March 28, 2022

Forge North team grows to scale impact

Leadership Council transition brings new chairs

The Forge North Leadership Council steers the 100+ member Forge North coalition towards its ambition to make Minneapolis-Saint Paul the best place to start and scale ventures. The team includes leaders from startups, investment firms, entrepreneurial support organizations, corporations, universities, and more.

Amy Langer and Brett Carter served as founding co-chairs of the Leadership Council. Amy is the co-founder of Salo, a talent firm that connects experts in finance, accounting and HR with top employers. Brett is the Executive Vice President, Group President Utilities and Chief Customer Officer of Xcel Energy. Both leaders believe in the power of partnering through Forge North to accelerate startup growth in MSP. As Board Members of the GREATER MSP Partnership, these two executives also connected other leaders and organizations to the local startup ecosystem.

Under their leadership, the Forge North coalition established clear goals and launched a series of transformative projects that involve leaders working together across dozens of organizations in MSP.

“Brett and Amy positioned our region for tremendous success,” said Matt Lewis, GREATER MSP Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. “Their collaborative, inclusive leadership of Forge North has set a new precedent for partnership."

Leadership Council members Michael Jones and Mary Grove will serve as new Forge North co-chairs. Michael Jones is the Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Middle Market Banking in Minnesota and Colorado, for Huntington Bank. Mary Grove, is the managing partner of Bread and Butter Ventures and lead of Silicon North Stars.

“I’m honored and excited to deepen my work with Forge North," said Grove. "MSP has all the key ingredients needed to become the strongest entrepreneurial ecosystem in the nation – our talent and work ethic, our education system, public sector support, and perhaps most uniquely – a strong Fortune 500 and corporate backbone in core sectors that fuel the global economy. We have the opportunity of a lifetime to connect these pieces and accelerate our community. Forge North’s three core goals around advancement of early stage capital, racial equity, and enterprise engagement are critical initiatives we can rally behind to tangibly move the needle forward.”

“Like Mary, I am so grateful to serve with a talented set of leaders that are doing amazing work for our entrepreneurial ecosystem," said Jones. "As the great connectors, we have an opportunity to amplify the work that organizations are doing to bring market leading innovations to life right here in Minnesota. An opportunity to deliver on better outcomes and sustainable change with greater inclusion and greater equity than we have ever had in the past. I’m excited to be a part of the journey.”

Forge North Fellows leading key scopes of work

Another important development that will enable increased impact is the introduction of the Forge North coalition's first group of Fellows. Each Fellow leads a signature Forge North project, leveraging their own capabilities while engaging dozens of other coalition members in the work.

Forge North 2022 Fellows include:

·      Al Cornish, General Partner of gener8tor

·      Jessica Berg, Director of MN Cup

·      Mickayla Rosard, Head of Platform of Groove Capital

·      Stephanie Rich, Head of Platform at Bread and Butter Ventures

Future projects generated from the coalition will also be led by Fellows.

Seeking coalition's first Managing Director

With more underway across the coalition, the Forge North Leadership Council is seeking the first Forge North Managing Director to advance the entire portfolio of action.

The Managing Director will work alongside Fellows and Council Members to advance each signature project of the coalition, while working with Forge North Coordinator Ben Ihde to build connections and generate new ideas across the growing coalition. They will also work in alignment with senior leaders of the GREATER MSP Partnership in efforts to advance inclusive economic growth across the region's economy. GREATER MSP Executive Fellow Jack Dempsey continues to serve as Acting Managing Director of Forge North in the interim.

Forge North's first Managing Director will be a strong communicator, capable of inspiring action and connecting dots across a diverse coalition of partners. They will be skilled at working across boundaries and passionate about Forge North's priorities to accelerate startup growth with more early-stage capital, greater racial equity, and increased enterprise engagement in the MSP startup ecosystem.

Interested candidates can click here to apply.