The WeMN Board
WeMN board members are volunteers and contribute to the organization in their area of expertise. Members are nominated to serve by other board members or members of the organization. WeMN board members are voted in by the current WeMN Board of Directors.
Anita Nelson – President and CEO
Anita formed IN Food Marketing & Design (formerly Vavricka Juntti & Company) in 1995 after spending several years working on accounts such as Pillsbury Foodservice, 3M and the Minnesota Vikings for a Minneapolis-based ad agency. In addition to account management, Anita’s background includes extensive experience in editorial planning, copywriting and editing. She is a 1991 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.
Anita is passionate about supporting and mentoring other women. Her work with the Salvation Army’s Project Breakthrough program earned her a Volunteer of the Year award in 2001, and in 2017 she received the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, which recognizes women that have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other women and girls involved in entrepreneurship, and stand out as leaders in their communities.
Anita was drawn to WeMN based on their mission to support women entrepreneurs and she is looking forward to contributing to the organization. When not working, you can find Anita on the golf course with her husband, Ken, or curled up with the latest bestseller.
Astrid Benedetto, Program and Hospitality Director
Astrid is the founder and CEO of Picabash LLC, an online site dedicated to expedite the discovery phase of small businesses in the community that provide service/venue/goods for event. She also works as Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager at U.S. Bank. She is passionate about inclusion and equity for people of color. Astrid is a steering committee member of MSP HELLO, a project of Make It. MSP., the Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region’s movement to attract, welcome, and retain the workforce of the future.
Astrid obtained her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas with a Master’s degree in International Management and is a Certified Professional Project Manager.
Astrid was drawn to WeMN for the opportunity to network and meet other women entrepreneurs to take her business to the next level and continue to evolve it. When not working or volunteering, Astrid enjoys spending quality time or traveling with her husband and two kids.
Jen Fieldman, Social Media Director
Jen is a strategy expert, specializing in audience attitudes and behaviors.
Using quantitative and qualitative research tools – including social-media mining – she has helped numerous clients gain key insights into current and potential customers. Based on those analyses and a keen understanding of the client’s business goals, Jen developed strategies that inspire audiences to action.
After over 18 years working in research, corporate, and agency settings, she left to pursue her passion. Jen now uses her skills to help others transition out of their 9-5 and become their own boss.
Jody Hahn, Secretary
Jody is a Partner and CEO of CampaignBuddy, an online ad campaign management software tool. Prior to CampaignBuddy, she worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years with over 10 years of both executive level leadership and board membership roles.
As a leader and entrepreneur, Jody understands the drive, passion, and commitment it takes to run a successful business. She believes learning is a top priority whether through formal education, professional coaching, networking, or experiences. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn, grow, and change.
To be a good leader, life must be in balance. So, beyond work, Jody enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, boating, walking her dogs, golfing, listening to audiobooks, watching movies, and being with friends.
Sam Heyne, Systems and Process Director
Committed to process improvement and organizational health, Sam is thrilled to join the WeMN board as Systems/Process Director. She has her MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a background in organizational development and training. By day, Sam works in Consumer Insights at Polaris, where she builds consumer-facing surveys and conducts research on off-road vehicle consumer demographics. By night, she is an avid reader, yogi, and equestrian.
Sam has been lucky enough to have inspiring women mentors and friends to lean on throughout her career and was drawn to WeMN as a space to foster that same shared support among women business owners. She believes that when women come together to support one another, there’s nothing they can’t do.
Desiree Jacobsen, Business Development Director
Desiree Jacobson has over 12 years in the business consulting world and believes people are important. She is never bored, full of life, a wife and a mother of two small children. She is passionate about helping women succeed and be the best that they can be.
She works for female owned IT consulting company that has been in business 31 years in downtown Minneapolis, The Macro Group, Inc. The Macro Group, Inc. focuses on staff augmentation and government/private sector contract-based IT consulting within the Microsoft world.
Within a world of fast paced business, she strives to bring an old school way of business into the world by connecting others in a passionate way. Connect to others, connect to people, help those in need and work hard every day is what drives her.
Stephanie Nemchik, Membership Director
Stephanie is the Founder and CEO of Sequoia & Co., a business consulting firm that helps purpose and values driven businesses create longevity through simplified strategy and foundational planning. Sequoia & Co. knows that the success and sustainability of a long-term business is a foundation that is setup to run itself.
Offering launch strategy, business planning, business operating systems and operational management, Stephanie and Sequoia & Co. help do the work for business owners so they can have their most valuable asset back – their time.
Stephanie has a combined over 10 years of experience in operational management, strategic planning, launch and growth strategy, process improvement, team development, training and management, creation of business operating systems and customer experience strategy.
Stephanie is passionate about elevating entrepreneurs and thrives off of using her unique experiences, time management practices and talents to help purpose and values based organizations build (or rebuild) their businesses around their top priorities.
Christine Walters, Treasurer & CFO
Christine is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services. She’s in the business of helping people grow their financial confidence. She helps people balance the pursuit of their dreams for tomorrow with what they want today. She holds the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor or AWMA® designation, holds FINRA Series 65 and Series 7 Licenses, and has worked in the financial industry for over 10 years.
She balances her personal time between family activities and volunteering in areas she passionate about. This includes singing in a community choir and leading a human rights group focused on anti-human trafficking efforts.
Kelly Wittman, Marketing Director
Kelly is a multi-passionate entrepreneur who runs two small businesses. The first is a branding and visual design agency for creative entrepreneurs and makers. She loves collaborating with organizations who bring positive impact into their space and want to build connection and community.
She also runs a home and lifestyle blog with her husband. The blog began as a way to keep family and friends in the loop during their home renovation but has since expanded to include mindful living, simple recipes and easy home decor ideas.
When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two black labs, exercising or getting lost in a good book.
Activate Your Inner Wonder Woman
(No Cape Required)
January 23, 2020
In this heartfelt, high-energy message, you’ll explore how you can activate your inner superpowers to become more confident and resilient. More connected and positive.
You’ll debunk the illusion of perfection and celebrate the collective power of the women in your tribe. You’ll leave with purpose and passion—ready to live your fullest, most productive life. No cape required.
Social Media 101
February 27, 2020
Social media marketing has helped level the playing field for small businesses to effectively reach and connect with their customers. How do you set a social media strategy with a purpose, that you can manage day-to-day and measure the business impact? The Social Lights will share results from managing big brand campaigns and provide insights you can apply to your small business.
Connie Bjerk and Michelle Kitsmiller
Awakened Living, LLC