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2019-20 Leadership Minnesota participant profiles

Minnesota’s economic engine is powered by more than 100,000 businesses, a diverse landscape interconnected in ways not understood by the casual observer. For a select group, Leadership Minnesota opens the window to a behind-the-scenes look at what makes our state’s economy tick. We're thrilled to share this experience with an incredible 2019-2020 class of business leaders. For more information on Leadership Minnesota, click here.

 

Jennifer Gale

Profiled on January 16

What is the best part about your current job? 
“Touring amazing businesses in my community to learn about the products and services they offer.”

What was your very first job?  
“Managed a local movie theatre (big reels of film and all).”

What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota? 
“I love to fish and do anything on the water.”

What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota?  
“The Minnesota State Fair.”

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions?  
“So far the biggest highlight in Leadership Minnesota is visiting the taconite plant and seeing the massive footprint they have in greater Minnesota and the explosion.”

What’s something super interesting about yourself?
“I own a goat yoga studio and when I was growing [up], ballroom danced with a professional group.”
 

Scott Jones

Profiled on January 10

What was your very first job?
“My first job was an electrician. My dad is an electrical contractor, so naturally I grew up playing with electricity and shocking myself.”

What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota?
“Spending time with my family. With the current season it’s playing in the snow with my two young daughters and wife. In the summer we enjoy time at the lake.”

What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota?
“It’s hard to choose just one…there’s so much to enjoy in Minnesota! The North Shore, Target Field and the State Fair would be high on my list.”

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions?
“My favorite session so far has been the Timber, Mining and Energy session centered in Grand Rapids and the Iron Range. I have really enjoyed the intimacy of the program and very thankful to the businesses that have given us a first row seat into their successes and challenges in Minnesota. I am looking forward to our next session in Austin, Minnesota where we’ll visit the SPAM museum, a hog facility, and the Hormel Institute!”

What’s something super interesting about yourself?
“I spent 23 days in South Africa in College with the Gustavus Choir where we gave a performance 21 out of 23 days.”
 

Liz Sheets

Profiled on January 7

What is the best part about your current job? 
“Working with clients to solve their challenges so they can move on to the next thing on their list. Our core credo is to help clients be understood by stakeholders who are critical to their success and in my role I spend a lot of time matching client challenges to our methodologies and services that deliver on that credo.” 

What was your very first job? 
“I was a lifeguard at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. I worked there for three summers and to this day it is still one of my favorite jobs I’ve had.” 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota? 
“My favorite thing to do in Minnesota is be on the lake. Most lakes and lake-life activities bring me great joy.” 

What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota? 
“I have to represent my hometown, so downtown Stillwater and boating on the St. Croix River.”  

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions? 
“I have enjoyed Leadership Minnesota in many ways – the camaraderie quickly built amongst our cohort, the tours and front row visits with businesses around the state, learning various perspectives I don’t get to hear in my day to day job and moreover the connections I’ve made that I know will be impactful for years to come.”

What’s something super interesting about yourself? 
“I performed with the Minnesota Opera Company in Tosca and I studied abroad in Milan, Italy.”


 

Ben Schlauderaff

Profiled on January 3

What is the best part about your current job?  
"The best part of my job is having the opportunity to work with many outstanding organizations. Hearing a business’s success story is always fascinating to me and helping them with their future plans or helping them solve a challenging topic is something I truly appreciate."

What was your very first job?  
"I grew up on a farm in central Minnesota and my very first job on the farm was filling up the water tanks for the cattle daily." 
 
What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota?  
"My family and I like to get away to the north shore. Each season on the north shore offers different adventures that are fun to take part in."  
 
What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota? 
"This is a tough question. There are so many different areas of the state that I’d consider “can’t miss destinations” that it is tough to decide. If I had to pick one, I’d say head to Duluth in the summer time and experience Lake Superior and the surrounding areas."   

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions? 
"Leadership Minnesota is a great opportunity from many perspectives. I have really enjoyed visiting the different businesses across Minnesota and learning about the economy and ecosystem in which they operate. There are many different industries across Minnesota and hearing the perspectives of the local businesses has been very interesting." 
 
What’s something super interesting about yourself? 

"I was a drummer in high school."
 

 

Greg

Profiled on December 27

What is the best part about your current job?  
“Even after 20+ years there are still so many things I do NOT know! Lots of variety in communications both internal and external. Never ever boring and always a challenge!”

What was your very first job? 
“Cleaning the Mr. Donut in West St. Paul two times each week.”

What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota?  
“Anything with my wife and two sons. Often watching them at baseball and hockey.” 

What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota?   
“Minnesota State Fair.”

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions?  
“The trip to the Iron Range was a real eye-opener. You [get] some knowledge of the industries and issues by what you read in the media, but there is no comparison to seeing it in person and hearing from the people who are living the life. Informative and fascinating!” 

What’s something super interesting about yourself?
"My wife sometimes has to remind me that Gopher hockey is just a game and I recently took a fantastic San Francisco vacation with my wife and two sons."


 

Jen Augustson Executive Director, Operations HealthPartners Institute

Profiled on December 19

What is the best part about your current job?  
"I work with brilliant, compassionate people." 

What was your very first job?  
"I was a summer nanny for two kids when I was only 12 years old. I still can’t believe it." 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota? 
"We have amazing restaurants in Minneapolis/St. Paul – Colita, Martina, and Bellecour are my favorites for special occasions."

What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota? 
"The North Shore, Superior National Forest and specifically, Grand Marais, MN – it’s my family’s happy place!"

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions? 
"I am so grateful for the new friends and colleagues I have met through this program. We are learning so much about industries important to our state’s economy, and having fun at the same time." 

What’s something super interesting about yourself?
"I live three miles from where I grew up."

 

 

Andi Moffatt

Profiled on December 12

What is the best part about your current job?  
"I love helping staff develop both their technical skills and their leadership skills. It is very rewarding." 

What was your very first job?  
"I worked food service for a retirement apartment building. I was really bad at it because I could never remember people’s food orders, even though there were only two choices." 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota? 
"Head up to Grand Marais to hike the woods and watch Lake Superior."

What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota? 
"Lake Superior"

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions? 
"The program has really provided an in depth look at how our businesses work in Minnesota and how that relates to our economy and our government. I really like learning from the other participants as well, and look forward to hanging out with the cohort." 

What’s something super interesting about yourself?
"I used to teach scuba diving."


 

Eric Levenhagen


Profiled on December 10

What is the best part about your current job? 
“Seeing my team find creative ways to optimize our spend and solve the hardest legal and regulatory issues facing one of the most regulated industries in the country. I love how they are so engaged in seeing Sun Country thrive – it’s encouraging and fun to work alongside these wonderful people.”

What was your very first job?
“Desk clerk and van driver at what was the Holiday Inn Express in Eagan.”

What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota?
“Water ski!”

What is your “can’t miss destination” in Minnesota?
“Gull Lake outside Brainerd/Baxter.”

What is your favorite highlight of Leadership Minnesota, what do you like best about the program, or what are you looking most forward to in the remaining sessions?
“Hearing from businesses about their concerns in St. Paul and Washington and what those folks view as the best path forward to solve increasingly complex issues. I am optimistic about Minnesota and our business environment after meeting so many wonderful people – I look forward to learning even more in the coming sessions.”

 

Check back to this page as more of our wonderful 2019-2020 Leadership Minnesota participants are profiled!