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.

Chris Hedberg

Chris Hedberg*
Chief financial officer, CarVal Investors
Foundation board 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 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.

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
Chief human resources officer and chief administrative officer, Kemper

Ismat Aziz is chief human resources officer and chief administrative officer at Kemper. In this role, Ms. Aziz is responsible for Kemper’s compensation and benefits, talent acquisition, talent management, employee relations, and learning and development. She also has oversight for diversity, equity and inclusion, communications, branding and corporate philanthropy. Prior to joining Kemper, she served as the chief advocacy officer at U.S. Bancorp and was 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 Leadership Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and is an Executive in Residence at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where she is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. Aziz serves as a board member for several organizations including Children’s Minnesota’s Foundation Board.

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
CEO and president, APi Group, Inc.

Russ Becker is the president and chief executive officer of APi Group Inc., the multi-billion dollar, market-leading business services provider of safety, specialty and industrial services in over 200 locations worldwide. 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.

Mr. Becker previously served as a member of Dunwoody Institute’s board of trustees. He is the former chair of the Children’s Minnesota board of directors and Children’s Minnesota Foundation board of directors. He currently serves on Children’s Minnesota’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. Mr. Becker is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Minnesota Business Partnership.

Mr. Becker resides with his wife, Trish, and three sons in Dellwood, MN.

Brian Beh

Brian Beh
Founder, Beh Investment Group, LLC.
Foundation treasurer

Brian Beh is the founder of Beh Investment Group, a firm dedicated to providing business development and capital raising expertise to best in class asset managers and private businesses. Over his career Mr. Beh has held numerous executive positions including CEO and president at Roxbury Capital Management where he spent 22 years, president at First Light Asset Management and partner at MMX Management. In addition to these positions, Mr. Beh was either part of or built sales teams who raised over $10 billion. He helped achieve this, in part, through his extensive network of relationships with national and regional pension consultants, large single and multi-family offices, and other capital pools across the country. Mr. Beh started his career in Chicago at John Nuveen and Co. He holds a bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa.

Molly Biedenfeld

Molly Biedenfeld
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.

Gary Blackford

Gary Blackford*
Health care executive
Governance board chair

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.

Jerry Blackwell

Jerry Blackwell
Founding partner, CEO & chairman, Blackwell Burke, P.A.

Jerry W. Blackwell is the founding partner and chair of Blackwell Burke P.A. He serves as national and trial counsel in complex litigation cases around the country and has recently accepted an appointment to serve as a special prosecutor in the State v. Chauvin et al. prosecution involving the death of George Floyd. Mr. Blackwell is a founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and served for eight years as an at-large member of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Appointments during the Governor Mark Dayton administration.  He collaborated with the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial and other supporters to secure the posthumous pardon of Max Mason, who was wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in 1920. The posthumous pardon was the first ever in Minnesota history.

Mr. Blackwell is the recipient of numerous recognitions for community service and excellence in the practice of law, including being ranked by Chambers and Partners; named a Minnesota Attorney of the Year; recognition by BTI as a Legal Mover & Shaker; being named a Client Service All-Star, and also being named a Client Service MVP.  He has also been recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyer continuously since 2003.

In his spare time, Mr. Blackwell enjoys beekeeping, meditation, and is an avid hobby farmer.

Jay Cavanagh

Jay Cavanagh
Director, NFP

Jay Cavanagh is a director at NFP, formerly named The KNW Group where he was a managing partner and co-founder. NFP is a leading insurance broker and consultant specialized in property and casualty, corporate benefits, retirement and individual solutions. Mr. Cavanagh’s specific expertise is providing independent insurance solutions to families, businesses and non-profit organizations. 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 of Close Gaps by 5 (formerly Minnesota Early Learning Foundation and Parent Aware for School Readiness). 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, Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation and MinnCAN. He served as chair of the Children’s Minnesota’s Foundation board of directors in 2013 and 2014 and was formerly on the hospital board for six years.

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.

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.

Shannon Evenstad

Shannon Evenstad
Community volunteer

Shannon Evenstad was first introduced to the hospital in 2004 when one of her sons was admitted to the ICU with a chest infection, resulting in a significant surgery. Deeply impacted by the effective care given to her son and the compassion that the family received from Children’s Minnesota’s doctors, nurses, and staff over a lengthy stay, Ms. Evenstad became a committed partner to the hospital.

In addition to joining Children’s Minnesota’s Foundation board 7 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 Minnesota’s Star Gala. In addition, Ms. Evenstad has been involved with several other organizations in the broader Twin Cities community, including St. David’s Center, Breck School (Board of Trustees), Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners, Perspectives, Inc., and MCAD. Previously, Ms. Evenstad was a legal assistant in the Intellectual property litigation group at Robins, Kaplan.

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 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.

Erin Herman

Erin Herman
Global marketing director, Medtronic
Children’s Hospital Association Representative

Erin Herman is currently serving on the Children’s Minnesota Foundation Board as a representative for the Children’s Hospital Association where she has been a board member for 7 years and served as treasurer, vice president and 2020 president. Ms. Herman has worked in the medical technology industry for 20 years. She has worked at mid to large multi-national companies in the Twin Cities including Synovis Surgical Innovations, Boston Scientific and is currently a global marketing director at Medtronic. Serving on the Children’s Hospital Association Board and now Children’s Minnesota Foundation Board combines her two passions of children and healthcare and providing the highest level of care to children and their families in our community. Ms. Herman and her husband Brent reside in the Twin Cities with their 3 children, aged 5-11.

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.

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 BestBuy.com.

Ms. Johnson’s connection with Children’s Minnesota 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 Minnesota. Ms. Johnson and Zayden live in Richfield.

Shannon King

Shannon A. King
President, SilverOak Wealth Management LLC
Legacy Advisors Representative

Shannon King is president of SilverOak Wealth Management LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in assisting high net worth individuals and families with establishing and achieving their financial goals. He improves his clients’ lives by freeing them of financial unknowns.

Mr. King is a Certified Public Accountant, Personal Financial Specialist, Certified Financial Planner®, Certified Investment Management Analyst® and Certified Private Wealth Advisor®. His Bachelor’s degree is in accounting and he has a Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Minnesota. He enjoys all outdoor activities as well as martial arts. In addition, each year Mr. King sponsors an annual sporting clay event at the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club to raise funds for Children’s Minnesota.

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.

Rebecca Lieberman

Rebecca Lieberman
Human resources executive and community Volunteer
Foundation board vice chair

Rebecca Lieberman is known as an inspiring leader who builds winning teams. Her hallmark trait is engaging and challenging employees to expand their capabilities, realize their potential and exceed expectations. Rebecca was most recently the chief human resources officer for Radisson Hotel Group leading the Human Resources, Communications, Responsible Business and Facilities Functions for Radisson Hotel Group in 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.

Prior to joining Radisson Hotel Group in 2015, Lieberman 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, 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.

Charles Maxwell Jr.

Charles J. Maxwell, Jr.*
Chairman and CEO, Meristem Family Wealth
Past chair, Foundation Board of Directors
Treasurer, Children’s Minnesota Board of Directors

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 180 family households with clients in multiple states. Assets under advisement are in excess of $4 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 as past chair, Children’s Minnesota Hospital Board as the treasurer, and the Strategic Planning 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.

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

Chad Poitra

Chad Poitra
Executive director, TIWAHE Foundation Board of Directors

Chad Poitra is the executive director of the Tiwahe Foundation, an Indigenous led and focused community foundation in St. Paul. Prior to joining Tiwahe, Mr. Poitra facilitated the Charitable Giving Program for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), a federally recognized, sovereign Native American tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. In this role, Mr. Poitra managed the tribe’s grant and donations programs, facilitating over $30 million in contributions since 2018. Prior to joining the SMSC in 2018, he served as the Community and Business Diversity Specialist for the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. There he oversaw the development, implementation and evaluation of the Prosperity Initiative, a business development program serving diverse communities in 20 counties in southern Minnesota.

An enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Mr. Poitra has worked with tribes and Native-led organizations for decades, serving as an American Indian Community Liaison for three Minnesota school districts, a realty specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and as a business development consultant working with tribal nations and Native-owned businesses.

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.

Renee Treberg

Renee Treberg
Chief compliance officer, Prime Therapeutics

As Prime’s chief compliance officer and government programs compliance officer, Renee Treberg oversees the compliance and ethics program for Prime’s Medicare and Medicaid programs, Commercial, and Health Insurance Marketplace work. In addition, Ms. Treberg has executive functional leadership over Prime’s licensing, accreditation, external audit, privacy and FWA activities.

Ms. Treberg has more than 25 years of experience working in the health care field, operations and compliance. Prior to Prime, she served as the chief operations and compliance officer for a multi-site mental health clinic. Earlier in her career, Ms. Treberg worked as the director of operations and compliance for a behavioral health benefit management company. Ms. Treberg has a master of business administration degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and is a certified compliance and ethics professional.

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.

James Weed

James Weed
Vice president, global trading data and analytics lead, Cargill Inc.

James Weed has had a nearly 24 year career at Cargill Inc. Over that time, Mr. Weed has held positions in commodity trading, analytics, as well as leading digital for Cargill’s agricultural business. Today, he is vice president and leader of Cargill’s Global Trading, Data and Analytics function. In this role, he oversees all commodity trading and risk management intelligence leveraged across Cargill’s vast global operations. Mr. Weed also currently serves as board chair for Grainbridge, which is a technology joint venture owned by Cargill and ADM.

Mr. Weed and his family were first impacted by Children’s Minnesota when their oldest son Alex was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) at the age of 16 in 2016. Through Alex’s extensive treatment that would last nearly 2 years, involve many rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant, he spent about 100 days inpatient at Children’s Minnesota. After Alex’s successful battle with cancer, the Weed family saw a need and opportunity to help other teens fighting cancer and started OneLessWire, which is a nonprofit that donates Escape Bags to teens in treatment. The heart of the Escape Bag is a pair of Beats wireless headphones, which helped Alex escape the reality of treatment through gaming and movies but avoided adding any additional wires.

Walter White

Walter White
President and chief executive officer, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America

Walter White is president and CEO of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life), based in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to assuming his position as CEO, Mr. White served as chief administrative officer, leading Operations, IT, Compliance, Suitability, and the Central Project Office.

Before joining Allianz Life in 2009, Mr. White was president of Woodbury Financial Services, a securities broker/dealer, and led the formation of the company after Hartford Life purchased Fortis Financial Group in 2001. At Fortis, he held senior management positions in marketing and operations. Prior to joining Fortis, Mr. White was president of MONY Brokerage, the MONY Group’s life insurance brokerage subsidiary.

Mr. White earned his B.A. in history from Yale University, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designations. He is a board member of the Minnesota Business Partnership, a director and member of the Executive Committee of Senior Community Services, a member of the Advisory Board of the American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services, and a director and member of the Audit Committee of the YMCA of The Greater Twin Cities.

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 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 where she also serves on the board as head of the Mite program. She and her husband, Kristian Wyrobek, live in Minneapolis with their seven children.