Speaker Biography — Bill George
Undergraduate and Masters Ceremony
Bill George is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of four best-selling books: 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, True North, Finding Your True North, and Authentic Leadership.
Mr. George is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic. He joined Medtronic in 1989 as President and Chief Operating Officer, was Chief Executive Officer from 1991-2001, and Chairman of the Board from 1996 to 2002. Earlier in his career, he was an executive with Honeywell and Litton Industries and served in the U.S. Department of Defense.
Mr. George currently serves as a director of ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs, and also recently served on the board of Novartis and Target Corporation. He is also currently a trustee of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, World Economic Forum USA and the Guthrie Theater. He has served as chair of the board of Allina Health System, Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, United Way of the Greater Twin Cities, and Advamed. He has been named one of the "Top 25 Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years" by PBS; "Executive of the Year-2001" by the Academy of Management; and "Director of the Year-2001-02" by the National Association of Corporate Directors. Mr. George has made frequent appearances on television and radio, including: The Charlie Rose Show, The Today Show, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, NOW, CNBC, Bloomberg News, and NPR. His articles have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and numerous other publications.
Mr. George received his BSIE with high honors from Georgia Tech, his MBA with high distinction from Harvard University, where he was a Baker Scholar, and honorary PhDs from Georgia Tech and Bryant University. During 2002-03 he was professor at IMD International and Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland, and executive-in-residence at Yale School of Management.
He and his wife Penny reside in Minnesota. They have two sons: Jeff George, who lives in Munich, Germany with his wife Renee Will and daughter Dylan; and Jon George, MD, who lives in San Francisco with his wife Jeannette Lager, MD, and son Freeman.
Speaker Biography — United States Senator Amy Klobuchar
In 2006, Amy Klobuchar became the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the United States Senate. Throughout her public service - both as chief prosecutor in the state's largest county and now as a U.S. Senator - Amy has always embraced the values she learned growing up in Minnesota. Her grandfather worked 1500 feet underground in the iron ore mines of Northern Minnesota. Her father, Jim, was a newspaperman, and her mother, Rose, was an elementary school teacher who continued teaching until she was 70.
Amy has taken these Minnesota values to heart to get results for the people of the North Star state.
Before being elected to public office, she was the leading advocate for successful passage of one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing 48-hour hospital stays for new moms and their babies.
In 1998, after serving as a partner of two of Minnesota's leading law firms, Amy was elected to serve as the prosecutor for Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and 45 suburbs. During her eight years as County Attorney, Amy made the prosecution of violent and career criminals her top priority. She was a leading advocate for successful passage of Minnesota's first felony DWI law, for which she received a leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her safe schools initiative, community prosecution efforts, and criminal justice reforms earned national awards, including from the U.S. Department of Justice under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. She was elected by her colleagues to serve as president of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.
In 2006, the people of Minnesota elected Amy to be their U.S. Senator. Since arriving in the Senate, Amy has been a strong advocate for middle-class families and Minnesota values on the critical issues facing our nation, from promoting long-term economic growth and job creation to bringing fiscal responsibility and accountability to Washington, from supporting our Minnesota businesses, workers, and farmers to developing homegrown energy.
Amy has always understood her first duty is to represent the interests of the people Minnesota. She acted quickly to obtain full funding for the I-35W bridge, the eight-lane highway which was rebuilt in a record nine months after tragically falling into the Mississippi River. She fought to ensure that Minnesota National Guard members received the full benefits they earned, and helped turn Minnesota's ground-breaking "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program into a national model. She worked closely with Minnesota farmers to pass a strong Farm Bill that will boost the state's agriculture industry. And she has helped hundreds of Minnesota families navigate the difficult and complicated international adoption process.
At the national level Amy took the lead to pass the most significant consumer product safety legislation in a generation, keeping foreign toxic products off our shores and out of our stores, and helped push through a new law to protect children from unsafe swimming pools. She also authored a bipartisan law to establish national health standards for formaldehyde in composite wood products, protecting public health and ensuring an even playing field between domestic wood products and foreign imports. She was part of a group of senators who fought for the creation of a bipartisan commission to address our nation's looming debt crisis. And she helped pass the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.
As chair of the Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion, Amy has been a leading voice in calling for an innovation agenda that can help grow our economy and create jobs in America. She has authored legislation to help small businesses tap into new markets abroad. And she helped pass the Travel Promotion Act that will bring millions of additional visitors and billions of dollars to the U.S. each year.
Her work has gained national recognition. Working Mother Magazine named her as a 2008 "Best in Congress" for her efforts on behalf of working families. The American Prospect named her a "woman to watch."
The Washington Post has described Klobuchar as "a rising star," while the Star Tribune reported on her substantial progress, calling her "a fast-moving legislator."
Amy was the valedictorian of her Wayzata High School class. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. Her senior essay in college, published as the book "Uncovering the Dome," chronicles the 10-year-history behind the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and is still used at colleges and universities across the country.
Amy is married to John Bessler, a native of Mankato, who attended Loyola High School and the University of Minnesota. Amy and John have a daughter, Amy and John have a daughter, Abigail, who is 15 and began her sophomore year of high school this fall.