Favorites ()
A giant man stands with his arms crossed amidst skyscraper buildings, appearing as tall as the buildings.

Big thinking. Giant impact.

We help unlock the giant and powerful talent with each student through rigorous coursework, hands-on learning and one-on-one mentoring. Meet a few Opus graduates who are making a huge impact in the world.

Jason Campana and Matty O'Reilly pose together.

Jason Campana and Matty O'Reilly

Creatives, Consultants, Entrepreneurs

Jason Campana and Matty O'Reilly pose together.


Jason Campana, '19 MBA and Matty O'Reilly, '19 MBA

Matty O’Reilly and Jason Campana didn’t expect to start a business together, but patterns they saw in regular conversations over wine sparked an idea to create a consultancy that helps restaurants.

A challenge for many restaurant owners is that their passion for food frequently outweighs the back-end skills needed to run a sustainable operation. That’s where these MBA students stepped in.

Their start-up company, Banner Year Advisors, is a hospitality-industry consultancy that’s caught the marketplace by storm. Word has spread, and now even landlords and investors are requesting their services.

As founder of Republic, Bar Brigade, Sandy’s Tavern and The Foxtrot Burger Spot, O’Reilly brings in years of on-the-job restaurant experience. Campana uses his sharp entrepreneurial mindset and small business coaching skills to help clients. Their MBA investment has improved business acumen and brings in real value.

Now this restauranteur and entrepreneur are ready to scale, adding five plus Business Advisors to their team in 2020. With a solid model in place, business is definitely heating up.

The MBA investment was worth it.

Gayle Coyle-Ikemoto headshot

Gayle Coyle-Ikemoto

Process Innovator, Change Agent

Gayle Coyle-Ikemoto headshot


Gayle Coyle-Ikemoto, '14 MBA

Being a change-maker is part of Gayle Coyle-Ikemoto’s DNA. A nurse and senior health care executive, she’s driven significant process innovation on the payer-side for UnitedHealthcare.

Her impact is far-reaching. Coyle-Ikemoto was part of UnitedHealth Group's largest health plan acquisition and subsequent integration projects. She’s now shifted her focus to the provider side in OptumCare, continuing her legacy of leadership.

Coyle-Ikemoto uses her MBA regularly in her work. Armed with a useful toolkit of business skills, she harnesses powerful data to uncover opportunity. A combination of creative thinking and spreadsheet language stages organizational design supporting the strategic vision.

Outside of work, she volunteers for CASA, an advocacy program for children and youth in the dependency and foster care systems. Her tireless advocacy efforts have earned her front-page headlines in the LA Times. She’s remained a positive force in her young client’s life, helping foster his developmental experiences.

The Health Care MBA gives me a toolkit to uncover opportunity.

Mark Crea headshot

Mark Crea

Global Humanitarian, Innovator

Mark Crea headshot


Mark Crea, '08 Executive Director Leadership Program

Hunger still causes nearly half of deaths in children under five years old, and at least 6,200 die each day from causes related to undernutrition. The news is heartbreaking, and Mark Crea is on a mission to alleviate hunger.

Crea leads Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a pioneering organization that feeds one million children every day using science-based nutrition. As an organization, FMSC believes hope starts with food. Since 1987, FMSC has delivered 2.5 billion meals, with 99.8% of food products reaching those in need.

Crea’s education from St. Thomas taught him how to navigate complex systems with one foot in the real world. His experience gave him drive and focus, positioning FMST to achieve 40% growth annually since 2003.

It’s not enough to be mission driven, he says. Data also drives their work. Just a fraction of a penny feeds more children and saves lives, so his team is focused on efficiency. A comprehensive algorithm manages risk and guides future growth.

Crea credits a team of super smart staff members, generous donors and volunteers, and global partners for answering the call to do this work. Placing in the top 1% of all nonprofits is no small feat, and this award-winning humanitarian is counting all his blessings.

The experience gave me drive and focus.

McLean Donnely speaks in front of a projected screen.

McLean Donnelly

Visionary, Thought Leader, Trailblazer

McLean Donnely speaks in front of a projected screen.


McLean Donnelly, '16 MBA

What happens when a designer goes to business school? You get a creative leader like McLean Donnelly, who has used his MBA to shift design teams from a service to a functional strategic asset.

When he started out, User Experience Design (UX) was perceived as a pretty component, not an essential aspect of business. Things have changed a lot since then. His MBA has given him the power to alter the thinking of C-suite executives and lead meaningful change.

A trailblazer in the creative field, Donnelly has led UX for big name companies like Shutterstock and Expedia. This Webby Award winner is a staple at industry-leading events like Creative Week, BitCon, Design Thinkers Conference, and the Digital Summit Series.

As one of the fastest growing professions, User Experience Designers are in high demand. Donnelly’s new venture, The Makery Group, invests a portion of the firm’s profits in an education program. They equip participants from underserved communities with skills in tech marketing, social media and web design. In partnership with schools and local nonprofits, The Makery is building the next generation of UX designers and giving them access to high-growth jobs.

This innovative visionary feels optimistic about using UX as a tool of change to create opportunities for future design thinkers in Minnesota. And the future is looking bright.

My MBA gave me the ability to connect UX strategy to quantifiable outcomes.

Bukky Durosanya and Luke Dery pose together inside Schulze Hall at the University of St. Thomas.

Luke Dery and Bukky Durosanya

Visionaries, Health Care Advocates

Bukky Durosanya and Luke Dery pose together inside Schulze Hall at the University of St. Thomas.


Luke Dery, '15 MBA and Bukky Durosanya, '17 MBA

Luke Dery and Bukky Durosanya are on a mission to improve the lives of women suffering from urinary incontinence, an under-reported medical condition that affects the quality of life in women. They work for Pelvital USA, Inc., a medical device company evaluating a novel device that uses technology proven to heal and strengthen muscle systems. Pelvital is the very first to use this technology to target muscles in the pelvic floor.

The company’s connections to St. Thomas are many. Backed by Tommie mentor Dale Wahlstrom, student project collaborators and early-stage financing, the impact is felt near and far. Together, they're employees #1 and #2 at this promising organization.

With strong Tommie support, the entire Pelvital team is working towards groundbreaking innovation in health care. Inspired by possibility, these two visionaries are helping the severely under-served women’s health industry.

The Opus MBA gave me access to a strong support system of faculty, staff, and alumni network.

Headshot of Jessica Drewiske

Jessica Drewiske

Global Ethics Strategist, Changemaker

Headshot of Jessica Drewiske


Jessica Drewiske, '15 J.D/MBA

Since graduating from St. Thomas, Jessica Drewiske has been busy putting ethics front and center. Her dual business/law degree propelled her career at one of the biggest banks in the country.

Ethical banking is a hot topic today, and at U.S. Bank she's finding ways to plug in ethics mindfully across the organization. This global ethics leader puts her skills to work every day, from embedding ethics in HR’s recruiting process to managing strategic initiatives.

When she’s not speaking at global ethics and compliance conferences, Drewiske is inspiring her students. She’s a popular adjunct professor in the St. Thomas School of Law and serves on the Law and Opus Alumni Advisory Boards.

Her impact goes way beyond the classroom. She also supports the Wills for Heroes program, preparing essential legal documents free of charge to first responders. This Triple Tommie sees herself working for corporate mission-based organizations for the long haul, using the business of ethics as her compass.

I am a continuous learner.

Josh Janzen headshot

Josh Janzen

Thought Leader, Connector, Data Science Evangelist

Josh Janzen headshot


Josh Janzen, '10 MBA

The pace of change and opportunity is enormous, and Josh Janzen wants to help. This data science futurist sees the field of data evolving quickly. An ecosystem is needed to solve problems, and he’s using his expertise to inspire action.

A fast-moving leader in predictive analytics, he’s been a key innovator for companies like Best Buy, Life Time and UnitedHealth Group. Fluent in the language of business and ROI, Janzen is helping bridge the divide between tech and business.

A data evangelist, he’s a familiar face at Minneanalytics conferences, and actively recruits employers for resume-building student projects. Janzen also manages an emerging tech blog on Machine Learning, a personal passion of his.

Janzen credits the MBA experience with where he is today. His degree gave him the ability to impact strategy and expand his influence. As a trusted thought leader, he’s taking responsibility to help others in the field, too.

I feel a responsibility to give back.

Marcus Owens headshot

Marcus Owens

Activist, Convener, Mobilizer

Marcus Owens headshot


Marcus Owens, ’16 MBA

A champion of underserved communities, Marcus Owens gives voice to the social justice imperative where education, health and economic opportunity are everyone’s right. As Executive Director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), he mobilizes Black leaders and social innovators using data and collective impact strategies to change lives.

A fourth-generation North Minneapolis resident, he’s also a social entrepreneur, systems shifter and community developer. He founded project NEON over a decade ago to support aspiring entrepreneurs in north Minneapolis. Owens left a successful career at Target to be a force for growth in his local community.

His space of impact was transformed by many experiences in life. A study abroad program to South America opened his eyes to the systemic obstacles that people face around the world. A Leadership & Management course challenged him to explore his purpose. He uses his MBA every day to advance the mission and business needs of the organizations he serves.

Owens was also awarded a 2017 Bush Fellowship and recognized as a 2018 40 Under 40 by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Journal. He serves on the boards of Appetite for Change, Neighborhood Development Center and Propel Nonprofits.

We must view people as assets, then empower them to collaborate for change.

Deb Schoneman headshot

Deb Schoneman

Leader, Supporter, Influencer

Deb Schoneman headshot


Deb Schoneman, '96 MBA

When Deb Schoneman started as an intern at Piper Jaffray, she never dreamed she’d be co-leading the firm nearly 30 years later. As president for Piper Jaffray, she guides growth for an investment bank and institutional securities firm with a market cap of over $1 billion.

In a highly competitive industry, especially for women, Schoneman has risen to the top through grit and vulnerability. Being authentic can be harnessed for good, she's realized over time. Taking this approach has made her a more powerful leader and connect more deeply with others.

Schoneman credits the values she learned at St. Thomas as helping her grow in her career. Diversity of thought and empathy are important qualities in her job, and her MBA experience gave her a training ground to hone those skills.

A respected community leader, Schoneman uses her experience to benefit others. As vice chair on the Allina Health board of directors, she’s committed to improving patient care. Her contributions have impacted communities near and far: from students here in Minnesota to Haitian families over 2,000 miles away.
In her decades-long journey from intern to president, Schoneman has learned to embrace her whole self and encourages others to do the same.

Authenticity has made me a more powerful leader.

Reuben Thompson-Amarteifio Headshot

Reuben Thompson-Amarteifio

Change Manager, Mentor

Reuben Thompson-Amarteifio Headshot


Reuben Thompson-Amarteifio, '16 MBA

Reuben Thompson-Amarteifio is paving the way for others to believe big opportunities are in reach. His belief led to a job at Google after his MBA. He never saw himself at a company like Google, but now when he looks around, he sees people just like him. And he’s helping show others they can get there, too.

Experience has been an important teacher. As Campus Lead, Thompson-Amarteifio leaned into the Hult Prize, an international social entrepreneurship competition. He sharpened his skills in the Fowler Concept Challenge and the National Black MBA Case Competition. Early on, Thompson-Amarteifio never thought he could advance a business or social benefit idea. But he did so, successfully, and has taken on the responsibility to help others, too.

The theme of fellowship centers his career and guides his mentor work. Impacted by the True North Group experience as a student, he joined a small group of alumni after graduation. They meet regularly to reflect on the challenges they're facing, regain balance in their personal and professional lives, and grow as leaders together.

Flights and video chats keep him connected to the Twin Cities and students needing mentorship. The Career Services offices at St. Thomas and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at the University of Minnesota have him on speed dial. Thompson-Amarteifio has proven to be a mentor and change-maker, no matter what state he’s in.

I work to elevate thinking and open doors where I can.

Aleesha Webb stands in front of Village Bank

Aleesha Webb

Leader, Lifelong Learner, Connector

Aleesha Webb stands in front of Village Bank


Aleesha Webb, '10 MBA

Not only did an MBA equip Aleesha Webb with new coaching tools, but her business knowledge has grown exponentially. After working in senior finance roles, she’s now “returned home” to Village Bank, a local family-built business.

As president and vice chairwoman, Webb sits at the helm of the $300 million business built by her dad and multiple generations of employees and customers. She’s passionate about community banking, and cares deeply about protecting and supporting the “Village”. She's a relationship connector for customers, women and other emerging entrepreneurs in the community.

This finance leader is also a diligent community builder. She supports local non-profit organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Feed My Starving Children and Hope4 Youth and Achieve Services.

2020 will be a big year. Webb is joining a select group of Minnesota leaders for a behind-the-scenes look at what makes our state's economy tick. She's excited to bring her learnings back to Village Bank to continue their tradition of valuing employees and economic sustainability.

A 2016 (Real) Power 50, 2018 Women in Business, and two-time consecutive Top Women in Finance Circle of Excellence recipient, this banking powerhouse is going big places.

We’re family-built, community strong.

Stella Whitney-West headshot.

Stella Whitney-West

Community Wellness Advocate, Mobilizer

Stella Whitney-West headshot.


Stella Whitney-West, '06 MBA

Stella Whitney-West is passionate about people. As CEO of NorthPoint Health and Wellness, a federally qualified health center serving over 30,000 residents, she uses community engagement skills to inspire and ignite community action. A sense of responsibility as a female leader of color and unshakeable faith in humanity drives her work.

In 2017, Whitney-West influenced investors and policymakers to fund the expansion of the health center so it could meet the needs of its growing community and be more culturally responsive. NorthPoint will now be able to deliver services that moves people towards economic security, health and self-reliance. This leadership earned her recognition by the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST, a professional network of 500+ women in health care.

To expand her reach as a changemaker, she holds board seats at African American Leadership Forum (AALF) and the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers (MNACHC).

Whitney-West's leadership showcases the importance of an investment strategy that counteracts inequities. Her voice has ensured a more inclusive future for her community.

Ethics should be at the forefront as we govern ourselves and others.