The 2017 Forum - Award Information


Partnership & Collaboration

It has been said that while competition makes us faster, collaboration makes us better. Just two people can create collaboration in health care to improve the world. Partnerships and collaboration are terrific opportunities to shake up the status quo and reframe traditional thinking. These experiences often challenge us, open up our minds and shed light on ideas better than our singular thought. We celebrate the Minnesota women and companies in health care who focus on collaboration to do great together.

Congratulations to the winners and finalists in the 2017 Awards program! Here are the categories, winners and finalists. Every woman nominated for an award is an outstanding representative of leadership in Minnesota's health care community.



Consumer Empathy

Empathetic engagement prompts health care teams to focus on developing a deep and diverse understanding of the needs, desires and values of the customer. What people say they do can be very different from what they actually do. A great starting point for health systems involves creatively engaging target populations within their daily lives – where and how they live, learn, work and play. Empathetic engagement offers a framework for orienting collaboration around problems as they are experienced by individuals and communities, rather than orienting around individual expertise, methodology or organizational structure.


Theresa Pesch and Connie Delaney present Donna Zimmerman with her awardLarge Company Winner:
Donna Zimmerman, HealthPartners
Donna is responsible for state and federal public policy and community affairs and collaborates with community partners to improve population health in children’s health, mental health, and health equity. She works in all areas of government and health reform product strategy and regulatory relationships, including Medicare, Medicaid and Individual products. Donna (center) was presented with the award by TRUST President Theresa Pesch (left) and TRUST President Elect Connie Delaney (right).

Large Company Finalists:
Maggie Helms, HealthPartners
Joy Johnson-Lind, Children's Hospitals

Theresa Pesch and Connie Delaney present Mary Ellen Anderson with her awardSmall Company Winner:
Mary Ellen Anderson, Comprehensive Care Services, Inc.
Mary Ellen is responsible for leading the strategic direction and overall management of this Blue Cross subsidiary and third party administrator, with a focus on self-insured solutions for over 300,000 members. She was selected for her joint work with the Tribal Community in Minnesota, in particular, the Mdewakanton Sioux in Shakopee. Mary Ellen (center) was presented with the award by TRUST President Theresa Pesch (left) and TRUST President Elect Connie Delaney (right).

Small Company Finalists:
Diana Carter, Jason Carter Clinical Trials Program (Be The Match)
Cindy Kaiser, PPMNS



Collaboration & Partnerships

No one discipline can systemically address complex health issues. Building partnerships within an organization or forging collaborative external relationships often takes a common goal. In some cases, radial collaboration is observed where creative tensions fostered by opposing ideas and perspectives work together to find a solution that improves the delivery of health care for everyone.


Theresa Pesch and Connie Delaney present Jodi Gertken with her awardLarge Company Winner:
Jodi A. Gertken, CentraCare Health Foundation
Jodi leads the Feeling Good MN community health initiative, which is a collaborative coalition of partner organizations that strives to improve the health of our communities by changing policies, systems and environments that support health. Feeling Good MN is working to build healthy communities by design so that it’s easy to be healthy. Jodi (center) was presented with the award by TRUST President Theresa Pesch (left) and TRUST President Elect Connie Delaney (right).

Large Company Finalists:
Emilie Hedlund, North Memorial Health
Dr. Penelope Moyers, St. Catherine University

Theresa Pesch and Connie Delaney present Lindy Yokanovich with her awardSmall Company Winner:
Lindy Yokanovich, Cancer Legal Line
Lindy was compelled to bring Cancer Legal Line to life after witnessing firsthand the many legal questions and difficulties her own loved ones faced after being diagnosed with cancer. She counts her work with Cancer Legal Line as the most profound and gratifying of her legal career. Lindy (center) was presented with the award by TRUST President Theresa Pesch (left) and TRUST President Elect Connie Delaney (right).

Small Company Finalists:
Dorothea Harris, Volunteers of America
Jaclyn Jezierski, Walker Methodist Dental Clinic



Just Start — Entrepreneur Award

Passion and vision often need the right “Just Start” mentality to move an idea forward. This award recognizes a woman leader who has taken a vision and moved past the concept phase and has started to test and pilot the idea. An example of a “Just Start” mindset is rapid prototyping, which is a doing-to-think/learn as you go approach rather than the traditional thinking-to-do. This allows teams to improve their capacity for uncovering unforeseen challenges and unintended consequences. The willingness to learn as you go is a consistent and safe recipe for innovating within the unknown. It is also a reliable and cost-effective way to garner new insights about problems and their possible solutions.


Theresa Pesch and Connie Delaney present Jennifer Meyer with her awardLarge Company Winner:
Jennifer Meyer, UnitedHealth Group
Jennifer builds and leads strategic initiatives that empower clinicians to help people live healthier lives and make the health system work better. She challenges the status quo and infuses new ways of preparing the healthcare workforce for the future. Her 20 years of extensive experience include quality management, operational excellence, strategic planning, technology and innovation. Jennifer (center) was presented with the award by TRUST President Theresa Pesch (left) and TRUST President Elect Connie Delaney (right).

Large Company Finalists:
Susan Jepson, Hennepin County Medical Center
Alexandra De Kesel Lofthus, Second Harvest Heartland

Theresa Pesch and Connie Delaney present Sandra Skovlund with her awardSmall Company Winner:
Sandra Skovlund, P-Kit
Sandra practices General Otolaryngology with a focus on Otology and Laryngology at Park Nicollet/Health Partners and Hennepin County Medical Center. She has served on the Board of the Minnesota Academy of Otolaryngology and on various national committees for much of her career, including the Humanitarian Efforts Committee. She started BioGo to raise funds to help buy surgical instruments for doctors in Ethiopia. Sandra (center) was presented with the award by TRUST President Theresa Pesch (left) and TRUST President Elect Connie Delaney (right).

Small Company Finalists:
Jamie Margolis, Be The Match Biotherapies
Cathy Skinner, Thrivors

Women's Health Leadership TRUST

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