Network of Executive Women Twin CitiesCareer Focus Program

The Power of Personal Connections


Local leaders help connect the dots from college graduation to successful career. Our panel speakers and speed mentors will be from such companies as Target Corporation, General Mills, Kraft Heinz Company, Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, Dell Inc, Mondelēz International, Schwan’s International,  Yieldbot, FASTechnology Group and many other well-known organizations that share experiences in networking and sponsorship.

Open to all Concordia alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, the event begins at 5:30 p.m. with networking and registration, then continues with a panel discussion about experiences in personal connection and sponsorship. There will be food, conversation, and new ideas. We encourage students to dress professionally; business attire is requested.

Speed Mentoring Topics

  • Enhancing and Expanding your Work Situation
  • Entering the Work Environment
  • Self Awareness and Development

Featured Panelists

Ken Charles

General Mills, VP Global Inclusion & Staffing

Ken Charles holds the dual titles of Chief Diversity and Chief Staffing Officer.  With his team, he is responsible for Recruiting, Staffing, Diversity & Inclusion, Culture and Engagement for General Mills around the world.  

Ken recently received the Ted Childs Life Work Excellence Award from Working Mother Magazine, only the second male to receive the honor.  He was listed as one of the Top Executives in Diversity by Black Enterprise.   He is a past member of the Human Rights Campaign Business Advisory Council and currently serves the boards of the National Black MBA Association, the Network of Executive Women, and the Threads Dance Project.  

Rebekah Lamphere

Senior Category Manager for Target at Mondelēz International

Rebekah Lamphere is responsible for researching and analyzing the Biscuit category using syndicated data, panel data and Target data to provide business insights, strategy development and category growth recommendations to the Target team. She develops the on shelf account go-to-market strategy and builds category planograms. She lives in the world of Cookies and Crackers.

Upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Spanish Studies, Rebekah began her career with Mondelēz as a Management Development Associate in Minneapolis, where she gained experience as a salesperson, retail manager and category manager. She then managed the labor budget for three sales teams and went on to manage six managers who were managing team’s labor budgets. She is the Women’s Sales Council Minneapolis lead at Mondelēz and one of the Network of Executive Women leads at Concordia, partnering with Concordia’s Faculty on its senior capstone course.

Debbie Marshall

Target (Finance), Director of Risk Management

Debbie Marshall is responsible for keeping Target’s team members and guests safe while appropriately transferring risk to protect Target when the unexpected occurs.  This is achieved through a focus on safety, claims management and insurance procurement. 

Debbie began her career at Target in 2003, as an assistant manager in its stores organization in Illinois and subsequently worked in 3 different states before making her way to Minnesota.  After a brief stint as a liaison between the stores and the merchants, she returned to stores where she led 2 different districts in the Minneapolis market. In 2013, Debbie transitioned into her current role as Sr Director Risk Management.

Prior to Target, Debbie earned her MBA at Southern Illinois University while she taught Adult Education classes including basic computer skills, job skills and GED prep courses. Debbie is currently a member of the Diversity Action Committee and the Inclusion Acumen Lead for the Finance pyramid at Target, as well as the chair of the Arthritis Foundation Board of Directors for the Upper Midwest Region.

Alison Nelson

Kraft Heinz Company, Customer Business Lead

 Alison Nelson is responsible for driving sales and profitability for KHC’s grocery business unit at Target. The $190 million dollar business unit spans across iconic brands such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Ore-Ida, Jell-O, and Heinz Ketchup. Alison leverages financial analysis, syndicated data, and category insights to increase sales and profitability for her brands in Target stores.

Alison joined Kraft Heinz after completing her undergraduate degree at Purdue University. She was a part of their Management Development Program , rotating through field sales, retail manager, and supply chain roles. Over her 7.5 year career she has held positions in category management, sales, and headquarter sales planning. In May, Alison completed her MBA from the University of Minnesota, with a focus in marketing and strategy.

Panel Discussion and Speed Mentoring Conversations

  • April 6, 2017
  • 5:30 – 8 p.m.
  • Buenger Education Center


  • 5:30 p.m. – Registration
  • 6 p.m. – Executive Panel Discussion and Q&A Session
  • 7 p.m. – Circle of Influence Leadership Groups

Circle of Influence Volunteers

  • Joy Simonsen Mondelēz International
  • Kim Brunner — Schwan’s International
  • Erin Yzermans — Dell Inc.
  • Alyssa Anttila — Target Corporation
  • Christine Walsh — FAST Technology Group
  • William Holmes — Mead Johnson Nutrition Company
  • Beverly Hughes —Mead Johnson Nutrition Company
  • Charlene Charles —Yieldbot
  • Plus all four featured panelists