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12 people I want to have coffee with in 2022


Early January each year means one thing for me: Developing my annual “coffee list!” I’ve been at this (formally and publicly, at least) for 5+ years now. As always, it’s a fun exercise for me, but I want to clarify a few things before I dive in.

First, I create this list each year as an exercise in stretching my boundaries for meeting new people. There is no pressure to meet with me. If folks don’t want to get together, that’s perfectly fine. Second, there is no hidden agenda. This is purely a way for me to meet more new smart people across the digital and social industry here in MSP. That’s it. No business pitch. I’m not selling anyone anything. It’s really just coffee–virtual or in-person. Finally, I realize I may have to do some of these virtually this year–especially in January and February (hopefully by March we’re in a different spot!).

So, how did I do in 2021 with my coffee list?

Not great. I DID have coffee with six people on the list:

  • Kristina Wright (who got a new job in 2021)
  • Jennifer Zick (who continues to kick butt with Authentic Brand)
  • Patrick Strait (who wrote a book in 2021)
  • Gabriela Lozada (who works for Minnesota United)
  • Sarah Edwards (who is crushing it with Some Great People–one of my favorite new people I met in 2021)
  • Alyssa Derby (who spoke at my UST class last spring)

People I missed in 2021 (but hoping to still get to!):

  • Brian Grace
  • Kelsey Soby
  • Julie Elapano
  • Kirstie Foster
  • Nadine Babu
  • Gail Nosek
  • Sara Fossen
  • Aaron Grote
  • Andrea Yoch
  • CeCe Porter
  • Laurel Hood

Again, not too great, actually. But yeah, pandemic. However, I’m hopeful 2022 will be different. Mr Virus has to recede eventually. And, I think there will be more positive energy this year, too.

Who am I looking forward to meeting in 2022? Here’s 12 people I’m hoping to grab a cup of coffee with in the New Year:

1 – Nate Sandell, Senior Social Media Manager, Mall of America

Always interesting to hear stories from the social lead at MOA–it’s just such a unique place, so some of the things they do and hear about are pretty extraordinary! Plus, Nate has spent time in sports, which I’m always interested in hearing about.

2 – Katie Zess, Associate Marketing Manager-Social Media, Renewal by Andersen

Did some work with Andersen a number of years ago–I’m always curious to see what they’re up to with social, so it would be interesting to hear more from Katie.

3 – Catherine Engel, Director-Social, Spark Foundry

Catherine has an interesting background, including an initial stop at Red Wing Shoes where it looks like she probably helped the company start social! And, she’s worked with some pretty stellar agencies including Knock, Little & Co. and Goodbye Vanilla.

4 – Laurie Blum, Vice President-Digital Marketing, CH Robinson

Laurie is someone who probably should have been on one of my lists years ago. And, one of the most experienced senior-level digital marketers in MSP with stops at Regis, Best Buy and now CH Robinson.

5 – David Henke, Manager-Digital Communications, Fairview

One of the many journalists-turned-social media pros in our industry now, I’d be interested to hear how things are going with social and digital at Fairview. I spent almost two years with Fairview in the 2007-2009 era when social was just coming on the scene. Curious to see how far it’s come.

6 – Scott Wyffels, Director-Retail Digital Marketing, Starkey

Another company I’ve done work with in the past–but our paths did not cross during my time with Starkey. I also see Scott has guest lectured at the U–so we’d have a little to chat about there, too.

7 – Kymm Bartlett Martinez, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, University of St. Thomas

Figured it was time I got to know the woman leading marketing and comms for the university where I spend so much time!

8 – Erin Newkirk, Head of Global Brand Strategy, Caribou Coffee

Seems like a very interesting person. Erin has experience with some of Minnesota’s biggest companies (Mills, and now Caribou), but also in the start-up scene. That’s a unique combination of experiences. I’m curious to find out what’s behind that.

9 – Chris Havens, Senior Manager-Communications, Best Buy

Chris and I taught together as adjunct professors at the University of Minnesota this last semester, and we were supposed to get together but our busy schedules got in the way. Time to make time.

10 – Kelsey Tjernlund, Social + Influencer Manager, Lola Red

Might be tough to get in-person coffee with Kelsey as it looks like she may be working remotely in Austin these days. But since Zoom calls are “normal” now, that would work just fine. Very interested to talk influencer marketing with Kelsey as I’m sure she’s had a good deal with experience with that over at Lola Red.

11 – Maria Hokanson, Executive Vice President-Marketing, Dairy Queen

Maria and I have a few common points of intersection. For openers, we live in the same neighborhood (our sons have gone to school together since kindergarten). We both work for Dairy Queen (I work with the comms team, however). And, she’s a UST (graduate) alum! Lots to talk about!

12- Taylor Lovaas, Senior Manager-Influencer & Brand Partnerships, Fast Horse

Taylor was recommended by my friend Bridget Jewell, who’s now 360i. He also has the job that two former rock stars seem to have had at FH (Cydney Strommen, now at Aveda and Maggie LaMaack, now at MSL Global). Plus, I’ve always been a big fan on the FH team.



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