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13 people I’d love to have coffee with in 2023


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 6+ years now. I always have a lot of fun putting this list together, but a few points of clarification first.

I build 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.

So, how did I do in 2022 with my list?

Overall, decent. I DID have coffee with seven people on last year’s list of 12:

  • Mall of America’s Nate Sandell
  • Social Lights’ Taylor Lovaas
  • Dairy Queen’s Maria Hokenson
  • American Cancer Society’s Kymm Barlett Martinez
  • CH Robinson’s Laurie Blum
  • Spark Foundry’s Catherine Engel
  • Best Buy’s Chris Havens

I missed the following folks in 2022 (but would definitely still be up for meeting in 2023):

  • Renewal by Andersen’s Katie Zess
  • Starkey’s Scott Wyffels
  • Caribou Coffee’s Erin Newkirk
  • PMG’s Kelsey Tjernlund

So, who’s on deck for 2023? Here are 13 people I’d love to sit down with in the New Year:

1 – Natalie Albin, Andersen Windows & Doors

I recently asked Natalie to join a social media mastermind group I run, so I’m looking forward to meeting her in person in the New Year!

2 – Monica Gratzker, Post Consumer Brands

I also recently asked Monica to serve as a client in my social media class at the University of St. Thomas this semester. So, I’m cheating here a little since I’ll see her twice from Feb-May!

3 – Stephanie Steineck, Medtronic

Always curious to meet more people working in social in the health care space.

4 – Kaylee Druk, Ryan Companies

Another Tommie! And, someone with an interesting mix of social backgrounds in hospitality, health and now, real estate at Ryan Companies.

5 – Ryan Foster, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

Ryan recently reached out about helping him promote a job opening on his team, so that drew my attention. And he’s one of just a handful in town to work in the Employer Brand marketing area, so I’d be curious to hear more about that at BCBSMN.

6 – Stephani Johnson, Marvin

One of the many social folks with a background in journalism, I’d be interested in hearing about Stephani’s experience at St. Thomas in the last 2000s as well as her work as a solo.

7 – Andy Ybarra, University of St. Thomas

Always want to meet more Tommies! And, we were about to schedule a coffee late in 2022. We’ll make that happen in 2023!

8 – Meg McDougall, Anytime Fitness

Another MSP-C alum (one of several on this list), Meg also spent time working with Lee Odden and the Top Rank Marketing crew.

9 – Alyssa Abilo, Thomson Reuters

Interesting mix of agency (Mono, Colle McVoy) and corporate experience (Thomson Reuters, DQ, Life Time), curious to hear what life’s like at TR these days.

10 – Stacey Kanihan, Winona St University

I met Stacey virtually through a mutual friends in 2022 as she was about to move to Winona to take on a full-time professor role with WSU, my alma mater. So I’m very excited to meet her face-to-face in 2023 (either here in Minneapolis or in Winona) and see how I can help with the comms program at my former school

11 – Mary Vaughan, Brandpoint

I had spoke with Mary a couple times in 2021 (I think) about some work through our podcast sponsorship with Brandpoint. I remember at the time thinking I’d like to meet her in-person sometime. 2023 is that sometime!

12 – Quinn Anderson, Radisson Hotel Group

Yes, I always want to meet Tommies, but I also want to meet my fellow Warrior alum, too! Not only that, but I’m sure Quinn has some interesting stories about her time working in social at Mall of America.

13 – Haley Thannum, Hillivate

Would love to talk solo consulting with Haley, as she’s now been at that for almost four years.



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