Louise Wolfgramm: 2014

WolfgrammLouise Wolfgramm served as a 2013-14 Executive Leadership Fellow for CIL. She joined us as the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits 2013 Transformational Leader Awardee, honored at the annual Minnesota Nonprofit Leadership Conference. The Transformational Leader Award is given each year to someone who effectively demonstrates commitment to the nonprofit sector, serving 20 years or more in strategic and significant roles.

Louise has dedicated her life to the cause of bridging communities with people currently in as well as leaving prison. As of April 2013, Louise retired after over four decades of leadership for Amicus - one of the foremost nonprofits in reentry services. She continues to help Amicus transition to a new era as part of the services of Volunteers of America - Minnesota.

Her nominator for the award, Virginia McCain - a volunteer, donor, board member and board president for Amicus over the past 40 years - commends Louise’s leadership:

Louise has built an entire agency around a model of caring, respect and transformation. Louise’s legacy is one of constantly searching for new ways to serve our clientele... Through co-founding the Amicus One-to-One program she has matched and taught others to match several thousand community volunteers with individual inmates, building relationships that allow participants to try out new behaviors and rekindle dreams they once thought lost. The “Amicus Way” that Louise inspired has resulted in over 2,000 people coming out of prison each year find their way to the agency, knowing that staff and interns will treat them with dignity as they search for jobs, housing and other daily necessities.

Furthermore, Ms. McCain commends Louise’s commitment to cross-sector collaboration:

Amicus has been a friend to many community agencies and government and corporate leaders, reaching out to them on behalf of clients and searching for new solutions to evolving challenges. Louise has actively participated on numerous state and local boards and has supported Amicus’ participation in groups such as the Department of Corrections Transition Coalition, a regional Mentoring Support group and the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition. She served on the executive team of Unity Church Unitarian and even started a restorative justice team at Unity, which is one of many communities of faith who actively support Amicus’ work.

Louise comes to this work from a deep-seated sense of vocation. In this way she embodies integrative leadership at the most personal level - integration of self. In the words of Ms. McCain:

As a child, Louise sometimes accompanied her father, noted corrections official and scholar John Conrad, on trips into prisons. She saw the lifeless looks in the eyes of incarcerated boys, men and women, without hope and friendship, and she knew that for society to get the results they wanted from correctional facilities; people who are prepared to successfully rejoin society and stay out of prison; a community-based solution was necessary.

In Minneapolis, in the early 1970s she discovered a fledgling program called Amicus and volunteered. Because no female-focused prison visiting programs existed yet, Louise started as an office volunteer and then came on staff to co-found the first women-focused Amicus community-prisoner matching program at Shakopee correctional facility. She was chosen to lead Amicus shortly afterward and under her leadership, Amicus grew from a relatively small prison-visiting program to a respected multifaceted reentry program. The Center for Integrative Leadership is grateful for the time and expertise the Executive Leadership Fellows bring to the University. You can visit the Center’s blog, “A Time to Lead,” to learn more about Leah’s conversation with the Fellows.

Steve Lepinski: 2013

LepinskiSteve is the Executive Director of Washburn Center for Children. He has long been a leader in shaping children’s mental health policy in Minnesota and across the country. He received a Leadership Award in 2006 for sustained leadership in children’s mental health and recently received the 2012 Transformational Leadership Award from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

“Leadership…is like juggling.”

Ask Steve Lepinski his take on leadership and he won’t hand you a textbook. He’ll pull out three brightly colored balls. “Leadership…is like juggling,” he says, launching into an insightful, animated metaphor that makes you appreciate leadership as not inherited, but rather a practice – particularly when he tells you, “Anyone can learn to juggle. Just give it a week.” The leadership stories Steve has to share were clearly not learned in a week, however, but accumulated from over 38 dedicated years leading child-focused nonprofits. For the last 25 of those years, Steve has served as Executive Director of Washburn Center for Children, Minnesota’s leading children’s mental health center. In this position, Steve – or “Mr. Washburn” as the children often call him – makes a difference in more than 2,700 children and approximately 7,200 family members who receive Washburn’s services each year.

Children’s mental health is a field that calls on expertise and coordination across many disciplines and systems including education, social service agencies, and medicine, among others. While Steve recognizes the challenges of different disciplinary vocabularies and siloed funding streams, he emphasizes the value of relationships and creativity in bridging these boundaries.

In 2001, Steve and several colleagues initiated an effort to transform the children’s mental health system in Minnesota. Within six months, they had successfully recruited over 25 leaders from numerous systems from across the state to form the Children’s Mental Health Partnership, which advocates for policy and cross-system improvements in the field. Two years later, the work of this group grew into the Minnesota Mental Health Action Group, a public-private initiative to transform the entire mental health system (children and adults) in Minnesota. In 2006, this cross-sector coalition’s recommendations to the Minnesota State Legislature led to legislation and funding that resulted in the most significant changes in the state’s mental health system since the passage of the Mental Health Act in 1985.

Hear Steve tell the story:

Steve comes to CIL this year as the awardee of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofit’s 2012 Transformational Leader Award. He looks forward to seeking opportunities through this Fellowship to provide mentorship to emerging leaders. In addition to contributing to the work of CIL, he’ll be continuing to lead Washburn’s $21 million campaign to create a new facility that will ensure children have access to therapeutic services for decades to come.

Read Steve's extended profile

Wendy Morris: 2013

MorrisWendy is a leadership and innovation educator who works at the crossroads between different sectors, cultures and geographies. She is the Founder and Director of the Creative Leadership Studio, bringing creative approaches to changemakers who want to be more innovative and effective in complex environments.

“New thinking arises at the intersections between different communities, cultures, fields, and geographies. Innovation often arises at the border of our differences. When we cross the borders of sectors and communities, we have the possibility of being jarred out of our assumptions. Our engrained perspectives get shaken loose, and fresh options often appear.”

Wendy Morris is a pioneering leadership and innovation educator who works at the crossroads between different sectors, cultures and geographies. Leah Lundquist, CIL Program Manager, recently sat down with Wendy to talk about her understanding of integrative leadership.

Wendy’s story starts in Newark, New Jersey, in the 1960’s. She describes it at the time as a city that was literally “on fire with what newspapers called the worst urban riots in American history”:

I grew up performing at grand opera houses in New York City. I spent many weeknights going back and forth between men in torn pants partying and drinking out of brown paper bags on street corners and women in mink coats sipping glasses of wine on the plaza of Lincoln Center. Even as a child I knew there was something wrong with this picture. The disparity was glaring. It burned a yearning into me to use my life to weave more connectedness and equity.

Building the capacity to work across difference and within complexity

Seeing the need for individuals passionate about community change to be connected with each other and with creative approaches to effecting change within complex systems, Wendy co-founded the Creative Community Leadership Institute in 2001. It has now grown into a diverse regional network of about 160 fellows across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota - some with formal authority and positions in institutions, others working at the grassroots, but all working towards systemic, positive change within their communities.

What pushes me in my work is some desire to heal the wound that dividedness causes in society; to weave together more connectedness so the resources of one part of our community – especially the creative resources - can be shared with another part of our community.

In order to further her own understanding of leadership in complexity, about 6 years ago, Wendy stepped into faculty positions at leadership institutes including the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute in Nova Scotia and The Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada.

Over the past couple years, she has brought her skills and understanding of integrative leadership to the University of Minnesota, partnering with CIL to design and implement trainings for leadership educators from across the University.

Articulating and sharing her discoveries about developing the capacity for integrative leadership

In her role as an Executive Leadership Fellow, Wendy looks forward to spending time articulating what she has discovered about building the capacity to work across difference and to move towards defining a pedagogical approach to developing integrative leadership at all levels of scale - the individual, the team or group, and larger levels of society.

I understand the integrative leadership skills to be different than traditional leadership skills. They’re deeper and broader.

She also looks forward to deepening her relationships across the University of Minnesota, and plans to host small group discussions to further explore the interplay between creativity, leadership, and systems-thinking

Watch a video clip of Wendy (1 min)

Vanessa Laird: 2013

Vanessa is a former General Counsel of Optum. She was previously Vice President and Senior Counsel for Medtronic's Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management and Neuromodulation businesses, as well as Senior Legal Counsel for Medtronic Europe, Middle East and Africa. She was previously an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and practiced U.S. and international law in the Legal Adviser's Office at the U.S. Department of State and on the Faculty of Laws at the University of Sheffield in England and clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for Judge Stephen Trott.

As an attorney who has worked as a law professor, as an international advisor for the U.S. State Department, as a international counsel and divisional general counsel for Medtronic, and most recently as General Counsel for Optum - UnitedHealth Group’s information and technology-enabled health services business, Vanessa Laird has a depth of experience balancing tension and finding common ground across diverse cultures and competing interests. Leah Lundquist, CIL Program Manager, and Girija Tulpule, CIL Graduate Research Assistant, recently sat down with Vanessa to talk about her interests and understanding of integrative leadership.

From her undergraduate double major in English and political science to her Master’s Degree in philosophy, politics, and economics, Vanessa Laird has always been interested in the power of fusing ideas and techniques from different disciplines and sectors. She was drawn to law school by the idea that she could take her unique combination of theoretical knowledge and apply different ways of thinking to real problems in a “socially-relevant space.”

She acknowledges that her perspective on key integrative leadership skills was profoundly shaped by her experience negotiating treaties, regulations, and statues as an International Advisor for the U.S. State Department. In this boundary-spanning role, she negotiated with officials from all different cultures and employees from across U.S. federal agencies. In reflecting on what she learned about integrative leadership from this experience, Vanessa shares:

You have to go through an iterative process of listening to people’s objectives and concerns, trying to find the common goals and being fairly creative in creating a common position. What I learned from those experiences is that listening is really important…nuanced listening for the areas of argument versus agreement. You often have to rephrase the question in order to find common ground and a new way forward.

After leaving her position at the U.S. State Department, she returned to Minnesota to work as international counsel and then divisional general counsel at the medical device company Medtronic. When asked about her experience transitioning sectors from a federal agency to a multinational corporation, she admits that this transition probably looks more drastic on a resume than it actually felt in real life. According to Vanessa, they were both large organizations that required the same listening and negotiation skills to balance the objectives of many different people with different incentives. The question she asked on a daily basis remained the same: “What is the best way to focus groups of individuals with competing objectives or interests and to move them forward together?”

Following 14 years working as a legal practitioner in the healthcare sector, Vanessa is looking forward to the opportunity to grapple with some of the difficult healthcare policy and business questions as a 2012 – 2013 CIL Executive Leadership Fellow. Specifically, she will be working with previous CIL Co-academic Director and Carlson Professor Paul Vaaler to look at various questions relating to the impact of co-existing regulatory frameworks on healthcare quality and economics. Areas of focus may include the impact of state-specific versus federal regulation and the tension at the intersection of patient data privacy and quality of care.

Janet Dolan: 2012

DolanBased on her 19 years with Tennant Company - a world-leading cleaning solutions manufacturer – seven of which she served as CEO, Janet brings insightful business acumen and global awareness to her role as a CIL Executive Leadership Fellow.

"Integrative leaders come together with others from different backgrounds or disciplines with great respect. They recognize ‘I couldn’t do it without you, but you couldn’t do it without me. Together we bring something that is worth more than the sum of the parts.’"

Based on her 19 years with Tennant Company - a world-leading cleaning solutions manufacturer – seven of which she served as CEO, Janet brings insightful business acumen and global awareness to her role as a CIL Executive Leadership Fellow. At Tennant, Janet fostered a commitment to cross-cultural exchange and cross-functional teamwork. Leading a multinational company with presence in 64 countries, Janet has a keen global interest that made her a successful leader as globalization and technological advances dramatically changed the world’s economic and political paradigms.

Though integrative leadership most obviously manifests itself in Janet’s leadership at Tennant, she reflects on interdisciplinary collaboration as a common thread throughout her life. She attributes her original appreciation for integrative leadership to long before she reached the doors of Tennant:

My experience of integrative work started right away in the rural town in western Minnesota in which I was raised. I saw my neighbors working together to make the community work; they found ways to get work done while also helping those in need. These rural roots gave me great values. You really do feel like the whole town wanted you to succeed. It was a tremendous thing to be raised in this environment.

Janet carried this appreciation with her to St. Catherine’s University, an all-women’s college in St. Paul, Minnesota, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She was deeply impressed by the community of women in this order who were able to come together from diverse disciplines to build both a successful order and a very successful academic institution. They were great role models for women as leaders in a time when there were not that many such role models.

Her first career after graduating from college and law school was as a trial lawyer, a career that she also reflects on as interdisciplinary. According to Janet, even in litigation where the players are not working towards the same result, they still must use integrative skills; that is, an ability to listen, understand, and act based on a diversity of perspectives.

Upon retiring from Tennant, Janet continues to dedicate her time to corporate and nonprofit board service. This is yet another role in which she sees integrative leadership as key; individuals with many different experiences bring their unique perspectives to the “Boardroom” in order to work for the best interests of the organization.

She plans to explore how the digital age will differ from the industrial age in terms of how public policy is made, how innovation is supported, and how cultural change takes place. Her thesis is that many of the traditional roles of “government” in the industrial age will now be replaced by non-government entities and the individual in the digital age. Such changes will require a significant re-thinking of the leadership model for this new paradigm. Leadership will, in all likelihood, need to be more inter-disciplinary and more inclusive than in the more structured, bureaucratic model of the industrial age. Janet is very much looking forward to exploring this thesis and advancing the discussion of this topic, both within the Center for Integrative Leadership, as well as the forum for public thinking and discourse.

Janet admires the integrative traits of such leaders as Dag Hammarskjöld –“a global citizen long before we knew what that term meant” – and Nelson Mandela – “a deep listener.” However, she sees power in many individuals’ capacity to act with integrative leadership and proposes that we need it in our culture more than ever:

The view of our culture is too often, ‘You’re wrong, I’m right. You’re evil, I’m good. You’re red, I’m blue.’ If you don’t agree with me you’re wrong. Or even worse, you are to be demonized. Our culture too often suggests that to be different is to be inferior. Integrative thinking takes the approach that, ‘You can be different and I still respect you. You deserve to be here, and I’m glad you are here. You bring a whole different way of thinking than I do, and I can learn from it. Our differences make life more interesting, not less.

Anthony Wagner: 2012

WagnerLeadership across boundaries of race, class, and educational level is just as important to Tony Wagner as leadership across sectors and disciplines. He developed this value early on and then proceeded to deepen it over the course of his 34 years of leadership at Pillsbury United Communities.

“Because of the nature of the nonprofit system, I had the fortunate experience of working horizontally across organizations, disciplines, and sectors and vertically across class, race, and positional authority. Often in the same day, I would spend time with clients on the street who could care less about what I knew or my position, with my staff and then building partnerships with wealthy CEOs, businesspeople, and foundations. I’ve come to understand that was really a unique experience because most of us get stuck within our organizations. We get bound by who we know and who we hang out with. Movement across these boundaries is not as common as it needs to be.”

Leadership across boundaries of race, class, and educational level is just as important to Tony Wagner as leadership across sectors and disciplines. He developed this value early on and then proceeded to deepen it over the course of his career, growing up in North Minneapolis as a client of Pillsbury United Communities - the organization he subsequently led for 34 years before retiring in May 2011.

Wagner’s leadership heroes originate from the settlement house tradition from which Pillsbury United Communities was established. Without hesitation, he can recite the story of Samuel Augustus Barnett - a young Anglican pastor placed in St. Jude’s Parish on the impoverished East side of London in the late 19th century. Tony admires the humility and hospitality Barnett exemplified in working with that community, but describes Barnett’s truly revolutionary act as realizing the task was too big for himself. Barnett returned to Oxford University, gathered a half dozen of his friends from across disciplines who agreed to postpone their degrees for two years to come live with him and to help strengthen a struggling community. Barnett’s model was one Wagner strove to reenergize through his leadership at Pillsbury. Tony also highlights the life of Jane Addams who was an expert organizer and brought the settlement house movement to Chicago in the early 20th century.

Tony perceives integrative leadership as happening along four dimensions: horizontal, vertical (up), vertical (down), and temporal. Leadership across the horizontal dimension means fostering interdisciplinary or cross-sector collaboration. Leading “up” in an organization requires a leader to ask questions such as: “How do we get the Board of Directors engaged with the client? Where does that happen? How do they learn from each other? How do we get funders or commissioners engaged with our work?” Leading “down” in an organization poses the challenge of retaining a connection to the work happening on the ground. It begs the question of how to keep the CEO connected to his or her staff and those the organization is serving. Lastly, Tony perceives leadership across the temporal plane as managing towards the future. A visionary leader proactively asks questions such as: “Where are we going? and Why is it important to go there?”

Tony has experience leading across all four of the dimensions he describes. Vertically, he transformed his staff to better represent those they were serving. Realizing that “street smarts” were more important to the quality of client service than education, he ushered a change in Pillsbury’s job posting clause from “Bachelor of Arts Required, Masters Preferred” to “Ability to work with the people we serve required, education preferred.” In a matter of 5 years, this changed the complexion of the organization and its success partnering with the communities it serves. Horizontally, Tony helped forge the MACC Commonwealth - a nationally-recognized alliance across human service providers in the Twin Cities community for collaborative management and administrative services.

Based on his experience as a leader, Tony is interested in spending his year as an Executive Leadership Fellow potentially exploring two topics. The first is what he calls the “new community professional.” He would like to explore the societal assumption that a lack of academic credentials translates into a compromise in service quality and whether and how training to work across class and race can be taught. As President of the United Neighborhood Centers of America and Director of the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, Tony is also interested in the role Neighborhood Center leaders can play both nationally and internationally in sector leadership.

Orlyn Kringstad: 2012

KringstadA lifetime of leading change and building relationships has prepared Orlyn Kringstad with key integrative leadership skills for fostering peace both locally and globally through the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights.

Never underestimate the power of a good shoulder shrug. Sometimes there really isn’t anything you can do about a certain situation no matter how passionate, how concerned, how worried, how much you believe in something. Sometimes it’s best to just walk away from it. And often a solution will emerge after that.

Orlyn Kringstad finds the work he is currently doing as Executive Director for the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights – US Foundation so fulfilling, he wishes he had been doing it for the past 20 years. However, there is no doubt that a lifetime of leading change and building relationships has prepared him with key integrative leadership skills for fostering peace both locally and globally.

Orlyn describes a career path that has taken many turns, but throughout he has been a change leader, a networker, and an entrepreneur. When he was 26 years old, Orlyn found himself thrust into a leadership role at the cutting edge of information technology – based in Oslo, Norway, but managing the first Honeywell, Inc. mainframe computer system in all of Scandinavia. Of this quick ascent into positional leadership he says, “I quickly realized that as much as I had to learn, I had much to share as well.” Successful in this position, Orlyn moved on to become Data Center Manager at Norcem, one of the largest building products company in Scandinavia.

His skills in technology networking were supplemented by those in human networking - both locally and globally. Orlyn served 12 years as Chief Fraternal Officer of Sons of Norway and then went on to establish an import business, Nordic Home Interiors, with his wife Marit. Feeling drawn to the mission of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and urged by his friend, former Norway Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, Orlyn worked with the former US Ambassador to Norway, Thomas Loftus, to establish the Oslo Center’s US Foundation in April 2008.

One of Orlyn’s friends in Norway, Norwegian TV News Broadcaster, Jahn Otto Johansen has aptly described him as a “people-mover.”

I want to set the stage for others to stand in front of the auditorium and give a speech, but I also want to help them put together what they’re going to say. In a forum, I want to help develop the talking points and how we come to a conclusion that’s meaningful.

It is this action of convening of leaders for broader impact that Orlyn describes as integrative leadership. Cast in this light, integrative leadership no longer exists within a single individual’s actions but is lived out through harnessing collective action across many individuals and many settings.

Orlyn is currently working as an Executive Leadership Fellow to bring together faculty from the UMN Law School’s Human Rights Program and the Carlson School of Management as well as the World Policy Institute in New York City to develop a new curriculum around human rights at election times in fragile democracies. He hopes to coordinate this with the work of the Oslo Center around the 2012 elections in Kenya, a country that experienced an explosion of human rights violations surrounding its previous elections.

Orlyn is also enjoying the opportunity as a Leadership Fellow to mentor students.

I’m so incredibly impressed with the students I’m working with. I want to live another 3 decades so I can see where they end up.

Orlyn admits that his work with the Oslo Center has leaned heavily on the help of his own mentors.

Approaching 70, I’m realizing you’re never too old to have a mentor or to learn something new. I told that to former Humphrey School Dean Brian Atwood before he left. He was one of my reality checkers. I appreciate the opportunity to periodically talk strategy and approach with former Vice President Walter Mondale. His perspective is always enlightening, thoughtful and encouraging. I also have great appreciation for fellow Oslo Center board member and Executive Leader Fellow, Janet Dolan.

Finally, I must note my admiration for Prime Minister Bondevik who had the courage and vision to found the Oslo Center nearly seven years ago amid skepticism and doubt. I was immediately impressed when after founding OCN with himself as president, offered the Chairman of the Board position to Thorbjorn Jagland, another former Norwegian Prime Minister and former opposition leader to him when Mr. Bondevik was Prime Minister. To me that is courageous integrative leadership.

Orlyn has already contributed greatly to CIL and the Humphrey School, organizing and moderating events such as the Fall 2010 Rebuilding Somalia: The Role of the Diaspora and speaking with student groups. The Oslo Center’s work hosting intercultural and interfaith dialogues to promote peace and prevent conflict is precisely the cross-boundary work we are hoping to foster through our work at CIL. We look forward to Orlyn’s continued contributions to CIL and an ongoing partnership with the Oslo Center.

Dahir Jibreel: 2011

JibreelJibreel is the Director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center.  Jibreel came to the United States from Somalia in 1995 and worked as a substitute teacher in Virginia before moving to Minneapolis, where he was employed as a social studies teacher at Edison High School through 2004. Later that year, he returned to east Africa after he was appointed chief of staff to the president for Somalia's interim government. He returned to Minnesota two years later and worked as a part-time social studies and elementary teacher. 

Dahir Jibreel currently serves as director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis. Since coming to the United States in 1995, he has been a high school social studies and elementary school teacher. Dahir went back to Somalia in 2004 for three years to serve as the chief of staff to the president of Somalia before returning to Minnesota.

Starting from the age of six, I was self brought up… I was involved in very, very challenging issues. Like fighting against injustice in Somalia, being imprisoned, an Amnesty International-recognized prisoner of conscience for six years, involved in Somalia’s reconciliation…And later on as a teacher in the United States.

As an Executive Leadership Fellow at the Center, Dahir hopes to explore housing, employment and health issues that affect the Somali refugee community. He is especially interested in looking at entrepreneurship among small Somali-owned businesses, as women own the majority of them: “We want to advance women’s and children’s well-being. That is essential for the health and well-being of the family.” Dahir will also spend time with Professor Greg Lindsey and Merrie Benasutti on the CHANCE course to engage students. The CHANCE course, “Engaging the Public in Policy and Planning,” is a Public Affairs course where students learn about community based research skills in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

Dahir’s experience as both a high school social studies teacher and Chief of Staff was shaped by his own education in Somalia, where Hubert Humphrey played a role in developing the country’s education system:

The impact of Hubert Humphrey’s role on Somalia’s education is amazing…Hubert Humphrey went to Somalia when he was vice president…I was one of the children at age five who welcomed him and had to sing for him. He could not have succeeded if he didn’t work across all ideas…While working on interdisciplinary work across the aisle on different ideas, you have to be adamant about what’s right. You have to be passionate about your convictions.

When Dahir speaks of interdisciplinary collaboration, he mentions the collaborative effort of drafting Somalia’s constitution where different countries brought their own perspectives, and at times “steadfast and adamant” ideas to the creation of the constitution. Dahir lists the skills that are necessary for effective collaboration: “negotiation, human relations, knowledge of the background of the things that are happening. Have an understanding of the interests of the different groups. So it is not easy. But we [Somalis] have delivered. We have created a government.”

Dahir’s understanding of interdisciplinary collaboration is influenced by his experience in Somalia and professional outreach through the Somali Justice Advocacy Center here in the state; his commitment to civil rights and liberties is an underlying arc in his conception of integrative leadership.

Mary Ellison: 2011

EllisonEllison is Deputy Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.  Prior to her appointment as deputy commissioner, Mary served as Director of the Office of Justice Programs in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.  She has served as a  consultant for domestic abuse and sexual assault programs in Minnesota and has served on various boards and committees at the state and national levels.  Her educational background includes a B.A. degree in psychology and a M.S. degree in rehabilitation counseling. 

Seems like there have always been issues across disciplines to resolve in every position that I’ve been in…Almost everything I’ve done has in some way, shape, or form contributed to interdisciplinary work.

Mary Ellison is Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. She started her career working with the mentally ill and physically disabled after completing degrees in psychology and rehabilitation counseling. Her professional experience since that time has brought her in contact with police, prosecutors, legislators, social workers, and countless others to address policy issues across the state of Minnesota.

Now in my position, I’m much more involved in policy issues and trying to work across disciplines to solve difficult policy issues at a state level; issues like drug prevention and crime prevention strategies. It seems like interdisciplinary work has been some part of what I’ve done always.

As an Executive Leadership Fellow at the Center, Mary will work on a case study that will look at the Metro Gang Strike Force’s initial promise and its eventual disbanding. In addition to working on the case study, Mary will also share her experience with students in classroom and informal settings.

Showing true leadership across disciplinary areas is very difficult…I think we each approach our disciplines from our own personal experience, our professional training, the theories that we learn in our professional development.

Key to Mary’s own conception of integrative leadership is to understand the frameworks and theories of change for individuals we encounter and work with everyday. This perception is not without contention and usually requires a significant amount of commitment: “If you’re going to be effective you have to really understand people’s frameworks. And that takes time. It takes listening. It’s frustrating, especially when you think you know best.” Mary laughs, “And sometimes you don’t. And sometimes you do. I think it takes a tremendous amount of persistence and you have to be satisfied sometimes with small gains.”

When Mary speaks of her professional experience with interdisciplinary collaboration, what comes through clearly in her illustrations—whether it is establishing a statewide 800 megahertz emergency communication system or working with the retail industry to place pseudoephedrine behind the counter to curb meth labs in the state—is how early collaboration efforts that involve all parties or prior established relationships are necessary in order for efforts to be successful:

I think when people willingly come together and say, ‘Boy, you know, I haven’t been able to solve this problem myself” or ‘Can we work together?’ or ‘How do you see this?’ That tends to work well.

Mary’s understanding of leadership is shaped by her own professional experience with interdisciplinary collaboration across different state agencies, where relationship-building, being upfront about participation and involvement from the start, and understanding different points of views and frameworks are key for integrative relationships to flourish.

Chip Laingen: 2011

LaingenLaingen is the Communications and Research and Development Director for Minnesota Wire and Executive Director of the Defense Alliance of Minnesota.  Commander Laingen is a 21-year veteran of the United States Navy.  He was the special assistant and speechwriter to the Secretary of the Navy during the tenures of the 70th and 71st Secretaries. A graduate of the University of Minnesota NROTC program, he earned a B.A. in international relations and an M.A. in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

At the end of the day it’s all pretty fundamental—people are people. They still want to be led, they want to be influenced. They want to be told that they’re valued. They want to be told that their opinion matters…How do you find that basic common ground approach to the way people are?

Chip Laingen is the Communications and Research and Development Director for Minnesota Wire and Executive Director of the Defense Alliance of Minnesota. With parents in the Foreign Service, Chip was born in Pakistan and spent nearly half his life living in various places around the world. As a boy, he found the Navy attachés that accompanied Foreign Service officers to be “the coolest guys ever—they had the coolest stories.” Chip is a 21-year veteran of the United States Navy and has degrees in international relations and public affairs from the University of Minnesota. He also completed Ph.D. coursework in national security at Tufts University.

To me, my understanding of what is integrative in the military began with the diversity I saw when I first joined. It was amazing to me how hyper-diverse the military was and still is. It’s very representative of the United States. And I found that very interesting.

As an Executive Leadership Fellow at the Center, Chip hopes to explore how integrative leadership strategies and practices from the military might be applied in corporate, nonprofit, or global contexts.

Chip also looks forward to working with students. As a speech writer for the Secretary of the Navy, he convened focus groups with diverse stakeholders—including university students—for different topic areas: “Those were some of the best ideas, from the students—it was just their approach to things. They were much more open because they weren’t exposed to the corporate world for twenty years…they were asking pointed questions that never would have occurred to us.”

When Chip speaks of leaders whom he admires, he notes their ability to truly listen to other viewpoints and integrate them into an encompassing thought. In referencing a musician and former small town mayor that he recently met with, Chip commented:

I’m really into metaphors. I was thinking about the face of an owl. If you ever look at an owl their entire face is a receiver for sound. It’s basically a concave dish, so when they turn their head they are receiving all of the sound that’s getting funneled into their hearing. It’s just fascinating. So he’s one of those guys—I’m not calling him an owl—but he’s just always listening for what is out there. And I’ll tell you what, in terms of leadership, that is huge. And trust is number one, but the ability to listen to people, it’s almost a lost art.

For Chip, integrative leadership requires the belief in a human element that resides within everyone—“people are people.” Developing an ability to understand the individuals we meet and interact with everyday is fundamental, in his view, for leaders to be effective in bringing about change.

Terri Barreiro: 2010

BarreiroTerri Barreiro brings more than two decades of leadership experience in nonprofit and community organizations to her work as an executive in residence at the Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL). During her residency from July 2009 through June 2010, Barreiro will share her knowledge and experience with the University community and promote the CIL’s mission. As a CIL executive in residence, she will teach courses, participate in philanthropy-focused community partnerships, and write case studies on philanthropy, nonprofit leadership, and social entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs.

As director of the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship, Barreiro leads teaching, research, and service initiatives designed to help Saint John’s University and College of Saint Benedict students understand the role of business and social entrepreneurs in community development. She also engages alumni volunteers as student advisers, classroom speakers, and event leaders. Prior to this, she served on the senior leadership team of the Minneapolis and Greater Twin Cities United Way for more than 20 years, was manager of corporate giving and a foundation program officer at Dayton Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation), and was executive director at Enablers, a Minneapolis-based program providing grants, training, and research on youth services. She is a co-author of EduCase: Clemens Perk, a multi-media study of a student-started venture.

Actively involved in community organizations, Barreiro serves on the boards of the Cargill Foundation, Minnesota Campus Compact, and the Center for Non-profit Excellence and Social Innovation in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Previously, she served on varied nonprofit, government, and community boards, including Way to Grow, Minnesota Action for Children, and United Way of America National Professional Advisory Committee.

Barreiro is a University of Minnesota graduate, with undergraduate degrees in psychology and Spanish and an MBA degree from the Carlson School of Management. She attended the program for executives in management at Carnegie Mellon University under a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship.

Paul Mooty: 2010

MootyPaul Mooty brings a depth of leadership and organizational governance experience in business and community organizations to his role as an executive in residence at the Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL). During his residency from July 2009 through June 2010, Mooty will share his knowledge and experience with the University community and promote the CIL’s mission. As part of his experience, Mooty is writing about Rotary International’s contributions to polio vaccination and eradication in the developing world.

Mooty currently serves as president and a board member of CDSI Holdings, Inc., and is CEO and a board member of Bulach Custom Rock, LLC, an industry leader in architectural concrete construction and themed environments. In addition, he is the president and a board member of Brown Farms, Inc., and Traverse, Inc., two entities involved in farming operations. His professional experience also includes working in the tax department of Arthur Andersen and Company and in the private practice of law focusing on closely held businesses. He also serves on the board of Special Systems Design, Inc.

Mooty recently completed his term as president of the Rotary Club of Edina and continues to serve on the club’s board of directors. He also serves on the Rotary District 5950 leadership team. His community involvement also has included serving on the Edina Rotary Club Foundation board of directors; as a member of the Edina Transportation Commission, an advisory commission to the Edina City Council; and as a board member of the Greater St. Paul YMCA.

A University of Minnesota alumnus, Mooty holds degrees in law and business.

Steven Snyder: 2010

An award-winning innovator and executive, Steven Snyder brings a unique background in business, education, and psychology to his work as an executive in residence at the Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL). During his residency from July 2009 through June 2010, Snyder will share his knowledge and experience with the University community and promote the CIL’s mission. Snyder’s research will focus on ethical leadership in business, government, and the nonprofit world during times of crisis.

SnyderCurrently, Snyder is managing director of the Snyder Leadership Group, a Twin Cities-based organizational consulting firm, and on the adjunct faculty of the Carlson School of Management, where he has taught business ethics since 2004. An early pioneer in the microcomputer software industry, Snyder was an executive at Microsoft, where he led a critical turnaround in the firm’s relationship with IBM and oversaw teams that twice won the prestigious PC Magazine Award for Technical Excellence. As vice president for product development at Personnel Decisions International, he helped initiate innovative software for human resource development. While serving as co-founder and CEO of Net Perceptions, Snyder successfully commercialized collaborative filtering, a technology used in online shopping. The invention earned him the first-ever World Technology Award for Commerce.

Active in several Twin Cities community organizations, Snyder currently serves as president of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka and is a board member of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation of Minneapolis. He is a past board member of the Hillel Foundation at the University of Minnesota.

Snyder holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Drexel University, an MBA degree from Harvard Business School, and master’s and doctorate degrees in psychology from the University of Minnesota. His dissertation research focused on self-managing work teams.