Leadership Breakfast with Carolyn Smallwood

Leadership Breakfast with Carolyn Smallwood

About The Leadership Breakfast Series

Looking to get to the next level in your nonprofit career? At YNPN Twin Cities' Leadership Breakfast series, nonprofit Executive Directors and other leaders will share with you exactly how they did it, what they learned and what they're looking for in a rising nonprofit leader.


A little bit about Carolyn Smallwood, CEO of Way to Grow, Inc.:

Carolyn_Smallwood.JPGCarolyn Smallwood has served the last 12 years as the executive leader of Way to Grow, Inc., an early childhood education and elementary nonprofit organization that serves over 2,300 people each year.  Prior to Way to Grow, Ms. Smallwood was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Twin Cities Rise! and Executive Director of the Minnesota Minority Supplier Development Council.  Before entering the nonprofit field, Ms. Smallwood was the Director of Supplier Diversity with ADC, The Broadband Company, and held a variety of senior level positions with US Bancorp.  During Ms. Smallwood’s corporate career, her influence helped earn ADC national recognition as the “MEED Corporation of the Year,” and “Supplier Advocate of the Year” as well as a designation as one of the “Top 25 Companies in Supplier Diversity.”  In addition, Minnesota Monthly magazine awarded Ms. Smallwood, “Small Business Advocate of the Year.”

In 2014, the Star Tribune named Carolyn one of the Twin Cities’ “Top African-Americans of Influence.”  Ms. Smallwood currently co-chairs Mayor Betsy Hodges Cradle to K cabinet; designed to eliminate disparities for children from prenatal to three years old in the City of Minneapolis.  She has sat on Governor Mark Dayton’s Early Learning Council for four years.  She also serves on the Robins, Kaplan, Miller, and Ciresi Foundation board, the African American Leadership Forum board, MN Comeback board and the MinneMinds Executive Committee.  Her previous Board positions include the MacPhail Center for Music, the College of Saint Benedict, the Jeremiah Program, the Citizen’s League and the Children’s Theatre.  She served as a member of the Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Early Learning Committee as well as the Promise Neighborhood Solution Action Group.

Throughout her career, she has spent her professional life advocating for women and the underserved.  Ms. Smallwood has a passion for work in diverse communities, a solid background in marketing, strong executive experience, an inclusive leadership style and a dynamic presence.  She is strategic, thoughtful and recognizes the education of children as a top priority.


Leadership Breakfast Registration Lottery

Registration for this event will be open from Monday February 20- Thursday February 23. We allow as many people to sign up for the event as possible, and from there we choose 20 participants at random, while also holding space for young nonprofit professionals who identify as a person of color. We do this to keep these events intimate while ensuring everyone has a fair chance to attend a Leadership Breakfast event. If you registered for the lottery and identify as a person of color, you can email [email protected] to let us know to place your name in the correct lottery.

Our facilitator will reach out to all participants by Friday February 24 letting everyone know whether or not they received a spot through the lottery. Lottery winners will be asked to submit a question for our speaker in order to confirm their space. Unconfirmed spaces will be given to members of the wait list.


What you need to know:

  • Our media sponsor, Pollen, will be at the event with a photographer and writer on hand. 
  • There will be a YNPN member on site to facilitate and help you get the most out of these discussions.
  • Bagels and coffee are provided!


March 10, 2017 at 7am - 8:30am
Way to Grow
125 W Broadway Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55411
United States
Google map and directions
Alyssa Scott

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