Q&A with Shaun Hainey

Shaun Hainey joined the Northspan team in July 2023 as a consultant and Northland Connection program manager. He provides support to Northspan partners through strategic planning, economic analysis, demographic data, information on area real estate, and more.

Shaun brings a varied background that ranges from lobbying for broadband and education, to policy work, nonprofit management, real estate law, and property valuation. He is is a graduate of the University of Minnesota–Morris and has also completed leadership training through the Gamaliel Foundation. He is currently pursuing certification in Technology of Participation facilitation methods through the Institute of Cultural Affairs, emphasizing focused conversations, consensus workshops, and action planning.

How did you join the Northspan team? What drew you to your role?

Having reached a point in my life where I was looking for more meaningful impact in the work that I do, I spent three days in the woods reflecting on what I wanted to do, where I could do the most for the greater good, and what truly utilized my talents. I came to a clear conclusion that community and economic development was where I wanted to be. Two days after discussing with a friend in workforce development, he sent me a link for the job opening at Northspan; the timing was perfect on both ends and the rest is history.

What projects are you most excited about right now and in the months ahead?

Honestly, it’s all exciting. I’ve spent a lot of my personal time over the years working in community and organizational development and I’m excited about getting to spend the majority instead of the margins of my time working to improve the region’s prosperity.

I’m excited about the range of impact from working with the East Range Joint Powers Board just minutes from home to the further reaches of northern Minnesota where I’m not as familiar and will have to grow new networks for myself.

I really enjoy networking to bring people and resources together to maximize impact, and look forward to getting to know about initiatives in process and what I can do to help them grow. I’m also looking forward to continuing to learn another methodology for strategic planning and to share some of my own approach developed through involvement in faith-based initiatives which focuses on shared values as the cornerstone of organizing.

How’s it going so far? Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

It’s amazing the empowering effect of walking into a group of effective people clear in what they want to do and actively seeking ways to do it better. The biggest limit I’ve hit so far is the capacity of my calendar to keep up with the opportunities to network and develop resources.

You can connect with Shaun at shainey@northspan.org or (218) 481-7737