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St. Catherine University hosts 15th Annual Leadership Challenge

Joy Nakrin, of KSTP-5 Eyewitness News, speaks on a panel of journalists at St. Catherine University on Jan. 26, 2012.
Joy Nakrin, of KSTP-5 Eyewitness News, speaks on a panel of journalists at St. Catherine University on Jan. 26, 2012.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

St. Catherine University welcomed a full house on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, as the Leadership Institute hosted the 15th Annual Leadership Challenge Conference.

More than 300 people including volunteers and presenters attended the conference, representing 98 different companies. The conference offered participants a full day of education and networking, including 12 workshops covering topics from launching a business while working to developing a leadership brand.

Husband and wife, Pablo Gaito, vice president of Human Resources at Cargill, and Elizabeth Gaito, account executive for Korn/Ferry International, gave the opening keynote address, encouraging guests to be fully present and focus on building relationships. The opening keynote speakers’ presentation was followed by morning and afternoon breakout sessions that featured two separate panels.

In the morning, “A Journalist’s Perspective” offered guests a chance to pose questions to area journalists regarding powerful questions and listening for understanding. The panel featured Gail Rosenblum, a columnist for the Star Tribune; Roshini Rajkumar, a former journalist and consultant and president of Roshini Performance Group; Mike Burbach, editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and Joy Nakrin, a TV anchor at KSTP-5 Eyewitness News.

In the afternoon, Cathy Wurzer, co-host of TPT-TV's “Almanac” and host of the “Morning Edition” on Minnesota Public Radio, facilitated a panel on “Being an Informed Voter.” The panel drew insights from Minnesota State Senator Mary Jo McGuire, a St. Catherine University alumna and faculty member; Minnesota State Rep. Laura Brod, a member of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents; and Professor Kathryn Pearson, Ph.D., from the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. (Below, Wurzer facilitates the afternoon panel on “Being an Informed Voter.”)wurzer

The day ended on a high note, as everyone at the conference reunited to hear from Medtronic Vice President and General Manager Cindy Kent, who shared personal stories that have informed her leadership style.

Kent advised the audience to use all of their talent and personal strengths in the workplace, while owning their own authenticity. She concluded by saying that life is a journey, not a destination, and she encouraged her colleagues to enjoy the journey and participate in all aspects of life along the way.

Kent spoke informally with Dean Paula King, and her talk was followed by closing comments from Director of the Leadership Institute Mary Angela Baker, who garnered a standing ovation from the crowd before sending conference guests on their way.  

“What an awe inspiring day at the 2012 St. Catherine's Leadership Challenge! The energy, excitement and reflection provided new learning that I can apply for my own leadership development and share with others on my team,” said Karen Chapley, the Women's Leadership Network 2012 Chair at 3M.

Conference sponsors

The Leadership Conference event sponsors included Digital River and 3M Corporation.

More about the Leadership Institute

St. Catherine's Leadership Institute offers a wide variety of programs to help women become effective, ethical and influential leaders. Participants, reflecting diverse backgrounds and perspectives, share an interest in ethical leadership that has a positive, lasting impact on people, organizations and communities.

Professional development programs and events are designed for professionals from corporate, small business, government, education and nonprofit settings.

Feb. 17, 2012 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Business, Faculty, Leadership