President and Chief Executive Officer
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Walter White is president and CEO of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a board member of the Minnesota Business Partnership, the American Council of Life Insurers, the Financial Services Roundtable, and a director and member of the Executive Committee of Senior Community Services.
“The Minnesota Lynx embody everything we are trying to achieve at my own company: A mission driven culture, unparalleled performance standards, individual leadership within a team-first system, and a strong commitment to the community. You can learn a lot about professional excellence by watching the Lynx closely on and off the court.”
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2016, has been keeping its promises since 1896. Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and life insurance products. In 2015, Allianz Life provided a total of $2.4 billion in benefit payments that supported policyholders’ financial objectives. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with 142,000 employees in more than 70 countries worldwide. More than 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most of financial opportunities.
Karen Irvin is semi-retired from her private practice. Her license is as a Marriage and Family Therapist, with a Doctorate in Family Social Science. Her work consisted mostly of separating and divorcing families referred by attorneys and court for mediation, custody evaluations and parenting consulting. She has been a Lynx season ticket holder from DAY 1!!
“We had some difficult years to start, and I am thrilled to see the success of this team and organization. The most exciting aspect of President’s Circle for me the chance to support youth in our community with the opportunity to be coached and mentor, that they would not otherwise have.”
Global Lead−External Relations, Global Inclusion & Diversity
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and over 150 years of experience.
We are proud of our Minnesota roots and also have 150,000 employees in 70 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work.
“You can feel an excitement about coming together for a common purpose. There is a lot of reason to be confident about where the WNBA is going.”
SPIRE Federal Credit Union
Contact Center Supervisor
SPIRE Federal Credit Union
SPIRE Credit Union is proud to support the Lynx President’s Circle. SPIRE believes in capitalizing on strengths, developing leaders and empowering women which aligns perfectly with what the Minnesota Lynx promote. It is an honor to help move the Minnesota Lynx, the WNBA, and women’s professional athletics forward.
“The President’s Circle has been an incredible opportunity that has showcased the most talented women athletes in the world. Each event has been a VIP experience and an inside look into women’s professional athletics.”
“We have been season ticket holders with the franchise since day one! We’ve always enjoyed the game, and have really appreciated watching the sport go from women’s basketball to basketball!”
Debbie Cote is a Northern California native who moved to the Twin Cities a couple years ago. Given her warm-weather roots, she spend winters in Snowmass, CO, skiing, swashbuckling, troublemaking, engaging in excessive merriment, and pursuing other adventures while practicing law remotely for a San Francisco law firm. Yet, few things make her happier than returning to the Twin Cities in the spring for another Minnesota Lynx schedule of superb WNBA basketball.
“I joined the President’s Circle for the opportunity to support this team of outstanding female athletes while also helping underprivileged youth, promoting diversity, and advancing women’s leadership was one I simply could not pass up. Indeed, the goals of this group are exactly consistent with my own personal values. In these complicated times, I only wish I could have joined sooner. Hooray for the Lynx President’s Circle!”
Retired Air Force Pharmacist
Karen started her career as a trailblazer in the publicity and promotion of women’s sports and served as the first sports information director at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. At the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities she served as sports information director and then assistant athletics director for external relations. A career highlight at the U was serving as external tournament director for the NCAA Women’s Final Four that achieved the earliest sell-out ever for an arena of Target Center’s size (18,038) in 1995.
Karen then moved into the wireless industry with positions as both the regional marketing communications and public relations manager. She currently serves as a national corporate communications manager for Verizon.
Karen earned a M.Ed. from Temple University in Sports Psychology and a B.A. from the University of Iowa in Journalism, where she was a four-year letter winner in field hockey. She currently resides in Saint Paul, Minn. and attends Lynx games with her partner, Martha West.
“I’m proud of being a Lynx Legend and supporting the team through thick and thin as a season ticket holder. Given my passion for women’s sports, I knew it was important to support the team financially as well so I dug deep to join the club. I’m proud my company is a corporate sponsor of the WNBA league, but this is my personal commitment. If we don’t support the team, who will?”
Susan J Albrecht (Sue) Retired Insurance Executive after 45 years in the business. Born and raised in Wisconsin I have lived all over the US including NYC, Chicago, Kansas City and Madison but considers the Twin Cities Home. I am world traveler and avid golfer.
“I joined the Presidents Circle for three reasons. Love the Lynx, love basketball and wanted to get closer to the team.”
SVP, Market Manager & Director of Sales
CBS Radio Minneapolis
Human Rights Campaign Foundation Program, Welcoming Schools
Cheryl Greene has spent her career in education and is passionate about making school a place where all children can thrive. She is the Deputy Director of The Human Rights Campaign Foundation Program, Welcoming Schools. This program provides professional development, support and resources aimed at creating elementary schools that are more gender and LGBTQ inclusive, embrace family diversity and prevent bias-based bullying.
In addition to her work with Welcoming Schools, Cheryl is the Program Coordinator/Adjunct Professor for Hamline University’s Graduate Bullying Prevention Certificate Program.
Cheryl and her wife Angie Craig joined the Lynx President’s Circle because the Lynx provide an opportunity for girls to dream big and witness what happens when you work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with people that believe in you.
St. Jude Medical Foundation
Angie Craig is the former President of the St. Jude Medical Foundation and served as Vice President of Global Human Resources and Corporate Relations at St. Jude Medical for over a decade. In 2016, she was a candidate for Congress in Minnesota. She and her wife Cheryl Greene are huge Lynx fans and have four sons, Josh, Jonas, Jacob and Isaac.
Bryan and Mary Bennett
President and CEO
Paradigm Reporting & Captioning
Jan Ballman is President and CEO of Paradigm Reporting & Captioning, the largest court reporting and closed-captioning agency in the upper Midwest. Paradigm captures the official record in court cases and provides captioning for television and sports arenas, including Target Center and the Xcel Energy Center.
“I joined the President’s Circle by invitation, upon learning about its purpose and mission. I love the fact that the rest of the basketball world is trying to figure out and emulate what the Lynx have here. The opportunities and experiences offered through programs such as the President’s Circle continue to create and grow ‘Lynx Nation’–the most envied, raving fan base in the WNBA.”
Senior Financial Advisor
Lisa focuses on working with individuals, and their families, to identify their financial goals, create a financial plan and match an investment strategy to achieve their goals
Lisa is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and has spent the last 5 years at Merrill Lynch serving high-net-worth investors and their families. Prior to Merrill Lynch, Lisa worked for 18 years at Piper Jaffray’s an investment banker in Public Finance, where she was the Managing Director of the Health Care / 501(c)3 practice
Lisa graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA and an MA in Business Administration. She also completed course work toward a PhD in Business Administration
In her free time, Lisa enjoys golf, fly fishing and donating her time to charitable organizations such as the YWCA of Minneapolis, Stevens Square Foundation, Team Women, Giving WoMNand Friends of NgongRoad where she sponsors the education of two children in Kenya.
“I graduated from high school the year before Title IX was passed. No women in my high school went to college on an athletic scholarship. It is important to me to give women access to college. After going to school on an athletic scholarship, there are so few opportunities for outstanding women athletes to continue with their sports. Professional Women’s Basketball is one of the few programs for professional women athletes. We all need to support professional women, whether it is in athletics or another area. Women need to help women succeed. Men need to help women succeed, as well.”
Normandale Community College
Nancy is a college professor at Normandale Community College. Coaching and teaching has been her career for the past 27 years. Nancy was a Lynx season ticket holder for the first 10 years of the teams existence and has become active once again, five years ago.
“This is such an awesome program and I believe in everything the team/franchise stands for. Joining the President’s Club has many benefits we enjoy. Getting to watch practice and communicate with the players and coaches is wonderful. I am an avid basketball fan, former player and coach. This gives me an opportunity to get back to the game. It is important to spread the word and get young people involved. I am jazzed to be able to help kids attend some games. They are our future and can help continue the Lynx tradition! Thank you for this opportunity! “
Basketball has always been a big part of my life. I grew up watching the Lynx and have been a fan ever since. I love everything that the team and the WNBA stand for.
“I am grateful for the invitation to join such an amazing group. It is a great opportunity to give back to the community in such a unique way. I am passionate about supporting women’s athletics and love supporting a team that are such significant role models to our community. “
President and CEO
2019 Minneapolis Final Four Local Organizing Committee
Kate Mortenson is the President and CEO of the 2019 Minneapolis Final Four™ Local Organizing Committee, responsible to execute all aspects of the NCAA™ Men’s Basketball Championship in 2019.
With an eclectic background including engagements with the United States Peace Corps and in news operations at Hubbard Broadcasting, Kate combines experience in diverse sectors with a global mindset, to create positive change in the community.
Vice President, Business Systems
Pat Rissinger is a Minnesota transplant originally from Pennsylvania. He has always had a passion for basketball and when the opportunity came around to support a Minnesota WNBA team, he was first in line to get tickets for the Lynx. He has been a season ticket holder since the team’s inception and looks forward to many more seasons.
“Always wanting to support women’s sports in any way possible, it was a no brainer to join the President’s Circle. Being able to expose the youth of Minnesota to the wonderful Lynx role models is a fabulous opportunity and I am glad to be part of that effort.”
Member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents
The Sanneh Foundation
Retired CEO and Chair, Nelson Laboratories. Spent her career in management in the telecommunications industry, sports, and animal health. Advocate for Title IX and women’s opportunities in athletics and business. Has served on business and non-profits boards to promote opportunities for women, growth and development for children, and progressive causes. One of the boards currently serving on is The Sanneh Foundation.
“It is important to support women in all areas and continue to work for equity and fairness in opportunities for women, so it is an easy decision to support the Lynx and celebrate the wonderful organization and the ownership’s commitment to the team.”
Product Line Director
As a Product Line Director at Banner Engineering, Stacy works closely with the engineering and sales and marketing teams to ensure the development of products which solve customer problems and integrate people and automation into one, elevating the efficiency and effectiveness of automation possibilities in manufacturing, process and logistics worldwide. Founded by Bob Fayfield in 1966, Banner Engineering began as a small engineering firm known for solving problems. Banner sensors and vision sensors, LED lights and indicators, wireless and safety products are used by companies large and small, from industry leaders in the Fortune 500 to innovators just entering the market.
“As a high school basketball player for my small town in Oklahoma, we attended the Girls’ State basketball tournament one year as a team, having lost out in the Area finals, one game away from state. The booster club funded our trip. Now that I am wiser (and maybe a little older), I realized that I am now that booster club member that is taking my place in the circle of life to give back to the game that gave me so much, for many years and continues to give to me even today. I wanted to be a part of the inner circle, the President’s Circle, for our Minnesota Lynx champions that creates more of those opportunities for our female athletes now and into the future. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoy the up-close Lynx player experiences uniquely available to us as members of the President’s Club. “
Partner at Stellman & Green Consulting
Andrew Stellman and Lisa Kellner live in New York City and spend summers (and, increasingly, most of the spring and fall) living in the Twin Cities. Andrew is a speaker, consultant, and author of multiple books about software engineering, agile development, and project management. He is a partner in Stellman & Greene Consulting, which provides software development services and training to companies, non-profits, and research institutions.
“We are passionate about women’s basketball, but it wasn’t always that way. We’d never watched a single game (or, for the most part, sports of any kind) before the 2012 Olympics. Watching Team USA was a truly eye-opening experience: there’s something amazing and unique about the combination of quick decision-making, teamwork, and creativity that happens when this sport is played at its highest level. The Lynx President’s Circle is our way of supporting that. It’s especially important to us that a portion of the Lynx President’s Circle membership goes to tickets for underprivileged kids to see the Lynx. We imagine that seeing the Lynx for the first time can be a mind-expanding experience for a young player, much like a young musician or artist experiencing the work of a master for the first time. This is why we were excited to join the Lynx President’s Circle. We see it as a way to support women’s basketball, much like one might become a patron of a museum or orchestra, but also to give back to the community in a way that helps to expand the world of women’s basketball.”
Vice President, Product Quality & Responsible Sourcing
Irene Quarshie is a vice president in Target Corporation’s global sourcing organization. She leads a global team of nearly 400 team members, and is responsible for product quality and responsible sourcing. Her team’s purpose is to ensure Target’s vendors and suppliers operate efficient, safe and ethical factory environments where they can produce safe, reliable, high-quality products.
Previously, Irene was Target’s Director of Government Affairs where she oversaw all government affairs activities at state and local levels nationwide. She has held other leadership positions during her tenure at Target, including Senior Group Manager of Corporate Risk and Responsibility and Group Manager of Supplier Diversity.
Prior to Target, Irene spent five years as a strategy and management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, and three years in the government affairs industry.
Among her many affiliations, Irene serves on the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Minneapolis, Meet Minneapolis, The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Her graduate paper on juvenile justice was published in A Comparative Perspective on Major Social Problems. She holds a B.A. in political science from Adelphi University and Master’s in Public Policy from American University.
In 2017, Irene was honored by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal as a “Top 50 Women in Business.”
Shari has years of Directing and Editing experience working on commercials, independent films, documentaries and corporate videos. As a Director and Editor her philosophy is, “I want to give producers, more than they ask for. It’s my job to take their idea and bring it to life.”
Shari’s experience includes, producing special projects and partner shows for the ShopNBC Network. Working on both corporate and commercial projects at HDMG a Minneapolis, MN based Post and De- sign House and feature news stories editor at KSTP, She Brings a passion and knack for her craft, but also an enthusiasm for working closely with agencies and clients in order to bring out the very best of their collective vision in the form of effective, persuasive and noteworthy pieces.
President and CEO
LEE Branding is an agency built around an experienced team of Communication Professionals. From Brand Strategy to Creative & Design, we offer an expert approach to positively improve your brand and organization. For over two decades we’ve helped our clients grow their brands by discovering their unique identity and finding the right way to connect with their customers. We continuously strive to find better ways that our work can positively influence the world.