Women CEOs



Women CEOs

Chief ‘Diversity’ Officers

In 2013, women led seven of Minnesota’s top 100 public companies, the most in the Census’ history. What difference do they make? Last year, the number of female chief executive officers in Minnesota’s 100 largest publicly held companies increased to seven, after three years of stalling at six. That appears to be good news for the future of women’s leadership across the state.

Research concludes that chief executive officers have significant influence in moving companies toward gender equality and other forms of diversity. “Change will not occur without the personal commitment of the CEO,” said the 2007 McKinsey & Company report Women Matter: A Corporate Performance Driver.

Companies with women leaders tend to have more women executive officers and more women board members, according to David Masta and Amalia Miller, authors of “Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling: Gender Spillovers in Corporate Leadership,” published in 2011 in the American Economic Review.

Minnesota companies prove them right. Three of the seven companies with women CEOs hold Special Distinction status in the Minnesota Census — meaning that women comprise at least 30 percent of their board and executive officers. One of the seven companies has Honor Roll status, with women making up 20 percent or more of its boards and executive officers.

“Change will not occur without the personal
commitment of the CEO.”
McKinsey & Company

Cheryl BeranekCheryl Beranek Photo
CEO and President
Clearfield, Inc.

Years in role: 5
Education: Bachelor’s degree,
speech communications and marketing,
Southwest Minnesota State University;
master's degree, mass communications,
North Dakota State University
Career: President, APA Cables and
Networks; president and
COO, Americable, Inc.;
vice president of marketing,
Transition Networks;
director of marketing, Tricord Systems;
marketing manager, Digi International
Women in Leadership: 16.7% directors; 33.3%
executive officers
Shelly IbachShelly Ibach Photo
CEO and President
Select Comfort Corp., Inc.
Years in role: 2
Education: Bachelor’s degree, retailing, University
of Wisconsin–Stout
Career: COO, Select Comfort; general
merchandise manager and senior vice president
of the home division, Marshall Field’s
and Macy’s; store manager, Dayton’s
Women in Leadership: 33.3% directors;
71.4% executive officers:
Special Distinction company




Kathleen IversonKathleen Iverson Photo
CEO, President and Board Chair
CyberOptics Corp.
Years in role: 10
Education: Bachelor’s degree,
accounting, University of Minnesota–Duluth
Career: COO, CyberOptics;
vice president/general manager,
Complete Point Solutions of
Rosemount Inc.; vice president/general
manager, Worldwide Temperature of
Rosemount Inc.; director, Speed Commerce, Inc.
Women in Leadership: 33.3% directors; 33.3%
executive officers: Special Distinction company



Brittany McKinneyBrittany McKinney Photo
CEO and President
Analysts International Corp.
(McKinney resigned October 11, 2013,
when Analysts International was acquired
by American CyberSystems, Inc.)

Years in role: 2
Education: Bachelor’s degree, accounting;
MBA, St. Cloud State University
Career: Senior vice president, central region,
Analysts International; vice president of
corporate development, Analysts International;
director of operations and integration program
manager, Fujitsu Consulting; director, BORN
Women in Leadership: 28.6% directors; 50%
executive officers: Honor Roll company
Kathleen Skarvan05-ceo.jpg
Electromed, Inc.

Years in role: 1.5
Education: Bachelor’s degree,
mass communication,
management and finance,
St. Cloud State University;
Minnesota Executive Program,
Carlson School of Management
Career: Vice president of operations and
strategic planning, OEM Fabricators, Inc.;
senior vice president and president, disk drive
components division, Hutchinson Technology;
vice president of sales and marketing and,
earlier, director, strategic business unit,
Hutchinson Technology; vice president and
general manager, Phillips Plastics
Women in Leadership: No directors;
50% executive officers
Sally Smith06-ceo.jpg
CEO and President
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.

Years in role: 17
Education: Bachelor’s degree,
business administration and accounting,
University of North Dakota
Career: Chief financial officer, Dahlberg, Inc.;
manager, KPMG LLP; board member, Alerus
Financial Corp. and Allina Health Systems
Women in Leadership: 14.3% directors; 62.5%
executive officers






LuAnn Via07-ceo.jpg
CEO and President
Christopher & Banks Corp.

Years in role: 2
Education: Bachelor’s degree, psychology, University of Miami
Career: President and CEO, Payless ShoeSource, Inc.; group president, Lane Bryant; president, Lane Bryant and Catherines Stores (Charming Shoppes subsidiaries); vice president, general merchandise manager, Sears Roebuck & Co.; senior vice president, general merchandise manager of product development, Saks, Inc.
Women in Leadership: 50% directors; 66.7% executive officers: Special Distinction Company