Action Wheel Leadership

Donna Rae Scheffert

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Minnesota State University, Mankato - B.S. (Home Economics Education- emphasis Family Systems) Minnesota State University, Mankato - M.S. (Continuing Studies ¡V emphasis in Leadership Development) University of Minnesota - PhD. coursework complete (Adult Education and Human Development)


Biographical Information

Donna Rae Scheffert is an Emeritus Extension Professor of the University of Minnesota, an adjunct instructor at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, associate with Sentient Consultants and a Senior Consultant with Action Wheel Leadership. She has worked with:

  • public and nonprofit organizations in transforming their managers for high performance leadership,
  • students desiring to become more confident and competent leaders,
  • foundations developing and evaluating leadership development initiatives and
  • communities mobilizing for more and better leadership.

During her tenure at the University she also served in administrative leadership roles and as principal for major initiatives requiring personnel, policy, and fiscal management. She worked closely with Bob Terry for almost twenty years.

One interesting life experience was being held behind the Berlin Wall in the former German Democratic Republic while a group leader with a U of Mn exchange group in fall, 1989. As a first generation college graduate she likes to challenge people to find their own real and imagined walls and identify ways to lean against and/or change those walls to keep on climbing toward their desired destinations.

Scheffert is nationally known for writing and teaching about leadership. Her publications and workshops include: Enhancing Ethical Leadership, National Association of Family Community Education (1993), Leadership: Sustaining Action on Organizational and Community Issues, North Central Regional Rural Development Center (1993), Facilitation Resources, University of Minnesota (1999), Our Community Assessing Social Capital, University of Minnesota (2007), Committees That Work: Common Traps and Creative Solutions, University of Minnesota (2008), and Building Leadership Programs, University of Minnesota (2009). She has a chapter forthcoming in Working with Difficult Groups called Facilitating Multi-Cultural Groups, Jossey-Bass (2010).

Assessments she has co-developed include: Ethical Audit of Public Organizations, Civic Leadership Assessment and Sentient 360 (custom ready, web-based assessment). Certifications include: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Facilitation Trainer (Everyday Democracy), and LeadershipPlenty trainer (Pew Foundation for Civic Change).

Invitations to serve as a consultant have included the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Northwest Area Foundation as well as the Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Mn. Department of Transportation and fifteen Extension Services across the nation.

She received the Distinguished Extension Campus Faculty Award in 2002 from the University of Minnesota Extension and the FUTURES award from Minnesota Rural Futures Inc. in 2006.

Donna Rae is married to Peter who is a director at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. They have two school age children, Trent and Jenna. Northfield, MN is home. Locally she has chaired the grants committee of the community foundation, is a board member of the community action agency and leads a small group within her church. Her desk includes the saying "I am tired of being rewarded for my good work with more work" and strives to do meaningful work with vim and vigor.

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