Andrew Humphrey

Managing partner, Faegre Baker Daniels

In 2012, Humphrey's biggest challenge was the merger of Minneapolis-based Faegre & Benson law firm and Baker & Daniels of Indianapolis.

What happened: Today, Faegre Baker Daniels is an international firm with more than 750 lawyers and professionals. Client satisfaction has improved significantly. The firm also had some notable courtroom wins, including a $12 million patent case for a division of L'Oreal USA and reversal of a $16.4 million negligence verdict against Cirrus Design Corp. - DAVID PHELPS

Zygi Wilf

Co-owner, Minnesota Vikings

It was hit-or-miss in the last legislative session, but Wilf and the Vikings finally won approval for a new stadium after years of trying.

What happened: A $975 stadium bill was approved by legislators last May, with the team paying $477 million. The challenge now involves determining whether the new stadium will have a retractable roof, and, if so, how it will be funded. - JANET MOORE

Susan Marvin

President of Marvin Windows and Doors

Marvin won notice in 2012 for being part of the company leadership in Warroad that cut wages but did not lay off any of its 4,300 workers when the housing bubble collapsed.

What happened: In September, Marvin and her family were lauded by President Obama at the Democratic National Convention for not cutting the workforce during the recession. In late December, employees received their first profit-sharing check in four years. Workers received an average of $311 each. They also received a ham. - DEE DEPASS

Sally Smith

CEO, Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.

Smith's task was to keep up momentum at the wings-and-beer chain, a strong growth story in a restaurant industry that has generally flat-lined.

What happened: Wild Wings' stock soared 30 percent to an all-time high of $90 earlier this year, but it's pulled back to around $75 as investors worried about high wholesale chicken wing prices. - MIKE HUGHLETT

Christine Morse

CEO, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Morse took the helm of Minnesota's newest and largest private foundation, which was ramping up programs and staff in 2012.

What happened: The foundation made grants of about $81 million through the three foundations established by the late Cargill heir. The organization, which opened its doors last year, has about $6 billion in assets and will be one of the 10 largest private foundations in America. Giving priorities include programs for children and seniors and environmental preservation. - NEAL ST. ANTHONY

William Cooper

Chairman and CEO of TCF Financial Corp. in Wayzata

TCF's longtime chairman said he would reinvent his bank for the third time, pushing it where it hasn't gone before.

What happened: The lender has jumped into auto financing and expanded its equipment and inventory finance operations. But TCF has been dogged by problem consumer loans from its past. Profits plunged in the third quarter, when it had to charge off $43.9 million related to industrywide guidance from regulators on consumer loans to bankrupt borrowers. - JENNIFER BJORHUS

Craig Herkert

CEO, Supervalu Inc.

The leader of the grocery colossus wanted to bring back customers and stop his company's perilous sales slide. Herkert embarked on an aggressive price-cutting strategy.

What happened: Analysts welcomed the plan, but it proved too little too late as Supervalu's fortunes and stock continued to slide. Herkert's board lost confidence, and he lost his job in July. - MIKE HUGHLETT

Narayana Kocherlakota

President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Kocherlakota promised to open lines of communication at the Minneapolis Fed and was expected to maintain his inflation hawk stance.

What happened: Communication continued opening, and Kocherlakota made a policy switch that helped earn him a spot on Foreign Policy magazine's list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. He said in September that as long as prices remain stable, the Fed should keep the federal funds rate extraordinarily low until unemployment falls below 5.5 percent. - JENNIFER BJORHUS

Omar Ishrak

Chairman and chief executive officer, Medtronic Inc.

Ishrak took the reins at Medtronic with a clear goal to ramp up the Fridley-based med-tech giant's global reach and revenue.

What happened: At a time when U.S. sales of heart rhythm devices have been stagnant, Ishrak has Medtronic consistently hitting his goal of 20 percent growth in emerging markets overseas. Now, more than 44 percent of Medtronic revenue comes from outside the United States, and that number seems to creep a little higher each quarter. - JAMES WALSH

April Todd-Malmlov

Director of Minnesota's health insurance exchange

With input from the Dayton administration, legislators and a task force, Todd-Malmlov needed to pull together resources and submit a "blueprint" plan to the federal government to prove that Minnesota is in position to build its own exchange.

What happened: During the year, the state received two more federal grants worth $66 million and hired a vendor to oversee the building of the technical backbone of the exchange. The state met a Nov. 16 deadline to submit the blueprint. - JACKIE CROSBY