything from the logo to the colors and everything in between. We are very excited to share our new look!

Following the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), Baker Tilly has been in full swing educating and informing our clients of new tax laws and changes. This affects all industries and individuals and has a wide impact. Another big change we are working hard educating and informing our clients on is ASC 606, a new revenue recognition standard. This new accounting standard may impact their top line revenue reported.

Baker Tilly has had recent growth with two mergers at the end of 2018 — RGL Forensics (a multidisciplinary forensic accounting and consulting practice) headquartered in Denver, and the MRZ accounting firm, headquartered in Houston. We are excited to welcome them to our firm! Baker Tilly puts a large focus on growth, not only for our firm, but also for our people.

What is the favorite food leftover in your office?

Everyone loves pizza! Any time someone brings leftover pizza to the Baker Tilly Cafe, it normally only lasts a couple of minutes before word gets out and a crowd has formed in the cafe. Birthday cake is another big contender. Every month, to celebrate our employees’ birthdays, we serve cake in the office.

How do you connect with your alumni?

We believe staying connected to our alumni is really important. Every year we host an alumni networking social for past and present Baker Tilly employees. We update our alumni on big events and changes that happened that year for Baker Tilly and reconnect with past colleagues. It is one of the most anticipated events of the year!

What is the favorite busy season activity in your office?

Busy season (the period between January and April when accountants are super busy) can be a stressful time for our employees so we try to incorporate fun activities during this time. One of the most popular is bingo — every hour a new number gets emailed out to the office until someone wins bingo. It is a great way to add a little fun and excitement throughout a long day.

To learn more about Baker Tilly and their services, click here.

By Caryn Sullivan | St. Paul Pioneer Press | TeamWomen Member and Guest Columnist

This piece originally appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on December 9, 2018.

Word came by phone, delivered by a stranger I never did meet. Nine years ago, my husband, the father of four, died in a hospital emergency room after efforts to coax his heart back into service fell short.

In an instant I joined the club to which no woman wants to belong, though roughly 11 million do.

I spent months in a state of overwhelm, despite the rallying of family and friends.

When others returned to their lives I was left with wilting flowers, unsettling quiet, and the recognition that what were once shared responsibilities were now exclusively mine.

I recall sitting at my dining room table, mind and body numb from shock and exhaustion, staring at the stacks of paper. Blessedly, my sister-in-law Therese provided the structure and clarity that eluded me.

“We’re going to make a file folder for each document,” she said, gently guiding me through a process that would be manageable in normal times but was overwhelming weeks after we lost her brother.

With the additional help of a financial planner and an estate planning attorney, I spent months securing funds and benefits to support my teenage children and myself, tracking down passwords, executing a new will and trust – and more.

Several years later I met Christopher Bentley through a mutual friend who had encouraged him to read my memoir, Bitter or Better: Grappling with Life on the Op-Ed Page.

A Certified Financial Planner™ who has worked with many widows, my account of what I experienced as a relatively young widow offered Bentley a new perspective on what his widowed clients go through.

When a colleague died, Bentley gained further insight by helping David Laurion’s widow get her affairs in order.

As he worked with Liane Laurion, Bentley recognized widows need help with large and small tasks – securing life insurance benefits and turning off the water to outdoor spigots – because couples divide responsibilities and we don’t always have the knowledge or wherewithal to tackle alone what was once a dual effort.

With Bentley’s guidance, Laurion noticed she was making traction more quickly than some of the women she met in a GriefShare program, many of whom were widowed before her.

Bentley learned that, at their most vulnerable time, many widows rely on women they meet in support groups for help with financial issues. Their husbands may have handled the financial affairs so they may be uninformed. They may not have a financial planner or may distrust the one they have. They may not want to rely upon other family members for help.

Bentley’s research yielded an interesting discovery. While there were many books, there was no organization that provided widows with timely financial and legal guidance at no cost.

Recognizing the need, he offered to address it with some of Laurion’s new friends at no charge. Their gratitude a motivator, Bentley felt a calling to do more.

He credits his faith and Mark Batterson’s book, Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You It’s Too Small, with inspiring him to create Wings for Widows.

For the past year Bentley, with Laurion’s help, has been constructing the framework and assembling a team to launch a nonprofit that offers financial and legal counseling to widows at no cost.

Wings for Widows operates with “angel teams” comprised of a Certified Financial Planner™ and a woman who has been widowed for some time.

Their work begins with a comprehensive assessment.

Following a well-honed process meant to ensure benefits are fully secured and obligations are satisfactorily met, the financial planner will help the new widow to get a firm grasp on her financial and legal concerns.

The other team member, a widow like Laurion, assumes care manager duties, providing encouragement, support, and resources.

They identify and secure available benefits.

They identify tasks such as transferring title to the husband’s car, the deed to the couple’s home, contacting credit card companies, and filing tax returns.

The review culminates in a plan of action – a roadmap – designed to organize, prioritize, and stabilize the widow’s situation.

If the widow has a financial planner, she can take the action plan to him or her to be implemented. If she doesn’t, Wings for Widows can make referrals.

The system is designed to ensure there is no conflict of interest for the financial planners. This is a nonprofit, not a marketing plan.

Though I’m no longer a widow, I well recall the panoply of emotions that accompany the initial shock, the flurry of activity in the immediate aftermath, and the realization that this is the new normal.

I’m mindful that not every widow has the support I was blessed to enjoy.

Wings for Widows offers a gentle hand, extended by both a financial professional and a kindred spirit, that will ensure new widows don’t face a dark and taxing time of life alone.

With plans to grow Wings for Widows far beyond Minnesota, Bentley has indeed embraced a very big dream.

As a board member, I’m honored to help him bring it to fruition, to help other women navigate their unimaginable moments with the support of one who has walked in her shoes and another who has the expertise to ensure she is as financially sound as she can be.

Who do you know who might need the help of Wings for Widows? Who do you know who might want to become involved with Wings for Widows? Please reach out: http://www.wingsforwidows.us/contact.

Caryn is one of The Global Resilience Project‘s 50 thrivers for a reason. As an inspirational speaker, award-winning columnist, author of the award-winning memoir, Bitter or Better, and attorney, Caryn offers a roadmap to a life well-lived. For more lessons, visit her blog.

By Angela Lurie | Senior Regional Vice President, Robert Half

As women, we must make a number of difficult but critical decisions that will impact not only our futures, but those of the people around us. Do we want to move to another city, or perhaps another country? Do we need to consider staying close to home to care for aging parents? Do we want to switch gears to pursue a completely unfamiliar career path? Do we want to get married and start a family? How much time do we want to dedicate to our hobbies and community involvement? Should we save for a down payment on a house, put money away for retirement, or go on that bucket list vacation we’ve always dreamed about? It can be overwhelming to think about all the decisions we’ll make over the course of our life and career, but knowing where we’re going can help direct us along the way.

One useful tool to help take control of the path you decide to pursue is a Career Development Plan. This “roadmap” can help you establish your professional goals and measure growth and success. Taking the time to decide what you want out of your professional life puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you a guide by which you can make important decisions as they arise.

Here are five steps you can use as a compass to set your Career Development Plan on a solid path:

  1. Determine what a successful career looks like to you. Success means different things to different people. What do you want your resume to say in 10, 15, or even 20 years? What position do you aspire to? How do you want to feel about your career by the time you retire? Envision what your ideal scenario would be, and write it down. (Robert Half’s salary guides can help you consider opportunities for better financial security and stability in your field.)
  2. Set up “checkpoints,” or goals to reach along the way. Thinking only about your long-term goals can be overwhelming and can keep you from making the progress you need toward the end goal. Consider what short-term goals can get you on the right path. The new year can be a great opportunity to kick-start this process.
  3. Consider what barriers might interfere with your success. What skills do you need to build to get to where you want to go? Do you want to improve your active listening or written communication skills? Do you struggle with imposter syndrome or doubting your achievements? Surround yourself with supportive peers who understand your goals and will help you unlearn unhealthy notions about what you can (or cannot) accomplish. If you’re not sure what obstacles could stand in your way, consult with a trusted mentor.
  4. Plan how to attain the skills and experience you will need to get to your end goal. Once you’ve determined what skills you’ll need to develop en route to your end goal, look into opportunities to cultivate those skills. Research training programs, and ask your manager for responsibilities that provide the experience you need.
  5. Hold yourself accountable, but allow for flexibility. Creating a career plan is only the first step toward professional success. Follow-through is key to getting there. Assign dates to your check-in goals, and set aside time on those days to reassess where you are and where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to change course if your priorities shift or you’re feeling stuck. Life happens, and what you think you want now might change. Taking regular stock of what you want out of your career can help keep you focused, and in turn, help you make tough decisions in a way that aligns with what’s most important to you.

To hear advice on planning for major life events that could impact your career, check out TeamWomen’s event on January 10: “Planning for Loss & Abundance.”

Angela Lurie is a Minneapolis-based senior regional vice president at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. For more information, visit http://www.roberthalf.com.

We’re honored to highlight Bank of America as this month’s sponsor spotlight! Lindsey Farrell Stampone, Senior Vice President and Market Executive for the Minnesota market, sheds light on how the company invests in women and supports the community around them. She is responsible for leading Relationship Managers in Minnesota and the Dakotas markets to deliver the full breadth of banking solutions to companies under $50 million.

What is considered the best day of the year at your company?

It’s hard to choose one, but my favorite days are tied to the community. November 28, 2018 was a pretty spectacular day as Bank of America pledged $1 million to support the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s RiverFirst campaign. This initiative will develop riverfront parks and trails on both sides of the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis to the northern city limits. My other favorite days are Habitat Global Build, a week-long initiative to build affordable housing and engage in other community projects around the world, as well as celebrating our annual Neighborhood Builders awardee. Habitat Global Build week is a testament to the dedication of our volunteers who roll up their sleeves alongside working families and community partners to create secure, affordable housing for those in need in the Twin Cities. Each Neighborhood Builder awardee receives $200,000 in flexible funding, leadership development for an executive director and an emerging leader at the organization, and the opportunity to connect to a network of peer organizations and access capital.

What experiences within Bank of America do you provide specifically for women?

LEAD (Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Development) for Women is our largest employee network with more than 26,000 members. LEAD is dedicated to promoting professional women’s development to help grow, attract, and retain successful women throughout Bank of America. We provide women with leadership, development, and career broadening opportunities and tools through a variety of means including information and education, advocacy, and networking.

Power of 10 at Bank of America is a grassroots effort where groups of 10 women in any line of business, cohort, or region can get together to discuss issues, experiences, challenges, and/or books and articles that speak to them. It’s a way to find a support network and has recently been granted a gold award in the Brandon Hall Human Capital Excellence Award for “Best Advance in Women Leadership Development.” Personally, I have benefitted from finding lifelong sponsors and mentors through this group of women while encouraging courageous conversations. My Power of 10 drives me to achieve.

How does Bank of America support other women around them, professionally and personally?

Investing in women is a key focus at Bank of America. We have a strong representation of women at all levels of our organization, and our support of women is evident in the resources we have that focus on bringing female talent to our company, developing our employees, and supporting the economic empowerment of women around the world. We partner with universities and other organizations around the world to recruit diverse talent, and offer many career development programs and events including our Global Women’s Conference, Women’s Executive Development Program, and Women’s Next Level Leadership Program. Further, we advance women’s economic opportunity and empowerment through many programs such as Women and Wealth through U.S. Trust, Supplier Diversity Program, NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), and many more. Personally, we have the LEAD employee network, offer 16 weeks of paid parental leave, and have programs to help with child care, adult care, adoption support, as well as other employee benefits. My division specifically had two offsite programs this year specifically dedicated to the development of women where we heard from an executive coach on presentation power and emotional intelligence, as well as from many outstanding successful women.

What does success mean to Bank of America?

It means living our values of delivering together, acting responsibly, realizing the power of our people and trusting the team, growing responsibly, and delivering our purpose to help make financial lives better through the power of every connection.

To learn more about Bank of America and their services, click here.

By Caryn Sullivan | St. Paul Pioneer Press | TeamWomen Member and Guest Columnist

This piece originally appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on November 11, 2018.

Teresa graduated from high school with no direction. When she joined the Navy, she had never been anywhere, done anything, or worked in any way. She quickly discovered the military is more than a job – it’s a way of life.

Boot camp was intense on a variety of levels.

Interacting with people who grew up in different communities from around the country, who often spoke different languages and saw life differently, Teresa learned to adapt.

The lessons flowed.

Outcomes matter, not just effort.

Whereas in high school efforts were often met with “Oh, you tried your best, that’s good enough,” that didn’t fly in the military.

Quitting is not an option.

Taking responsibility for your actions and those of your teammates is imperative.

Taking ownership of the results you’re responsible for is, too.

Teresa was one of several highly-decorated women who spoke at a TeamWomen luncheon recently. Whether officer or enlisted, Army, Navy, or Air Force, the women inspired attendees with their commitment, anecdotes, accolades, and wisdom.

They offered insight into life in a military uniform and perspective on how others can assist with the transition from active duty to civilian life.

Gender was irrelevant. The only thing that mattered, they all agreed, was whether you were meeting or exceeding expectations.

Terri joined the Air Force when she was 30 years old. With habits well engrained, adapting to the military culture was difficult. But after 17 years, it’s part of who she is.

A command pilot, Terri never knows when her unit will be called up for a mission.

It is impossible to be certain of a plan, be it to attend the birth of her niece or the marriage of a friend. Yet, forfeiting control over her schedule to protect our freedom and way of life is a sacrifice she’s willing to make.

Lynne served as an active duty human resources officer in the Army. That experience led to her career as a civilian leadership coach and consultant.

During a 15-month deployment to Iraq, Lynne’s world consisted of roughly a half-mile radius of land enclosed by a fence. She slept on a bed in a metal cargo container and became accustomed to daily arms fire.

Yet her greatest challenge was working under a leader who, while technically competent, lacked the communication and interpersonal skills to help others reach their potential.

It says something when the stresses of dealing with a toxic individual are greater than being in a combat zone, Lynne said.

But that experience inspired her to consider what it looks like to be a leader with a following. Why are there some leaders who people will follow only because of their rank and others who people follow regardless of their status?

Lynne concluded that leaders with a following are “for” those they are leading, will fight for them, and genuinely care about them. That realization informed the coaching and leadership work she does today.

Educational opportunities are abundant in the military. But because distractions can compete with opportunities, not everyone who enters the military planning to get an education ends up doing so.

Teresa did, though. When her enlistment ended, she used her military benefits to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at prestigious institutions. She applies lessons learned in the military every day in her position at a Fortune 500 company.

Regardless of their branch or length of service, the panelists learned to adapt to the demands of the job and the environments in which they were required to perform.

They developed exceptionally close bonds with those with whom they lived and worked.

When two of them transitioned to civilian life they learned that, while deployment is stressful, re-entry presents its own challenges.

After living in a monochrome world, you’re suddenly surrounded by a cacophony of colors.

You’re not only free to make decisions that are second nature to civilians, you’re required to do so.

Which door do I enter and exit from?

What is the dress code? Do I wear a suit? A sweater and slacks?

But re-entry has its benefits. At last, you’re able to get a decent haircut!

After she left the Army, Lynne didn’t speak much about her experience, assuming others weren’t interested or didn’t know what to ask. Now she says one way to support individuals in their re-entry is to ask if they are struggling or to offer assistance.

Which is why Robert Half, the world’s largest staffing organization, sponsored and moderated the luncheon. Robert Half has programs designed to help ease the transition back to civilian life, not only for those who serve, but also for their spouses.

Deciding on a career path is one of the greatest transition challenges for veterans, moderator Angela Lurie noted, as she ended the luncheon with a call to action.

“It’s no secret there is an extreme shortage of skilled talent available for hire in the United States today. I implore everyone to keep in mind that we have available to us veterans who are re-entering civilian life and the workforce who have highly transferrable skill sets, extreme amount of discipline, a work ethic, perseverance, and great communication skills that can transition into positions we need to fill today.”

“It’s on us,” Lurie said, “to figure out a way to help these veterans as they transition back into civilian life.”

Caryn is one of The Global Resilience Project‘s 50 thrivers for a reason. As an inspirational speaker, award-winning columnist, author of the award-winning memoir, Bitter or Better, and attorney, Caryn offers a roadmap to a life well-lived. For more lessons, visit her blog.

(Minneapolis – October 19) – The TeamWomen Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of Empower Leadership Academy for Girls, effective January 1, 2019. Together, the group will rally around a common mission of helping girls and women rise together.

Both non-profits were the brainchild of Pam Borton, the former University of Minnesota basketball coach who has dedicated her career to empowering girls and women. TeamWomen, co-founded in 2012 by Borton and Twin Cities attorney Linda Hopkins, encourages and supports women in reaching their full potential through mentoring, leadership development and networking opportunities. In 2014, Borton launched Empower Leadership Academy for Girls with a unique emphasis on leadership development for girls in grades 5 and above through group academies, half or full day.

To date, TeamWomen boasts a membership of nearly 500 and Empower Leadership Academy for Girls has hosted more than 30 academies around the country for more than 1500 girls.

“I created these two organizations with one goal in mind – to support and enable girls and women to accomplish anything with confidence,” said Borton. “Now, we are excited to bring together two like-minded organizations and remain committed to providing women and girls the skills they need today to conquer the world tomorrow.”

“This acquisition allows us to explore and connect what’s possible from the classroom to the boardroom,” said Katy Burke, Executive Director of TeamWomen. “We can now maximize opportunities to engage and inspire more girls and women across the country!”


TeamWomen is a Minnesota-based non-profit organization with a mission to “Inspire Women to Rise Together.” Founded in 2012, TeamWomen has grown to nearly 500 members. Visit https://teamwomenmn.org/ to learn more.

Created in 2014, Empower Leadership Academy for Girls inspires, develops and empowers our next generation of female leaders through interactive programs. Visit http://empowergirlsacademy.org to learn more.

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By Angela Lurie | Senior Regional Vice President, Robert Half

When I first heard about TeamWomen’s WaveMaker Awards, I thought, “Oh, this sounds like a program that recognizes women who rock the boat and make things happen!” Without knowing anything about the program, I figured that the honorees could be women worth knowing.

I was right.

What is it about these women that makes them special, and what can we all learn from them? As pioneers in their fields, WaveMakers are models of the entrepreneurial spirit. They possess a certain set of skills that empower them to maneuver through the rocky landscape of the professional world. Among those skills:

Networking – The best, most successful entrepreneurs didn’t necessarily go to the best schools or come from wealthy families; they simply surrounded themselves with the right people whom they knew would help them on their way to success.

Learning on the Go – WaveMakers see opportunities where others see obstacles. They’re always observant of the world around them. They understand that knowledge is power and are eager to pick up a variety of skills, even those that aren’t necessarily relevant to their work. This also means exposing themselves to new experiences and staying open to lessons beyond the classroom.

Self-Discipline – “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, these words ring truer today than they did, perhaps, in Lincoln’s time. With 21st century distractions and opportunities for instant gratification screaming for our attention, not to mention the profound pressure they bring to the workplace, self-discipline is an essential practice for anyone who wants to succeed.

True Leadership – Contrary to what many believe, becoming a leader means that you are put in place to serve others. Leaders are mindful about showing empathy, listening, promoting teamwork and acknowledging the accomplishments of others.

Time Management – Entrepreneurs are driven by the need to get things done because every minute wasted is a lost opportunity. They are often trying to juggle the workload of five people. But with good time management, they can get everything done, and more.

Adaptability – Sometimes when the going gets tough, all an entrepreneur can do is simply wing it. Whatever your profession, you’re undoubtedly going to be thrown a few curve balls that require you to come up with solutions on the fly. Embrace that!

Grit – Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth, author of the best seller, Grit, says that the secret to outstanding achievement isn’t talent but a special blend of passion and persistence for a singularly important goal. In other words, grit. We all know what it’s like to fail or be told we cannot do something, but WaveMakers cultivate the ability to persevere.

Giving Back – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This timeless advice from Gandhi teaches us to find compassion within ourselves and adhere to values that benefit the common good. Not only does giving provide others with building blocks for a better future, it will help you grow as a person.

There are, of course, a multitude of other commendable characteristics personified by this year’s TeamWomen WaveMaker Awards finalists. The best way to characterize these outstanding women is to paraphrase Chief Political Correspondent and Anchor of State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Whatever they do, they are so good you can’t ignore them.

 Bravo to you all.

Angela Lurie is a Minneapolis-based senior regional vice president at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. For more information, visit http://www.roberthalf.com.

We’re honored to highlight Michelle Biros, MD MS as our member spotlight this month! Dr. Biros is the Ernest and Bernice Ruiz Professor and Interim Department Chair of Emergency Medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, and faculty of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center. While serving as the Chair of the Research Committee for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) in 1994, she organized the Coalition for Acute Resuscitation and Critical Care Researchers to assist in the development of the Final Rule for Exception from Informed Consent (EFIC) Research (21 CFR 50.24). Because of her national work on EFIC, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now known as the National Academy of Medicine) in 2009.

Dr. Biros has been internationally recognized as a leading academic emergency physician. She has won many leadership awards, served as the editor-in-chief of Academic Emergency Medicine (1997-2008), and was a section editor for three editions of the premier textbook for emergency medicine (2006, 2009, 2014).

What drew you to TeamWomen?

A few years ago, some of my friends were talking about this successful group of women they were involved with. They told me that TeamWomen members exude great energy, strong integrity, and lots of creativity. It sounded like the perfect place for me at the time, knowing that these women were at every stage in their career. I joined TeamWomen and have maintained my membership ever since.

What is something people don’t know about you?

I come from very humble beginnings, and I’m the only girl in my family to finish high school. I had older parents who had focused for years on my older siblings, so when I was growing up I had to reach inside for the drive to succeed. I always had the influence of my successful older brothers who taught me to be fearless.

What has been your biggest life lesson?

Remember where you came from. In the medical field, we see people at their most vulnerable stage who may be sick due to poor lifestyle choices. I’ve seen people be judged for making poor choices, but how can we judge if we don’t know their circumstances? We will never know what led them to those choices. We don’t know their personal situation, how they were raised, or what type of family support system they have. We can only support them and encourage them as they move forward.

Do you have any advice for young professionals just starting out in their career?

Say yes, before you say no. You will have many options and choices. You may think you know exactly where you want to be, or what you want to do, but I suggest saying yes to opportunities that present themselves to you even if you think you should say no. By saying yes, you allow yourself to be subjected to many different things, ideas, or opportunities, and you never really know what will resonate with you until you are exposed to it.

(Minneapolis – Sept. 10) — TeamWomen has just announced the finalists for its annual WaveMaker Awards, which serves to recognize women who are pioneers in their field, and who are respected by their employers and/or peers.

The WaveMaker Awards is a program run by the Young Professionals Board of TeamWomen, a nonprofit co-founded by former University of Minnesota basketball coach Pam Borton, and Twin Cities attorney Linda Hopkins, to encourage and support women in reaching their full potential.

Awards are being given out in five categories. The nominees are as follows:

WaveMaker Award

Awarded to a woman who is making waves in her community, profession, etc., either through demonstration of an outstanding achievement, entrepreneurial spirit and initiative, or through leadership within their profession or the community.

  • Alyza Bohbot, Alakef Coffee Roasters/City Girl Coffee Co.
  • Carolyn Reginato Lane, Smartbase Solutions | Women in Digital – Twin Cities Chapter
  • Shawntan Howell, Girls Are Powerful Organization
  • Elena Imaretska, Brave New Workshop
  • Alex West-Steinman, The Coven

Uncharted Territory Award

Awarded to a woman who has excelled in a typically male-dominated profession or industry.

  • Leah Maurer, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Tessa Murry, Structure Tech
  • Diana Marianetti, Maslon Law
  • Amy Lokken, Mud Modular
  • Shefali Pai, Hennepin County

Outstanding Mentor Award

Awarded to a woman who consistently makes a profound impact on the trajectory and advancement of other women.

  • Jaime Taets, Keystone Group International
  • Amelia Reigstad, University of Minnesota
  • Cecilia Stanton Adams, Stanton Adams Consulting
  • Natalie Johnson Lee, Sisters in Power
  • Anne Pryor, Pryority Partnerships

Community Impact Award

Awarded to a woman or company/organization who makes giving back to the community a top priority in ways that benefit the advancement of women, either through their work or through volunteer efforts.

  • Bethany Iverson, The Coven
  • Emily Hunt Turner, All Square
  • Hwa Jeong Kim, Saint Paul Council
  • Shelia Dowling, Bank of America
  • Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, City of Minneapolis

Company Champion Award

Awarded to a company or organization that has chosen to make internal women’s advancement a priority through sponsorship, mentoring programs, goalsetting, and hiring initiatives.

  • McGough Construction
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  • General Mills
  • Hennepin County


TeamWomen established the WaveMaker Awards in 2015 to recognize women who demonstrate outstanding achievement, an entrepreneurial spirit, and initiative through leadership within their profession or community. The honorees serve to help the Minnesota business community, while helping women achieve their own goals. The WaveMaker nominees include both TeamWomen members and non-members who are up-and-comers with high potential in the Twin Cities community.

The winners will be announced at the WaveMaker Awards Ceremony, which will be held on Thurs., Oct. 11 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.  The event will be emceed by KARE 11 news anchor Lauren Leamanczyk, and will take place at The Minneapolis Event Centers, located at 212 2nd Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414. Cost to attend is $50. RSVPs can be made online at teamwomenmn.org/wavemaker-awards-2018.

“We are excited to host the third annual WaveMaker Awards, and are thankful to be able to provide an opportunity for young female professionals to be acknowledged for their dedication to their profession and community,” said Katy Burke, Executive Director of TeamWomen.



TeamWomen is a Minnesota-based non-profit organization with a mission is to “Inspire Women To Rise Together.”  Founded in 2012, TeamWomen has grown to nearly 500 members. Visit https://teamwomenmn.org/ to learn more.



We’re excited to highlight Erin Procko as our member spotlight this month! She is currently the Twin Cities Banking Director and Minneapolis President of Bell Bank. With over $5 billion in assets, it is one of the largest independently owned banks in the nation. Ms. Procko was the first woman named as a market president in the company’s history, which spans over 50 years. She has an extensive background in commercial lending, having worked with privately held companies since 2002.

Ms. Procko was named one of the Top Women in Finance by Finance & Commerce, a Mover and Shaker by the Star Tribune, and a Real Power 50 honoree by Minnesota Business Magazine. She also received the Women in Business award from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

What drew you to TeamWomen?

I like the mission of TeamWomen. It is an organization that provides a forum for high-quality women in business to build their networks, grow personally and professionally, seek out mentorships, and support each other. I love that some events are focused on leadership development and learning, while others may be focused on health and wellness. There are a wide variety of events offered in many different venues to keep it fun and fresh!

What does success mean to you?

Success means setting goals, taking steps to reach those goals, and not giving up. Success can be defined differently in many parts of your life and it changes over time. For example, success at work right now means helping lead Bell Bank to be one of the largest and highest-performing independently owned banks in the country, and be the best at what we do in the eyes of our customers. Success at home is my husband and I providing for our children and guiding them to work hard, be independent, and live happy lives filled with meaning. Success for me personally is eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and making sure I am mentally and physically prepared for each new day. Some days, success can be as simple as making someone’s day, giving back, or catching up with a friend. We get to define our own goals and work towards achieving them. Success comes with failure and frustration though too. It is about staying focused and learning from our mistakes over time. I try to take a balanced approach as all parts of our lives are interconnected.

Now that you can look back, what is one thing you would do differently (professionally and personally)?

There have been a few occasions where I could have responded differently when people have said or done disrespectful things to me. I would have been better off responding without emotion, but rather with a logical and intelligent point of view. Our Bell leadership trainer always says, “We hold ourselves accountable for our intentions, but we hold others accountable for their actions.” I try to remember this, be patient with others, and offer grace.

Do you have any advice for our Young Professionals who are just starting out in their careers?

Don’t be afraid of new opportunities. Every time I have taken a risk is when I have grown the most. Know your strengths and use them to your advantage in an authentic way. Don’t try to be something you are not as people can see through that. Take advantage of any networking and educational opportunities – they stay with you no matter where you go. Set big goals, but break them down into smaller goals that are obtainable and add up over time. Display professionalism, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Negotiate your salary. Be kind and humble. Lastly, and most importantly, choose to work with people, for people and for a company you believe in.

Learn more about Erin Procko on LinkedIn here.