5 MN Execs. Make Ntl. “Women Worth Watching” List
Five leaders of Minnesota-based companies are among 159 “Women Worth Watching,” according to a new list recently published by Profiles in Diversity Journal magazine.
The Cleveland-based magazine—which focuses on leadership, best practices, diversity strategies, and employee recognition within the business, government, nonprofit, education, and military sectors—recognizes female executives who have demonstrated “outstanding achievement and leadership” in their careers.
Each executive is nominated by her company and must complete a questionnaire and submit a 400-word “personal leadership” essay. The magazine has included more than 1,000 women on its unranked “Women Worth Watching” list since it was first published in 2002.
Rhonda Meadows—executive vice president and chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare’s quality management and performance division—is among the executives from Minnesota-based companies to make this year’s “Women Worth Watching” list. Meadows told the Profiles in Diversity Journal that she decided to pursue a medical career after being exposed to community clinics and public assistance programs as a child. She previously worked with Mayo Clinic and Blue Cross Blue Shield before her current position at a subsidiary of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, which is the largest public company in Minnesota based on revenue.
Abby Wilkinson—a partner in the finance and restructuring practice at Minneapolis-based law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP—also appeared on the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s list.
Wilkinson attributed her career success to her mentors.
“My principal mentor . . . emphasized the importance of taking responsibility for my own career,” she told the magazine. “For me, that has meant developing a deep expertise, selecting opportunities that are meaningful to me, and, most importantly, choosing my battles carefully to effect change in my work environment.”
Faegre Baker Daniels—which formed last year after Faegre & Benson, LLP, merged with Indianapolis-based Baker & Daniels, LLP—is Minnesota’s largest law firm based on licensed state attorneys.
RBC Wealth Management’s Kristen Kimmell was another Minnesota executive “worth watching,” according to the Profiles in Diversity Journal. Minneapolis-based financial services firm RBC is the second-largest asset management firm in the state based on companywide assets under management. Kimmell, who is RBC’s chief of staff, told the magazine that “remaining adaptable, building relationships, learning from everyone, and welcoming change” are important factors in a successful business career.
Savitri Dixon-Saxon—the associate dean for Walden University’s School of Counseling and its School of Social Work and Human Services—also appears on the list. Dixon-Saxon told the Profiles in Diversity Journal that working in the education industry, particularly through Walden University—which is an online school and the second-largest university in Minnesota based on its number of students—has led her to develop a collaborative leadership style.
“I chose to be a leader who affirms other people; who makes them know that they are respected and I’m interested in their individual talents,” she told the magazine.
Hollis Salzmann—partner and co-chair of Minneapolis-based law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, LLP’s antitrust trade regulation group—was also among the 159 “Women Worth Watching.” Salzmann attributes the success of her role in a male-dominated practice to the examples set before her as well as her participation in community service, pro bono work, and bar associations. Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi is among the 10 largest law firms in Minnesota.
To view the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s complete “Women Worth Watching” list, click here.
Separately, Fortune magazine recently published a list of the most prominent businesswomen in the United States. The magazine named UnitedHealth Group’s Gail Boudreaux to its list, which also included several leaders of companies with a major presence in Minnesota.