Megan Effertz

Editor's Note: Powering Minnesota

Activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai once noted, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” In this issue, we are lucky enough to celebrate 50 powerful voices with our (Real) Power 50 honorees.

We’ve been asked (more times than we can count) why we chose to place the word “real” in parentheses. It’s our way of creatively emphasizing — bragging on a little, to be honest —the remarkable individuals who grace our pages. It’s as if we are saying, “Yes, there is power. But if you want to know real power, check these guys out.” 

Take for example our cover model, Gregory Cunningham with U.S. Bank. When Cunningham was five years old, his father passed away, leaving a void in his life. He credits the United Negro College Fund for “launching him into adult life,” as he put it, by helping him get a quality education. And, oh, what he’s done with that life: Today he leads global diversity and inclusion efforts at U.S. Bank, overseeing strategy for 73,000 employees. 

Another honoree, Bo Thao-Urabe, has a number of ventures, including RedGreen Rivers, a company she co-founded with two other Hmong-Americans. The company helps Hmong artisans — primarily women — produce and sell their handcrafted products. These items include hemp scarves, earrings and peace bracelets, which are made from scrap metal salvaged from the bombs dropped on Laos during the Vietnam war. RedGreen Rivers enables the artisans to be self-sufficient.

And (Real) Power 50 inductee Krista Carroll is not just a mother of four — which is a huge job, in and of itself — she’s also the CEO of Latitude, a design, advertising, interactive and print production company that donates 50% of its profits ($5 million at last count) to empower women and children living in extreme poverty around the world. 

There are so many other inspiring stories from our honorees. Check them all out here [HYPERLINK].

We felt the perfect complement to our (Real) Power 50 honorees would be an article on the future of ingenuity in our state, so Brian Martucci spoke with some of the innovation drivers in Minnesota. You can read all about them in his feature article “Idea Makers,” on page 17. Minnesota is bursting with genius, and these organizations are helping bring it all to light.

If you have a story of an innovative, inspiring Minnesota-made company or product, I’d love to hear about it. Shoot me an email at