For some, “passion” can sometimes feel elusive, especially on our busy days. However, others seem to easily brim with passion, be it cupcakes or climate change. What happens when a spark from your youth reignites in you, leading you to focus your career and your energy in an entirely different direction? And what does it feel like to do that within a new, entrepreneurial world, where the stakes are higher than ever? We asked Sara Wegmann, former HR Manager at Target, and currently President of "Her Next Play", a non-profit that helps female athletes launch successful careers, to share her journey of making significant change happen for herself and for others.Read More
Jenni Lilledahl makes success look easy. But that’s only half the story.
As co-owner of the Brave New Workshop and President of Brave New Institute, she, her husband John Sweeney and her team have inspired thousands with their personal and professional growth. In 2007, she co-founded Gilda’s Club Twin Cities after her sister’s journey with cancer highlighted an opportunity to serve others.
However, Jenni almost didn’t take (or rather, make) this path. With nearly 30 years of career growth, entrepreneurial adventure, deep self-reflection, many missteps, and trials, Jenni has forged her way and come out the other side.
We caught up with Jenni to learn more about her journey, the power of community, and what we can learn from listening to your heart.Read More
When you're trying to start or change something in your life, it can be tough to be the first. The loudest. The boldest. The one creating the rules. It doesn't just take guts, knowledge and of caring less what others may think of you, it also takes a deep reserve of personal values; of knowing what you stand for and what you are hoping to change.
Kim Bartmann, the acclaimed restauranteur and entrepreneur of the Bartmann Group that includes nine award-winning restaurants including Barbette, The Bird, Book Club, and Tiny Diner, may sound like she was born to be where she is today.
Yet, Kim didn't go to school for Sustainable Food Entrepreneurship World Domination. Nor did she train as a Top Chef, or get a shiny MBA.
She originally moved to Minneapolis to study to become a lawyer or academic and picked up kitchen work in restaurants to pay tuition. That turned into the idea to open a coffee shop (the legendary Cafe Wyrd) - one that had a "come one, come all" inclusivity, unique art and a real sense of community. What makes Kim different is that she doesn't try to pretend she has it all figured out. As open about her business challenges as her wins, she is showing that success has many definitions. Almost 30 years on, she is adapting as she goes.Read More
Eighteen months ago Vicky Harrison weighed 350 lbs (25 stone).
Five years ago, Vicky was told she’d be dead by 44.
Next month, she will compete in a Total Warrior 12k. And she’s now training to be a personal fitness instructor with one of the world’s most famous football clubs.
This is a story of transformation - one that if you’re looking at the pictures, the weight loss and fitness “before and after” photos are remarkable on their own.
Go deeper, and you’ll see a complex and courageous story of mental health, community and of an organization that is changing lives.
Most of all, it’s a story of a strong woman who took back control of her life.Read More
You know those days when you feel like the world is just heavy? That you can’t deal with another bad news story, and you begin to wonder how it will ever get better? On those days, it can feel that we are cogs in a machine that we have no power to change. So, many don’t try.
Yet, some make a small step to change something that matters to them, and they set in motion something far more significant than themselves.
From the outside looking in, Katie Steller is a successful hair salon owner. Look closer, and you’ll see that she’s using her talents (along with business savvy and a large dose of courage) to help the world be a more positive and caring place.
For most us, making the occasional donation at Goodwill can feel like a triumph (“The bags are no longer in my trunk! Yesss!).
We wanted to know: what does changing things really take? How does it feel? What choices do we need to make? How do we know that it matters? We talked with Katie to get a sense of how she’s reached this point in her journey.Read More
Nikkolette Krumheuer was a successful finance pro, checking all the boxes of corporate life. But something wasn’t quite clicking, and she realized she wanted more from her work. She turned to classic pastry as a way to create a different future, and more happiness in the world. Now, after five years of holding down her job while developing her macaron business, she recently decided to to “go all” as an entrepreneur.Read More
In 2017, Nikki McLain left her successful career in global meeting management to start a new kind of distillery with her husband. Having invested blood, sweat, tears and hours on bureaucracy, they’ve opened a truly unique destination.
Realizing this dream has required patience, persistence and pragmatism. And the journey is really only beginning….
We caught up with Nikki to learn more about her experience as an entrepreneur.Read More
Being laid off can really sting.
A feeling of betrayal, rejection and anxiety about “what’s next” can be a wicked combination. However, often a layoff can provide essential headspace for reflection and ideation and can often create the fire for creating something new and an opportunity to forger a new identity.
When Astrid Benedetto was laid off from Target, she took the opportunity to start her own business. A month later, she secured a dream corporate role as an inclusion leader with US Bank. Deciding that she was passionate about both paths, she developed each of them.
As an entrepreneurial novice and a mother of two, Astrid’s journey has not been easy. We sat down with Astrid to learn more about what she has learned along the way.Read More
If you’re a professional woman, your weekdays probably look pretty similar: Wake up. Coffee. Wrangle kids/partner/self out of the door. Commute. Meetings. More meetings. Commute. More kids stuff/gym. Dinner. Occasional “alone time”. Repeat.
Remember when you were in your early 20s, getting started in your career? Is this what you thought your days look like? Did you ever imagine a path different from that which others expected for you? Did you even have the chance to dream?
British-born Claire Malleson has a different story. Growing up in rural Dorset, she aspired to be in theater. But then, her instinct kept pulling her to an unusual passion - Egyptian archeology.
Thing is, she didn’t just dream it. She made it there. Now, she is changing again - still working within her passion, and this time helping the next generation.Read More
We had the privilege of meeting Lara Cornell, founder of Anahata Collaborative, as we explored unique, intimate spaces for our Buzz Sessions. Not only did we uncover one of the most creative event spaces in Minneapolis, we found an entrepreneur with a story of discovery, passion, community, and inspiration for those navigating career choices and changes.Read More
Women make up more than half of the US population and a larger share of the volunteer force, but we are still underrepresented on corporate and non-profit boards, despite the evidence of the correlation between increased business performance and women's board representation. We spoke with Passion Collective friend, entrepreneur and 360 Communities board member Stacy Richards on what it means to serve on a board.Read More
Making change happen needs a boatload of resilience, trust, faith, generosity and courage. And while there are plenty of self-help tools out there, sometimes they all seem a little tame.
Enter Annie Enneking - renowned stage combat expert, Guthrie actor and musician. On September 21, she will lead a group of Passionados through a stage combat workshop.Read More
As life gets busier, we often forget about the outdoors beyond a quick walk around the park at lunchtime on a good day. We find ourselves craving a bit of nature, or space to think on a mountaintop, or feel ourselves getting comfortable with the same old routines.
But something more than the schedule grind stops us.
There's the anticipated discomfort of sleeping on the ground instead of the Sleep Number, the dollars spent on gear that may spend the rest its days in your basement after the expedition, and the thought of trekking "out there" alone.
Adventure brand REI has a solution - a 3 day, women-only retreat where food, drink, activities, gear and 3 types of accommodation are included in breathtaking locations - all with hundreds of other women wanting to reconnect with something bigger than their weekly routine.
Two Passionados (who are also coworkers at the University of Minnesota Foundation Investment Advisors) - Charlotte Schu and Dawn Peterson - visited the Kirkwood location (as "Fancy Campers" - i.e. glampers) - they shared their experiences with us.Read More
Minneapolis-based actor Anna Lakin is also a speech pathologist. Or maybe it's the other way around....
She's passionate about both professions, and while she studied acting in her early 20s has reconnected with it more than 15 years later. We were intrigued by two seemingly different careers - how she chose them and how she manages to build both while also raising a family.Read More
By guest writer, Margaret Bossen.
I was raised to be an activist. And this photo shows my role model: my mom.
Here she in her white dress in Berlin in 1937. Adolf Hitler is speaking at this event. She is not saluting. Here is her storyRead More
A year ago, Clare was one of those project managers that you'd consider your "right hand". She had the budgets, timelines, schedules, technicalities, clients, teams all under control. She was there before and after you. She was keeping everything together.
Everything that is, apart from herself.
Wracked with daily physical pain and a mounting realization that her unhappiness with her career was affecting not only her health but those she loved, Clare quit her job - her career - in December 2016 to practice herbalism. In a matter of months, she's gone from managing multi-million dollar technical projects with global clients, to 1:1 herbalism consultations and an expansive knowledge of "tinctures". And, she's happier than she's ever been.
What does it take to take such a leap? And is it worth leaving the "big job" behind?Read More
Passionado Stacy Richards hopped on a plan to DC to take part in the March on Washington in January. Before she left, she asked if she could contribute a Passion Story - little did she know that the March was to have such an effect on her. Here's her account of an historic day.Read More
Sometimes, we have a nagging feeling that we can do more, change direction, have a bigger impact, create a different life. But often, life gets in the way and we don’t get the time to change.
But other times, life slams into us and forces us to wake up.
Claudia Phillips was involved in an horrific accident that made her re-evaluate everything. Having survived two near-death experiences in a matter of weeks, and during months of recovery, she decided to refocus her life.
We met Claudia at Martha Stewart's American Made event in October 2016. We were inspired by her story of positivity, resilience and drive. Here it is.Read More
The reality of leaving behind a career in the search for greater fulfillment often isn't rosy.
We're told that life can be more precious when it's uncertain. Yet, we often feel that taking one straight path is the only way to go. It can take courage and a willingness to try, and try again, to move yourself in the right direction.
Susannah Cery knows the story. After working in advertising in London, she and her husband moved to jobs in Mumbai, India. When she became pregnant the couple decided to return to the UK and base themselves in Wales, close to family.
After realizing that they'd have a challenge building the careers they wanted in Wales, they were faced with a choice; return to London or search for jobs back in Asia. Susannah and her husband chose Asia, so with a baby in tow and a laptop to apply for jobs on the way, they set off on a backpacking adventure in South Asia in the hope of finding work.
While they backpacked, Susannah started a blog as she learned about traveling with a small child. Families emailed her with travel questions though the blog, and she realized how little information exists about this topic, as well as how meaningful her help was to her readers.
After working for two years in Kuala Lumpur, they returned, once again, to England. As she considered picking up her job search again, Susannah realized that she no longer loved advertising and that the demanding hours were making it impossible to balance her family life. Another decision beckoned.
So, Susannah drew on what she knew best and started an online community - "Our Tribe Travels" - for families who love independent travel. It's gone from zero to over a thousand members - and national press coverage - in a matter of months.
Susannah talked to us about her journey...
You know those days at work when it feels you're going all Paula Abdul (two steps.....) It can be a lonely feeling and we sometimes think it's "just us". It's not. Women around the world are working together to support each other in creating success. It's just sometimes hard to feel that.
So - we decided to help. Lean In India's Rashmeet Kaur reached out to Passion Collective recently to propose a partnership to help share ideas about how to positively impact women's opportunities. We jumped at the chance to create a global connection to women who are striving for many of the same things as us, every day, yet often, under more trying circumstances.Read More