Featured Speakers

Stay tuned for updates as we confirm our speakers for Aspire to Lead 2017.
Conference Host

Megan Granlund - Vice President of Marketing for Talent Acquisition, Thomson Reuters

Megan Granlund

Megan Granlund is the Vice President of Marketing for Talent Acquisition in the Tax & Accounting unit within Thomson Reuters. She has been with Thomson Reuters since 2005 and currently works globally to acquire and maintain top talent. She is also the co-chair of the Women and Leadership special interest group where she passionately works to promote women helping other women succeed into the highest levels of their organizations. Megan holds an MBA with an emphasis in International Business from Hamline University and a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia College.

Keynote Speaker

Marcia L. Page - Executive Chair, Värde Partners

Marcia Page

Marcia Page is Executive Chair of Värde Partners, a global alternative investment firm with $10 billion in assets under management that she helped found in 1993. She chairs the Partner Committee and is a member of the firm's Investment Committee. Marcia is a Partner in the firm.

As a founder, Marcia has overseen every aspect of Värde’s growth, ranging from the development of the original investment thesis, to the raising of each fund, to the crafting of the firm’s investor communications, to the development of the firm’s infrastructure. Marcia built the liquid investing side of the business, first focusing on all aspects of the day-to-day portfolio management and then building the business on a world-wide basis, including moving to London as she built the liquid side of the business there. Marcia has played key roles in various portfolio companies owned by the Värde funds as well as serving on creditors' committees. Marcia transitioned from co-Chief Executive Office and Co-Chief Investment Officer to Executive Chair in 2016.

Prior to founding Värde, Marcia served as vice president of EBF & Associates, an alternative investment firm. There, she helped establish Merced Partners, an investment partnership. Prior to EBF & Associates, Marcia traded distressed and high-yield bonds and managed fixed-income portfolios at Cargill.

Marcia graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota with a B.A. in Economics, and received an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Marcia serves on the Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College and on the Board of Overseers of the Carlson School of Management. She serves on the boards of Trimont Real Estate Advisors, a firm owned by Värde and of Caloris Engineering, a privately held company based in Maryland and serves on several investment committees. She is a member of The Committee of 200. Marcia is married and has three daughters, all launched into various levels of graduate and undergraduate studies.

The Power of Influence Speaker

Melinda Shiek – Human Capital Director, Optum

Melinda Shiek

Melinda Shiek is a Human Capital Director at Optum, a Health Services and Innovation Company focused on modernizing infrastructure, advancing care and empowering consumers.  Melinda partners with senior business leaders to provide strategic consulting on people strategies, organization development and workforce planning.  Prior to Optum, Melinda spent 14 years at Medtronic in a variety of Human Resources roles including Organization Development, Change Management, Talent Management and Business Partnering.

Melinda graduated from North Dakota State University with a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology, and received an MA in Human Resources Industrial Relations from University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.  She also holds a certification in Organization Development from NTL Institute, is a GE trained Master Change Manager, and is certified as an MBTI and FIRO-B facilitator.  Melinda is married with three grade school age children.

Gender Confidential

Matt Wallaert – Behavioral Scientist

Matt Wallaert

Matt Wallaert is a behavioral scientist working at the intersection of technology and human behavior, designing products and programs that help people live happier, healthier lives. He spent several years in academia, had multiple successful startup exits, and was most recently a director at Microsoft Ventures. Wallaert maintains an active research program and is a frequent speaker on the science of behavior change and product design. He sits on the board of a variety of startups and non-profits, and cultivates pro-social side projects like GetRaised.com, which has helped underpaid women ask for and earn billions of dollars in salary increases.

Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity Panel Discussion - Moderator

Sheri Dodd, MSc. – Vice President and General Manager, Medtronic Care Management Services

Sheri Dodd

Ms. Dodd has over 23 years of experience in healthcare, bridging functional and business leadership roles across the pharmaceutical, medical device and international public health sectors.

In June 2015, Sheri was appointed as the Vice President and General Manager for the Medtronic Care Management Services (MCMS). The MCMS business includes patient monitoring services, a value-based healthcare solution for improving outcomes and reducing the total cost of care for all levels of acuity and across multiple disease states. In her role, she also provides leadership to new business model creation in the area of post-acute care. Sheri joined Medtronic in March 2010 and had leadership responsibilities for the global Clinical Research organization and the Health Economics, Reimbursement, and Health Policy organization within the Cardiac Rhythm & Heart Failure (CRHF) business. In 2014, she had additional responsibilities as Vice President, Economic Value for the Cardiac and Vascular Group (CVG).

Prior to joining Medtronic, Sheri spent 13 years at Johnson & Johnson in a variety of regional and global pharmaceutical and medical device positions focused on health economics, reimbursement and value proposition development and dissemination for external stakeholders. Prior to joining Industry, Sheri spent 5 years at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and after returning to the US she worked in an office-based clinical practice, leading the implementation of clinical office-based outcomes research studies.

Sheri earned a joint Master’s of Science degree from the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity Panel Discussion

Brandan Helzer – Vice President of Operations, Ecolab Equipment Care

Brandan Helzer

Brandan Helzer is Vice President of Operations at Ecolab Equipment Care, a division of Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that provide and protect clean water, safe food, abundant energy and healthy environments. Ecolab’s 47,000 employees deliver comprehensive programs and services to the food, energy, healthcare, industrial and hospitality markets in more than 170 countries.

Prior to his move to Equipment Care, Helzer held progressively responsible roles in the Pest Elimination division of Ecolab. These roles began with directly providing on-site service to market customers and transitioned into managing service specialists, leading and managing district managers, and service as Vice President of Operations for the western half of the U.S. Additionally, Helzer served five years in the U.S. Air Force and continues to support veterans through his membership in MERGE, a new Employee Resource Group, whose mission is to foster a military friendly sense of community and appreciation within Ecolab and our local communities. Helzer also sits on the national advisory board for E3, an employee resource group, whose mission is to empower, engage and energize Ecolab to measurably accelerate the advancement of women leaders to drive business growth.

Helzer is a lifelong learner, strong supporter of career development, and seriously values diverse perspectives/contributions. His collaborative approach and strong critical thinking skills provides for a well-rounded perspective and a leadership style which encourages creativity with a balance of standard operating procedures.

Helzer holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. Helzer is married, a father of four, and a grandfather of two.

Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity Panel Discussion

Dave Thomas – President, SJE-Rhombus

Dave Thomas

Dave joined SJE-Rhombus as President in December of 2011 and assumed the CEO role in 2012.  His previous experience includes US and Europe-based executive, general management and marketing roles with a number of global enterprises in public, private and private equity-backed environments.  He holds a BS degree in Astrophysics from the University of Minnesota, an MBA in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas, and a MS in Finance from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT.

Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity Panel Discussion

Shane Bratvold – Director of Technology Services in FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters

Shane Bratvold

Shane Bratvold is the Director of Technology Services in the FindLaw business within Thomson Reuters.  He has been with Thomson Reuters since 1994 and currently leads the service teams within FindLaw Technology, including: Project Management, Quality Assurance, Business Analysis, Data Services, Application Integration, Security and Vendor Management.  Shane also participates on a newly formed Gender Partnership Council within Thomson Reuters where he’s working with others to promote women in technology, and proactively engaging the 79% (males) into the conversation.  Shane is married and has a son (15) and two daughters (13, 11).  Shane holds a BS degree in Computer Information Systems from Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity Panel Discussion

Todd Fonseca – Vice President of Clinical Research, Medtronic

Shane Bratvold

Todd Fonseca is a twenty year medical device executive, published author, online columnist for The Rouse and The Science of People, contributor to Deliotte University Press, and corporate speaker and instructor on leadership.

His industry experience includes leading Clinical Research, Regulatory Affairs, Technical Communication, and Reliability Engineering functions across Arrhythmia Management, Structural Heart, and Neuromodulation therapies.

He has BS and MS degrees in engineering and is currently the Vice President of Clinical Research for Medtronic’s Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure Management businesses.

Tough Choices and Taking Risks Speaker

Christie Smith – Regional Managing Principal for Consulting and Managing Partner Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion

Christie Smith

Christie Smith has a track record of breaking boundaries – including her past career as a professional golfer, her leadership in fostering a culture of equality both at Deloitte and within her clients and communities. She is Deloitte’s most senior Lesbian partner and is active in promoting equal rights for all in the workplace.

Christie is the Managing Principal for Consulting in the west region of the United States. Her responsibilities include markets, clients, talent and community for more than 2,400 consulting practitioners and more than 250 Principals and Directors. She is also a Lead Consulting Partner and Advisory Partner on several of Deloitte’s largest clients.

With more than 28 years of experience, Christie has a passion for serving clients and bringing innovative and effective solutions to their most important business, market and talent issues. Christie focuses her work with clients on aligning business strategy with the requirements of organizational structure, talent, leadership development and global inclusion.

In addition to her management and client responsibilities Christie founded Deloitte’s Leadership Centers for Inclusion and Community Impact. Both roles provide a platform for developing solutions with our people, clients, academics and non-profits about how the business world can fundamentally redefine how it approaches issues including inclusion, transitioning veterans, and education.

Because of Christie’s varied accomplishments and commitment to Inclusion she has been identified by Diversity Journal as a 2013 "Woman to Watch". In addition, she has been recognized in 2012, 2013 & 2014 as one of San Francisco’s Most Influential Women and in 2015 one of San Francisco’s Forever Influential Women by the Business Times.

She is a frequent lecturer and author on topics including corporate values, leadership, culture, inclusion, and talent. Her work has been featured in Fortune, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., TED and on CNN.

Christie is a Board member at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, former Board Member at Out & Equal, Advisory Board for NEW’s Bread Winners & Caregivers.

Christie has a MSW from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in Social Work/IO Psychology from New York University.