5th Annual Conference

Gustavus Women in Leadership

April 16, 2015
8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

"Drive, Thrive, Revive: Setting Your Pace Through the Journey of Life"  

 American Swedish Institute

2600 Park Avenue South     Minneapolis

Thank you for your interest in the Women in Leadership Conference.  At this time, registration has closed.  



General Public: $150      

Recent Grad (2009-2014): $75      

Current Gustavus Student: $10

Please consider helping to defray the cost for a Gustavus student when purchasing your conference ticket.  Registration closes April 8, 2015.

Dress:  Business casual


Keynote Speakers

Rebecca M. Bergman

President, Gustavus Adolphus College

"Thriving on the Journey of Life:  Perspectives on Personal and Organizational Leadership" 

Rebecca M. Bergman currently serves as the President of Gustavus Adolphus College, a residential liberal arts college with Swedish and Lutheran heritage located in St. Peter, Minnesota.  Prior to assuming this position in July 2014, Ms. Bergman had a 26-year career at Medtronic, Inc., a leading medical technology company.  She most recently served as Vice President, Research, Technology and Therapy Delivery Systems for Medtronic’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business.  Ms. Bergman is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  Since 2008, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Sigma-Aldrich.  In addition, she currently is a member of the Board of Directors of The Bakken Museum.  She previously served on the National Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the NIH, the St. Catherine University Board of Trustees, and the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees.  Ms. Bergman holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, completed graduate studies in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, and has received honorary doctorate degrees from Drexel University and St. Catherine University. 

Semonti (Mustaphi) Stephens '03

Product Communications Manager - Square, Inc. 


Semonti Stephens is part of the communications team at Square where she gets to share the stories of small business owners across the country. Previously she worked for First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Senators Tom Harkin, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Dayton, and Chuck Schumer, and on the Wellstone for Senate campaign. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Scott Stephens '03, but loves returning home to Minneapolis to visit her family.




Breakout Sessions Speakers 

Suzanne Boda ‘82

Senior Vice President, Asia, Canada, Europe (ACE) and Cargo

Breakout session:  "Keep your Feet on the Ground while Flying at 35,000 feet!"

Suzanne Boda is Senior Vice President, Asia, Canada, Europe and Cargo, for American Airlines. In this role, Boda oversees international operations in these regions.  Additionally, she is responsible for global cargo operations.  Boda splits her time between American’s HQ in Dallas, TX and the international office in the UK as well as spending time in other regional offices across Europe, Asia and Canada. Boda reports directly to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Robert Isom.

Boda has more than 30 years of combined aviation experience. She began her career with Northwest Airlines in 1983 as a passenger service representative and Japanese interpreter at the carrier’s Minneapolis hub. 

In 2012, Boda was named a Woman Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal, was honored by WTS International’s Philadelphia Chapter as Woman of the Year and recognized as a Woman of Distinction by The Philadelphia Business Journal.  Boda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian studies and in Spanish from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.

Jodi Harpstead
CEO, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

Breakout Session:  "Abundance, Margin, and a Breakthrough Life"

Jodi Harpstead

Jodi Harpstead became the CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) September 2, 2011 and on July 1, 2012, the CEO of Children's Home Society of Minnesota, as the two organizations united their adoption services. Prior to CEO, she served as Chief Advancement Officer and then Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of LSS.  LSS offers a broad array of community services touching 1 in every 65 Minnesotans in all 87 counties of the state - including services for people with disabilities, older adults, children, youth, and families.

A native of the Chicago area, Jodi received an MBA and BA in Business Administration from Michigan State University before settling in Minnesota.  Prior to LSS, Jodi spent 23 years with Medtronic, Inc. where she held several key positions, including President of Global Marketing and U.S. Sales in Cardiac Rhythm Management and Vice President and General Manager of Cardiac Surgery Technologies.  Harpstead serves as immediate Past-Chair of the Board of Regents of Augsburg College. She formerly served on the Board of Delta Dental Plan of Minnesota and of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Mutual Fund. Jodi and her husband, Stan, live in Arden Hills, MN and have two grown children.

Nicole LaVoi, PhD ‘91
Senior Lecturer, School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota
Associate Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

Breakout Session:  "Drive, Thrive and Survive:  The Role of Sport & Physical Activity in the Lives of Women"

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D.--a '91 graduate of Gustavus,member of the '90 NCAA National Championship women's tennis team and 3-time Academic All-American--is a faculty member in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota, Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport and the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium. LaVoi’s research focuses on the effects of adult sideline behaviors in youth sport, barriers experienced by female coaches, and media representations of females in sport. She has co-produced two documentaries on women in sport including the 2014 Regional Emmy Winner for best Sports Documentary titled “Media Coverage & Female Athletes: Women Play Sport Just Not on TV” and serves on the national advisory boards for  espnW, the Alliance of Women Coaches and Gustavus Athletics. As a passionate advocate of gender equity, she has focused on reversing the decline of women in positions of leadership in sport so that young women have strong, visible role models.


Women's Foundation of Minnesota Multi-generation Speaker Panel
Lee Roper-Baker, President and CEO
Saanii Hernandez, Dir. of External Affairs
Lulete Mola, Reatha Clark King Fellow/Prorgram Coordinator

Breakout Session:  "Drive, Thrive, and Revive as You Set the Pace in Your Career”

Lee Roper-Baker, President and CEO, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

Under her leadership since 2001, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota has increased its endowment and grantmaking, ten-fold; established girlsBEST (girls Building Economic Success Together), the first permanently endowed fund just for girls at any women’s foundation in the world; launched MN Girls Are Not For Sale, a campaign to end sex trafficking; produced landmark research on the status of women and girls in the state; and integrated research, public policy and grantmaking to achieve greater economic well-being, safety, health, and leadership for all women and girls in the state.As a philanthropic leader, Lee is recognized for her thought leadership and use of research as the basis for grantmaking and policy priorities. According to Lee, “Research without action is pointless.” Lee is well respected among women’s foundations around the world and currently serves as a trustee of the Women’s Funding Network, a consortium of over 166 women’s foundations from six continents.Prior to joining the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, Lee owned a strategic fundraising and communications firm for seven years, which raised more than $50 million dollars for nonprofits across the country, and she held leadership positions in the anti-poverty, social justice and disabilities communities. Lee graduated summa cum laude from Augsburg College and studied at the Higher Trade Union College (Soviet Union) and Program in Global Community (Central America).

Saanii Hernandez, Director of External Affairs, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

As the Director of External Affairs, Saanii leads the Foundation’s fundraising and development work, and is the liaison for Donor Advised Funds and the Partnership for Women’s Prosperity. Prior to joining the WFM team, she worked for Hispanics in Philanthropy, a transnational network of grant makers where she managed the Midwest & Southwest Regions though facilitating local grant making and providing technical assistance to grantees in Minnesota, Chicago, Colorado and New Mexico. She also co-managed, Firefly Community Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in nonprofit program and organizational development. As an Associate Community Liaison at the Northwest Area Foundation, she focused on research and community assessment working on projects with tribal communities and Latinos in rural regions. Saanii received her B.A. in American Studies with an Ethnic Studies focus and a concentration in Women’s Studies, from Carleton College, in Northfield, Minn.

Lulete Mola, Reatha Clark King Fellowship/Program Coordinator, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

As the Reatha Clark King Fellowship/Program Coordinator -- a one-year, once-renewable fellowship for women of color -- Lulete is responsible for supporting the Foundation’s programs and grantmaking.  She is devoted to help advance women leaders and brings a deep commitment to young women’s empowerment and diversity. Through the University of Minnesota Multicultural Summer Research Opportunity Program, Lulete designed and conducted qualitative research on the professional development of the Minnesota Ethiopian immigrant community and analyzed the civic engagement of Somali Americans at the Brian Coyle Community Center, where she was a youth mentor and volunteer. Lulete is a recipient of the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project Fellowship and the Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity Award. In May 2014, Lulete graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota.


Conference Schedule

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.    Check-in and registration

9:00 - 9:15 a.m.    Welcome and opening remarks

9:15 - 10:00 a.m.   Keynote:  President Rebecca Bergman

10:10 - 11:00 a.m.  Breakout session #1

11:10 - 12:00 p.m.  Breakout session #2

12:10 - 12:50 p.m.  Lunch and Networking

12:50 - 1:35 p.m.    Keynote:  Semonti Stephens

1:35 - 2:30 p.m.     Closing remarks