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Board of Advisors

Board of AdvisorsMeet Our Board of Advisors...

Stage of Life’s talented Board of Advisors provides strategic guidance to the company and its officers.  While coming from varying backgrounds, all of our Advisors share one thing in common—excellent business savvy and expertise.   With outstanding experience in corporate finance, advertising and marketing, brand management, law, governance, sales, entrepreneurship, non-profit partnerships, and other areas, the wealth of knowledge and insight held by these individuals enriches Stage of Life’s ability to better serve its members and continue rapid growth of its business.  The impressive personal and professional networks of its Advisors also benefit Stage of Life and its members, allowing access to additional expertise and resources as needed.

 Board of Advisors

Mabel Laubscher, Senior Business Leader, Visa

Mabel is a seasoned marketing executive with over 15 years of consumer and corporate brand marketing and promotions experience, with a strong focus on financial services marketing.  Currently a Senior Business Leader in Global Marketing at Visa Inc., Mabel leads teams to create and launch comprehensive marketing campaigns, which include marketing to youth, underserved and mainstream consumers, as well as to small businesses and mid-sized and large corporations.
Mabel holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a BS in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mabel lives in San Francisco, and enjoys spending time learning and growing with her two teenage children, as well as cheering on her beloved San Francisco Giants.
 Board of Advisors

John Pickerill, Chair of Advertising, Marketing, & Trademarking Group, Fredrikson & Byron

John is a shareholder in Fredrikson & Byron’s Advertising, Marketing & Trademark Group, the only legal group of its kind in the state. His practice focuses on all legal issues specific to the world of commercial creativity, including trademark and copyright analysis, protection and enforcement; advertising, marketing, promotions and sweepstakes compliance; industry contracts and disputes; social media and mobile marketing legal compliance; and all other legal issues marketing professionals encounter.

John was an advertising executive at Carmichael Lynch for 5 years before law school, so he understands the commercial marketplace and how to balance legal risks against business realities. He knows from firsthand experience what creative professionals need from an attorney- and how fast they need it. John’s creative background and commonsense approach provide his clients with a unique ally in the creative world. He’s a creative professional who specializes in law, rather than a lawyer moonlighting on trademark and advertising issues.

John was named a Rising Star by Minnesota Law & Politics, Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business, plus the Trademark Insider named John one of the top 50 trademark attorneys in the nation in 2008.

Board of Advisors

Mike Vennewitz, President, Vennewitz & Associates

Mike’s academic background is in science and mathematics. He spent 25 years of his professional career in environmental engineering/consulting. After leaving that track, he has been President of a startup wood modification company, and has been the leader of a nonprofit organization focusing on energy and waste reduction. He is also a director of a startup IT company and is a director of a nonprofit organization focused on meaning and purpose in life during midlife.

Mike has served on a number of citizen advisory committees for the City of Minneapolis; he is currently on a committee that advices the mayor and city council on capital expenditures. He also currently assists his wife in the management of residential rental property they own, and is active in the angel investing community in Minneapolis/St. Paul. His wife’s being a state legislator provides incentive for Mike to be active in local politics.

 Board of Advisors

Tony Wagner, Vice President, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

As Vice President of CWT Meetings & Events North America, Tony Wagner leads this  expanding line of business, which achieved 75 percent growth since 2008. In this role, Tony supports clients with meetings logistical services, such as: venue sourcing, contracting and  attendee management, end-to-end event planning, the establishment of Strategic Meetings Management client programs, and meetings consulting and optimization services.

Prior to this role, Tony served as General Manager of CWT’s North Central region, where  he achieved outstanding client retention rates and satisfaction scores, as well as record new sales. He has held a variety of other roles since beginning his CWT career in 1996, and earned  CWT’s highest forms of recognition: the Imperial Honor award in 2001 and the Rising Star award in 2004. In 2008, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal recognized Tony as one of its “Forty Under 40.”

Tony received his B.S. in Business with an emphasis on Corporate Finance from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a minor in political science. Tony also completed the Carlson School of Management Executive Leadership Program in 2006.

An active member of NBTA, he serves on both the Strategic Meetings Management Certification Committee and the NBTA Groups & Meetings Committee.

Tony is a member of the CWT North America Executive Team and reports directly to Hakan Ericsson, President, CWT North America.

Based in the Twin Cities, he is serving his third four-year term as a member of the city council of Minnetonka, MN, which is also home to CWT’s North American headquarters.


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