Ann Bancroft, founder, Ann Bancroft Foundation, St. Paul

A Mendota Heights native, Ann is an American author, teacher, adventurer and public speaker. Ann is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams.

Through her various roles as an explorer, educator, sought-after speaker and philanthropist, Ann believes that by sharing stories related to her dreams of outdoor adventure, she can help inspire a global audience to pursue their individual dreams. Ann’s teamwork and leadership skills have undergone severe tests during her polar expeditions and provided her with opportunities to shatter female stereotypes. Among her accomplishments, in February 2001 Ann and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen become the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica’s landmass, completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek.

The judges commented, “Ann has made it clear that women have the courage and strength to challenge the way people view women.”

Amy Langer, Co-Founder and Owner, Salo, LLC, Minneapolis

Amy Langer is Co-Founder and Owner of Salo, LLC, a $70M professional services company providing services throughout the U.S. out of offices in Minneapolis, MN and Chicago, IL. At Salo, she has driven company growth and brand affinity through keen analysis of market gaps, architecting and leading innovative strategy and establishing sustainable and scalable infrastructure.

Her unwavering commitment to creating an exceptional corporate culture and service environment has led Salo to be widely recognized for setting industry standards relative to innovative culture, superior client service and workforce flexibility. She shapes an environment poised for success by building teams that share common vision and values.

Amy is committed to professional and community volunteerism; she has a history of
service to not-for-profit boards and professional organizations. She has a passion for educating the youth on women in business and is working to create a process to facilitate
longer-term, more sustainable engagement between mentors and women business students.

The judges commented, “Amy is a dynamo!”

Nancy Lyons, CEO/President, Clockwork, Minneapolis

Nancy will soon celebrate nearly 20 years at Clockwork, a continuously privately-owned technology business. In a business world filled with funding and acquisitions, Nancy’s steady hand has kept Clockwork on an independent path to maximize flexibility and to fulfill her vision of a people-first business world that benefits individuals and businesses.

She explores future-focused advocacy that addresses the people-first concept in three ways: by fostering an open work culture that explicitly centers on belonging, inclusivity, and respect; through her commitment to the economic liberation for all people who are systematically oppressed. Her focus is on building stronger businesses and economic exchanges so that Black and Brown people can thrive and create the kinds of communities they’ve been deprived of; and by bringing her anti-racist ideology and practices to her engagements as a speaker and board member of several organizations.

The judges said, “Nancy has done more to push women than anyone.”

Anne Sempowski Ward, CEO and Board Director, Curio Brands, SE Minneapolis

As CEO of Curio, Anne transformed an almost 40-year-old bath, body and home fragrance company into a high-growth, vertically integrated portfolio of brands generating exceptional shareholder returns. In addition, she serves on multiple Boards of Directors including Spectrum Brands, SPS Commerce and Vanda Pharmaceuticals. Anne also advises several women entrepreneurs as they work to scale their companies.

Anne’s mission through her business and community involvement has been to develop the next generation of women leaders, helping them to find, grow and develop into entrepreneurial, senior and executive roles. In her multicultural marketing and growth strategies, Anne hired specific women- and minority-owned firms to lead marketing initiatives and implement marketing programs at these corporations. This also included a philanthropic giving component focused on education for young women and diverse community organizations.

Said the judges, “It is rare that one truly thinks about how sweet success can smell but Anne Sempowski Ward does. She has had a significant impact through the empowerment of women leaders.”

Kathy Tunheim, Founder and Owner, Tunheim, Bloomington

For more than three decades, Kathy Tunheim has been one of the most respected and influential business executives in the Twin Cities, in the PR, Marketing and Public Affairs industry.
As founder and owner of the eponymous Tunheim communications firm, she has provided strategic counsel to world-class companies and organizations from a range of industries including healthcare, sports, education, agriculture, government, retail, hospitality, policy, tech, and more.

Kathy does not wait for change she pushes for change. She is modest but she has changed so
many people’s lives through her work. Kathy is a connector and in doing so has inspired and
advised numerous leaders throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.

Kathy understands the private and public sectors and brings them together to find a solution for a range of issues. Her input and solid advice continues to be impactful during the pandemic and throughout the unrest in the Twin Cities.

Commented the judges, “She makes the Twin Cities a better place to live and work.”