Shawntera Hardy was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to serve as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department 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– 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 becoming Commissioner, she was Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of Governor Dayton and former Lt. Governor Tina Smith. In that role, 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 and safety 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.
Hardy also has worked in senior leadership positions at several distinguished organizations. She was policy director at Fresh Energy, where she worked on environmental and transportation policy, and was manager of government relations for HealthPartners’ hospital division. Before joining HealthPartners, Hardy served as a city planner for the City of Saint Paul and a legislative assistant in the Ohio House of Representatives. Additionally, Hardy has founded several companies. She is a co-founder and head of strategic growth for Civic Eagle – a technology and data Analytics Company committed to developing tools that bridge impactful civic engagement and social networking. She is also the founder of PolicyGrounds Consulting – a policy and planning strategy firm. Lastly, she is the co-founder of Fearless Commerce – a platform focused on elevating the economic impact of Black women businesses.
Commissioner Hardy is committed to volunteering and serving the community. She most recently was board president of the YWCA of St. 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. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc – a globally impactful sorority grounded in servant-leadership. 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. Hardy was selected as YWCA of St. Paul 2018 Changemaker awardee, International Leadership Institute 2018 International Leader, Twin Cities Business 100 People to Know in 2017, a Minnesota Business Magazine 2016 (Real) Power 50 finalist, a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 2015 “Forty Under Forty” honoree, and 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 fellow.