• Engage Leaders: Board member spotlight – Heather Pieper-Olson
  • Grow Business: 2021 Innovation Awards
  • Expand Talent: Around Cloud Tutors
  • Shape Tomorrow: Xcel Energy Works Towards Providing 100% Carbon-Free Electricity by 2050
  • Insights and Inspirations: Leadership Self-Care Tip

Engage Leaders: Board Member Spotlight – Heather Pieper-Olson

Longtime volleyball coach Heather Pieper-Olson

keeps a lot of balls in the air for CSB and the GSDC

Heather Pieper-Olson has the word Advancement as part of her job title at the College of St. Benedict, which is also applicable to what she does for the GSDC: advances our efforts in many effective ways.

Heather’s full title is Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Title IX Coordinator. She’s also a GSDC board member and chair of our Marketing Committee, where she has helped lead creation of our StCloudShines.com website and its related social media efforts, as well as development of other marketing approaches and materials.

“I appreciate the strategic conversations the GSDC has about how to make our area a more equitable, inclusive and economically successful place for everyone, then putting that strategy into action and sharing the good news with our community,” says Heather. “I also enjoy the collaboration and connection with community leaders on the key issues and opportunities facing our region.”

Prior to joining CSB nearly 14 years ago, Heather was an attorney with Gray Plant Moody in St. Cloud. But sports are what brought her to our region.

“I first moved to St. Cloud to be a graduate assistant volleyball coach at SCSU, and after taking many years away from collegiate coaching, I have been the volunteer assistant volleyball coach at the College of Saint Benedict for the past eight years,” she says.

In other words, she literally and figuratively keeps a lot of balls in the air to help the Greater St. Cloud area. Thanks, Heather, for “serving” so well!

Heather Pieper-Olson, Associate Vice-President of Institutional Advancement



Grow Business

2021 GSDC Innovation Awards 

GSDC is seeking nominations and applications for its 10th annual Innovation Awards, created to recognize originality among non-profit and for-profit organizations.

Since 2012, the GSDC has recognized 30 area organizations for their innovative approaches to problem solving and creating opportunities. At its November 4, 2021 meeting of Investors and Partners, the GSDC will honor four organizations: an emerging for-profit company, an established for-profit company and two non-profit organizations. Each will receive a $1,000 award.

Information about nominating candidates and applying for the awards may be found HERE. Organizations are also encouraged to nominate themselves. Deadline for submission is Friday, July 30, 2021.



Expand Talent

Around Cloud Tutors Provides Summer Support to Our Area Students!

Around Cloud Tutors– continues providing FREE, online tutoring for students within the three- county region of Stearns, Benton, and Sherburne counties.

K-12 students and/or their parents can sign-up at www.aroundcloudtutors.org to be matched with a tutor for the summer. Sign up for one session or multiple – whatever your student’s needs.  These one-on-one, virtual sessions are a great way to keep students learning and engaged throughout the summer.

Tutoring is available for all students including those with special learning needs or those seeking post- secondary advising.

Thanks to our generous volunteer tutors from our local colleges and universities, Americorp Seniors, and the general community who continue to share their time and talents with all of us. It is because of them that we are able to provide convenient 30-minute tutoring sessions flexible to family’s needs.

Although our #1 focus is to provide a tool for students and families to support their studies and educational achievement, this platform is also providing the following for our community:

  • Increased volunteerism from students to community members and more!
  • Equity for all students and families seeking educational support
  • Potential for increased post- secondary student retention as they engage in community programs such as ACT.

Please share this great opportunity with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  Check out Around Cloud Tutors today!

Helping build community while helping support our future workforce.

Shape Tomorrow

Xcel Energy Works Towards Providing 100% Carbon-Free Electricity by 2050

Mark Osendorf, Manager of Community Relations and Economic Development for Xcel Energy, shares a brief look into the type of initiative which will help Xcel meet their vision of providing 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve Xcel Energy’s request to acquire the repowered and expanded 120-megawatt Northern Wind facility from ALLETE Clean Energy, Inc. Northern Wind operates three wind farms in Minnesota. Commissioners were particularly enthusiastic about the project, which provides affordable clean energy, but also is an example of a utility project which spurs economic relief and recovery. In a public policy rarity, the approval follows positive recommendations from all commenting parties.

Xcel Energy’s partnership to move energy across Minnesota has recently changed names. Formerly called CapX2020, Grid North Partners is a broad mix of 10 investor-owned and not-for-profit cooperative and municipal utilities working together to ensure continued safe, reliable and affordable electric service. Xcel’s organizations serve customers in the Upper Midwest and own and operate transmission infrastructure throughout their respective service territories. Follow this link to learn more: Grid North Partners – an evolution of CapX2020.


Insights & Inspirations

Leadership Self-Care Tip

When we take care of ourselves, we grant permission for others to do the same. This is leadership.

Your leadership is more than just supporting others… it’s prioritizing self-care in a society that constantly demands you sacrifice yourself for another deadline, another strategic initiative, another meeting that could have been an email. Here’s the best part, when you set a boundary to protect your self-care, it becomes its own strategic initiative that requires no further action than to follow through. Others will begin adopting similar actions because it speaks to their own inherent desires for a better life.

This quote is from the Wellness Council of America.


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