Public service drives board chair

Meet Commissioner Marion Greene

Meet Commissioner Marion Greene

Servant leadership runs in Hennepin County Board Chair Marion Greene's blood.

“I grew up in a family where public service was highly valued," Greene said.

In January, Greene began her second term as a commissioner representing District 3, which includes Southwest Minneapolis and St. Louis Park. This is her first year as chair.

Greene's desire to work in public sector started early: The daughter of U.S. Foreign Service staff, Greene and her family moved overseas when she was age 3. That experience shaped both her education and how she saw the world—and the United States. By the time she was a junior in high school, she and her family had lived in Chennai, India; Casablanca, Morocco; Brasilia, Brazil; and Islamabad, Pakistan.

“As part of that experience, I developed an understanding that the United States was wealthy in terms of resources," Greene said, adding she also noticed differences in people's access to resources at home and abroad.

After earning her bachelor's degree at Swarthmore College, she worked in brand management for Pillsbury Company and General Mills. Her long-standing interest in health led to roles in health policy and reimbursement at Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical.

State legislature prepared Greene for commissioner role

In 2012, she ran for and won a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Greene authored a bill to fund all-day kindergarten and co-authored a bill that helped create the Minnesota Health Exchange known as MNSure.

As a freshman legislator, Greene said she knew she needed to build relationships with other lawmakers. But after one two-year term, the boundaries of her district were redrawn and she went back to St. Jude.

Still driven by a desire to serve the public, Greene ran for commissioner after former Commissioner Gail Dorfman announced her retirement.

“The county has an incredible reputation and is held in great regard for doing great work," Greene said, adding she is interested in helping the county continue to improve.

Areas of focus

“Disparities are at the top of the list" as an area of focus for Greene. She said she's excited about the work the county has started. Improving housing stability and criminal justice reform are among other goals for her.

None of the work the county has done or will undertake in 2019 would be possible without its staff.

“I want our staff to know how valued they are. They're so important and so appreciated," Greene said.

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