Our Story

Rural Minnesota Education and Workforce Development

Our co-founders, Dr. Mary Eaton and Dr. Robin Larson both have roots in rural Minnesota. The Idea Circle grew out of decades of experience in both higher education and workforce development backgrounds. Over time, we recognized a need for a different solution to company issues: customized solutions specific to each company and sometimes for each person. Thus, The Idea Circle was born: education and workforce development remain at the heart of our business.

We have stayed close to our rural roots, and are located in a region of Minnesota that is teaming with a large population, but one that is spread out over a great distance. Imagine a population with the challenges typically found in an inner city. Now imagine those same challenges coupled with the need to travel great distances with access to fewer resources. People, companies, and communities in this region require unique solutions to their education and workforce problems, and that is our passion.

Dr. Mary Eaton

Dr. Mary Eaton brings executive leadership and innovative ideas to The Idea Circle team. As President of The Idea Circle, she has been the catalyst for private and public sector collaboration and workforce development opportunities in multiple industrial sectors. Having lived and worked in Northern Minnesota for 45 years, her unique perspective enables her to identify existing resources to create unique partnerships that promote prosperity.

Dr. Robin Larson

Dr. Robin Larson brings an organizational development approach to innovation and The Idea Circle team. As Chief Operations Officer of The Idea Circle and an Organizational Psychologist, she has a unique ability to quickly assess complex situations and translate them into opportunities with a plan for action. Robin has over 35 years of technical expertise including project design, development and grant writing. This has been particularly helpful for companies who have a sense of where they want to go; can identify focus areas; but, have difficulty knowing how to prioritize and set direction.