2015 Wonder Women

Six outstanding professionals who use their influence to help others.

by Fran Howard, Gene Rebeck, Lucy Vilankulu, and Suzy Frisch

January 20, 2015

If you wonder why the world needs Wonder Women, ask Gail Cederberg.

In the mid-1980s, when Cederberg earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University, she was one of fewer than 200 women to earn an engineering doctorate—about 5 percent of all such doctorates awarded that year. In 2013, the number of women earning Ph.Ds. in engineering reached 2,051—nearly 23 percent of the total. What Cederberg achieved 30 years ago was unusual. Now, she’s using her success and her willingness to take risks to help others follow their own professional paths.

Cederberg is one of six businesswomen Twin Cities Business is recognizing this year, not only for their own achievements, but also for serving and often steering organizations, and spearheading causes, to improve Minnesota’s culture and economy. At the same time, they have helped others pursue their own goals and aspirations. In the process, they’re helping create a new generation of leaders.

Twin Cities Business’ 2015 Wonder Women are:

  • Gail Cederberg, principal engineer and senior client manager of environmental services, American Engineering Testing
  • Nancy Feldman, CEO and president, UCare
  • Cindy Kent, president and general manager, 3M Drug Delivery Systems Division
  • Judy Poferl, corporate secretary, SVP executive services and chief of staff, Xcel Energy
  • Mary Brainerd (For Distinguished Service), president and CEO, HealthPartners
  • Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Lifetime Achievement), former chair and CEO, Carlson

They’ve inspired others. We hope their stories inspire you.

Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Lifetime Achievement)

Former chair and CEO, Carlson

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Mary Brainerd (For Distinguished Service)

CEO and president, HealthPartners

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Judy Poferl

Corporate secretary, senior vice president, executive services, Xcel Energy; chief of staff to Xcel Energy chairman, CEO and president Ben Fowke

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Cindy Kent

President and general manager, 3M Drug Delivery Systems Division

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Nancy Feldman

CEO and president, UCare

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Gail Cederberg

Principal engineer and senior client manager of environmental services, American Engineering Testing

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