Each year, TeamWomen recognizes and celebrates women who consistently make a profound impact on the trajectory and advancement of other women’s careers. Get to know this year’s Outstanding Mentor Honorees below, and join us on October 12th at Metropolitan Ballroom & Club to celebrate this exceptional group of women at our 2023 WaveMaker Awards!
Dr. Trenda Boyum is passionate about the transformational power of education. As a first-generation college graduate and queer woman, she has dedicated her 25-year career to advocating for women, BIPOC, and underserved learners. To that end, she has been a national leader in new innovations and business models that lead to greater affordability, student access to higher education, and improved graduation rates.
Dr. Boyum is President Emerita of Rasmussen University, Principal and Owner of TrendaLee Consulting, and Chapter Chair of the Women President’s Organization. She serves on the board of Rainbow Health, Minneapolis, MN, a nonprofit serving the health needs of LGBTQIA community, as well as a member of the national LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education organization. She was named one of “Minnesota’s Most Powerful Business Executives” in 2018 and 2019 by Minnesota 500 Magazine, and a recipient of the American Council on Education Women’s Network of Minnesota’s “Sustainability Award” in response to contributions to the development of women leaders in higher education.
Her expansive influence has meaningfully altered the career paths of many, epitomizing a sincere, lifelong commitment to nurturing and advancing talent. This commitment transcends her professional obligations, standing as a heartfelt personal mission. Trenda’s impact as a mentor is most visibly seen in the enhanced clarity, purpose, and confidence of those she has guided. Her unique ability to inspire and encourage her mentees to transcend their own expectations has empowered them to achieve greater success. This is complemented by her empathetic and insightful approach that strengthens personal belief in potential, allowing her mentees to set and reach higher goals.
Tammie Follett, currently serving as the Director of Community Relations MSP at Thomson Reuters, brings to the community a wealth of experience spanning over 25 years in corporate and nonprofit leadership roles. Her journey is marked by diverse opportunities that have honed her skills in building robust relationships, networking, and successful connecting.
Joining TeamWomen as a founding member to bridge the mentorship gap for professional women, Tammie has since mentored over ten TeamWomen mentees and has also served as the Chair of our Leadership Conference Committee for a decade. Reinforcing her belief in mentorship and community service, Tammie has also dedicated her time to being a Mentor for Best Prep, Byte-size Challenge/Technovation, Page Foundation Scholars, and Brittany’s Place.
Her notable contributions extend to Books For Africa (BFA) as a Board Member and representative from Thomson Reuters, aiding in the donation of 124 Law Libraries to over 25 different African countries through BFA’s Law & Democracy Initiative. These experiences allowed Tammie the opportunity to engage with key figures in various African countries, discussing book donations and visiting classrooms established by Africa Classroom Connection.
In 2020, Tammie’s passion for literacy led her to a year-and-a-half role as the Executive Director of the Literacy Matters Foundation, where she championed the scaling of literacy support to numerous schools throughout Minnesota. Her commitment is evident in her leadership roles at organizations such as Books For Africa, Tubman, TeamWomen, Jeremiah, SPARK-Y, Urban League Twin Cities, Africa Classroom Connection, and the Optimist Club of St. Paul.
The recipient of numerous awards, including the Team Women Member of the Year Award and Business Excellence Award from the University of St. Thomas, Tammie’s contributions to the community and her global impact stand as a testament to her commitment, passion, and unwavering dedication to making a positive difference in the world.
Beyond her professional achievements, Tammie’s love for travel and exploration is apparent. She has trekked in locations like Mt. Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro Summit and visited over 75 countries spanning all seven continents. Tammie has a B.A. from Lawrence University, a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law, and an M.B.A from the University of St. Thomas. Her multifaceted educational background underlines her extensive knowledge and competence.
Gloria Perez is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFM), where she leads the country’s first statewide women’s foundation. WFM has distributed more than $45 million through community investments; conducts ongoing research on the status of women and girls in Minnesota; advocates for public policy that results in greater economic security and safety for women and their families; and invests in organizations and leaders to build the field and achieve gender and racial justice.
As a young Latina in college, she was encouraged to see the power within herself to achieve her goals and contribute to the community. Throughout her work, she has seen how social inequities, fueled by policies and systems, create barriers for women, girls, and people of color that unfairly limit their outcomes and opportunities and that has fueled her commitment to drive gender & racial equity for women and girls across Minnesota. Gloria is committed to working collaboratively across sectors to create a Minnesota that works for all people.
Gloria Perez began her career as a small business owner in St. Paul and took on her first nonprofit role as Executive Director of Casa de Esperanza in 1996. As the leader of Casa de Esperanza (now Esperanza United), Perez significantly increased philanthropic investment in their mission to mobilize Latinas and the community-at-large to end domestic violence.
Perez became one of the country’s leading experts in two-generation strategies to reduce poverty as President & CEO of Jeremiah Program, a national nonprofit whose proven, holistic approach transforms families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time.
As an Ascend Fellow at the Aspen Institute, Perez is working with other national leaders to drive innovative ideas and proven strategies to help families achieve educational success and economic security. She serves on the board of directors for Esperanza United, Macalester College, the Ciresi Walburn Foundation, and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. Professionally and personally Gloria builds pathways to prosperity for women and girls in the state with the greatest disparity in outcomes.
As a mentor, Gloria has always been grounded by the quote by Aboriginal artist and activist Lila Watson, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Gloria believes mentorship is a powerful relationship based on mutual growth and support, and she has always recognized the myriad of ways she benefits as a mentor.
Ashlei Roloff stands out as an accomplished Founder/CEO of Nerd Herd and a Fractional Marketing Executive, honored as an Ad Fed 32Under32 winner. In her dynamic career, she has collaborated with national and regional companies ranging from startups to those amassing $200M+ in revenue. Her focus remains unswayed: to develop impactful brands by harnessing thought leadership, robust brand and marketing strategies, and by constructing resilient, loyal teams to deliver creative work that positions companies as unique leaders in their categories.
Ashlei’s commitment to mentorship permeates every aspect of her Nerd Herd team interactions, providing boundless opportunities for other burgeoning marketers and creatives. She constantly explores avenues to ignite enthusiasm in others to embrace careers filled with passion and fulfillment. For the past seven years, while building corporate in-house marketing teams and leading her agency, Nerd Herd, she has steadfastly adhered to one motto: “Hire for values and train for skills.” Ashlei firmly believes that while skills can be cultivated, a value-aligned personality, resonating with Ownership Mentality, Grit, Work-life Integration, and Expertise, will invariably surpass even the most talented individuals. Her approach to mentorship unfailingly opens unforeseen doors for her mentees, making the realization of their dreams an immensely rewarding journey for all involved.
Outside of mentoring her team at Nerd Herd, she volunteers as a judge for DECA and addresses marketing students eager to embark on a path to entrepreneurship. Together with her husband, she graciously opens their home to junior hockey players in need of a host family during the hockey season.
Patty Sagert is a servant-leader who is passionate about the growth and development of others. Holding the position of Manager of Operations Support at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Patty’s journey across diverse industries has consistently been marked by leadership, community building, and the adept use of her transferable skills.
In the male-dominated fields where she carved her path, Patty often found herself without female role models within her organizations. This absence became a catalyst for her dedication to elevating women, finding joy and fulfillment in aiding them to reach their fullest potential. Her commitment to mentorship and building robust relationships transcends her professional life, reflecting her significant contributions to numerous nonprofit boards in the Twin Cities.
Her dedication to empowering and uplifting women stems from her own experiences of growth, both personally and professionally. Serving as a mentor at TeamWomen and now at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, she has experienced mutual growth in each mentorship relationship, valuing the learning and insights shared with her mentees.
Patty’s journey hasn’t been without personal trials, including the painful loss of her mother, Janet, to ovarian cancer during the COVID pandemic. Yet, even in her valleys, women have stood beside her, offering guidance, support, and encouragement, fortifying her commitment to do the same for others. She encourages women to prioritize themselves and their families, emphasizing the collective rise when women support one another.
Patty’s advocacy transcends her support for the progression of women in the workplace. Her service leadership is visibly active in her advocacy for the elderly and memory care, further underscoring her commitment to making impactful changes in her community. Patty’s legacy is defined by her relentless pursuit to elevate others, showcasing the power of mentorship, leadership, and service.
The TeamWomen annual WaveMaker Awards celebrates and recognizes women nominated by their peers across five categories: Under 40 Phenom, Uncharted Territory, Community Impact, Outstanding Mentor, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Empower Rising Star. Learn more about this event and our 2023 honorees here.