president sullivan at podium introducing a first friday speaker

First Friday in April

Shari Ballard, CEO of Minnesota United FC and Dean Stefanie Lenway, Opus College of Business

For nearly three decades, Twin Cities business leader Shari Ballard has had a keen focus on deepening customer relationships, recognizing talent and using the full range of available resources to propel objectives forward. After advancing from an assistant store manager to president of U.S. retail and chief human resources officer at Best Buy, Ballard assumed leadership of Minnesota United FC organization at the end of the 2021 season.

During this First Friday webinar, Dean Stefanie Lenway spoke with Ballard about what drew her to Minnesota United FC and how her people-focused leadership style, as well as innovative technology and communications, are paving the way for enhanced fan engagement.

April 1, 2022
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Virtual (Zoom)
environmental photo of Shari Ballard

Shari Ballard

Shari Ballard is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of deep retail experience. In August 2021, Shari charted a path into the world of professional sports; taking over as Chief Executive Officer for Minnesota United FC, the state’s major league soccer franchise. Prior to joining MNUFC, she was the president of multichannel retail for Best Buy Co. Inc., where she was responsible for all U. S. Best Buy stores, e-commerce, Best Buy Mexico and the company’s real estate strategy until August of 2018. She continued to serve as an advisor until April of 2019.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan – Flint, Ms. Ballard was hired in 1993 to work in a local Best Buy store, beginning as an assistant store manager and rising to general manager. After a variety of retail leadership roles, she was promoted to executive vice president of human resources and legal.

In 2007, Ms. Ballard assumed responsibility for Best Buy stores in the United States, focusing her energies on deepening customer relationships and better utilizing the full range of talent and resources that reside within the company’s stores to drive growth. She was promoted to president of Americas, U.S. and Mexico in 2010, and two years later, she was appointed president of international, overseeing business and the transformation efforts in Canada, China, Europe and Mexico. In 2014, Ms. Ballard assumed the role of president of U.S. retail and eventually began a dual role to include chief human resources officer. In 2017, she added e-commerce to her responsibilities.

Ms. Ballard serves on the board of directors for Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services; PetSmart the leading specialty pet retailer; Allina Health; and the board of trustees for the University of Minnesota Foundation.

environmental photo of Stephanie Lenway

Dean Stefanie Lenway

Dean Lenway began her tenure at the Opus College of Business in 2014. Lenway is recognized as an expert in the field of international trade policy, multinational competitive strategy, and global technology innovation, and she has more than 30 years of experience as a scholar and teacher, in addition to academic leadership roles. Under Lenway’s leadership, the college renewed its strategic focus on principled leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation in the business of health care.  The Opus College now is embarking upon a new initiative to engage faculty, staff and students in activities that promote business for the Common Good.