Behind the Board

Get to know the Hennepin Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors. In Q&As below, board members share their first interactions with Hennepin Healthcare, why they joined the board, their goals, and what's important to them.

Ryan Antkowiak

What was your first interaction with HHS?

Shortly after moving to the Twin Cities, a client of mine was joining the Hennepin Healthcare Young Professionals Group and asked me to join her since she knew I was new to the area and looking to expand my network. I joined to learn more about Hennepin Healthcare and to meet new people.

What motivated you to serve on the Foundation Board of Directors?

As a member of the finance committee, I got to know Theresa Pesch and Jim Young so when they personally asked me to join the board, I gladly accepted. I love seeing how Hennepin Healthcare makes positive changes in its patient base and broader community. A lot of my family is in healthcare – my dad was a doctor, my mom was a nurse, and three of my sisters-in-law are nurses, so healthcare has always been part of my life.

Ryan Antkowiak and his family on vacation in the mountains

What have you discovered, what have been some of your ‘ah ha’ moments?

Hennepin Healthcare is known for its trauma center, but I’ve been fascinated to learn about its other strengths. I had no idea how many medical professionals have been trained through Hennepin Healthcare. Their commitment to mental health is critical. As a board member, I want to spread the word that Hennepin Healthcare is a high-quality institution that can compete with any metro hospital. It’s a top-notch trauma center with so much to offer and be proud of.

What do you hope to accomplish as a member?

I want to continue learning and giving perspective when it’s needed. I want to help move the mission forward and play a meaningful role in shaping Hennepin Healthcare.

What keeps you motivated?

I think it’s really important for people to love where they live, work and spend their free time. A lot has changed in our city in the past couple of years. Hennepin Healthcare’s effect on downtown is inspiring. Whether on purpose or not, Hennepin Healthcare is helping to revive downtown. The continuing development of the campus and events like Adventurama are vital components of downtown Minneapolis.

What role does philanthropy play at HHS?
This has been part of my learning. I had no idea how many of Hennepin Healthcare’s services have no direct funding – some are 100% from philanthropy. That’s huge. Philanthropy makes it all work.

How do you inspire people to consider donating to HHS?
This is evolving for me. In my professional role as a financial advisor, a lot of my clients give or aspire to give. Being knowledgeable about philanthropy and the ways donors can give is key. I help clients quantify how they can give. In a direct sense, I have been involved with fundraising for the Foundation and will continue to do so via efforts with Adventurama and other initiatives.

Your ideas for inspiring a diverse and engaged group of supporters for the mission of Hennepin Healthcare?

There’s a real opportunity here. Hennepin Healthcare serves one of the most diverse groups of people in Minnesota. We have to continue telling these stories because people love to hear stories and be a part of them. Hennepin Healthcare is about community, diversity, equity and inclusion. We have the audience right in front of us, the downtown community and the employees of Hennepin Healthcare – downtown’s largest employer.

Your favorite part about serving on the Board?

I find healthcare to be such a confusing industry. Being on the board gives me access to information and people who are leaders in healthcare. This helps inform my healthcare choices and helps me better understand the challenges of healthcare. I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know other board members and HHS and HHF leadership.

Tell us about yourself outside of being a Board member –

Professionally, I’m a financial advisor with Baird. I enjoy helping my clients get the most out of their lives. On a personal note, I’m married and have two sons and two dogs. I’m very active in my boys' lives. I’m almost always coaching at least one of their sports and even performed in a community play with my youngest son. I love music, running, traveling and baseball. I can geek out on baseball so much that I used to host a baseball podcast.