• Engage Leaders: Jonathan Wong – A young leader destined to make a difference
  • Grow Business: Calling all GreaterMN Entrepreneurs
  • Expand Talent: Evolving DEED’s strategy in the CareerForce system to grow opportunity
  • Shape Tomorrow: Enhancing Our Regional Broadband
  • Insights and Inspirations: Brenny Transportation, Inc. Named Top Women-Owned Business

Engage Leaders: Jonathan Wong – A young leader destined to make a difference


Meet Jonathan Wong (he/him), part of the GSDC-sponsored Minnesota Young American Leaders Program, chair of the Jugaad Leadership Program and part of the GSDC’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leadership team.

He recently completed a Humphrey Policy Fellowship at the University of Minnesota and is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Nebraska- Omaha, School of Public Administration. Jonathan worked for five years with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and is currently Communications Strategist with CNDP, a nonprofit civic engagement firm in St. Paul.

“With the Young Leaders group, it is great to see we gather our young talents in order to address some of the pressing challenges the region faces,” says Jonathan. “And for the DEI leadership team, I enjoy learning and am able to continue the important conversations and work with the team.”

Jonathan is passionate about social justice and raising social equity. Outside of his employment, he has worked on statewide and regional initiatives in Minnesota that aim to address racism and other social equity issues at the systemic level.

“I like how the GSDC is filling in gaps for businesses and communities,” he says. “I think there are a lot of things that in my ideal world would have been taken care of or helped by other organizations or groups. Sometimes we do not need everyone to be on board for some decisions, but we do need the most impacted, most vulnerable voices being uplifted and empowered to create a strong, loving community.”

We have a feeling you’re going to do a great job of uplifting those voices for years to come, Jonathan. Best of luck in the future, and thanks for your contributions to the GSDC!

Grow Business

Calling all GreaterMn Entrepreneurs!

ILT Academy is excited to announce the next *FREE* online Lean Startup Innovation Workshop on August 31 from 12:00 PM – 2.30 PM. This cohort is free to all participants, thanks to LaunchMN and our partners across West Central Minnesota, including GSDC.  This workshop is for students, serial entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, critical thinkers, and anyone who wants to work on their idea while learning the processes and techniques to define and refine an idea’s core problem, solution, customer, and the potential opportunities surrounding that idea. Please register HERE.


Expand Talent

Evolving DEED’s strategy in the CareerForce system to grow opportunity

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the disparities present in our workforce, and how important it is to work strategically to eliminate these disparities.

Read about the goals and strategies the Department of Employment and Economic Development is working towards to help address these critical issues, including the “One Minnesota strategic plan, which provides vision for all state agencies to address these critical issues and others”. Read more here.




Shape Tomorrow

Enhancing Our Regional Broadband

Join the Initiative Foundation on Thursday, Sept. 23, for a Region 7W broadband conference at the St. Cloud State University Welcome Center. There is also an option to attend virtually.

As counties and statewide Regional Development Commissions (RDCs) consider how to use American Recovery Act funds for broadband investments, now is a good time to ask:

  • Who is being served?
  • Who is being left behind?
  • What are our opportunities to collaborate or stretch dollars?
  • How will we maximize these investments to spur equitable economic recovery?
  • What action steps are needed at the local level to support successful implementation?

Feedback gathered during the conference will be compiled with other RDC findings and rolled up to the Blandin Foundation for presentation at its Oct. 12-14 annual broadband conference.

“We don’t want to get together and simply admire the problem,” said Don Hickman, vice president for community and workforce development at the Initiative Foundation. “We want to identify the challenges, look for opportunities to work together and take action.”

Insights & Inspirations

Brenny Transportation, Inc. Named Top Women-Owned Business

Congratulations to Brenny Transportation, a GSDC investor, for being named a 2021 “Top Women-Owned Business in Transportation” by The Women in Trucking Association.

Read Brenny Transportation’s press release and the full list of organizations recognized this year.





Contact Our Staff Team

Patti Gartland, President
pgartland@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-2442

Leslie Dingmann, Business Development Director
ldingmann@greaterstcloud.com | 320-493-9003

Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director 
gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-6775

Amelia Barkley, Communications & Program Specialist 
abarkley@greaterstcloud.com | 320-292-9296