Class of 2005
In a Times Media report announcing 5 Under 40 winners, Shelly Bauerly Kopel said her motto is "family first, give 100 percent and always do things for the right reasons."
What are you doing now?
I'm an owner and partner in Granite Equity Partners, a St. Cloud-based investment and holding company whose mission is to "govern companies creating value for all stakeholders." I lead the governing activities, including helping the portfolio companies set up boards of directors and supporting their work in strategic planning, leadership development and board governance.
How did the 5 Under 40 award affect your life?
The award inspired me to be more involved in the community and seek out places to make a difference. I enjoyed serving nine years on the Central Minnesota Community Foundation board (two years as vice chair and two years as chair), nine years on the Women's Fund (two years as co-chair) and eight years on College of St. Benedict Board of Trustees.
Other big changes since you received the award?
We merged Venture Allies into Granite Equity Partners and became one team in 2012. I have become more involved in the Anderson Center, including currently serving as volunteer president and board member. On a personal note, my husband, Scott, and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this year and our two children are now teenagers!
What will make the St. Cloud area greater in coming years?
I believe the Well-Being Initiative that is growing in the region will have a significant and long-standing impact on the health and prosperity in our community. Through a focus on well-being, I believe we will have stronger community members, stronger families, stronger workplaces and a more vibrant outstate Minnesota community!
Originally ran: January 1, 2006
Job: Managing partner and co-founder of Venture Allies business consulting firm in St. Cloud.
Education: Bachelor's degree from the College of St. Benedict, master's in business administration from Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, master's in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
Family: Husband, Scott; two children, Preston, 7, and Peyton, 3.
How do you think you have emerged as a leader in this community?
I have a quiet sort of leadership, and I think I've emerged through the encouragement and really the blessings of other people.
In what ways have you used your skills?
I really enjoy my work right now with the Women's Fund at the (Central Minnesota) Community Foundation. I think some of the skills I bring are thinking long-term and strategically about those kinds of efforts and some enthusiastic energy, but also some analytical (thinking). I bring some discipline and rigor. I have very high expectations for quality.
What steps have you taken to ensure Venture Allies' current success?
We have a very strong foundation of clients and a very strong, well-educated, well-experienced team who is committed.
What has been your most rewarding day with Venture Allies?
One of the rewarding times was the community-assessment work. Some of the work culminated in a summit last year. We had 200 community people who had very good feedback on progress that was happening in the community. I felt that we were a catalyst in getting people to collaborate.
How do you balance career with a family?
I'm very much into scheduling, and I make very conscious decisions about how I schedule my time. When the kids are at school, I am working 100 percent on the business. When the kids are at home, I am 100 percent at home. When school needs me, I am 100 percent there. It also takes a strong family. It takes a strong partner, who is committed to family, which my husband is. And it takes other family members to support one another in various ways, which mine do.
How would your kids describe you?
They would say I'm funny, which would surprise a number of people.
What is the best advice you've received and who gave it to you?
I'll share perhaps the simplest and yet most insightful message I just recently got from my 3-year-old daughter. She simply said, "Mom, let's go outside, it's a beautiful day, and we have to enjoy it." We did, and I am reminded that we have to find ways to enjoy every moment.
What drives you on a daily basis?
Learning. Learning new things to share with clients. Learning new things about myself. Learning in terms of education — with my kids.
What have you learned about yourself most recently?
I've learned that I really do need to say no to some things. I don't like to do that.
What is the motto you live by and how did you develop it?
Family first, give 100 percent and always do things for the right reasons. (I developed it) through the example of my parents (Jerry and Elaine Bauerly).