What is Pollen?
Pollen is a community composed of civic-minded connectors who share ideas, career and civic engagement opportunities and peer-to-peer recognition to create positive impact and personal and professional growth for its members.
Web issues of Pollen are published twice a month, with content appearing on both this site and in the business section of MinnPost.
Who runs Pollen?
You do! Most of Pollen's content is crowdsourced from member-submitted content and our writers are the people who make up the Pollen community.
No, really, who runs Pollen?
Check out the all volunteer staff behind Pollen!
Lars Leafblad founded Pollen in 2009. Lars spent three years curating, writing, and producing all of the content in the Pollen newsletter, which was published on MinnPost twice monthly starting in 2010. Over those three years Pollen's community expanded to include over 4,0000 members, highly active Twitter and Facebook pages, and an extremely engaged LinkedIn group.
In April of 2011 Lars and Jamie Millard of Paper Darts met each other at a Young Nonprofit Professionals Network event. Both big-picture thinkers with minds for creative/social entrepreneurialism, Lars and Jamie began talking about a possible Pollen-Paper Darts partnership in the future. One year and several more meetings later (with the rest of the PD team involved), BePollen.com was born. Everything on this site is a result of the collaborative ethos of the partnership.
After two mind-melding years of Lars and the Paper Darts team working side by side to produce and curate an issue of Pollen twice a month, on August 15, 2013, Lars announced a shift in Pollen leadership. For the first time in four and a half years, Lars would be taking a step back and Jamie Millard and Meghan Murphy of Paper Darts took a step forward. While Jamie, Meghan, and other volunteers lead day-to-day operations as well as long-term visioning for Pollen, Lars remains, and will always remain active in the Pollen community in his permanent role as founder, #1 cheerleader, and advocate.
Want more? Here's the full, seedy story:
Featuring in-depth articles, eye-popping graphics, and enhanced navigation, BePollen.com takes the professional community building that Pollen is known for, douses it in color, throws it on the Jumbo-tron, and injects it with a triple shot of espresso to boot.
It’s a cross-sector collaboration at its most innovative, organic, and inclusive. The result of an unlikely partnership between the principal of an executive search firm and young literary arts editors, BePollen.com represents a new intersection of the arts and business worlds. Lars Leafblad, creator of Pollen and the Twin Cities’ “Most Networked Man,” and Jamie Millard and Meghan Murphy, Co-Founders of Paper Darts, came together over the mutual desire to connect, communicate, and inspire.
Though each publication serves its own unique audience, Pollen and Paper Darts are intertwined in philosophy and foundation. Both grassroots organizations are entirely volunteer-run, labor of love projects, and both firmly believe that ingenuity and inspiration are best achieved when born out of collaboration. This “do-it-together” spirit set the stage for BePollen.com, with each organization asking “What would happen if...?” and coming together to answer that question in the most innovative and intuitive way.
By combining the professional pluck of Pollen with the imaginative moxie of Paper Darts, BePollen.com encourages the Twin Cities arts and business worlds to flourish together in a highly welcoming and member supported online community. Retaining the camaraderie of the beloved community-sourced newsletter, but stepping beyond the simple scroll of line-by-line updates, BePollen.com promises an experience representative of the passion of Pollen, Paper Darts, and the many people that make up their thriving communities, all centered in one new home.
History of Pollen
February 25, 2009
Lars emails the first issue of “Larsifesto,” Pollen’s original incarnation, to 200 of his most networked, spam-tolerant friends.
Larsifesto officially rebrands as Pollen, better reflecting the newsletter’s communal nature and member-sourced content structure.
December 1, 2009
The first issue of newly rebranded Pollen is shared with over 500 subscribers.
Lars teams up with Minnpost to provide a new avenue for expanded content sharing and membership opportunities within the Pollen community. The Yellow Brick Road’s got nothin’ on this one.
July 15, 2010
Minnpost publishes its first issue of Pollen.
September 30, 2010
Lars explains the childhood roots of Pollen’s creation (balloons! Red yarn!) in “Everything I Know About Networking I Learned in 3rd Grade,” a guest post for Fast Horse’s Idea Peepshow blog.
Pollen earns its stripes as part of Minnesota Business magazine’s “The Minnesota Business Encyclopedia of 2010,” which names the most notable business people, places, and companies of each year.
April 26, 2011
Lars and Jamie Millard of Paper Darts meet at a YNPN-Twin Cities event and swap idea sparks about a possible Paper Darts-Pollen partnership.
Pollen’s extremely engaged LinkedIn group breaks 4,000 members. Lars erects a handmade “Kool Kids Club” sign for the tree house headquarters.
April 1, 2012
Pollen and Paper Darts make their partnership bona fide official with pinkie swears, spit handshakes, and the launch of BePollen.com.
August 15, 2013
Lars announced that Jamie Millard and Meghan Murphy would be taking leadership for day-to-day operations and long-term visioning for Pollen. Lars takes a step back and transitions into a founder and #1 cheerleader role. Jamie, Meghan, and other volunteers shepherd Pollen into its next four years of connecting leaders to create positive impact for our communities.