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© 2018 MEDIA MINEFIELD, INC.

How we organize.

‍‍One of the Core Values we live by is to be a News Ninja. What does this mean? We are nimble with the experience and ability to respond at the speed of news. We're always learning and deadline driven.

The Team

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I spent more than eight years producing local news to sharpen my News Ninja skills. I worked at KSTP in Minneapolis for seven years, producing every show from the morning to the 11pm at some point in time. I won a regional Emmy for Best Daytime Newscast for breaking news coverage the day the Ford Motor Company announced it was closing its St. Paul plant. I began my career as a producer at WREX in Rockford, Illinois.

What do most people not understand about the news?

No news is not good news. A slow news day can be even harder than a breaking news day, which creates plenty of opportunities for businesses and individuals to share their messages in the news media.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

“I wish you wouldn’t worry. Let it be.” That’s a line from Brad Paisley’s “Letter to Me.” The song is full of insightful lyrics. Give it a listen when you have time.

What is your favorite quote?

“What’s living if you never pull your shorts down and slide on the ice?” - Louis Stevens, Disney Channel’s Even Stevens

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

The happiest place on earth: Disney World!

HOME

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Learn a little more about the secret to Media Minefield's success. The News Ninjas.

finance, education

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the savvy collection

support, design, office mgmt.

mission control

visioning

executive team "et"

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‍‍The team.

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‍‍ If you could have a dream dinner party, who would sit at your table?

J.R.R. Tolkien, Kirby Puckett, Chris Farley, Tom Hanks, Chris Martin and Jesus.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy doing life alongside my wife (and soon our baby!), hanging out and playing music with my family, including all of my nieces and nephews, playing board games and going to breweries with my friends, playing just about any sport (primarily baseball), eating tacos and going on adventures with any of those people that invite me to tag along.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Compound interest is pretty great, so even if you think it sounds boring and “adulty”, take advantage of it!

What are your favorite quotes?

Anything that Phoebe from Friends says. She has great comedic timing and perfectly dimwitted things to say.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food, what would it be?

The Skittles that come in the purple bag. King Size.

CHIEF BUS. DEVELOPMENT OFFICER

Ben Santelman

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ I love to travel and have visited 40 U.S. states and 15 countries.

+ I made a hole-in-one, very shocking if you’ve seen me golf!

+ I went to college on a full scholarship and it wasn’t for golf (see answer #2). It allowed me the opportunity to have lunch with legendary businessman Curt Carlson.

If we had a Media Minefield talent show, what would your talent be?

Star Wars trivia.

What do you do for fun?

Love to golf with my wife, sons or friends when our Minnesota weather allows. Any time with my family is well spent.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

+ Be healthy now

+ Take risks

+ Worry less, pray more

What are your favorite quotes?

+ “Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda, Jedi Master

+ “There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

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‍‍At Media Minefield, we deliberately focus our media teams in "lanes" where we can be most effective and on top of industry-specific news topics to connect you with your audience. We also deliberately cross-pollinate ideas across the entire organization for a "best of both worlds" approach.

Allison Ortiz

MEDIA TEAM LEAD

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I was a TV news reporter in Minneapolis, MN; Dayton, OH; Sioux Falls, SD; and Mankato, MN.

What do most people not understand about the news?

There are more journalists trying to tell stories, expose injustice and make the world a better place than intentionally trying to influence opinions.  

If you could have a dream dinner party, who would sit at your table?

Jesus. Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King Jr. Princess Diana. Jane Austen. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Walter Cronkite. My husband and sons. Billy Joel on piano.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Relax. Take time to figure out who you are and what really matters. Don't be who other people think you should be.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." - Italian Proverb

+ "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

+ And pretty much everything Brene Brown says and Paulo Coehlo writes in The Alchemist.

What are you currently reading?

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Hippie by Paulo Coelho

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

The Dream of You by Jo Saxton

Soul Rest by Curtis Zackery

Kristi Piehl

FOUNDER / CEO

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SENIOR MEDIA COACH

Conny Bergerson

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I produced the 10 p.m. newscast for the FOX affiliate in Minneapolis.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

On a beach with a margarita in one hand and a good book in the other.

What do you miss about working in the news industry?

I miss telling people's stories, but in a lot of ways I still get to do that at Media Minefield. I've had clients who weren't sure what their story was. Working with them on their messaging allows me to help them find their story and then share it.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food, what would it be?

Chocolate ice cream... which is probably the least practical food for a desert island.

Guilty pleasure?

Binge-watching Netflix.

MEDIA COACH

Ashley Hines

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

For 10 years, I worked in television news as a reporter and anchor in Kentucky, KARE-11 in Minneapolis and at a FOX station in Indiana. Before coming to Media Minefield, I was the Twin Cities Media Relations Director for The Salvation Army.

What do most people not understand about the news?

Working in the news industry is like a daily fire drill. Deadlines, change and urgency are a part of life. In media relations, it’s essential we understand that and know how to be good partners and resources for reporters and producers.

What do you do for fun?

Spoil my two Shih Tzus, play golf (not well, but I’m learning), travel, hike and read.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Take risks, travel and do the things you’ve always wanted to do while you’re young and have the freedom to do so. You’ll have plenty of time to work, make mortgage payments and mow the lawn later.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ “Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Theodore Roosevelt

+ “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” - Henry Ford

+ “You’ll ask ‘what if I fall?’, Oh but what if you fly?” - Erin Hanson

MEDIA COACH

Julie Borgen

If you could have a dream dinner party, who would sit at your table?

Victor Frankel, my grandparents, my husband, Tony Robbins, Justin Timberlake and Jen Hatmaker.

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ I was an intramural curling champion in college.

+ I was a guest on Good Morning America.

+ I have a masters degree in counseling.

What do you do for fun?

Spend time with my darling daughter and handsome husband. I love to make her laugh and watch her learn and explore new things.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Things don't often go as planned, do your best to relax and take the best bits of each moment. Don't spend so much time worrying about the future that you miss the present. Also, halter tops aren't a good look on you.

What is your spirit animal and why?  

The quiz I took says my spirit animal is the peace-loving panda bear. I have the auspicious ability to bring balance to the yin and yang energies of this world. But am still a bear so woe be the unfortunate soul who tries to harm my loved ones! This fits with my Harmony Strength as identified via StrengthsFinder though I'm not sure about the yin/yang stuff, I'd rather it be a llama ;)

TEAM MGR & CREATIVE SPECIALIST

Lindsey Dahlin

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

Before joining Media Minefield in 2012, I was at KRW International, a pioneering organization in the executive leadership space. As Director of Operations, I oversaw the non-client facing functions and sat on the Strategic Leadership Team.

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ I'm an avid indoorsman so winter and darkness are totally cool with me.

+ I love fonts and will gladly be razzed for caring!

+ One of my favorite things to do is to turn on a record and reconfigure my pedalboard.

What do you do for fun?

I love to spend time with my wife and daughters enjoying the simple things like going out to eat or cozying up to watch a movie together. I also write and record music and spend far too much time chasing very specific guitar tones.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ "Let's turn this 'crisis' into an opportunity." - Brian Eno

+ "One fails forward toward success." - C.S. Lewis

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Mark Edwards

Carrie Fritzinger

OFFICE MANAGER

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

Doubtful Sound, New Zealand!

What are three things people don’t know about you?

I was in an Edina Realty commercial when I was 5, I fainted when I got my ears pierced and I hiked to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado!

What do you do for fun?

Golf, downhill ski, camp, travel and watch my young daughter learn new things!

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food, what would it be?

Pizza! It's delicious hot or cold and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Guilty pleasure?

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette

MEDIA COORDINATOR

Andy Haagenson

If you could have a dream dinner party, who would sit at your table?

First off, I’d rather have a cozy campfire with my closest friends and few fancy faces! With plenty of s’mores and Keith Urban singing a couple tunes, we’d have all the makings of a great night. I’d also invite Morgan Freeman and Johnny Depp because I’m willing to bet they have incredible stories to share.

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ I had my name changed.

+ I had two hip surgeries.

+ I know American Sign Language.

Guilty pleasure?

I won’t miss a Bachelor episode, but I sure don’t feel guilty about it!

What is your spirit animal and why?  

My patronus is a dolphin. According to Potter theory, that’s because I’m social, quick-witted and equipped with the ability to empathize with others.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food, what would it be?

Pizza! I don’t stray far from ‘za to begin with, so it would be an easy transition.

Allie Krings

MEDIA COORDINATOR

What do you miss about working in the news industry?

At Media Minefield, I get to meet new people and write stories. Those are two of the things I really enjoyed about being a reporter. The one thing I really miss is shooting and editing video. That was one of my favorite parts of being a MMJ (multimedia journalist).

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ I have three brothers and sisters. Each of us has four letters in our first name, five letters in our middle name and our last name has (had) six letters. My mom was creative.

+ I rock at playing the recorder.

+ I used to show llamas at my county fair.

If we had a Media Minefield talent show, what would your talent be?

I would sing. I would probably do Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, but I could be persuaded to sing something else.‍‍‍

What do you do for fun?

I love watching movies! I also play cribbage, hunt, fish, golf (but I’m terrible at it) and cook. I love to play volleyball, but I don’t get to play near as often as I’d like. Any activity I can do with friends is fun to me.

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Bryn Lambert

MEDIA COACH

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I was a TV news producer in Phoenix and worked just about every show and shift in news there is! When I was ready for a change, I made the transition to PR. I started at a more traditional firm. I was fortunate to find Media Minefield and have been here ever since!

What do most people not understand about the news?

Most people don't know the right questions to ask a reporter, producer or writer to determine what they are looking for and how to prepare for an interview.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

I like my toes in the sand and sunshine on my face... wherever that is, that's where I will be!

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ I was a lifeguard.

+ Fast & Furious is my favorite movie series.

+ I got my first passport for my 35th birthday and haven't stopped using it since.

What do you do for fun?

I love live music so I go to a lot of shows! I try to be a sand volleyball player, when the weather cooperates. I also love to travel and definitely take advantage of our unlimited vacations! I have two adorable rescue doggies. Spending time with them is always my favorite.

What is your favorite quote?

+ "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." -Winnie the Pooh

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food, what would it be?

Chips and guacamole (Don't try to tell me that is two foods; you can't have one without the other!)

Michelle Lawless

MEDIA TEAM LEAD

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I worked in a couple of different industries before joining Media Minefield, and each position I held shared a common thread: ensuring my team or department delivered excellent service. I've been fortunate to have opportunities to build long-lasting relationships, develop staff and lead culture initiatives. Pair those experiences with my addiction to the headlines, and it sure feels like I've won the lottery in my role at Media Minefield!

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

Most days I'm pretty content right where I'm at, however...I'm a big fan of central and northern California. The weather, the views, the endless list of things to do - incredible!

Guilty Pleasure:

A fully charged Kindle, sunglasses and a lawn chair.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ "No act of kindness, however small, is wasted." - Aesop

+ "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Apostle Paul, Romans 12:12

What do you do for fun?

So many things! Fresh air and sunshine top my list. Biking, hiking, walking or running - all are even more enjoyable when I'm joined by family or friends. Family game nights, day trips and an occasional "foodie" night out also make the list, as does never missing an opportunity to watch my teenagers do what they love.

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What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I like to think I’ve always been a News Ninja. I grew up in a TV newsroom and was fascinated by the power of journalism at an early age. My dad would get home after the evening news and we would watch every newscast in town, changing the channel to track the rundowns. I still watch the news this way!

I got my first TV job running a teleprompter and gathering tape for a local morning show. I then interned and was later hired as a reporter at the ABC affiliate in Grand Forks, ND. After spending a year there, I moved to my hometown of Sioux Falls, SD to anchor and produce the morning news at the NBC affiliate. I arrived to work at 1:30 am for a year before spending the next three years at the evening anchor desk. I left the newsroom to move back to Minneapolis (where I spent my college years - Go Gophers!) and join the amazing team at Media Minefield.

What do most people not understand about the news?

Journalists are passionate about uncovering the truth and are dedicated to the communities they serve. The news industry is changing. We have access to information right at our fingertips. It’s important to recognize the difference between real news and entertainment. It’s a line that often gets blurred. Real journalists fight for the truth and present the facts in a meaningful way to educate the public. They have the honor of telling other people’s stories and do not take the power of the press for granted. As Walter Cronkite said, “Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.”

What do you do for fun?

I like to surround myself with good people, good food and good wine! I love to travel. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends. Lake Okoboji in Iowa is one of my favorite places and I’ve spent my summers there since I was a kid.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

+ “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

+ “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” –Oprah Winfrey

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Meagan Millage

SENIOR MEDIA COACH

Katie Maurer

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | DELIVERY

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

My TV news career spanned more than a decade, starting and ending at KMSP in Minneapolis. I have experience producing the morning, afternoon, evening and weekend news. After leaving KMSP the first time around, I worked as a producer at KXLY in Spokane, Washington and at KBOI in Boise, Idaho. When I returned to KMSP, I produced Minneapolis’s top-rated morning news and entertainment show, The Fox 9 Buzz and was nominated for an Emmy. Before TV News, I had some crazy jobs – way too many to count! I’ve been a grocery store cashier, hockey DJ, Walt Disney World Cast Member and the Personal Assistant to TV Personality and chef, Andrew Zimmern.

If we had a Media Minefield talent show, what would your talent be?

Since I can’t do any of the usual go-to talent show options, singing, dancing or playing an instrument, I would win the judges over with my award-winning baked goods!

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Be kind, honest and keep a positive attitude. Think about others, don’t be selfish. Save more money. Be true to yourself. Believe in yourself. Be confident in who you are and in your beliefs, values and ideas. Set goals and work hard to achieve them. All the challenges and struggles you will go through will be worth it and make you a better person.

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ I have a collection of 45 cat ornaments I put on their own special tree during the holiday season.

+ I have more than 100 Blue Ribbons for my baked goods from County and State Fairs.

+ I am an amateur bodybuilder.

Carrie Paetow

MEDIA COACH

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I started my own online Chinese teaching company in 2017, and it is self-sustaining right now. I started teaching an online Chinese class for the University of Northwestern in St. Paul in the Fall of 2018. I view teaching as a way to stay connected with the educational world and feel satisfied when fulfilling my passion for giving back to the community.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

If I could be anywhere, I would be with my family in China, chatting with my grandparents by the bonfire, listening to their familiar stories, eating all kinds of spicy food my mom makes, watching my dad care for his animals, teaching my nephew new things and walking with my husband around the countryside where I grew up.

If we had a Media Minefield talent show, what would your talent be?

Chinese calligraphy is a dying art in China, but it has been held in high esteem for thousands of years. I was very blessed to start practicing Chinese calligraphy when I was eight. If we had a Media Minefield talent show, I would love to exhibit this aesthetic artwork with my “four treasures,” a mousewhisker brush, ink, rice paper and ink stone.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV)

+ Therefore, learning makes awareness of self-insufficiency and teaching makes less of stubbornness. Thus, self-insufficiency enables reflection and humility; less stubbornness increases flexibility and strength. Therefore, the old wisdom often proclaims ‘teaching and learning should grow together.’ - Zhengke Yue (Mencius's Student), Chronicle of Education

+ It is not considered true love unless you are totally obsessed, it is not considered true talent unless it is extremely enjoyable.” - Chao Zhang, Qing Dynasty in China

 

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Shuang Sundquist

MEDIA COORDINATOR

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I was a media relations consultant for the largest medical center and hospital in Nebraska, working with local and national news media as well as representing the hospital as a spokesperson. For 10 years, I worked in TV newsrooms as an anchor and reporter, including anchoring a morning show in Omaha.

What do most people not understand about the news?

News reporters are looking to help provide relevant, useful and helpful information to readers, listeners and viewers. They are open to hearing ideas, but when you share an idea, it’s important to keep in mind the question, “What’s in it for the viewer of their show, reader of their publication or listener of their radio station?”

What do you do for fun?

I really enjoy playing board games with my family, running and Nordic skiing. One of my favorite things to do is to get together with a girlfriend and share coffee and deep conversation.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Discover your strengths and weaknesses. Find a mentor to help challenge you and encourage you. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes, learn from them and ask for help.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." - C.S. Lewis

+ "Comparison is often why our important roles shrink to seem so insignificant. Comparison robs us of the joy of obedience.” - Jennie Allen, founder of IF: Gathering

+ “We have to deal with fear because it is possible that it will make us miss the best parts of life.” - Jennie Allen, founder of IF: Gathering

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Andrea McMaster

SENIOR MEDIA STRATEGIST

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

I am a believer in the magic of earned media because it led me to my job at Media Minefield! I saw CEO Kristi Piehl interviewed on KARE11 about starting her own business. I loved her message of finding and following your passion. I joined the Media Minefield team and became a News Ninja in 2016, and I have the joyful job of working with clients both locally and across the country.

If you could time travel and spend a day at any past or future event, where would you go?

My 100th Birthday! I have a life goal to live to be 100 years old. I would want to see my great great great grandchildren and blow out all those candles.

What are three things people don’t know about you?

+ In college, I was a Resident Advisor to over 100 young women...and boy do I have some stories!

+ My hair grows like a weed so, when I can, I donate my hair to organizations that make free real-hair wigs for female cancer patients.  

+ I have a pressed penny collection from all the places my travels have taken me.

What are your favorite quotes?

+ “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” - Maya Angelou

What is your spirit animal and why?  

My spirit animal just so happens to be my favorite animal, an otter! They are full of grace and power as they glide through the water and they are problem solvers on land. They take care of the other otters around them by holding hands (or paws) when they sleep or cuddling together in what I like to call, “a cuddle puddle.”

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Holly Steffl

MEDIA COACH

What did you do before you were a News Ninja?

For more than 16 years, I developed and produced a variety of award-winning news, lifestyle, and sales shows for the NBC affiliate, KARE-TV, in the Twin Cities. While there, I also dabbled in a little entertainment reporting and had the pleasure of interviewing some amazing actors, including Meryl Streep and George Clooney. Before that, I developed my love of news as a “professional” intern at different TV and radio stations around my home state of Illinois. My first paid job in broadcasting was playing commercials during the radio broadcasts of Cubs’ baseball games (a “tough” gig, considering I’m a lifelong Cardinals fan).

What do most people not understand about the news?

It takes an amazing team of skilled and dedicated people working around the clock to put together every newscast, especially when they’re under the pressure of a deadline! From the reporters and anchors who deliver the news to the producers, writers, photographers, editors, engineers, graphics designers, directors, and assignment desk staff who support them, it truly takes a village to cover what's happening each and every day.

If you could have a dream dinner party, who would sit at your table?

Russell Crowe, Mel Brooks, Katharine Hepburn, Steven Spielberg and River Phoenix