How to Build a Successful Business

We know that building and running a company is HARD work and that its success requires great leadership. Because we believe people can achieve incredible things, we want to shine a light on the people who are improving their organizations. Join us as CorTalent’s Laura King invites presidents, CEOs, and executives to share their stories on how they have transformed their business and implemented unique strategies to ensure its success.

Welcome to CorTalent Connects!

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Episode 16: Wealth Advisor, CEO Prosperwell Financial Nicole Middendorf

August 11, 2020 ~ 32 mins

Nicole Middendorf, Wealth Advisor and CEO Prosperwell Financial, is a financial expert, perpetual learner, and natural born mentor. Most recently, Nicole was the recipient of the 2020 NAWBO-MN Annual Achieve! Awards, Woman Business Owner of the Year, a coveted accolade distinguished as the organization’s highest honor.

In 2003, Nicole ended her tenure at Morgan Stanley to focus on launching her own wealth management firm. Five books, several passport stamps, and hundreds of speaking engagements later, Nicole has positioned herself as a serial entrepreneur with a positive mindset and approach to business.

As a Wealth Advisor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst with Prosperwell Financial, Nicole’s main focus is to assist clients in generating wealth from the inside out through one-on-one client meetings, gems from her books, and remaining relevant and present in the financial/business industry.

Nicole’s primary goal is to take complicated subjects and make them easy to understand and introduce financial happiness and freedom to her clients and those who read her books and business content. Known for her thoughtful and concise quotes, Nicole’s overall aspiration is to “change the world”, and that includes  becoming financially savvy and independent.

During their time together, Laura and Nicole discuss:

7:01 ~ Nicole’s Live It List™ 

11:48 ~ How do you stay motivated?

22:12 ~ Financial literacy recommendations

16:00 ~ The structure of positive thinking

Book recommendations:

Learn more about Prosperwell Financial

Connect with Nicole

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website

Audio Production, Editing, and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions

Episode 15: Do Good Events Founder and President Kalsey Beach

July 28, 2020 ~ 30 mins

Do Good Events is a woman-owned, award-winning Event Planning company headquartered in Minneapolis, founded in 2012 by Kalsey Beach. Do Good Events was inspired by a love for events, being remarkable, and effectively bridging the gap in the market — the gap between providing good services, products, or experiences and also being and doing good for the community and marginalized people. This year, Do Good Events executed more than 150 events, (with a team of 5 full-time staff, 5 part-time staff and 50 part-time event specialists) assisted non-profit partners in raising almost $9 million at their fundraising events and launched an event staffing division.

Kalsey is a creative marketer, strong communicator, avid and innovative leader, and so much more! When not busy in the event scene, Kalsey enjoys spending time traveling, being active by running or Nordic skiing, exploring new Twin Cities restaurants and trying to keep up with her two-year-old! Kalsey serves on the Seven Dreams Foundation board and lives in Plymouth. Kalsey’s drive to be a better person is exuded in the impactful events and experiences of her personal and professional life, self-motivated energy and dedicated work ethic.


During their time together, Laura and Kalsey discuss:

2:15 ~ Business pivots as an events company
8:13 ~ The current climate of virtual events
16:55 ~ Communication style with team members, specifically during a pandemic
20:20 ~ The future of Do Good Events


Kalsey’s book recommendations: Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website.

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King 

Audio Production, Editing, and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions

Episode 14: CorTalent Recruiting Services Director Todd Johnson

July 13, 2020 ~ 31 mins

As a Recruitment & Retention Consulting firm, we help successful growing companies to leverage talent as their most important asset. Our Recruiting Services Director, Todd Johnson, leads our team of talent advisors and is constantly evaluating trends and processes in the Talent industry. Todd spent 7 years in Payroll & Compensation, but became eager to learn more about the “people side” of the business. In 2014, he sought out Mary Nutting for more information on the recruiting industry which led to him joining CorTalent as a Sr. Talent partner. Since then, Todd has built a strong network and team of executive recruiters as the Director of Recruitment Services. Another key element to his role is managing client engagements for our retained searches.

At CorTalent, we live by our CorValues: Think Fresh & Fun, Be Remarkable, Strive for Excellence, Have Passion, and Be Tenacious & Competitive — which Todd identifies most with when it comes to his management style. For Todd, competition comes in the form of motivation, encouragement, preparation, and consistency. Under the EOS Model®, Todd meets with the recruitment team each week to assess goals, achievements, financials, and best business practices.

During their time together, Laura and Todd discuss:

  • 5:35 ~ Should people be hiring right now?
  • 7:34 ~ The current climate of the talent pool
  • 9:44 ~ CorTalent’s impact from and response to the pandemic
  • 24:00 ~ Todd’s favorite part of the recruiting process

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King 

Audio Production, Editing, and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions

Episode 13: Integrator/President at EOS Wordwide Kelly Knight

June 29, 2020 ~ 33 mins

Kelly Knight has served as EOS Worldwide’s Integrator since 2016, having spent the prior 20 years within the financial services industry managing and leading dynamic organizations.  Her passion is uniting teams to achieve the extraordinary– better together, one day at a time.

Kelly’s path to EOSW was not traditional like most strong Integrators we meet. Integrators are the glue of the organization, they typically hold everything together (people and process), they are the one that executes the business plan and holds the Leadership Team accountable. In essence, they are the steady force in the organization. Kelly is a light and a leader.

If you’re not familiar, EOS Worldwide is a global organization of successful entrepreneurs from a variety of business backgrounds implementing a proven system and set of tools called EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, to strengthen and develop leadership teams of small to medium size companies.

The goal of EOS Worldwide is to help entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses. Businesses best suited for implementation of EOS are growth-oriented entrepreneurial organizations with 10 to 250 people. Tens of thousands of companies around the world use EOS to clarify, simplify, and achieve their visions.

During their time together, Laura and Kelly discuss:

  • How EOS pivoted their annual conference due to the pandemic 9:55
  • The foundation of EOS and importance of core values 13:28
  • People of impact, and Kelly’s notable mentors 19:48
  • What’s to come from EOS in the near future 28:55

Learn more about EOS Worldwide

Connect with Kelly

Kelly’s book recommendation: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website:

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King

Audio Production, Editing, and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions 

Episode 12: Founder & CEO of Discover Strength Luke Carlson

June 16, 2020 ~ 34 mins

Luke Carlson, founder and CEO of Discover Strength, shares how his passion for kinesiology and fitness birthed his company. Discover Strength is a boutique training studio based in Minneapolis, and has expanded to 5 — going on 6 — physical locations since opening in 2006. With plans to grow into a franchise by 2025, building 100 studios in the United States, Discover Strength’s commitment to bridging the gap between science and the reality of human behavior gives them their competitive edge. Their personal training studios are among the highest volume and revenue training facilities in North America. Luke travels the world giving insight on leadership, management, and evidence-based exercise through public speaking.

During their time together, Laura and Luke discuss:

  • The science of how we should be exercising 9:03
  • Pivoting to virtual training 12:27
  • The misguided nature of our current fitness culture 17:15
  • How implementing EOS equips businesses for the unknown 19:34

Learn more about Discover Strength

Connect with Luke

Luke’s book recommendation, Setting the Table

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King

Audio Production, Editing, and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions


Episode 11: Founder & CEO of Media Bridge Advertising Tracy Call


June 8, 2020 (previously recorded May 13, 2020)  ~ 33 mins

Tracy Call founded Media Bridge Advertising in 2010 after spending years in Marketing and Sales in order to reinvent the industry in a way that is more efficient, effective, and ethical. As CEO, Tracy has fostered a culture of transparency, trust, strong relationship building, responsiveness and long-term value within her company. Media Bridge operates on the mission of advocacy, and aims to provide inclusive and more favorable deals for both advertisers and media, while maintaining the integrity of the consumer.

Media Bridge has been recognized by Inc. 5000 as America’s Fastest Growing Companies, MSBJ Fast 50, Business of Pride, and Women In Business 2016 amongst other accolades. They operate on the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, and are Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) certified.

During their time together, Laura and Lisa discuss:

  • The decision to start Media Bridge ~ 3:53
  • The importance of knowing your “why” ~ 8:57
  • Implementing EOS ~ 11:10
  • Adapting to change ~ 23:00

Learn more about Media Bridge

Connect with Tracy

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website.

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King

Audio Production, Editing, and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions 

Episode 10: Financial Architect & CEO of All In One Accounting Heide Olson


May 25, 2020 ~29 mins

15 years ago, a six months pregnant Heide Olson started All In One Accounting in her basement, and today the company works with over 200 small businesses and nonprofits to transform their financial chaos and bring business clarity. Her company provides specialty knowledge, tiered financial expertise, customized documented solutions and more! Their accounting leadership and proven process are a part of what elevates their business amongst others. In addition to Nonprofits, they work with business owners in Technology, Real Estate, Retail, Manufacturing, and Construction.

During their time together, Laura and Lisa discuss:

  • PPP Loans & All In One Accounting ~ 5:59
  • Top 4 moments of growth ~  8:06
  • Entrepreneur journey ~ 11:32
  • Benefits of EOS ~ 17:36

Learn more about All In One Accounting

Connect with Heide

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website.

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King.

Audio Production, Editing, and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions.

Episode 9: Lisa Hannum CEO & Founder of Beehive Strategic Communication


May 11, 2020 (previously recorded, December 2019) ~29 mins

Lisa Hannum is a trusted business leader, CEO, and founder of Beehive Strategic Communication, a Certified B Corporation that values well-being and workplace equality. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, legal accountability and public transparency to balance profit and purpose. Beehive Strategic Communication takes a rigorous approach in business operations to ensure balance for people, planet, and products.

Utilizing the Entrepreneurial Operating System, Lisa’s commitment to cultivate a creative, strong, and positive workplace environment is executed with focus, discipline, and accountability. Lisa is determined to create a workplace culture that inspires creative strategies and diversity as a means to build “better businesses” and results. Beehive partners with clients who want to grow their businesses with purpose, ranging from established companies looking to transform their communication strategies to start-ups that need awareness and validation.

Beehive seeks to work with a wide range of businesses such as, minority-owned, woman-owned, LGBT-owned, disability-owned, veteran-owned and small businesses to strengthen relationships and promote diversity and inclusion. They were named 2019 Top Places to Work in PR (PR News), 2019 Company Champion (TeamWomenMN), 2019 Best for the World, Category: Workers (B Lab), 2019 Best Places to Work (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal), 2019 Best Workplaces (Inc. Magazine) amongst other accolades!

During their time together, Laura and Lisa discuss:

  • Beehive’s purpose and daily practices
  • The importance of well-being in the workplace
  • Reflections on the recession

Learn more about Beehive:
Connect with Lisa:

7:18 – The power of pivoting
12:29 – How to become a Certified B Corporation
13:35 – Beehive’s purpose
17:00 – Intentional meditation and daily practices

Episode 8: President & CEO of Further Matthew Marek


April 21, 2020 ~32 mins

As President and CEO of Further, Matthew Marek, is accountable for leading all aspects including sales, operations and technology. Further is the highest ranked, and one of the nation’s fastest growing HSA administrators. Matthew climbed up the ranks to Vice President of Product & Marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield MN where he spent a decade before joining Further in 2016. His experience at BCBS exposed him to managing product, marketing, innovation, digital and consumer experience. Matthew has held various executive leadership roles in product, marketing, sales, government programs and commercial markets within the consumer health care industry and also has experience in broker and consultant relations, sales operations and sales technology. His philosophy on leadership centers around his willingness to learn and network with atypical thinkers who seek change and expansion.

Matthew is vice chair of the board of directors at Comprehensive Care Services, Inc (CCStpa). He also sits on the boards of Consortium Health Plans and Greater Twin Cities YMCA and is a 2011 recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty Award. Beyond his accomplishments to date, Matt aspires to create a place where people want to work and to be a leader that people want to work with.

During their time, Matthew and Laura discuss:

  • How to manage a “growth company”
  • Balancing work and family life
  • How his company became one of the nation’s fastest growing HSA administrators
  • The importance of leadership & stakeholder alignment

To learn more about Further visit their website.

Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website.

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King.

Audio Production, Editing and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions.

3:40 — What is Further?

9:04 — The success of pivoting

12:30 — HSA’s and small businesses

17:10 — Assessing candidates

Episode 7: Crooked Water Spirits and On-Demand Group CEO Heather Manley


Previously recorded: December 2019 ~35 Min

Heather Manley is a serial entrepreneur, whose resume looks like a never ending list of leadership opportunities and accomplishments. She currently is the CEO of Crooked Water Spirits (CWP), founded in 2013, as well as On-Demand Group (ODG), which she and her brother bought in 2008. CWP is an award winning national spirits line that is 100% women-owned and self-funded, producing unique craft spirits including bourbons, gins, vodkas, brandy and a ready-to-pour Old Fashioned. ODG is a global family-owned IT consulting firm that has been in business since 1996 and is headquartered in Minnesota. Through their partnerships, Heather became a committee member of WBENC in 2009 and served as NAWBO’s President from 2011-2014. Heather finds the time to do freelance work as well with her digital design company, ClusterF Creative, and she owns Heather’s Dirty Goodness, a boutique spice company with products, sold in Kowalski stores and online, focused on low salt and high flavor. Sounds like a lot, right? Tune in to hear how Heather manages the highs and lows of ownership and how she has the capacity to grow multiple businesses while remaining active in her community.

For more information, visit her companies websites:

Dirty Goodness boutique
On-Demand Group
Crooked Water Spirits

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website.

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King.

Audio Production, Editing and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions.

3:50 —The importance of delegation and knowing your weaknesses
4:10 — How transparency propels her passion-based businesses
14:45 — Challenges within the distillery business
20:30 — Lessons in hiring

Episode 6: Winsor Learning CEO Tom Guyer


March 30, 2020 ~30 min

Tom Guyer, CEO of Winsor Learning, was inspired to start the company and publish the Sonday System by his experience with his tutor, Arlene Sonday. With her mentorship, Tom was able to obtain the skills that would land him an honors graduate degree from the University of Denver. He decided more students deserved the resources and opportunities he was given by the aid of an amazing educator and today, Winsor Learning has worked with over 3,000 school districts and trained over 46,000 educators in the Sonday System.

Winsor Learning partnered with the Orton-Gillingham multisensory method for reading intervention to develop a broader scope of the Sonday System, officially titled the Orton-Gillingham Sonday System and provides simple, cost-effective tools for K-12 educators to quickly identify and assist struggling readers.

Tom’s main role in the company is to find great people to perform critical functions within the business, show them the potential they have to impact the growth of the organization, and give them the tools and support to meet that potential. When Tom isn’t working, he spends quality time with his “much better half” Brenda in Minneapolis and enjoys biking and golf.

During their time together, Laura and Tom discuss:

  • Arlene Sonday’s expertise and training
  • The complexities of dyslexia in the educational system
  • Orton-Gillingham backstory

Visit Winsor Learning’s website to learn more. Don’t forget to connect with Tom on LinkedIn. See his book recommendation here.

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people by visiting our website.

Have a question about our services? Email Laura King.

Audio Production, Editing and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions

9:30 — The development of the original Sonday System.

13:45 — Tom’s top 3 lessons learned about running a business.

15:25 — When Winsor started to noticeably grow.

20:16 — How Winsor pivoted.

Episode 5: Mossier CEO and Co-founder Nick Alm


March 2, 2020 ~37 Min

Nick Alm is a born leader. While pursuing a degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Minnesota, he co-founded The Carlson School’s first undergraduate LGBTQ student organization, Compass. It was through this group that he developed a deep passion for advancing conversations about the LGBT community in corporate America as well as the global LGBTQ community.

Today, Nick is the co-founder and CEO of Mossier, a social enterprise that helps organizations recruit and retain LGBTQ talent. Profits from Mossier are granted to LGBTQ entrepreneurs in East Africa. To date, Mossier has funded and supported eight LGBTQ-owned businesses within the tourism and agriculture spaces. In the long term, Mossier intends to be a local, national, and global leader on LGBTQ economic and employment issues.

Listen in on today’s conversation as Nick and Laura explore some really interesting issues in the workplace and how Nick has pivoted his business strategy.

What you might find most beneficial are his nuggets on separating yourself from your business. As he says best, “Success or failure of your business is not the success or failure of YOU.”

To learn more about Mossier, visit their website. Register or become a sponsor for the upcoming Proud To Work MN event on June 25.

Learn more about how CorTalent accelerates growth through people. Have a question about our services? Email Laura King.

Audio Production, Editing and Sound Design by Botanicus Productions.

Episode 4: Lola Red CEO Alexis Walsko


March 2, 2020 ~47 Min

Alexis is the founder, Chief Executive Officer & Visionary at Lola Red. She founded the agency at 22 years old and has established Lola Red as an award-winning and nationally recognized PR firm. In her role as Visionary, Alexis nurtures the agency’s passion for hustling on behalf of its clients. Alexis has received numerous accolades, including “Women in Business” and “40 under 40” awards from The Business Journal, “Young Entrepreneur” and “Founder of the Year” awards from the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and “Volunteer of the Year” from Smile Network International.

When she’s not leading the charge at Lola Red, Alexis serves as an advisory board member and visiting instructor for the VANTAGE program that involves high school students in business ventures. She is a board member for ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students). She has traveled to Kenya, Haiti, Peru, India, and Mexico as a support team member for medical missions for Smile Network International and No Time for Poverty.

She spent 8 years in Boulder, Colorado, where she says she learned to be a good human and developed a passion for climbing 14,000-foot peaks and running. Her first marathon was in Paris in 2014 with successive races in Grand Cayman and Juneau, Alaska. In 2018 she completed the Strive Challenge biking across Sardinia, Italy with Richard Branson and his family to benefit Big Change Charity.

In this episode, Alexis and Laura discuss:

  • How to keep the “fire” after 20 years in business
  • The secret to finding more good days despite setbacks
  • The hard parts about running a business

Alexis does not hold back in this conversation. If you want to learn how certain leaders have the mental resilience to keep going despite setbacks – this is an episode you don’t want to miss.

Follow CorTalent on LinkedIn for more inspiration on accelerating growth through people. Have a question about our services? Email Laura King! Learn more about Lola Red. Connect with Alexis. See Alexis’s book recommendation.

7:55 — How Alexis became the “it” girl who could get small companies into national publications early in her career.

14:30 — How Alexis got into the lifestyle expert arena (at a time before it was even called that).

17:30 — Her summary of time spent with Richard Branson.

20:00 — The skinny on why and how EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) works for Lola Red more than any other system.

Episode 1: Insignia Systems CEO Kristine Glancy


January 20, 2020 ~32 Min

Meet Kristine Glancy, a first time CEO who joined Insignia Systems in 2016. Kristine joined Insignia during a time when the board was dominated by two activists who owned 40% of the company, much of the team had been with Insignia 15+ years and the business was on a downward trend.

She was tasked with creating a new pathway forward for the company, given for 26 years, revenues fell between $18-$28 million and were unable to develop new innovative solutions for their clients.

Since joining, Kristine has restructured 60% of the organization, turned over 80% of the board, developed 13 new products and successfully grew the company +26% in 2018 while also reversing an operating loss in 2017 by nearly $3.0million in 2018.

Learn more about Insignia Systems. Get in touch with Kristine Glancy. Kristine’s book recommendation.

4:25 — The first time Kristine had to prove herself in a marketing capacity.

6:31 — The story of Kristine overcoming the odds, beating out 25 others for the role as CEO.

8:30 — What you miss when you only interview with the Board of Directors?

19:28 — How Insignia leadership connects with employees (and turned around a culture)?

25:05 — Why Kristine studied employee photos at night.

30:33 — The biggest “ah-ha” moment of Kristine’s career to date.


Episode 3: Inside Edge CEO Pete Carlson


February 18, 2020 ~45 Min

Inside Edge is one of the top commercial flooring contractors in the United States. Located in Eagan, Minnesota, Inside Edge has been named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune five consecutive years. Their founder stepped down in 2016 and asked now-CEO Pete Carlson to take charge. Pete brought in an incredible background – he’s held numerous leadership roles from General Manager to Vice President of New Business Development to Vice President of Sales and Marketing to President of Technology. Pete’s expertise has allowed him to advise other CEOs on how to transform their business.

In this episode, Pete and Laura discuss:

  • Leading business transformation towards a culture of sustainable growth and diversification.
  • Building core competencies and competitive capabilities to generate new revenue streams.
  • Building structural capabilities for continuous improvement and enhanced employee engagement.

Learn more about Inside Edge. Pete’s book recommendation.

9:30 — Why a turnaround business is easier (in Pete’s opinion) than a transformation

12:50 — Why Pete moved away from consulting to join Inside Edge

13:52 — Pete’s 4 Pillars of Growth

16:06 — The myth that owners believe about their company

38:20 — The book that Pete recommends to other business leaders and how they’re putting that into practice at Inside Edge

Episode 2: Fusion Hill Co-founder Kasey Worrell Hatzung


Kasey Worrell Hatzung is the principal and co-founder of Fusion Hill. Fusion Hill is an agency that focuses equally on three pillars: research, creative & strategy. Kasey has an incredible story of co-founding Fusion Hill with Kerry Sarnoski. A leading designer herself, Hatzung pairs her creative and analytical abilities to create stellar, business-driven outcomes. You can see her creativity come to life for leading brands like UnitedHealth Group, Wells Fargo, Boston Scientific, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Allianz. You can view more of their work on the Fusion Hill website.

Kasey was named a 2016 Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Women in Business honoree for her acumen and community involvement and was awarded NAWBO Minnesota’s top honor of Woman Business Owner of the Year in 2018. Kasey’s favorite accolade, however, is 100 Best Companies to Work for which Fusion Hill has won 3 years in a row based on employee votes.

Learn more about Fusion Hill. Get in touch with Kasey. Get in touch with Laura: Email or LinkedIn.

Laura and Kasey chat in Kasey’s lovely home kitchen about what it takes to keep a business running. They discuss having a clear end in mind when you are envisioning the future of your business and how critical it is to have mentors that keep you grounded, an annual retreat, and a partner you’re in lockstep with.

4:10 — The day an investor approaches Kasey about starting a new agency.

5:35 — What the name Fusion Hill means and why they have a competitive advantage over others in their space.

7:06 — The secret to doubling in revenue and employee size almost every 5 years.

23:40 — The book that she recommends most to others.

24:33 — A fun fact Kasey shares about what she does in her spare time.

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