The Woodbury Community Foundation’s team has welcomed Lori Nelson as its first full-time executive director, allowing her to give back to her community. “Out of the 20-plus years I’ve been working I have worked exclusively in nonprofits, and I felt that I would bring that kind of experience to the foundation,” Nelson says.
A Woodbury resident since 1993, Nelson started her career as a lawyer. Although she enjoyed her legal work, Nelson says she wanted more of an advocacy role. “I like being able to work with different groups of people and to solve either community problems or other items of contention by bringing people together,” Nelson says. “I’m your classic do-gooder.”
In the nonprofit world, Nelson worked with the National Parks Conservation Association and as executive director at Friends of the Minnesota Valley. She later transitioned into business and community development as the president of the Richfield Chamber of Commerce and CEO of the Richfield Tourism Promotion board. Although her work was important, she wanted to be home. “I really wanted to be able to work in my own community to advance initiatives and help residents within Woodbury,” Nelson says. This new position gives Nelson the opportunity to benefit her community by broadening the impact of the foundation and taking it to the next level.