Lars Leafblad, MBA

Co-founder, Principal


Lars has spent his career doing what he loves best—connecting people with one another and with new opportunities to develop their careers and connections.

Lars has experience across the board: he worked in a leadership development program at GE; a high tech start-up during the Internet boom (; helped launch young alumni programs for his alma mater, St. Olaf College; served as chief development officer for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota; co-chaired the civic practice at another Twin Cities-based executive search firm, KeyStone Search; led the Bush Fellowship leadership programs for the Bush Foundation and founded a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization called Pollen.

Along the way Lars has founded several different networking groups and nonprofit community networks, including the St. Olaf Alumni Partnership, Left Lane, Common Grounds, St. Olaf MBA Association, and the “40 under 40” Global Alumni Society. 

This is my dream job. Being retained by our clients to serve as their connectors-in-residence and talent ambassadors to the marketplace is truly my vocation. No one sets out saying ‘I’m going to be an executive recruiter when I grow up’, but it’s definitely my calling!


Founder of Pollen, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization comprised of more than 12,000 civic-minded members who share ideas, career and civic engagement opportunities, and peer-to-peer recognition to advance the common good in the region. Pollen is now led by executive director Jamie Millard.


Lars earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Olaf College (where he also played soccer, served as vice president of the Student Government Association and founded a student-alumni networking group). Lars has an MBA in strategic management from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He was also selected to participate as a Humphrey Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2008. Lars is also a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).


  • “40 Under 40” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

  • “The (Real) Power 50” by Minnesota Business magazine

  • “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” by Twin Cities Business magazine

  • “100 People to Help You Thrive in 2013” by Twin Cities Business magazine

  • Lars has appeared on Minnesota Public Radio’s Daily Circuit and Midmorning programs as well as Twin Cities Public Television’s Almanac.

Civic Leadership

  • Member, Board of Directors, Pollen 2016 - 2018.

  • Member, Advisory Board, 2012 - present

  • Member, Advisory Board, Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota 2012 – present

  • Member, Membership Committee, Minnesota Council on Foundations, 2014

  • Member, Board of Directors, 2008-2012

  • Member, Advisory Board, Salvation Army of the Twin Cities 2008-2010

Fun Facts

  • Lars lives in the Twin Cities and is a Dad to four amazing children.

  • In his free time, Lars enjoys spending time with his family, reading, coaching soccer, playing poker and is a novice "rock-hound" who loves hunting for Minnesota’s state gemstone, the Lake Superior agate.

  • He also spent two summers in college working on the Famous Dave’s National BBQ Touring Team, attended a live taping of Saturday Night Live in 1995 and has studied abroad in South Africa.