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Influencer: Offering insight into Minnesota’s economy

Jean Kane
Chief executive officer of Colliers Minnesota
Colliers International

Colliers is a leading global real estate services and investment management company. With operations in 68 countries, our 14,000 enterprising people work collaboratively to provide expert advice and services to maximize the value of property for real estate occupiers, owners and investors.

Jean Kane, a member of the Minnesota Chamber Foundation’s Economic Advisory Council, moderated a panel in January at a Minnesota Chamber event where initial findings were presented from Minnesota: 2030, the first long-range examination of the state’s economy in 30 years.

Jean Kane family


What makes a good business leader?
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams. This quote really speaks to me. I believe business leaders are charged with taking the company and their employees to the next level. Being a leader is about inspiring and creating a culture where people are not only allowed to, but encouraged to, dream, grow and thrive. A good leader needs to be courageous, curious and caring, and I strive to be this leader every day at Colliers.

You are a member of the Minnesota Chamber Foundation’s Economic Advisory Council. What prompted you to step into this role?
As a business leader and a proud citizen of our state, I am committed to doing what I can to help Minnesota’s economy prosper and grow. Minnesota is a great place to live and work, but there is always room for improvement. We need to be continually creating an environment that encourages existing businesses to reinvest here and also a destination where new businesses choose to locate.

The Chamber Foundation’s first major project is Minnesota: 2030, a long-term look at the development of Minnesota’s economy. What will be its greatest value? How do you envision this will help strengthen Minnesota’s position in the global economy?
Minnesota: 2030 will provide us with statewide information on how we are positioned to change and grow over the next decade, as well as provide us with information on how to maximize our opportunities geographically and within specific industries. It’s an ever-competitive marketplace for talent and a business, and the study will provide us with a roadmap for guiding business leaders, policymakers and other thought leaders to position our state to evolve, thrive and grow.

What prompted you to join Colliers International?
I have been with Colliers and its predecessor company, Welsh Companies, for over 30 years. I worked my way up through the organization and eventually became CEO. To many, 30 years is a lifetime; but I love what we do and the people I work with every day. Colliers really is a place where creative, collaborative and enterprising people come together to make a positive impact for our clients and create one-of-a-kind experiences and innovative business solutions for them. 

What’s your favorite recent movie and/or what book are you reading right now?
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama. For me, it is a story about rising to the person we are truly meant to be. No situation or life is perfect, but her story reminded me to continue growing, own my story, and continue challenging the status quo. 

Who inspires you the most? Why?
I’ve had opportunity to work with some incredibly talented, motivated and collaborative people at Colliers for the last 30 years. Each of these people has made an impact and has inspired me. I’ve learned that if you surround yourself with motivated people, your only possible result is success. 

What’s your favorite pastime/hobby?
I really love fitness both for the physical and mental benefits. It energizes me and helps me keep focus. I’ll go to the gym, bike or swim on a daily basis. Spending time with my family has always been one of my most important priorities as well.

Jean Kane Family