Stories From Our Community


Our community is made up of 500 people and growing. Below we have highlighted a few of our extraordinary members.


Tiffany Snyder, Chief Information Officer, Cargill Animal Nutrition Enterprise

Growing up in an agricultural community in Iowa, Cargill was a natural job choice for Tiffany. She started there as a shift worker and has been there ever since — she’s just a little further up the ladder than she was in 1994, having recently moved into the role of Chief Information Officer for Cargill’s Animal Nutrition Enterprise.

Studio/E Competency

Current means — Asset-based thinking which allows you to focus and use what you have right now to get your ideas into action quickly.

When Tiffany joined Studio/E a few years ago, she was working on an audacious idea that she wanted to implement at Cargill. Today, Cargill IT’s Value Center of Expertise is a successful IT consulting center with a global team, having people located in Asia, Europe and North America. As part of her ideation process, what helped her move ideas forward was asset-based thinking, or taking an inventory of what she had instead of doing a gap analysis of what she was missing. Tiffany believes in starting with what you have: “Start small, demonstrate value, iterate, and then grow it.”


Lars Leafblad, Co-Founder and Principal, Ballinger | Leafblad Inc.

Ballinger | Leafblad Inc. is an executive search firm which serves civic clients including nonprofits, foundations, higher education institutions and associated organizations. Lars felt compelled to start the firm with his cofounder, Marcia Ballinger after recognizing they had a shared desire to be connectors for clients in the civic space.

Studio/E Competency

Enrollment — The art of getting someone on board with your idea because you have identified their self interest.

Lars has learned that if you plan to enroll someone — whether you want help turning your business idea into a reality or you’re looking to fill an executive position at a nonprofit — vulnerability is a requirement. An easy way to show your vulnerability is to admit your failures. When you publicly open up about your judgement error, you create an opportunity to show people how you handle mistakes. When you share a non-celebratory learning such as a deal going sideways or a mistake you made, you trigger an empathy button. Here’s an example of the response Lars garners, straight off his Facebook page: “A shared journey makes the load lighter on your shoulders. To all those who have shared their own struggle(s) with me, thank you for the gift of that connection and peace to you on your journey.”


Jackie Gibney, President & CEO, Jacobs

Jackie’s father, Duane Jacobs, created a sales representative agency to help vendors get their products on Target’s shelves 34 years ago. Today, Jacobs is a thriving business with 52 employees and over 50 active vendors within Target. But as you can imagine, consumer behavior, trends, and technology were a little different three and a half decades ago when her father started the company. Since Jackie came on board in 1994, she has navigated significant challenges due to the rapid never-ending changes occurring in the retail environment.

Studio/E Competency

Desire — purpose, why you live your life the way you do, both personally and professionally.

Jackie believes the key in the face of ambiguity is to know your purpose and take action accordingly. Using your purpose as a guide provides you with clarity to move forward when you are lost in a sea of uncertainty and confusion. Knowing their purpose has led the team at Jacobs to provide meaningful value and transformed the company from a transactional sales business to a valued interactional partner for its clients. “The intersection of the team’s purpose and the company’s — There is the magic!”


Jared Hanks, Outreach and Engagement, Juxtaposition Arts; Founder, Helping Hands Brothers

Jared runs outreach and engagement at Juxtaposition Arts, an organization connecting young talent from the north side of Minneapolis to the creative economy. He is also the founder of Helping Hands Brothers, an organization that provides labor work opportunities to youth in the North Minneapolis neighborhood.

Studio/E Competency

Desire — Your purpose; the reason those you’ve impacted will miss you when you depart.

Jared’s purpose is to help others connect to their own purpose. He does that through creating experiences for people to explore who they are, express themselves in creative and unique ways and engage in the world based on self-awareness. Jared focuses on youth because he believes that when you invest in people on the front-end of their lives, you have a bigger opportunity to create impact. As Jared sees it, “Nobody is responsible for your success but you. Don’t make excuses and take responsibility for your life. Adversity is the way of growth. Your success is not a destination, it is the journey.”


Norm Domholt, President, NPC Robotics

Studio/E member Norm Domholt is president of NPC Robotics, a company that produces electric and mechanical motion systems for military and commercial clients. His work has collected accolades, most notably the U.S. Army naming the Battery Powered Motorized Traversing Unit as one of the 10 greatest army inventions of 2007.

Studio/E Competency

Current Means — Who you know, what you know, what you already have at hand.

Norm got to where he is today by tapping into his Current Means, or what he has at hand. For Norm, his success in innovation has been the result of collecting and reassembling what he has learned so that he can create something new. When Norm looks around, he starts with what he has. “Take an inventory of who you know and everything that you have. And by the way, there’s no such thing as a money problem. You can get money anywhere. If you believe you need money, you have an idea problem.”


Irene Fernando, Talent Lead for the Church Solutions Group at Thrivent; Students Today Leaders Forever Co-Founder

Irene’s past and present titles include Bush Fellow, co-founder of the nonprofit Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF, which she co-founded in 2003 at age 17) and TEDx speaker. Irene’s desire to provide lasting impact and better the world shows up everywhere she does and her courageous passion is a force to be reckoned with.

Studio/E Competency

Desire — Your purpose and why you live your life the way you do both personally and professionally.

Irene believes leadership is within everyone and that it can be nurtured and brought out. She recommends you start by being grateful and unapologetic in your decision making. “Leadership is your responsibility. We as humans are designed to live in community with one another. If you are a part of a community, you have a responsibility to contribute to that community. You have a responsibility to be the best version of yourself for that community, to influence and be influenced.”

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