We’re privileged to highlight TeamWomenMN Annual Sponsor, Rasmussen College, in this month’s Sponsor Spotlight. Patty Sagert talks about what drew her to TeamWomenMN. She outlines the TeamWomenMN characteristics that are in direct alignment those at Rasmussen College which makes it easy to understand why Rasmussen College would sponsor and support TeamWomenMN.

What drew you to sponsoring TeamWomenMN?

When I first learned about TeamWomenMN four years ago, I was drawn to the organization because it was a non-profit built by women for women. It’s focus on providing resources and mentoring to empower women of all generations resonated with me. The mission of the organization aligns well with the Rasmussen College mission to empower our students, faculty, and staff to exceed expectations and enrich the community.

What experiences within Rasmussen College do you provide specifically for women?

Rasmussen College is run under the guidance of many strong female leaders; our current president, Dr. Trenda Boyum-Breen being one of them. At Rasmussen College, women are encouraged to be leaders in their fields. Every year we host a Women’s Leadership Networking Breakfast where students, faculty and community members engage in inspiring discussions and share useful resources. Additionally, with over half of our student population being female and many of them mothers, we know they are busy balancing their homes and careers. Our learning models, including flexible online and now competency-based education courses, are conducive to people with busy schedules that need flexible options.

How do the students at Rasmussen College support other women around them, professionally and personally?

The Rasmussen College mission is dedicated to supporting lifelong learners and working to meet the evolving needs of our diverse communities. This dedication is reflected in our culture and can be seen across our interactions. Students are encouraged to support each other and help others achieve their educational and professional goals. We offer the Rasmussen College Change a Life Scholarship where students can nominate someone in their life to encourage them to pursue their dreams and achieve a college degree. We see women encouraging other important women in their lives to pursue an education and ultimately with the help of the scholarship, achieve their dreams.

What does success mean to Rasmussen College?

At Rasmussen College, success means helping our students channel their passions into a profession they will enjoy and excel at. Success means equipping our students to be contributing members to our diverse communities.

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

In order to be successful, I tell my students to first and foremost be committed to their studies and have grit. Secondly, always have a good plan B and C. There are going to be a lot of great big things that happen in life, but there are also going to be unexpected roadblocks. It is important to always look ahead and prepare. Finally, your experience is what you make it. Engage with instructors and interact with your peers. With a positive growth mindset, you can be successful.

Any advice you would like to provide to TeamWomenMN members?

Similar to the advice I tell my students, the experience with TeamWomenMN is what you make of it. Maximize your membership and engage with your fellow members. Always be willing to learn from those around you and utilize the resources in front of you. Finally, be present and soak up all of your experiences with TeamWomenMN.

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

Rasmussen College is dedicated to breaking down barriers and making a college education accessible to all. We support all students, including adult learners, by providing a student centric, flexible and supportive environment. Rasmussen College believes in the importance of preparing students to navigate and thrive in our increasingly digital economy. Our female students are encouraged to pursue traditionally male dominated fields such as data analytics, criminal justice, and business management.

Learn more about Rasmussen College here: http://www.rasmussen.edu/
Learn more about Patty Sagert, Blaine Campus Director | Operations Director | Services Director | TeamWomenMN Board of Directors | TeamWomenMN Strategic Planning Chair  by viewing her LinkedIn profile here:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/pattysagert/

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Authenticity is not easy to attain and it is even more difficult to sustain. With the constant bombardment of other people’s thoughts and opinions sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to express or even recognize your own beliefs and desires. Being your authentic self-requires making intentional decisions that are true to you and the life you want to have both personally and professionally. In the workplace, valuing authenticity can make for wonderful leaders and excellent employees.

Whether you hold a leadership role in your company or not, you may find it challenging to bring aspects of yourself into the workplace for fear of not fitting with the company norm. Being authentic should not be confused with “say whatever you like and do whatever you like.” The company’s structure, mission, and values should be respected; if your individual values don’t align with those of the company you work for you may want to consider a change. That being said, all companies should encourage authenticity. Employees put forward the persona that they believe their company or employer desires, which can cause them to live an inauthentic or “divided” life. This can happen to those at the executive level as well. Top executive leadership experts, Dina Rauker and Janet Feldman discuss this in their article, How Being Authentic Accelerates Leadership in Women. “The dissonance caused by living an inauthentic or divided life can be a significant energy drain for women executives, and may be a factor in why some women opt out of the leadership track.” Life is exhausting enough. Don’t try to live life in a way someone else thinks you should. Give your company, family, and friends the best version of yourself.

With authenticity comes an opportunity for greater self-awareness. Self-awareness allows you to see your strengths and weaknesses, and with this knowledge, you can highlight the areas in which you excel and rely on others to assist you with the areas in which you struggle. People who can recognize the best parts of themselves and those around them make excellent employees, but more importantly, they make extra ordinary leaders. Authenticity also helps us self-reflect to define our sense of purpose. With purpose comes the motivation and drive to take on risks and challenges that could lead to new opportunities and if you are a leader your motivation can inspire others.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

– Albert Schweitzer

For more information on how authenticity and leadership go hand in hand, check out Dina Rauker and Janet Feldman’s article.

Shari Ballard is senior executive vice president and president of multichannel retail for Best Buy Co. Inc. In her role, she is responsible for all U.S. Best Buy stores, e-commerce, Best Buy Mexico and the company’s real estate strategy.

Ms. Ballard is a seasoned executive with deep retail experience. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan – Flint, she was hired in 1993 to work in a local Best Buy store, beginning as an assistant store manager and rising to general manager. After a variety of retail leadership roles, she was promoted to executive vice president of human resources and legal.

In 2007, Ms. Ballard assumed responsibility for Best Buy stores in the United States, focusing her energies on deepening customer relationships and better utilizing the full range of talent and resources that reside within the company’s stores to drive growth. She was promoted to president of Americas, U.S. and Mexico in 2010, and two years later, she was appointed the president of international, overseeing business and the transformation efforts in Canada, China, Europe, and Mexico. In April 2014, Ms. Ballard assumed the role of president of U.S. retail and a few months later, began a dual role to include chief human resources officer, a position allowing her to leverage her broad experience, expertise and knowledge of the company and its employees.

Ms. Ballard serves on the board of directors for the University of Minnesota Foundation.


How did you get involved with Team Women?

I’ve known Pam Borton for a long time and she is a friend of mine. When Pam started TeamWomenMN, I got involved.  I really like how it is growing and evolving into a community of mentors and support for women, not only support of developing skills, but also the need for health and wellness. I like the holistic approach to success!

What do you like most about Team Women?

I really like the full range of people involved. It’s great to connect and learn from all members.  The members who are new in their career have such a fresh, new perspective and outlook.  And, then you have someone who is more experienced in their career and has tremendous knowledge to share from their perspective. Creating that diversity is great.

How can women support women?

It’s important to have relationships and a support group outside of your internal infrastructure. No matter where you are in your career, it is always good to have a safe place to bounce things off your peers and get a different point of view. But it is equally important that your values and beliefs align with your support group. Industries can be very different and the level of job responsibility can be different but you should always share a common belief and value system – or you might not get the best outcome.  People should work to bring out the best in each other – believing in the same core values supports this process.

What do you contribute your success to?

1) Luck. I consider myself very lucky in that I have been in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills – to fill a need.  It’s not that others wouldn’t be able to do the job; it’s just that my skills, style, approach or point of view aligned with the needs of the organization at the exact time it was needed and everything else fell into place.

2) I really enjoy people. I mean I genuinely enjoy getting to know people at any level, understanding their motivations and unique skills and then putting those in action with the job. I like when people can be themselves at work and I approach my team with that attitude so I can understand them and put together a team that creates meaningful outcomes. I believe in surrounding myself with people who compliment diversity in the truest sense. When you do, it will help you collectively see things differently.

3) Learn from your mistakes and move forward. Every day is a new day to do better. When leaders fail, find out what caused them to fail. Don’t try to be the smartest person in the world.

Any last comments?

I am a firm believer in finding your mission that you love. It doesn’t matter what it is. In the grand scheme, we should ask ourselves, “Why we are doing what we are doing?” At the very core, it’s about various groups of people coming together to create something meaningful. Try to stay clear on that point – it does not matter what your title is, how much money you make, etc. Those things do not always lead to a good outcome if they are not aligned with your mission. Stay away from things that don’t feed your soul – if you have to, take a temporary day trip, but always get back to feeding your soul.

We’re privileged to highlight Gallagher in this month’s sponsor spotlight! Find out how this TeamWomen Annual Sponsor shares the same values as our organization as Marketplace Consultant Laura Buck sheds light on what it means to be a part of The Gallagher Way.

What drew you to sponsoring TeamWomen?

I’m excited to support TeamWomen and the community of like-minded professional women that it brings together. I see a strong alignment between the TeamWomen culture and what Gallagher refers to as The Gallagher Way – 25 tenets that describe our cultural framework. These heartfelt, shared values that were penned in 1984 by our former Chairman and CEO, Robert E. Gallagher, still hold true today. The following are my personal favorites:

  • No. 2: “We support one another. We believe in one another. We acknowledge and respect the ability of one another.”
  • No. 6: “We’re an open society.”
  • No. 21: “We adhere to the highest standards of moral and ethical behavior.”
  • No. 23: “We are a warm, close Company. This is a strength ‒ not a weakness.”

What experiences within Gallagher do you provide specifically for women?

Gallagher provides development programs for our female and male colleagues alike throughout their careers. Guided by seasoned mentors, our intern and extern program allows young professionals to learn about our business. Over the last five years, the Minneapolis team of Gallagher’s Benefits and HR Consulting division has averaged 45% female participation in our Gallagher Sales Internship Program (GSIP).

In 2016, we were also awarded a “W” from 2020 Women on Boards in recognition of Gallagher having two women board members (22%). We have received this recognition for five consecutive years, which puts us on their honor roll.

Gallagher is committed to driving an inclusive workplace for the benefit of our clients, employees and the communities in which we live and work. We strive to create a culture of respect and trust that is part of The Gallagher Way heritage and is a source of strength in the marketplace.

What does success mean to Gallagher?

From my perspective as a consultant for the benefits side of our business, I’d say that our holistic, consultative approach helps us optimize clients’ total return on their human capital investment. We start with a deep-dive discovery by evaluating the client’s workforce dynamics, culture and unique circumstances, and then bring together a select team of specialists in areas such as health and welfare, wellbeing, retirement, human resources and compensation, and training and development to collectively make a recommendation that supports long-term organizational success and sustainability. Ultimately, we aim to positively impact employee engagement, as well as attraction and retention results, while also helping clients to best manage their healthcare costs.

Also, I’m excited to share that our business approach and operating standards have led to our recognition as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute for six years in a row.

Is there any advice you would like to provide to TeamWomen members?

In addition to participating in the events, make the most of your TeamWomen membership by networking with other TeamWomen members. We need to band together to help each of us succeed!

When thinking of Gallagher, what do you want our members to remember and share with their friends/family/peers?

When it comes to helping employers best address key challenges such as attracting, engaging and retaining top talent, and at the same time, controlling increasing healthcare costs, both of which are central to organizational health and growth, Gallagher offers a local presence and a truly collaborative approach supported by a host of global resources.

Personally, I am passionate about making healthcare more accessible, and I strongly feel that I am making a positive impact in the lives of my clients’ employees.

To learn more about Gallagher, click here. You can also find out more about Laura Buck by viewing her LinkedIn profile.

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.