Rob has spent 45 years working in international business development with small and mid-size manufacturing companies. For 15 years, he served as Chairman of the Board of Durex Products, Inc., a manufacturer of custom equipment for the mining industry, and was responsible for introducing Durex’s products into Latin America and creating an international alliance with a German company to serve the global mining industry. Rob currently serves as President of Medical Equipment Exporters, Inc.; Senior Associate with Grupo Avance, LLC; Senior Advisor at Clearwater Layline, LLC; and as an executive cross-cultural coach with Hunter Scarlett Consulting – all headquartered in Minnesota, USA. Rob also has served on a number of philanthropic and civic boards including Sundance Family Foundation, ACCION International, Small Business Minnesota, Minnesota-Uruguay Partners of the Americas, and Global Minnesota.
Jeanne is the founder and past CEO of MindWare, a company that creates and distributes Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages to consumers and educators. Jeanne founded MindWare in 1989 and sold majority interest in 2003; in 2013 the brand was sold again to Berkshire Hathaway. Prior to MindWare she was an executive with First Banks (now US Bank) working in strategic planning, cash management, securities operations, and finally leading the bank’s retail investment products business. In addition to serving as board chair for the Jeanne M. Voigt Foundation, Jeanne presently sits on the boards of Fat Brain Toys, a business-to-consumer retailer of children's toys; Nguku, a Nairobi-based chicken processing company; Rockler, a Minnesota woodworking hobbyist retailer; and Hill Capital Corporation. In the past she has served on the boards of the MS Society of Minnesota, the Minnesota Children's Museum, and the Federal Reserve's Small Business Advisory Board, among others. She is an active philanthropist, mentor and consultant to businesses, impact investor, and an activist in supporting innovative sources of capital for small and social-purpose companies. Jeanne has her BS in Music Education and an MBA in Finance, both from the University of Minnesota.
Jeff is a successful cross-sector entrepreneur. He first founded and directed Breakthrough Twin Cities, a nonprofit college access and teacher training program. He then invented and commercialized Snake Oil, a hit educational party game that won the prestigious Mensa Select award and was licensed by Hasbro. In the past three years, Jeff has served as the Executive Director of an angel investor network; managed the University of Minnesota’s Discovery Capital program; and consulted for foundations making program-related investments into social enterprises. Jeff has a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, and he played a leadership role in drafting and advocating for Minnesota's Public Benefit Corporation statute. He was recognized with the “40 Under 40” award by the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal in 2015.
Rob, Jeanne, and Jeff comprise the start-up board for Venn Foundation. One of their first goals is to recruit nationally for founding board members of the permanent board, which will likely launch after Venn Foundation receives tax-exempt status from the IRS in the second half of 2017. Do you have suggestions for our board? We'd love to hear from you.