Tami Hedrick is the Director of Vikings Women and Strategic Development for the Minnesota Vikings, as well as the Head Coach and Director of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders. Tami has coached professionally for over 20 years, in the NFL and for the NLL.  Before Tami took the leadership position as Head Coach, she proudly cheered as a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader for the 1997-1998 season. Tami’s career path led her to roles as Vice President of Marketing, to a Director level role in Sales, and as the founder of several startup companies/groups in the Midwest. Tami has also appeared in multiple national pageants, was a television host for ShopNBC/EVINE, and has been a judge and choreographer for International, college and high school teams. Tami is proudest of her roles as a wife and mother to four children and three step children.

What drew you to TeamWomenMN?

Many elements drew me to join Team WomenMN, some of them being:

  • The Co-Founder, Pam Borton – anything she is involved in, I know is impactful.
  • The women – the line up of members, speakers, attendees, etc. is diverse and inspiring on many levels.
  • The power – the topics, talent and time given to this group is evident and I believe in the power of women working as a team.

What experiences have you had within the organization?

The company I work for, the Minnesota Vikings, has sponsored past TeamWomenMN events. I have personally attended luncheons, read articles created by TeamWomenMN and connected with amazing women as a member.

What can women do to support other women around them, professionally and personally?

  • Publicly praise and send kindness with thoughts and actions.
  • Promote and support women by recommending women-focused businesses or causes whenever possible.
  • Mentor others and empower them to be proud to be a woman.
  • Be an includer by inviting other women to events, giving them the opportunity to become employed and by empowering them to feel that they are worthy.

What does success mean to you?

Success means different things to different people – at different times. To me, today, success is always doing things bigger and better!

What are three things you attribute your success to?

  • Always taking on new responsibilities.
  • Hard work! Continued growth by challenging myself and others.
  • Amazing parents. My mom and dad were strong, firm, loving parents and were always there for me.

If you could change one thing in your professional career (past/present), what would you change?

A few times in my career I didn’t push hard enough for what I wanted. I’ve learned that lesson and now appreciate the journey regardless!

Any advice you would like to provide to the TeamWomenMN members?

My advice to TeamWomenMN members is to trust that everything happens for a reason and always do good. Be excellent every chance you get, and engage with other successful, strong and smart women as much as you can – they will rub off on you!

I was recently given the opportunity to attend the 2017 Annual TeamWomenMN (TWMN) Leadership Conference to fulfill one of my 2017 performance objectives at IWCO Direct, which was to expand my professional skills and business knowledge. TWMN 2017 had plenty to say on professional development, along with personal development, health, and a variety of other topics.

This conference was an all-day event filled with sessions hosted by entrepreneurs, high-profile professionals, lifestyle experts, and more across a range of careers in merchandising, corporate America, sports, government, and reality TV. TWMN had an impressive showing of more than 400 attendees (a majority of whom weren’t members of the organization) for its 6th annual conference themed “Fearless Women, Fascinating Minds.”

TWMN is an organization of about 300 members whose purpose is to inspire, encourage, and support women in reaching their full potential. I’ve participated in several TWMN events in the past, including a mentorship program in which I was matched with an established professional who met with me monthly and provided advice on how to further my career and build business connections. This conference was promised to be a “can’t miss” event by my mentor as well as a few TWMN members I’ve come to know over the years.

TeamWomenMN Encourages Women to Speak Up and Take the LeadTo kick off the conference, Katy Burke, Executive Director of TWMN, described the event as “a place to ask for what you need.” Giving attendees “permission to put yourself out there, because this is the place where you’re going to get what you need.”

While there were plenty of impressive speakers throughout the day, the keynote speaker caught my attention: India Hicks, founder of the eponymous lifestyle brand. For those unfamiliar with India, she is an author, model, entrepreneur, TV personality, daughter of a famous designer, and descendant of British royalty. This is in addition to being a wife and mother of five.

While India has certainly had the means to be successful by name alone, her inspirational story came from the work she put in that she knew others might dismiss. She confessed to the assembly that one of her fears starting out was whether or not people would take her seriously. India said that her goal when forming her brand was “to work bloody hard and build a business on my own.”

This is not to say she does it alone; she added that one of the keys to her success was finding people who were better at doing things than she was—and then getting them on her team. She concluded her session by saying that no matter who you are or how glamorous your connections, achieving success is “really bloody hard; it’s grueling, but that’s what it takes. You get up, you keep going.”

Encouraging Leadership Through Team Development

Another great session was professional trainer Linda Schwefel’s “Communicate In Full Color.” This was an interactive course on communication styles (I’m a cool blue and earthy green, in case you were wondering). While it was positioned as a broad overview of a more complex system, it was very insightful all the same. It taught attendees how to identify the “energy” of those around you, how best to utilize your skills as a leader, and how to present information to your team in order to get the most out of their performance.

One session I was dying to catch was co-presented by Deborah Pierce, retired FBI Special Agent Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Division, and Patti Weber, retired CIA Officer and Chief of Policy for the National Clandestine Service. They talked about their careers in law enforcement, climbing the ladder in a male-dominated field, and balancing a stressful career with family. Their stories were fascinating, and their banter was a great juxtaposition to the serious nature of their former positions.

The closing speaker, Holly Hoffman, was the one that surprised me the most. As a finalist on CBS’s Survivor Nicaragua, I had very few hopes about her talk resonating with me at all: I’ve never even seen Survivor, and I don’t like camping. Apparently, neither does Holly. Her whole presentation was about pushing yourself to do things that are outside your comfort zone and seizing opportunities, no matter how bleak the outcome. For Holly, that meant applying to be on a reality TV show as a midwestern mother of two when more than 14,000 other people around the United States with more interesting backstories were also applying.

If I had to sum up the day, I would say it was a progression of encouraging mantras that continued to build on each other. These included “find your passion,” “take risks,” “surround yourself with the people who will help you grow,” and “never give up.” I congratulate TWMN on a successful conference and look forward to next year’s event.

We live in a world of instantaneous success. You can locate an answer to any question you have in less than a second – you don’t even need to lift a finger, you can just ask Siri, Echo or Alexa and they’ll provide you the answer right away. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn give the glorious satisfaction that people really do like you and all the incredible things you are able to do. Insert Sally Field’s acceptance speech here. So, it isn’t expected that we assume to have instant gratification in something like a career? We put in our 40+ hours a week, do what we are told, and go above and beyond. Work. Done. Work. Not. Done.

So, why can’t we receive that promotion or become rich off of our brilliant billion dollar idea instantly? As Ashley Longshore states in the Inc. article, Take Your Time: Why You Actually Don’t Want Instant Success, “There is no deserving. There is working.” You have to take risks, make tough decisions and get uncomfortable. It’s not the easy way to achieve success but it is the right way in the long run. The thought that success should come in the form of instant gratification will leave you feeling unfulfilled and searching for more.

We have forgotten that in order to achieve real success, we have to move. Whether that is your fingers typing away at a grant request, your mouth moving and hands shaking as you network your way to the top, or your feet moving as you race business to business trying to make a sale of your homemade, natural face cream that every woman needs in their bathroom cabinet – they just don’t know it yet.

Whatever your dream or your vision of success is, remember, you do not want the instant gratification you are hoping to receive. You want the type of success that empowers, strengthens and supports you when the going gets tough – the type of success that gives you one heck of a sense of gratification when you truly get to the top.

Ashley Longshore says it right, “The reality of it is that you really have to be patient with yourself. You have to love yourself and understand that success takes time.”

For more inspiration from an entrepreneur who has put in the time, read Take Your Time: Why You Actually Don’t Want Instant Success.

We’re privileged to highlight TeamWomenMN Annual Sponsor, The College of St. Scholastica, in our first Sponsor Spotlight.  Melissa Goodson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Management School of Business & Technology and TeamWomenMN member shares what type of organizational characteristics are reviewed when considering sponsorship and how TeamWomenMN fit their criteria, what experiences they currently provide specifically for women and what three things they tell their students to do to achieve success.

Learn more about The College of St. Scholastica here: http://www.css.edu
Learn more about Melissa Goodson, PhD here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-goodson-phd-7390579/


What drew The College of St. Scholastica to sponsoring TeamWomenMN?

We were looking to partner with organizations that shared similar values and served the same audience we serve at The College of St. Scholastica.  Our values, grounded in the Catholic Benedictine heritage, are Community, Hospitality, Respect, Stewardship, and Love of Learning.  We have a strong female presence in our programs.  TeamWomenMN has positive energy around empowering female leaders and developing relationships – we wanted to be part of the excitement.


What experiences within The College of St. Scholastica do you provide specifically for women?

The college was founded for women even before women had the right to vote. Our college is currently 72 percent female and we continue to embrace core values that support our goal of being more equitable and pluralistic. We continue to cater to the needs of the working female with flexibility and community building opportunities.


How do the students at The College of St. Scholastica support other women around them, professionally and personally?

An active community of women is brought together with the expectation that Inclusive Excellence is essential in building relationships and that diversity in thought is crucial to learning.  Equity and inclusion are key to supporting personal and professional growth. The Catholic Benedictine heritage is central to supporting the vision of academic excellence and a strong community.


What does success mean to The College of St. Scholastica?

Success at The College of St. Scholastica means finding yourself and your place in your family, neighborhood, workplace, community and world. It’s truly helping others find a personal path forward in life. We believe a liberal arts background provides students with diverse perspectives and thoughts achieving academic excellence for everyday good.


What are three things that you tell your students to do in order to become successful?

  1. Get to know yourself. In order to make a difference, you have to understand and reflect on your own values and goals.  Where are you now? Who do you want to be?
  2. Find your personal and professional voice. Speak up and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Get comfortable sharing your thoughts and staying true to you.
  3. Do what you love.  Work takes passion and commitment.  If you are not happy with your career, it’s not the right career for you.


Any advice you would like to provide to TeamWomenMN members?

Continue to actively participate and contribute to the great community of women involved with TeamWomenMN. In order to break through barriers, we need to stand together, unified, collaborative and passionate.  Believe in yourselves and the good work you do at home and in the office.


When thinking of The College of St. Scholastica, what do you want our members to remember and share with their friends/family/peers?

Lifelong learning is important in all aspects of life.  We have online and on-ground innovative programs to help people meet goals. From free, massive online open courses (MOOCs), to in-person graduate degree programs, we have opportunities to help individuals achieve their goals.  We have classes in Duluth as well as St. Paul, St. Cloud and a few other sites across MN for both traditional and non-traditional students. We may be biased, but we believe the MBA in Leadership & Change is a unique, life changing experience.

Lisa Huey Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch

We’re honored to highlight 2017 TeamWomenMN Member of the Year and long time sponsor, Lisa Huey, in our first Member Spotlight. Lisa shares three things that have attributed to her success throughout her career. Learn more about what she’d change, what she’d recommend, and how TeamWomenMN has helped her.

As a Senior Financial Advisor and Portfolio Advisor with OKH Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch, Lisa’s mission is to help her clients make the right decisions around their money and to help them build wealth, leading to a comfortable retirement. Her goal is to make financial issues understandable and to reduce anxiety about money issues.

Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.

How long have you been a part of TeamWomenMN?

Since the beginning. I attended the very first conference and thought, wow, a networking group that is made up of women, supports women and mentors women – I needed to be a part of it. Additionally, I met Pam Borton, the Co-Founder of TeamWomenMN, at a golf event and was instantly drawn to her. I found Pam to be very open, friendly and approachable, and I knew with her leadership, this was the place to be.

To give you a little background, I come from the financial industry where I was the very first woman executive in a leadership position in a business made up of all men. This was back in the 80s – women did not get the same treatment back in those days. I knew that as I was climbing a tall ladder but it didn’t stop me from getting to the top.  So when I came across an organization all about women, it was so refreshing and extremely appealing because I really love to support women, watch them succeed and help them when I can.  We need each other and we need to stick together.


What are three things you attribute your success to?

  • Hard work. You’ve got to put in the time, roll up your sleeves and focus to get the job done. It takes focus and a lot of energy. You have to work smarter now, more than ever, but if you do that and work hard, your efforts will pay off.
  • Learn from mistakes. Forgive yourself and take a good long look at what went wrong. Mistakes are a great way to learn and should not be shamed. Bad luck is your good luck if you look at it that way. One door closes and another opens.
  • You have to have the gusto to keep going. Stay positive and optimistic and keep moving forward.


If you could change one thing in your professional career (past/present), what would you change?

Balance.  I am very goal-oriented and really need to focus on balance. It’s easy for me to reach business goals, but to manage my balance I have to actually schedule time with friends, family and other activities that allow me to be balanced in my life. Right now, I am focused on a triathlon (my second one) and to be successful, I need to schedule in workout time on my calendar to accomplish this goal.

Any advice you would like to provide to the TeamWomenMN members?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be available to help others. As women, we are still the minority and we need to support each other in our efforts and be available to help when we can.

The signature event for TeamWomenMN drew a record crowd to the Minneapolis Event Centers on May 5, 2017. More than 420 women from the Twin Cities and beyond turned out for TeamWomen MN’s annual Leadership Conference. (Photo’s can be accessed here: http://smu.gs/2s9kP23 (photo credits: Julie Sturek, that.moment.frozen photography)

Keynote speaker India Hicks was a huge draw for the conference titled, “Fearless Women, Fascinating Minds.” She began her talk by sharing her background. As a young woman, she was a bridesmaid for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. She also discussed her decision to start up her own company, selling a collection of beauty accessories with the help of a team of “ambassadors,” who as a result of the partnership are inspired to pursue their own dreams.

“It’s so important when you are starting a business to really dig deep and understand it before you begin,” she said, explaining that she did plenty of research before launching her company. “You also need to understand your own strengths.”

Also presenting at the conference was Marion Parke, who left a job in medicine to enter the footwear industry. She talked about how she launched her business and the lucky breaks that got the company going. “I’m often asked what advice I would give people interested in starting a business. I say don’t ditch your day job until you know if it will work,” she said. “I still have my podiatry practice to fall back on. My message to other women is to follow your dreams and be deliberate about it.”

Linda Schwefel, managing partner of Discover Yourself, Inc., talked about the importance of maintaining extraordinary relationships and the role good communication plays in it. “Communication is 7 percent about what you say and 93 percent about who you say it to,” she said, also pointing out how everything we do is based upon perception. “Think about interacting with people every day on a more conscious level. Be aware of who you are and how you show up.”

She also led an exercise that helped women in the room better understand their personalities and how they are perceived, pointing out where people fall on the color chart. Those who are task focused, driven and demanding have red energy. Those who are calm, caring and good listeners have green energy. People who are data driven and analytical are considered blue, and the fun, energetic, enthusiastic women have yellow energy. “Understand how the people around you need to be motivated, and motivate them that way,” she said.

Also presenting at the conference were national fitness expert Chris Freytag, who shared why being healthy is the number one way to a good life; Pam Borton, founder of TeamWomen MN, who spoke about the importance of investing in yourself and how best to manage teams; Julie Schissel Loosbrock of Corporate Soul Infusion focused on how soul is the essence of who we all are and how to nurture our souls so we can achieve great thing; Retired FBI agent Deborah Pierce and retired CIA officer Patti Weber talked about leadership lessons learned; and CBS Survivor contestant Holly Hoffman spoke about never giving up.

The event also featured an awards presentation. Brigadier General Sandra L. Best was named Leader of the Year, Lisa Huey of Merrill Lynch was named Member of the Year and Beverly Mestelle was recognized with the Board Service Award. The event concluded with a Happy Hour and special vocal performance by Kat Perkins, finalist on NBC’s The Voice.

“The success of the conference exceeded our expectations! The energy in the room was truly contagious. On behalf of our entire team, we thank all those who contributed their time, creativity and spirit to this conference – especially our amazing line-up of speakers and sponsors,” said Katy Burke, TeamWomenMN Executive Director.

For more information about TeamWomenMN and how to get involved with the organization, go to http://www.teamwomenmn.org.


By Christina Milanowski (@ChristinaMila), Vice President and Social Media Director at Maccabee, a Minneapolis-based strategic public relations and online marketing agency. You can read the original post on MaccaPR blog.

As a lifelong learner, I love hearing how respected business leaders have navigated successes and challenges during their careers. Although more and more women are taking leadership positions (the number of female CEOs is increasing), the majority of business leaders tend to be male (the top 27 highest paid CEOs in Minnesota are all men, for example).

That’s one reason why I jumped at the opportunity to attend the annual women’s leadership conference on May 5th at the Minneapolis Event Center. It was my first TeamWomenMN event. I was inspired by the sheer number of attendees and the speeches by many of the respected women leaders. Here are 6 leadership lessons from speakers Chris Freytag, Marion Parke, Linda Schwefel, Deborah Pierce, Pam Borton and Julie Schissel Loosbrock:




It’s no surprise that passionate “fitfluencer” Chris Freytag, who is a KARE-11 TV contributor and Get Healthy U social community founder, presented on the topic of health. She explained that in health, as in our daily work lives, perfection can be the enemy of good. To achieve big goals, Freytag recommended starting by adjusting your mindset. Remove the stress of lofty goals. Instead, focus on what progress can be made toward them.




Female entrepreneur Marion Parke founded the Marion Parke women’s shoe collection by merging her professional expertise as a podiatric surgeon with her love for luxury footwear. Her advice to fellow business leaders? “Nobody succeeds alone. Admit what you don’t know.” Ask questions, do your research, and surround yourself with smart people. Since founding her shoe line, Parke credits her success has been in large part due to the quality of the team she brought together.




Linda Schwefel, a consultant of the Insights Discovery, presented on how to communicate in full color. Interpersonal skills come down to body language and, to a lesser extent, your words and tone of voice. The Insights Discovery framework is similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, but it centers on four color energies (blue, red, green and yellow). Often asked which energy type makes the best leader, Schwefel explained that everyone can be a great leader, so long as you stretch your personality style. As an example, if you have a task-focused red energy, try to bring more passion and understanding from the opposite, green energy. Whether you’re stronger in the “feeling” or “thinking” personality styles or consider yourself to be an introvert or extrovert, she explained how important it is to know your personality type. Good leaders understand and lead based on their individual personality types and interpersonal dynamics.




One of my favorite TeamWomenMN sessions featured former FBI executive Deborah Pierce and former CIA executive Patti Weber. This dynamic duo began their careers in what was the largely male-dominated world of law enforcement and intelligence, and have since retired as the Pierce-Weber Partnership.

Pierce recommended that other women leaders employ her four Cs:

  • Capability– Do the job! Focus on the mission, prioritize and organize.
  • Credibility– Gain respect. Do the job well, deal with problems head on, and take care of yourself.
  • Confidence– Be sure of yourself. For Pierce, she found it best to compartmentalize work and family. Reward excellence.
  • Courage– Be open to change. Take risks. Be collaborative. Establish trust. Laugh.




Perhaps you’ve found your way to your career successes through hard work and being smart in your chosen profession, but former University of Minnesota women’s basketball coach Pam Borton explained that “what gets you here, won’t get you there.” Now serving at Minnesota-based Borton Partners as a coach to executive-level leaders, Borton finds that her most successful clients work to recognize their own emotions and the emotions of others in their business. She recommends that women leaders be self-aware, understand others and manage relationships with that emotional intelligence.




Senior Vice President of HR at Deluxe Corporation Julie Schissel Loosbrock believes that her company exists not only to generate ROI, shareholder value and profit, but also to provide well-being for the customer, Deluxe employees and their families. Recent psychological trends suggest that a company needs both an analytical side and a social side to achieve better business results. Bestselling books, like Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experiences by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, show how true happiness can greatly improve the quality of our lives. In fact, there’s evidence that organizations with executives who lead with both their heads and hearts perform better. As a result, Loosbrock’s belief that business leaders are best served bringing happiness into workplace culture has been a cornerstone of success in her current role at Deluxe.


For a bonus read, don’t miss this Business Insider article, “Why Women Are More Effective Leaders Than Men,” that examines leadership characteristics across gender. Though women scored higher than men in most competencies, including “takes initiative” and “practices self-development,” men scored higher on two competencies: “develops strategic perspective” and “technical or professional expertise.”


Thanks to the leaders featured above who shared their leadership lessons with a room full of more than 400 women (and 5 men) last week! Please comment below with your favorite advice for business leaders.


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If you’re a marketing, corporate communications, social media or public relations professional (and who isn’t?), subscribe to the MaccaPR blog at http://www.subscribe.maccabee.com. Named one of the best PR blogs in the world, MaccaPR is produced by Maccabee Public Relations and features provocative, fearless and often laugh–out–loud funny posts twice a month.


By: Erica Dvorak

As a young professional, the thought of advancing my career (and how to go about that) is always on my mind. I have found that board and committee involvement for both nonprofits and for-profits has been a great way for me to grow my network, expand my knowledge and advance my career. Although I have been able to be a part of boards for the past four years, there is still so much to learn.

I recently had the opportunity to connect with TeamWomenMN’s upcoming speaker, Martha Goldberg Aronson, the former Executive VP and President of Global Healthcare at Ecolab and a board member of many organizations. I jumped at the chance to ask her about her experiences with board involvement. The knowledge I gained from the information Martha shared was too good not to pass along to fellow young professionals and individuals of all ages who are interested in starting a journey into board involvement.

Getting Started with Board Involvement

Q: When did you start your board involvement?

Martha: My involvement started while I was at Wellesley College. I applied and was accepted to serve as a member of the Student Life Committee of the Board of Trustees. Right after college, I was asked to join a nonprofit called Wellesley College Friends of Athletics as I was passionate about athletics and raising funds for the organization. Sometimes getting involved is as simple as raising your hand and other times you are asked. Bottom line, step up and get involved.

Q: How do you decide what board best fits your time and energy?

Martha: It is best to get involved with an organization whose values align with your values. Choose an organization that you care about and where you think you can make a contribution that positively impacts the community. I have to say more often than not, once you start to get involved in the community, you tend to be approached to be on a board. I was approached by the Minnesota Opera to join their board when I was an executive at Medtronic, and although I had never seen a show, I am passionate about the arts and the important role they play in our community, so I said yes. It was a terrific board to be a part of and I learned a lot.

Q: What are a few things you would have liked to know when you started your board involvement journey?

Martha: You need to be careful about listening and learning during your first year(s) of involvement. Women often feel a need to prove that they deserve to have a seat at the table and sometimes that can backfire. Listen and learn before you start expressing too many of your opinions. Feel it out. Be smart about when you choose to speak.

Balancing Career Workload and Board Involvement

Q: When working at Ecolab, how did you balance your workload and board involvement?

Martha: It helped to have bosses who were supportive of board involvement. Ecolab is very involved in the local community and it is part of the company’s values, so it makes it easier. It’s important to ensure you are getting your work done in a timely fashion for your “day job” so that your managers support your outside involvement.

Q: Did you ever come across a time where you had to step down from board obligations because of your workload? If so, how did you address it?

Martha: Juggling obligations is not always easy. There was a year at the Guthrie where I could not attend the executive committee meetings because Ecolab’s executive meetings were held at the same time. I offered to step down from the Guthrie executive committee for this reason; however, they were able to alter the schedule the following year as they had not yet set the schedule. This gave me the opportunity to remain involved on the board and still remain true to my Ecolab obligations. This was a testament to how if you address a conflict early, you can get out ahead of it.

Q: When the workload becomes a bit too much, how do you stay focused and not get flustered?

Martha: Lists! I am co-hosting a leadership development program and recently I had to bring something to our first meeting that represented me. Debating what I should bring, I asked one of my sons and he quickly replied, “A notebook – you’re always making a list!” And, he’s right – I am a list maker. Lists help me stay on track and provide a way for me to see what is most important and urgent in the day (and week) and set my priorities accordingly. I also like to take a look at my calendar in advance and know what I have going on the next day, week, etc. and prepare ahead of time.

I realize there are moments when you aren’t able to do that – and so you have to put your nose to the grindstone and get it done. Sometimes life requires an 80-hour workweek from you. I do not promote this as a part of your regular routine but sometimes life requires it and you just need to work through it. Having a strong support network in place to do this when necessary is invaluable. One of the great things that Wellesley College taught me is that no matter how big your stack is to work through, somehow you can always work through it.

Establishing Meaningful Relationships

Q: How do you establish meaningful relationships with other board members during and after your service?

Martha: I have found that establishing relationships during board service is relatively easy. With for-profit boards you are often having board dinners, making it easy to get to know other board members on a personal level. For nonprofit boards, it is easy to establish relationships because of your common ground of a passion for the same purpose. Continuing the meaningful relationships after your service truly depends on how much time and energy you choose to put into it.

Getting the Most Out of Your Board Involvement

Q: How do you get the most out of your board involvement?

Martha: Get involved in areas where you can make a contribution and where you can have the greatest impact. I have also found that it’s amazing what you can learn from other board members and how their knowledge and passion can fill your soul. Getting the most out of your involvement is really about what you are willing to make of it.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with those that are interested in board/committee involvement?

Martha: The earlier, the better! Work with your current network to find an organization with whom to get involved. Also, it is never too early to turnaround and help the next generation. When is the last time you asked someone younger than you out to lunch or coffee? You can be a mentor at any age and provide encouragement for others to get involved in their own passions.

Register here to see Martha speak at our April 13, 2017 Power Luncheon: http://bit.ly/2mN2YeH

Erica Dvorak is a Senior Marketing Specialist at UnitedHealthcare, and serves on the TeamWomenMN Young Professionals Board as Co-Chair of the Marketing and Branding Committee, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce YPro Committee as 2017 Past Chair/2016 YPro Chair, and U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital Corporate Advisory Council as a member. Erica enjoys contributing to the success of businesses, as well as individuals. A great day for Erica is a day where she has been able to help an individual by giving them an opportunity to advance their career and grow their confidence in knowing that anything is possible.

By: Caryn Sullivan 

Everyone is talking about gratitude these days. It’s good for your soul to feel grateful. Gratitude fosters resilience. What’s even better than experiencing gratitude?  Expressingyour gratitude – to your boss for the great year-end bonus, to your spouse for giving you a day at the spa, to your neighbor for shoveling your walk when your grandma entered hospice.

But I’ve discovered a secret. It’s more powerful than feeling grateful. More powerful than expressing gratitude.

It’s being on the receiving end of another’s gratitude.

I’ve had an unusual professional life, derailed by and redirected by my personal life. It began with a shingle, clients, and a time sheet. But when my son was diagnosed with autism in 1993 I exited the practice of law to become his caregiver and advocate.

When I was treated for breast cancer stellar medical professionals shepherded me through the grueling treatment. Friends, family, and neighbors stepped forward to keep life on track at home.

When my daughter had a bone marrow transplant I became her constant companion, shaving her head when the chemo attacked the brown hair she held firmly to; preparing meals she asked for, then tossing them into the disposal when she realized her brain and her stomach weren’t in sync.

And more.

I’ve expressed my gratitude for medical professionals, caregivers, family, friends, and neighbors who lent a hand in usual and unexpected ways: to the doctors and nurses who helped me to heal; to my son for donating his bone marrow to his sister; to the team at the University of Minnesota who restored my daughter’s health; to CaringBridge for affording me a platform to share, process and connect during a frightening time; to the neighbors who swept out my garage, took my car to be washed, and brought flowers, toilet paper, and food after my husband’s heart failed him.

Expressing gratitude out loud and on paper has helped me to heal, to repay, in small measure, a debt that grew legs.

But I’ve also been on the receiving end of gratitude and that engendered a much different outcome.

My circuitous professional path led me back to my college degree in communications when, on a whim, I wrote an essay about the constant state of vigilance required when a child has autism. What came next was unexpected and life changing.

Within days of publication in the St. Paul Pioneer Press my essay generated email after email from strangers, all expressing the same sentiment: thank you for sharing your story, for yourstory is my story.

Those emails gave me pause. Maybe I was on to something. I had never considered being a columnist. But if my writing could help others, then maybe that was what I was supposed to do.

I wrote another piece about my family’s experience with autism. More emails.

I shifted gears and wrote about other challenges people face, some of which I had experienced firsthand, others I learned about from friends or strangers: mental illness, addiction, cancer, brain injury, military service….

Everyone has a story.

Nine years later I’ve written hundreds of columns. With the encouragement of family, friends, and fans I wrote a memoir. I’m proud and humbled by the outcome. People have told me they wished they’d read Bitter or Better years earlier. They’ve told me I’ve inspired them, helped them to heal.

The icing on the cake came when Bitter or Better won the 2015 Midwest Book Award for inspiration.

All because strangers took a moment to tell me that my story had touched their hearts. And that they were grateful. And gave me the idea, the courage, and the confidence to keep writing.

As we embark on a new year I’m eager to share more stories on the page and from the stage. I’ve found my footing, my purpose. Every email from a reader, every comment from an audience member is fuel in my resilience gas tank. When doubts insinuate themselves into my soul I reach into the reservoir of gratitude and power forward.

The gratitude of others is a gift that keeps on giving.

What about you? Who has given you the gift of gratitude? How has it helped you?

During the weeklong academic break before Spring Semester, 38 Gustavus Adolphus College students took part in an intensive, three-day workshop focusing on professional development and career readiness. Held at locations across the Twin Cities, the inaugural Gustavus Women in Leadership (GWIL) Scholars Business Boot Camp was sponsored by the Gustavus Office of Career Development, the GWIL National Advisory Committee, and consulting firm CareerPrep.

During the workshop, female and male students at all stages of the career readiness and job search process attended career speakers and panels, business case studies, skill-building sessions on presentation and negotiation skills, and career planning activities geared toward preparing students to effectively navigate their early careers.

“It’s powerful for students to have time to completely focus on their career development and have employers, Gustavus alumni, senior business leaders, and Gustavus staff all coming together to help them launch their business career,” said Sara Wegmann, co-founder of CareerPrep.

“As a senior, I’ve been asked all year long about my plans after graduation,” Lydia Kennedy ’17 said. “The boot camp helped me understand that at 21 or 22 years old, it is completely okay to not know what you want to do. This prepared me to be excited for the future and the incredible opportunities ahead.”

Throughout the three days of the workshop, students were hosted for panels and networking at a variety of Twin Cities businesses, including:

Intereum, Inc.  – A certified Herman Miller office furniture dealer and provider of commercial audio visual and architectural wall offerings in Minneapolis, MN.

Deloitte – Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500.

U.S. Bancorp – U.S. Bancorp is an American financial services holding company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that is the parent company of the U.S. Bank National Association, known as U.S. Bank, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States.

Target – The Target Corporation, also known simply as Target, is the second-largest discount store retailer in the United States, behind Walmart, and a component of the S&P 500 Index.

Gravie – A Minneapolis-based startup company that helps individuals and businesses comparison-shop for health care in the private market and on MNsure, the state-run insurance exchange.

Schermer – A Minneapolis-based, globally-focused B2B marketing agency that builds and launches Buyer-Driven Brands for several of the world’s greatest companies, including Honeywell, GE, 3M, Deluxe, Piper Jaffray, Wells Fargo, and General Mills.

“As students embark on their career search, there is no better way to get to know a company than to visit and absorb the culture, meet their team, hear from leaders, and see how employees treat each other,” Wegmann said. “Relationships are critical to the job search process and getting off campus and into businesses to meet professionals helps students begin the process of building relationships to help guide their careers.”

“My biggest takeaway from the boot camp has to be the importance of informational interviews. A vast number of our speakers attributed their success to having reached out to Gustie alums for coffee, and making endless connections because of it,” Kennedy agreed. “Gusties look out for Gusties.”

Gustavus Women in Leadership is a volunteer-driven student/alumnae program whose purpose is to prepare, promote, and inspire Gustavus women in their professional and personal leadership development. Visit the GWIL website to learn more.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin

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