To ensure continued evolution and expansion of the Department of Marketing, the Institute established the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board consists of senior level executives from Minnesota and national businesses with connections to the field of marketing and the Carlson School of Management.
The purpose of the Advisory Board is to:
- Engage with both faculty and students and provide advice on evolving, innovating, and expanding the department’s marketing initiatives and research
- Provide guidance to the Institute creating partnerships between marketing department faculty research and marketing practitioners
- Serve to strengthen the Institute through leadership in several key areas including joint venture research projects, national outreach, general advocacy and ambassadorship for the Institute
David Crist has been the Vice President of Marketing in Consumer Business Group since April 2012 and had been with 3M since 1981. He is highly developed in consumer integrated marketing strategy and execution and channel marketing management. David is a lifelong resident of Minnesota and holds a degree in Journalism with the University of Minnesota.
Vicki serves as Vice President of Market Insights at Optum and is a highly motivated, results-oriented, market & competitive intelligence professional with over 28 years of health care experience. She is passionate about building and leading client-focused teams that understand business dynamics and who serve as key strategic partners providing actionable insights. Vicki began her career in health care at Humana in Financial Operations and has been with UnitedHealth Group for the past 21 years. Vicki currently serves as an advisory board member for the University of Louisville’s Healthcare Leadership Program. She also serves as a mentor at UnitedHealth Group.
Vicki holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from McKendree University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is currently pursuing her Health Care MBA at the University of St. Thomas.
Kenneth Greer is a change agent, trend visionary, technology geek and creative spark. He’s known as the “go to guy” for big ideas. Ken’s one-of-a-kind combination of creative and strategic marketing skills has been the driving force behind the transformation of both consumer and business-to-business enterprises. Ken holds a Master’s Degree from Stanford University and is nationally recognized for innovative thinking and a unique ability to create compelling brand value. In addition to his duties as Chief Marketing Officer, Kenneth Greer is the President of Augeo+Greer, a Brand Strategy and Communications Design Agency.
As Vice President of Segment Marketing with Compeer Financial, Jennifer Hayes oversees a team responsible for integrated marketing planning and campaign execution supporting Compeer’s departments, products and services with the ultimate goal of driving leads and closed loans for the organization. This team includes marketing automation, content, marketing strategy, events, sponsorships and brand representation.
Hayes has over 19 years of sales and marketing experience in a variety of industries including online retail, healthcare, tradeshows, professional sports, utilities and most recently agriculture and finance.
Hayes holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of Arizona and an M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Phoenix.
Steve Lauring is vice president of Customer Insights for Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that provide and protect clean water, safe food, abundant energy and healthy environments. Ecolab’s 44,000 employees deliver comprehensive programs and services to the food, energy, healthcare, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries. Steve leads Ecolab’s global customer insights function in support of corporate and business unit strategies and objectives. Prior to joining Ecolab in 2010, Steve was senior director, consumer insights, at Con Agra Foods. In this role, he led the research program for the company’s snacks portfolio of major brands.
Prior to ConAgra, Steve was director, customer insights at General Mills/Pillsbury where his work on the Progresso brand won an Ogilvy award in 2000 for excellence in advertising research. Steve also led the marketing analytics team for the company, where he implemented a proprietary modeling capability. Steve also has held research positions at Kraft Foods, Land O’Lakes and Hormel Foods. Active in industry locally, Steve serves on the University of Minnesota- Duluth Labovitz School of Business alumni board and is an industry advisor to the Labovitz ReMap program (marketing analytics). He also is a member of the Carlson School Institute for Research in Marketing.
Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a master’s in business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development with Mall of America®, Jill Renslow oversees Mall communications, marketing, strategic alliances and partnerships, advertising, digital media, group sales, and attraction marketing. She is responsible for working with new and existing tenants to create unique experiences and drive sales and traffic. Working with various innovative partners, the goal is to develop and integrate emerging technologies into both Mall of America retail and entertainment environments.
Renslow works with top Mall leadership to provide direction and vision for the new front entrance and expansion to the Mall which is currently under development. The project includes a 342-room JW Marriott hotel, office tower, first-to-market retailers, new dining options, and large event space.
Renslow brings over 19 years of valuable experience at Mall of America to her current role. Previously, Renslow was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Mall of America. During her tenure, Renslow oversaw a $25 million rebranding effort of the nation’s largest indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe®, as well as annual enhancements including new rides, attractions and partnerships.
Renslow holds a B.A. in marketing communications from St. Cloud State University and an M.B.C. from the University of St. Thomas.
It is a passion for customer insight combined with the experience to guide organizations forward based on customer, market and business intelligence that energizes Rachel professionally.
Rachel currently holds the position of Director, Market Intelligence and Marketing Operations at Marvin Windows and Doors, a leading manufacturer of premium window and door products. A fourth-generation family-owned and operated company, Marvin Windows and Doors is headquartered in Warroad, Minn., with a team of more than 5,000 employees in 12 facilities throughout the United States.
Rachel has oversight on all primary and secondary research, including key areas such as customer experience strategy, journey mapping, customer satisfaction tracking programs, transactional research, segmentation, product concept testing, ethnographic studies, and market trend identification. Beyond research, Rachel also oversees key activities in the organization related to competitive intelligence, product demand analysis, business sales analysis, lead generation and nurturing, Salesforce strategy and digital marketing.
Prior to Marvin Windows and Doors, Rachel worked at Thomson Reuters in its legal division, and has additional experience gained through past roles in a diverse range of industries including utility, education, healthcare, travel, financial and hosted email.
Rachel has her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management from the University of North Dakota and is a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association.
Rachel resides in Eagan, Minn., with her husband and two children.
Elda Macias is currently Director of Customer Insights and Experience at Securian Financial Group, one of the nation’s largest financial services providers, offering financial security to individuals and businesses in the form of insurance, investments and retirement plans since 1880. Elda was brought on to transform the market research function into an enterprise customer insights capability that drives innovation and growth opportunities for the company. Elda has quickly become a key partner to a variety of functions given her strong acumen on the end consumer. She is currently advising a new brand strategy, leading an employer of choice initiative, and a member of a cross-functional team for a new marketing analytics and technology project.
Prior to Securian, Elda spent 10 years at Ameriprise Financial, a leading financial planning company with 10,000 financial advisors across the country. She was responsible for leading various strategic initiatives to increase visibility, awareness and client acquisition for the firm. Early in her career at the company she created business and sales strategies to help 80% of financial advisors modify their marketing plans to more effectively engage diverse audiences including women, small business owners, the LGBT community, and Hispanic and Asian consumers. Elda was then asked to redesign an alliance program, and build and launch a healthcare initiative that resulted in a four-year alliance with UnitedHealthcare. One of the most significant accomplishments for Elda at the firm was the development and management of a thought leadership strategy. The company had not been actively pursuing media exposure, but after a thought leadership pilot driven by Elda and several colleagues showed positive coverage, she built a plan that the firm continues to use today.
As an advocate of the customer experience, Elda is able to build strategy and make a case for change by focusing on what is important – the end consumer. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She has 20 years of marketing experience and has held positions at Wells Fargo & Company, the universities of Minnesota and Texas, and the Walt Disney Company.
She’s an active volunteer in the Minnesota Hispanic community and has been recognized by several organizations. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named her to their 2011 “40 Under Forty” list of honorees. In 2010, she received the “Mano Amigo” of the Year Award from the Latino Economic Development Center, and in 2009, she was named to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota’s list of “25 on the Rise.”
Elda has served on the board of directors for LatinoLEAD, WomenVenture, and the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards Women’s Initiative Council. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.
With more than 20 years of experience in marketing services, including leadership roles at BBDO, Proximity and Blast Radius, Esguerra has led integrated teams in the planning, development and tracking of key digital campaigns – ranging from e-commerce to social media – for clients across sectors.
Before joining Weber Shandwick, Esguerra served as managing director at Colle McVoy in Minneapolis, where he led and managed the marketing and new business opportunities across the firm’s portfolio of agencies, including Colle McVoy, Exponent PR and 10 Thousand Design, and was responsible for client oversight for several of the agency’s key accounts. Esguerra has nearly 10 years of brand management and business strategy experience, including roles at Mattel and Procter & Gamble. Prior to that, he served as a consultant at Bain & Co.
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Mitch Helgerson serves as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Ticket Sales and is in his 13th season with the Wild. In his current position, he oversees all marketing efforts, including brand management, advertising, analytics, events and game operations, digital media and public relations. Helgerson's duties also include managing ticket sales for the Wild, including season ticket packages, groups and single game tickets.
Helgerson previously held the positions of Vice President, Sales and Marketing Intelligence, Senior Director, Marketing Intelligence and Special Projects and Director of Finance.
Prior to his time with the Wild, Helgerson was with Ecolab, Inc. in a variety of financial roles. A native of Alexandria, MN. Helgerson earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and an MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Helgerson also serves on the Board of Directors for Sports Minneapolis, which looks to attract large-scale sports events to the Twin Cities area.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Henry and Emma. The family resides in Lake Elmo.
Diane Harper is Vice President, Consumer Insights and Analytics for Schwan’s Company.
Diane has over 25 years of experience with Fortune 500 consumer products and retail companies including General Mills, Kraft Foods and Supervalu.
Diane is a member of the Board of Directors at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul. She is also a mentor to female student athletes through the Women Invested in Leadership and Learning (W.I.L.L.) Program at the University of Minnesota.
Diane holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management and a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the
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Jill Giefer is the Sr. Director of Brand & Marketing Insights at Best Buy Co., Inc. She leads the team responsible for applying primary consumer research, analytics, and data science to understand and improve the health of the Best Buy brand and the effectiveness of Best Buy’s marketing efforts. Her approach to using leading edge techniques in the fields of research and analytics have been central to Best Buy’s brand strategy transformation.
Prior to Best Buy, Jill worked as a Market Research Project Director at Strategic Resource Partners, LLC, and as a Media Planner at MPG. Throughout her career she has been focused on, and energized by, using consumer insights to develop brand and marketing strategies that help companies unlock growth by serving their customers more meaningfully.
Jill is a member of the Association of National Advertisers Data & Measurement Committee, has an M.A. in Strategic Communication from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in Advertising from Boston University.
Ananta Engineer is the Senior Director of Insights and Planning for Post Consumer Brands. As Senior Director, Ananta leads the Consumer & Shopper Insights team, Analytics team, and Pricing/Forecasting team. She brings a passion for deeper consumer and customer insight to PCB as well as a drive for exploring new methods around insights-development including behavior-science tecniques, agile analytics and consumer immersion. Ananta enjoys working across all of the amazing brands in the Post Cereals portfolio, including her all-time favorite cereal Honeycomb.
Prior to joining Post, she was Director of Insights and Planning for The Kellogg Company, where she helped build major brands like Egoo, MoringStar Farms, Pop-Tarts, Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini-Wheats and Rice Krispies.
Ananta holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a master's degree in Advertising and Marketing from Michigan State University.
As VP of Marketing and Communications at Great Clips, Lisa drives brand and business growth through marketing and communications. She oversees a range of functions, including annual marketing planning, systemwide campaigns, promotional efforts, public relations, web platforms, social media, cause marketing, customer insight strategy and internal communications. Lisa joined Great Clips in 2017. Previously, she served as Senior Marketing Director for Geek Squad at Best Buy. Before Best Buy, Lisa held corporate marketing roles for two other household name brands—Pillsbury and 3M. In addition to her experience with Fortune 500 companies, Lisa started a retail business that she and her husband eventually franchised. At their peak, they had four of their own locations and 10 franchise locations in seven states. At home, Lisa is mom to three active kids who consume most of her free-time with dance and hockey. She has a degree in international business from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and an MBA in Marketing from University of Minnesota—Carlson School of Management. Lisa serves on the Board of Directors for The Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts; the Midwest’s largest nonprofit dance complex in downtown Minneapolis, that offers the local community the dance-centric facility it needs to flourish.
Teresa Marchek has over 20 years of experience driving growth and new product development within industries as varied as healthcare, digital health, higher education, and education technology. She currently leads a team of 14 product management, marketing and market research professionals at Be The Match. Her team works to accelerate access to life saving cell and gene therapies by productizing and promoting services such as cell sourcing, cell transportation logistics, case management and apheresis network management offered to transplant centers and biotherapy companies internationally. These services are based on the extensive capabilities Be The Match has honed over 30 years of facilitating tens of thousands of unrelated donor stem cell transplants.
Teresa has successfully developed and launched 15+ new products and businesses across her career. Instead of following a traditional path, she has done it on her terms by moving between traditional corporate roles both full and part time, 4 years of independent consulting, and as a co-founder of a digital health start-up.
Teresa earned an MBA in Marketing with a focus on product management from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Economics and German from Washington University in St. Louis. She serves on the board of directors for Minnesota-based startup Reflection Sciences, is a judge for the annual Minnesota Cup business plan competition (the largest state-based competition in the country),and is on the board for the nonprofit Ed North.
Erin Dady has served as Bremer’s Chief Marketing Officer since December 2017, where she oversees all marketing functions, including digital marketing, creative services, external and executive communications, and community relations. Erin was tasked with delivering Bremer’s new brand, which launched May of 2019. Driven by her belief that the world’s problems will be solved at the intersection of the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Erin brings diverse sector experience to her role at Bremer.
Just prior to joining Bremer, Erin led government and community relations at the University of Minnesota. She also previously worked at the City of Saint Paul, serving as director of marketing and the Mayor’s chief of staff. Erin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northwestern University, and an MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.
Erin is deeply committed to the community. She serves as a board member of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, and organization that works to alleviate poverty, and to provide affordable housing and food security in communities throughout the region. Erin has also served on the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Board and a variety of boards and committees, including Visit St. Paul, St. Paul Chamber of Commerce Foundation, The Jeremiah Program, and Women Winning. Erin was recognized as a 2008 Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal 40 under 40 recipient and named one of the top Executive MBA students in the country by Poets and Quants in 2015. Erin is married with two stepchildren and is passionate about electing more women to public office.
Eric Bruce works as the Head of Visitor Experience and Insights at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), an encyclopedic art museum in Minneapolis which is home to more than 90,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history.
Eric oversees Visitor Experience operations, research, and audience-facing initiatives at Mia, with a focus on building brand loyalty, CX design thinking, ticketing & CRM system development, communications strategy, public amenities and audience-centered work culture. Eric has worked in the field of Arts and Entertainment for more than 15 years. He is active as a participant and board member in the Minnesota arts and culture sector. He holds a B.A. in Music, and an M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management.
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As Vice President of Experience Measurement, Analytics and Insights, Robbi Thatcher is responsible for developing high-value experience measurement programs and advanced analytic solutions across UnitedHealth Group. A passionate insights and analytics leader, Thatcher has focused her decade-long career on driving change by creating deep customer empathy using data.
Driven by the mission of UnitedHealth Group “Helping People Live Healthier Lives and Helping Make The Health System Work Better For Everyone” Thatcher has worked to find the power where analytics and insights meet to make healthcare experiences better for individual people and the system overall. Thatcher has worked to establish UnitedHealth Group’s experience analytics function, dedicated to collaborative analytics to improve experiences. Combining advanced analytics with best-in-class experience measurement drives insight generation and innovative solutions.
Thatcher holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
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