Meet the New Chair of St. Thomas Board of Trustees.
When Jodee Kozlak ’85, nee Zahariades, accepted the 1985 “Tommy of the Year” award, she said since the St. Thomas activities she participated in were team-oriented “any recognition should be shared.”
That compassion demonstrates why she was chosen as the senior who best exemplified leadership, involvement and St. Thomas spirit. She was the second woman to receive what is now called the Tommie Award.
Her Tommie leadership continues. Effective June 30, Kozlak becomes the chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of St. Thomas. She succeeds Pat Ryan ’75 of Ryan Companies.
“The education and the interaction with faculty and others during my years at St. Thomas really did prepare me more broadly for life,” said Kozlak, who has been on the board since 2018 and is the first woman to be named chair. “As for being the first of anything, you have to be grateful and you have to really reflect on everyone who helped you get there.”
It’s easy to see how today she still embodies the qualities students, faculty and staff noticed in her 38 years ago.
While working toward her bachelor’s degree in accounting, Kozlak was active in several student groups, including the accounting club, Tiger Club and fishing club. She was also president of her freshman and sophomore classes and served as academic vice president in her junior year – and that’s only naming a few of her undergraduate accomplishments.
Kozlak, who has a law degree from the University of Minnesota, is founder and CEO of investing and consulting firm Kozlak Capital Partners, LLC. Her career spans leadership roles at Minnesota law firms Greene Espel, PLLP, and Oppenheimer Wolf & Donnelly. She started her career at accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co., where she interned as an undergraduate and continued in the audit department after graduation.
During 15 years with Target Corporation, she had roles as general counsel, trustee of the Target Foundation, as well as the first woman in Target’s C-suite.
For 10 years she was Target’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer – the longest serving C-suite leader on the retailer’s executive committee. She then joined Alibaba Group in a newly created role as global senior vice president of human resources.
Kozlak is currently the Lead Independent Director of C.H. Robinson and serves as its Talent and Compensation Committee Chair. She also serves on the public corporate boards of MGIC Investment and KB Home.