Leadership MN – Session 5 Recap

Policy Briefing


The fifth and final session of the exclusive “Leadership MN” program to which RCOC Chamber President, Angie Schaefbauer is a participant was held in St. Paul, Minnesota last week. The focus was Business’ Role in Public Policy & Politics.

Legislative Panel

Day 1 kicked off with a MN Chamber policy briefing during which we learned how to stay engaged in the Minnesota business community. We then traveled to the North-State Office Building for conversations and panel discussions; the first of which was a conversation with first-term legislators: Rep. Dave Baker, Rep. Roz Peterson, Rep. Dave Pinto and Rep. Jennifer Schultz. The discussion focused around the legislative process and their thoughts regarding issues facing the Minnesota business community. We later continued the discussion with House and Senate Leadership: Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, Senate Minority Leader David Hann, Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Paul Thissen.

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone

The afternoon included a workforce development panel during which we learned some practical ways to move forward to help bridge the workforce shortage and how the Minneosta business community responded. Sen. Terri Bonoff, Rep. Bud Nomes and Steven Rosenstone, chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) were the panelists.

Commissioner Charlie Zelle

A transportation panel discussion with Sen. Scott Dibble, Rep. Tim Kelly and Charlie Zellie, commissioner of MnDOT discussed the current factors at plan in a transportation funding package and how transportation will play out during the current legislative session.

MN Supreme CourtWe spent time with Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Lorie Gildea and she spoke about the role the courts play in the business environment in Minnesota. She explained the impact they have and the challenges they face within our judicial system.

Summit Brewery

Dinner at Summit Brewing Company in the Tap Room included Kelly Larson, chief financial officer, Summit Brewing Company during which the craft brewing industry was discussed. Mart Stutrud founded Summit Brewing Company in 1986 and we learned the great story behind building the company into a successful business and what the future entails for their company.

Budget Negotiations

Day 2 began with an insider’s look into legislative negotiations. Margaret Kelly, assistant commissioner and state budget director, Scott Magnuson, Director – State Senate Information Office and Tony Kwilas, Director – Environmental Policy with the Minnesota Chamber discussed how things get done during the Legislative Session and how things may play out as budget negotiations become intense.

Communications Etiquette

Goff Public’s Chris Duffy, Elizabeth Emerson and Chris Georgacas presented “Making the Most of Your Mojo” – a look at how business leaders can use their “mojo” to their own and their company’s advantage. The presentation included an overview of today’s reality in media and politics and how those realities translate into improving one’s brand and becoming an effective advocate.

Innovation Challenge

During lunch, Jim Thompson, managing princiapl with HDR led us through an “innovation challenge” because companies are constantly having to reinvent to stay relevant in this changing world. The marshmallow challenge goal is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams of four must build the tallest freestanding structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow has to be on top. Though the task seems simple, it’s actually pretty hard and forces people to collaborate quickly, revealing the true nature of collaboration. HDR challenges their clients and the exercise taught us that we should consider changing the way we think about our businesses.

Saints Stadium

The afternoon focused on professional sports in Minnesota with a presentation from Tom Whaley, executive vice president, Saint Paul Saints. He discussed the impact professional sports have on the vibrancy and pocketbook of the Minnesota business community and the economy. We learned about the journey the Saint Paul Saints ball club underwent as then prepare to take the field this spring in their new stadium in St. Paul (pictured above is the view from home base down the first base line).

Construction almost done on the team’s beautiful new stadium in St. Paul’s Lowertown on the old Gillette site located at the intersections of Hwy 94 and 52, across the street from the Farmer’s Market. The new stadium has incorporated many sustainability efforts and has worked with the Minnesota Chamber’s Waste Wise staff to incorporate many environmentally-friendly design elements.