Dr. Jean Harris was a notable physician, administrator, politician and a true visionary. Jean's pioneering life began in the segregated South and included being the first African-American graduate of the Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Harris advised five presidents on health policy, was a celebrated corporate and public health leader, and Eden Prairie's first female mayor. Her remarkable life and achievements speak to the full promise of America and underscore the importance of continuing to inspire leaders and others to shape a world with hope, honor, and dignity.
The Jean Harris Award was established by the TRUST in 2001 to celebrate the vision and leadership of one of the TRUST's most respected members. The award is presented annually at the TRUST’s Forum in April to a TRUST member who advances health care and exemplifies the vision of the TRUST: to create healthier communities by realizing women's leadership potential.
Criteria for Nominees
Reflect the vision and mission of the TRUST
Demonstrate health care leadership locally, regionally and within her organization and with colleagues
Participate in and provide leadership to TRUST committees or work groups
Demonstrate personal and professional leadership and help develop these qualities in others
Generate enthusiasm and energy while meeting the challenges of today’s environment
2019 - Theresa Pesch
Theresa Pesch is VP of Philanthropy and President at Hennepin Healthcare Foundation. She previoulsly served as president of Children’s Health Care Foundation and vice president of development for Children’s Minnesota. Under Pesch's leadership, the fundraising for Children’s increased by 300 percent, enabling it to provide substantial improvements in its facilities and medical technology that serve the region's pediatric population.
Prior to joining Children's in 2007, Pesch was vice president of marketing and development and executive director of Ridgeview Medical Center’s Foundation in Waconia, Minn. In this role, she led the most successful capital campaign in the Ridgeview Foundation’s history.
Pesch joined the TRUST board in 2013. She has also served in leadership roles for numerous boards over the years, currently serving on the board of directors for Cornerstone, First Step Initiative, and Minnesota Visiting Nurses Association (MVNA). Pesch is also a member of Women Business Leaders of the US Health Care Industry Foundation and a faculty member of Kaiser’s Philanthropy Innovation Institute and the AHP Madison Institute.
Originally trained in nursing, Pesch has 25 years of health care administration experience and is a sought-after presenter for national philanthropy conferences. She was recognized as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree in 2012.
The 2018 award recipient, Paula Hart, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Volunteers of America – Minnesota and Wisconsin (VOA-MN/WI). Leading one of the area’s largest health and human services organizations, Paula helps sustain a 122-year legacy as the organization serves more than 21,500 people annually, with a mission to help them gain self-reliance, dignity and hope. Paula began in her VOA-MN/WI role in 2011 and leads more than 800 employees with annual organizational revenue over $46 million.
In 2017, Paula joined the National Board of Directors for Volunteers of America, which serves more than 1.4 million of America’s most vulnerable people in 46 states. She also serves on VOA’s Church Governing Board, which oversees the organization’s ministry of service, and is Vice-Chair of the national Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force.
Paula is a former Board President of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST and a past member of the ARRM Board of Directors, a Minnesota disability provider organization. Among her other current professional associations, Paula is Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging, belongs to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Magazine's Women's Leadership Council and recently joined the Itasca Project’s Executive Diversity and Inclusion Discussion Cohort. She is also a past two-term member of the National ANCOR Board of Directors (American Network of Community Options and Resources).
Last October, Paula was recognized for her career achievements by Pollen and AARP, as one of the “50 Over 50” in Minnesota. In 2014, the George Family Foundation recognized Paula among ten leaders of non-profit health and human services organizations for “making remarkable contributions to building the Twin Cities.” The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal presented Paula with a 2012 Women in Business-Industry Leader award.
Prior to joining Volunteers of America, Paula held key leadership roles for two other Minnesota nonprofits, as President and CEO of Dakota Communities (now Living Well Disability Services) and Chief Operating Officer of Courage Center. Before entering the human services field, she was a retail executive for Dayton-Hudson and Marshall Field’s.
Paula holds a Master's in Organizational Leadership and earned a Certificate in Ethics and Leadership from St. Catherine University. She completed Stanford's Executive Education for Nonprofit Leaders program and an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Carleton College where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with Honors in Independent Study.
2017 - Stacie Usem
Stacie Usem is a partner at Lurie, LLP in charge of the firm’s Entrepreneurial Services Group. Lurie is one of the top accounting and consulting firms in the nation and has been working with health care providers throughout its history. Her practice focuses on professional services companies with a specialization in the health care industry. She is also very involved in women’s organizations and has a passion for helping women business owners succeed.
From a functional standpoint, she gets involved in all aspects of her clients’ businesses including individual and business tax planning, audits, reviews and compilations, budgeting and forecasting, compensation formula design, internal control studies and retirement planning. Stacie earned her accounting degree from the Wisconsin School of Business. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Minnesota Society of CPAs, the Medical Group Managers Association, the Women Presidents’ Organization and the Minnesota Medical Group Managers Association.
Active in several civic organizations, Stacie’s leadership role has won recognition from various organizations. Most recently, Stacie was awarded the Innovation in Finance Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She was also honored among the “2012 Top Women in Finance” by Finance & Commerce.
Stacie views her role of helping clients plan and reach their goals and guiding staff to grow professionally and personally as forms of mentoring. Active in the Minnesota chapters of the Women’s Presidents Organization and National Association of Women Business Owners, she is committed both personally and professionally to seeing women succeed in business. Usem became a mentor within her firm as well as outside the firm as her career evolved.
2016 - Penny Wheeler, MD
Penny Wheeler, MD, became the president and chief executive officer of Allina Health in 2015. She had served as chief clinical officer since 2006, and president since 2013. Dr. Wheeler sets the overall strategic direction for Allina Health, focusing on ensuring that the organization delivers exceptional care and supports the health and well-being of all those served. A board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Wheeler served patients at Women's Health Consultants in Minneapolis.
In addition to her current role, Dr. Wheeler has chaired the Minnesota Community Measurement board, a regional health quality collaborative, and is on the board of Portico Healthnet, an organization dedicated to helping uninsured Minnesotans receive affordable health coverage and care. Dr. Wheeler is on the board of the Greater Twin Cities United Way and Health Catalyst. Minnesota Business magazine named Dr. Wheeler the 2012 Outstanding Health Care Executive, largely based on her ability to form internal and external care collaboratives that benefit community health. In July 2015, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed Dr. Wheeler to the Task Force for Health Care Financing. In 2015, Modern Healthcare magazine recognized Dr. Wheeler as one of the top 25 women in health care.
Following are past winners of the Outstanding Member (as the award was first known) and Jean Harris Award:
2015 - Wendy Stulac-Motzel
During her time as Administrative Director, Surgical Administrative Center, for the University of Minnesota Medical School, Wendy Stulac Motzel brought extensive experience as a health care leader in both the academic setting as well as acute care hospital and outpatient care settings. Wendy joined the University from HealthEast Care System, where she spent nearly seven years. Wendy has since gone on to serve as Vice President of Ambulatory Services at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Wendy has demonstrated leadership in several areas, including operations management, process improvement, business development, clinical quality, patient safety and regulatory, and compliance.
Wendy served as President of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST in 2013-2014, and as a board member from 2010 until 2015. She served as chair of the nomination and program committees, as well as the finance committee.
Wendy earned a Bachelor’s degree in health care management from St. Mary’s University and an executive Master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Wendy also actively participates in community volunteer activities for school and church,
as well as mentoring opportunities with emerging business leaders.
2014 - Connie Delaney
Connie White Delaney is the Professor & Dean for the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota, the longest-standing school of nursing founded within a university nationwide. She also holds an appointment in the University of Minnesota Institute for Health Informatics, as well as an appointment at the University of Iceland, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Nursing with focused activities in health informatics. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota she served as Professor, Director of the Institute for Nursing Knowledge, and Director of Health &Nursing Informatics at The University of Iowa.
Connie is the first Fellow in the American College of Medical Informatics to serve as a Dean of Nursing. She has been a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing since 1998 and is a recent appointee to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, an advisory body established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act within the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
In addition to the TRUST board, Connie serves on numerous other boards, including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, LifeScience Alley, and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA). She is an active leader, researcher, and writer in the areas of national standards for the electronic health record and outcomes/safety data.
Connie earned her Ph.D. in educational administration and computer application and her master’s degree in adult health from The University of Iowa. Connie earned her bachelor of science degree from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI where she majored in both nursing and mathematics. She has also completed postdoctoral studies in nursing & medical informatics at the University of Utah.
2013 - Cathy Barr
Cathy Barr is a dynamic and collaborative leader who exemplifies the vision of the TRUST. She demonstrates a remarkable ability to identify talent in emerging leaders and encourages women at all stages of their careers to define professional goals that position them to achieve their personal best.
She has served as president of the TRUST, is a member of the Board of Directors, and has served on many TRUST committees. A health care leader at the local, state and national level, she works tirelessly to shape the future of health care across the nation and demonstrates commitment to the development of health policy which is aimed at ensuring quality and patient safety.
She was acknowledged by the Twin Cities Business Journal as one of 25 Women to Watch in 2008 and has been featured in B. Magazine and Delta Sky Magazine. Cathy is the CEO of Bethesda Hospital and the Vice President of Community Based Services for the HealthEast Care System.
2012 - Dee Thibodeau
Dee Thibodeau is CEO of Charter Solutions, a health care information services company consistently awarded for results in the areas of management consulting, analytics, business process, integration, and application development. Prior to this role, Dee served as president of EDI Solutions, a translation software developer, and negotiated the merger of EDI with St. Paul Software where she served as executive vice president until taking the helm of Charter Solutions. Dee also served as president of Milestone Investments, Inc. a national hotel investment company, and was president of Arco Transcription, Inc., one of the nation's largest medical transcription companies.
2011 - Carol Kraft
Carol Kraft is the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at SelectAccount, and CCS. SelectAccount is a spending account administrator and CCS is a health plan third party administrator. Both companies are subsidiaries of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
For over 30 years, Kraft held various leadership positions at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, most recently she was the Vice President of Technical Operations and was responsible for the companies infrastructure in the Information Technology Division. In 2002, she left the company and took a position as the Chief Operating Officer for the International Publishing Management Association. This not-for-profit organization provided leadership and education to 2,000 member companies across the United States.
Kraft’s empowering, participative leadership style sets her apart as a leader. She has mentored and developed many employees and colleagues over her career. Carol has served as the TRUST liaison to the Women’s Foundation and coordinates TRUST attendance at "The Stir.”
Kraft has been actively involved in numerous boards and organizations throughout her career, including: Board Member Women’s Leadership TRUST, Eastman Kodak Advisory Board, EDSF Advisory Board, Xerox Advisory Board, Bluestone Credit Union, past chair of St. Paul College Advisory Board and Dakota County Technical College Graphic Arts Advisory Board, Member Minnesota Minority Purchasing Council, Mentor with Menttium 100 and member of Mendota Dakota Organization.
2011 - Mary Larweck
Mary Larweck is the principal of Emerald Quality Services (EQS), a health care quality and epidemiology consulting company. EQS provides data analysis, project and position support, mentoring and training to health care organizations in the upper Midwest. Larweck has a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Science degree in management.
Prior to forming EQS, Larweck held several leadership positions in Minnesota health care organizations.
Larweck consistently invites guests to TRUST events and facilitates networking. Through these initial contacts, many new members have gained knowledge and support from one another. Larweck chose to join the membership committee to assist in encouraging others to see the benefits of being a TRUST member. Since co-chairing this committee she has assisted in helping to broaden the membership which now has diverse representation.
Larweck has served on the University of Minnesota Nursing Alumni Board for 2 terms and she has been the vice president of the Luther Seminary Friends Foundation Board. Larweck has served as president, vice president and director of the Minnesota chapter of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.
She is an active member of the Minnesota Association of Health care Quality Professionals (MHQP), the Minnesota Council for Quality and the Minnesota chapter of the American Society for Quality (ASQ). She is a past Minnesota quality award examiner. Larweck has been a TRUST member since 2004.
2010 - Ann Schrader
Ann Schrader has held the position of Chief Operating Officer at HealthEast Care System since 1994. During that time she has had operational responsibility for the hospitals, clinics, diversified companies and senior care. Prior to that, Ann served as CNO and CEO of Midway Hospital.
In 1986, Ann served as one of the leaders in the merger of eight community hospitals to create HealthEast. She played a major role during that merger to create a $70 million dollar financial turnaround. She served as a coach, facilitator, mentor and a change agent for HealthEast as it has emerged to become the transformational leader of the health care industry in the three-county St. Paul market. She currently manages $750 M in revenues and 7,500 employees spanning four hospital facilities and numerous geographically distributed clinics and outpatient centers. She has led the creation of five major product lines identified with ROI, market share, and quality outcomes – those are in cardiology, neurovascular, orthopedics, obstetrics, and oncology. Additionally, she created a vision and strategy for a new hospital in a fast-growing suburb which has become a national model for patient satisfaction.
Ann holds a BSN from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from the University of Iowa and an advanced studies credential inpatient care administration from the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. Ann has been a member of the TRUST since 1997, has served on many boards during her career and is currently active on two profit and one non-profit boards. She actively volunteers in her church and the community.
2009 - Kaye Foley
Kaye Foley has held a number of leadership roles in health care over her career. She is currently a Clinical Consultant for AmericanTeleCareInc., working to improve the quality of ATI’s clinical suite. Prior to ATI, Foley held the positions of Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer for North Memorial Health Care, a position she held for more than 20 years.
She has also served as President of the Minnesota Organization of Leaders in Nursing and chair of their Professional Development Committee. Foley is also a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau, and serves on the board of the St. Therese Foundation.
She received her BSN in Nursing and her Master’s degree in Nursing Administration and Education from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. She has been a member of the TRUST since 1999 and served on the board from 2005 through 2012.
2008 - Lynn Abrahamsen
Lynn Abrahamsen is a health services executive with wide-ranging experience as an organizational leader. She is a relationship builder and is adept at working among multiple constituencies in challenging environments. As CEO or Hennepin Health care System from 2006 to 2009, Abrahamsen led the public hospital and clinic system through a governance change to a 501 c 3 public benefit corporation with an operating board structure in order to design and optimize new operating systems including human resources, purchasing and strategic planning. She achieved the successful installation of an integrated electronic record throughout the organization, executed budget stabilization plans to respond to transitioning public insurance program changes and developed a new strategic plan and master facility plan resulting in capital investment for additional bed capacity, renewal of physical plant at main campus and the addition of community clinic sites.
Prior to her position as CEO, Abrahamsen acted as Chief Operating Officer for the organization. She has also held executive-level positions at Neighborhood Health Care Network and Fairview Health System. Abrahamsen is active in the community and is currently a member of the Minnesota Public Health Association, Women’s Health Leadership TRUST and Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. She has held board member positions with the St. Anthony Park Block Nurse Program and Healthy Learners.
Abrahamsen earned a Master's in Hospital and Health Care Administration from the University of Minnesota (1979) and a BA in Social Work, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota (1972).
2007 - Nancy Rehkamp
Nancy Rehkamp, principal at LarsonAllen, specializes in market strategy, and program and operational planning for acute and post acute health care organizations. Her knowledge and experience within these disciplines and provider organizations provides clients with an integrative perspective to health care planning issues and opportunities.
Rehkamp has 25 years of health care experience, including long-term care operations, acute care hospital administration, rehabilitation services, and home care and hospice management. Rehkamp's expertise is in the areas of acute care and post acute care strategic planning, program development, operations and analysis. Her post acute care focus has been on planning, developing and operating rehabilitation, geriatric, ambulatory care; long-term care, subacute care and home care services and programs.
From 1979 - 1997, Rehkamp held several senior management positions in Allina Health System, a large, integrated health care delivery system located in Minnesota. The positions and major accountabilities she held included: 1993 – 1997, President, HealthSpan Home Care and Hospice. During this time, she merged two home care providers into HealthSpan Home Care and Hospice and grew the operation to more than $45 million in patient revenues. 1985 – 1993, Senior Administrator for Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Executive Director of Sister Kenny Institute. She had administrative responsibility for the orthopedics, geriatrics, and rehabilitation programs in a 600-bed tertiary hospital. 1979 – 1985, Chief Operating Officer, River Falls Area Hospital and Home. Rehkamp was the administrator of a rural, 48-bed hospital and 68-bed nursing home facility located in Western Wisconsin owned by HealthOne Corporation and later, Allina Health System. Prior to joining the River Falls Area Hospital and Home, Rehkamp worked as an administrator at the Greenville Hospital Systems in South Carolina and as a financial and program auditor for the US General Accounting Office (GAO) in Kansas City.
Rehkamp earned a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Kansas (1977) and a BS in Accounting and Business from the University of Kansas (1974). In addition, she completed the Masters Forum on Information Technology from the University of Minnesota (1996). She is a frequent speaker to state hospital and senior living associations.
2006 - Jan Malcolm
Jan Malcolm is chief executive officer of Courage Center, a Minnesota-based rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. Founded in 1928, Courage Center is a nonprofit organization offering advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. Courage Center’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to reach for their full potential in every aspect of life.
Prior to joining Courage Center, she was a senior program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., where she helped develop funding initiatives to strengthen the nation’s public health system.
Jan served as Commissioner of Health for the State of Minnesota from 1999-2003. Highlights of her term as head of the state’s lead public health agency included passage of major budget initiatives in tobacco prevention and elimination of health disparities and implementation of cutting-edge strategies in those areas.
Previously, Jan was vice president of Public Affairs at Allina Health System and a senior vice president of Government Programs and Public Policy at HealthPartners. She has been active in state and national health care and public health associations and government commissions on health care access and quality. She currently serves as a board member of Hennepin Health care System, Inc. (the county subsidiary corporation that operates the Hennepin County Medical Center), the Bush Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and the BCBSMN Foundation, and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.
Malcolm received her B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Dartmouth College.
2005 - Mary Brainerd
Mary Brainerd, CEO of HealthPartners, is a long-time and beloved member of the TRUST. Through the years, Mary has presented a number of times for TRUST meetings and has been a faithful supporter of our Forum events through HealthPartners.
Mary’s success in health care leadership for our community and the nation truly exemplify her as a role model for our organization. Mary was featured on the cover of Modern Health care magazine as one of the top 25 women health care leaders in the country. Congratulations, Mary, on your many achievements.
2004 - Terri Hyduke
The Women’s Health Leadership Trust is pleased to honor Terri Hyduke with the 2004 Jean Harris Excellence Award.
Terri Hyduke received the Jean Harris Excellence award at the TRUST's annual meeting on June 3, 2004 at the Town & Country Club in St. Paul. Terri was nominated for this award because of her career achievements and her contributions to the TRUST. Terri is the Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Physician Network, a pediatric physician/hospital network.
Terri is a woman who is passionate about helping children access health care. She has served in this role since the organization’s inception in 1994. Prior to Children’s, Terri held several senior leadership roles in network management and subsidiary operations. Her career in health care began when she consulted for the State of Minnesota’s first Medicaid Demonstration Project.
Terri has been a member of the TRUST since 1986. She served on the board of directors between 2000-2004. During her term, she chaired the program planning committee. Terri’s enthusiasm and quick sense of humor bring an exciting and dynamic energy to her presence. Her accomplishments in her career, the TRUST and her family are truly outstanding.
2003 - Jeannine Bayard
The Women's Health Leadership Trust is pleased to honor Jeannine Bayard with the Jean Harris Excellence Award - because of both her career achievements and her contributions to the TRUST.
As founder and CEO of Evercare, Jeannine designed a highly successful program for addressing long-term care needs through a prepaid, managed care model. She is also an active board member of the University of Minnesota Nursing Foundation, the Metropolitan Visiting Nurses, and Care Break Adult Day Care Program.
Jeannine has served the Women's Health Leadership Trust in numerous capacities including as president.
2002 - Ann Robinow
The Women's Health Leadership Trust is pleased to honor Ann Robinow with the Jean Harris Excellence Award - because of both her career achievements and her contributions to the TRUST.
A former Board member of the TRUST, Ann has worked in the area of health care and financial management for more than 25 years, serving in a number of senior management roles. She is co-founder of Patient Choice Health care and serves as president and chief operating officer. Prior to Patient Choice, Ann served as executive director, Care Systems and Finance, for the Buyers Health Care Action Group (BHCAG), a coalition of 30 self-funded employers who collaboratively purchase health care services for their employees and dependents. While at BHCAG, she led the design, development, implementation, and operation of their innovative, competing care delivery system purchasing model. She is a frequent speaker at national events for physicians, hospitals, employers, and educators.
Ann is a director on a number of health care and service-related boards and serves on several national advisory committees. She is a frequent speaker at national events for physicians, hospitals, employers, and educators. Her distinguished career reflects great credit upon herself, the TRUST, and all women.
2002 Jan Cronquist
2001 Patricia Riley
2000 V. Katherine Gray
2000 Nancy Feldman
1999 Karen Struve
1999 Jean Harris, M.D.
1998 Marge Jamieson
Sara Hong, Be The Match Olivia Peterson, Aveus Laura Fleischfresser, United Health Care Soniya HIrachan, DHS Julie Carpenter, Holmes Murphy Kasie Plekkenpol, Optum Kelly Kirsch, Eli Lilly & Company Clare Fargher Jennifer Ditlevson, Prime Theraputics Megan Oldenburg, Allina Health Jen Anderson, Holmes Murphy Alyssa Palmer, Southside Community Health Services
Members Who Renewed Membership in January:
Amanda Bemmels, Lilly USA
Michelle Stenbeck,Allina Health
Carla Steffens, UNited Health Group
Debra Laughlin, Salesforce
Mildred Koranteng, Medica
Dee Rotering, United Healthcare
Juli Ochs, Protiviti
Tori Merher, Lutheran Social Services of MN
Ann Cibulka, Ryan Companies USA
Joy King, Be The Match
Teresa Pesch, Hennepin
Kari Willey, HealthPartners
Barb Vaasko, Gallagher
Jill Bjornton, Oracle
Mary Kopriva, United Health Group