George Family Foundation Honors Twin Cities Women Leaders

Twin Cities Women Leaders
Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp
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MINNEAPOLIS—Sept. 8, 2014 — At its first-ever “Celebrating Twin Cities Women Leaders” event on September 16, the George Family Foundation will recognize 84 women leaders who are making remarkable contributions to building the Twin Cities. Included are such exceptional leaders as U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Kathleen Blatz, St. Thomas University President Julie Sullivan, former Carlson Companies Chair & CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson and HealthPartners CEO Mary Brainerd.

“Celebrating Twin Cities Women Leaders” will be held at the Guthrie Theater on Tuesday, September 16 in conjunction with a preview performance of Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Heidi Chronicles. Written in 1989, The Heidi Chronicles is a story of women struggling to make greater contributions to the world of art, business and government.

The event celebrates women who have served as CEO, board chair or president of large corporations, colleges and universities, government and nonprofit organizations, health care, and major arts organizations in the Twin Cities. Nine groundbreaking women leaders will also be honored posthumously at the event for their contributions in creating the quality of life present in the Twin Cities today.

"I find it immensely gratifying the number of talented women who have led the Twin Cities in building institutions and solving significant social problems,” said Penny George, president of the George Family Foundation. “I hope the community realizes how very fortunate we are for their dedication and their leadership."

Added Bill George, former chair & CEO of Medtronic who currently teaches at Harvard Business School, “Ever since Penny and I moved to Minnesota in 1970, we have been astounded by the remarkable women who have built the character, culture and quality of life of the Twin Cities. These women are leading or have led our major corporations, government organizations, nonprofit foundations, health care, universities and colleges and the arts. We are proud to recognize these outstanding leaders.”

According to the 2013 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership, produced by St. Catherine University and co-sponsored by the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable, women are gaining ground in corporate leadership positions statewide. Fifty-two of Minnesota’s 100 largest publicly held companies have both women in corporate directors and women executive officers. In 2008, women held 117 board seats and only four women were CEOs in the state’s top companies. By 2013, there were 119 women board members and seven CEOs.

The complete list of women leaders being honored is below.

About the George Family Foundation

The mission of the George Family Foundation is to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit and community by developing authentic leaders and supporting transformative programs serving the common good. The guiding philosophy of the George Family Foundation is to invest in people, programs and initiatives that further the mission of the Foundation and help build the communities in which we live. For more information, visit

Media contact: Jennifer Syltie Johnson, 651-246-4040,

Twin Cities Women Leaders Honored by the George Family Foundation

  • Nina Archabal, Director Emerita , Minnesota Historical Society 
  • Sharon Hoffman Avent, Smead Manufacturing Company 
  • Marie Bak, SDQ, Inc.
  • Cynthia Baum, Walden University
  • Cheri Beranek, Clearfield, Inc.
  • Rebecca Bergman, Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Kathleen Blatz, former Chief Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Mary Brainerd, HealthPartners
  • Ellen Breyer, Cumberland Partners Limited (formerly Hazelden Foundation)
  • Erin Carlin, Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities
  • Nicky Carpenter, Community Leader
  • Sarah Caruso, Greater Twin Cities United Way
  • Lynn Casey, PadillaCRT
  • Cecilia Cervantes, Hennepin Technical College
  • Kathryn Correia, HealthEast Care System
  • Bobbi Daniels, MD, University of Minnesota Physicians
  • Sandra Davis, MDA Leadership Consulting
  • Kaywin Feldman, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
  • Nancy Feldman, UCare
  • Sara Gavin, Weber Shandwick North America
  • Phyliss Rawls Goff, Community Leader
  • Luella Gross Goldberg, Community Leader 
  • Beverly Grossman, Community Leader
  • Joan Growe, Former Minnesota Secretary of State
  • Susan Gunderson, LifeSource
  • Susan Haigh, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Metropolitan Council
  • MayKao Hang, Wilder Foundation
  • Linda Hanson, Hamline University
  • Jodi Harpstead, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
  • Paula Hart, Volunteers of America - Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • Mayor Betsy Hodges, City of Minneapolis
  • Barbara Holmes, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
  • Deborah Hopp, MSP Communications
  • Shelly Ibach, Select Comfort Corporation
  • Barbara Walczyk Joers, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
  • Bernadeia Johnson, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Linda Keene, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys
  • Lyndel King, Weisman Art Museum
  • Reatha Clark King, Community Leader (formerly Metropolitan State University)
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar, United States Senate
  • Jodee Kozlak, Target
  • Mary Jo Kreitzer, Center for Spirituality & Healing, University of Minnesota
  • Lisa Larson, North Hennepin Community College
  • Sister Andrea Lee, St. Catherine University
  • Jennifer Lundblad, Stratis Health
  • Sarah Lutman, Lutman & Associates (formerly Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra)
  • Judy Lysne, Lifeworks Services Inc.
  • Jan Malcolm, Courage Kenny Foundation - Allina Health (formerly Courage Center) 
  • Congresswoman Betty McCollum, United States Congress
  • Alisa Miller, Public Radio International
  • Patricia Mitchell, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
  • Colleen Moriarty, Hunger Solutions Minnesota
  • Chris Morrison, Community Leader/Allina Health
  • Christine Morse, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
  • Diana Murphy, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • Wendy Nelson, Carlson
  • Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Carlson and Carlson Holdings
  • Anita Pampusch, Community Leader (formerly Bush Foundation)
  • Gloria Perez, Jeremiah Program
  • Sally Pillsbury, Community Leader
  • Trudy Rautio, Carlson
  • Jennifer Ford Reedy, Bush Foundation
  • Shelly Regan, Yamamoto
  • Carleen Rhodes, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners
  • Kathryn Roberts, Ecumen
  • Becky Roloff, YWCA of Minneapolis
  • Lee Roper-Batker, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
  • Sharon Ryan, Community Leader
  • Terry Saario, Community Leader (formerly Northwest Area Foundation)
  • Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Thomson Reuters (formerly City of Minneapolis)
  • Lauren Segal, Scholarship America Inc.
  • Valeria Silva, Saint Paul Public Schools
  • Patty Simmons, MD, Mayo Clinic
  • Kathleen Skarvan, Electromed, Inc.
  • Sally Smith, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.
  • Sarah Stoesz, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota 
  • Julie Sullivan, University of St. Thomas
  • Emily Anne Tuttle, Community Leader (formerly Minnesota Senate)
  • Sandra Vargas, The Minneapolis Foundation
  • Olga Viso, Walker Art Center
  • Penny Wheeler, MD, Allina Health
  • Kate Wolford, The McKnight Foundation
  • Noya Woodrich, Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches
  • Wilhelmina Wright, Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Margaret Wurtele, Community Leader

In Memoriam

  • Sage Cowles, Community Leader, co-founder Cowles Dance Theater
  • Mary Lee Dayton, Community Leader, co-founder Women’s Foundation of Minnesota 
  • Senator Muriel Humphrey Brown, U.S. Senate
  • Congresswoman Coya Knutson, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Joan Mondale, Community Leader and Second Lady of the United States,
  • Elizabeth Musser, Community Leader, Landmark Center
  • Sally Ordway, Founder Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
  • Virginia Piper, Founder, Community Leader/Abbott Northwestern Hospital
  • Rosalie Wahl, Minnesota Supreme Court