You are on page 1of 14



President and Chief Executive Officer of
Metropolitan Economic Development

Ballinger Leafblad is pleased to conduct the
search for President & Chief Executive Officer
at Meda – Metropolitan Economic
Development Association, a business
development service headquartered in
Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) was
founded in 1971 by a group of Minnesota business leaders who saw
minority business ownership as a positive and imperative necessity
in the region. Today, Meda is a thriving organization that provides
business development and consulting services, access to capital,
and corporate and governmental market support for entrepreneurs
representing under-served communities.

Meda provides business resources across the three ‘M’s: Money,

Markets and Management Education. These areas represent the
three primary needs of all entrepreneurs, including minority
entrepreneurs. Meda’s consultants provide their expertise to clients
across an array of issues from strategic planning to mergers and
acquisitions. Since its start, Meda has helped launch more than 550
minority businesses and assisted more than 20,500 Minnesota
entrepreneurs of color to become business owners.

974 3,644 2018

Clients served. Jobs created and/or AT A GLANCE

$4b+ $17M+ 12
In total contracts In total financing Mergers and
won by Meda secured. acquisitions completed.


Excellence Thriving communities through Helping minority

Customer Focus equal economic participation entrepreneurs succeed.



Meda provides business consulting to help minority business Since 2011, Meda has operated the award-winning Minneapolis
enterprises (MBE) succeed. MBEs are served by highly qualified Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center.
business consultants that provide talent, knowledge and The MBDA Center is part of a nation-wide network of forty-one
expertise that is shared in atrusted and confidential centers. Two MBDA Business Centers are operated by Meda.
The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center’s mission is to strengthen
This talent is augmented by the involvement of hundreds of the U.S. economy by helping ethnic minority businesses create or
excellent volunteers drawn from corporate and community retain jobs, and build economically vibrant socially responsible
resources in marketing, legal, accounting, operations and entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities.
human Resource management.
Minneapolis MBDA Business Center provides one-on-one
Through the provision of financial and business development business consulting, marketplace connections and access to
resources, MEDA helps entrepreneurs build capacity, balance capital. It specifically targets three unique market areas--
growth and stability, and improve their financial, management, companies with annual revenues of $1 million or more, with high
marketing and human resource systems. growth potential or operating in high growth industries.

Ultimately, the goal is to help MEDA’s customers create

sustainable businesses with community involvement that In 2018, Meda was named the top-performing
make a significant economic impact in job creation and wealth.
Minority Business Development Agency
in the country!
(for the third year in a row)



Meda’s loan fund provides financing to qualified minority When Meda was founded in 1971, the organization began
businesses. Financing solutions include financial analysis, building key partnerships with the Twin Cities business
industry benchmarking, loan packaging, and Introductions to community. Today Meda has a strong connection with most
area bankers. of the major corporations in the region. In addition, Meda
partners with organizations such as the North Central
LOAN PROGRAM Minority Supplier Development Council and continually
Access to financing for operations and expansions is seeks out opportunities for capable MBEs to contract with
especially important for minority business stability and growth. area corporations and be introduced to decision makers.
Meda’s business loan program is designed to help clients get
access to much needed funding, which otherwise might not be
available through traditional lending resources.


Meda provides insights to the financial decision-making process Staff at Meda describe the organizational culture as:
through analysis, financial projections (planning, budgeting and INNOVATIVE, SEEKING NEW AND FRESH IDEAS
forecasting) and reporting.


Loan packaging effectively tells the story of the client company OPEN, ALL VIEWPOINTS WELCOMED
by explaining how the loan would be utilized. Getting help from a
Meda loan consultant can be the difference between maintaining
the status quo and having fresh funds for growth. SOCIALLY AWARE, COMMITTED TO THE MISSION
Beyond helping a client with loan documents, the loan consultant
can share valuable insight into specific banks’ underwriting
practices and get the financing request to lenders inclined to lend
to a business like the client's business. Meda loan consultants also
assist with identifying optimal loan amounts.



Meda's Mini MBA was designed to help minority entrepreneurs accelerate The Expanding Black Business Credit Initiative (EBBC) is an
their businesses through an intensive seven-month program. After being in effort to close gaps that black entrepreneurs face in starting
business 5 - 10 years or more, business growth may plateau. The education, and maintaining businesses due to less access to formal
resources, and group dynamics of the Meda Mini MBA program may help credit. The EEBC brings together community development
entrepreneurs see the next stage of growth and apply business principles financial institutions, such as Meda, to expand black
to achieve it. business credit by 250 percent over the next three to five
Meda is working in partnership with Junior Achievement of the CATALYST
Upper Midwest (JA) to create a program called JA Meda Fellows, which Catalyst is a consortium of seven Minnesota-based
strengthens the pipeline of minority entrepreneurs starting at an organizations that support minority entrepreneurs and
early age. Research has found that where minority business owners their businesses. Meda is pioneering an incentive-driven,
are successful, they often had an entrepreneurial role model. The joint collaborative model that will dramatically increase the
initiative includes an entrepreneurship curriculum provided by JA, while quality and quantity of services available to minority
Meda provides fellowship for each student to have a paid internship in a businesses and bring their collective economic
minority-owned small business. impact of these clients to scale.

Catalyst Partners are African Development Center, African

Economic Development Solutions, Asian Economic
Meda is proud to be the catalyst behind the $1 Million Challenge! This new
Development Association, Community Reinvestment Fund,
entrepreneurial challenge, debuted in 2018, attracted 200 businesses from
Latino Economic Development Center, Meda, and Northside
across the country to apply and present in a Shark Tank-like competition
Economic Opportunity Network.
where business plans are fine-tuned and judged. Nine winning
organizations were awarded from $100,000 to $400,000 to grow their
businesses. In addition to Meda's Million Dollar Challenge, the
organization partners with JPMorgan Chase to award a $20,000 prize to
the Most Innovative Minority Enterprise at the MN Cup competition. 5



The President & CEO of Meda is a prominent and visible role in the Twin Cities region, statewide and nationally, contributing to the legacy
of great work and continuing the innovation and growth at Meda.

The CEO is a thought leader who establishes the strategic vision and strategy for the organization, focused on making impact. This role will
leverage the power of relationships and networks and work across private, public and corporate sectors with a broad array of meaningful
stakeholders. The President & CEO uses business acumen and passion for the mission to generate resources and financial support for the
organization, and ensures financial integrity.

This position is the principal resource to the Board of Directors and works with the Board to recruit and engage committed Board Directors.
The President and CEO will drive innovation, while understanding the impact of change on people and systems. The CEO is responsible for
leading a high-performing team, ensuring accountability, fostering collaboration, and ensuring a culture of trust and respect.

Meda is at a pivotal moment of defining its strategic direction and focus. We seek a leader primed to to take the organization to its next
level. The President and CEO will lead the process of deep assessment of the excellent work Meda does today, evaluating what else Meda
could do to achieve its mission, and determining where and how it will grow.

This position is open due to the departure of Gary Cunningham, CEO since 2014, as he moves on to a national position in Washington, D.C.




Essential Responsibilities
• Collaborates and maintains open communication with the Board of Directors, recruits Board members in support of Meda’s mission
and vision and ensures Board member engagement.
• Envisions the future of Meda; provides leadership for strategic planning and ensures alignment of the strategy and direction with
mission, vision values.
• Drives fundraising; fund development and revenue growth and oversees fiscal management. Cultivates excellent relationships with
regional and national funding connections.
• Provides executive oversight of of the organization's portfolio of products and services.
• Represents Meda as an ambassador and spokesperson, and builds strategic relationships that enable organization growth.
• Builds meaningful connections with Meda clients.
• Ensures strong results through the delivery of high-quality programs and services that anticipate the needs of internal and external
• Fosters a collaborative, inclusive environment for Meda staff, encouraging diverse opinions and encouraging innovation and
• Drives change while aligning structures, systems and processes linked to change.
• Creates a culture of trust and respect by empowering others and sharing authority.
• Assures organizational and Board diversity and inclusion.
• Provides direct leadership, coaching and development to the Executive Leadership Team.
Management Responsibilities
The President & CEO oversees the staff and activities of all of the business functions of Meda.

A total of 30 committed professional staff work in the organization which has an operating budget of $7 million and a lending
portfolio of $23 million.

The executive leadership team reporting directly to the President & CEO includes Vice President of Finance, Chief Development
Officer, Chief of Strategic Initiatives, Chief of Operations, as well as an Executive Assistant.




• Strong strategic planning skills and experience setting and driving innovation and strategic direction in organizations.
• Deep personal and professional connection and passion for Meda's mission of helping minority entrepreneurs succeed.
• Relevant and significant experience in a senior level role with strategic and operational oversight.
• Related educational credentials in business administration or related fields.
• Strong business acumen with a proven track record of fiscal management, revenue growth and programmatic
innovation and growth.
• Demonstrated leadership experience driving change while understanding the impact of change on people and systems.
• Experience building and maintaining high performing teams; recruiting, coaching and developing staff.
• Ability to foster a positive, collaborative work culture; empower others; and share authority.
• Strong, established network with funders--corporations, philanthropic and government entities.
• Background working with a broad array of diverse staff, clients, funders, partners and supporters.

Leadership Characteristics
• Strong relationship building skills with the ability to work across private, public and corporate sectors in cultivating
strategic relationships.
• Commitment to cultural diversity; cultural competence.
• Authentic leadership style with an ability to connect staff with the mission and direction of the organization.
• An approach that cultivates trust by leading with authenticity and integrity.
• Innovative, creative and strategic approach to problem solving decision making.
• Experience building and maintaining high performing teams and supporting a culture of staff growth and development.
• Exceptional communication skills including the ability to speak on behalf of Meda to large and small groups in a variety
of settings, locally, regionally and nationally.
• Ability to foster a positive, collaborative work environment; empower others; and share authority.

Compensation and Benefits

The executive compensation package for this position is highly competitive and includes participation in the organization’s benefits


When the Twin Cities hosted the Super Bowl in 2018, it cast an international
light on what the organizing committee dubbed “The Bold North.” It also gave
the world an up-close and personal view of what those of us who live here
already knew. Minnesota Nice is for real.

The Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis are a unique blend of small
town and major cosmopolitan hub. Both urban cores boast a thriving business
atmosphere. Saint Paul, as the state capitol, is home to state government and
has a more historical vibe. Minneapolis is the larger and more commercial
of the two cities. Outside of the central downtowns, however, both cities
have many distinct neighborhoods, and residents identify more with their
individual communities than with the larger city as a whole. And the best
news is housing in most of our friendly neighborhoods is affordable and

900+ 300 60+

Lakes in the Twin Nearly parks and miles Museums in the
Cities metro area. of biking. metro area.

The Twin Cities lives up to its Bold North tagline in every way. Residents
enjoy four very distinct seasons, none of which will let you down. According
WalletHub, Minneapolis ranks 12th in America for cities with the most green
space. Both cities share a common root of being river towns, and the great
outdoors is a major attraction for residents and visitors alike. In addition
to the mighty Mississippi River, there are more than 900 lakes in the metro
area and surrounding suburbs, upwards of 300 parks, and miles of biking and
walking trails. Nearly every weekend in the summer there are several outdoor
events for participants and spectators—triathlons, biking races, running races,
boat races, water skiing competitions, cultural celebrations, golf tournaments,
and more.
ENTERTAINMENT The summer highlight for many Minnesotans is the
Minnesota State Fair. One of the largest of its kind in the country, ours is a
world-class showcase of Minnesota’s best in agriculture, industry, arts and

Held on a 320-acre parcel located between St. Paul and Minneapolis, it is a self-
supported organization and has been held on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds
every year since 1885.

As summer turns to fall, the region puts on a breathtaking autumn show that
draws visitors from miles around. While fall is a fleeting spectacle, the active
lifestyle of Minnesotans doesn’t go dormant during the winter either. Being
hardy in every way, we take advantage the miles of cross-country skiing trails,
downhill ski areas, ice skating, snowmobiling, sledding, and ice fishing.

In recent years Minneapolis and St. Paul have become two of the most diverse
cities in America. Almost six percent of the populationidentifies as LGBTQ,
with many Twin Cities’ organizations in arts, politics, culture, advocacy and ARTS & CULTURE There are countless arts and culture
religious sectors serving the community. offerings in the Twin Cities. The Grammy Award-
winning Minnesota
Minnesota’s Somali community is one of the largest in the United States. St. Orchestra has a reputation as one of the top orchestras
Paul is the center of a growing, thriving Hispanic community and the home of in the world. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is also
Minnesota’s Hmong community as well, representing the largest urban regarded as one of the finest chamber
concentration of Hmong residents in the country. Over twenty Native orchestras in the world.
Nations in our region add richness, history and culture. It is by design that
we’ve embraced such ethnic uniqueness. Our multi-cultural communities Since the early 1960s, the Guthrie Theater has staged
present us with diversity in the workplace, a strong workforce and an added outstanding shows from the classical to the modern.
bonus of getting to know the world, and coming to understand different Popular national shows and performers also tour
cultures on a more intimate scale right here at home. through the Twin Cities year-round at stages in both
Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and at the University of
One of the best places to get a taste of our many blended cultures is on Lake Minnesota.
Street in Minneapolis - Midtown Global Market is a welcoming indoor market
and meeting place featuring an abundance of ethnic dishes, gifts and If you are a theatre-goer in the Twin Cities you’ll never
groceries, from Mexican and Middle Eastern to Vietnamese, Indian, Swedish have a dull moment. According to the Western States
and Italian. Arts Federation, Minneapolis ranks as the fifth- most
“creatively vital” city in the country, right after D.C., LA,
Many Hmong and Vietnamese restaurants and shops are located in the NYC and Boston. The Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul is
Frogtown neighborhood as well, on and around University and Lexington the country’s oldest African American theater.
avenues. Hmongtown Marketplace on Como Avenue and Hmong Village on 10
Johnson Parkwayon St. Paul’s East Side feature a wide variety of traditional
We boast more than 40 venues with a variety that even the most seasoned FOR SPORTS FANS For those who prefer activity of the
thespian would notice. spectator variety, the Twin Cities is home to the
Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Wild
There are the magnificent musicals thatplay on the State, Orpheum, and and the Minnesota Timberwolves. We are also the home
Pantages stages and lots of local talent making a statement on stages such as of the four-time WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx and
the Southern Theater, New Century, and Illusion. Hamilton, Les Miserables the Minnesota United soccer team. We host in some
and West Side Story are a few examples of productions that have played here. of the best sporting facilities in the county, including
Theater is also a large component of life in Saint Paul. The gorgeous 1000-seat Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, and US
Fitzgerald Theatre acts as Minnesota Public Radio’s largest broadcast studio. Bank Stadium, a brand new, enclosed stadium where the
Staged productions commission authors, artists and radio hosts to create Minnesota Vikings host their NFL games. Additionally,
programming for the public radio community. The Fitzgerald Theater is St. the stadium hosts early season college baseball games of
Paul’s oldest theater and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010. the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has been recognized as one of
America’s leading not-for-profit performing arts centers, and is home to a
wide variety of performances throughout the year providing the finest in
musical theater, music, dance, and vocal artists in its Music Theater and
Concert Hall. In addition, each year the Ordway presents its Flint Hills Family
Festival, serving more than 50,000 children and adults through its Ordway
Education programs. Dance companies such as James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota
Dance Theatre, Ragamala, Zenon Dance Company and TU Dance perform at an
array of venues including the renovated Cowles Center.

For the museum-goer, there are more than 60 museums in the metro
area. The Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota Children’s Museum
are interactive learning facilities and fun experiences for the entire family. The
African American Heritage Museum and Gallery and the Minnesota History
Center are museum for all ages with permanent and changing exhibits,
lectures and events.
Popular music abounds, from the Grammy-winning
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has a collection of more than 100,000 Sounds of Blackness to Atmosphere. Outdoor concerts
pieces. The Walker Art Center has been called “possibly the best contemporary and festivals such as the Basilica Block Party and Rock
art museum in the U.S.” by Newsweek, and has over 11,000 pieces. The the Garden are a common and popular activity. After all,
University of Minnesot’s Weisman Art Museum is also a contemporary art artists from Bob Dylan to Prince have called the Twin
destination. The Somali Museum of Minnesota on East Lake Street features Cities home.
hundreds of traditional Somali artworks and artifacts as well as
educational programs.

FOR FOODIES The Twin Cities offer award-winning restaurants (several chefs
have been regional James Beard Award winners). In addition to the popular
Mall of America, there are plenty of unique shopping districts in both cities
and in the suburbs. Beyond sports, the great outdoors, entertainment, and
culture, perhaps the biggest attraction for the Twin Cities is the lifestyle.
Forbes hailed Saint Paul and Minneapolis as one of the nation’s healthiest
metros and USA Today named Saint Paul as North America’s “Most Romantic
City.” Minneapolis/St. Paul is also proud to have a world-class international
airport. In fact, the Airports Council International named MSP the 2017 Best
Airport in North America in its size category, with more than 25 million
passengers a year.

Networking groups in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and education

support their professions. Active Chambers of commerce further business
interests and First Fridays Twin Cities celebrates African American excellence.

The Twin Cities is a vibrant, richly diverse Midwestern community where

Minnesota Nice is alive and well. We are the perfect blend of small town/big
city and our residents pride themselves on their warm and welcoming ways.
There is a reason Business Insider ranked Minneapolis/St. Paul number nine
on its Top 50 Places to Live in America. We really are all that and more!


Marcia Ballinger, PhD Lars Leafblad, MBA

Co-Founder/Principal Co-Founder/Principal
651-341-4840 612-598-7547