Pollen is a community comprised of civic-minded connectors who share ideas, career and civic engagement opportunities and peer-to-peer recognition to create positive impact and personal and professional growth for its members.

Pollen newsletter Volume 27: The final issue

Networking is a new MinnPost section that features Pollen, a networking newsletter for professionals written by Lars Leafblad of KeyStone Search, an executive search firm in Minneapolis.

Lars Leafblad
Lars Leafblad

Pollen vol 27
April 1, 2011
Curated by Lars Leafblad
Principal, KeyStone Search


It is with heavy fingers that I type this final issue of Pollen — volume 27.

It was clear from the candid feedback of the 433 members who completed the “Pollen Poll-Our Future” last issue that the time has come for this moment.

The moment to thank you for being part of this social experiment….

The moment to thank you for sharing this resource with your own networks…..

The moment to thank you for building this 3,700+ member community……

The moment to wish you well and to say with a very heavy heart……….April Fools!!

No, this isn’t the final issue of Pollen, but 433 of you did complete our “Pollen Poll-Our Future” shared last issue. Thank you!!!

It was clear that I dropped the ball in communicating why this poll was being conducted and/or to what end the findings from this poll would serve and for that I apologize. I’m learning as I go!

This set of questions was posed to our membership because of the following factors:

1) Time. The volunteer time required to produce each issue of Pollen is rapidly becoming unmanageable for a single curator and it is important to understand how this community perceives current, or future, value gained from participating in Pollen.

2) Growth. As our community grows beyond a 1st or 2nd degree connection to our original members from 2009, there is a much broader array of member backgrounds, interests, and ideas on how this community should continue to evolve and the poll is a tool that can help shed light on our collective assessment of what gives the most value to members.

3) Curiosity. Pure and simple. The economics undergrad major in me was curious to understand how this community assigns perceived value to this currently free, community-generated, & individually-curated digital content.

4) Talent. There is incredible talent within the Pollen community and the ideas, feedback, and questions shared from the 433 generous respondents will shape our future.

So what were some summary findings?

Question 1: What content is most valuable to you in Pollen?

Pollen said….

1) Job Opportunities
2) Connecting with Others
3) Event Information
4) Board Opportunities
5) Shared Articles and Blog Posts
6) Career Updates from Members

Question 2: Pollen is currently available for free to all members. If there was a nominal monthly or annual subscription donation to participate in Pollen, how likely it is that you would continue to subscribe to Pollen?

Pollen said…

Very likely — 3.7%
Likely — 22.7%
Not Likely — 54.1%
Not a Chance — 19.4%

You can access a full report of all questions and responses (all anonymous) via the secure link.

There is a password required to access the report.

The password is “pollenfuture”

Thank you to all who participated! The conversation has only just begun and additional opportunities to share collective input and take action together to move forward will commence as spring finally arrives. Stay tuned!

If you have additional feedback you’d like to share after reading the survey findings, please email me directly at larsl-at-keystonesearch.com. Thank you!!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…


April 5th — The Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the U of MN’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs hosts an event “6 Ways to Rock Your Career in Public Affairs” featuring a panel discussion including Pollen members Trista Harris and Lars Leafblad from 12:30 to 2 pm at the Humphrey School. Full event details available here.

April 5th — Urbanites — the Ordway’s young professionals group — hosts an event with BeijingDance/LDTX, China’s first non-governmental and independent professional dance company. (via Corey Anderson)

April 5thMonthly leadership inspiration and connection sessions led by The Prouty Project (via Jeff Prouty) Next program is 7:30 to 9 am on April 5th with Chad Weinstein, President, Ethical Leaders in Action, LLC

April 13th“The MOJO Mixer — Live Guidance for Start-ups” or “speed dating for entrepreneurs”(via Brad Lehrman) 5 to 9 pm
April 14th — “American Idol Rejects in Minneapolis” show at Bunkers at 8 pm including Pollenite Nels Leafblad along with Chris Medina, Caleb Hawley, et al
Event details
April 14th — IQ Marketing presents IQ&A:Retain and Attract the Best Talent in a Recession with Kevin King, Transformation Point, on April 14th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. We welcome business owners, managers and anyone who works as a member of a team to attend to gain crucial knowledge for how to emerge from the economic downturn in a competitive and strong position. Email ayoung-at-iqmarketing.com to waive the $150 fee and attend the event for free.
April 14th — Teaching and Learning for Kids presents an event with Dr. Leonard Sax, author of “Girls on the Edge” and “Boys Adrift”, to “learn about current trends and research in what is facing today’s boys and girls. (via Brad Blue)

April 28th — Economic Club of Minnesota presents luncheon with Ann Fudge, former Chairman and CEO, Young and Rubicam Brands, member President Obama’s Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Commission, Board of Directors — General Electric, Unilever, and Novartis
April 28th — SPARK — the fundraising event for young professionals — is one of United Way’s largest events. An annual wine tasting for the Emerging Leaders young professionals group, is taking on a State Fair spin this year. Guests will enjoy food-on-a-stick, local wine and beer, a midway and a silent auction. The event is taking place on Thursday, April 28 at the Nicollet Island Pavilion. More info can be found at here. (via Kristin Gast)

May 6 — 80s Rewind Concert — Join Crescendo Project — the young patrons group of the Minnesota Orchestra — and MinnPost’s YPN as we go retro for a concert night out! The event is open to Crescendo Project members and MinnPost YPN member groups. 80s attire is encouraged; costumes will be judged by orchestra musicians and prizes awarded. More info.

June 16th — The Engaged Philanthropy Conference (EPCON) — Social Ventures Partners Minnesota EPCON: The Engaged Philanthropy Conference has a simple, yet powerful formula — to accelerate the pace of social innovation in Minnesota by bringing together our most innovative social entrepreneurs with social investors to create solutions to our pressing social problems.

June 17th — From Tom Evers — “Playworks Twin Cities is hosting its first annual Twin Cities Corporate Kickball Tournament pitting up to 8 teams from area businesses against each other for the first annual city trophy. Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that supports learning by providing safe, healthy and inclusive play and physical activity to schools at recess and throughout the entire school day. The Tourney will be held Friday June 17 12-5 at Dunning Fields near Concordia College in St. Paul and every team will receive team shirts, a free ball, lunch, beverages and a guaranteed two games in the afternoon. There is a weblink on our Twin Cities homepage for registering teams (team sponsorship is $1500). If anyone is interested in having their business sponsor a team or the tourney, I’d love to work with them.
I am also offering an exclusive Pollen deal — if someone wants to form an official Pollen Team made up of Pollen subscribers and friends, I will waive the team sponsorship fee and only ask that everyone on that team makes a personal donation. They will still receive the benefits including two games, t-shirts, two games and lunch. Contact Tom for more information.



Blandin Foundation (search being conducted by KeyStone Search)
President and CEO

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities
Chief Development Officer

Bush Foundation (KeyStone Search client)
Manager, North Dakota and South Dakota Activities

CaringBridge (via Lars Leafblad)
Interactive Marketing Specialist

Goodwill/Easter Seals (via Angela Garrett)
Development Officer, Major and Planned Gifts

Greater Twin Cities United Way (via Carole Stodieck)
Senior Manager, Workplace Fundraising

LifeScience Alley (via Jeremy Lenz)
Vice President, Public Policy and Affiliations

The Link (KeyStone Search client)
Program Manager

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (KeyStone Search client)
Director of Evaluation

Minnesota AIDS Project (via Melissa Palank)
Major Gifts Officer

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (via Jim Toscano)
Director of Major Giving

Minnesota Public Radio (KeyStone Search client)
Senior Planned Giving Officer

Northwest Area Foundation (KeyStone Search client)
Executive Assistant and Project Coordinator
Program Assistant

The Ordway Center for Performing Arts
Social Media Intern

Otto Bremer Foundation
Program Officer

St. Catherine University
Director of Development

External Relations Manager


ABRA Auto Body & Glass
Director of Marketing

Ameriprise Financial
VP, Investor Relations

American Medical Systems
Director, Global Organizational and Leadership Development

Best Buy Corp
Director, Insight Strategy and Execution
Director, Design Integration

Director, Global Public Relations

Fox Sports North
Digital Content Manager

General Mills
Global Vice President, Health and Nutrition

H.B. Fuller
Global Marketing Manager
Director, Talent Management

Imation Corp
VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

Mall of America
Community Relations Manager

Thomson Reuters
Vice President, Human Resources

Tunheim Partners
Account Manager

Vital Images
Product Manager, Platform

Wolters Kluwer
Director of Innovation Lab

Xcel Energy
Corporate Citizenship Representative — Data and Finance
Director, Environmental Services
Sr. Director, Talent Management


The Westminster Counseling Center seeks new board members. If you are interested in learning more please email Ruth Lane.


The Line wants to know what your vision is for the State of Minnesota

Re-connect with the dozens of “Under the Radar Leaders” and “Community Connectors” nominated by members of Pollen back in volume 17

Nominate someone for the 2011-12 HHH Policy Fellows program at the U of MN’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Spread the word about the 2011 Minnesota Cup (via Matt Hilker)

Print magazine “2011 New Visual Artist” award recipients

MIT’s “50 Most Innovative Companies”

MN-based CaringBridge.org and Forrester Research report finds “Correlation Between Social Connection and Health Recovery”

3 networking blog posts:

“The Secret to Networking? It might surprise you.”

Lars Leafblad blog post “Everything I Know About Networking I Learned in 3rd Grade”

Harvey Mackay “The Best Reciprocity: Giving Without Expecting Anything in Return”

Nilofer Merchant in Harvard Business Review blog “Culture Trumps Strategy, Every Time”

Andrew Eklund in MN Business on need for new name for “social media”

Betsy Buckley in MN Business on “Want More Growth? Mind Your P’s and Q’s”

Connect with Greater Twin Cities United Way Emerging Leaders

Pollen Props:

Kaying Hang on her new role as associate director with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)
Joel Spoonheim on his recent TEDx talk in Manhattan Beach, CA. “You make me sick. How healthy communities create healthy individuals.”
Karen Louise Boothe on finishing public outreach and communications projects for the European Union and USAID in the countries of Kosovo and Liberia. She returns to Minnesota in June to look for ways to contribute her experience and talents a bit closer to home. Find her here.
Mark Marshall on the launch of his new blog to provide counsel on fundraising “The Marshall Art of Fundraising”
Nikki Cron on her new role as Senior Marketing Manager with OptumHealth
Brian Nelson on his new role as Director of Development with William Mitchell College of Law

Jamie Millard and other new board members of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network

Karen Kodzik on the publishing of her new book “Navigating Through: Now What? The Various Career Crossroads in Our Lives”
Heather Faulkner on her new role as VP, Strategic Communications and Brand Management with the U of MN Alumni Association

To John Vomhof Jr on becoming a new dad

To Jesse Bergland, Jim Delaney, and Taylor Larson who were featured in the “Giving” insert in current issue of Twin Cities Business

To Jim Bernard and team who are about to launch new website for StarTribune.com

Jamie Thingelstad and entire 8th Bridge team on raising $10M in new venture funding!

David Ulrich on his new role as VP, HR with Twin Metals Minnesota

To Mike Newman, June Noronha, and Tim Thorpe on being elected new board members of the Minnesota Council on Foundations

Tammy Mencel on her appointment by Governor Dayton as a commissioner for the Metropolitan Airports Commission

To David Edgerton Jr. on being elected to the Carlson School of Management Alumni Board

To Dan Grigsby, Rick Kupchella, Jen Ford Reedy, Robert Stephens and others profiled in Twin Cities Business “The Innovatives” cover feature
Congratulations to the 2011 “40 under Forty” recognized by Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal including Pollen members Phil Esten, MayKao Hang, Matt Kramer, Jeff Freeland Nelson, Lani Willis, and Brian Woolsey.
Phil Esten

MayKao Hang

Matt Kramer

Jeff Freeland Nelson

Lani Willis

Brian Woolsey

Read the full list here

Read a full alumni roster of MN “40 under 40” from 1998-2011 here

Connect with 150+ MN “40 under 40” alumni via LinkedIn group here

To the Citizens League — In the midst of a legislative session marked by one massive state budget deficit and two very different solutions from Republicans and Democrats, the Citizens League recently invited two leaders to step away for a bipartisan conversation with its members. On February 22, Rep. Melissa Hortman (47B) and Sen. Geoff Michel (44) joined the Citizens League’s Sean Kershaw for a candid, thoughtful and civil forum on the challenges and priorities of this session and Minnesota’s future. The conversation ranged from the size of government, tax revenue streams and judicial elections to the citizenry’s grassroots role in advocating for legislation and our state’s need for reforms.

Jim Hammerand for breaking a national news story regarding an NBA referee suing an AP reporter covering a Timberwolves game for defamation

Michael Langley on his new role as CEO of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership

A belated congrats to Joel Akason on his new role as Executive Director of the Capital City Partnership

To Maren Leafblad and all other Pollenites who ran in the Get Lucky! 7K

For those of you just joining Pollen, you might be asking, so just what is Pollen?

“Pollen is a community comprised of civic-minded connectors who share ideas, career and civic engagement opportunities and peer-to-peer recognition to create positive impact and personal and professional growth for its members.”

Pollen volume 1 was shared with members on December 4, 2009. We’ve subsequently grown to over 3,500 members. Join us on LinkedIn via the secure link.
If someone has forwarded this to you and you’d like to become a full-fledged Pollenite, which provides you with the opportunity to contribute content for distribution to the entire Pollen network, become a member by emailing larsl-at-keystonesearch.com.

Thanks for being part of Pollen!

Happy April Fools!! 🙂

Sincerely yours,

Curator, Pollen
Principal, KeyStone Search

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Kim Vanderwall on 04/01/2011 - 11:10 am.

    Got me. Good one. My first prank of the day. I needed that!

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