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From small town Minnesota to the state's highest court: Chief Justice Lorie Gildea keynotes Women in Business

From small town Minnesota to the state's highest court

Recently, the Minnesota Chamber hosted one of its most popular events each year, Women in Business: Annual Legislator Luncheon. Women business leaders and women state legislators joined together to network and learn how decisions at the Capitol impact businesses throughout the state. 

"As always, great attendance by legislators and networking opportunities," said one attendee of the event. 

Legislators from both sides of the aisle shared how they became involved in public service. From starting as a Sunday school teacher, school board member, or local official, one theme was clear: don't be afraid to try your hand at public service. 

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea keynoted the event, and shared her journey into public service which begins with a great pride in her Minnesota roots. She grew up in Plummer, Minnesota, a city of just 292 residents, graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris and worked as an attorney for the University of Minnesota in 1993. 

"I love this state and I love being able to say that I'm from Minnesota," Gildea told the Women in Business crowd. "So much of that pride comes from the civic culture we've developed in Minnesota, our high level of civic participation, our commitment to our public institutions, our incredible business community, which invests so much in making our state a great place to live and work and the values of hard work of cooperation, fairness and decency that all Minnesotans strive for."

Gildea became a prosecutor in the Hennepin County Attorney's Office before becoming a district court judge in 2005 and then being appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2006. Just four years later, she became just the second woman to hold the highest position in the state's judiciary.  

"I'm now 11 and a half years into this job. And I can tell you, in all honesty, I love my work as much today, as I did the day that I joined the court. I have had the privilege of being part of a really transformative decade in our courts, which has seen our judiciary embrace technology and modernization to improve how we deliver justice to the people of Minnesota."

What would the Chief Justice say to anyone considering public service? 

"You don't live your life with what-ifs, what if I had done this, what if I had done that?" said Gildea. "If you're thinking about it, do it. That would be my advice. We all have those moments in our lives where we're on the cusp, believe in yourself and open the window."

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Women in business attendee testimonial



I knew Lorie Gildea was an impressive person, but I had never heard her speak. She exceeded my expectations...she is really incredible!



Interested in how public policy impacts your business?

Join us for the unofficial kickoff of the legislative session at 2022 Session Priorities! Leadership is required to usher in a new economic era in Minnesota. Join us at Session Priorities, the Minnesota Chamber’s highest-profile event of the year. We are back in-person and ready to kick-off this year’s legislative session, bringing together business and legislative leaders from throughout Minnesota. Come hear a preview of the legislative session from those who set the agenda, celebrate the successes of the business community and socialize with political leaders – and each other!