Donald McNeely Center presents entrepreneur awards to outstanding graduates

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August 12, 2013

Lisa Spoden '83
Michael J. Wethington '79
Bill Kling '64

The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University will present its third Entrepreneur of the Year awards to outstanding graduates at a luncheon from 11:15 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel.

The CSB Entrepreneur of the Year award will be presented to Lisa Spoden, president and CEO of Strategic Implementation Solutions. The SJU Entrepreneur of the Year award will be presented to Michael J. Wethington, president and CEO of Outsell, LLC. The CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year award will be presented to Bill Kling, president emeritus of American Public Media Group.

The CSB and SJU Entrepreneur of the Year awards recognize the achievements of CSB and SJU graduates, respectively, who best exemplify the ideals of entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more businesses in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.

The CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes the achievements and qualities of a CSB or SJU graduate who best exemplifies the ideals of social entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more ventures that enriches humanity or addresses a social issue in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.

Spoden, a 1983 graduate of CSB, is president and CEO of Strategic Implementation Solutions. The firm specializes in helping clients create and actualize their company's vision and mission. Prior to founding Strategic Implementation Solutions, Spoden owned and developed Strategic Health Care for 15 years. The company provides association management, grant writing, managed care contracting, policy development and advocacy for health care provider groups throughout the U.S. She sold the company in 2010. Earlier in her career she was a hospital executive responsible for developing new programs and services for health care systems. She is currently a member of the CSB Board of Trustees.

Wethington, a 1979 graduate of SJU, is president and CEO of Outsell, LLC, which is a digital marketing software company based in Minneapolis. In addition to leading Outsell, he is the managing partner of SynetVentures, a Minneapolis-based venture capital firm focused on bringing proven business systems and a network of experienced professionals to take innovative business opportunities to the next level. Earlier in his career, Wethington was the founder and CEO of Synet Service Corporation, an information systems management consulting firm that successfully merged with Predictive Systems, Inc. in 2000. He is a former member of the Board of Regents (now Trustees) at SJU, and was a finalist for the 2012 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in the Upper Midwest.

Kling, a 1964 graduate of SJU, serves as president emeritus of the American Public Media Group. APMG is the nonprofit parent company of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) in St. Paul, Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), Classical South Florida (CSF) and American Public Media (APM), the national public radio network that serves over 900 public radio stations. He was the founding president of MPR - which began in 1967 as classical music station KSJR in Collegeville - and APM, which is the second largest national producer of public radio programming. Kling was a founding board member and incorporator of National Public Radio, and was the founding chairman and president of Public Radio International. He is a member of the SJU Board of Trustees, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2011 from SJU. Kling was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award in 1981 by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to recognize outstanding contributions to the industry by an individual.

By presenting these awards, the Donald McNeely Center recognizes and celebrates successful alumnae/i entrepreneurs who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate the Benedictine values in their professional and personal lives.

The Donald McNeely Center creates social value and economic opportunity by building alliances and creating educational opportunities between and for students, as future entrepreneurs, faculty and experienced entrepreneurs. The center stimulates, supports and expands business and social entrepreneurship by providing services to students, faculty and alumnae/i of CSB and SJU, and as well as to individuals and organizations in central Minnesota.

Tickets are $45 for the event and can be purchased online.