Shawntera Hardy was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to serve as Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) on April 14, 2016. Commissioner Hardy – who has pledged her strong commitment to building an economy that works for all Minnesotans, everywhere in Minnesota – brings policy expertise, organizational management, and a wealth of public and private sector experience to DEED. As Commissioner of the state’s principal economic development agency, she is focused on creating jobs; promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention; advancing state workforce training and development; and supporting international trade and community development.
Prior to serving as Commissioner of DEED, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton and then Lt. Governor Tina Smith. In that role, she worked on a wide range of policy and operational issues. As a member of the Governor’s senior leadership team, she coordinated the Administration’s response to crises impacting the state, including floods, fires and public health emergencies. Commissioner Hardy was instrumental in advancing the Administration’s policy initiatives, helping manage Minnesota’s state agencies, and expanding the state’s community outreach efforts. She also helped lead the Governor’s efforts to diversify the ranks of state government, and expand economic opportunity for Minnesotans of color.
Commissioner Hardy previously worked in senior leadership positions at several Minnesota organizations, including as a policy director at Fresh Energy, where she worked on environmental and transportation policy, and as manager of government relations for HealthPartners’ hospital division. She served as a city planner for the City of Saint Paul and as a legislative assistant in the Ohio House of Representatives. She is a co-founder and the director of strategic growth for Civic Eagle – a civic technology and data analytics company committed to developing tools that bridge civic engagement and social networking. She is also the founder of PolicyGrounds Consulting, LLC – a policy and planning strategy firm.
She was selected as a Twin Cities Business 100 People to know in 2017, as a Minnesota Business Magazine 2016 (Real) Power 50 Finalist, as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 2015 "Forty Under Forty" honoree, and as a participant in the 2015 Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School. Commissioner Hardy is committed to volunteering and has served on the boards of various community organizations.
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Commissioner Hardy holds a Bachelor of Science in Consumer Affairs from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning – which she attended as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) fellow.