MINN Highlights Two Outstanding Volunteers in 2013

MINN would like to highlight the hard work and dedication of two of our volunteers from the previous year.  Special thanks to Karen Baumgaertner and Heather Cannon-Winkleman for all that they do.  Read more about their history with MINN as well as their numerous contributions to the organization.   
Karen Baumgaertner
Since founding MINN in 2005 with fellow development practitioners, Karen Baumgaertner has continued to lend energetic passion as she brings ideas to life and push MINN to new standards in professionalism and reach.  In 2013, Karen brought extraordinary coordination, leadership and problem solving skills to her position as Co-Chair of the MINN IDEA Summit.  She executed a hugely successful conference, which for the first time, brought together 250+ NGO practitioners and leaders from the Minnesota NGO community to learn from and network with one another.  This task entailed the management and coordination of 40 volunteers on 10 teams, which were responsible for marketing, speakers, and logistics, amongst other critical components of the conference. Additionally, Karen has built the capacity and sustainability of MINN beyond what its founders had ever imagined. In 2013 Karen served as a Membership Campaign Launch Director; she facilitated market research and from these learnings developed a membership model, which was successfully rolled out this fall.  Because of this diligent work, MINN now boasts 139 members.  Finally, we recognize Karen for her inherent ability to roll up her sleeves to get a job done.  Alongside the huge initiatives she has led, she also continues to faithfully identify better ways to do things and then create systems for doing these things better and sustainably.  Karen’s accomplishments include championing and streamlining two e-newsletters each month, providing a critical tool to disseminating news and events to over 1,000 individuals on the MINN Listserv and another 1,000+ members on LinkedIn.  On behalf of the Board, MINN volunteers, and others who have benefitted from Karen’s top-notch work, we want to say a wholehearted thank you to Karen for raising the bar last year.  We wouldn’t have gotten this far without her!
Heather Cannon-Winkleman
None of us at MINN are quite sure how Heather finds so many hours in her day to be productive.  In addition to a full-time job and managing her own nonprofit focused on education in Liberia, Heather has been an all-star MINN volunteer.  In 2013, she served as Chair of the Education Committee, managing the planning and execution of a multitude of educational events such Getting Hired, Leading Strategy and Change in Culturally Complex Environments, and a Work/Life Balance Roundtable.  Additionally, Heather leveraged her strong volunteer management skills and attention to detail to serve as Co-Chair of the MINN IDEA Summit – a first ever event for MINN and for Minnesota, which successfully brought together 250+ internationally-minded individuals in Minnesota to network with and learn from one another.  Not only did Heather oversee a team of 40 volunteers on 10 teams, but she implemented a participatory-driven workplan, got creative in solving issues as they arose, and in the end ultimately drove forward and executed an event that had been discussed within MINN and the NGO community for years.  Heather has lead several valuable initiatives alongside this; she has drafted and rolled out an organization-wide volunteer recognition program, and she leads organizational learning by creating opportunities for volunteers to discuss best practices and lessons learned, so that we can respond to member and attendee feedback and so we can all do things better the second time around.  We are truly grateful for Heather’s countless contributions and constant positive attitude; she has pushed MINN forward in incredible ways.