Posted by Kate Ropchak
Craig and Patricia Neal, Co-Founders of the Center for Purposeful Leadership (CPL)
Craig and Patricia Neal, Co-Founders of the Center for Purposeful Leadership (CPL), have a vision: a just, inclusive, and interconnected world that works for all people, regardless of status, gender, or nationality. The pair wants to cultivate and inspire purposeful leaders who foster thriving cultures of trust, inclusion, and collaboration to create sustainable collective impact. Currently living in Boston, the duo has been married for 43 years, and underlined the importance of keeping work life separate from home life as part of a working relationship. Craig and Patricia both outlined formative moments in their lives that helped shape them into the leaders they are today: Craig attended the March on Washington at the age of 17, met Margaret Wheatley, and enjoys men’s work in the wilderness, while Patricia enjoys Whole Person Leadership for Women and doing the Sprint Triathlon every year, starting at age 60! Wow!
The Neals’ work is centered around one question: Who are you going to be when you do what you do? The couple originally promoted this in 1995, when they were first founded as Heartland Institute and Heartland Circle, while later became the Thought Leadership Gatherings, explaining that leadership is an inside game - it starts with you! Currently, they run a free Monday morning zoom session teaching how to create community, collaboration, and connection in a virtual space. All the work is based around the Convening Wheel Model to reach the highest possible outcome and generate authentic engagement, as well as the Mindstep Model to figure out what is close to your heart and what thread you’re following to your future. Craig and Patricia also explained the difference between ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ to the club: management is getting things done, but leadership is aspirational - it’s stepping forward every day to make a difference.
With CPL, the Neals wanted to remain cutting edge, so they delved into exploring and explaining purpose. What is purpose? According to them, it’s the belief that your life matters and that you make a difference, it’s the key to thriving leadership, meaningful work, and successful collaboration. It energizes us to create something completely new! Craig and Patricia invite all Rotarians to join their Monday morning sessions for a dose of community and collaboration.
Vocational: Aaron Casper
Aaron Casper was born in St. Paul, but grew up in Wisconsin and became a Packers fan. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1989 with a Political Science degree, and has been working as a benefits consultant for 25 years in the public sector, primarily with K-12 school districts and municipalities. Casper met his wife at the Applebee’s in Eden Prairie, and they have 4 children, all of which attended Eden Prairie Schools. His twin daughters are seniors at Hope College in Michigan, and 1 daughter is a junior at the University of Minnesota, while 1 son is a freshman at Eden Prairie High School. Aaron Casper is a dedicated member of Grace Church, Boy Scouts Troop 695, the Fire Department, and Board Chair of the Eden Prairie School Board, which he was elected to in 2019.
Future Meeting
  • January 16: Monica Opalinski, Opal Upcycle—“Upcycled & Recycled Home Furnishings”
  • January 30: Club Assembly
  • February 6: Rob Thompson, Director of Communications & Development—Performing Institute of Arts High School
  • Please contact Lyndon Moquist with any program ideas.
Duty Roster for next meeting—January 16, 2024:
  • Greeter: Sharon Borine
  • Check-In: Aaron Casper
  • Inspiration: Roy Terwilliger
  • Door Prize: Mark Lewis
  • Vocational: Tim Conners
  • Thank you to Nathan Nyren for his work securing an interim host family for Exchange Student Ama!
  • Swallowship will be held on Thursday, January 25, 2024 from 5:00—7:00pm at Unmapped Brewing Co, 14625 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka,
  • Eco Expo will be held April 20, 2024 at Eden Prairie Center Mall. Janna reviewed plans.
  • Drivers for Meals on Wheels are needed for the following dates in 2024. Please contact John Goergen if you can drive on any of these dates: January 30, February 27, March 26, April 23, May 21, June 18, July 16, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 15, December 3 and December 31. Thank you for your support of this important service!
Happy Fives
  • Irene K. enjoyed having her children/grandchildren from North Carolina for the holidays! Also, Irene wishes to acknowledge the great job that Mark Weber at Eden Prairie News did in covering the Lake Street Project.
  • Dan O’Brien had a wonderful Christmas with his family! Dan’s family enjoyed their Polish tradition of greeting oldest to youngest members with wafers.
  • Mary Jo S. expressed appreciation for Irene and Lori jumping in to help prepare for the Rotary Holiday Party!
  • Patrick D. has enjoyed teaching skiing at Buck Hill for many years. On December 21 he was able to be part of an interesting tour of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank!