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.

Charles Maxwell Jr.

Charles J. Maxwell, Jr.*
Chairman and CEO, Meristem Family Wealth
Chair, board of directors of Children’s Minnesota Foundation

Charles J. Maxwell, Jr. is chairman and chief executive officer of Meristem Family Wealth and has more than 30 years of experience in family wealth management. He spent his early years providing fee-based financial planning and insurance solutions to closely held business owners through his affiliation with CIGNA Financial Advisors. In 1999, Mr. Maxwell founded Advisors Financial Services, an RIA, to independently serve his high-net worth client families. Realizing the importance of business succession and scale, he merged his firm to create Meristem, a wealth management firm. In 2005 and again in 2006, he helped Meristem merge two separate Minneapolis multigenerational family offices into the Meristem family office service model. Today, Meristem serves more than 150 family households with clients in multiple states. Assets under advisement are in excess of $3.2 billion. Mr. Maxwell is a certified financial planner and graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Mr. Maxwell sits on the Children’s Minnesota Foundation Board, Children’s Minnesota Hospital Board and the Fetal Initiative Steering Committee. He previously served on the board of Social Venture Partners Minnesota, as a Trustee of the Courage Center Foundation and as a member of the Fraser board. He and his wife, Tara, are parents of triplets, Cole, Bennett and Grace.

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.

Ismat Azziz

Ismat Aziz
Executive vice president and chief human resources officer, U.S. Bancorp

Ismat Aziz is executive vice president of human resources and chief human resources officer (CHRO) at U.S. Bancorp. In this role, Ms. Aziz is responsible for the human capital strategy of the organization including talent acquisition and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, employee relations, employee engagement, and diversity and inclusion. She is a member of the U.S. Bancorp Managing Committee. Prior to joining U.S. Bancorp in 2018, Ms. Aziz held the positions of chief human resources officer at Sprint and chief human resources officer at Sam’s Club. Previous experience includes chief human resources officer and senior vice president of business capability at Sears Canada, vice president of human resources at MDS Pharmaceuticals and vice president of human resources and chief/privacy officer of Corby Distilleries.

Ms. Aziz holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. She also is a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) through the Human Resources Association and a Chartered Director (C.Dir.) through the Director’s College, McMaster University. Ms. Aziz serves as an Executive in Residence at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. She is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

Martin Bassett

Martin Bassett*
CEO, Walman Optical Company
Governance vice chair

Martin L. Bassett has been the president and CEO of the Walman Optical Company, a national wholesale optical firm, since 2001. Prior to that, Mr. Bassett served Walman Optical in the areas of finance and operations. He also serves as a director of The Walman Optical Company, Hydrogel Vision Corporation and The Vision Council of America.

From 2008-2012, Mr. Bassett served as director of Christopher & Banks Corp. He is also 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.

Russell Becker

Russell Becker
CEO and president, APi Group, Inc.

Russ Becker is the president and chief executive officer of APi Group Inc., the billion dollar holding company for 42 independent construction and construction-related businesses. Mr. Becker began his career as a field engineer with Cherne Contracting. In 1994, Mr. Becker joined Ryan Companies as project manager on Liberty Paper’s Greenfield Recycled Fiber Paper Machine project. The $80 million project was delivered under budget and three months ahead of schedule. Upon project completion, Jamar offered Mr. Becker its manager of construction position. His career grew from manager of construction to vice president to president. Jamar’s revenues reached from $24 million, when Mr. Becker started, to $60 million in 2002. He held the role of president until he was promoted to president of APi Group, the parent company of Jamar, in 2002.

Since Mr. Becker assumed the role of CEO in 2004, APi Group has grown to more than $4.0 billion in annual sales and owns more than 42 companies specializing in fire protection, low voltage and industrial and specialty construction. He also serves on the board of directors of Dunwoody Institute, and is an active member in the YoungPresidents’ Organization. Mr. Becker resides with his wife, Trish, and three sons in Dellwood, Minn. He is active in his passion for hockey; coaching youngsters to high school-age hockey teams.

Brian Beh

Brian Beh
Partner, MMX Management
Foundation treasurer

Brian has over 30 years of investment industry experience with 25 of those years specific to the investment management business. Brian is a Partner at MMX Management, a firm dedicated to providing business development and capital raising expertise to a select group of best in class alternative asset managers. Prior to his time at MMX, Brian served as President and Principal at First Light Asset Management. Previously, Brian spent 22 years at Roxbury Capital Management serving in a variety of senior roles, with the last 7 years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Brian has played a significant role with MMX’s alternative investment management clients and at both First Light and Roxbury in growing these firms into nationally recognized investment organizations. He has achieved this, in part, through his significant network of relationships with national and regional pension consultants, large single and multi-family offices, and other investment capital pools across the country. Brian started his career at John Nuveen and Co. and Kemper Securities in Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa.

Molly Biedenfeld

Molly Biedenfeld, BSc, MBA
Vice president of crop nutrition market development & sales, Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.

Ms. Biedenfeld leads the Crop Nutrition business unit of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, a sustainable ag-tech start-up that helps communities and industries around the world clean water and grow more food. Molly is a 20-year veteran of the agriculture industry. Her passion for agriculture started at an early age on the family farm in Illinois where they grew corn, soybeans, and beef cattle.

She began her formal career with Cargill Inc. and was later appointed Senior Manager of N.A. Phosphates for The Mosaic Company. She received her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Economics from Colorado State University and later obtained her MBA from the University of Minnesota. Ms. Biedenfeld is based out of Minneapolis.

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Mary Boss
Vice president, Children’s Hospital Association

Mary Boss is currently Vice President of the Children’s Hospital Association.  She holds a BA from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and an MA in Diplomacy from The American University in Washington, D.C.  Early in her career, she served as Special Assistant to the Crown Prince of Jordan in Amman and in 1980 moved to Paris as Press Attaché to the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims.  Mary currently has offices – and homes – in both Fontainebleau, France and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Gary Blackford

Gary Blackford*
Health care executive
Governance board chair

Gary Blackford was chairman and CEO of Universal Hospital Services, Inc. (UHS) from 2002 through 2014. Agiliti Health provides medical equipment management and solutions to more than 4,800 hospitals and 4,500 alternate care facilities in the United States. Mr. Blackford is a leader in the use of continuous improvement in the health care arena. He received his bachelor of business administration in accounting from the University of Iowa and his juris doctorate from Avanos Medical, Inc. (NYSE: AVNS), and Reshape Lifescienses, INC (OTC: RSLS), and Pipeline Rx (Private). He currently sits on the board of directors of Wright Medical Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: WMGI) and has been a board member of several other health care focused companies over the years.

Jay Cavanagh

Jay Cavanagh
Director, NFP

Jay Cavanagh is the Senior Vice President at NFP, formerly named The KNW Group where he was a Managing Partner and co-founder. He works in the Wealth Transfer division focusing on sophisticated wealth transfer issues involving life insurance for individuals, families and family offices. By listening and gaining a clear understanding of a client’s personal and business goals, Mr. Cavanagh is able to help preserve wealth and transfer assets to support subsequent generations, business succession or charities. Mr. Cavanagh is a registered representative and an investment advisor representative with Kestra Investment Services, LLC. A graduate of St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN) in 1991 with a degree in economics, he holds Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative), 7 (General Securities Representative), 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam) and 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam) securities registration, as well as life, health and variable annuity insurance licenses in several states.

Mr. Cavanagh is very active in the community. In addition to serving on the Children’s Minnesota Foundation board, he is a member of the Mount Olivet Board of Life & Growth. He is a previous member of the Children’s Minnesota Legacy Advisors board. His continued commitment to Children’s Minnesota stems from the hospital system’s extraordinary patient care and dedication to educating the community to drive support for prevention, treatment and innovation. Mr. Cavanagh, his wife Betsy and their two children live in Edina, MN.

Michael Ciresi

Michael V. Ciresi
Founding partner, Ciresi & Conlin L.L.P.

Michael V. Ciresi is a founding partner of Ciresi & Conlin L.L.P. Mr. Ciresi was previously with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi for 43 years, first as a clerk during law school and then as name partner and chairman. Throughout his career, he has acted as counsel for corporations, individuals and governmental entities, and he has taught and lectured nationally and internationally to various professional and business groups. Mr. Ciresi is one of the few number of lawyers who has been recognized on two occasions in the National Law Journal’s annual list of “Ten of the Nation’s Top Trial Lawyers,” and in 1997, 2000 and 2006 was named by the Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” He has also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1989 and was honored by the Australian National Consumer Law Association as “Product Liability Lawyer of the Year” in 1989. In 1998, he was given a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Minnesota Association for Justice. In 2001, an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon Mr. Ciresi by Southwestern University School of Law, and in 2002, Mr. Ciresi was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation, Inc. Mr. Ciresi is one of 289 lawyers listed in The International Who’s Who of Patent Lawyers 2005 and is named in The Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

Mr. Ciresi serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of St. Thomas, the Board of Governors of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Board of Trustees of St. Thomas Academy, and Board of Directors for Parent Aware for School Readiness, Minnesota Early Learning Foundation and MinnCAN. He has completed terms on the advisory board for the Centre of Advanced Litigation at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham, England, as well as the board of directors for Equal Justice Works, The Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Regions Hospital Foundation and Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation. He served as chair of Children’s Minnesota’s Foundation board of directors in 2013 and 2014 and was formerly on the hospital board for six years.

Monique DeWolf

Monique DeWolf
Community volunteer

Ms. DeWolf is a nurse with extensive healthcare experience.  She was a consultant for Centrimag surgical training for Abbott Medical.  Centrimag is an acute circulatory support system for patients in cardiogenic shock due to right ventricular failure.  In addition, she was a Centrimag Project Manager for St. Jude Medical and a clinical consultant for Thoratec Corporation. Previously, Ms. DeWolf worked as a transplant coordinator and a grief counselor for New York Organ Donor Network and as a nurse, in various capacities, for New York University Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Emory Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Los Angeles.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree from University of North Alabama.  She and her husband Brian, live in Eden Prairie.  They have a daughter, Ava, who is 4 ½.  Ms. DeWolf is step-mother to Brian’s children Erin, Sydney, and Jaden.

Dan Dryer

Dan Dryer
Principal owner, Corporate Capital, Inc.

Dan Dryer founded the Lease Finance Group, Inc. in 1985, which focuses on providing finance and leasing arrangements for capital equipment acquisitions to a variety of local and national businesses. In 2014 he merged that business with Signature Bank, a local organization that he helped start. He has been a member of that Board of Directors since inception in 2002, and currently is the President of the leasing division. He was also an owner and board member of a two bank holding company located in Southern Minnesota that was subsequently sold to a larger bank. Mr. Dryer has served on the board of the nonprofit Peace House Africa, and is a current member of the local board of governors for the world wide micro loan nonprofit Opportunity International. Mr. Dryer has been involved with various fund raising efforts at Children’s Minnesota for the past 15 years including the Kelsey’s Corner at the Ronald McDonald House, and the recent Fill a Room with Care Campaign.

Mr. Dryer graduated from St. John’s University in 1980 with a degree in Business Administration. He and his wife Janet live in Minneapolis and have three adult children, Tony, Joe and Abby.

Shannon Evenstad

Shannon Evenstad
Community volunteer

Shannon Evenstad was first introduced to the hospital 14 years ago when one of her sons was admitted to the ICU with a chest infection, which resulted in a significant surgery. Deeply impacted by the effective care given to her son and the compassion that the entire Evenstad family received from Children’s doctors, nurses and staff over an eight-day stay, Ms. Evenstad became a committed partner to the hospital. In addition to joining Children’s Foundation board 5 years ago, Ms. Evenstad is co-chair of the Fetal Medicine Steering Committee and a past member of other fundraising committees, including twice co-chairing Children’s Star Gala. Beyond her work at Children’s Minnesota, Ms. Evenstad has volunteered in the broader Twin Cities community. She has served in a number of capacities, including committee membership and fundraising support for St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development, Breck School (Board of Trustees), Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners, Perspectives, Inc., Minneapolis College of Art & Design and the Minneapolis Club. Previously, Ms. Evenstad was a legal assistant in the intellectual property litigation group at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P.

Greg Frankenfield

Greg Frankenfield
CEO, Magenic

In 1995, Greg Frankenfield co-founded Magenic based on his passion for solving business technology challenges and creating a great place to work. He uses that same energy to grow Magenic, expertly directing the strategies and vision. As CEO, Mr. Frankenfield now oversees Magenic’s nationally growing business to offer customers innovative solutions based on the Microsoft platform. Mr. Frankenfield has more than 20 years of experience in software development and consulting. Prior to founding Magenic, he worked in MIS-related functions for Procter & Gamble and General Mills, managing projects ranging from research and development information systems to large-scale SAP implementations. Mr. Frankenfield holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and a master of business administration from the Carlson School of Management. In addition to enjoying time with his wife, four children and community activities, he frequents the theatre — both on and off the stage.

Sharon Murphy Garber

Sharon Murphy Garber
Community volunteer

Sharon Murphy Garber is a dedicated volunteer and supporter of Children’s Minnesota. Over the past 27 years she has held a number of volunteer leadership roles. Ms. Murphy Garber currently serves as chair of Children’s Pain, Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine task force. She also co-chaired Children’s 2016 Shine Bright Bash, which raised funds for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program, and will co-chair the event again in 2017. 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, Ms. Murphy Garber is a board member of the Minnetonka Public Schools Foundation, vice president 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 in March 2017 as president and chief operating officer. He is deeply committed to identifying sustainable ways Children’s 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.

Chris Hedberg

Chris Hedberg
Chief financial officer, CarVal Investors
Foundation vice chair

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 M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and his B.S. in finance, magna cum laude from the University of Colorado. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Managed Funds Association (MFA). Mr. Hedberg lives in Maple Plain with his wife, Heidi, and their three children.

Steve Hockett

Steve Hockett
President, Great Clips, Inc.

Steve Hockett has spent over 20 years with Great Clips, Inc. in three separate segments, serving in various positions from franchise owner to CEO. He has worked extensively in Great Clips’ marketing and operations departments and was heavily involved in the massive growth of the system from 150 units when he joined as a franchisee, to today, as the largest hair care brand in the United States with over 4,400 operating salons. Mr. Hockett serves on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Business Partnership and on the Board of Directors of Greater MSP. He is also on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association.

Joining the Children’s Minnesota Foundation board provides an opportunity for him to give back to the organization and the broader community. In addition, it serves as a way to say “thank you” for the tremendous care and treatment of his daughter in 1990 when she had emergency surgery at age two and spent 30 days at Children’s Minnesota in St. Paul.

Leigh-Erin Irons

Leigh-Erin Irons
Shareholder, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Leigh-Erin Irons is a shareholder at Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. partnering with private equity funds and mezzanine lenders on mergers, acquisitions, sales and other strategic transactions. Leigh-Erin also represents clients on a wide array of general corporate issues that arise in their day-to-day operations. She joined the firm in 2003.  Leigh-Erin is a member of the Board of Directors of Fredrikson & Byron, Co-Chairs the firm’s Private Equity Group and is also a shareholder in Fredrikson & Byron’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group. She is the past Co-Chair of Counsel for Women, Fredrikson’s initiative focused on women in business.

Ms. Irons has a deep commitment to pro bono work. She advises many micro-entrepreneurs on general business issues and represents clients seeking asylum.  Leigh-Erin currently serves on the board of directors for the Neighborhood Development Center and Touchstone Mental Health.

Leigh-Erin has a J.D. from Indiana University – Bloomington, Mauer School of Law.  She also has a B.A. in Journalism and Behavioral Science & Law from University of Wisconsin – Madison.  Her awards include Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 40 Under 40, 2015; Minnesota Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2008-2010, 2012-2015; Minnesota Lawyer, Up & Coming Attorney, 201o.

Nestor Jaramillo

Nestor Jaramillo
Chief commercial officer, CHF Solutions Inc.

Nestor Jaramillo currently serves as Chief Commercial Officer of CHF Solutions, an Eden Prairie med tech company. Nestor has been a key player in medical device commercialization for more than 20 years and last led commercial organizations in both startup and multinational companies. Prior to joining CHF Solutions, Mr. Jaramillo was president and CEO of Innerspace Neuro Solutions, Inc., and has also worked in a variety of capacities in startup Transoma Medical, St. Jude Medical, and at Medtronic.

On the community level, Mr. Jaramillo is a Director on the National Board of Directors of NPH-USA (Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos), formerly known as Friends of the Orphans. Mr. Jaramillo holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Dakota and an MBA in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas. He is originally from Panama and is married to Laurie Jaramillo. They live in Minneapolis and have two children.

Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson
Director of customer experience design, Best Buy

Nicole Johnson is a leader in experience design with over 20 years in marketing, branding, development, and digital design spanning physical and digital experiences. Ms. Johnson has a strong desire to understand human behavior allowing her to rally teams and senior leaders around experiences that meet unique needs and drive bottom line impact. The first half of her career had her working in a variety of industries with smaller companies, as well as independent consulting and freelance. Ms. Johnson spent seven years with Target developing and leading design teams focusing on the guest, as well as Team Member experiences. With a passion for better healthcare, Ms. Johnson recently worked as Director of User Experience at Physera, a startup providing virtual physical therapy. At the beginning of 2020, Ms. Johnson joined Best Buy as Director of Customer Experience Design for

Ms. Johnson’s connection with Children’s is a personal one. Her son Zayden, born in January of 2015, was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect, called Tricuspid Atresia. Zayden has had three heart surgeries at 10 days, 7 months, and 3 ½ years. Zayden is thriving now, and that is truly because of the care he’s received at Children’s. Ms. Johnson and Zayden live in Richfield.

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Jeryn Konezny
Lawyer and community volunteer

Jeryn Konezny is a non-practicing lawyer and community volunteer.  From 2008-2014, Jeryn 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. Jeryn practiced law at Dorsey & Whitney from 1994 to 2000, specializing in the areas of nonprofit, tax-exemption, and health care law.  While practicing law, Jeryn volunteered for a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Junior League of Minneapolis, Tulip Foundation, and Free Arts for Abused Children of Minnesota.  Jeryn 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.

Rebecca Lieberman

Rebecca Lieberman
Vice president of human resources, Radisson Hotels

Rebecca Lieberman is known as a pragmatic visionary and inspiring leader. Her hallmark trait is engaging and challenging employees to expand their capabilities, realize their potential and exceed expectations. Rebecca is the Vice President of Human Resources at Radisson Hotels. She served as the owner and principal Human Resources Consultant at RTL Consulting from 2013-2015 and as Human Resources Senior Group Manager at Target Corporation from 2003-2013. Rebecca is a development committee member of Children’s Cancer Research Fund, the Spouse Education Chair of YPO, and a sustaining member of Junior League of Minneapolis. She previously served in chair positions 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 and a MA HR and Change Leadership from the University of St. Thomas.

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

Octavio Portu

Octavio Portu, Jr.
Retired founder/partner, Portu-Sunberg Marketing

Octavio (O.P.) Portu, Jr. is the retired founder/partner of Portu-Sunberg Marketing, a sales/marketing firm founded in 1977, specializing in developing marketing programs for manufacturers and mass market retailers. Octavio is also the retired founder/partner of Seasonal Specialties LLC, founded in 1984, a designer and importer of Christmas and other seasonal products to mass market retailers. Octavio was a member of the Children’s Minnesota board for 6 years serving as Chair of the Audit committee, and a member of the Executive, Compensation, Quality Control and Capital Campaign committees. He has also served as Board President of Breck School, and as a member of the board’s Trusteeship, Executive, Compensation, Development and Legal committees. In addition, he has served as a board member of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, the Children’s Theatre and the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

Octavio holds a BS in Marketing and a MBA in International Business from American University in Washington, D.C.  Octavio lives in Edina with his wife Jody. They have two grown children, Jeffrey, a Boston College graduate living in Boston, MA, and Michael, a Vanderbilt graduate living in Nashville, TN.

Erich Pugh

Erich Pugh
International tax services practice leader, Redpath & Co.

Erich Pugh has over 30 years of experience as a certified public accountant and currently serves as the International Tax Services Practice Leader at the certified public accounting firm Redpath & Co. In this role he helps clients with the structuring of acquisitions and dispositions, new market entry, repatriation planning, legal entity rationalization and restructuring, transfer pricing, international tax compliance, and U.S. and non-U.S. tax audits. Previous to joining Redpath, Mr. Pugh was a partner at Grant Thornton for 3 ½ years, and before that he was a partner at Ernst & Young for more than 17 years.

A native of Liverpool, England, Erich moved to the US to attend college. He holds a degree in accounting from Winona State and a master’s in business taxation from the University of Minnesota. Mr. Pugh lives in Minnetonka. He has three grown children, Christopher, Kevin, and Kacie.

Matt Shea

Matt Shea
Principal, Gray Plant Mooty

Matt Shea, a Principal at Gray Plant Mooty, practices in the areas of Trust, Estate & Charitable Planning, Family-owned Business, Fiduciary Litigation, and Agribusiness and Food. He helps clients achieve their estate planning goals and guides families through the estate settlement and administration process after they have a lost a loved one. Matt also helps families establish a legacy in the community through charitable planning and giving. His community involvement includes, but is not limited to, Children’s Minnesota Legacy Advisors Leadership Committee, Legal Access Point Clinic, Catholic Charities and Wills for Heroes Minnesota. Matt holds a BA from Winona State University and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.

Maria Troje

Maria Troje
Vice president of customer service and retention, Minnesota Wild

Maria Troje Poitras is Vice President of Customer Service and Retention for the Minnesota Wild.  In her current role, Troje 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%.

Troje received her undergraduate degree from the University of St. Catherine and her Masters from the University of New Haven, Connecticut.  She has been with the Wild organization since its inception in 2000.  She and her husband, Chris, have three children, Connor, Brady, and Addison.  The family resides in Blaine, Minnesota.

Nico Wyrobek

Nico Wyrobek
CEO and owner, Northstar Ballons, LLC

Nicola “Nico” Wyrobek is the CEO and owner of Northstar Balloons, LLC and Co-Founder of Morris Packaging Minnesota. She is a mother of six, an attorney, a volunteer, and owner of two businesses. Prior to owning Northstar Balloons 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 girls hockey coach for the Edina Hockey Association. She and her husband, Kristian Wyrobek, live in Minneapolis with their six children.