St. Kate’s alumna receives Kate Berman Leadership Award from YWCA

Pam Stegora Axberg ’85 was honored for her lifelong commitment to service and leadership.
Pam Stegora Axberg is awarded the Kate Berman Award

Pam Stegora Axberg ’85 (at right) celebrates her award with president and CEO of YWCA Minneapolis Shelley Carthen Watson. Photo courtesy of YWCA Minneapolis. 

Last month at their signature annual fundraising event Empower Possible, YWCA Minneapolis named Pam Stegora Axberg ’85 the recipient of the second annual Kate Berman Leadership Award. The award honors leaders in the Twin Cities who have demonstrated dedication to community service and had significant involvement with YWCA Minneapolis.

The award is named after the late Kate Berman, who was board chair for YWCA Minneapolis.  Kate was a servant leader, someone who was passionate about her community, who constantly looked for ways to give back, and Pam is very much in that role,” said Shelley Carthen Watson, president and CEO of YWCA Minneapolis. 

Axberg is currently the chief executive officer of Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities, and was previously senior vice president of network operations with UnitedHealthcare. She is also a Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Fellow and was recently elected to the New Brighton City Council. She serves as treasurer on the board of directors for YWCA USA, officer and board member of Girl Scouts River Valley, and board member of Topline Credit Union. 

“That willingness to be curious, that willingness to learn and take advantage of all those capable, smart, brilliant, talented people around you, collectively has really been something that has helped the organizations that I've been in,” said Axberg in a video by YWCA Minneapolis. “In some cases I'm a coach, in some cases I'm a role model, in some cases I'm a teacher, in some cases I'm a doer. What's the best leadership model? It depends, because I think you have to be able to do all of those things just at different times and with different people."

Axberg graduated from St. Catherine University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics before earning a Master of Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She is also the parent of a recent alumna, Liz Axberg ’20.

Axberg, 2023 Woman of Power Award winner Atum Azzahir, and the other honorees were honored at Empower Possible on April 27. 

“Both Atum Azzahir and Pam Stegora Axberg exemplify the values of YWCA and have demonstrated commitment, enthusiasm and support for our mission in their lives and careers,” said Carthen Watson.

“We are so pleased to see Pam receive this well-deserved award. Through her life and work, Pam embodies what it means to be a St. Catherine graduate who is working for the betterment of the world, just as Kate Berman did,” said St. Catherine University president ReBecca Koenig Roloff ’76, who attended the event in support of Axberg.

“I hope I can honor YWCA and Kate Berman’s legacy by continuing to lead as I have been encouraged by you — and actually expected and demanded by many of you in this room — even when the work is hard. Leadership is not a solo activity. Leadership requires evolving, learning, adapting, occasionally making mistakes and recovering. Thank you for letting me stand on your shoulders.”

Watch Pam Stegora Axberg's acceptance speech.