Last week, a friend seeking new opportunities sent me a note on LinkedIn: “Who are the top people to work for in the PR/comms industry in Minneapolis/St. Paul?”
So, I started thinking: Great question, but TOUGH question.
Because, contrary to popular belief, there a lot of really talented, wonderful people to work with and for in this town. I can only speak to the people I know well–and, who would I want to work for/with if I were looking for a job?
That was an interesting thing for me to think about. Who would I REALLY want to work for if I were looking?
To make things somewhat objective, I took current clients out of the mix (as they all know, I love working for Anna Lovely, Andy Jacobson, Kellie Due Weiland and Lindsay Stewart). But, what about people I know, but would truly enjoy working for.
Here’s what my list would look like (in no particular rank order):
Kevin Hunt, General Mills
My Talking Points Podcast partner-in-crime. I’ve gotten to know Kevin pretty well over the last three-plus years, and I think he’d be a tremendous person to work for, or with. I know we see eye-to-eye on a lot of current issues and topics in PR, comms and social media marketing. And, I know he’s fair-and-balanced manager. Couldn’t think of anyone better to work for, actually.
Kendra Klemme, United Health Group
I had the pleasure of working with Kendra as a client a few years ago. So, I kinda already know what it would be like to work for her. And, as a result, it’s easy for me to say I’d jump at the chance to do it again. Want more: Read her recent PR Rock Star interview for ample reasons.
Natalie Bushaw, Life Time Fitness
I’ve talked about Natalie on this blog before–recently, in fact. And, she’s a 20-year friend, so I know Natalie pretty well at this point. In fact, if there would be one thing holding me back from working for her, that would probably be it. But, I think I’d overlook it. Upside is too great. Anyone working for Natalie will be learning from someone with experience at Macy’s, Best Buy and now Life Time Fitness. Those are three pretty big and interesting companies here in the Twin Cities.
LeeAnn Rasachak, Securian
I’ve long thought LeeAnn is one of those people who’s wise well beyond her years. And, that’s proven to be true given she’s went from corporate communications manager to senior leader of Securian’s digital channels in the last six years. One the true digital leaders in town–no problem working for her at all.
Cydney Strommen, Aveda
Sure, Cydney is probably 10+ years my junior. But, I’ve never been one of these people who’s too proud to work for a younger manager. In my interactions with Cydney over the years, I’ve always found her to be uber professional, smarter than hell and yet easy-going (she was a great “professor” at our recent sparked social media training!). Exactly the kind of person I’d want to work for–no matter the age.
Jorg Pierach, Fast Horse
I’ve always had a ton of respect for Jorg and the FH team. From way back when he penned his now infamous letter telling us FH was a brand agency–not a PR agency. FH is no longer the small, under-rated agency it once was. But, I still don’t think they get the credit they deserve in town. Just look at their client roster–it’s beastly! I’ve long wanted to be a part of that team.
Susan Beatty, US Bank
Another easy one for me. I’ve known Susan now for probably 8+ years. And, I can tell you she’s an innovator and hugely connected–two things I value A LOT. What’s more, Susan is REAL. She’s never been afraid to admit mistakes and talk about the real issues (including parenting issues, which we commiserate about regularly). Susan would be an ideal boss for many of these reasons.
Tammy Nienaber, Great Clips
Admittedly, I don’t know Tammy all that well. Just had coffee with her once. But, based on what I hear from others I trust, and what I can “see” online, she just seems like someone I’d want to align with. Call it “gut feel”–I’d love an opportunity to work with and learn from Tammy.
Jim Cuene, Fahren
Another person I don’t know all that well. Just one meeting. But again, based on the feel of that meeting, and what I know about Jim’s career and background, I know I could learn from him. If I were looking for a broader digital job in town, Jim would be at the top of the list of people I’d consult. Especially given his new role as founder of Fahren, a digital leadership consultancy.
Amanda Long, Weber Shandwick
Another intuitive call. Why? For starters, you don’t see Amanda show up much on social media each day. That’s because she’s busy doing actual work! What’s more, Amanda has a ton of digital experience in the B2B space–and that’s not an easy place to play. Anyone who can do that for an extended period of time gets my respect.
Anna Squibb, Land O Lakes
Crossed paths with Anna during her stint at Sleep Number. What impressed me most about Anna in the limited time I had–her ability to listen and collaborate. Seems obvious, but very few people at a leadership level do this well. Plus, she now has a nice swath of diverse experience with time at Target, Caring Bridge, General Mills, Sleep Number and now, Land O Lakes.
Brian Bellmont, Jen Bellmont, Shelli Lissick, Bellmont Partners
I’m listing three folks here because I couldn’t possibly leave any of them out as the leaders of this Minneapolis agency. If I were to ever start looking for a job working for other people again, most likely, my first call would be to Brian, Jen and Shelli. I have history with Shelli (college friends, dating back 20-plus years now) and Brian and Jen (my first clients, technically, as we partnered on a client eight years ago). We also now co-host the Talking Point Speaker Series. I think what makes them attractive for me is our idealogies align in many ways–when it comes to work, new business and how we treat people.