WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP. This event was about the numbers. The Twin Cities Business event reveled the 10th annual Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership…and the news was disheartening. The Executive Summary states, “With few notable exceptions (the Census) underscores the challenges of maintaining forward movement in diversifying corporate leadership.”
First, for a look at the big picture, the report stated:
Across the country, 28 million women hold managerial or professional roles (ION, 2017) but only 24 women lead Fortune 500 companies, and only 22 percent of the nation’s largest 100 public companies have female directors.
Below are a few of the highlights from the Census which analyzed data from 72 Minnesota companies:
The Census reveals a challenging corporate landscape, with a net decrease in the number of women holding leadership roles.
Of the 37 new directors appointed, only six were women.
Women directors of color hold only 3.1 percent of the total board seats.
MN companies strive to attain a critical mass of women executive officers and directors. In 2017, six MN companies attained this critical mass of 30% or more on both their boards and in their executive offices, to receive the designation of Special Distinction.
The Census pointed out some of the reasons, including that there are fewer companies in Minnesota so therefore, fewer leadership opportunities.
The moderated discussion included insights from four key panelists including Kweilin Ellingrud, McKinsey & Company; Andrew Humphrey, Fagre Baker Daniels; Cindy Kent, 3M; and Beth Wozniak, Pentair. The highlights for me included:
Women that have responsibility for p&l, more often move into top leadership roles.
Women leaders often draw from their experience as competitive athletes.
There is a difference between mentored and sponsored. Cindy Kent shared that many seek mentors but are under sponsored.
Be intentional – take on learn & grow initiatives but make your intentions known.
Create your own personal advisory board.
Choose your boss well.
In response to questions regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, Beth Wozniak stated, “You get what you tolerate.” She went on to talk about high performance workplaces.
More on this topic can be found on the St. Catherine University website.
More photos of the event can be found in the gallery.
Shelly Elmore, Publisher, Twin Cities Business
ReBecca Koenig Roloff, President, St. Catherine University
2017 MN Census of Women in Corporate Leadership Highlights
Joann Bangs, Associate Provost, College for Women and Dean, School of Business & Professional Studies, St. Catherine University
2017 Honor Roll Companies
Apogee Enterprises, Inc.
Best Buy Co., Inc.
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.
General Mills, Inc.
Homel Foods Corp.
Insignia Systems, Inc.
New Ulm Telecom Inc.
Patterson Cos., Inc.
Sleep Number Corp.
Kweilin Ellingrun, Partner, McKinsey & Company
Andrew Humphrey, Partner, Chair Emeritus, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Cindy Kent, President & GM, 3M Infection Prevention Division
Beth Wozniak, SVP & President, Electrical, Pentair (now CEO of nVent)
PROGRESS MINNESOTA. Appreciating the interesting, innovative and sometimes surprising…Progress Minnesota honors the efforts of individuals and organizations working in economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and workforce development. Finance & Commerce hosted their 7th annual event at the Metropolitan in Minneapolis.
Highlights for me included learning about Technovation [MN] which is encouraging middle school and high school to dream, design, code and pitch mobile apps as well as meeting the team from PillsburyUnited Communities. They are providing interconnected programs fostering the resilience and self-sufficiency of individuals, families and community. They do this through their eight social enterprises. North Market, a community hub, wellness center and grocery store, was showcased at the event.
Progress Minnesota 2018 Honorees included:
Chad Gillard and Zoie Glass from Midwest Pantry
Lea Hargett from Thor Construction
Diane Paterson from Twin Cities Metro Small Business Development Center, LegalCORPS
Chris Webley, New Rules
Duluth Cargo Connect
MD Biosciences Inc.
Pillsbury United Communities
Autonomous Tractor Corp.
Monaco Air Duluth
Skywater Tedhnology Foundry Inc.
MN Department of Labor & Industry Apprenticeship Program
MN Diversified Industries
University of Minnesota Northside Job Creation Team
MANAGING THROUGH THE TALENT CRUNCH. This was the theme of Greater MSP’s Investor Meeting held at the Hilton Minneapolis. Richard David, CEO of U.S. Bank kicked off the event by talking about the need to be bolder in order to compete. He also introduced Greater MSP’s version 2.0 initiatives to create a remarkable future for the region.
Key initiatives focused on developing strategies to both attract and retain talent and included key partnerships with the following organizations: Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council, Minnesota Food & Agriculture Leadership Initiative and Forge North. Performance measurements included building the network, supporting employers, generating leads and raising visibility.
People were identified as a critical key asset. Awareness of the talent and Minnesota advantages was noted as a concern. Attraction and retention were highlighted as key goals. The panel included key HR leaders from U.S. Bank, Medtronic and Salo. They emphasized the need to grow existing talent by reinvesting in them and developing access to opportunities.
A couple of areas I’d like to see expounded on in future meetings include regional strategies related to global competition, cluster development and strengthening middle market opportunities.
CHINA INNOVATION EFFORTS. As I continue to document global strategy and innovation, I was thrilled to connect with a leading innovation organization in Shanghai to discuss the latest challenges and trends. Discussions included insights into how corporations are investing in innovation, how there are large numbers of new startups each day, how students are learning, how the levels of risk tolerance and creativity impact innovation decisions, and what the IP landscape looks like in China. This conversation has paved the pathway for upcoming introductions to industry startup leaders and the director of innovation at a large semiconductor manufacturing company.
Here are a few key learnings:
Corporate innovation typically begins in small pilots. One large multi-national company developed its emerging market innovation center a few years back. They are running idea competitions about once each year. Ideas are driven from the open innovation center. Challenges continue to be risk adversity, resources and funding. Another organization typically runs 4-6 teams of startups through its 14-week program twice per year. As one of its products has successfully launched, it will be funded for years to come. Corporate innovation challenges are many and include how to enable intrapreneurs to feel safe to innovate as many still prefer the security of a consistent paycheck.
The startup community is growing. It has been estimated that there are about 1,200 new business registrations per day, many of them startups. The startup support network is growing as well. Incubators such as Startup Grind provide an online and offline network to “help fuel innovation, economic growth and prosperity at the local level.” Discussions also centered around the concepts of structure, program and people. Specifically, they are focused on the importance of getting the right, committed people on the team and as mentors. Innovation centers in China are evolving. Initially they were run by civil servants and sponsored by the government. Some multi-nationals have recently secured space and/or they have become co-working spaces.
Asian markets are growing large but there is a very different innovation culture than in the US. There is no lack of creativity but students moving into the workforce often find it difficult to apply concepts as education is focused on technical aspects and exercise repetition. In addition, reward systems are often based on individual depth of knowledge and not based on initiative.
Companies are beginning to look outward and while typically very risk adverse, they are realizing that doing nothing is risky, too. If the last century was defined by vertical industries, the next century will likely be defined by the horizontal conglomerates such as Alibaba and new capabilities will be needed to compete. Specifically, companies that make widgets are needing to make the shift to become lean companies that can constantly adapt and create new markets. One large home appliance company prefers not to develop its technology in-house and instead become an aggregator, creating a niche in its specific area.
The IP landscape was described as almost non-existent. It was not identified as a barrier to entry as in some other countries. It was noted that it was as if there is some acceptance that someone could create a knock off and that companies need to seek rapid innovation and create evolved business models to compete.
BRAVE, NOT PERFECT. If I could only choose one thing to take away from this women’s leadership conference, it would be Kristi Hemmer’s message of empowerment to be “brave, not perfect.” This really resonated with me. I appreciated her description of the many times she chose the option that looked perfect on paper and then later realized she was miserable. Once she started choosing the “brave” option, the one that was right for her, she had a good life. She describes herself as “unapologetically me” and left us with the question…”What is “perfect” stopping you from doing today?”
This all-day leadership conference was held at the Millennium Hotel in Minneapolis and sponsored by ACG Minnesota, MNCREW and Corvus North. It was targeted toward women leaders and aspiring leaders in commercial real estate, mergers & acquisitions, law, corporate finance, and nonprofit leadership. This first annual event was sold out.
The event began with inspiring talks by these women, each leaving the audience with thought-provoking questions:
Kristin Hemmer, Founder/President of AWEinc
What is perfect stopping you from doing today?
Amalia Moreno-Damgaard, Founder/CEO of Amalia LLC & WeMN.org
What are you doing to fulfill your dream?
Jennifer Smith, CEO and President of Innovative Solutions
Are you evaluating your decisions through your core value lens?
Sue Hawks, Best Selling Author
Are you using both your intellect and intuition to make decisions?
Keynote speakers included Diana Pierce and Crystal Washington. Roundtable breakout sessions focused on negotiating for what you want, women in the boardroom and unlearning to learn. On an individual level, be prepared and know your value were key themes. Boards have precious few seats; therefore, they need to make sure that there is both a cultural and content fit. For companies, boards are making strategic decisions and need board members that have advanced thinking, can work well with others, and can advance initiatives.
The day provided engaging and thought-provoking speakers, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities. Special thanks to Pam Moret, Director/Chair of the Bush Foundation and Jeanne Crain, President and CEO of Bremer Financial Corporation for the opportunity to meet and connect further on a number of strategic topics including boards and innovation.
For more photos from this event, please see the Gallery.
THE BOLD AWARDS celebrate industry’s boldest bets, daring strategies, innovative approaches, and collaborative leaders and teams. This event recognized finalists and winners for their imagination and extraordinary efforts to grow Minnesota.
This was a gala celebration where inspiring stories were shared. All of the organizations vying for the title of BOLDEST OF THE BOLD were here because they had created new business models, partnerships or services. The energy in the room was palpable as the onsite voting results of the 300 in attendance were tallied.
The 2018 BOLD Award finalists and winners by category were:
Bunker Labs Minneapolis
Autonomous Tractor Corporation (winner!)
Duke Cannon Supply Co.
HED Cycling Products (winner!)
Inspire Medical Systems
Ralco Agriculture (winner!)
Restaurant Technologies (winner!)
The 6th annual BOLD Awards were hosted by ACG Minnesota and held at the Muse Event Center in Minneapolis. Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) has chapters worldwide representing 14,500 members. ACG serves 90,000 investors owners, executives, lenders and advisors to growing middle-market companies. ACG’s mission is to drive middle-market growth. Elements Group is a proud member of ACG.
FULL STACK EVENT. The St. Paul Innovation Cabinet was created by Mayor Chris Colman and Council Member Chris Tolbert in an effort to identify ways to expand job and business growth around the technology and innovation sectors in Saint Paul. According to the website, innovation companies are critical because their jobs do not just benefit individual employees, they benefit all of Saint Paul. Every innovation job is associated with the creation of three to four spin-off jobs in other sectors. No other industry has such a large benefit to the community. Full Stack Saint Paul is public/private sector collaboration, co-led by the City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, that provides a full range of services to help tech and innovation sector businesses startup and scaleup in Saint Paul. The initial effort is to implement the Full Stack Saint Paul Action Plan. I attended the Full Stack event to learn more about the strategies that are being implemented to grow the vibrant innovation culture in Saint Paul and network with some of the brightest minds in tech and innovation in the region.
Competitive Strategies, Ecosystem Engagement, Capability Development, Decision Support