CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management

CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management
FA L L 2 020             SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT

The Voice
Jael Kerandi (’21 BSB)
led students through
unprecedented crises

CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management
                               FA L L 2020

                               THE CARLSON SCHOOL
                               O F M A N AG E M E N T M AG A Z I N E
                               F O R A LU M N I A N D F R I E N D S

Opposite: Murals and
tributes honor the             DISCOVER
life of George Floyd in
south Minneapolis.
                               3       Start-Up News
Cover and right:
Jael Kerandi, the              7 	3 People, 3 Questions
first Black student
body president,                8       Faces of Carlson
led students
through COVID-19
and protests with
steady purpose.                FOCUS : UNPRECEDENTED TIMES
Photography by
Nate Ryan.
                               10      Faculty Insights
Below: Four savvy
alumni are building            14 	Close-Up: Alumni
business models
and products that

                                    	The Voice
can help their
their customers—
thrive, even during
a global pandemic.                      ow Jael Kerandi (’21 BSB) led
                                       fellow students through COVID-19
                                       and the murder of George Floyd

                                    	A Port in the Storm
                                        omme Beevas (’11 CEMBA)
                                       is reinventing the way a restaurant
                                       can serve its community

                               30      Alumni Profiles

                               E N G AG E

                               35      News & Notes
                               36      Executive Spotlight
                               38      Giving
                               42 	Alumni Happenings

                               44      Class Notes
                               48 	5 Things I’ve Learned

                                        FA L L 2 0 2 0 | C A R L S O N S C H O O L O F M A N A G E M E N T   1
CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management

Building Connections                                                                                                                                                                                                                 S TA R T- U P N E W S
More Important Than Ever

                        “No [person] is an island.”         Our last magazine explored the world and our                                                                                                                             months, the Carlson School’s faculty and
                        English poet John Donne’s        place in it. The themes remain, but we’ve seen           1,532                                                                                                              staff responded admirably. “Our faculty
                        17th-century words remain        immense change these last six months. Here in                                                                                                                               responded to this shift with resiliency and
                        true. In a world where nearly    Minnesota and across the United States, addressing       Carlson School                                                                                                     flexibility, never losing sight of the students’
                                                                                                                  graduates                                                                                                          learning objectives in the process nor
                        everything has changed,          systemic racism is finally at the forefront. It
                                                                                                                  participated                                                                                                       the research opportunities that became
                        our need to interact with        shouldn’t have taken George Floyd’s murder to do so,     in virtual                                                                                                         available for study,” says Alok Gupta,
                        each other has not. In           but now there is an urgency I have not seen before.      commencement                                                                                                       associate dean of faculty and research.
                        fact, building connections       You’ll learn more about a current student who is                                                                                                                               Staff in career services, academic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     advising, and other departments swiftly
is more important than ever before.
   Staying connected today is easier, but building
                                                         leading the push for social justice on our campus
                                                         as well as about a business using its resources in a
                                                                                                                  1,000                                                                                                              stepped in to provide ongoing support to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     students. In a volatile job market, career
or sustaining relationships via a screen is difficult.   new way to be a force for good in its neighborhood.      registrants for                                                                                                    services staff helped solidify internships
I have a new appreciation for the in-person              Also, learn how COVID-19 has forced changes in           first-ever virtual                                                                                                 and job offers for many.
experience of meeting one another: non-verbal cues       research agendas, teaching, medical technology,          1st Tuesday
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     STUDENTS SAFELY RETURN HOME
are obvious, there are no frustrating technology         and healthcare in our community. Finally, with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     At the onset of the pandemic, more
glitches, and you’re not constantly watching             general election closing in, discover an alumnus who     300                                                                                                                than 280 Carlson School students were
yourself in a box. But we must not let those             is at the intersection of business intelligence, an                                                                                                                         studying abroad. In a matter of weeks,
minor annoyances stop us from interacting.               uncertain and uneven economy, and political polling.     class sections                                                                                                     the staff at the Carlson Global Institute
                                                                                                                  moved virtually                                                                                                    coordinated the travel plans of each
   At the Carlson School, I’m so proud of how our           It is safe to say that this is the most interesting
                                                                                                                  in four days                                                                                                       student, no matter where they were.
community has put in the dedication and effort           time of our lives. Despite all its challenges, it is                                                                                                                        All students returned home safely.
to build connections, no matter how hard it is.          inspiring innovation and needed change. It is also                                                                                                                             “I’m incredibly proud of our team,
Faculty members holding additional office hours          anxiety-inducing and can be utterly exhausting.          45%                                                                                                                who worked diligently with our partners
to meet student needs. Students collaborating            I encourage each of you to step away from the                                                                                                                               around the world to ensure the safety of
                                                                                                                  increase in                                                                                                        all of our students,” says Steve Parente,
around the world to work on projects. Classes            screen, from the headlines, and from the daily
                                                                                                                  career services                                                                                                    associate dean of global initiatives.
engaging virtually with business leaders. Staff          grind. Take time to recharge and refocus on              appointment                                                                                                           Despite COVID-19–related travel
coordinating logistics to keep us moving forward.        ways you can be a force for good in a world that         year-over-year                                                                                                     challenges, large international experiential
Businesses helping each other solve complex issues.      I am convinced is changing for the better.                                                                                                                                  learning programs, such as the MILI Valu-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ation Lab and Global Business Practicum,
                                                         Warmest regards,                                                                                                                                                            continued virtually without missing a beat.

                                                                                                                                       Operating Virtually                                                                           EVENTS CONTINUE VIRTUALLY
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     All Carlson School events moved virtual,
                                                                                                                                       Carlson School Community Comes Together                                                       reaching more people.
                                                         Sri Zaheer,
                                                                                                                                       During Pandemic Changes                                                                          The school hosted its first virtual com-
                                                         Dean, Carlson School of Management                                                                                                                                          mencement on May 16. The long-standing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1st Tuesday Speaker Series had its highest
                                                                                                                                       When the COVID-19 outbreak forced               In just four days, more than 200              attendance ever, when more than 1,000
                                                                                                                                       the University to operate virtually, the     courses and 300 sections moved to a              people registered for the May event.
                                                                                                                                       whole Carlson School community sprang        remote format, an undertaking which                 The school, in partnership with the
                                                                                                                                       into action to make the most of this         demanded faculty to rethink how they             Executive Education and Marketing &
                                                                                                                                       “new normal.”                                could deliver their courses online. The          Communications teams, launched the
                                                                                                                                          “The COVID-19 pandemic presented          school’s Information Technology team             “Leadership in the Age of Disruption”
                                                                                                                                       challenges for all of us at the Carlson      made sure the school had the technolog-          series, which allowed faculty members
                                                                                                                                       School and across the world,” says Dean      ical capabilities it needed to make the          to contextualize the ways businesses
                                                                                                                                       Sri Zaheer. “But I am so appreciative of     transition go smoothly, and provided             and the economy were being disrupted
                                                                                                                                       how each and every person at the school      hours of training to faculty and staff.          by the pandemic. The series also
                                                                                                                                       stepped up to make sure our operations          While shifting modalities of instruction      included virtual events about the future
                                                                                                                                       continued as close to normal as possible.”   from in-person to online typically takes         of business in this “new normal.”

2   U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I N N E S O TA                                                                                           ILLUSTRATION: SOL COTTI                                                         FA L L 2 0 2 0 | C A R L S O N S C H O O L O F M A N A G E M E N T   3
CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management

                                               Carlson School                                   combining a year of intentionally designed
                                                                                                                                              New Seminars, Classes                      Entrepreneurship and Launch Minnesota,          Through the program, the Carlson School
                                                                                                course work, an experiential project                                                     an initiative of the Minnesota Depart-          has hosted virtual courses designed for
                                               Announces a Number                               with a real client, the opportunity to gain   Aim to Help Minnesota                      ment of Employment and Economic                 pre-launch and early-stage technology
                                               of Diversity Initiatives                         professional work experience through          Entrepreneurs                              Development, designed to accelerate the         entrepreneurs, as well as seminars on
                                                                                                an internship, and job preparation.                                                      growth of startups and amplify Minne-           early-stage startup funding, how to
                                               In the wake of the murder of George              The new degree is designed for recent         The Carlson School has added new           sota as a national leader in innovation.        build an inclusive business culture, and
                                               Floyd and too many others, the Carlson           graduates or early career professionals.      programming to educate the state’s                                                         an introduction to financial modeling,
                                               School immediately began work to create                                                        entrepreneurial community.                 “Entrepreneurship is vital in any
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         along with many others. There is also a
                                               a more welcoming place for students,             A new Integrated Bachelor of Science                                                     economy, but especially during these
                                                                                                                                              A new online platform, called MN Venture                                                   mentorship program available, tapping
                                               faculty, staff, visitors, and more.              in Business / Master of Arts in Human                                                    unprecedented times,” says John Stavig,
                                                                                                                                              Builders, launched April 2020. The site                                                    into the University’s wide network
                                                                                                Resources & Industrial Relations degree                                                  program director at the Holmes Center.
                                               A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action                                                      shares information to connect entre-                                                       within the entrepreneurial community.
                                                                                                program allows students to earn both                                                     “These courses and seminars will allow
                                               Work Group, charged by Dean Sri Zaheer,          degrees with only one additional year of      preneurs with courses, competitions,       us to build an even more robust entrepre-       MN Venture Builders continues
                                               spent the summer months listening to             classes. This degree provides a struc-        seminars, mentors, and connections to      neurial scene in the state of Minnesota.”       the Holmes Center’s leadership in
                                               each other, colleagues, students, and            tured option to complete both the BSB         the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to                                                   supporting entrepreneurs through
                                               alumni. The group is working with the                                                          early-stage technology entrepreneurs       Within its first few months, more than 150
                                                                                                and MHRIR degrees in an efficient and                                                                                                    programs such as MIN-Corps, Grow
                                               school’s executive committee on taking                                                         across the state of Minnesota. It is a     entrepreneurs participated in the quar-
                                                                                                timely manner while still maintaining the                                                                                                North, Women’s Entrepreneurship
                                               some immediate steps.                                                                          collaboration between the Carlson          terly lean startup courses and webinars.
                                                                                                rigors of the curriculum.                                                                                                                (WE*), and MN Cup, the largest state-
                                                                                                                                              School’s Gary S. Holmes Center for                                                         wide startup contest in the country.
                                               “This work is of the utmost importance,”         The final new program is the Master of
                                               says Dean Sri Zaheer. “We have begun             Science in Business Analytics Program/
                                               implementing many of the workgroups              Master of Science in Finance joint degree
                                               suggestions, including initiatives focused       program. This dual-degree program
                                               on our internal culture and processes, as        capitalizes on market demand for                                                                                                       “Entrepreneurship
                                               well as on pipeline programs and educa-
                                               tion for the lager business community.”
                                                                                                graduate-level students who are trained
                                                                                                in both business analytics and finance                                                                                                  is vital in any
                                               In order to jump start these initiatives,        domain knowledge. The degree, effective
                                                                                                now, will give students current, leading
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        economy, but
                                               Zaheer has committed $1 million in
                                               funding to support the work group’s              knowledge to add value to their work and                                                                                                especially
                                                                                                organization as a whole.
                                                                                                Additionally, the Carlson School
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        during these
                                               The 19-person Diversity, Equity, and
                                               Inclusion Action Work Group, led by              launched 13 new graduate certificates.                                                                                                  unprecedented
                                                                                                Designed for working professionals,
                                               Professor and Accounting Department
                                               Chair Pervin Shroff, included a cross-           Graduate Certificates offer high-impact                                                                                                 times.” — J O H N S TAV I G
                                               section of students, faculty, and staff          learning in 13 specific topic areas, from
                                               from a variety of diverse backgrounds.           Leadership for Managers to Business
                                                                                                Analytics. These certificates consist
                                               The DEI work group took part in a number         of 12 credits (four to six courses) of
                                               of listening sessions and reviewed survey        graded, transcripted coursework that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Two Carlson School
                                               results from faculty, staff, and students to     can be applied to a master’s degree.                                                                                                     MBA Students Receive
            “The DE&I Action Work              develop their initiatives.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         National Awards
             Group was truly an                School Launches                                    • Master of Marketing Degree
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Liz O’Brien, ’20 MBA, and Kevin Bubolz,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ’21 MBA, were recently recognized
             effort that required us           Three New Degrees,                                 • Integrated Bachelor of                                                                                                              for their innovation and leadership.
                                               13 Graduate Certificates
             all to be open, honest,                                                                 Science in Business / Carlson
                                                                                                     School Master of Arts in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         O’Brien became the first Carlson School
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         student to be honored with the Edie Hunt
             and humble. It has been           Three new degree programs and a suite of
                                               more than a dozen graduate certificates
                                                                                                     Human Resources & Industrial                                                                                                        Inspiration Award from the Forté Foun-
                                                                                                     Relations degree program
             both challenging and              will make their debut at the Carlson School
                                               as part of its continued focus on expanding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         dation. This annual award recognizes a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         woman who aligns with Forté’s mission
                                                                                                  • Carlson School Master of
             rewarding to collaborate          educational opportunities for recent                  Science in Business Analytics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         to launch women into fulfilling, significant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         careers through access to business
                                               graduates and established professionals.
             on this with others from          One new option, which will begin recruit-
                                                                                                     Program/Master of Science in
                                                                                                     Finance joint degree program
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         education and professional develop-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ment, as well as candidates who exhibit
             across the school.”               ing students this fall while launching in Fall
                                                                                                  • Plus 13 new graduate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         a track record of working to increase
                                               2021, is the Master of Marketing Degree.                                                                                                                                                  and/or encourage women’s interest in
             — PERVIN SHROFF                                                                         certificates
                                               This 9-month, 32-credit program pro-
                                               vides a strong foundation in marketing by

4   U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I N N E S O TA                                                    ILLUSTRATION: JAMES STEINBERG                 ILLUSTRATION: STUART BRADFORD                                                FA L L 2 0 2 0 | C A R L S O N S C H O O L O F M A N A G E M E N T   5
CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management
S TA R T- U P N E W S                                                                                                                              3 PEOPLE, 3 QUESTIONS

                                                        business school or business careers
                                                                                                       Not only was I able                                                     1. What are                              2. What’s your                               3. What’s your
                                                        through innovation and leadership.
                                                                                                                                                                                   you reading?                              favorite website?                             dream job?
                                                        At the Carlson School, O’Brien was             to meet people who
                                                        involved in the Graduate Women
                                                        in Business Board and the Forté                are already in the
                                                        Foundation, served as a diversity
                                                        graduate assistant, and was selected
                                                                                                       business industry,
                                                        to co-chair the Carlson School Wom-            but I was also able                                                     The Color of Law: A Forgotten
                                                                                                                                                                               History of How Our Government
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The Ringer. It’s a mixture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         of pop culture and sports.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I’ve volunteered with kids for the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       last 20-plus years, coaching
                                                        en’s Leadership Conference. O’Brien
                                                        was also named one of the “2020                to connect with                                                         Segregated America. This
                                                                                                                                                                               book highlights housing policy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         They cover everything from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Game of Thrones to Anthony
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       both basketball and football.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I see sports as a great way
                                                        MBAs to Watch” by Poets & Quants.
                                                                                                       other students of                                                       and unconstitutional laws that            Bourdain and mock NBA                         to connect with kids, teach
                                                        Bubolz, a former Army helicopter pilot,                                                                                created opportunity for some              Drafts. A lot of range!                       leadership skills, and solve
                                                        became the first Carlson School stu-           color who had the                                                       and left others out. As we talk                                                         problems. When I retire, I’ll
                                                        dent to be named a Tillman Scholar.
                                                                                                       same interests.”                                                        about racial equality, this book
                                                                                                                                                                               provides a great example of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       likely find a position as a sports
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       director for a youth program.
                                                        He was among 60 U.S. service members,
                                                                                                       — N I N I D A N G , ’ 24 B S B              Joffrey Wilson              systems that have been in place
                                                        veterans, and military spouses named
                                                                                                                                                   ’99 BSB                     that have created inequity. This
                                                        to the Pat Tillman Foundation’s 12th
                                                        class of scholars. Tillman Scholars are
                                                                                                                                                   Director of Inclusion and   book is also important because
                                                        selected based on their high potential for                                                 Diversity at Mortenson      it highlights the importance
                                                                                                       activities. The 2019-2020 cohort                                        of policy to drive change.
                                                        impact, demonstrated through a proven
                                                        track record of leadership, continued          included 36 students, 61 percent of
                                                        pursuit of education, and commitment of        whom are African American or Black, 58
                                                        their resources to service beyond self.        percent female, and more than half who
                                                                                                       were in their senior year of high school.
                                                        Bubolz, who discovered a passion for                                                                                   The Argumentative Indian by               Refinery29—especially the                     A dream job of mine would be
                                                        therapy dogs while serving in Afghani-         “One of the important things for me was                                 Amartya Sen. Lately, I have been          “Work & Money” section.                       where I can combine my artistic
                                                        stan in 2014, says his goal is to help chil-   the different connections I was able to                                 missing my home country a lot.                                                          creativity and analytical skills
                                                        dren develop their reading skills through      make through the Emerging Leaders of                                    I first read this book a decade                                                         to contribute to society.
ABOVE: Liz O’Brien,
top, and Kevin                “I’m asking you to        increased access to therapy dogs.              Color program,” Dang says. “Not only was
                                                                                                       I able to meet people who are already
                                                                                                                                                                               ago and revisiting it now takes
                                                                                                                                                                               me back to simpler and happier
Bubolz, bottom,
received national              see the present          Emerging Leaders
                                                                                                       in the business industry, but I was also
                                                                                                       able to connect with other students of
                                                                                                                                                                               times. This collection of essays
                                                                                                                                                                               highlights India’s identity through
recognition for
their outstanding              challenges not as        of Color Program Leads                         color who had the same interests.”                                      its history, and how debate, dia-
work this year.
                                                        to New Enrollments                                                                         Deeksha Jha                 logue, and intellectual pluralism
                               obstacles, but as                                                       “Going through the ELOC program
                                                                                                       made me much more comfortable with
                                                                                                                                                   ’19 MSBA                    shaped the country. It smashes

                               opportunities to re-     This semester, Aisha Mohamed and
                                                        Nini Dang, both ’24 BSB, became the
                                                                                                       pursuing a business school and going
                                                                                                                                                   Data Scientist              stereotypes and celebrates India
                                                                                                                                                                               in a way I haven’t seen before.
                                                                                                       to the Carlson School specifically,”
                               examine your why         first students to begin their studies at
                                                        the Carlson School after participating
                                                                                                       Mohamed adds. “Everybody was so
                                                                                                                                                                               It’s a different perception of
                                                                                                                                                                               India that needs to be read.
                               and create positive      in the inaugural cohort of the Emerging
                                                                                                       welcoming and willing to help me with
                                                                                                       any questions I had. You could really
                               change together.”        Leaders of Color program (ELOC).

                                                        The free, selective, eight-month program
                                                                                                       see the passion everyone had.”
                                                                                                                                                                               I am re-reading Bottle of Lies:           They’re not so much a website,                I am in my dream job. Full disclo-
                                                                                                       Mohamed and Dang are joined by 11 other
                               — LIZ O’BRIEN, ’20 MBA   provides opportunities for underrepre-                                                                                 The Inside Story of the Generic           but there are a few podcasts                  sure—I worked for a management
Aisha Mohamed,                                                                                         students from ELOC who enrolled at other
’24 BSB                                                 sented high school students to expe-                                                                                   Drug Boom by Katherine Eban.              I follow diligently. Land of                  consulting firm between my MBA
                                                                                                       colleges at the University of Minnesota.
                                                        rience and learn about business at the                                                                                 The book paints a damning por-            the Giants and Work Life by                   and PhD, and loved it. But, being
                                                        Carlson School. Students attend monthly                                                                                trait of the generic drug industry        Adam Grant have insightful                    a faculty in a Big 10 university
                                                        workshops where they are exposed to                                                                                    using the 2013 Ranbaxy Scandal            stories. I don’t follow comedy                setting is more fulfilling in every
                                                        business classes, Carlson School faculty                                                                               as the setting. It highlights the will-   much, and standup comedy                      possible way. Here, I am constantly
                                                        members, potential career options,                                                                                     ingness of pharmaceutical com-            even less, but Patriot Act by                 surrounded by some of the smart-
                                                        leaders of the local business community,                                                                               panies to promote substandard             Hasan Minhaj (on Netflix, bad                 est, most intelligent, and dynamic
                                                        mentorship from a current Carlson                                                          Rachna Shah                 and potentially harmful agents and        language alert) is surprisingly               people. Besides teaching and
                                                        School student, and college preparation                                                    Professor,                  the thinning edge of U.S. regula-         good for its astute observations              researching, I can travel, and work
Nini Dang, ’24 BSB                                                                                                                                                             tory power in a rapidly globalizing       about the society we live in.                 with managers and/or policymak-
                                                                                                                                                   Supply Chain Operations
                                                                                                                                                                               pharmaceutical industry. The                                                            ers—the opportunities in my role
                                                                                                                                                                               book substantiates my research,                                                         are limitless. Imagination and avail-
                                                                                                                                                                               and is a must-read, particularly                                                        able time are the only constraints.
                                                                                                                                                                               for generic drug consumers.

6   U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I N N E S O TA                                                                                                                                                                                                  FA L L 2 0 2 0 | C A R L S O N S C H O O L O F M A N A G E M E N T   7
CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management

Among our greatest                                                                   Hollies Winston                           Samantha Clute                                                                         Christopher Danner
achievements at the Carlson                                                          ’13 MBA                                   ’21 MBA                                                                                ’21 BSB

School are the connections                                                           Chair and CEO
                                                                                     at Guaranteed America, Inc.
                                                                                                                               “The community of Compass at
                                                                                                                               Carlson has been really meaningful
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “My biggest source of inspiration and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      also my biggest source of gratitude

we have made to each other                                                           “A vision of what a better world can
                                                                                                                               to me in my own personal journey. My
                                                                                                                               process towards my identity in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      during this time has come from many
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      of the folks in our society who are
                                                                                     look like inspires me. We always
and to the school. Our Faces                                                         talk about gaps for people of color,
                                                                                                                               LGBTQ community wasn’t really as
                                                                                                                               clear or clear-cut as I thought it was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      continuing to go to work each day
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      so that we can have the goods and
                                                                                     African Americans, and I always say,
of Carlson series showcases                                                          ‘Well, what does that world look like
                                                                                                                               supposed to be. I walk through the
                                                                                                                               world holding a lot of privilege. I’m a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      services we need to survive and get
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      through this time together, and that’s
                                                                                     when—African Americans especially—
the perspectives of our                                                              we define what success is and we
                                                                                                                               cis, white, straight-passing woman.
                                                                                                                               And I feel like, in many ways, I haven’t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      everyone from our healthcare workers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      to those in our food and agriculture
inimitable students, faculty,                                                        decide our destiny?’ When we get to
                                                                                     that place, you’ll see a very different
                                                                                                                               felt like I was gay enough and that                                                    sector. Obviously, these essential
                                                                                                                               my relatively peaceful coming-out                                                      services don’t always provide them
staff, and alumni, highlighting                                                      world with a lot more resources for
                                                                                     everybody. Because when you do
                                                                                                                               experiences and my very accepting
                                                                                                                                                                          Tracy Keeling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      with the choice of being able to stay
                                                                                                                               family and friends make me feel a                                                      home and stay protected like the
what inspires them and                                                               remove those gaps and you allow
                                                                                     people to express themselves,
                                                                                                                                                                          Associate Director,                         rest of us, but, I am just so thankful
                                                                                                                                                                          MBA and MS programs                         for all of them doing that on a daily
makes them proud of their                                                            generally, in this country, you unlock
                                                                                     a ton of opportunity. And if you want                                                “Right now in my life I’m most proud        basis so that we can emerge stronger,
                                               Shaker Zahra                                                                                                                                                           collectively, and have what we need
work and communities.                          Professor, Strategic Management
                                                                                     to measure it in terms of economics,
                                                                                     you unlock a ton of revenue, GDP, all
                                                                                                                                                                          of the volunteer work I’m doing
                                                                                                                                                                          with Greyhound Pets of America              to get through this together.”
                                               & Entrepreneurship Department         those things that matter. But more                                                   Minnesota. GPA MN is a local chapter
                                               “I’m most proud of the fact that I    importantly, you just unlock a ton                                                   of a national nonprofit that finds
                                               have gotten to know so many people    of potential across the arts, across                                                 permanent forever homes for racing
                                               from so many cultures, from so many   business, across politics. So that’s                                                 greyhounds when they retire from
                                               places around the globe, and my       what motivates me, is a vision of                                                    their careers on the track. I’ve been
                                               life has become better and richer     the world where people can follow                                                    volunteering with them since I
                                               because of these connections. It’s    their own destiny and vision.”                                                       adopted my first retired racer nearly
                                               something I never dreamed would                                                                                            10 years ago, and I’m currently
                                               happen to me, and probably is                                                                                              starting my second two-year term
                                               the highlight of everything in my                                                                                          as president of the board. It’s just
                                               life. It defined what I did and how                                                                                        so gratifying to introduce the public
                                               I did things and I cannot tell you                                                                                         to these gentle, loving, 45-MPH
                                               how important that has been.”                                                                                              couch potatoes, and see the dogs
                                                                                                                                                                          settle into their retirement homes
                                                                                                                                                                          and to life as a beloved pet.”

                                                                                                                               little bit less qualified to participate
                                                                                                                               in LGBTQ spaces and discussions. I
                                                                                                                               realized through my engagements
                                                                                                                               with Compass and more broadly with
                                                                                                                               the community that it’s created, that
                                                                                                                               my voice matters and that walking
                                                                                                                               forward with my lesbianism as openly
                                                                                                                               expressed as my privilege provides
                                                                                                                               me the best platform to advocate for
                                                                                                                               diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts
                                                                                                                               across the business community.”

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CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management
FOCUS                                           F A C U LT Y I N S I G H T S

                                                                                      Dynamic Disruption
                                                                                      BY JOEL HOEKSTRA

                                                                                      Last spring, as the U pivoted to online instruction to
                                                                                      help slow the spread of COVID-19, Carlson School
                                                                                      instructors and students found themselves adjusting
                                                                                      and adapting at warp speed. The results were
                                                                                      insightful—and for some, invigorating.
                                                                                      Among Beth Campbell’s academic
                                                                                      interests is the study of interpersonal
                                                                                                                                   dislike the virtual environment, but there
                                                                                                                                   are some advantages,” she says. “We need
                                                                                                                                                                                      “In this environment,
                                                                                      dynamics and teams in the workplace.
                                                                                      So, as you might expect, Campbell,
                                                                                                                                   to look at the obstacles and think, Could
                                                                                                                                   parts of this be a feature, rather than a bug?”
                                                                                                                                                                                       students really
                                                                                      an assistant professor of Work and                                                               appreciate
                                                                                      Organizations, has taken a keen interest     DRAWING THE MAP
                                                                                      in how teams and worker interactions         Professor and Marketing Department                  discussion and
                                                                                      have changed amid the pandemic. When
                                                                                      employees have to social distance or work
                                                                                                                                   Chair Vlad Griskevicius compares the
                                                                                                                                   shift to online instruction at the Univer-
                                                                                                                                                                                       being able to
                                                                                      from home, how does it affect produc-
                                                                                      tivity, morale, and business in general?
                                                                                                                                   sity to the explorations of Sacagawea and
                                                                                                                                   Lewis and Clark in the American West.
                                                                                                                                                                                       learn from each
                                                                                         Campbell has been particularly            “There was no map,” he says. “You drew              other. The art of
                                                                                      interested in virtual onboarding. “What      the map as you went along.” For some
                                                                                      is the most effective way to embed           professors, it was exciting. For everyone,          teaching in Zoom is
                                                                                      someone in your company culture? We
                                                                                      used to think it required workshops
                                                                                                                                   it was a challenge. “You had four days
                                                                                                                                   to figure it out,” Griskevicius notes.
                                                                                                                                                                                       about asking really
                                                                                      with bad muffins and coworker happy
                                                                                      hours to get new employees to bond,”
                                                                                                                                      The Carlson School faculty banded
                                                                                                                                   together in online discussion groups to
                                                                                                                                                                                       good questions.”
                                                                                      Campbell says. “But maybe that’s not         consider solutions. “We had an immense              — VL AD GRISKEVICIUS
                                                                                      necessary.” The jury is still out, she       amount of communication with each
                                                                                      admits, but she’s working closely with a     other and lots of cooperation,” Griskev-
                                                                                      large Twin Cities professional services      icius says. But in the end, different peo-              Griskevicius believes the pandemic
                                                                                      firm—she can’t disclose the name—to          ple adopted different approaches—and                 experience has irrevocably altered online
                                                                                      study onboarding practices that are          some were more successful than others.               learning. “Most students—and their
                                                                                      effective in the current circumstances.         The department polled students at                 parents—are afraid of virtual learning
                                                                                         COVID-19 has not only reframed            the end of the semester to gain insights             because they’ve never had a good
                                                                                      Campbell’s views of interpersonal            into what worked and what didn’t in                  experience,” he says. “But once they see
                                                                                      interactions in the workplace, the           online instruction. Griskevicius says the            a well-designed experience, it radically
                                                                                      pandemic has also made her more aware        highest marks were given to instructors              alters how they look at education.
                                                                                      of communication in the classroom.           who took a hybrid approach, mixing                   There’s a belief that in-person instruc-
                                                                                      “There are unexpected benefits to online     short video lectures (“If it’s over seven            tion leads to a better outcome, but this
                                                                                      learning,” she says. “I think it amplified   minutes, it’s too long!”) with team                  experience is showing us that we can
                                                                                      the voices of less-vocal students. I         activities and small-group discussions               design a virtual class that’s also highly
                                                                                      heard some students contributing in a        convened in virtual breakout rooms.                  engaging, high-quality, and impactful.”
                                                                                      way that I couldn’t always hear when         “In this environment, students really
                                                                                      I’m in a 50-person lecture room.”            appreciate discussion and being able                 THE ART OF TIME TRAVELING
                                                                                         The experience has made Campbell          to learn from each other,” Griskevicius              Svjetlana Madzar teaches the capstone
                                                                                      look at challenges—in business, in teach-    says. “The art of teaching in Zoom is                course for international business
                                                                                      ing—with fresh eyes. “People initially       about asking really good questions.”                 majors. A senior lecturer in Strategic

10   U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I N N E S O TA   ILLUSTRATIONS: FRANCESCO CICCOLELLA                                                                                     FA L L 2 0 2 0 | C A R L S O N S C H O O L O F M A N A G E M E N T   11
CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management

Management and Entrepreneurship                 them online would make the hours drag.        WRESTLING WITH REAL-LIFE
who has served on the guest faculty             “Three hours on Zoom is just a challenge      PROBLEMS
of educational institutions in France,          for us all,” Vohs says. “It forced me to      When people started fretting about short-
Germany, India, and Spain—and has               get really creative. I would sit on my        ages of toilet paper and hand sanitizer last
led students on international residency         kitchen table the morning before the          spring with the onset of the COVID-19
trips to Austria, Chile, Cuba, Hungary,         class trying to figure out what I could       pandemic, Professor Kingshuk Sinha took
and Peru, among other places—Madzar             do that would make it more fun.”              note. But he was confident that manufac-
tries to impress upon her capstone                  At one point during the term, Vohs        turers would catch up with demand. He            Beth Campbell
students the specific challenges that           asked the class to watch Tiger King, a pop-   was more concerned, along with people
arise when business goes global. “We            ular Netflix documentary about the life of    in the medical community, about the
focus on the strategic challenges of            an eccentric zookeeper named Joe Exotic.      worldwide supply shortage of PPE and
working across borders,” she says.              Students may have thought the assign-         ventilators, and the lack of capacity in
   Madzar had just started teaching             ment was unusual, but Vohs connected          hospitals and ICUs needed to care for the
the capstone class when COVID-19                the show to readings on consumer behav-       surging volume of COVID-19 patients.
upended normal life around the planet.          ior. “We looked at the academic theories         “You want supply chains to be reliable,
Her international students went                 about human motivation and applied            responsive, resilient, and responsibly
home—to New Zealand, Spain, and                 them to the show, which is an unbridled       managed,” Sinha says. “But as manufac-
Ukraine—and Madzar had to learn how             display of human ambition,” she says.         turing has become more global, supply            Vlad Griskevicius
to navigate time differences and technol-       “We also asked explored questions like,       chains are more and more vulnerable to
ogy issues as classes went online. Carlson      ‘Do people feel the same level of love for    natural and manmade disasters. We’re
School students returning from canceled         their pets as they do their children?’”       seeing the effects of that right now.”
study-abroad programs were allowed to               For many, the COVID era has dimin-           As the pandemic rewrote the rules of
join the class, and many had stories to         ished overall happiness, so Vohs asked        business and life around the world, Sinha
tell related to the hardships of crossing       her students to immerse themselves in         reworked his spring semester graduate
borders. “The students had recent               literature about the topic. “I think we’re    elective “Supply Chain Management in the
experience with the communication               all realizing that we can derive meaning      Healthcare and Medical Device Sector” to
issues and challenges that pop up when          from small things,” Vohs says. “You don’t     focus specifically on the delivery of medi-      Svjetlana Madzar
you move from one country to another,”          have to buy a Mercedes to be happy.           cal supplies and healthcare in COVID-19
Madzar says. “In some sense, this was           Right now, we’re discovering that you can     times. “The problems we are facing now
a real-time, real-life experiment.”             get meaning from small things, like just      are not problems that we have ever faced
   Dividing her students into teams,            getting coffee at your local coffee shop.”    before,” he says. “I felt it was important for
Madzar deliberately mixed one student               In the end, Vohs was impressed by her     students and me to wrestle with immediate
in another time zone to each cohort.            students’ willingness to stay on task. “I     real-life problems. The design and delivery
The result? Students had to learn to            didn’t think I’d be able to expect much,      of the course was occurring on the fly.”
coordinate schedules and work through           given all the chaos,” Vohs says. “But my         His students rose to the occasion.
cultural misunderstandings at a distance,       students were 100 percent right there.”       One team developed their final course
much as they would in global business.                                                        paper on the end-to-end supply chain             Kathleen Vohs
   Madzar believes that the global                                                            for ventilators, taking into account
experience actually helped her students                                                       the various stakeholders, challenges
bridge differences and form emotional
connections. “We realize that everyone
                                                “As manufacturing                             of affordability and coordination,
                                                                                              stockpiling, and the role of government.
is going through the same hardships,”
she says. “In some sense, borders
                                                 has become more                              Another team analyzed the COVID-
                                                                                              19 care supply chains of a large U.S.
and cultural differences don’t matter.           global, supply chains                        state, addressing issues related to PPE,
We’re all grappling with the virus.”                                                          hospital beds, plasma donations, racial
                                                 are more and more                            disparity, mortuary capacity, and future         Kingshuk Sinha
PhD classes typically meet for multiple
                                                 vulnerable to natural                        vaccinations. “The students really
                                                                                              immersed themselves in the problems
hours at a time each week, and when all
University classes went online, Professor
                                                 and manmade                                  and were creative in their solutions,”
                                                                                              Sinha says. “We all learned something
Kathleen Vohs approached hers with               disasters. We’re                             about health care and COVID—and
trepidation. “It was tough, really tough,”                                                    gained some insight into what needs to
Vohs says. In the classroom, she explains,       seeing the effects                           happen to prepare for the future. It is
discussions move with a fluidity and
lively energy that make them dynamic
                                                 of that right now.”                          the most live course I’ve ever taught.”

and interesting. She worried that holding       — KINGSHUK SINHA

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CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management

        SURVEY                                       BY TIM GIHRING

        SAYS                                    >>   HOW MORNING CONSULT, LED
                                                     BY MICHAEL RAMLET (’09 BSB),
                                                     IS HELPING COUNTRIES AND
                                                     COMPANIES NAVIGATE A WORLD
                                                     TURNED INSIDE OUT.
                                                     Morning Consult, the polling firm, is a relative
                                                     newcomer to the question business. Its CEO,
                                                     Michael Ramlet, co-founded the firm seven
                                                     years ago, before he was old enough to rent a car.
                                                     But its scope and agility has given it formidable
                                                     insight—what it calls data intelligence—into
                                                     virtually every aspect of modern life. It surveys
                                                     more than 20,000 people a day around the world,
                                                     about everything from whether they trust the
                                                     president to whether they trust the tap water.
                                                        Late last year, having asked people about the
                                                     economy and their finances for more than two
                                                     years, Morning Consult began sharing what it
                                                     knew with the Federal Reserve. “We figured they
                                                     were one of those organizations that is always
                                                     looking for a better sense of what’s going on in
                                                     the economy,” recalls Ramlet. “Little did we know
                                                     it would soon be of tremendous importance.”

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CARLSON The Voice SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT - Carlson School of Management

   By spring 2020, with much of the             AMBITION, SERVED EARLY                                                                                                                                      NEW POLLS, NEW INSIGHTS                         or demographics to better understand
world in lockdown, Morning Consult              Ramlet grew up outside Madison, Wis-                                                                                                                        The online approach was partly                  their audience. Economic Intelligence,
was flooded with data requests. John            consin, a center of academia and politics,                                                                                                                  pragmatic, Dropp says, as Morning               which offers clients the consumer
Leer, an economist with Morning                 and eventually was drawn to both. He                                                                                                                        Consult lacked the calling centers of           confidence data that banks and gov-
Consult, was talking to international           was a school government kind of kid.                                                                                                                        established polling firms and the money         ernments were clamoring for when the
agencies who were suddenly having               “Pretty precocious,” he says, “always                                                                                                                       to staff them. But cutting the cord             pandemic hit, is the latest product.
regular morning briefings. He was               liked to talk with people.” A top seller of                                                                                                                 has also opened new opportunities for              Isenstein says the company’s evolution
talking to the central bank of Ger-             wrapping paper for the school fundraiser.                                                                                                                   research, from showing people videos            has not dimmed its start-up enthusiasm.
many, which was building a real-time               When he entered the Carlson School,                                                                                                                      to having them read long articles.              When the decision was made, this
indicator of the country’s economic             in 2005, he quickly sought out mentors.                                                                                                                     And, of course, it offers anonymity.            past spring, to fast-track the release of
activity. They all needed the latest data.      He met about once a week with John                                                                                                                             In 2015, with Donald Trump lead-             Economic Intelligence, it was all hands
“Everyone knew the global economy               Stavig, director of the Gary S. Holmes                                                                                                                      ing fellow Republicans in the polls,            on deck—even as employees were holed
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Morning Consult saw a chance to                 up at home. “It was probably 10 days
                                                                                                                                                                                                            test this. They surveyed about 2,400            from when we said we need to seize
Morning Consult’s daily consumer                                                                                                                                                                            Republicans, starting online and then
                                                                                                                                                                                                            continuing either online, with a live
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the moment and get our data out to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            when we launched,” Isenstein says. The
confidence surveys are more like sonar                                                                                                                                                                      interviewer over the phone, or with
                                                                                                                                                                                                            an automated voice. Sure enough,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            first iteration went out in an email, not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            unlike Ramlet’s original newsletter.
pings, telling us where we are in the                                                                                                                                                                       Trump performed 6 to 8 points better
                                                                                                                                                                                                            when people didn’t have to admit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Data, of course, has no intelligence of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            its own. It’s only as good as what people
vast ocean between traditional reports.                                                                                                                                                                     their preference to a live interviewer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Morning Consult had the first real
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            do with it. In the wake of the pandemic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and unrest, Morning Consult has revealed
                                                                                                                                                                                                            evidence of “shy Trump supporters.”             a declining materialism among Ameri-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cans, who say they’re less likely now to
was in freefall,” says Leer, “but it was        Center for Entrepreneurship. He would         arrive closer to brunch than breakfast                                                                                                                        buy everything from clothing to refrigera-
difficult to measure precisely.”
   For much of the past century, eco-
                                                commandeer the office of Assistant
                                                Dean of MBA and MS programs Phil
                                                                                              if he had been out the night before. Yet
                                                                                              it still felt important to Ramlet and his
                                                                                                                                           In the wake of the pandemic and unrest, Morning                                                                  tors. “Brands have a hard challenge ahead
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            of them,” Ramlet says. “Many are going
nomic information has trickled out in
quarterly reports, the way one is encour-
                                                Miller, who then ran the school’s
                                                Consulting Enterprise. He asked Asso-
                                                                                              readers, who finally gave it a proper name
                                                                                              after Ramlet surveyed them: Morning
                                                                                                                                           Consult has revealed a declining materialism                                                                     to have to totally rethink how they go to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            market and reach consumers.”
aged to check on investments. Morning
Consult’s daily consumer confidence
                                                ciate Dean of Global Initiatives Steve
                                                Parente—who was then the professor
                                                                                              Consult. It was the company’s first poll.
                                                                                                                                           among Americans, who say they’re less likely now                                                                    Ramlet is especially interested in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the reaction of Gen Z, the largest and
surveys—the same five questions, asked
over and over—are more like sonar
                                                and director of the Medical Industry
                                                Leadership Institute—to advise him
                                                                                              GOING ONLINE
                                                                                              Back in 2006, Ramlet had interned
                                                                                                                                           to buy everything from clothing to refrigerators.                                                                most diverse generation yet, who are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            beginning to emerge from college into
pings, telling us where we are in the           on his senior thesis, one of the first at     in the U.S. Senate, where he met Kyle                                                                                                                         a world as unprepared for them as they
vast ocean between traditional reports.         the business school since the 1940s.          Dropp, a fellow Wisconsinite. They                                                                                                                            are for it. Companies were already
In March, during the scramble to                   In fact, Ramlet told Parente he’d          were the first interns to arrive that        ABOVE: Ramlet      start-up funding, and Parente helped             “That survey put us on the map,” Ram-        struggling to reach Gen Zers—many
assess the pandemic’s fallout, the chief        spare him the hour a week of advising,        summer, and for a month it was just          addresses a full   Ramlet set up an LLC using Legal              let says. Morning Consult now counts half       are almost entirely disconnected from
                                                                                                                                           house at the
economist of Moody’s Analytics called           instead presenting him with something         the two of them. They stayed in touch                           Zoom and a Wells Fargo account. They          the Fortune 500 as clients and is valued        the news sources and experiences of
                                                                                                                                           McNamara Alumni
Morning Consult’s model “the future.”           he’d already been working on: a kind          as Dropp went on to earn a PhD               Center.            just needed something to survey.              around $300 million. Ramlet, who is in          older Americans. Then came 2020.
   Morning Consult had in fact been             of news reader, summarizing articles          in political science from Stanford,                                They decided to poll whether the           his early 30s, got married in Chicago two          Morning Consult began tracking
preparing to package its comprehen-             about the healthcare industry and policy.     thinking about political persuasion                             young and uninsured would sign up for         days before the “shy Trump voter” release       the worldviews of Gen Z in April. Two
sive economic data sets, including its          He’d been emailing it every morning           and how to measure its effects.                                 health insurance through the exchanges        and has remained there, while a couple          months later, after the death of George
daily consumer confidence survey,               to a growing list of subscribers.                Polls were still largely conducted by                        established by the Affordable Care            hundred employees are spread from Cali-         Floyd, a majority of 13- to 23-year-olds
in a new product called Economic                   “Here was this brash, young soph-          landline telephone then, even as fewer                          Act. It was an important question: the        fornia to D.C., connected by Zoom.              surveyed said the pandemic and the
Intelligence, which can divvy up data           omore who comes barging into my               people were picking up. Ramlet, who                             exchanges were about to open, and their          Libby Isenstein, who came to                 Black Lives Matter movement were
by more than 100 variables. It was              office, saying, ‘You don’t know me,           calls this approach “deeply inefficient                         success depended on the participation of      Morning Consult in 2016, is now the             the most impactful events of their
slated to debut in the fall. Instead, it        but you will,’” recalls Parente. He was       and wildly expensive,” was intrigued by                         young, healthy people. They built a simple    company’s Vice President of Product             lifetimes. Many were worried about their
was released in April. “It felt like it         impressed, if bemused. He eventually          Dropp’s research into reaching people                           WordPress website, surveyed 2,000 people      and has helped it expand from political         education and future prospects. Almost
was in the public interest,” says Leer.         took Ramlet on trips to Washington,           online and by cell. He envisioned a                             online—roughly twice the usual number—        polling to contracting for custom               all of them said the world is unfair.
   Since then, of course, almost every-         D.C., introducing him in health policy        media company writing up the results                            and found that a strong majority planned      surveys to developing its own prod-                Yet most also said they now believe
thing has become uncertain: the way we          circles. After graduation, Ramlet got a       of more immediate, more robust polling                          to sign up. They released the results a day   ucts. Brand Intelligence, its flagship          they can change the world. Indeed,
work, the way we learn, the way we shop.        job there in a prominent new think tank,      than anyone else had attempted—as                               before the exchanges went live, and the       product, tracks what people in several          Ramlet says, if people are listening to
But to someone like Ramlet, whose busi-         working on healthcare policy just as the      he put it, “the Bloomberg Terminal                              White House led its afternoon briefing        countries think about thousands of              them—people in business and govern-
ness is uncertainty, the path forward is a      Affordable Care Act was taking root.          of public opinion research data.”                               with the Morning Consult survey.              brands and goods. Its subscribers,              ment who want to know what the future
matter of asking the right questions—so            But Ramlet never stopped sending              By 2013, Ramlet and Dropp were                                  “Two weeks later we got a $168,000         who mostly work in marketing and                holds—then Gen Z is already changing
long as we’re prepared for the answers.         out his newsletter. It might go dark for      ready. Parente and a fellow angel                               check,” Ramlet says, from a Fortune 500       communications, can organize the data           the world, one survey at a time.
                                                weeks at a time if he got busy. It might      investor had given them $30,000 in                              healthcare company.                           however they want, comparing brands

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                                                                    Jael Kerandi
                                                                                           “It could have
                                                                    (’21 BSB),
                                                                    former student          been me.
                                                                                            It could have
                                                                    body president
                                                                    and Carlson
                                                                    School student,
                                                                    used her seat
                                                                    at the table            been my brother.
                                                                                            It could have
                                                                    to lead fellow
                                                                    students through
                                                                    COVID-19 and
                                                                    the murder of
                                                                    George Floyd.           been my sister...”

                                                 AS TOLD TO
                                                 NICOLE NORFLEET

18   U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I N N E S O TA    PHOTO: NATE RYAN                      FA L L 2 0 2 0 | C A R L S O N S C H O O L O F M A N A G E M E N T   19
UNPRECEDENTED TIMES                              |   THE VOICE

I avoided watching the video. I knew
trauma awaited. I can still hear it in my       I decided to write a letter to the
head: When George Floyd called out for
his mama, he called out to all mothers.         Gabel administration demanding
                                                they sever ties with the Minneapolis
   My family moved to the United
States from Nairobi, Kenya, when I was

                                                Police Department. And I wanted
18 months old. It was an opportunity
for my father to give his children a
chance at a better life—the “American
dream.” The chance to take advantage
of the opportunities that would alter
                                                people reading it to know that a
your life. My parents invested in our
learning and often reminded us of
                                                Black woman wrote this letter. A
the importance of our education and
told us to never forget who we were.            Black woman who was tired of seeing
   But the life my parents wanted us
to have here looked different based on          her people killed at the hands of
                                                law enforcement. A Black woman
the color of our skin. Philando Castile
and Jamar Clark were killed when I was

                                                supporting the 6 percent of Black
in high school, but I vividly remember
the murder of Trayvon Martin. I was
young. I remember being in the car,
hearing the verdict on the radio. I was
stunned and so confused: How could
                                                students on campus.
the verdict go any other way? From
that age, I just remember thinking:
What can I do? I nearly felt helpless.
   But the murder of George Floyd, this         alignment with their actions. The          end of that year, I ran for vice president
was different. It felt different. I was         murderous actions of the Minneapolis       and I was elected to serve that fall.
exhausted, we were exhausted by the             police department were not.                President Gabel and I started our terms
injustice that plagued our community. It           After working with people I am close    on the same day, July 1, 2019. The next
was my time to do something, to stand           with on the completion of the letter, I    semester, our president resigned and I
against the injustice that I had seen           attended the first protest on Chicago      had the chance to represent over 30,000
for far too long. I knew that I could           Avenue. What I saw only solidified the     students as student body president. I         Kerandi was
do something. At that moment, I felt            need for justice. That evening, during     served in that capacity until July 2020.      involved with
empowered. I stood on the shoulders             our executive board meeting, we voted          Throughout my involvement with stu-       student government
                                                                                                                                         and advocacy from
of many, and through that and the               on the approval of the letter. It was      dent government, starting my freshman
                                                                                                                                         her first days at
courage given to me by God, I could             unanimous. There was no time to wait.      year, we had been long advocating for the     the University; by
advocate for justice, for what was right.                                                  support of Black students on our campus.      the end, she was
   I decided to write a letter to the           This didn’t start on                       This included our Reclaim & Rename            serving as the first
                                                                                                                                         Black student
Gabel administration demanding they             May 26, 2020.                              initiative to remove the Coffman name
                                                                                                                                         body president.
sever ties with the Minneapolis Police             I started out in student government     from our student union, as well as renam-
Department. And I wanted people                 as an intern my first year, in a program   ing a few other buildings on campus,
reading it to know that a Black woman           designed to get students involved in       because the history continues to margin-
wrote this letter. A Black woman who            advocacy. As the chair of the athletics    alize many of our students. It has resulted
was tired of seeing her people killed           subcommittee on the Sexual Assault         in larger, broader conversations around
at the hands of law enforcement. A              Task Force, I advocated for student        University history and diversity and inclu-                          that comes with a 19-credit semester.     running for student government, way             administration, and their single most
Black woman supporting the 6 percent            athletes, working very closely with        sion. I continued to advocate for students                           I also was still working my job as a      back in fifth grade, on up through high         important role is to advocate for
of Black students on campus.                    then-MSA President Trish Palermo to        all throughout my collegiate tenure,                                 Carlson Ambassador and working in the     school. I was so humbled by the trust           students who elected them. That
   My request was the bare minimum,             modify the sexual misconduct policy.       including trying to improve relationships                            leadership minor. It was challenging,     people were instilling in me and our            advocacy and being able to elevate
knowing that “it is our job as an               In my second year, I served as MSA         with the University police department.                               but the village that raised me is the     organization to get things done. They           voices was really important to me.
institution to exert whatever pressure          Ranking Representative to the Board            Then the pandemic hit. I was                                     same village that would sustain me.       trusted my leadership, discernment,             To hold office is a privilege I do not
we can to keep our students safe and            of Regents. I advocated to the Board       navigating all of the logistics that came                            My joy was etched in the fact that        and direction. When students trust              take lightly, and even beyond that
demand justice in our city and state.”          of Regents in regards to non-resident,     along with representing students in                                  students trusted student government       you to do the work, it fills your cup.          representation matters. When you
The policies the University held on             non-reciprocity tuition and the support    a time of unprecedented crisis, while                                in a way I hadn’t seen before. And this      Student leaders and student                  get to the table, you have to use your
Diversity and Inclusion had to be in            of Black students on our campus. At the    supporting my own academic work                                      was the realization of my dreams of       government have access to                       voice. Our lives depend on it.

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UNPRECEDENTED TIMES                              |   THE VOICE

This was so much bigger than me.
To me, this decision was for the young
Black girl in third grade who will
one day come to this institution—
and my hope is that one day she
will experience an institution that
supports her progression and success.
Her reality should be different.

Somebody texted me:                             letter created inspires me. We can make       Community
                                                change, it can happen quickly, and it will    members gather in
“Jael, Jael, Jael.”                                                                           south Minneapolis
                                                be meaningful. Universities are made
I was in shock when I saw President                                                           to pay their respects
                                                up of a collection of academics with a        to George Floyd
Gabel’s response. I broke down and
                                                plethora of knowledge, intellect, and         at his memorial.
cried. This was so much bigger than me.
                                                perspective. It is time we use it to better
To me, this decision was for the young
                                                the lives of the very students they serve.
Black girl in third grade who will one day
                                                    In a perfect world, anti-racism will
come to this institution—and my hope is
                                                be taught early in the home and in the
that one day she will experience an insti-
                                                primary sector (K-12) of education. So
tution that supports her progression and
                                                the leaders we raise will be prepared
success. Her reality should be different.
                                                to live in a world where equality
   I still haven’t heard from Chief Clark,
                                                and equity are recognized in their
the University police chief. He never
                                                entirety. So it doesn’t happen here.
replied to an email, accepted a meeting
                                                    This fight is not over. We won’t let
request, or answered a question. Never
                                                it. Every time I think I’m getting tired,
even an acknowledgement. But I will
                                                I have a conversation with someone
continue to ensure that as an institution
                                                that reminds me, no, we’re still here.
that values the needs of tuition-paying
                                                We aren’t done yet. Every time I think
students, the safety of Black students
                                                protests have died down, I see people
will be considered in the totality of
                                                are still out there and still doing this
campus safety.
                                                work. Everytime I think about taking
   There were so many people who didn’t
                                                a break, I remember the many people
believe in this, but I had no interest in
                                                who tell me, “WE got this.” The
listening to the naysayers. I had faith
                                                people who have our back for us is us.
this was possible. The beauty of this
was the domino effect: Student body                My village has raised me and held
presidents nationwide started reaching          me up. Since day one, my parents and
out to me, because we had provided              siblings have been extremely supportive.
a foothold. It empowered student                My mom called me Queen Esther. She
advocates to use their voice—the role we        said, “God wanted you to be in this
should have—to lead policy changes and          position, at such a time as this. There’s
social justice at universities. We must         a reason you were put here.” When
ensure we don’t get stuck in the creation       you have that to stand on, you have
of a task force or publishing blanket           nothing to fear. One day, we will win.
statements. The momentum that the

22   U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I N N E S O TA                                                                         FA L L 2 0 2 0 | C A R L S O N S C H O O L O F M A N A G E M E N T   23

A Port in
the Storm
Tomme Beevas
(’11 CEMBA) is
reinventing the way
a restaurant can
serve its community.

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UNPRECEDENTED TIMES                               |   A PORT IN THE STORM

Tomme Beevas is a father, an entrepreneur,                                                                                                                                           problems with a business solution.” And       people, organizations, and movements.               “Where are our Black banks? Fifty
and a movement builder who effortlessly                                                                                                                                              naturally, he sees business playing a major      “Investing in the community doesn’t           years ago, they were thriving until they got
and quickly weaves history lessons, policy                                                                                                                                           role in the pursuit for Black liberation.     mean losing money and good will alone.           burned down,” he says as he reflects on
knowledge, and recipes throughout                                                                                                                                                       The distribution site was just the first   Investing in the community should be             Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Mas-
his conversation. He transcends the                                                                                                                                                  step toward applying those business           treated like a normal investment,” he says.      sacre that resulted in a white mob bomb-
limits former corporate leaders often                                                                                                                                                solutions towards Black liberation.           “We are asking people to invest in this          ing the Greenwood economic district in
find in themselves, unable or unwilling                                                                                                                                              Pimento Relief Services is evolving with      corporation and reimagine the instru-            1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma. He says he recog-
to believe another world is possible.                                                                                                                                                the needs of the community, officially        ments of liberation because everyone has         nizes the importance of centering Black
   After winning the Food Network’s Food        “We are asking people to invest in this                                                                                              incorporating as a B Corp to build more       something they can bring to the table.”          voices in the growth and development of
Court Wars in 2013 at Pimento Jamaican                                                                                                                                               structure and expand its impact. Beevas          Beevas defines that liberation as             Pimento Relief Services. And he’s ready
Kitchen’s Burnsville Center location,            corporation and reimagine the instrument                                                                                            wants to create a sustainable, long-term      the economic, political, and social              to use his rich understanding of history
Beevas resigned from his position at
Cargill as director of global community          of liberation because everyone has                                                                                                  model for community support that moves
                                                                                                                                                                                     beyond emergency relief and into com-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   advancement of Black communities,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   investing in ownership of businesses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and future analysis to provide the bold,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    visionary leadership this movement needs.
involvement, and opened a second location
in March 2016: Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
                                                 instruments they can bring to the table.”                                                                                           munity prosperity. The B Corp will take
                                                                                                                                                                                     a holistic approach to equitably investing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and land, rewriting what he calls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “herstory,” and providing resources for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       In order to make this happen, Beevas is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    currently bringing community experts to
on Eat Street in South Minneapolis. A           — T O M M E B E E VA S                                                                                                               in the economic development of Black          political candidates to run and win.             the table to take on these three pillars of

                                                                                                                                                               On left, bags of
                                                                                                                                                               donations are
                                                                                                                                                               organized and
                                                                                                                                                               sorted for those in
                                                                                                                                                               need. Right, Beevas
                                                                                                                                                               offers up takeout
                                                                                                                                                               served up with his
                                                                                                                                                               signature brand
                                                                                                                                                               of hospitality.

                                                                                                                                       Crowds gather
                                                                                                                                       outside Pimento
                                                                                                                                       Jamaican Kitchen—
                                                                                                                                       which became
                                                                                                                                       known as Pimento
                                                                                                                                       Relief Services—in
                                                                                                                                       south Minneapolis,
                                                                                                                                       the flashpoint of the
                                                                                                                                       uprisings following
                                                                                                                                       the murder of
                                                                                                                                       George Floyd in
                                                                                                                                       May of 2020.

staple of feel-good, authentic Jamaican
cuisine, Beevas has built a gathering spot
                                                National Guard. In some areas, the
                                                uprising brought the destruction of vital
                                                                                            says in response to the uprising and
                                                                                            the community support that followed.
                                                                                                                                                                                     “Let me be honest and clear:                                                                   liberation. Each committee is reimagining
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    what funding mechanisms, educational
for more than food. “My superpower is
convening people who don’t normally get
                                                community grocery and supply stores,
                                                leaving residents and families without
                                                                                            Within a few days, Pimento turned
                                                                                            its entire operation into a donation
                                                                                                                                                                                      The secret sauce is [the movement]                                                            opportunities, and foundational structures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    are needed to build out an organization
together. Pimento is like Jamaica, where        access to food and basic necessities.       collection and pick-up site for the com-                                                  has people who reflect the community                                                          that can support the movement.
everyone can come together,” he says.              Almost overnight, supply collection      munity—an effort that became known as                                                                                                                                                      “All options are on the table. With the
   That’s just what Pimento became              and distribution sites popped up across     Pimento Relief Services. Staff and vol-                                                   in its leadership. That’s how we’re able                                                      distribution efforts, we fed 4,000 people
for organizers, donors, and those in
need in the aftermath of the murder
                                                the Twin Cities, with donations arriving
                                                from all over the state—even across the
                                                                                            unteers fed more than 4,000 people and
                                                                                            raised $70,000 to provide emergency
                                                                                                                                                                                      to represent and serve a community.”                                                          in the first couple of weeks. The question
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    is how do we prevent these people from
of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. In             country. From churches to restaurants,      support. “Who’d have thought Pimento,                                                    — T O M M E B E E VA S                                                                         needing to come back for more next
the weeks following the Memorial                parks, and small businesses, community      a Jamaican restaurant, would provide                                                                                                                                                    week? We need to figure out how to fill
Day tragedy, protests rippled through           organizers mobilized quickly for safe       these kinds of services?” Beevas says.                                                                                                                                                  that gap until the food deserts are closed
Minneapolis, as did opportunists who            aid distribution, sometimes through            As an immigrant from Jamaica, he                                                                                                                                                     or there’s an oasis there,” says Beevas.
took to the streets destroying prop-            daily Twitter and Instagram posts.          often reflects on how Americans approach                                                                                                                                                “Imagine if 3M, Target, Cargill, and the
erty—leading to the unprecedented                  “Nobody thought the revolution was       community needs. “I’ve been studying                                                                                                                                                    University of Minnesota were putting in
deployment of the entire Minnesota              going to start in Minneapolis,” Beevas      Americans, and they tend to solve                                                                                                                                                       the resources to solve these problems.”

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