January 13, 2014

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Marilee Hedberg
Vice President, Human Resources
Scholarship America

Hedberg is the vice president of human resources for Scholarship America, an organization that awarded $41 million in scholarships to 38,525 students in 2012. With more than 25 years of experience in human resources, Hedberg oversees Scholarship America’s human resources systems, including staffing, performance management, and organization development, and educates the HR staff on the organization’s large initiatives, such as Dollars for Scholars and the Dream Award. —Rebecca Omastiak

Sondra Samuels Sondra Samuels
Northside Achievement Zone

As the president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), Samuels leads a collaborative of partner organizations and schools that work together to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school ready for college. Samuels is a tireless advocate for effective solutions to end poverty through education. Under her leadership, NAZ was named a federal “Promise Neighborhood” and has become a nationally recognized model for educational achievement. —Kevin Mahoney

Julie Sullivan Julie Sullivan
University of St. Thomas

Sullivan is not only the first woman president in the 128-year history of the University of St. Thomas, but she is also the first non-clergy member to lead the school. Sullivan was elected in February 2013, just two years after the university changed its bylaws to allow non-clergy to serve as president. Moving forward, Sullivan hopes to make St. Thomas as affordable as possible while increasing access. “We will need to diversify our revenue streams while being conscious of our mission,” she says. —Kevin Mahoney


Ward Ulmer
Associate Dean
College of Management and Technology, Walden University

Ulmer joined Walden University in 2012 with more than 20 years of experience in education and management. Ulmer has published Microsoft certification textbooks and appeared at conferences to discuss topics such as assessment, accreditation, technology, faculty, and training. He has conducted research involving higher education, particularly on faculty perceptions of distance and online learning as well as remedial education’s effects on student performance. —Rebecca Omastiak

Sandra Vargas
President and CEO
The Minneapolis Foundation

After beginning her career as a small-business consultant, then becoming Hennepin County administrator, Vargas was appointed president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation in 2007. She has since managed more than 1,000 charitable funds composed of individuals, businesses, and families. She oversees more than $600 million in foundation assets and distribution of more than $30 million in grants each year. Vargas’ top priorities include expanding business opportunities for women and minorities, as well as developing cross-sector business collaborations. —Rebecca Omastiak

Sri Zaheer
Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Officially named dean of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in 2012, Zaheer views her role as “the bridge between our school and the state’s vibrant business community.” Zaheer names the Social Media and Business Analytics Collaborative and the Military Veterans Initiative as two of the school’s important accomplishments in 2013. In 2014, Zaheer plans to continue meeting with statewide business leaders to ensure graduates are prepared for the current business climate. She also seeks to attract more women to the Carlson School and to business careers with programming and scholarship funding. —Rebecca Omastiak

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