Shawntera Hardy was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to serve as Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) on April 14, 2016. Ms. Hardy – who has pledged her strong commitment to building an economy that works for all Minnesotans, everywhere in Minnesota – brings policy expertise, organizational management, and a wealth of public and private sector experience to the Department. As Commissioner of the state’s principal economic development agency, she is focused on creating jobs, promoting business recruitment, expansion, and retention, advancing state workforce training and development, and supporting international trade and community development.
Prior to serving as Commissioner of DEED, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. In that role, Ms. Hardy worked on a wide range of policy and operational issues. As a member of the Governor’s senior leadership team, she coordinated the Administration’s response to crises impacting the state, including floods, fires, and public health emergencies. Hardy was instrumental in advancing the Administration’s policy initiatives, helping manage Minnesota’s state agencies, and expanding the state’s community outreach efforts. She also helped lead the Governor’s efforts to diversify the ranks of state government, and expand economic opportunity for Minnesotans of color.
Ms. Hardy has also previously worked in senior leadership positions at several Minnesota organizations. Ms. Hardy has worked as a policy director at Fresh Energy, where she worked on environmental and transportation policy, and as manager of government relations for HealthPartners’ hospital division. Before joining HealthPartners, Hardy served as a city planner for the City of Saint Paul and as a legislative assistant in the Ohio House of Representatives. Additionally, Ms. Hardy is a co-founder and the director of strategic growth for Civic Eagle – a civic technology and data analytics company committed to developing tools that bridge civic engagement and social networking. She is also the founder of PolicyGrounds Consulting, LLC – a policy and planning strategy firm.
Commissioner Hardy is committed to volunteering and serving the community. Hardy most recently served as: Board President of the YWCA of Saint Paul; Board member of the Wilder Foundation; and Board member of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. Additionally, Hardy is the co-founder of Power Moves MN – an organization focused on empowering women of color and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. To ensure access to educational opportunities, Hardy co-founded the Fatima Kinshasa Memorial Fund and the Pioneer Scholars Award both at The Ohio State University. Recently, Ms. Hardy was selected as a Twin Cities Business 100 People to know in 2017, as a Minnesota Business Magazine 2016 (Real) Power 50 Finalist, as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 2015 “Forty Under Forty” honoree, and as a participant in the 2015 Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School.
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Commissioner Hardy holds a Bachelor of Science in Consumer Affairs from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning – which she attended as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) fellow.