LSA Blog

Innovation & Social Ministry – Part of our DNA

Blog Date: 
Friday, June 12, 2015
By Charlotte Haberaecker

Earlier this week, Jodi Harpstead, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, one of the state’s oldest and largest human services nonprofits and a member of LSA, was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio as part of a series with leading Minnesota CEOs on the topic of innovation.

The topic was on breakthrough thinking, and the hour-long conversation explored how management nurtures innovative thinking at an organization and how you can drive creativity in your culture. Jodi spoke about a range of topics, including how her corporate experience (23 years at the Medtronic corporation) has informed her leadership, what the corporate world can learn from nonprofits, and what drives her personally.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into how a large, historic organization like LSS of Minnesota is using “breakthrough thinking” and key strategies to meet changing social needs in their communities, including unique partnerships, innovative approaches to service and an initiative to end homelessness for teens.

With a staff of 2,300 LSS of MN serves 1 in 65 people in Minnesota, including serving in all of Minnesota’s 87 counties and in more than 300 communities. With an annual budget of almost $100 million funded from public, private and charitable sources, LSS is one of the state’s largest, nonprofit social service organizations.

They are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, and Jodi also made the point that Lutheran social ministry organizations have been innovating for over 150 years! Thank you Jodi for bringing these important ideas and topics to the forefront, and for highlighting the important work of our network and the value in our members working together to share and replicate innovative ideas and solutions that can work for other organizations across our system. LSS of Minnesota is our host member for next year’s Annual Conference, and we can’t wait to come together as a group to keep innovating and serving. Jodi also joins the LSA Board of Directors as of July 1, and we thank her for her service to Lutheran social ministry.

If you missed the interview when it aired, you can find the recording here:

Charlotte Haberaecker Charlotte Haberaecker
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