Throughout the 10-year history of the Donald McNeely Center Entrepreneur of the Year awards, the entrepreneurial spirit engrained in the liberal arts nature of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University has been celebrated. And in 2020 – a year where an entrepreneurial mindset and engagement in “pivots” is a daily activity for all, the 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year recipients highlight that exemplary entrepreneurship is rooted in the foundation of “Inspired Learning. Inspiring Lives” with their diverse academic majors and Benedictine values that their founding ventures impact.
- The CSB Entrepreneur of the Year award is presented to Jennifer Dugan Roth ’91, CEO and co-founder at GrowthMode Marketing.
- The SJU Entrepreneur of the Year award is presented to Dennis Carlson ’86, chairman and CEO of WeDriveU.
- The CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year award is presented to Angela Untiedt Jerabek ’90, founder and executive director of BARR Center®.
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 awards have been presented annually since 2011.
The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship is an interdisciplinary center focused on “inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit” throughout the campus community through curricular, extracurricular and community events for students of all majors and class years – including its signature Entrepreneur Scholars cohort where students in an interdisciplinary cohort are expected to launch a business during the three-course, 12-credit program.
Jennifer Dugan Roth
During her 20-plus year career, Roth has cultivated a passion for and expertise in B2B marketing that she channels into meaningful marketing strategies that help her clients achieve real growth. Roth has deep specialization within a wide range of marketing areas, spanning short- and long-range strategic planning, investor and public relations, product launch support, content marketing and lead generation.
Prior to co-founding GrowthMode Marketing, Roth ran a successful consulting practice and held senior-level marketing positions at Asure Software, Ceridian, CIGNA Behavioral Health and United Health Group.
Roth’s B2B love, contagious excitement and strategic thinking inspire both her team and her clients, helping them reach the next level of their growth journey every day.
GrowthMode has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as a fastest growing company in 2020 - ranked in the top 25th percentile. GrowthMode has also been recognized by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as a 2020 Twin Cities Largest Agency, as a 2020 Best Web Developer in St. Paul and is a WBENC-certified enterprise.
Roth’s entrepreneurial path was built on an English major foundation. “My time at Saint Ben’s gave me so much more than a great education,” Roth said. “Ultimately, I learned how to learn and how to love to learn. I have carried this with me through every move in my career, and it is one of the greatest gifts I have received.”
Since founding WeDriveU in 1988, Carlson has led WeDriveU's growth as the leader in shuttle transportation solutions. Besides serving as chairman and CEO of WeDriveU, he also leads the Shuttle division for National Express America, operated independently by WeDriveU.
Carlson’s vision for transforming transportation has been featured by the Financial Times, Fox Business News, The New York Times and The Mercury News. His entrepreneurial spirit inspired the company’s early growth as the leader in professional chauffeurs who drive executives in their personal car, and he continues to advance WeDriveU’s vision to address clients’ evolving mobility challenges with workplace and campus commuting solutions for companies, universities and hospitals.
Carlson was a CPA at Arthur Andersen, Co. prior to founding WeDriveU.
An accounting major, Carlson highlights “I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur ever since I learned the word in a management class at Saint John’s, so being named the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year is an incredible honor.”
Angela Untiedt Jerabek
After completing her degree in music/secondary education at CSB, Jerabek began her career in education as a licensed K-12 teacher and a secondary school counselor in Minneapolis. She is an author, speaker and education innovator whose expertise lies in school improvement, equity, youth development, adolescent counseling and using data and evidence in schools.
Jerabek used her passion to help students succeed by becoming the founder of BARR Center®, which is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that builds strong school communities. BARR Center® supports student success by improving school culture, school climate and educator effectiveness, and has served more than 100,000 students in more than 180 schools. BARR recently received a $13 million dollar grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its national footprint and scope with a focus on Black, Latinx and students in marginalized communities. As the executive director and founder of BARR Center, Jerabek provides thought leadership and operational oversight of the organization and the national network of BARR educators.
“One of the gifts I received while attending Saint Ben’s was understanding the immense power of hope,” Jerabek said. “This power of hope has ignited the passion of my work to create these transformational changes in education. While I am a determined realist, I am also an optimist who has seen the power of hope lift the tenor and prospects of students, staff and communities. I am continuously humbled to be a part of an organization that prides itself on providing hope to both students and educators throughout the entire country.”
Due to COVID-19, they will receive their award and be honored in person along with next year’s award recipients at an awards celebration in the fall of 2021.