• Engage Leaders: Filsan Talent Partners, Hudda Ibrahim
  • Grow Business: Small Business Relief Grant Recap
  • Expand Talent: Join our EPIC 2022 Team!
  • Shape Tomorrow:
    • Anderson Center Inclusive Leadership Forum
    • 2021 and Beyond: Emergency Preparedness Planning Workshop
  • Insights and Inspirations: 10 Great Movies to Watch During Women’s History Month
  • Other: Great River Regional Library Board Opening

Engage Leaders: Filsan Talent Partners

Greeting from Filsan Talent Partners!

Filsan Talent Partners was founded in 2016 with the goal of connecting potential employees with employers. The company’s mission is to build diverse and inclusive workplace cultures across Minnesota. The ultimate objective is to enable inclusive workplace environments to achieve tangible and measurable business outcomes.

To gain a competitive edge in the evolving global marketplace, Filsan Talent Partners offers a series of training modules related to diversity and inclusion, countering unconscious bias, fostering an inclusive climate, and understanding the Somali culture. Those training sessions help employers attract, recruit, and retain employees of color.

Filsan Talent Partners provides on-the-job training sessions designed for new employees to better understand American work ethics and punctuality. Filsan translates employee handbooks to help employees understand company policies, procedures, and job skill requirements. To prevent imminent conflicts and miscommunication from occurring in the workplace, we train supervisors and managers in ways to bridge communication gaps and offer them the tools to handle the root cause of the problem.

Why Should Employers Partner with Filsan Talent Partners?

Filsan Talent Partners is a unique, local, cultural expert providing recommendations for hiring, recruitment, onboarding, retention, and interviewing.

We act as a cultural ambassador for your company across diverse Central Minnesota communities and beyond. Currently, we are working with manufacturing companies, banking/ credit institutions, school districts, local organizations, and universities.


Filsan Talent Partners is offering two free training sessions to manufacturing companies, local banks, and school districts.

Topic: Understanding the Somali Culture

Key objectives: Participants will be able to

  • Learn how different cultures impact communication.
  • Gain a better understanding of the specific needs of Somali employees.
  • Discover ways to bridge the communication gap.
  • Recognize language and communication styles.
  • Explore religion, spirituality, and Islamic dietary laws.

Date:  Friday, May 14th, 2021 and Friday, September 17th, 2021

Time: 9:30am – 10:30am

Venue: Virtual (Zoom)

Please register for the free training via <https://www.filsantalentpartners.com/events/> Or send an email to info@filsantalentpartners.com


Thank you,

Hudda Ibrahim,

President and CEO

Filsan Talent Partners






Grow Business

Small Business Relief Grant Recap

In March 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act authorized approximately $2 trillion in federal stimulus funds to combat the coronavirus crisis. A significant program of the CARES Act that provided aid to state and local governments is the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. The money in this fund was distributed to states, tribal governments, and local governments to cover necessary expenditures related to COVID-19. 

Local governments could decide where their allocations were spent. This includes areas such as small business relief, health, education, technology and broadband, unemployment and workforce development, housing assistance and other programs to assist their communities. 

Through an application process, greater St. Cloud businesses had the opportunity to apply for funding through their respective County or city that offered small business relief grants. Below is an overview, by County, of distributions received by businesses located in GSDC’s region that experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.    


Stearns County    

Stearns County received $19,361,975 in CARES Act funding in 2020. Additionally, cities and townships within Stearns County also received their own allocations totaling $10,658,242. CARES funds were allocated to small businesses, schools, large non-profits, induvial/families, internal projects, healthcare system assistance. 

 Of the total CARES Act funding received by Stearns County, over $10.5 million of the $19.3 million was spent out in the community on businesses, non-profits, schools, individual/families, and the healthcare system.   


Benton County  

In 2020, Benton County received $4,905,923 from the State of Minnesota in CARES Act funding. Benton Economic Partnership, Inc. administered $1,068,374.40 in CARES Grants to 61 businesses on behalf of Benton County, and $20,000 to 10 businesses on behalf of the City of Foley. Together, totaling $1,088,374.40 representing approximately 22% of the county’s total allocation of CARES Act Funding. 

In 2021, Benton Economic Partnership, Inc. administered $787,399.62 in Business Relief grants to 43 businesses and non-profits on behalf of Benton County.  


Sherburne County  

Sherburne County offered three business relief programs: CARES Grants, Business Relief Fund and Community Non-Profit Support Group Fund. 
Of the total $7,750,077 Sherburne County relief payments, 59 business located in St. Cloud, Clear Lake, Becker, and Waite Park received $1,894,563. Below is a further breakdown of the funds allocated to businesses located in the three cities through the respective programs.  

  • CARES Grant = $672,250 
  • Schools & Non-Profits CARES Community Support Grant = $802,047 
  • State Business Relief = $420,266 



Expand Talent

Join our EPIC 2022 Team – Cluster Leaders Forming Now

Join in Supporting Career Exploration for YOUR Future Workforce 

Exploring Potential Interests and Careers (EPIC) is a Hands-On Career Exploration Event supported through community-wide collaboration. 

EPIC’s goal is to create an annual high-quality career exploration event that effectively bridges education and industry for high school students in Central Minnesota, contributing to the fulfillment of the economic and workforce needs of the greater Central MN region. 

  • Through two events, EPIC has impacted the lives of over 4,500 area 10th grade students from 29 area schools. 
  • 100+ local employers have contributed to career exploration for students through the creation of handson activities showcasing their industry. 
  • Over 350 individuals have volunteered to create this experience for our community’s future workforce! 

We are now engaging partners to join in preparation for EPIC2022 – Bigger, Better and Broader – to be held on February 25, 2022, at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Career Cluster leaders and EPIC Board Members are forming their teams now.  

Thank you to many GSDC Investors and community partners for helping lead this critical work.  

Will you join the team?  

Contact a board member or cluster leader to help provide career exploration for our future workforce! 

EPIC 2022                       Board Members     
Name  Employer  Cluster Liaison  Email 
Ken Matthews  SCTCC – event facilitator    Kenneth.matthews@sctcc.edu 
Susan Jordahl  SCTCC – event facilitator  Ag/Food and Nat Resources  Susan.jordahl@sctcc.edu 
Amy Trombley  UW/PFSS  Government and Pub Administration  atrombley@unitedwayhelps.org 
Gail Cruikshank  GSDC – event facilitator  Transportation and Hospitality and Tourism  gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com 
Mary Swingle  Boys and Girls Club  Human Services  mswingle@bgcmn.org 
Tammy Biery  Career Solutions  Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Sec  tammy.biery@Csjobs.org 
Leah Sams  District 742  Information Technology  leah.sams@isd742.org 
Karl Nohner  District 47  Arts, Audio/Video Tech/Communications  karl.nohner@isd47.org 
Brent Bultema  Centra Care  Health Science  brent.bultema@centracare.com 
Mike Gohman  Gohman Construction  Architecture and Construction  mike@wgohman.com 
Michelle Schmitz  SCSU  Marketing, Sales and Service  maschmitz@stcloudstate.edu 
Paul Radeke  BergenKDV  Business, Management, Adm and Finance  pradeke@kdv.com 
Duane Bryngelson  Park Industries  Manufacturing/STEM  dbryngelson@parkindustries.com 
Brenda Steve  Sartell- St. Stephen Schools  Education and Training  Brendasteve46@gmail.com 



EPIC 2022                Cluster Leaders     
Name  Employer  Cluster Area  Email 
Jenny Musech  PCI  Business, Management, Adm and Finance  JMMU@preferredcredit.com 


Susan Block  Performance Foods  Marketing, Sales and Service  susan.block@pfgc.com 


Julie Lunning  Convention and Visitors Bureau  Hospitality and Tourism  julie@visitstcloud.com 
Judy Barka  Ag Centric  Agriculture, Food and NR  Judy.barka@clcmn.edu 
Cory Zimpel  SRR Schools  Arts, Audio/Video Tech and Comm  Cory.zimpel@isd47.org 
Renee Theisen  Geo-Comm  Information Technology  rtheisen@geo-comm.com 
Georgia McCann  Anderson Trucking Serv  Transp, Distribution and Logistics  georgiam@ats-inc.com 
Luke Vossen  CWMF  Manufacturing/ STEM  lvossen@cwmfcorp.com 
Kurt Scepaniak  Horizon Roofing  Architecture and Construction  kurt@horizonroofinginc.com 
Taylor Sellnow  Horizon Roofing  Architecture and Construction  Taylor.s@horizonroofing.com 
Tim Johnson  Centra Care  Health Sciences      timothy.johnson@centracare.com 
Hailey Olson  SCSU  Health Sciences  Haolson@stcloudstate.edu 


Geri Bechtold  Boys and Girls Club  Human Services  gbechtold@bgcmn.org 
Michelle Wang  Resource Training and Solutions  Education and Training  mwang@resourcecoop-mn.gov 
Anna Gruber  City of Sartell  Government and Public Adm  Anna.gruber@sartellmn.com 
Angie Dahle  Career Solutions  Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security  Angie.Dahle@csjobs.org 


 Like and follow EPIC on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/EPICMN 

Shape Tomorrow

Anderson Center Inclusive Leadership Forum on April 22

The Anderson Center is offering an Inclusive Leadership Forum, built around FranklinCovey’s Unconscious Bias: Understanding Bias to Unleash Potential. In this one-day forum, participants will explore bias. As all seek to understand bias, it can be addressed to create a culture in which everyone thrives. 

In order to create a culture in which everyone thrives, we must: 

  • Identify bias where it shows up in our own thinking and in our workplaces. 
  • Cultivate connection with those around us to expand our understanding and improve our decision-making. 
  • Choose courage as we engage with care and boldness in addressing biases that limit people and constrain performance. 

Discussion Leaders: Hudda Ibrahim, President, Filsan Talent Partners, and Cori Power, Learning and Development Manager, BerganKDV 

Registration is now open! Learn more about the forum. 

2021 and Beyond: Emergency Preparedness Planning Workshop

As companies look to the future of a hybrid work environment and providing a safe workplace for all employees, they need to consider more than cybersecurity and ergonomics. 

This working workshop will start with a presentation from Kelly Sayre, Founder and President of The Diamond Arrow Group and Melinda Gau, Attorney at Law, Quinlivan & Hughes, PA. The presentation will be an overview of considerations for updating an emergency preparedness plan, including the topic of domestic violence, and the current legal considerations for employers in Minnesota. 

Learn more information and sign-up. 


Insights and Inspirations: Women’s History Month – 10 Great Movies to Watch During Women’s History Month

March is almost over but the opportunity to learn and engage with Women’s History is ongoing. Here are 10 movies to watch today.  


Great River Regional Library Board Opening

Stearns County is looking for a District 1 representative to serve on the Great River Regional Library Board. (here’s a map) 

 The board meets a minimum of six times per year at 6 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library (currently via Zoom) to provide direction and vision for the library system. 

Terms are three (3) years and term limits are three full terms, or nine (9) years total. This particular county position is for the remainder of 2021, with the term expiring December 31, 2021. Since the appointed person would complete the third year of the prior representative’s 3-year term; he or she would be eligible for reappointment to another 3-year term. 

If you are interested in serving on this board, please visit the Stearns County website: https://www.stearnscountymn.gov/914/Vacancies 

 You can also find more information, including a Board-approved member job description, by visiting: https://griver.org/board-of-trustees. 


Contact Our Staff Team

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

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

Larry Hosch, Business Development Director 
lhosch@greaterstcloud.com | 320-761-4570

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

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