Champion: one who takes extraordinary interest in the adoption and success of a program, project or product. Graduate Business Career Services hosted their Corporate Partner Reception last month, and recognized their champions, each of whom are a part of helping the Opus College of Business in developing global business leaders.

“The college needs a connection to companies so that contemporary innovations can be integrated into what we teach,” said Dean Stefanie Lenway, in her remarks. “And if contemporary innovations are integrated into what we teach our students, then those very same students will be prepared to innovate, to create and to provide the entrepreneurial spark that organizations of all types need to ensure a strong future.”

Linda Sloan, the college’s director of industry relations and career management honored two “Corporate Champions” at the reception: Raelyn Trende ’03 M.B.A. and Dale Bohnert ’08 M.B.A.

Raelyn TrendeTarget Corporation accepts Corporate Champion of the Year award with Dean Lenway on left and Linda Sloan.

Raelyn Trende Target Corporation accepts Corporate Champion of the Year award with Dean Lenway on left and Linda Sloan.

Trende is a Director of Talent Acquisition Strategy and HR Planning and Prioritization for Target Corporation.  She leads a team of experienced executive recruiters and project managers whose mission is to bring in the best talent for Target Corporation and ensure the most efficient operations across the Human Resources team.

“She is always asking, ‘How can I help, what can I do?’ and then she gets it done,” said Sloan. “She has made herself available to countless number of students. Not only does she meet with them, coaches them and then connects them with recommendations to the appropriate people within her organization.  Raelyn has sat on a number of career services panels and currently is a member of the graduate business career services advisory board where she heads up the student development committee.”

“Be bold. Have confidence and go after what you want,” Trende told the audience. “Earning my MBA from St. Thomas gave me the confidence I needed to push myself beyond my comfort zone, to take risks and achieve…It is important to know what you are passionate about and seek a career that will allow you to do what you love.”

“Dale Bohnert recently celebrated his twentieth anniversary as a proud 3M’er,” said Sloan. He began there as a graphic designer and has, over the years, taken on numerous career-broadening challenges, including managing 3M’s brand identity. “He is a key 3M contact for career services and has coordinated alumni panels and 3M corporate tours for our students.”

Bohnert does informational meetings, coaching and advising students and he serves as a mentor to full-time MBA students. “Dale has mentored over thirty individuals at St. Thomas and within 3M and is constantly looking for new ways to serve,” said Sloan. “With each mentee, he asks only that they do as his own mentors asked of him: Pay it forward.”

Bohnert said that at 3M he has “been graced with countless opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and more so, encouraged to reach beyond; to reach deeper into our communities, our schools and to make a difference in the world and the lives of those around me.”

He talked about how the Evening UST MBA program gave him new ways of seeing, and discerning not just business, but the very world we live in. Specifically, “Our purpose – as professionals; as perpetual learners; as people.”

“I am most grateful, not just for the world-class teaching and thought leadership I’ve received here,” said Bohnert, “but more so the lessons I have learned within these very walls, and more importantly through and beyond them. Through my fellow alumni, and through the many friends I have made here…I have found new depths of meaning, new heights of hope – especially, through the eyes and the minds of the dozens who have called me ‘mentor’.”

Corporate Partners of the Year
In addition to the Corporate Champions, four organizations were recognized as Corporate Partners of the Year: Ecolab, Cardiovascular Systems, Jacobs Marketing and U.S. Bank.

Darci Kaul, VP Human Resources, accepts Corporate Partner award for U.S. Bank with Metasebia Ayalew on right and Dean Lenway.

Darci Kaul, VP Human Resources, accepts Corporate Partner award for U.S. Bank with Metasebia Ayalew on right and Dean Lenway.

Trinette Van Soest of Jacobs Marketing, said “our mission statement includes this adage: Building Partnerships that Create Results. We feel the partnership St. Thomas has created with Jacobs Marketing has done just that—create results. …As I look around at the students here tonight and others within the University of St. Thomas community, [our] three core values are prominent along with their knowledge and hunger for growth.”

Cardiovascular Systems (CSI) was listed in the Business Journal as the 17th fastest growing public company in Minnesota and the second fastest growing healthcare company, said Mary MacCarthy, senior marketing manager at CSI. In the 20 months since she joined the company, it has nearly “doubled in headcount, market cap and revenue.”

MacCarthy said some secrets to this rapid growth are “a leadership team with vision, a culture that rewards achievement, and having the right talent in the right positions to make it happen. And why did I recruit at UST? Because I knew I’d find that special mix of personality, cultural fit and skillset.”

“Each time you interact with a student,” said Sloan, “they are taking something away from that exchange that will shape their life. It is our job as business professionals to nurture and guide these young leaders.”

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