Earlier this week, PRWeek unveiled its annual “Power List”–a list of people they believe are power brokers in the PR business across the U.S. (of course, I can’t read more about the list because PRWeek is gated and I’m not paying $350 a year to read all their content).
The list includes senior leaders at Weber Shandwick, Edelman, Microsoft and General Motors, just to name a few. It skews male (just 18 of the 50 are women) and caucasian/white (just six minorities represented in the list).
This post could be a rant about that first stat above–after all, this is an industry completely dominated by women. Yet, only 18 of the 50 on a POWER list are women? Seriously? I’ll let Gini Dietrich take that one and run with it.
But for the sake of this post, I want to tackle a different angle. Another aspect the PRWeek folks completely missed. The fact that just SIX of the people on this list DO NOT work on either the East or West Coast.
Put another way, 88 percent of this list works in New York, Boston, DC, San Fran, and Seattle.
And, even more astonishingly, there are just THREE people from the Twin Cities and Chicago on this list.
Consider the following:
- Minneapolis is the 15th largest market in the U.S. and 17 Fortune 500 companies are based in the Twin Cities including Target, Best Buy, 3M, General Mills and United Health Group.
- Chicago is the third largest market in the U.S. and Illinois is home to 36 Fortune 500 companies like Walgreens, Allstate, State Farm, Caterpillar, and McDonalds.
That’s a lot of big businesses based in those markets–almost all of which have senior-level communicators that could most likely make a list like this (and, communicators with big PR/comms budgets, most likely).
To be precise, that’s 53 Fortune 500 companies between the two markets. For comparison, New York is home to 55 Fortune 500 companies. California has 53. So, I get that New York and San Fran are going to be well represented in lists like this. But 88 percent of the people from the Coasts?
I believe a few different factors are at play here, including:
- PRWeek is based in New York. So, chances are, the PRWeek editors may know many of the NY folks on this list personally. Relationships matter, as always.
- New York, DC, and San Fran are the biggest PR markets. No one is going to argue that. They should make up a sizable portion of the list. Maybe not 88 percent though.
- I don’t read PRWeek religiously (see above and $350 price tag) but I’m just going to go out on a limb and say the PRWeek reporters would probably want to talk to a decent number of the people on this list for stories in the future. Greasing the wheels a bit, perhaps?
So, I can’t say I’m surprised. After all, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest have been dubbed “flyover country” by New Yorkers for a reason. Why should we start getting respect now?
But then I think about the Fortune 500 list.
And then I think about the PR/creative talent in this town (and in Chicago).
And then I think about our history.
Yeah, I think we’re owed a little respect, dammit.
And yes, Carmichael Spong Relate’s Julie Batliner is on the list. And that’s fantastic. But that’s one notable leader from Minnesota (the 15th largest DMA last I checked). And, just one more from Chicago (the 3rd largest). And, to add insult to injury: Just one from Dallas (5th), too. And NONE from Atlanta (10th) or Denver (17th)–not necessarily “flyover country”, but definitely in the mid-section of the country.
To recap: 44 of 50 leaders from New York, San Fran, DC, Seattle and Boston.
Six from the rest of the country. And only one from Minnesota.
With all that said, I thought I’d offer up a few suggestions to the PRWeek folks for next year’s list. I know it’s too late for 2017, but these leaders would be ideal candidates to put on the 2018 list. It’s time the Minnesota PR community gets some much-deserved respect (I’m sure Chicagoans have their own ideas, but I just don’t know that many people down there):
- Lynn Casey, CEO and chair of Padilla–a fixture in Twin Cities PR for more than 30 years.
- Matt Kucharski, president of Padilla–been with the firm for almost 30 years and poised to take it the next 20.
- Matt Furman, chief communications and public affairs officer at Best Buy (he’s also spent time at Mars and Google–not a bad resume).
- Jorg Pierach, founder of Fast Horse–one of the best PR shops in all of Minnesota including a roster that boasts Coca-Cola, Heineken and Deluxe.
- Katie Boylan, lead communicator at Target (following Dustee Jenkins’ exit in June)–only the second biggest retailer in the country. No big deal.
Just a few idea, PRWeek editors. Take em, or leave em. Any way you cut it, I’d love to see Minnesota (and the Upper Midwest, in general) better represented in next year’s list.
Note: Photo courtesy of Olgilvy PR via Creative Commons.
Being a solo consultant is a lonely existence. It’s definitely one of the few drawbacks to this lifestyle. So, I make a habit of getting out of my home office as much as I can to the neighborhood coffee shops in Minneapolis. And, I have plenty of options, because there are a TON of them. It’s one of the many reasons I love living in the city.
And, since more companies are embracing a more flexible work environment and allowing people like you to work from home and coffee shops from time to time, I thought I’d put my eight-plus years of experience working from local coffee shops to good use and create a list of my favorites.
So, below, you’ll find nine coffee shops I probably work from the most. I attempted to grade them on a number of factors: environment, coffee, food options, parking and seating. I then gave each coffee shop an overall grade–remember, it’s a grade that revolves around what the coffee shop is like as a place to work, not the coffee shop itself (case in point: I LOVE Spyhouse NE, but it doesn’t get a top-level grade from me as a place to work–see below for why).
Now, you’ll probably notice there are a number of fairly popular coffee shops that don’t show up on this list. The new Penny’s is a noticeable miss (I still haven’t been!). Moose & Sadie’s is popular with North Loop types (but I rarely go there given the cluster that is North Loop parking). And Bob’s Java Hut in south Minneapolis is an institution (but just not my jam). Everyone has their favorites–these nine are mine.
Would love to hear what you think–and your reviews of other top coffee shops in the Minneapolis area. Leave a comment below, or comment on my Facebook post where I shared this post.
Head of the Class
Location: 4208 S 28th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Hours: 7 am – 8 pm, Monday-Friday
Environment: Half coffee shop, half bike shop, Angry Catfish isn’t your typical venue. But, it does have a nice, neighborhood feel to it. You can find outlets along the bars and outer edges of the coffee shop. And, the music isn’t too loud so you can’t talk to a table-side companion.
Drink of choice: I usually just opt for the pour-over Intelligentsia or Ruby coffee of the day, since it’s so damn good. And, I absolutely LOVE the small tray and little pitcher you get for the 12- and 16-oz. orders.
Food options: Huge bonus here: Angry Catfish carries a variety of donuts and pastries from Baker’s Wife, which is literally right next door. Opt for the State Fair donut–my favorite donut in the city (and I should know–I’ve tried them all!)
Seating: Ample seating. 8-10 bar spots overlooking the street. Some informal, couch-like seating. And 5-7 tables for the more serious worker.
Parking: Street parking, which is always available. I’ve never walked more than half a block to Angry Catfish. And, of course, bike parking right out front.
Arik’s Workability Grade: A (HUGE points for being next door to the best donut shop in the city; always pretty quiet, never all that busy and serving one of my favorite coffees–Intelligentsia. Yeah, high marks for AC).
Address: 4021 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Hours: 6:30 am – 8 pm
Environment: Open, air and lots of light let it through the huge windows in the front of the store. The vibe is modern (the wood booths are my favorite) with its signature pink espresso machine right up front. The neon bars above the coffee bar add a nice touch, too.
Drink of choice: I’m a huge Dogwood fan, but I usually grab a cup at the much smaller Dogwood in Uptown. I usually just go for the coffee since it’s so damn good. And you really can’t go wrong with any of their blends. I had the Costa Rica blend (16 oz.) this time around. Wonderful.
Food options: Dogwood carries a smallish number of Rustica bakery items including cookies, croissants, and my favorite, the danish. I opted for the orange danish, which was the perfect pair with my Costa Rica.
Seating: Dogwood shares a larger space with the accompanying Bodega, but it’s broken up by a wonderfully cozy section of two-person booths that I absolutely loved. There were also three separate bar areas to work from–one looking out onto Marshall Ave. and the other two overlooking the coffee areas. In total, the space had 12 sitting areas between the booths and small tables and chairs.
Parking: Dogwood has about 5-7 spots in its lot in the back of the store. Otherwise, there’s on-street parking on Marshall Ave. Plenty. And free.
Arik’s Workability Grade: A- (the best “vibe”/feel of any place on this list; usually pretty quiet; LOVE the small booths, and the coffee is second to only Intelligentsia in my book)
Vicinity Coffee (Lyndale location)
Address: 3350 Lyndale Ave S. Minneapolis, MN 55408 (also at 4301 Nicollet Ave S. Minneapolis, MN 55409
Hours: M-F 6 am-9 pm
Environment: Music wasn’t too loud. Acoustics are fairly good. And, there’s ample room even though it is frequently crowded during the day. There are many people working, so it’s a nice place to put down roots for a couple hours. Plus, they have two rooms–a bigger space with the coffee bar, and a side room where I’ve held meetings before. And, as an added bonus, they have the garage door for the summer months.
Drink of choice: I had the Boone’s Beard, which is their top specialty drink. It includes house-made vanilla, coriander and black Hawaiian sea salt. Pretty damn good. They also have the requisite coffee options and house-made chai, which I’ve heard it very good. And, they have a nice selection of teas for those non-coffee drinkers including something called “Iron Goodness of Mercy”. Sounds good in a Catholic kind of way 🙂
Food options: Vicinity has a small selection of scones and croissants (I believe from Rustica)–so you’re in good hands here. It’s just not my bag.
Seating: Ample seating. I counted 14 two-person tables in the main room. And one larger table for group meetings. Also love that many of the tables on the wall have outlets–no shortages here. One of the better spots for seating, actually.
Parking: On-street parking nearby. Vicinity is right in the Kingfield neighborhood, so there’s plenty of free on-street parking. No problem.
Arik’s Workability Grade: A- (love the open garage door in the summer; specialty drinks are above average, and there’s ample room and TWO rooms for spreading out)
Location: 3262 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Hours: M-F, 6:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Environment: Bright, open and airy. And plenty of outlets for the long-term worker bee. I also like that there are two separate rooms at the Wonderland Park location–little more room to breathe and spread out, should you need it.
Drink of choice: I usually just go with the brew of the day. In this case, it was their new Tree Hugger blend, which is a dark roast with the body of a light roast. Not usually what I go for, but it was pretty good (not great). I’ve really come to love their Snowshoe blend.
Food: They have a variety of bakery items and oatmeal, but nothing too crazy. In fact, I stopped at Baker’s Wife on the way and nabbed a couple State Fair donuts (again, best donut in the state).
Seating: Plenty. And, I like the options: booths, tables, stools. Perfect.
Parking: On street (on Minnehaha and the side streets) as well as a small lot out back. And, all free.
Arik’s Workability Grade: B (overall, a pretty solid place to work; love the vibe, but I just have never loved Peace Coffee; and, it does tend to be a bit crowded at key times).
Location: 907 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Hours: 6 am – 8 pm, M-F
Environment: What you’d expect for a North Loop coffee shop. The classic tile is a nice touch. Love the high ceilings. And you’re surrounded by light with all the windows. You could do worse in terms of a place to work for a few hours.
Drink of choice: Just like when I visited the Spyhouse NE location, I opted for the Cold Brew (this time with a little lavender syrup). Outstanding.
Food options: Just like NE, Walnut Bakery items are offered here. I didn’t purchase any this time around, the the croissants looked awfully good. No donuts though 🙁
Seating: A few tables and a few different bar/high top areas. Not a ton of seating. And, outlets were tough to find, too. A few of the bar items hardly had any. Kind of a big miss for a brand new place.
Parking: On-street, free parking right nearby. Unheard of for North Loop, but it’s just far enough on the fringes where you have on-street parking for free on 10th. I’m sure that will change soon, but for now, take advantage.
Arik’s Workability Grade: B+ (love the location, and free parking nearby is almost unheard of downtown)
Canteen Coffee Bar
Location: 3255 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., Monday-Friday
Environment: Maybe one of my favorite coffee shops in South Minneapolis to work from because it’s so quiet and rarely super busy. And, you’ll find an outlet nearby almost every table (a must for today’s coffee shop). The wi-fi is fast and reliable and it’s also relatively quiet. You’ll usually find many people working from Canteen throughout the day.
Drink of choice: While Canteen has the requisite selection of lattes and specialty drinks, I always opt for a straight cup of the wonderful Kickapoo coffee. Smooth and delicious. And, you can get the bottomless cup for just $3.25–perfect for the worker who’s going to set up shop for 1-2 hours.
Food options: Although I haven’t tried it yet, people rave about Toast Bar. I just haven’t gotten on board with the whole toast trend. The “Hollybars” also look pretty darn good–a selection of PB&J, coconut almond and peanut butter chocolate chip are usually on hand.
Seating: This is the strength of Canteen as a coffee shop for the remote worker. PLENTY of seating throughout–even when it’s busy, there seem to be multiple open tables.
Parking: On-street parking is always available. No problem here.
Arik’s Workability Grade: B+ (solid coffee and all sorts of room; outlets everywhere and free parking don’t hurt either; plus…toast flights!)
Five Watt Coffee
Address: 3745 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409
Hours: 6 am-10 pm
Environment: The music isn’t over-powering, so you can actually work to it. And overall, the vibe is pretty urban with exposed brick walls, the garage door and an authentic south Minneapolis feel. The room also has tons of outlets throughout and free wi-fi. No complaints here.
Drink of choice: The Kingfield. It’s Five Watt’s most popular drink. I’m not a big latte guy, but I’ve tried it a few times and really enjoy it. But, at $5 a pop, it’s a lot to stomach for this cheap guy. Definitely a splurge item for me. Haven’t tried the drip/pour-over coffee, but they do use a roastery out of Kickapoo, Wisc., down south of LaCrosse where my folks grew up–so huge bonus Hanson points there! One more note: Free refills on drip coffee–even if you purchase one of the espresso drinks.
Food options: Five Watt brings in an assortment of Patisserie 46 breads and pastries. Not my favorite, but it’s usually a small selection of croissants, scones and muffins.
Seating: Five Watt is a small place. I counted 12 tables total–and they’re all two-person tables. But, it does have a great bar I love to work from, and in the spring/summer/fall, they have a nice outdoor patio (although it’s right on Nicollet).
Parking: Right on Nicollet is the best spot, and there are usually spots. So, overall, not too shabby.
Arik’s Workability Grade: B (would easily be higher if THEY HAD MORE ROOM! Specialty drinks are very good, and the space itself is tremendous. It’s simply far too small and always crowded).
Not sure I’d recommend, but…
Location: 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Hours: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday-Friday
Environment: Somewhat loud. Lots of people. Always crowded. Not optimal work environment, or great for coffee meet-ups.
Drink of choice: Seems like most folks opt for Spyhouse’s espresso drinks, but since winter is now officially in the rear-view mirror, I opted for the cold brew, which was amazing. I’ve had the Spyhouse coffee before though, and it’s above-average. No Intelligenstia or Dogwood, but it’s very drinkable.
Food options: Bakery items from Walnut Bakery are typically pretty solid. I opted for the old fashioned sprinkle donut on this visit which was very good.
Seating: Plenty of seating, but I have yet to work at Spyhouse NE when it’s not absolutely packed. So, seating is definitely an issue. If you’re looking for a spot where you’ll be guaranteed to find seating, an outlet and the ability to work in peace, this isn’t the place.
Parking: Let’s be honest, parking is a disaster around Spyhouse NE. You can park on the road (shown here), but there’s no guarantee a spot will be available. And, other lots nearby are reserved for employees/customers of other companies. I’ve never loved the parking situation here, and it usually drives me to find another place to work.
Arik’s Workability Grade: C+ (would definitely be higher if not for the hideous parking situation, and the fact that the place is PACKED every time I’ve been there)
Location: 822 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. M-F
Environment: Open, airy and usually pretty darn quiet. Lots of outlets. Lots of space. One of the better environments to get stuff done.
Drink of choice: I opted for the house coffee–and why wouldn’t you when it’s Intelligentsia. A refill did cost me $1.50 though, which I bristled at.
Food options: Had a small selection of bakery items including croissants and scones. Nothing too outstanding. But, pretty standard for most of the coffee shops on this list. That said, I opted to pair my Intelligentsia with a salted caramel/chocolate donut from nearby Glam Doll Donuts.
Seating: Ample seating and a variety of options. They have 4-5 tables right against the windows, which are nice. They have a couch for more leisure reading/working. And, they have bigger tables for larger groups.
Parking: On-street parking is usually pretty easy to find. But, they do have a small lot that is also free on the north side of the building.
Arik’s Workability Grade: C (plenty of space, and coffee was fine, but just lacks any kind of discernable “vibe”)
2016 was a good year to be a job seeker. Specifically, for mid- to senior-level PR folks with a strong digital skill set. As a result, we saw a far amount of hopping industry-wide.
But, we also saw a number of key moves that I think will impact 2017.
These were almost (and I hate to use this word, but…) “seismic” moves that have the ability to change entire teams for agencies and departments on the client side.
As I thought about 2016, I landed on 8 moves that I believe will change the PR/social landscape in the year ahead:
Nathan Eide, director, test & learn, FRWD
Still not exactly sure what the title means, but I do know Nathan’s move from Bolin to FRWD in 2016 was a big one. I’m sure he’ll be adding to his team in 2017, and he’ll be attempting to build a digital consultancy within a creative agency (not always easy).
Anna Squibb, director of digital and social media, Sleep Number
New position for Sleep Number. And, it’s probably been a long time coming. And, I think Anna is the right person for the job. Smart. Solid background (Mills, Caring Bridge, Target). Right demeanor. Yep, Sleep Number is in great hands.
Kirstie Foster, vice president, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
After 15 years at General Mills in roles of increasing responsibility (she was director of brand and corp comms when she left), Kirstie landed at Blue Cross in May. Big “get” for the Blues. Big loss for Mills. And I’ve heard very good things from people who have worked for and with Kirstie at Mills. Blue Cross is lucky to have her.
Amy Von Walter, executive vice president-global communications and PR, Toys R Us
Now THAT’S a title! Huge move for Amy this year as she left Best Buy (where she had been for almost four years) for this gig at Toys R Us in New Jersey. This one was more about the void left at Best Buy (at least from a Minnesotan perspective), but I know they’re in good hands with people like Jeff Shelman involved.
Heather Rist Murphy, vice president of performance content and social media, Nina Hale.
Another impressive title (what exactly is “performance content” anyway?). Another impressive woman. After a year-and-a-half stint at Deluxe, Heather went to the agency side for a leadership role with Nina Hale.
Melissa Arrighi Wagner, marketing director, Greater Twin Cities United Way
After five-and-a-half years at General Mills, Melissa took her talents to the non-profit sector. And, GTCUW (former client) is lucky to have her. Already making great progress, judging from my work earlier in the year with this organization.
Breanna Welke, group account director, Bellmont Partners
After a relatively brief two-year stint at Marvin Windows & Doors, Breanna is back on the agency side with my friends over at Bellmont Partners. And, all reports I’ve heard is that things are working out pretty darn good. Happy to see another Warrior (Go Winona State) thriving!
Maggie Habashy, manager, corporate public relations, Sleep Number
Another great “get” by Sleep Number–that’s two on this list! I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maggie the last few months and could tell early on that she was going to be an invaluable add to the Sleep Number PR team. Bright future ahead for this young woman.
Last year I made a post that I’m going to make into an annual series–or challenge. The concept is simple: Publicly document and state 24 people I’d like to meet and grab a cup of coffee with in the next year.
How did I do last year? Not too shabby. I did get to know the following folks better: Kait Cox (Sleep Number), Molly Snyder (Target), Dory Anderson (Lemke Anderson), Anna Lovely (Cargill), Dane Hartzell (Honeywell), and Crystal Schweim (OLSON).
On the flip side, I whiffed on a LOT of my proposed list. I missed chances to meet: Dustee Jenkins (Target), Stacy Anderson (Anytime Fitness), Mike Fernandez (then Cargill) and Amy Von Walter (then Best Buy). And, I also didn’t connect with a slew of folks on the list that I already know, but haven’t seen or talked to in quite some time.
Letter grade for 2016: C-.
Time to take things up a notch!
So, I’m re-committing myself to coffee meet-ups in the New Year. Part of why I got away from them in 2016 was I was busy with client work. But, I can definitely do better. Coffee meet-ups don’t take a ton of time, and when done right, I can work them into the schedule rather easily.
So, here’s my list for 2017. Hoping to meet the following in the New Year!
Craig Pladson, GoKart Labs
Been on the list for a while. And we have so many common industry friends. It’s time.
Joanna Hjelmeland, CHS
“Met” her recently via LinkedIn through a common friend. Hoping to meet in real life in 2017.
Jamie Guse, Best Buy
His name keeps popping up in different situations. That’s a clear sign.
Julie Scheife, Land O’ Lakes
As luck would have it, she’s presenting at MIMA in two weeks. A relatively easy chance for a handshake at least!
Amanda Gebhard, Boston Scientific
Interestingly, I don’t know a single person who works for Boston Scientific. Figure this would be a good way to fix that! Plus, I know she volunteers for Social Media Breakfast. And, someone I know is speaking at SMB later this month 🙂
Matt Wilson, General Mills
If I’m not mistaken, Matt has referred work to me in the past at Mills. Probably about time I officially thank him face-to-face.
Kristin Zima, Optum
Kristin was the web content manager at Dow Corning before the web was even really invented (in 1991!). That’s intriguing enough–also, her current role at Optum as director of social has to be an interesting role.
Allison McMenimen, Nina Hale
Was all set to meet Allison earlier in 2016, but circumstances derailed us both. Hoping to correct that in 2016.
Whitney McChane, Carmichael Lynch Relate
CLR–another agency where I seemingly know no one anymore. I think I’m getting old.
Tim Laughlin, Xcel Energy
In case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t all that many guys who work in the PR/comms world. So, I aim to meet as many of them as I can 🙂
Katie Cerney, Thrivent
Interesting and diverse background with Fortune 500 companies in town. 40+ common friends. Seems like a logical connection to me.
Kirstie Foster, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
Almost had a chance to meet her when she was with General Mills. Now, she’s over with the Blues. Probably a big reach, but gotta reach for the stars, right?
Heather Leiferman, Buffalo Wild Wings
Another one of those companies where I don’t know a soul. Also time to correct that wrong.
Lori Fligge, Cargill
Global News Editor at Cargill. That’s a damn cool job title. And definitely someone I want to know.
The Business Journal has its long-time 40 Under 40 “competition.”
And now, Pollen has its 50 Over 50.
As usual, the Gen Xers are COMPLETELY over-looked.
Figures, too. We’ve been overlooked for years. And yeah, I’m going to play the victim card. And yeah, I’m going to complain about it. And yeah, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek 🙂
So, since ever other age group in existence has its own awards, I figured, it’s high time we have one for us 35-49 year-olds. You know, the people holding the PR world together! (OK, hold on now, you read the “tongue-in-cheek comment above, right?)
In all seriousness, I kinda get why all these lists overlook us Xers. Younger workers often feel overlooked and underpaid. Older workers have already “made it” and don’t need (and in many cases, don’t want) the spotlight. Meanwhile, the 35-49 year-olds are in the prime of their professional lives. These are the folks who are heading up teams and departments. They’re in their prime earning years. Maybe they don’t need recognition–they have everything else!
But, I would beg to differ. There are a whole lot of people in that 35-49 age group that go (and have gone) wildly unnoticed over the last 15-20 years of their working lives. And, it’s time to give them a little spotlight.
So, I give you the first-ever Talking Points 39-between-35-and-49 (use hash tag #39between35and49! And before you fire off 30 questions, no, this is not a scientific process. And yes, I am playing favorites (if you count “favorites” as people I know who I believe are smart, hard-working and fun to work with). So, just keep your questions to yourself and enjoy the list!
Anna Lovely, senior communications director, Cargill
Full disclosure: Anna is a (relatively) new client. Another disclosure: I’ve been a fan for a long time. No brainer on a list like this. Also: She’s a previous PRSA president.
Susan Roeder, director of public affairs, Andersen
Another #client. What I love about Susan isn’t how smart she is when it comes to navigating the world of corporate communications within a large org the size of Andersen (because she’s great at that). It’s how wonderful she is as a person. Any one of us would be lucky to work for Susan Roeder.
Kevin Hunt, manager of content and channels, General Mills
Co-host of the Talking Points Podcast, sure. But, Kevin is on this list because of his role at Mills where he’s one of the most senior folks on staff in the world of social.
Jamie Plesser, director-interactive marketing strategy & execution, Allianz
I’ve worked with Jamie for three years now–the first two as colleagues on the MIMA board, and the last year as a member of his MIMA programming committee. I’m assuming what I see at MIMA translates into his day job. And if that’s right, Allianz is lucky to have him.
Melanie Boulay Becker, owner, Boulay Becker Communications
Fellow solo and someone who’s been doing it a lot longer than I have. Melanie is one of those people who quietly goes about her business and flies well under the radar. She’s a former PRSA board member and has run a thriving solo PR business now for 14 years. I’m even willing to put her on this list DESPITE the fact that she’s a Bucky grad!
Stephanie Moncada, communications leader, Thermo King
Another client (sorry–I can’t help it if all my clients are awesome! ;). After seven years at Weber Shandwick, Stephanie has spent the last 10 working in the B2B world. First with BAE Systems and now with Thermo King. She has the skill set and demeanor to excel in the B2B world.
Nathan Eide, director, Test & Learn, FRWD
I got to know Nathan a bit better during my time on the MIMA board (when he was serving as president). Always appreciated his pragmatic approach. And, even though I know he hates lists like this, I also know Nathan is exactly the kind of guy who never shows up on lists because he’s busy out there actually DOING THE WORK!
Natalie Bushaw, director-public relations, Life Time Fitness
I’ve known Natalie for 20+ years. She’s a college friend. And, I’ll just say this: Natalie is one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. From her generosity to her spirit to the way she manages her work and life and volunteering. Utterly amazing.
Matt Kucharski, executive vice president, PadillaCRT
EVP at one of the biggest agencies in town. Adjunct prof at the University of Minnesota for 15 years. Board member–Minnesota High Tech Association. I could go on, but I’m not sure I have room in this post for all the titles, jobs and roles Matt has filled in this 20+ years in the business.
Kiersten Schroeder, vice president, broadhead
Another former client, Kiersten is everything an agency exec should be. Thoughtful. Strategic. Empowering. Had a blast working with Kiersten and her team for the better part of a year. Looking forward to the next time our paths cross.
Nicki Gibbs, senior vice president, Beehive
One of the best former bosses ever. And probably one of my former colleagues I learned the most from in the shortest amount of time.
Molly Snyder, director-communications, Target
Have never worked with Molly directly (unless you count her blogger days when I worked with her as part of a client campaign), but Molly is one of those people I’ve always admired from afar. And, goes without saying, she has one of the more high-profile PR jobs in town.
Jeff Shelman, senior director-external communications, Best Buy
No, I’m not putting Jeff on the list because of his golf prowess (although, his golf prowess is substantial). I’m putting him on the list because I have yet to see someone make the media-to-PR transition better than Jeff. Seven years after leaving the Strib, Jeff has really made a name for himself in the PR industry taking on one of the more senior-level positions in the Best Buy PR department.
Dory Anderson, partner, Lemke Anderson
Dory and I share a client (Andersen), so I’ve had the good fortune to get to know her a bit better over the last year or so. And, from what I can tell, she’s exactly the kind of person you want running a small agency devoted to clients like Andersen Windows & Doors.
Betsy Andersen, professor, University of Minnesota
Betsy has been educating the next wave of PR pros here in Minneapolis for the better part of a decade. She now has former students who are ascending to leadership roles with large agencies and companies across town (too many to mention, really). I can’t imagine what that must feel like–to know that you’ve shaped the minds and careers of so many successful people. Amazing.
Jill Gutterman, consultant, Adobe
I only worked with Jill for a quick cup of coffee on the MIMA board, but was instantly impressed with her perspective, demeanor and ability to direct and help shape the vision of an organization. Probably no surprise then that her list of former employers includes 3M, Optum and Rasmussen College. Another person I would jump at the chance to work with/for.
Brian Bellmont, Jen Bellmont & Shelli Lissick, Bellmont Partners
These three make up the triangle of authority (I just like to use that phrase!) at Bellmont Partners–an agency here in Minneapolis that’s grown leaps and bounds over the last few years. And while they’ve won numerous awards recently for their hard work, they’ve flown under the Gen X radar for years.
Scott Broberg, senior vice president, Fast Horse
One of the driving forces behind the success at Fast Horse? Gotta be Scott Broberg. He’s been there since the beginning and as far as I can tell from where I sit, he’s been instrumental to its growth. And, to be honest, I’d love a chance to work with him some day.
Aaron Pearson, executive vice president, Creation
Aaron’s one of those guys who’s been around forever doing good work behind the scenes. Now, he’s leading a new agency brand named “Creation.” I’m no HR expert, but I don’t think you give fancy titles and huge roles like that to just anyone.
Ryan Arnholt, director-content marketing, Optum
Current MIMA president, I got to know Ryan better during my time on the MIMA board of directors the last two years. Yet another Gen Xer who flies well under the radar–and most likely the funniest person on this list.
Gabby Nelson, director-global communications, Cargill
A former client, I’ve always been impressed at how Gabby can “manage a room”–specifically, how she can manage difficult executive personalities. At the level Gabby has been operating for the last 10 years, that’s an absolutely essential skill. Definitely another one of those people who just goes to work, does her job and doesn’t ask for a lot of recognition in return.
Amy Lewis, president, Renown Marketing
Amy has been a solo for 16 years now–longer than all but a handful of other solos (at least the ones I know) in the Twin Cities. That says an awful lot about her: 1) Success as a solo counselor, 2) Staying power in an ever-changing landscape, and 3) Relationships across the board. Definitely one of the solos I look up to.
Dave Folkens, senior vice president, Risdall PR
I’ve known Dave now for at least 10 years. And, in those 10 years it’s been fun to see him grow and take on new challenges (like leading an entire PR agency!). He’s also been a big PRSA supporter over the years, going back to 2006 when I worked on the programming committee with him.
Joel Swanson, founder, Swanson Strategic Communications
Most recently the former president of MN PRSA and leader of Risdall PR, Joel has been a fixture in the local PR community for years. He’s also one of the lucky winners of the prestigious Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner Award (is “distinguished” code for old? I’ll let you decide :).
Rose McKinney, founder, Pineapple RM
One of my early mentors, Rose has always been someone I’ve looked up to and admired (and I’m not alone). In addition to helping found two PR firms in recent years, she’s also a PRSA Fellow (no small task), a former MN PRSA president and a long-time adjunct prof at Metropolitan State University.
Branden Happel, senior manager-PR/marketing communications, The Toro Company
Recent client, I’ve gotten to know Branden much better the last year via our corporate communicator mastermind group I run. And, I’ve discovered our interests (golf) and approaches align in many different ways. People like Branden get to where they are by doing great work, sure, but by also knowing how to navigate the processes, politics and relationships within an organization the size of Toro.
Bryan Vincent, director-digital communications/social media, United Health Group
Another friend who served on the MIMA board with me (and still is, leading MIMA Summit again this year!). One thing I’ve really learned to appreciate about Bryan over the years is his level-headed, even-keeled approach to pretty much everything (save Green Bay Packer football–don’t get him started). That mentality most certainly has come in handy at UHG where I’m sure process and diplomacy rule the day.
Anne Hendricks, senior manager-communications, Target
Had the pleasure of working with Anne at Fairview years ago. And, I served with her (briefly) on the PRSA board of directors. In both cases, I walked away a better person and counselor for it. Target is lucky to have her now.
Anna Lewicki Long, communications director, Department of Veteran Affairs
Anna is another long-time PRSA friend and another person I very much see eye-to-eye with on many issues in our industry. What I think is amazing about Anna is her ability to juggle: 1) A full-time job, 2) A family–two kids/husband, and 3) Serving as a member of the National Guard. She also somehow found time to volunteer for PRSA all those year and recently served as its president.
David Erickson, vice president of online marketing, Karwoski & Courage
Dave’s been podcasting and blogging more than just about anyone in the Twin Cities. And, he’s been putting his skills to good use for Tunheim, New School Communications, and now Karwoski & Courage for the better part of the last 20 years.
Curtis Smith, director of marketing and sales enablement, The Nerdery
Curtis is one of those guys almost everyone in town over the age of 30 here in Minneapolis knows. That’s because: 1) He’s a smart, fun guy to work with, 2) He’s worked with a number of the larger agencies in town, and 3) He’s been a pretty connected guy for a long time.
Brooke Worden, senior vice president, Weber Shandwick
Brooke was one of the first people I met when I joined PRSA almost 15 years ago. We co-chaired our first committee together. We (essentially) joined the board together. But, that’s probably where the comparisons end. Brooke is far more successful than I will ever be–serving as SVP of Weber’s financial services practices here in Minneapolis. And, I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about her. And even though I haven’t seen or talked to Brooke for years, I can tell you this: Brooke’s the kind of leader most of us want to be.
Patrick Schaber, senior director-marketing, Intertech
Another former client. Another smart guy. So smart, MIMA decided to take him on its board of directors late last year. And, I’m glad they did. They’re a better organization for it.
Blois Olson, principal, Fluence Media
Since I’ve known (or known *about* Blois), he’s always been a mover-and-shaker. Started his own agency in his mid-20s, and recently reinvented himself again as the founder of Fluence Media and Morning Take (part e-newsletter, part podcast/radio show). I wouldn’t say Blois “flies under the radar”, but I also don’t think he gets the spotlight enough either.
Mike Zipko, owner-Zipko Strategy
Mike may be THE most connected PR counselor in St. Paul. In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and give him that label. An alum of Goff Public and a one-time advisor to Norm Coleman, Mike is doing his own thing these days. And, from what I hear, realizing pretty darn good results.
Jennifer Kane, principal-Kane Consulting
From what I remember, Jen doesn’t love lists like this. But I’ll be damned if I’m not going to put the best speaker in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (bare NONE) on this list. Plus, she’s been at the solo thing now for 15+ years. Must be doing something right.
Missy Berggren Voronyak, group director, WCG
Have to include my partner-in-crime who helped me start the MN Blogger Conference all those years back! She’s also a former client. Nowadays, she’s playing a lead role in social over at WCG working with companies like Medtronic, Pfizer and Harley-Davidson.