Business Growth Consultant Michele Neale recently received Enterprise Minnesota’s “Esteemed Colleague” award. The honor, the result of a peer-to-peer nomination process, is presented annually at Enterprise Minnesota’s rewards and recognition celebration. It goes to the employee who coworkers say best embodies the company’s cultural values and advances its mission to help Minnesota manufacturing enterprises grow profitably, according to Bob Kill, Enterprise Minnesota’s president and CEO.

Neale has worked for Enterprise Minnesota for about a year. As a business growth consultant, she helps Minnesota-based manufacturers build stronger company cultures and develop effective leaders at all levels of their business. Kill said Neale has an exceptional track record of implementing talent and leadership strategies to help manufacturing companies engage and empower their employees to achieve operational excellence and drive profitable growth.

Before joining Enterprise Minnesota, Neale served as a human resources leader for Massman Automation Designs, LLC in Villard, and as a senior leader in training and development for Tastefully Simple in Alexandria. She earned a B.A. in speech communication from the University of Minnesota-Morris and an M.A. in communication from the University of North Dakota.

Neale became intrigued by Enterprise Minnesota while a member of the organization’s HR Peer Council as an employee at Massman. She was recruited to Enterprise Minnesota by Abbey Hellickson, one of Minnesota’s top strategic HR experts.

“I love it,” Neale says. “It’s a great mix and an opportunity for me to meet and work with a lot of different organizations of different sizes and in different places of their journey. I love facilitation and consulting with organizations. It’s the first time that I’ve worked with them externally as opposed to internally.”

As a StrengthsFinder “Arranger,” Neale enjoys confronting complex situations by arranging contributing factors in ways that lead to optimal outcomes. “This seems to fit me,” she says. “It’s all about trying to help people see their situations more clearly, in ways that help them become more profitable.

“I help them elevate their people. It’s how they can maximize that talent.”

She admits to being “shocked” by her selection for the award. “I am truly humbled and honored.” Neale says she works with some amazing people, especially Hellickson.

“It’s like we were meant to work with each other. I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time, and I am blessed to have great people support me. Without them, I wouldn’t be esteemed.”

Neale describes her mission as helping manufacturers keep their priority on people. “A lot of times they have their eye on machines and processes,” she says, “but they have to see the people. It’s kind of like a three-legged stool. We sometimes forget the leadership development and employee development pieces.

“I believe I’ve helped open up eyes to that. People are important, and with the way that the workforce is these days, turnover can be high. Companies are trying to find the right people, so when they invest in hiring somebody, I want them to be able to retain that individual.”

Featured in the Fall 2019 issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine.

Return to Fall 2019 magazine