Foundation board

Meet the board of directors for Children’s Health Care Foundation. An asterisk (*) denotes people who serve on both the hospital and foundation boards.

Rebecca Lieberman

Rebecca Lieberman*
Vice president human capital, Optum
Foundation Board Chair

Rebecca Lieberman is known as an inspiring, transformational leader who builds winning teams. Her hallmark trait is engaging and partnering with senior leaders to develop innovative solutions and expand their capabilities in fast-paced, everchanging global environments.

Ms. Lieberman is currently the vice president human capital for Optum Technology. In her role she is focused on advancing the business through forward thinking human capital strategies, building teams with the skills needed to meet current and future customer needs and creating an inclusive culture.

Prior to joining Optum in 2021, Rebecca spent 5 years at Radisson Hotel group in a variety of roles, most recently as chief human resources officer leading the Human Resources, Communications, Responsible Business and Facilities Functions for the Americas. In this role, she was responsible for leading and enabling the business to deliver on the achievement of strategic and operational business goals. Additionally, she developed and deployed globally aligned strategies throughout the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions for both Performance and Talent.

She was the owner and principal human resources consultant for RTL Consulting, where she specialized in HR strategy and organizational effectiveness for various companies going through M&A and divestitures. She also spent 10 years at Target Corporation serving in a variety of roles and leading organizational transformations for both corporate and store divisions.

As a community volunteer, Ms. Lieberman has served in various roles with Children’s Cancer Research Fund, YPO and Junior League of Minneapolis. She previously served in a chair position for the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. Rebecca holds a BA in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

Mike Hanson, Foundation Board

Mike Hanson
President and Chief Executive Officer of Hunt Electric Corporation
Vice Chair, Board of Directors of Children’s Minnesota Foundation

Mike Hanson has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Hunt Electric Corporation since 1996. He began his career at Hunt in 1985 as assistant project manager and worked his way through various senior and executive roles until he was promoted to his current position. Mike is a former Board Member of Hunger Solutions, and currently serves as a Board Member of Dunwoody College of Technology. Passionately committed to philanthropy, he is a long-term supporter of Children’s Minnesota. He participated in the Pain and Palliative Care Advisory Council and is a current member of the Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine Task Force. Mike received a BA from the University of Minnesota, an ABA from Dunwoody College of Technology and an MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. He and his wife Shelly live in Brooklyn Park.

Martin Bassett

Marty Bassett
President and CEO, Walman Optical Company

Martin L. Bassett has been the president and CEO of the Walman Optical Company, the largest independent wholesale optical company in the U.S., since 2001. Prior to that, Mr. Bassett served Walman in the areas of finance and operations. Walman has 1,200 employees and serves 9,500 customers through 41 offices located throughout the U.S. Walman is recognized as one of America’s 100 largest employee owned companies. Mr. Bassett has served on the Board of Directors of the Vision Council, where he served as the chairman, vice chairman, chair of the Government Relation and Advocacy Committee as well as serving as the secretary and treasurer. During his tenure as chairman of the Vision Council, Mr. Bassett was instrumental in building alliances throughout the industry in support of the growth and expansion of the Think About Your Eyes consumer awareness campaign. Mr. Bassett serves as the immediate past chairman of the Governance Board of Children’s Minnesota.

Mr. Bassett is a member of the World Presidents’ Association (WPO) and The American Institute of CPA’s. Mr. Bassett holds a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from the University of Minnesota.

Russ Becker

Russell Becker
Chief executive officer and President, APi Group, Inc.

Russell (Russ) Becker is the chief executive officer and president of APi Group, one of the largest providers of specialty services in North America and the largest provider of life safety services in the world. Mr. Becker’s continued commitment to overall excellence has inspired APi Group to create a culture of leadership by building an exceptional learning and development program, a highly selective Leader Development Program, and an award-winning veteran’s hiring program.

After graduation from Michigan Technological University with his bachelor and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering, Mr. Becker began his career as a field engineer with Cherne Contracting. He moved on to become a project manager for Ryan Companies during the construction of the Greenfield Recycled Paper Mill project for Liberty Paper. Upon completion of this project he joined APi Group’s subsidiary, The Jamar Company, in Duluth, Minnesota. He started as manager of construction and was named president in 1998, where he served until joining APi Group as president in 2002.

He previously served as a member of Dunwoody Institute’s board of trustees. He is the former chair of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota board of directors and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Foundation board of directors. He currently serves on the Children’s Foundation board of directors, the Liberty Diversified Industries board of directors, and the Marvin Companies board of directors. He also serves on the advisory board for the School of Engineering at Michigan Technological University and the board for the Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT). Mr. Becker is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Minnesota Business Partnership. Russ resides with his wife, Trish, and three sons in Dellwood, Minnesota.

Gary Blackford

Gary Blackford
Health care executive

Gary Blackford has over 30 years of experience leading health care services and technology companies. He most recently served as chairman and CEO of Universal Hospital Services, Inc. for more than 13 years. Mr. Blackford currently sits on a number of public, private and not-for-profit health care boards, including Children’s Minnesota Board (chair), Children’s Minnesota Foundation Board, Avanos Medical (non-executive chair), Reshape Life Sciences, Inc. and Advance Tissue, Inc.

Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham

Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham
Vice president of marketing and communications, YWCA Minneapolis

Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham is vice president of marketing and communications for YWCA Minneapolis. In this role, Ms. Lloyd Cunningham defines the enterprise-wide marketing, communications and public relations strategy to support the generation of $22MM in annual revenue and strategic goals and objectives for the organization’s four divisions: Health and Wellness, Early Childhood Education, Girls and Youth, and Racial Justice Public Policy which serve more than 30,000 people annually in the Twin Cities community. Ms. Lloyd Cunningham is responsible for the development, integration and implementation of the external and internal marketing and communications strategies, including brand management and positioning, and change communication and oversees a broad range of marcomm products to support revenue goals, enhance the image of YWCA Minneapolis and increase visibility of and engagement in its mission.

Ms. Lloyd Cunningham has over 20 years of experience as a strategic marketing leader. She has a passion for understanding what drives behavior and uses that insight to develop integrated marketing plans that drive brand relevancy and business results.

Before joining the YWCA Minneapolis, Ms. Lloyd Cunningham was marketing manager, general public engagement at Be The Match®; led the sales promotion marketing team at Target; and held various marketing positions at 3M, including product management, business development and channel marketing activities for leading consumer brands Scotch® and Scotch-Brite®.

Ms. Lloyd Cunningham is an active member of the Women’s Health Leadership Trust, serving on the External Relations Committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY; an MBA degree from Fordham University Graduate School of Business in New York; completed Continuing Education courses at the University of Minnesota Carlson School Management, including Healthcare Delivery Innovations; and is pursuing a Master of Public Health at St. Catherine University. Ms. Lloyd Cunningham is married, has two children and enjoys spending time walking and at the lake.

Sharon Murphy Garber

Sharon Murphy Garber
Community volunteer

Sharon Murphy Garber is a dedicated volunteer and supporter of Children’s Minnesota. Over the past 32 years she has held a number of volunteer leadership roles. Ms. Murphy Garber has served as chair of Children’s Minnesota’s Pain, Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine task force. She also co-chaired Children’s Minnesota’s 2016 and 2017 Shine Bright Bash and she has served on the planning committee of Shine Brighter since 2018, which raised funds for Children’s Minnesota’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program. Ms. Murphy Garber previously served as president and communications chair of The Children’s Association – Minneapolis, an organization dedicated to raising funds to support Children’s Minnesota. In addition to her support of Children’s Minnesota, Ms. Murphy Garber is a board member of the Minnetonka Public Schools Foundation, District Committee for the Midwest Interscholastic High School Sailing Association and board director for the National Interscholastic High School Sailing Association. She also volunteered for Como Zoo for more than 40 years.

Marc Gorelick, MD, president and CEO

Marc Gorelick, MD*
President, chief executive officer, Children’s Minnesota

Marc Gorelick, MD, was appointed chief executive officer of Children’s Minnesota in December 2017. He joined Children’s Minnesota in March 2017 as president and chief operating officer. He is deeply committed to identifying sustainable ways Children’s Minnesota can continue to deliver exceptional care in an evolving health care environment.

Dr. Gorelick previously served as executive vice president and COO of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  A pediatric emergency medicine physician by training, his prior experience includes faculty positions at Medical College of Wisconsin and University of Pennsylvania, and clinical and leadership roles at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, AI DuPont Hospital for Children, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

His education includes an A.B. degree in history from Princeton University, an M.D. degree from Duke University, and a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gorelick trained in pediatrics at Children’s National Medical Center, and in pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Gorelick’s interests include running, cycling, and paddling; homebrewing; and playing the tuba.

Simone Hardeman-Jones

Simone Hardeman-Jones
Executive director, GreenLight Fund Twin Cities

Simone Hardeman-Jones is the founding executive director of GreenLight Fund Twin Cities, an organization that partners with community, nonprofit, government, academic, philanthropic and business leaders to bring socially innovative solutions to the Twin Cities to fill unmet local needs, break down entrenched barriers and address deep-rooted disparities in order to create opportunities for children and families to thrive.

Ms. Hardeman-Jones has a deep understanding of the role that systems play and the impact they have in the lives of some of the most underserved in our communities and has committed her career to dismantling them. She served as national director of policy and partnerships at Educators for Excellence (E4E), a national education non-profit. She also served in the Obama Administration in a variety of roles, including Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education where she served as a key advisor to two U.S. Secretaries of Education. Ms. Hardeman-Jones spent six years as policy advisor to two United States Senators, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and the late Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and also spent time working on multiple political campaigns including as Director of African American Outreach for Senator Klobuchar’s 2006 Senate race.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Ms. Hardeman-Jones currently resides in the Twin Cities with her husband and toddler son. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a Senior Fellow with the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) and the Breck School Alumni Council. She serves on the boards of the Minnesota Alliance With Youth and Ed Allies. Ms. Hardeman-Jones holds both a Bachelors and a Master’s degree from The American University in Washington, D.C.

Chris Hedberg

Chris Hedberg*
Chief financial officer, CarVal Investors
Past chair, Foundation Board of Directors

Mr. Hedberg is chief financial officer for CarVal Investors. In addition to leading finance and operations globally for the firm, Mr. Hedberg also manages capital formation activities, including investor relations and fund financing strategy. Mr. Hedberg joined Cargill in 1996 and has held a variety of financial management positions, including serving as global controller for CarVal’s corporate credit business and manager in Cargill’s internal audit department. Prior to joining Cargill, Mr. Hedberg was with Dain Bosworth. Mr. Hedberg received his MBA from the University of St. Thomas and his B.S. in finance, magna cum laude from the University of Colorado.  CarVal Investors is an established global alternative investment fund manager focused on distressed and credit-intensive assets and market inefficiencies. Since 1987, our experienced team has navigated through ever-changing credit market cycles, opportunistically investing $123 billion in 5,480 transactions across 82 countries. Today, CarVal Investors has approximately $9 billion in assets under management in in corporate securities, loan portfolios, structured credit and hard assets.

Nestor Jaramillo

Nestor Jaramillo
President and CEO, Nuwellis Inc.
Foundation Board Vice Chair

Nestor Jaramillo, Jr. has been a key player in health care industry for more than 30 years and has led commercial organizations in both multinational and startup companies.

Mr. Jaramillo spent 23 years at Medtronic in sales and marketing roles, both domestic and international assignments. In addition, Mr. Jaramillo also spent seven years as a managing director of health care investment banking at both Cherry Tree & Associates and Craig-Hallum Capital, both firms located in Minneapolis.

Prior to Nuwellis, Mr. Jaramillo was president and CEO of Innerspace Neuro Solution, Inc., a Tustin, Calif.-based commercial-stage medical technology company that developed, manufactured, and distributed an intracranial pressure monitoring system. He also worked in a variety of capacities at startup Transoma Medica, and Abbott (St. Jude Medical). He served in the board of directors of Accumold Inc. (DesMoines, IA) and NPI Medical (Ansonia, Conn.)

Mr. Jaramillo holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of North Dakota and a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He serves on the Finance Committee of the Basilica of St. Mary Landmark Foundation. For ten years he was on the board of NPH, serving as chairman for two years. NPH is a non-profit organization supporting abandoned and disadvantaged children in Central and South America. Mr. Jaramillo lives in Edina with wife Laurie where they raised their children Carmen and Nicholas, now adults with children of their own.

Jeryn Konezny

Jeryn Konezny
Lawyer and community volunteer

Jeryn Konezny is a non-practicing lawyer and community volunteer.  From 2008-2014, Ms. Konezny served on the Board of St. David’s Center in Minnetonka from 2008-2014, on the Board of the Hennepin History Museum from 1999 to 2002, and from 1998 to 2000 served on the Minnetonka Heritage Commission. She practiced law at Dorsey & Whitney from 1994 to 2000, specializing in the areas of nonprofit, tax-exemption, and health care law.  While practicing law, Ms. Konezny volunteered for a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Junior League of Minneapolis, Tulip Foundation, and Free Arts for Abused Children of Minnesota. Ms. Konezny earned her law degree from the University of Michigan and her political science degree from the University of St. Thomas. She and her husband live in Deephaven and have three daughters, Adelaide, Emma, and Hannah.

Paul Lapadat

Paul Lapadat
CEO, Dessert Holdings

Paul Lapadat is currently CEO of Dessert Holdings, the leading manufacturer of premium desserts in North America. Dessert Holdings is backed by Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco based private equity firm. Prior to joining Dessert Holdings, Mr. Lapadat partnered with Gryphon Investors to create Flagstone Foods, a healthy snacks company where he was the CEO from 2010 – 2014. Flagstone Foods sold to Treehouse Foods (NYSE: THS), a Chicago based public company in 2014. From 2003-2010, Mr. Lapadat was president and chief operating officer of the $3 billion Snack Foods Group of ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG), overseeing consumer favorites such as Slim Jim, Orville Redenbacher’s, ACT II and David Seeds, along with all of ConAgra’s private label business units. Mr. Lapadat started his career in finance at General Mills Inc. and later held senior level brand management, marketing positions at Kraft Foods in Chicago and the Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas, 1988. He also has an MBA in Marketing from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, 1993.

Mr. Lapadat has been a board member of the Gryphon Investor Portfolio companies, he has helped to build along with being an Independent Director for Inventure Foods Inc. (Nasdaq: SNAK) from 2013 – 2017. Mr. Lapadat and his wife Laurie live in Dellwood, MN and have three children.

Ann McGarry

Ann McGarry
Head of enterprise marketing & branding, Securian Financial Group

Ann McGarry is the Head of Enterprise Marketing & Branding at Securian Financial Group. At Securian, Ms. McGarry leads all business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing efforts to drive consideration of Securian Financial. She also oversees brand strategy and reputation management, as well as corporate communications. She has more than 30 years of financial services experience and has held strategic marketing roles at United Health Group, Wells Fargo, Mackenzie Marketing, and American Express.

An active supporter of the local community, Ms. McGarry has served on the board of her children’s schools, volunteered as the manager of her daughter’s soccer team, and currently volunteers at the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery. Ann earned her BA in Business Administration from the College of St. Benedict and her MBA with an Emphasis in Marketing from the University of Saint Thomas – School of Business

Mara Ryan

Mara Ryan
Brand builder + food allergy and NICU mom

Ms. Ryan has spent more than a decade of her career leading marketing and global brand strategy at The Mosaic Company (NYE: MOS) – the world’s leader in crop nutrition. Her experience includes brand building and repositioning, developing compelling PR and advertising campaigns, and using technology and data to inform decisions that result in an improved customer experience and sales growth.

Ms. Ryan was first introduced to Children’s Minnesota as she and her family navigated their first daughter’s food allergies. In March of 2020 her third daughter was born via emergency C-section 3.5 months early. She and her daughter spent a combined 129 days at The Mother Baby Center, Children’s Minnesota and Maple Grove Hospital NICUs.

Ms. Ryan is currently tri-chair of the Rein in Sarcoma Fall Fundraiser. Previously, she sat on the Corporate Giving Committee and was a founding member of Children’s Council at Children’s Minnesota. In addition, she has served on the board of directors at Avivo, WomenUnited for Greater Twin Cities United Way and The LEAD Project.

Ms. Ryan holds a Master’s degree in Business with an undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas. She also completed a Public Speaking Mastery Program at Stanford University. She is most proud of her husband, Colin, and three daughters Cooper, Quinn and Whitney.

Tawnya Stewart

Tawnya Stewart
Chief of people and culture, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures

Tawnya Stewart is grateful to be the chief of people and culture for Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV). MLCV has over 3,000 Associates within various industries ranging from gaming, hospitality to marketing, and retail. As an Indigenous-owned and operated organization, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures is committed to defending equality and celebrating diversity. We are committed to making a difference where we can, and our most significant opportunity for influence is within our own organization.

As the chief of people and culture officer, Ms. Stewart partners with business leaders to implement organization effectiveness strategies and develop programs to deliver on the specific business needs while reinforcing the overall talent, leadership & culture strategy. She supports employee development while looking at ways to refine the corporate culture. She ensures the business can deliver on its business plans, brand and talent strategies. Working on designing, developing, and executing a series of engaging and contemporary experiences to improve individual and organization capabilities.

Ms. Stewart is a graduate of the University of Minnesota; she holds a bachelor’s degree in business and communications and a master’s degree in human resources from Loyola University Chicago. She is currently pursuing an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to tropical places, reading, listing to podcasts, theater and singing karaoke. Ms. Stewart and her son Blake live in Golden Valley, MN. She also focuses on learning about her Ojibwe culture. All in all, her philosophy is to “let love rule.”

May Thao-Schuck

May Thao-Schuck
Teresa Rolling Radzinski vice president of career and professional development,
St. Catherine University

May Thao-Schuck is the Teresa Rolling Radzinski vice president of career and professional development at St. Catherine University, where she leads work to make career development central to the student experience. Ms. Thao-Schuck has more than 20 years of leadership experience in various industries. She successfully transforms culture and propels businesses, and her experiences include working in workforce development, higher education, strategic business and operations, leadership development, and organization development fields. She is a change agent and an impactful collaborator, connector, and partner who builds inclusive work environments where individuals and teams thrive.

Ms. Thao-Schuck has an MBA and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Organization Development from the University of St. Thomas. She is also an active leader in the Coalition of Asian American Leaders and enjoys time with her family and friends, hiking, reading, and traveling.

Maria Troje

Maria Troje
Vice president of sales and service, Minnesota Wild

Maria Troje is in her 21st season with the Minnesota Wild and fifth as vice president of sales and service. In her current role, she oversees the Wild’s Season Ticket Holder base to continually provide excellence in customer service and fan experience, which has led to renewal rates that have consistently exceeded 90%. Her duties also include managing ticket sales for the Wild, including season ticket packages, groups and single game tickets.

Over the past few seasons, Ms. Troje has instituted an overarching customer service philosophy campus-wide for the organization, called Service First, which connects full and part-time staff as well as key partners of the Minnesota Wild to focus on service and culture at the core of the business. She also serves as the lead contact with Levy Restaurants.

Ms. Troje played an integral role in two ground-breaking initiatives: the first-ever Wild Fan Advisory Board to gain fan insights and steadily improve the fan experience; and Wild Rewards, a loyalty program designed to reward Season Ticket Holders with merchandise and one-of-a-kind experiences. She also led the organization s task force for the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series weekend that took place Feb. 20-21, 2016, at TCF Bank Stadium and was one of the leaders on the task force for the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic that took place Jan. 1, 2022 at Target Field.

Ms. Troje received her undergraduate degree from the University of St. Catherine and her Masters from the University of New Haven, Connecticut. She currently serves on the Foundation Board of Children’s Minnesota and on the Schubert Club Board. She has been with the Wild organization since its inception in 2000 and was named one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journals Women in Business in 2018.

She and her husband, Chris, have three children, Connor, Brady, and Addison. The family resides in Blaine, MN.

Walter White

Walter White
Community volunteer

Walter White is an independent director of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz), and previously served as the President and CEO of the company from 2012 through 2021. Prior to joining Allianz, Mr. White was president of Woodbury Financial Services, and led the formation of the company after Hartford Life purchased Fortis Financial Group in 2001. At Fortis, held various senior management positions in marketing, operations and finance. Prior to Fortis, Mr. White was president of MONY Brokerage, then a subsidiary of the MONY Group.

Mr. White earned a BA in history from Yale University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds the Chartered Life Underwriter and Retirement Income Certified Professional designations from the American College.

In addition to his role on the foundation board of Children’s Minnesota, he is a member of the general board and the audit committee of the YMCA of the North, a long-serving board and executive committee member of Senior Community Services, and honorary co-chair of a capital campaign for Keystone Community Services.

He and his wife Karen have two children, and reside in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Nico Wyrobek

Nico Wyrobek
CEO and owner, Northstar Ballons, LLC
Foundation Board Treasurer

Nicola “Nico” Wyrobek is the CEO and owner of Northstar Balloons LLC and co-founder of Morris Packaging Minnesota. She is a mother of seven, an attorney, a volunteer, and owner of two businesses. Prior to owning Northstar Balloons LLC and Morris Packaging Minnesota, Ms. Wyrobek served as assistant general counsel for Excelsior Energy from June 2004 to January 2011. She was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford Graduate School of Business and her prior experience includes working as a law clerk for Kaplan, Strangis & Kaplan.

Ms. Wyrobek earned a B.A. in Biology/Environmental Studies and Economics from Middlebury College. She then earned her JD from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, and a Master’s in Management from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Ms. Wyrobek is a youth hockey coach for both boys and girls for the Edina Hockey Association. She and her husband, Kristian Wyrobek, live in Minneapolis with their seven children.