Leadership Saint Paul: Empowering Growth and Connection in the Heart of the Twin Cities
Posted by VIBE Realty on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023 at 2:52pm.
In 2014, as my long career in the retail industry was coming to a close and I was imagining what
my next chapter would look like, I found myself yearning for a deeper connection to my
hometown of Saint Paul. Seeking local opportunities, I stumbled upon an intriguing group of
people at Fitzgerald's restaurant (now Handsome Hog) one evening. They turned out to be
members of Leadership Saint Paul (LSP), a premier program that cultivates emerging and current
leaders, strengthening the St. Paul/East Metro region. This article recounts my transformative
journey with LSP and highlights the program's invaluable impact on personal and professional
Unveiling the Enigmatic World of Leadership Saint Paul
With curiosity piqued, I approached the group, and they enthusiastically introduced themselves
as participants of Leadership Saint Paul. This discovery left me astounded. How had I never
heard of this influential and well-connected community that aligned perfectly with my
aspirations? Since its inception in 1980, LSP has welcomed approximately 2,200 individuals,
accepting around 55 each year into its year- long program.
Jim Mulrooney, a member of the group, handed me his card, urging me to learn more about LSP.
Intrigued, I reached out, knowing deep down that this was the path I needed to embark upon.
Over the next couple of years, I transitioned into my new career in real estate, and in 2017, I
proudly joined the ranks of the LSP class.
A Journey of Learning and Growth
Entering the program, I felt a mix of excitement and trepidation. This diverse group of 55
individuals represented the future leaders of Saint Paul's business, civic, and non-profit sectors.
Throughout the year, LSP participants gathered once a month for immersive sessions dedicated
to various sectors, such as government, media and communications, and healthcare. These
enlightening experiences facilitated a comprehensive understanding of the intricate workings and
interdependence of our community's diverse components.
LSP's program days offered exclusive access to behind-the-scenes insights into our city.
Accompanied by skilled facilitators, panelists, and notable figures like the mayor, chief of police,
and members of the media, we delved deep into the strengths, weaknesses, and challenges faced
by Saint Paul and the east metro region. This holistic understanding of our community's
dynamics proved invaluable.
The Power of Lifelong Connections
Beyond the educational aspect, the most precious outcome of the LSP experience lay in the
lifelong relationships forged. At the end of our class, I had the honor of being voted as a class
speaker alongside my dear friend, Cat McNerlin. Collaborating on our speeches and forming
lasting friendships, our bond continued to thrive even after the program concluded. Though we
sadly lost Cat to cancer in 2021, the camaraderie among our class endured, and many of us
remain in touch to this day.
Membership in "LSP Masters," a lifetime benefit of the program, offers ongoing opportunities
for alumni to learn, network, and contribute back to the community. The relationships formed
during my time with LSP have not only endured but have directly influenced my subsequent
successes. In fact, my LSP experience in 2017 served as the catalyst for launching my own
business, VIBE Realty, in early 2018, along with my brother and business partner, Steve
Anderson, who also went on to graduate from LSP in 2019. The confidence, knowledge, and
unwavering support from our classmates and the Chamber have played a pivotal role in our
journey as entrepreneurs.
Bringing it Full Circle
Today, I am proud to announce my position as a board member of the Saint Paul Chamber
Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, which oversees
the LSP program and other important initiatives. As a board member, I am thrilled to contribute
to the preservation and growth of LSP, enabling future generations of aspiring leaders to pursue
their dreams and continue making our city an even better place to live, work, and thrive.
In her graduation speech, Cat McNerlin shared a quote by Stephen King that resonated deeply
with our LSP journey: "The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things
only get better." This sentiment holds true as I observe the paths my fellow classmates have
taken since our time with LSP. The program's benefits continue to unfold, influencing and
enhancing our careers in remarkable ways. With utmost confidence, I wholeheartedly
recommend Leadership Saint Paul to anyone seeking personal and professional growth within
our vibrant community.
To learn more about the transformative opportunities offered by Leadership Saint Paul, I
encourage you to visit the official website of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
Embark on a journey of connection, education, and lifelong friendships as you unlock your full potential as a leader in the heart of the Twin