pexels shvets production 7176319 Pioneer Management Consulting Certified as a Women-Owned Business WBE
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Pioneer Management Consulting Certified as a Women-Owned Business

Pioneer Management Consulting has been certified as a women-owned business (WBE). Laura Nelson joined Molly Koenen and Brian Westerhaus as an owner. Nelson was promoted to general manager of Pioneer’s Minneapolis office last December.

This big step is one of many for Nelson in recent years. She joined Pioneer as a Practice Director in 2019 after working in change management at various Fortune 500 companies.

Nelson states:

“I am honored that Pioneer has received the WBE certification. I’m grateful to Brian and Molly for their trust in me to co-lead this organization. I’ve personally been inspired by many other female leaders throughout my career, and I consider myself to be a huge champion of women in business. Above all, I see this certification as an opportunity to highlight the diversity of our organization.”

Getting certified as a women-owned business is also an important step for Pioneer; it’s a rigorous process that ultimately requires approval from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) or from a WBE program administered by a city, county, or state.

To qualify as a WBE, a company must:

  • Be a for-profit business located in the United States
  • Be at least 51 percent owned by a woman, or a group of women who, but for an inheritance, contributed a proportionate amount of capital to acquire ownership
  • Have a governing board that’s controlled by a woman or a group of women, when applicable
  • Have a female top executive officer who’s responsible for daily operations, and who has expertise in the firm’s primary business activity
  • Have female owners who are U.S. citizens or legal residents

According to recent data, the national average of women-owned small businesses per 100,000 is 3,390.49. Unfortunately, Minnesota is behind the curve, with just 3,189 out of every 100,000 businesses being women-owned.

Walking the walk toward diversity, equity and inclusion

Pioneer has long been committed to honoring its DEI initiatives in thought, word, and deed.

Together with over 1,500 like-minded CEOs and business leaders, Brian Westerhaus signed the CEO Action Pledge, promising to create more inclusive cultures while not being afraid of having difficult conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Honest conversations build award-winning cultures

In 2022, the Star Tribune ranked Pioneer fourth on its list of Top 200 Workplaces for small businesses. Its ranking is based on the following criteria:

  • Employee opinions on engagement
  • Organizational health
  • Overall satisfaction

The growing firm also received the Communications Excellence Award among all organizations for creating a space where employees can be seen and heard, keeping up-to-date on its initiatives and vision, and creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging.

The company currently has a 99 percent employee engagement score, which the firm believes is also a significant factor in its 97 percent client satisfaction score.

About Pioneer Management Consulting

Pioneer Management Consulting is a business management consulting firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its Denver office, located in the Lower Highlands District, was opened earlier this year. Pioneer was founded by Brian Westerhaus in 2009 to help midsize to enterprise-scale businesses navigate complex transformation projects through four disciplines: strategy, execution, organizational change, and data analytics. Its core values—humble, hungry, and connected—inform all of the firm’s decisions. Learn more at

For more on “Walking the Walk toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” and entrepreneurial advice, read Leslie Short on Reshaping Workplace Diversity.

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