Minnestar at fifteen

Minnestar at 15

When I look back at my career, one of the things I am most proud of is Minnestar, Minnesota’s tech community organization. When I got involved organizing events back in 2006, I never thought far enough ahead to imagine that it would still be going strong, 15 years later. We were too busy trying to keep it going from event to event. This year also marked the retirement from Minnestar’s board of directors of three people who were essential in the transformation of Minnestar from a money-losing labor of love into a self-sufficient non-profit with a full-time executive director.

Adrienne Peirce joined Minnestar as an organizer at just the right time. She helped Ben Edwards and I when it was becoming too much for us to manage, and injected new energy into the organization. Since she pre-dated the formation of the non-profit, she helped provide continuity with the traditions we established.

Jamie Thinglestad gave us the spark to make Minnestar into what it is today. His leadership, connections, and experience made a huge difference in challenging us to rethink what Minnestar could be, and how it could be sustainable long-term. He pushed us to create a non-profit and revolutionized our fundraising approach, so we didn’t have to start from zero every time we wanted to have an event. Jamie also suggested the idea that board members should only serve for 3 terms, injecting fresh energy into the organization as the board changed.

Without Kevin Spreng, we would not have been able to form a 501(c)(3) non-profit. This is a huge amount of work, and he guided us through it and brought Minnestar on as a pro bono client at his firm.

I feel confident in saying that without Adrienne, Jamie, and Kevin, Minnestar would not exist today. But because of the work they did over the last 9 years, Minnestar is stronger than ever. Today was supposed to be Minnebar 15, the fifteenth running of the free, all day unconference. It was rescheduled because of the COVID-19 epidemic, but Minnestar pushed forward and converted it into an all-day virtual event, Mini-Minnebar.

Thank you to Adrienne, Jamie, and Kevin for all you did. And thank you to executive director Maria Ploessl, the board of directors, supporters, speakers and countless volunteers for keeping Minnestar strong.