About Us

Corey Bonnema and Jerilyn Veldof are Twin Cities based trainers and consultants who know how frustrating “Minnesota Nice” can be.

Transplant Jerilyn Veldof
Jerilyn Veldof

Although Jerilyn has lived in the great state of Minnesota for almost 20 years, her New Jersey roots still make her feel like a fish out of [lake] water.  Throughout this time, however, she’s learned a thing or two about Minnesota Nice and developed some useful coping skills, hallelujah!  Jerilyn employs these skills daily as a trainer, instructional designer, and facilitator.  

In her day job, she designs learning and development opportunities for customers and sales employees at a global manufacturer in a suburb of Minneapolis. But what really drove her to Minnesota Nice was as an organization development consultant at the University of Minnesota in the library system. There she focused on helping staff, teams, and the organization as a whole work more efficiently and effectively to thrive in an uncertain future.  Helping outsiders adjust to Minnesota culture was a constant thread.

As a trainer, she has roamed the country supporting librarians and library workers in the areas of instructional design, e-learning, and usability and has published about a dozen articles and book chapters, plus a book called Creating the One-Shot Library Workshop.

Outside of work she’s raising two young Minnesotans who she promises will *not* be passive-aggressive.  

Minnesotan Corey Bonnema
Corey Bonnema

Except for a couple years earlier in his career spent working, bowling, and going to fish frys in Wisconsin,
Corey has lived in Minnesota most of his life.  As a training and development consultant with 18 years of
experience in both the public and private sector he has always wanted to help his friends, peers and the
managers he trains overcome the negative aspects of Minnesota Nice. 

Corey Bonnema is President of Manager Builders, a leadership consulting and training business with the
mission to improve organizational performance of small to medium sized businesses, higher education
institutions, and state and city governments by building skilled, engaged and tech-savvy managers.  He is
also an instructor in the College of Continuing Education and a lecturer in the Humphrey School of Public
Affairs at the University of Minnesota.  

While working in various training and development roles at such companies as AT&T, Agribank and Target he became convinced that a distinct set of knowledge and skills was needed to address the challenges coaching transplants.

When not working he enjoys spending time with his lovely wife Susan and using his “assertiveness” skills to convince his very stubborn basset hound, Ruby,  the importance of being nice to other dogs.

What workshops and sessions do we offer?


Introduction to MN Nice in the Workplace

What exactly is Minnesota Nice?  You’ll learn what it is and where it comes from, how Minnesota Nice plays out at work, and strategies to mitigate or leverage Minnesota Nice to create a more effective workplace with more effective employees.

Introduction to MN Nice for HR Professionals

This presentation addresses the impact of Minnesota Nice on the hiring process and identifies what HR resource professionals can do to improve on-boarding and retention of transplants. The impact of Minnesota Nice on performance management (giving feedback, performance coaching, and delivering annual performance reviews) can also be covered.

Introduction to MN Nice for Project Managers

This presentation focuses on how Minnesota Nice impacts projects and what Project Managers can do to ensure that their projects are successful. It takes “Introduction to MN Nice in the Workplace” to the next level for PMs.

Introduction to MN Nice for Leaders

This presentation highlights the challenges and problems of Minnesota Nice for leaders. This information is framed using the research James Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner have done on the characteristics of admired leaders.  


Workshops focus on developing hands-on skills.  There is ample time for discussion and practice.

Doing Business in Minnesota

Emotional restraint, resistance to change and aversion to conflict are hallmarks of Minnesota Nice. These characteristics can make doing business with Minnesotans very challenging.  In this workshop participants will learn how to deal with each of these three core challenges.

Effective Leadership in Minnesota

Engaging and leading Minnesotans takes skill and finesse that sometimes takes years for a transplant to learn. Participants will get a jump-start on effective leadership Minnesota style at this workshop. Retain more employees and run effective teams.

Giving and Receiving Feedback in Minnesota

Minnesota Nice frequently prevents managers from giving candid negative feedback as well  as delivering positive feedback on a frequent basis. In this workshop we explore why these problems occur and what steps manager can take to overcome them.

Communicating Effectively in Minnesota

This workshop explores communication styles from both the perspective of the transplant and the Minnesotan and helps participants find ways to improve their own style as well as communicate effectively with styles different from themselves. Includes ways to encourage and support healthy communication and give and receive effective feedback.

Conflict Mitigation & Facilitating Differences

Conflict avoidance and polite friendliness are two especially challenging characteristics of Minnesota Nice in the workplace. In this workshop participants explore how these play out in the workplace and learn several tools to help mitigate conflict and support and encourage divergent thinking.  

Building Connections & Networking in Minnesota

For transplants one of the most challenging aspects of living and working in Minnesota is building connections and networking. This workshop gives participants tangible tips and approaches for successfully connecting in Minnesota and building personal and professional networks.

Change Management in Minnesota

This workshop provides participants a basic understanding of foundational change management concepts and reviews why Minnesotans are most resistant to change than others. Transplants are often purposely brought in to lead change efforts. We will explore what steps transplants can take to improve the likelihood of success.

Understanding Style Differences (MBTI) in Minnesota

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung, measures an individual’s personality preferences over four dimensions and is often used to improve group dynamics.  In this workshop participants will explore the connection between the four MBTI dimensions and the characteristics of Minnesota Nice.