The Center for Integrative Leadership's Advisory Council supports and provides feedback on Center programming, engagement, and research, partnering with the Center to realize these strategic priorities. Advisory Council members have demonstrated their commitment to shared leadership for public good as well as to collaborative, productive action within organizations or the business, non-profit, or government sectors.
Advisory Council Members
Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Former Chair and CEO, Carlson
Marilyn Carlson Nelson is former chair and chief executive officer of Carlson, a global travel company.
Marilyn served as co-chair of the World Economic Forum, chair of the National Women’s Business Council and chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. Forbes named her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” U.S. News and World Report called her one of “America’s Best Leaders.” Under Marilyn’s leadership, Carlson became the first global travel and hospitality company in North America to sign the international Code of Conduct to protect children from sexual exploitation in the travel industry. She and Carlson were recently honored by the White House for pioneering work to combat human trafficking.
Nelson serves as Chair of Inspire Medical. Nelson is an emeritus board member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, ExxonMobil, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the United Nations Global Compact. She is former chair of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, chair of the Minnesota Orchestra, former co-chair of the Super Bowl Host Committee and former secretary of the National Endowment for Democracy.
Nelson graduated from Smith College with a degree in international economics and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris as well as the Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Politiques in Geneva.
Doug Baker, Retired Chairman and CEO, Ecolab
Doug Baker is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services that protect people, planet and business health.
Baker retired as Ecolab’s executive chairman in May 2022 and the company’s chief executive officer at the end of 2020. He joined Ecolab in 1989 and was named chief executive officer in 2004 and chairman of the board in 2006.
Ecolab grew significantly under Baker’s leadership. Through 2020, Ecolab’s sales increased 213%, earnings per share increased more than 318% and market capitalization increased 775%, from $7 billion to more than $61 billion. The share price of Ecolab stock increased 690% during this period while the number of Ecolab employees grew more than 111% to 44,000. The company also completed more than 120 acquisitions under Baker’s leadership.
Baker has been recognized for his leadership and commitment to responsible business. He was named Responsible CEO of the Year by CR Magazine in 2014, was awarded the University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Award for Ethical and Socially Responsible Business Practices in 2016, and received the 2018 Deming Cup for Operational Excellence. In 2019, he ranked 38th on Harvard Business Review’s list of the world’s best performing CEOs.
Baker was recently nominated to serve on the board of directors of Merck & Co., Inc., and serves on the board of directors of Target Corporation and on the board of trustees of Mayo Clinic. He also serves on the advisory council of the Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota.
Baker previously served on the board of directors of U.S. Bancorp, the executive committees of the Greater MSP Partnership and Minnesota Business Partnership, and on the board of overseers of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He also served as co-chair of the Dorothy Day Center Capital Campaign Committee, co-chair of the host committee for the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis and served on the board of Parent Aware for School Readiness, a nonprofit organization to support the statewide expansion of Parent Aware, Minnesota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.
Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He grew up in Minneapolis and attended Minneapolis West High School.
Ecolab is a trusted partner at nearly three million customer locations. With annual sales of $13 billion and 47,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive science-based solutions, data-driven insights and world-class service to advance food safety, help maintain clean and safe environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world.
Tim Welsh, Vice Chair, Consumer and Business Banking, US Bank
Tim Welsh is vice chair of Consumer and Business Banking for U.S. Bancorp. In this role, Tim oversees the company’s largest grouping of business lines, covering a wide array of services and products that help us become central to the financial lives of our consumer and small business customers, including branches and business banking along with a variety of consumer lending and servicing operations, such as mortgage, auto lending and dealer services.
Prior to joining U.S. Bancorp, Tim spent more than 26 years at McKinsey & Co., where he most recently served as a senior partner specializing in financial services and the consumer experience. He also led McKinsey’s global learning and development function and co-led the firm’s people strategy.
Tim holds a masters of business administration with distinction from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in social studies from Harvard University. In addition, Tim is a founder of the Itasca Project, a dedicated team of business, government and not-for-profit leaders who are working to improve the quality of life in Minneapolis and St. Paul. He is also active on many non-profit boards in the Minneapolis-St. Paul community, including Greater MSP, Minnesota Orchestra, Minneapolis Institute of Art and The Constellation Fund, among others. Tim is on the boards of Allina Health, a $4 billion non-profit healthcare system, and Upside FOODs, a start-up company Fortune Magazine has called “the hottest tech in Silicon Valley.”
Ro Adebiyi, Senior Counsel, Insurance Law & Compliance, Thrivent Financial
Ro Adebiyi was born in Nigeria, but raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Michigan, where he was involved in local mentorship initiatives, Third-World development projects, and served as a two-year captain on the University of Michigan Men’s basketball team. Ro returned to the University of Michigan in 2005 to attend law school, after a stint as a paralegal at a Washington, D.C. law firm.
Following graduation from law school, he worked as an associate at a Houston law firm, started a web-based sponsorship/endorsement company with friends back in Ann Arbor, served as counsel for a small commodities trading firm just outside of New York City, and then moved to Minnesota to oversee state-wide voting initiatives as a senior staff member of the 2012 Obama Reelection Campaign. Minnesota immediately embraced and welcomed Ro and following his post-election selection to the 2012 Inaugural Committee, he returned to Minneapolis to join the legal team at Thrivent Financial.
Ro previously served as the Chief Legal Officer for the brightpeak financial division of Thrivent Financial, and is currently serving as Senior Counsel, working on various insurance and compliance matters with impact across the broader Thrivent organization.
Other services include: AAU basketball coach and youth/career mentor; Volunteer at the Salvation Army’s “Harbor Light House” kitchen; Board member and volunteer of Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest; Board member of Reve Academy; Board member of the Center for Economic Inclusion; Board of Trustees for Twin Cities Public Television (Twin Cities PBS).
Duchesne Drew, President, MPR
Duchesne Drew is the Senior Vice President of American Public Media Group and President of Minnesota Public Radio. In this role, he leads the teams that produce MPR News, The Current, APM Reports and Marketplace, which seeks to raise the economic intelligence of the American people. Additionally, he oversees portions of YourClassical MPR’s business.
Drew came to American Public Media Group from the Bush Foundation, where he led the foundation’s leadership programs, community innovation and communication teams and built networks across the region as its Community Network vice president.
Prior to his role at Bush Foundation, Drew was managing editor of operations at the Star Tribune, where he began as a summer intern and rose to one of the most senior roles in the newsroom. In 2019, he was honored with the Widening the Circle Award by ThreeSixty Journalism, recognizing individuals who have contributed to the next generation of journalists, particularly while promoting inclusion and diversity. And in 2021, he was inducted into the Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Veena Iyer, Executive Director, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Veena is the Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, where she leads a team of 30 staff and hundreds of volunteers to provide comprehensive immigrant legal services, education, and advocacy to new Americans across Minnesota. She serves on the Board of Regents of Augsburg University, is Vice Chair of the Board of Portico Healthnet, and is a member of the Community Advisory Council of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve’s Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute. Veena is also a past president of the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association and a former board member and committee chair for Minnesota Women Lawyers.
Lars Leafblad, Co-founder and Principal, Ballinger/Leafblad, Inc.
Lars Leafblad has spent his career doing what he loves best—connecting people with one another and with new opportunities to develop their careers and connections. Lars has experience across the board: He worked in a leadership development program at General Electric; was involved in a high-tech startup during the Internet boom (Four51.com); helped launch young alumni programs for his alma mater, St. Olaf College; served as Chief Development Officer for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota; co-chaired the civic practice at another Twin Cities–based executive search firm, KeyStone Search; led the Bush Fellowship leadership programs for the Bush Foundation; and founded a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization called Pollen. He co-founded Ballinger Leafblad, a Twin Cities-based executive search firm, with Dr. Marcia Ballinger in 2014.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College and a Master of Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Along the way, Lars founded several different networking groups and nonprofit community networks, including the St. Olaf Alumni Partnership, Left Lane, Common Grounds, St. Olaf MBA Association, and the “40 Under 40” Global Alumni Society. He has also participated as a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs and in the Young American Leaders Program (YALP) at Harvard Business School. Lars is dad to four children, an avid hunter of Lake Superior Agates, a recreational poker player, and spent two summers traveling the Midwest cooking BBQ on the Famous Dave’s National BBQ Tour Team.
Kate Mortenson, Founder and CEO, iPondr SBC
Kate Mortenson is an EdTech entrepreneur and social enterprise leader, leveraging the power of human stories, with technology, to shape a better culture. In 2021, Mortenson and her team launched content and learning media site iPondr.com and the workplace e-learning and empathy development program iPondr@Work.
Previously, Mortenson hired and led the team that hosted the 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Minneapolis. As a culture-shaping initiative from its beginnings, the Minneapolis host team was recognized for team member Diversity in Sport, local vendor Inclusion and record breaking results. After the event, Mortenson wound down operations with a $1MM surplus.
Several months before George Floyd was killed, Mortenson began building iPondr from Minneapolis, MN, to foster a more interconnected society as a response to toxic media and escalating culture wars. Since then, the need for culture solutions has continued to grow with greater urgency. As a pro-business social enterprise, iPondr SBC is committed to Building a Kinder America™.
Kate is a speaker and thought leader, appearing as keynote at many regional events and contributing to podcasts, blogs and articles on her belief in what’s possible when we commit to doing and being better within society. Among other honors, she’s a Women in Business honoree of the Business Journal and an inductee to the Business Hall of Fame of Jr Achievement in the Minnesota region. A journalist by training, Mortenson is a Director at Delta Dental of Minnesota and previously Chaired the Governance Committee for Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Radio Group.
Kate and her husband, David, have (mostly) launched three young adult children from their home in Minneapolis.
Toni Newborn, Director of Human Resources and Chief Equity Officer, City of St. Paul
Toni Newborn serves as the Director of Human Resources and the Chief Equity Officer for the City of St. Paul. In the role as the Director of HR, provide strategic leadership and management of the Office of Human Resources to include strategic planning and administrative work in the development and implementation of human resources system. I work to develop policy recommendations for the City and its employees and assists managers in planning and carrying out their human resources functions.
In Toni’s roles as the Chief Equity Officer, she leads the equity and inclusion core team and manages the racial equity change teams. Toni provides support and guidance in integrating equity into the City’s services, engagement, policies and practices with the mission to eliminate disparities across the city. Toni works in partnership with Departments to develop educational opportunities for City staff and residents to advance city-wide equity initiatives. She works alongside her colleagues in building a workforce that reflects the people that we serve, partnering with the city's operating departments to foster an inclusive work environment, and work to engage with the community of Saint Paul to build and support a Saint Paul that works for all of us.
Mrs. Newborn’s educational background commenced in Birmingham, Alabama, her home town, where she graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2003 with a B.A in Political Science. In 2007, she obtained a Juris Doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Shortly thereafter, Toni became a licensed attorney for the State of Minnesota in 2008.
In 2017, Toni was tapped to serve on the transition team for incoming mayor Melvin Carter III, in which she led the community based hiring process for the City of Saint Paul's department directors. In 2018, Toni was appointed to serve as a hiring director on the transition team for the newly elected State of Minnesota Governor- elect Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan
Clare Richards, Co-Founder and Vice President, Impacks
Clare Richards is the co-founder and Vice President of a social impact startup called Impacks. Based out of Saint Cloud, Impacks provides a simple, convenient way for families to purchase school supplies online, while also partnering with schools to help them fundraise. Clare is a creative by trade with a strong love for building vibrancy through action and storytelling. Her experience in starting organizations also includes a young leaders non-profit she co-founded in 2015 called the Saint Cloud Rotaract. Clare is a 2019 graduate of the inaugural MN Young American Leaders Program, which has greatly influenced her involvement in community initiatives. Clare serves on the board of directors for Rotary District 5950. She also serves on the board for the Central MN Community Foundation, is on the steering committee for a Saint Cloud community collaborative called Granite Table, and has been awarded St. Cloud 5 Under 40. When she isn’t volunteering or working, she can be found reading a good book or playing her ukulele.
Alene Tchoumuroff, Senior Vice President of Community Development and the Center for Indian Country Development, Federal Reserve Bank
Alene Tchourumoff, senior vice president of Community Development and the Center for Indian Country Development, leads the Bank’s engagement with communities throughout the Ninth District to promote economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income people and those living in Indian Country. Key focus areas include early childhood development and affordable housing.
Prior to joining the Bank in December 2018, Alene served as chair of Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council, where she built strong partnerships with local governments and community groups to advance transit, housing, and other critical infrastructure. Previously, she served as Minnesota’s first state rail director, led Hennepin County Public Works’ Planning Department, served as an agricultural development adviser to the World Bank, and worked extensively in China and Southeast Asia on public policy and public health initiatives—including combating HIV/AIDS in China and Vietnam.
Alene holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from George Washington University School of Business and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Meredith Vadis, Senior Vice President, Diagnostics, Vault Health, Inc.
Meredith Vadis, MPP currently serves as the Senior Vice President, Diagnostics at Vault Health, Inc. where she oversees sales and client success, business development, marketing and product strategy for the diagnostic health and workforce screening division. Prior to joining Vault in 2021, Meredith was an executive-level public servant with a deep background in cross-sector project leadership, public affairs and communications, rebuilding teams, and modernizing technology and systems.
During 2020, Meredith played a key role in Minnesota’s public health pandemic response, establishing and operationalizing the State of Minnesota’s wide-ranging COVID-19 testing programs and Testing Command Center. In 2019, Meredith was appointed the first female Regional Administrator at the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities. As Regional Administrator, she oversaw the delivery of regional transit and paratransit, wastewater, long-range land and transportation planning, grantmaking, a police department, and Section 8 housing services. Reporting directly to the Council Chair and Metropolitan Council board, she led 4,300 staff and oversaw the management of the Council’s annual $1.1B budget. In addition to her decade of service at the Metropolitan Council, Meredith served the people of southern Minnesota as Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Congressman Tim Walz and also played a key role in Walz’s gubernatorial transition as a Cabinet Hiring Director.
A graduate of Marquette University and the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Meredith was a 2019 participant in the Harvard Young American Leaders Program. Meredith also served as an adjunct professor at South Central College where she taught American Government and as a member of the Humphrey School’s Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Advisory Board.
Charlie Zelle, Chair, Metropolitan Council
Charlie Zelle was appointed Chair of the Metropolitan Council by Governor Walz in January 2020. In this role Zelle oversees a 17-member policy-making board which has guided the strategic growth of the Twin Cities metro area for more than 50 years. The Met Council makes strategic investments and provides essential services that support regional economic vitality, including transit, wastewater treatment, regional parks, planning and affordable housing.
Zelle has over 30 years of experience in transportation policy and operations, including serving as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation from 2013-2019. In that capacity, he oversaw a multi-modal state transportation agency with an annual budget of more than $4 billion. Zelle serves as Chairman of Jefferson Lines, an intercity bus company with scheduled passenger routes in 14 heartland states from Minnesota to Arkansas. He held the position of President and CEO for more than 20 years before being appointed to the position of Commissioner by Governor Mark Dayton. Zelle has served as a board member of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), served on its Executive Committee and was Chair of its Public Transportation Council. In addition, he has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board, Past President of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) and Past Chair of the American Bus Association (ABA) Board of Directors.
Locally Zelle has served on numerous civic boards and has been the chair of the following organizations: Guthrie Theater, Meet Minneapolis, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jerome Foundation, Camargo Foundation, St. Paul Academy and the Minneapolis Club. He received a BA from Bates College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management