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.
Mary Deelsnyder, Business Development Director
I’m a fearless design business leader known for challenging the status quo. I ask “why” a lot and enjoy solving business problems with an entrepreneurial spirit. I am obsessed with storytelling and how it can be used authentically to make people fall in love with brands.
Entrepreneurship is close to my heart because I grew up in a family of self-starters. Everyone but one uncle, he was a geography professor, started and ran their own small business. Throughout my life, I witnessed what was possible when you apply persistence, creativity and your life’s passion, so I founded my own design consultancy and ran it for 15 years.
4 years ago, I was offered an opportunity to build and influence a creative design team within Target. I love that brand so much, I took the offer. Since then, I’ve been working my way around the marketing organization cross pollinating, breaking silos and innovating where I see the possibilities.
Small businesses still hold a special place in my heart, specifically women-owned businesses. My writing about the topic has been featured on Entrepreneur.com. I also write about and photograph women entrepreneurs at womeniworkwith.com.
I’m excited to be here, serving as your Director of Business Development so I can connect the larger business community to our organization and further elevate our platform of owners who have significant economic impact in our cities and towns.
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.
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.
The Perception Pivot™: Shift How You Show Up and Lead
April 23, 2020
Frustrated with unproductive meetings? Feeling unheard? Not closing as many sales as you’d like? Newsflash: There’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to make a shift in how you’re showing up. It’s all about perception: yours and those around you. When you realize that people perceive things differently than you…BOOM, your world opens up.
Coffee & Conversations at The Riveter
May 12, 2020
Join us for some coffee and conversation with The Riveter! Members and non-members are welcome to join as we bring together the WeMN and The Riveter communities in this amazing new space. We’ll learn more about each organization’s mission, network with familiar faces and make new connections.
How to Stand Out and Win Big
May 28, 2020
In today’s world, starting a small business is easier than ever. Very low barriers to entry mean that more and more people can pursue their dreams and build their own business. This is great news for the American economy — but a bit worrisome if you are one of those companies competing for business. How are small businesses to compete in a world where people are exposed to over 6,500 marketing messages per day?.
Confidence & Leadership Coach
Barbara Churchill Coaching & Consulting