February Giveaway

Enter to Win a $50 Target Gift Card!

Welcome to our monthly client appreciation program! Each month we give away free tickets, passes or gift cards!  This month, one lucky winner will receive a $50 Target gift card! ENTER TO WIN below.

Who/What is Target?


If you just flew in from Jupiter (or, maybe you’ve been living in Motuo, Tibet), Target Corporation is the second-largest discount store retailer in the United States, behind Walmart, and a component of the S&P 500 Index. Founded by George Dayton and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company was originally named Goodfellow Dry Goods in June 1902 before being renamed the Dayton’s Dry Goods Company in 1903 and later the Dayton Company in 1910. The first Target store opened in Roseville, Minnesota in 1962 while the parent company was renamed the Dayton Corporation in 1967. It became the Dayton-Hudson Corporation after merging with the J.L. Hudson Company in 1969 and held ownership of several department store chains including Dayton’s, Hudson’s, Marshall Field’s, and Mervyn’s.

Really? You seriously don’t know what Target is?

One winner will randomly be selected by noon on Friday, February 23rd and contacted via email.

Congrats to Scott S. of Minneapolis who was January’s winner of a $50 gift card to Fandango.

Click below to enter. Good luck!

Super Bowl LII - Where's the Party?

Super Bowl LII events officially kick off this week, and there is a lot to do in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the suburbs. Expect to see some of the biggest stars walking around downtown and going to some of the biggest parties of the year. I found an excellent resource. Click below for an extensive list and map of where all the action will be taking place during the 10 days leading up to the big game Feb. 4.

You can also see a high resolution PDF version of this map and event list so you can print and read it. (Download alert: It’s pretty big. Click link below)

Super Bowl LII – Where’s the Party?

(Courtesy of Mark Reilly, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal).


Ten Questions, with Jill Ties

Integrity, dignity, and a big dose of positivity

Jill Ties has been in the banking industry for all of her professional life. While successfully maintaining a positive work-life balance, she has built a reputation as an authentic and influential leader. Starting as a teller in college she quickly moved up the ranks and now serves as senior vice president in the wholesale/retail mortgage division at U.S. Bank Home Mortgage. However, her career is not all that defines her. She is a proud mother and has a heart for her community. This month, I had the opportunity to chat with Jill about her career and personal life for our series Ten Questions.

You’ve been with US Bank for a long time. How do you explain your longevity?

I have been with U.S. Bank for 32 years. I attribute the longevity to having the ability to grow within various divisions, provide a great environment for work/family balance, and having core values that align with the core values of our company. Our company is dedicated towards community and volunteerism which is extremely important.

You have been successful in a male-dominated industry. How has that happened?

It is all dependent on clear communication. Priorities and goals can vary among employees whether it is male or female. I have chosen a path that looks to add value via providing a different perspective by making sure we effectively communicate to all our staff and clients.

Have you ever turned down a client and what were the circumstances?

Communicating turn-downs to clients is a daily part of our business. We have clear criteria for credit which leaves little room for deviation. The best way to handle it is to always treat people with respect when communicating an unfavorable outcome. Attempt to provide alternatives to improve their circumstances so they can reach their business objectives. Some of our best clients have come back after taking specific feedback, put in the work to change the circumstances, and have become long-term producing clients.

How has failure made a positive difference in your life?

Maybe because my outlook on life is always ‘glass half full’ that I don’t view anything as a failure. I look at situations as if they always had positive aspects and tend to focus on those as a launch to what lies ahead. I have experienced some difficult work situations with leaders. Those situations have taught me that the positive attribute is that when I am in that leadership position I will not handle in that manner. Work as hard as possible towards a positive outcome. It is important to understand that it is still a business. There have been times in my career that I have advanced, not as much due to how our business success or failure was realized, but rather the business decorum I demonstrated in a tough situation.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out in your industry, what would it be?

Put in the work. Your reputation is everything…and be humble. There is no magic formula. Always learn as many aspects of your business as possible because in many cases we are continually teaching. Our industry is highly regulated. It is not the job of the borrower to understand the implications of those challenges but resides with us to set the proper expectations. As you achieve success always show gratitude to those that helped you realize your goals. More than anything else your business reputation is everything. That is the only thing you are 100% in control of and the choices you make impact how others perceive your reputation.

To what do you attribute your success?

Positive attitude, hard work, gratitude and never having a sense of entitlement. No one owes us anything in our careers so don’t try to keep score. Show gratitude always and lead with grace, meaning that it is always more important to recognize team success as being paramount.

What are you most proud of?

My three kids…of course! As we all get older you see they actually did listen to some of the advice. This means not living a hypocritical lifestyle. If you tell your kids to be healthy, exercise, eat right, work hard, understand God’s grace, and be gracious you had better be setting the bar yourself. The positive outcome to that is you get to have more meaningful conversations as they become adults.

What have you read that I should read?

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath.

What is your spiritual practice?

Daily devotional, church, and of course those times during the day when you just ask for God’s strength. I also find running spiritual in a more abstract way. It is a time that I dedicate to clear my head and organize my thoughts/tasks for the day.

What keeps you awake at night?

I wish I could say it is more about hitting production numbers but honestly, it is more about the team that I lead. When you are at a company for as long as I have, teams instill a lot of trust in your ability to lead. The responsibility comes with the territory but there are also disappointments delivered to the team. If I did not take those disappointments to heart I would be less human. I also worry about my kids as any parent would, but I also am lucky to have a strong faith that allows me to let go of situations that I cannot control.

What would someone who doesn’t like you say about you?

She can be tough and at times sees things very black and white.

Where have you been that I should visit?

Venice, Italy. It’s beautiful and historic.

Jill Ties is a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis and is Senior Vice President in the Wholesale/Retail Mortgage Division at US Bank Home Mortgage. She’s been with US Bank for over 32 years and also serves as director of Homeward Bound FoundationJill lives in Spring Park and has three adult children.

Nominate a leader!

Nominate your favorite leader and we will reach out to them for an upcoming Ten Questions Q&A profile.

Moving Resources for Older Adults

Do you have an older adult in your life who is having hard time keeping up with the responsibilities of living in their single-family home?

An older adult’s decision to move can carry with it an entire range of emotion. No matter how one comes to the decision to move, the factors and issues related to each older adult’s transition are unique. But at some point, inevitably, moving involves a feeling of being overwhelmed.

“The Old Neighborhood” by Jim Williams

There are a number of aspects that make an older adult’s transition difficult which include sifting through a home of many years, deciding what to do with possessions that are not going to the new residence (e.g. estate sale, consignment, charity, kids, online selling options, etc.), some health challenges that did not exist in the early years making the physical aspect daunting, plus the emotional aspect of leaving “the old neighborhood”, lifelong memories and the comfort of familiar turf.

Senior Move Management

Enter a fairly new but growing industry, senior move management. Due to the rising numbers of older adults and the increase of senior housing options, senior move management is a emergent field that meets the needs of this clientele and softens stress by lifting the details of their move and providing expertise and valuable resources to accommodate each stage of the transition. Sorting, getting rid of unwanted items, packing, unpacking and resettling are the primary options that can make a daunting move much more seamless.

Twin Cities based Gentle Transitions is the longest operating senior move management firm in the country. They have served thousands of individuals and helped them navigate their personal “move journey”. Senior Move Managers typically choose to work in this profession because of their passion for the older adult client they serve. Within a short period of time, senior move managers help create a lovely metamorphosis, making a new residence feel comfortable and inviting and allowing the client to focus on the important things like starting to live their new life, meet new friends and build a new sense of community.

When you or your loved ones know it is time to move, but you don’t know where to begin, Gentle Transitions is a great place to start. They partner with and are preferred providers for several senior communities like Cherrywood Pointe, Applewood Pointe, and others. You can request a complimentary no-obligation consultation by calling (952) 944-1028.

Click here for more information about Senior Move Managers >>> National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM)

Click here for more information about >>> Gentle Transitions

Click here for more information about >>> Seniors Real Estate Specialists

Carol Hunt has a heart for seniors. After more than 20 years in corporate Human Resources, Marketing, and Business Analyst roles, Carol now spends her time at Gentle Transitions in Edina. She serves as a packer, helping lift burdens and provide peace of mind to seniors who are transitioning. She is a proud employee of and has seen first hand the care given to clients in the move process. Carol and her husband Doug also volunteer at Bibles for Missions Thrift Center in Crystal. She can be reached at carolahunt101@gmail.com.

Carol submitted this article on behalf of Diane Bjorkman and Bill Lehman. They are co-owners of Gentle Transitions.

The Home Buyer’s Road Map

A major priority in my business is to be organized. I view this discipline as being essential to not only serving existing and attracting new clients, but it essential to maintaining control of my time and having any sense of work-life balance. Structure and process are part of my brand and I believe it serves my clients well.

To that end, I find it useful to make task lists and outlines while conducting my business. Not only will this keep me on track, it will help guide clients to stay focused and be obedient to timelines. This type of transparency helps clients understand and anticipate what happens next and ultimately enjoy a satisfying purchase experience.

I have developed methods and processes for working with clients that are organized in such a way that it will truly benefit anyone who is seeking to find and purchase a new home.

I call this process The Home Buyer’s Road Map. I will be unpacking each of the 12 STEPS toward buying a home in greater detail in a series of future articles. For now, I want to provide an overview of how it all flows.

Buying your first home can be an exciting time, and it’s likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Don’t jump into it without being ready and doing your homework. Ask yourself, “What happens next? Do I understand the process? Am I prepared for each step along the way?”

What’s the FIRST thing you should do before you even start looking? Before you begin, first and foremost, you need to ask yourself, “am I ready to buy? Read more about this process in the article, “Are Your Ready to Buy?

Now that you’ve determined that you’re ready. Let’s begin.

1. Hire an agent. Selecting the correct real estate agent may be the most important decision you make in this process.

2. Get financing. Obtain financial pre-approval. Get in touch with a lender. I’d be happy to connect you with the right individual.

3. Game plan. Allow your agent to analyze the specific needs of you and your family with an in-depth buyer consultation. Where do we want to live? What style of house do we like? How many bedrooms, bathrooms, garage stalls, etc?  What style of house do we like? What school district do we want our kids enrolled?

4. Start shopping. After getting a full understanding of your wants and needs, let your agent get to work and start identifying an inventory of properties on the market.

5. Tour. Work with your agent to schedule showings.

6. Make an offer. You’ve found a house you like. Now it’s time to go after it by writing an intelligent, competitive, and winning offer to purchase.

7. Negotiate. The seller may or may not accept your offer as you have presented it. Have you agent negotiate terms that are satisfactory to you and the seller.

8. Acceptance. Accept the negotiated contract, begin the pre-closing process.

10. Contingencies. If your agent has structured your offer correctly, you will have certain protections to allow you to cancel the agreement if certain conditions aren’t met. The seller is obligated to remove contingencies that you have established. The common contingencies are financing, homeowner association covenants, and home inspections.

11. Close. After you have been guided through each step of the buying process it’s time to close on the property. All parties meet and sign the final paperwork.

12. Move in! Take possession of the home.

Buying or selling a home is statistically one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. This is the roadmap to buying a home. Just like driving a car from point A to point B there will be bumps in the road and unexpected hazards along the way. However, with the professional assistance of a skilled realtor, if you are prepared, organized, have reasonable expectations, and are willing to adapt and “flex” on the path toward home ownership, the buying process can be a satisfying experience!

If you want to be sure that you are working with an agent who understands you, listens to you, and truly puts your best interests first please get in touch with me!

January Giveaway

Enter to Win a $50 Fandango Gift Card

Welcome to our monthly client appreciation program! Each month we give away free tickets, passes or gift cards!  This month, one lucky winner will receive a $50 Fandango gift card. The winner will randomly be selected by noon on Friday, January 26th and contacted via email.  ENTER TO WIN below.

What is Fandango?

Fandango is an American ticketing company that sells movie tickets via the internet as well as through their mobile app. Fandango helps movie fans discover, buy tickets and share their passion for movies in a more engaging and interactive way.

Fandango entertains, informs and guides film fans with must-see trailers and movie clips, exclusive and original content, insider news and expert commentary. We make it easy to find and buy the right movie at the right time, with showtimes and ticketing to more than 26,000 screens nationwide. Fandango is available online, and through our award-winning mobile and connected television apps with over 46 million downloads and counting.

Learn More About Fandango  >>>

One winner will randomly be selected by noon on Monday, January 26th and contacted via email.

Congrats to Sharon H. of Andover who was December’s winner of a $50 gift card to Blue Plate Restaurants.

Click below to enter. Good luck!