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14 people I’d love to have coffee with in 2017


Last year I made a post that I’m going to make into an annual series–or challenge. The concept is simple: Publicly document and state 24 people I’d like to meet and grab a cup of coffee with in the next year.

How did I do last year? Not too shabby. I did get to know the following folks better: Kait Cox (Sleep Number), Molly Snyder (Target), Dory Anderson (Lemke Anderson), Anna Lovely (Cargill), Dane Hartzell (Honeywell), and Crystal Schweim (OLSON).


On the flip side, I whiffed on a LOT of my proposed list. I missed chances to meet: Dustee Jenkins (Target), Stacy Anderson (Anytime Fitness), Mike Fernandez (then Cargill) and Amy Von Walter (then Best Buy). And, I also didn’t connect with a slew of folks on the list that I already know, but haven’t seen or talked to in quite some time.

Letter grade for 2016: C-.

Time to take things up a notch!

So, I’m re-committing myself to coffee meet-ups in the New Year. Part of why I got away from them in 2016 was I was busy with client work. But, I can definitely do better. Coffee meet-ups don’t take a ton of time, and when done right, I can work them into the schedule rather easily.

So, here’s my list for 2017. Hoping to meet the following in the New Year!

Craig Pladson, GoKart Labs

Been on the list for a while. And we have so many common industry friends. It’s time.

Joanna Hjelmeland, CHS

“Met” her recently via LinkedIn through a common friend. Hoping to meet in real life in 2017.

Jamie Guse, Best Buy

His name keeps popping up in different situations. That’s a clear sign.

Julie Scheife, Land O’ Lakes

As luck would have it, she’s presenting at MIMA in two weeks. A relatively easy chance for a handshake at least!

Amanda Gebhard, Boston Scientific

Interestingly, I don’t know a single person who works for Boston Scientific. Figure this would be a good way to fix that! Plus, I know she volunteers for Social Media Breakfast. And, someone I know is speaking at SMB later this month 🙂

Matt Wilson, General Mills

If I’m not mistaken, Matt has referred work to me in the past at Mills. Probably about time I officially thank him face-to-face.

Kristin Zima, Optum

Kristin was the web content manager at Dow Corning before the web was even really invented (in 1991!). That’s intriguing enough–also, her current role at Optum as director of social has to be an interesting role.

Allison McMenimen, Nina Hale

Was all set to meet Allison earlier in 2016, but circumstances derailed us both. Hoping to correct that in 2016.

Whitney McChane, Carmichael Lynch Relate

CLR–another agency where I seemingly know no one anymore. I think I’m getting old.

Tim Laughlin, Xcel Energy

In case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t all that many guys who work in the PR/comms world. So, I aim to meet as many of them as I can 🙂

Katie Cerney, Thrivent

Interesting and diverse background with Fortune 500 companies in town. 40+ common friends. Seems like a logical connection to me.

Kirstie Foster, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

Almost had a chance to meet her when she was with General Mills. Now, she’s over with the Blues. Probably a big reach, but gotta reach for the stars, right?

Heather Leiferman, Buffalo Wild Wings

Another one of those companies where I don’t know a soul. Also time to correct that wrong.

Lori Fligge, Cargill

Global News Editor at Cargill. That’s a damn cool job title. And definitely someone I want to know.



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