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Celebrating women entrepreneurs and their successes.

Photos by Becca Sabot
Keynote speaker Thia Breen, Estée Lauder executive


In honor of WomenVenture’s 17th annual Fall Event, we chatted with keynote speaker Thia Breen and three intriguing local women entrepreneurs.

Honorary event chair Linda Donaldson; event-goers; and emcee Jearlyn Steele, performer, motivational singer, and radio talk show host.

Join the Twin Cities’ most dynamic community of women entrepreneurs!

Whether you’re dreaming of starting your own business or looking for new ways to increase your company’s profitability, WomenVenture offers the tools and resources you need to achieve economic success, including microloans, working capital, education, and ongoing consultation through all stages of business.

For entrepreneurs and executives alike, the annual WomenVenture Fall Event offers an unparalleled opportunity to talk, share, and network with more than 1,200 dynamic women from across the state. For one memorable day, you’ll mingle with entrepreneurs, business owners, local personalities, and community-builders and create exciting new relationships. You’ll also gain a wealth of ideas and insights to enhance your own business success.

Bring your friends, clients, and colleagues to the WomenVenture Fall Event

Friday, October 12
The Depot • Minneapolis

10:30 am–Noon

Client Showcase and Networking in the Marketplace

Noon–1:30 pm
Lunch, Keynote Presentation, and Awards Ceremony

1:30–2:30 pm
Shopping and Networking in the Marketplace

For more information about WomenVenture and to register for the annual Fall Event, visit womenventure.org or call 651-646-3808.


Get your Tickets today!

Ticket Prices:
Individual: $140 | Table of 10: $1,400
Standout & Emerging Leaders Table: $3,500
Visit womenventure.org/tickets

• Exclusive •
WomenVenture Swag Bag!

Plus: Get complete event details and a peek into this year’s fabulous WomenVenture swag bag.

All ticketholders will receive a complimentary swag bag containing a 1.7-ounce Estée Lauder Idealist Evenskin Tone Illuminator, a Bobbi Brown makeup palette, and a 3.4-ounce bottle of Coach Poppy Flower.





Meet Thia Breen

President of North America, The Estée Lauder Companies0912-Thia_400.jpg

WomenVenture is pleased to welcome Thia Breen, president of North America, The Estée Lauder Companies, as keynote speaker for the 2012 Fall Event. Known throughout the beauty industry for her fearlessness, loyalty, and poise under pressure, Breen will share anecdotes, advice, and wisdom from her 30-yearplus career and provide a thoughtful perspective on what it takes to be successful in any business.

Breen’s upcoming keynote speech will be her second appearance in the Twin Cities this year. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, she was invited to deliver the commencement speech at the Carlson School of Management in May. “I feel very blessed,” says Breen. “I’ve worked very hard in my career, but there’s certainly been luck attached to that. I feel that it’s important for me to give back by giving advice and communicating how I got here.”

Breen grew up in Benson, Minnesota, where her family owned a drugstore. She attributes much of her success to what she learned by selling Bonne Bell cosmetics and other products in the pharmacy. “I learned how to work very hard but also to look forward to not working—I love weekends!” she says. “I also learned the importance of having support from family and close friends.”

Throughout her career, Breen has been a tireless advocate for women in business. She was one of the first high-level executives to champion job-sharing and other innovations. Along the way, Breen has become a powerful industry role model for her ability to build high-performance teams of people who feel both challenged, respected, and fulfilled.

“My formula for success consists of people, team-building, and passion,” says Breen. “If you can achieve this combination in your own business, you can achieve anything.”

Snapshots of Success; Breen as a young child in Benson, Minnesota, where her drive was already evident; Thia Breen; Leonard Lauder, Breen, and Mrs. Estée Lauder; Breen celebrating the power of her North American team.


How WomenVenture Works

For more than 30 years, WomenVenture has provided more than 100,000 women of all ages, cultures, races, and income levels with tools and resources to achieve economic success. WomenVenture offers microloans of up to $50,000, working capital, education, and ongoing consultation, as well as classes, networking groups, and events. Here’s a snapshot of three women entrepreneurs who have joined the WomenVenture community.

0912-Emily_200.jpgEmily Rampp, owner
Defiant Tattoo & Caffeine Bar, 3014 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-353-6712, defianttattoo.com

Emily Rampp, a 20-year hospitality industry veteran, came to WomenVenture because she and her partner, Keith Hieserich, a tattoo artist, wanted to create a place where people could watch the art of tattooing. “After our consultants reviewed Emily’s business plan, we provided the financial backing she needed to make it happen,” says Michael Kithcart, chief operating officer of WomenVenture. The only tattoo shop of its kind in the Midwest, Defiant Tattoo & Caffeine Bar offers five tattoo stations, a private tattoo and piercing room, and an adjoining espresso bar and outdoor patio. “It was like a hardcore two months of schooling,” says Rampp. “WomenVenture taught me a lot about how to hone my accounting skills and my business savvy.”

0912-Laura_200.jpgLaura Ooley, CEO
Appmosphere, Inc., 1500 Jackson St. NE, Ste. 402, Mpls., 612-886-9253, appmosphereinc.com

Five years ago, when Laura Ooley and her husband heard about a new device called the iPhone, they decided to switch the focus of their web design business to mobile application development. As demand increased, Ooley came to WomenVenture for help in growing their business. “Laura had a very specific goal in mind and a well-developed plan,” says Katy Burke, a business consultant with WomenVenture. “We helped Laura map out her strategy and provided a microloan to help expand her business.” Today, Appmosphere creates apps for all mobile devices from offices in Minneapolis, Delaware, and Texas. “WomenVenture offers a broad perspective because they help women across a variety of industries and businesses,” says Ooley.

0912-Tammy_200.jpgTammy Fischer, owner
Peaceful Waters Wellness Spa, 7300 Hudson Blvd., Ste. 220, Oakdale, 651-330-9583, peacefulwaters.us

Spa owner Tammy Fischer has specialized in colonics for five years. Fischer came to WomenVenture because she wanted to expand her services to include a better colon hydrotherapy system and more spa treatments. “Tammy is a true pioneer with a vision to provide a service that wasn’t available in the Twin Cities,” says Katy Burke, a business consultant with WomenVenture. “We helped Tammy develop a business plan and provided financing and wraparound services.” Peaceful Waters Wellness Spa now offers the only Angel of Water colonic system in Minnesota, as well as raindrop therapy, ion cleanse, and massage therapy. “Working with WomenVenture was a good experience,” says Fischer. “I learned a lot through the whole process.”


Outstanding Women Business Leaders

The annual WomenVenture conference provides an ideal opportunity to celebrate Twin Cities’ women leaders who make their mark in their own fields, mentor other women to achieve success, support their families and contribute in the community through civic leadership and volunteerism. The Outstanding Women Business Leaders featured here are representative of this esteemed group of women who continue to inspire through their successes.


Janel Goff
The Goff Investment Group, 4999 France Ave S, Ste. 210, Edina, 612-926-8680, benjaminfedwards.com/goff.investment.group

Enjoy Life To The Fullest - Sound, capable, reasoned advice, rooted in decades of professional experience. Led by Janel Goff, a 20-year financial services industry professional, each of the members of The Goff Investment Group has extensive experience working in an atmosphere of trust, integrity, and mutual respect to deliver a personalized plan that will help you meet your long-term goals and objectives.”


Dr. Nancy Norling

Dr. Nancy Norling, DDS,
1660 S Hwy. 100, Ste. 122, Mpls., 952-544-4129, drnorling.com

Dr. Norling started her professional life as a dental hygienist and followed her passion when she returned to get her dental degree from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Norling’s commitment to excellence is reflected in her pursuit of advanced education. In 2004 she earned her accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and in 2010 was awarded Fellowship in the AACD which has been “the biggest accomplishment in [her] professional career.” She is currently serving as president of the Minnesota Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Giving back is important to Dr. Norling. She is involved with the GIVE BACK A SMILE program, a program that helps restore smiles of domestic abuse survivors and travels to the villages in Guatemala each October providing dentistry to the families living there.

“I feel very blessed to have talents to share. I am able to restore teeth, restore smiles and often change lives.” —Dr. Nancy Norling, DDS, FAACD


Trudy Rautio

Carlson, 701 Carlson Parkway, Minnetonka, 763-212-5000, carlson.com

Trudy Rautio is Carlson’s president and chief executive officer. She is the company’s fifth CEO and only the second woman to have held the position. During her fifteen years at Carlson, she has held various senior leadership roles including eight years as executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer.

In recognition of her outstanding leadership, Ms. Rautio has been recognized by both her peers and industry experts. In 2009, she was honored by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as “Chief Financial Officer of the Year” for large, private companies. That same year, she was recognized with an inaugural “Women of Distinction” award from the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. She has also received the “Carlson Fellows” award, the highest career achievement honor—given only to those employees who best exemplify the qualities of leadership, creativity, and dedication—and who are considered to be true builders of the company.

Carlson is a global, family-owned hospitality and travel company with a strong portfolio of leading brands, including Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson and Park Plaza; T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants; and a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the global leader in business travel management. Carlson operates in 164 countries and employs about 170,000 people.

“I am captivated by the heart of Carlson; its people, its ambitious growth plans, and its service culture.” —Trudy Rautio, CEO


Helain Pesis

Continental Diamond, 1600 Utica Ave. S. Ste 130, St. Louis Park, 952-593-5602, ContinentalDiamond.com

Continental Diamond is a locally owned, family business that cares about their many customers. They offer very competitive prices and the best selection of diamonds, jewelry, gems and timepieces in the Twin Cities. The jewelry and diamonds are hand chosen for quality, value and uniqueness.

This full-service jewelry store includes the on-site expertise of two GIA Graduate Gemologists, seven GIA Diamond graduates, three goldsmiths, a watch specialist, a custom designer, and a career sales team. The staff is not paid on commission and offers helpful advice.

Continental Diamond has earned many accolades and awards including “Best Jeweler” 2010, 2011 and 2012!

“We appreciate the support and loyalty of our many customers. We will always provide great value and a convenient and fun shopping experience.” —Helain Pesis


Dr. Melissa Zettler

Cherrywood Dental, 14127 Vernon Ave. S., Savage, 952-440-9303, cherrywooddental.com

Dr. Zettler founded Cherrywood Dental in 1997 with no patients and one staff member. Her first patients were the construction workers who built her first office. Since then, Dr. Zettler has grown Cherrywood Dental to become a vibrant and highly successful dental practice. Dr. Zettler attributes this success to her commitment to serve her patients, and to building a team of coworkers who share this commitment. From the moment a patient contacts Cherrywood Dental, everyone strives to exceed the patient’s expectations in every way. Cherrywood Dental’s success demonstrates that Dr. Zettler’s commitment is not just good dentistry, but good business too.

“We genuinely care about our patients, and this influences all of our decisions – from deciding what equipment to purchase to selecting advanced continuing education.” —Dr. Melissa Zettler, DDS


Lila Tully

Rubble Tile, 7003 W. Lake Street, Ste. 150, St. Louis Park, 952-697-3232, rubbletile.com

Given her fashion merchandising background, Lila Tully is known to her clients as “Styla.” After an early career teaching fashion design and working as a Target fashion merchandiser, Lila moved to the tile world, bringing along her fashion-forward sensibility. Her company, Rubble Tile, is devoted to the marriage of fashion and tile. The company’s new showroom at 7003 West Lake Street in St. Louis Park features the most extensive and fashionable assortment of tile anywhere in the metro. From handmade tile by local artists to fashion-forward porcelain from major manufacturers, Rubble has the right tile for you, showcased in a warm and inviting space lovingly attended by Lila and her team of tile experts.

“Tile is art, it’s fashion and it’s about personal style. That’s why at Rubble we like to say, Your Style, Our Tile.” —Lila Tully, President and CEO


Dr. Gesica Horn

Serene Oaks Dental, 400 Village Center Dr., Ste. 100, North Oaks, 651-288-3111, sereneoaksdental.com

Dr. Gesica Horn has always felt that people deserve to have a healthy and attractive smile and that it can be achieved in an environment that promotes comfort, relationships and trust. She has built this business around that core philosophy and it’s reflected in the office space, team and care given. Her patients become more like friends and family allowing them to feel like they’ve “come home.” The advances in technology and investment in advanced training also allows her dental team to deliver a level of care that their patients have come to expect. As the owner of Serene Oaks Dental, Dr. Horn feels it is very important to understand her patients and create a team and culture that allows them to do just that.

“We believe everyone wants to look better, be healthy and live a better life. We’re committed to helping you achieve what you’re looking for!” —Dr. Gesica Horn, DDS