Marilyn Carlson Nelson is former chairman and CEO of Carlson, a global travel and hospitality company headquartered in Minneapolis, which includes Radisson Blu, Radisson Red, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns & Suites and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
Nelson has appeared on the Forbes magazine list as one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” and was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report. Under Marilyn’s leadership, Carlson became the first global travel and hospitality company based in the U.S. to sign the industry’s international “Code of Conduct” to protect children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. In 2013, Carlson was the first business to receive the Presidential Award for “Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking.” Nelson is an inductee in the French Legion d’Honneur for her exemplary leadership and service to humanity and is also the recipient of the Oslo Business for Peace Award.
Nelson serves on the boards of the United Nations Global Compact, The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and The National Endowment for Democracy. She is the past board chair of the Mayo Clinic and is a former board member of ExxonMobil and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Nelson graduated from Smith College with a degree in international economics and is the best-selling author of “How We Lead Matters: Reflections on a Life of Leadership.”