Blois Olson, a well-known media specialist and commentator and a 1990 graduate of Mounds View High School, will be the keynote speaker for the eighth annual Partnering for Education luncheon in April, sponsored by the Mounds View Schools Education Foundation.
After working with several political campaigns following college, Olson started his first company at age 26 and has continued to work in public relations, communication and media. He is currently founder and CEO of Fluence Media, a media design and consulting company and is a regular political commentator and analyst on WCCO radio as well as other media and news organizations, including CNN, MSNBC, Public Radio, New York Times and others. He was named one of the Top Marketers in 2012 by Minnesota Business magazine and one of “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” by Twin Cities Business magazine in 2011.
Olson grew up in Shoreview and attended school in the Mounds View District. He states that he takes great pride in having spent his public education years in the Mounds View schools and believes that the district is one of the best around. He speaks with great fondness of the opportunities that were available to him during those years and the teachers at every level who had an impact. He is particularly grateful to teachers who, during times when he was experiencing challenges outside of school, helped him discover “how to get the best out of myself” and that this insight and practice has lasted.
Olson speaks positively of the many relationships that he still has with former teachers and students. Fellow alums, coaches and teachers, including Jim DeMay and Jonathan Weinhagen, have been mentors and remain close friends. A group of fellow alumni, who call themselves the “Mounds View Mafia”, meet regularly and have supported each other through career development and life changes. For Olson, “friends and relationships have developed over years and are deep as a result of shared common experiences and core values.”
As a child, Olson was also a paper boy- including for the family of Sandy Martin (the current mayor of Shoreview). The work required delivering papers early mornings and late afternoons as well as collecting payments and keeping records. According to Olson, doing this work as a young child, develops discipline and “wires you in a certain way” for building relationships and a business sense which can later translate into professional goals and skills.
The value and quality of education that Olson received in MV schools became apparent early in his college career. He went on to the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh majoring in political science and journalism and had a memorable experience in his first political science course. During the first week of class, the professor was comparing models of government throughout the world. Olson offered his thoughts and insights on the topic and, after class, was asked by the professor where he had learned about comparative government- the answer to which was MVHS. Olson knew then that he had been better prepared for university study than many of his classmates.
Olson has continued to practice and demonstrate the value of ‘getting the best out of one’s self’ as he has grown professionally and personally. He is making a difference by modeling the art of listening followed by effective communication, serving the public’s need to know and be informed.