Friday, September 9, 2016

Partnering to develop leaders beyond the classroom and athletics

Employees and representatives from the University
of Minnesota shared the story of our partnered efforts
to help with the professional development of female-student
athletes at a recent Minnesota Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Sept. 9, 2016 — Members of our team recently enjoyed discussing with the Minnesota business community our partnership with the University of Minnesota and its student-athlete group, Women Invested in Leadership and Learning (WILL).

The discussion occurred at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business meeting, with a panel focusing on the topic of “leading beyond the classroom and athletic field.”

Our company and Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation began supporting WILL about a year ago when the organizations saw an opportunity to help the University of Minnesota expand the WILL pilot program.

Through the partnership, the WILL program is providing development opportunities for approximately 80 female-student athletes from the Gopher Athletics’ soccer, cross country and gymnastics teams.

One interesting aspect of the partnership has been a group mentorship program between members of our Schwan’s Women’s Network (SWN) and University of Minnesota student athletes. The goal of the mentorship program is to have business leaders at Schwan mentor female athletes as they think past their college careers and enter their professions.

SWN is group that provides an avenue for women and men of The Schwan Food Company to explore and understand gender-related issues in the workplace. The group provides development opportunities to support business initiatives and hosts events and speakers who can clearly frame women's issues for employees.

Participants on the Women in Business panel included: Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance Kate Nau, Director of Student-Athlete Development Anissa Lightner (University of Minnesota) and Haley Halverson (former student athlete and WILL participant). Vice President of Human Resources Tamara Reding was the moderator for the panel.

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