Women Paving the Way in Minnesota

gooseberry-falls-347369_960_720It is always fascinating to see how much the environment in which a person grew up influences their career path and beliefs. Here are just a few examples of women from the great state of Minnesota who are making a difference in the business world based on their own personal experiences.

Judy Austin Figge, who was recently inducted into the Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame is a registered nurse and CEO of Prairie River Home Care, Inc. Following her sister’s brain surgery, Figge cared for her while leading a company called In Home Health which she founded and managed until 1996. Figge and her colleagues at PRHC also cared for her father who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. These personal experiences led her to understand that patients do better and are happier in a home environment. She has built her healthcare business with this understanding, while also recognizing that certain patients do need a hospital environment for their care. PRHC specializes in the care of those with complex long term home health care needs. It is a $30 million company and provides services to nearly 1700 clients in eight branches.

Sheryl Corrigan’s views about science, government regulation, and the environment were all greatly influenced by her time growing up on the St. Croix River in Stillwater, Minnesota. As the environmental, health and safety director at Koch Industries, she has spearheaded countless projects to protect the environment and to keep employees and communities safe. As she explained, “Tipping that canoe started me on a path that led me to where I am today. It shaped my values and beliefs. People, natural resources and the environment are all connected and dynamic. We make life better for all by using our resources responsibly to make the things that we all need. That’s what environmentalism is to me.”

Finally, as a third example, Marya Hage was raised by a single mother after the death of her father when she was only two years old. The positive example set by her mother, getting an education during the Great Depression and providing for the family, set Hage on the path to become an entrepreneur and a community leader. She started Meridian Services in 1980 when she saw a lack of organizations providing assistance to people with difficulties living independently in her community. After 9/11, she provided mental health services to firefighters, police officers, search and rescue crews, and others at the request of the Pentagon!

These are just a few examples of the women in Minnesota who are having a huge impact through business. And whose upbringing and background have had a major impact on how they run their businesses and where they put their energy and their passion.


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]sunstoneonline.com.

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