A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:
GAYLE OBER The George Family Foundation
Gayle Ober is taking on an expanded leadership role with her promotion as president of the George Family Foundation, a private grant-making organization founded in 1994 by former Medtronic CEO Bill George and his wife, Penny.
Ober, the foundation's executive director since 2010, is the first professional from outside the family to serve as the organization's president. As such, she has a greater role in decisionmaking, strategic direction and oversight of programs the foundation supports in integrative health and healing as well as leadership.
Ober also will evaluate new issues the foundation may support, such as spirituality, advancing women and girls, the environment and youth development. She also will be more visible in representing the foundation in the Twin Cities and other communities.
"The other piece is really taking more pressure off of Penny and Bill to be in the day-to-day," Ober said.
Ober has nearly 30 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, including working as managing director of classical music programming for American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio. Her experience also includes serving as director of arts, culture and entertainment for the city of St. Paul, executive director of the Dale Warland Singers and board president of another Minnesota-based family foundation.
Ober also is an instructor in the University of Minnesota's arts and cultural leadership program and a guest lecturer at Hamline University. She has a master's degree in nonprofit management from Hamline and a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Minnesota.
Q: How are your responsibilities changing as president?
A: As president, I have more responsibility for leading the organization. We're looking to elevate this role so that it serves us well into the future. It's important to have staff consistency in how it's managed while [Penny and Bill] are still very active.
Q: What has motivated you to pursue a career in the nonprofit world?
A: The opportunity to create positive change in the community through the nonprofit sector and the value of that sector in making things happen. Frequently nonprofits can be the quickest change agency because we move, we do things.
Q: How would you describe the foundation's mission?
A: Our mission is to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit and community by developing authentic leaders and supporting transformative programs serving the common good. Our guiding philosophy is sharing the blessings that Penny and Bill have received and honoring the relationship between the grantee and the grantor.