Susan Lindgren, President of YESS! – Your Extraordinary Success Strategies – and Ideal Coaching, Inc., has been named the Women in Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office as well as the upper Midwest Region.
The Women in Business Champion is selected annually to honor individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership.
The regional award winner is selected from among the state winners. In addition to Minnesota, SBA’s upper Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Lindgren is a best selling author, Certified Management Effectiveness Coach, internationally recognized seminar leader, speaker and entrepreneur with 15 years experience. Her experience includes working across industries with all sizes of organizations. Sue specializes in the domains of communication, leadership, coaching and organizational effectiveness.
Lindgren is an entrepreneur who works with individuals and companies committed to fulfillment and excellence. In 1995, Lindgren co-founded Vistar Integrated Programs, an international training and consulting company. She currently owns and operates YESS! – Your Extraordinary Success Strategies, Inc, an innovative training, consulting and coaching organization. She co-founded Ideal Coaching, a world-class coaching organization offering the first certification program based in Minnesota.
Lindgren donates her time to the clients of WomenVenture, a non-profit organization that has helped over 78,000 men and women achieve their business and career dreams. Through a variety of programs, services and practical tools, Lindgren has been able to provide a comprehensive, full-circle experience that helps people on their journeys to economic success and prosperity during all stages of their professional lives including starting and running effective businesses.
Lindgren also is a facilitator for the three Minnesota Chapters of the Women President’s Organization (WPO). The WPO is an international business owner’s roundtable working with second stage business owners to confidently discuss business issued facing the continuing development of successful woman owned businesses.
Lindgren is known as a resource for business owners. She has donated more than 200 hours of coaching within the last year to facilitate the development of clients and their businesses. She continues with this pro-bono work as a way she can give back to the community.
Lindgren will be honored at an awards luncheon highlighting SBA’s Small Business Week winners on Friday, May 11, 2007, at the Northland Inn, Brooklyn Park.
For more information:
Susan Marie Lindgren
YESS! – Your Extraordinary Success Strategies
Ideal Coaching, Inc.
1660 South Highway 100, Suite 329
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
In Central America, fire stations and emergency medical clinics are often founded by persons who tragically lost someone close. These volunteers do not want to let the same thing happen to someone else in their community. Karin Reichensperger, who spent many years as a volunteer in Guatemala, saw that their hearts were in the right place, but they often lacked the most basic equipment.
In fact, she saw that the brave bomberos (firefighters), in many cases, did not even have fire coats to protect themselves. She immediately went to work to solve this problem. As a result, she is now director of the MESSAGE Program, a non-profit group based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, that provides material and educational support to more than 150 health care facilities and 80 fire stations in rural areas of Central America.
Reichensperger said, “It is not a lack of medical professionals nor facilities that restricts the availability of basic medical care, it is simply the lack of adequate medical supplies, equipment and education.”
The name of the group is derived from the first letters of Medical/Dental-EMS/Fire Supplies Shared Around Globally with Education. Reichensperger founded the organization in 2003.
Although the MESSAGE Program is organized as a nonprofit, Reichensperger knew she still had to operate with sound business practices and had to be accountable to the donors, board of directors and the IRS. She had plenty of experience making the operational side work but needed help with the range of business skills an organization of this size required.
Reichensperger said, “We recognized our ultimate responsibility is our accountability to our donors. The process of operating legally, meeting IRS requirements, forming a board and creating a budget was all new to us. We have a strong desire to do good, but our lack of business experience led us to seek assistance from St. Cloud SCORE.
SCORE is a national organization of retired and currently working men and women who volunteer their knowledge and expertise advising small business owners. SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration and has 11,000 members nationwide organized into local chapter
When Reichensperger asked St. Cloud SCORE Chapter #468 to provide guidance with business management issues, they took one look at the good work performed by her group and jumped at the opportunity to help.
SCORE chapter chair John Wertz said, “Counseling nonprofits generally falls outside of SCORE’s mission to assist small businesses, but we felt this was an exception that needed to be made.”
Counselor Mert Hubbard was assigned to the case. Before joining SCORE, Hubbard had been CEO and president of Northern Wire Products, a St. Cloud-based metal manufacturing company he helped found in 1959. He retired seven years ago and has been a SCORE member for two.
Over the next several months, Hubbard met regularly with Reichensperger to advise on planning, budgeting, marketing and recordkeeping issues. With his many years of business and community involvement, he also helped open doors at local large and small businesses, civic clubs and international aid groups.
Hubbard said, “When we saw the good work of this dedicated group and the amount of donations originating from companies and individuals in the St. Cloud area, we knew St. Cloud SCORE had to lend a hand. Although the focus of our business counseling is with entrepreneurs operating for-profit ventures, this was an exception we were proud to make.”
Reichensperger said, “We still have lots to learn, but are grateful to Mert Hubbard and the members of St. Cloud SCORE for their advice and guidance.”
The MESSAGE program collects and ships medical and emergency equipment to local volunteers in countries such as Guatemala. The equipment is donated from a variety of sources in the United States and includes fire gear, blankets, gloves, crutches, dressings, suction devices, oxygen equipment, IV supplies and other items necessary to provide basic medical care.
Funds raised by the program help finance volunteer instructors who conduct skills training courses for doctors, nurses, midwives, firefighters and health care advocates primarily in rural areas. Last year more than 2,000 emergency and health care workers received training.
Reichensperger served as a volunteer with HELP International in Guatemala where she assisted with supply organization and preparation and went with medical teams as they visited villages in the highlands. After graduating from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Biomedical Sciences, she went back to Guatemala volunteering as a medical clinic laboratory coordinator. One thing led to another and she began teaching basic CPR courses to local firemen. That’s when she saw the dire need for lifesaving equipment and supplies.
Last January, the MESSAGE Program shipped three 40-foot containers filled with medical and fire fighting equipment valued at $250,000 each to Guatemala. Four more containers are being readied. Working with the Kids Against Hunger of Central Minnesota, the MESSAGE Program recently shipped a 40-foot container loaded with meal packs, linens, clothing and medical supplies to victims of the devastating flooding in the Dominican Republic.
Hubbard said, “SCORE volunteers hail from every facet of the business community. Some have worked for large corporations. Others have spent years cultivating their own small business. They overcame obstacles and enjoyed successes. Now, they want to give time and business insights back to the entrepreneurs in their communities.”
Wertz said, “SCORE volunteers receive a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction sharing their business experience with local small business owners. When these entrepreneurs succeed, our entire community benefits.”
Last year, the 18 members of the St. Cloud Chapter counseled more than 150 entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs and helped conduct 30 small business management seminars. There are seven SCORE Chapters across Minnesota. They can be located through SBA’s Web site www.sba.gov/mn.
St. Cloud SCORE is located in the Anderson Entrepreneurial Center, 616 Roosevelt Road, St. Cloud. For small business assistance or to volunteer to become a SCORE member, call 320-240-1332. On the Web at haec.org/. Counseling by SCORE is no charge and confidential.
Amy and Darrell Hauge are celebrating their first anniversary as owners of Amy’s Classic Confections, a retail store specializing in unique candy baskets custom made for special occasions. Located in the Minneapolis skyway at 6th and Marquette, the business offers a variety of items that will be the delight of any candy lover, and make great gifts for employees, co-workers, teachers, birthdays or to say congratulations or thank you.
Browsing the store is a trip to temptation. Tastefully displayed is a broad assortment of ready-to-go gift baskets with themes such as Chocolate Lover, Midday Munchies, Off to School Survival Kit, Minnesota Madness, and Tower of Treats. Or, Amy will help you custom design your own theme for that special someone or special occasion. There are baskets for the coffee lover and for those on sugar-free diets. Local delivery is offered, which can be a lifesaver for anyone needing a last-minute gift that will be appreciated. Nationwide shipping is also available.
No stranger to entrepreneurship, Amy and her brothers had operated retail candy and florists shops back in her native Ohio. She came to Minnesota when she married Darrell. The couple started Amy’s Classic Confections as a home-based business and sold their gift baskets mostly through craft shows, home shows, and temporary kiosks at various mall locations around the Twin Cities. The business was successful, but Amy harbored the dream of having a retail store in a prime location.
A friend suggested that she contact SCORE, a volunteer business counseling group that provides confidential small business counseling at no charge. SCORE members Loren Herbst and Bill Wise were assigned the case.
Herbst spent 35 years with Norwest Bank serving as a commercial banking vice president. Wise was senior vice president for Norwest Bank in Faribault and most recently spent 11 years with First National Bank of Chaska. Both are now retired and have a wealth of business knowledge and experience based on their many years of providing financing to entrepreneurs of every stripe. The two SCORE counselors did a thorough evaluation of the Hauge’s plan and met with them to discuss the issues they would face moving from a home-based business to a retail location.
Amy said, “Loren and Bill were very straightforward with us and provided guidance on all aspects of opening a retail store from obtaining financing to lease negotiations. The information and advice we were given helped us find the right location and secure a fair and equitable lease. It also helped us obtain an SBA guaranteed loan through TCF Bank.”
The loan officer at TCF Bank told the Hauges that they had the most complete and well-written business plan he had seen in a long time. Amy said, “We could not have done that without SCORE’s help.”
SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business, is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration and has more than 11,000 volunteer members serving in chapters nationwide. In Minnesota, there are 400 members. The Minneapolis Chapter, of which Herbst and Wise are members, is the nation’s oldest having gotten its start in 1964.
Back in the mid-1960s when the SBA folks in Washington, D.C., heard about a group of volunteer business owners and executives in Minneapolis who were working one-on-one with fledgling entrepreneurs, they thought it was such a great idea they established a national program. They also took the #1 designation for the D.C. Chapter leaving Minneapolis to go down in the records as SCORE Chapter #2.
George Saumweber, SBA’s public information officer for the Minnesota Office said, “In spite of being designated the #2 chapter, we know that SCORE got its start right here in Minneapolis. And what is really important is the thousands of entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs who received sage business counseling over the years to help make their small business dreams a reality.”
Amy Hauge agrees, “We are very thankful for the all the help we received from Loren and Bill. We owe much of our success to the wisdom and experience these two gentlemen shared with us.”
Last year, SCORE members in Minnesota counseled more than 5,000 individuals and provided seminars and workshops to 3,000 attendees.
Caryl Sharp, current chair of the Minneapolis Chapter, said, “SCORE volunteers receive a great deal of satisfaction by using their business experience gained over a lifetime to help small business owners in our local community.” She encourages others with business experience and a desire to give back to the community to consider joining the ranks of SCORE.
Anyone interested in joining the group can talk with a member about his or her experience by calling the Minnesota SCORE office at (612) 370-2309.