DFL Caucus, Minnesota House of Representatives
Abou Amara only completed his master of public policy degree a few years ago, but he has already served on advisory boards, advocacy groups and as a committee administrator for the Minnesota House of Representatives. His keen interest in politics has landed him on several DFL political campaigns. In many ways, Amara represents the new face of the party: young, a person of color, and steeped in social justice. He just finished a stint as deputy political director for Al Franken’s reelection campaign against Mike McFadden.
CEO and co-founder
Latino Communications Network
Puerto Rican by birth, Alberto Monserrate is deeply passionate about the Latino community. His Latino Communications Network is a tour de force in marketing to Spanish and bilingual speakers across print, radio and other formats. He’s working on diversity and equity issues at Hiawatha Leadership Academy and is the first Latino on the Minneapolis School Board.
Founder and CEO
Dan Buettner works to transform the health of America. The Minnesota native coined the concept of “blue zones,” areas where residents live incredibly long lives. In 2009, he helped Albert Lea apply blue-zone principles that slashed city worker health claims. Since then, he’s taken that model to other cities, written a best-selling book and been featured in a TED talk. Buettner clearly won’t stop until everyone is living longer.
Senior project manager
Besides her work at Grassroots Solutions, a consulting firm that works with grassroots organizations, Tran directs Minnesota field activities for the Pew Charitable Trust’s program to advance federal clean energy policies, and serves on several nonprofit boards. In addition, the self-described “practical optimist” founded Minnesota Rising, an emerging-leader network. In short, she’s one of those high-energy people who don’t seem to need much sleep.
Dr. Tara Watson
Watson Chiropractic, Exceptional Home Health
Tara Watson’s career can be summed up in a simple formula: boldness + resilience = brilliance. Few chiropractors have had to make so many adjustments. A month after purchasing a building on West Broadway to house her chiropractic and home health care business, a flood ruined it; with no insurance, she rebuilt. A year later, a tornado wrecked it; again she rebuilt, opening an Anytime Fitness franchise in the process. Why? It’s elementary, says Watson: “When everything’s been taken away, you might as well keep going, because there’s at least some hope in that.
One might wonder when Jamie Millard has time to breathe: Just five years out of college, she has launched and runs the literary magazine Paper Darts, doles out social media advice at conferences, engages social sector workers through the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network and sits at the helm of Pollen, an online community of more than 4,000 that shares civic-minded ideas and opportunities in Minnesota. Millard has plenty on her plate, but she keeps taking on more. Her next challenge? Building better-connected communities through sharing stories, opportunities and events.
Jennifer Ford Reedy
Since arriving in 2012, Reedy has been an energetic innovator who has raised the profile of the Bush Foundation, which supports organizations and individuals developing new ideas to improve their communities. Before 2012, Reedy worked for Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, where she led the creation of innovative giving programs GiveMN.org and Give to the Max Day, as well as the development of the Minnesota Idea Open.
St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
Once a rather sleepy group, the St. Paul Area Chamber seems far more energetic these days. Weinhagen’s a big reason why. He loves his city, loves what he does and he’s well-connected. He has served on scads of boards (education is one of his big interests), and built a reputation as a dynamic communicator and consensus. You’ll be seeing him around.
Managing director of small law firms and consumer
Under Karl Florida’s watch, FindLaw—an Eagan-based consumer legal website and attorney directory—extended its lead on the competition. Florida was promoted to president of FindLaw in 2010 after serving as the business’ vice president of strategy and development. A Thomson Reuters subsidiary, FindLaw reached a milestone of 8 million monthly visitors in 2014. Florida continued climbing the ladder in 2012, when Thomson Reuters named him managing director of the company’s business segment for small law firms.
Kristin Pardue and Brad von Bank
Rêve Consulting / Rêve Academy
Kristin Pardue left corporate America to found Rêve Consulting, a business strategy consulting firm, in 2009. Brad von Bank joined a year later after leaving Target Corp. In 2012, the husband-and-wife team launched Rêve Academy and have been drawing rave reviews. The program, offered after school or in the summer, teaches kids digital marketing skills. Rêve is based in north Minneapolis, a corner of the city in need of fresh energy and revitalization. In a sign of the interest, funding partners for Rêve Academy include big names: the Pohlad Family Foundation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Carlson Family Foundation, Best Buy Children’s Foundation and the General Mills Foundation.
Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education
Mohamud Noor demonstrated his ability to marshal the electoral power of the Somali community in his DFL primary contest against Rep. Phyllis Kahn. Although he lost the August election, it was competitive, drew statewide attention and gave him an opportunity to raise Somali concerns to a broad audience. As a member of the Minneapolis school board, Noor is in a pivotal position to advocate for policies and approaches to improve educational outcomes of Somalis and other minorities in a district with a serious racial achievement gap.
Magnet 360, Minnesota Cup
Scott Litman knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship. Alongside longtime business partner Dan Mallin, Litman co-founded Imaginet in the early 1990s and St. Louis Park-based Magnet 360 in 2008. His marketing technology consultancy has a 95 percent retention rate since 2012 and has been named one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies, with $28 million in revenue expected for 2014. Litman is also a founder of the Minnesota Cup, which has become the largest statewide contest for business startups in the country.
CEO / President
Northside Achievement Zone
Samuels wants to craft better futures. Samuels aims to replicate the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone, but on Minneapolis’s North Side, working with a $28 million federal grant and schools, parents, and partners such as the University of Minnesota’s Center for Early Education and Development. The Newark, N.J., native’s goal: to prepare 2,500 low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school ready for college. What drives her? In part, the loss of many friends and family to neighborhood violence.
Quality Bicycle Products
Flagg didn’t turn the Twin Cities into one of the top bicycling regions in the country on his own, of course. But he’s certainly been one of the big wheels. QBP is one of the country’s biggest suppliers of parts; it’s also home to innovative bicycle brands Surly, Salsa, All-City and Civia. Locally, Flagg’s longtime work advocating for bicycling has encouraged more trails and easier bike commuting. At age 63, he’s taking more time out from his workload to take some cycling trips.