Vivian Jenkins Nelsen

Vivian Professional photo 2014

President & CEO

 Vivian Jenkins Nelsen is the co-founder (with her late husband George) of INTER-RACE, a diversity think tank located at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Together, the Nelsen’s founded The Hypatia Group, Inc., a management consulting firm.  Nelsen is a Senior Fellow at Augsburg and adjunct professor at Luther Seminary. She is nationally recognized as a diversity practitioner, trainer, planner and researcher. Vivian speaks to thousands of people each year on leadership, change, and diversity. 

Nelsen serves as a consultant to CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies. Corporate clients include United Health Group, The St. Paul Companies, The Federal Reserve Bank, The Mayo Clinic, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics. She worked with senior executives of major international companies, such as Scandinavian Airlines at the University of Lund Business School in Sweden.  She serves many organizations as a planner, facilitator, trainer and board member. Nelsen teaches and publishes on inter-group dialogue, group facilitation, diversity, conflict and grief.

  • Nelsen was a Bush Leadership Fellow at Harvard University & Distinguished Alumna of Dana College
  • Nelsen is former Director of Administration of the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She served as Director of Undergraduate Human Relations Training Programs for The University of Minnesota and Hamline University 
  • Nelsen has authored eleven books, many articles and essays. She is co-editor of the widely acclaimed book, Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death and Grief: Diversity in Universality 
  • She was invited to both Carter and Reagan White Houses, and recognized by President Ford for her resettlement work of Southeast Asian refugees 
  • Nelsen received Governor Jesse Ventura’s “Governor’s Commendation for Building Bridges Between People” 
  • Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton declared May 9, 2000 Vivian Jenkins Nelsen Day in Minneapolis
  • President Obama awarded her the nation’s highest volunteer award, “President’s Lifetime Volunteer Call to Service” Award

Nelsen was Co-President of the MN League of Women Voter’s Board; Secretary of the MN Science Museum Board and a member of the board of the MacPhail Center for Music. She is past board president of Search Institute and served on the Guthrie Theatre Board. Nelsen was the founding chair of the Minnesota Legislature’s Academic Excellence Foundation and the Minnesota Chapter of the Political Congress of Black Women.