After 45 years’ service, Rise’s Noren announces upcoming retirement

One of Minnesota’s longest-tenured disability service leaders is winding up her career. Lynn Noren, President and CEO of Rise, has […]

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One of Minnesota’s longest-tenured disability service leaders is winding up her career. Lynn Noren, President and CEO of Rise, has announced her retirement after 45 years of dedicated service. 

In announcing her plans, Noren said, “I wanted to share with you that I will be retiring from Rise, likely by the end of 2024. I have been working with the Rise Board of Directors for some time to plan for my retirement, so while this news is now being shared publicly, it’s important to know we’ve been planning for the transition for a while. This year, I will celebrate 45 years of service to Rise—that’s a long run! I have loved every minute of my tenure, and I will forever be inspired by the work of this incredible organization.” 

The change will mark the first leadership transition at the Twin Cities-based disability services provider in more than a decade. Noren will be retiring when a new leader is in place. The Rise board is working with a national search firm to recruit qualified candidates. Updates can be found at rise.org/ceo-transition/. 

Since 1971, Rise has provided employment and enrichment services to people with disabilities and other challenges in the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Rise serves more than 2,500 people annually and connects them with the right job, a safe place to call home, and one-of-a-kind growth and support. 

Noren began her career as an intern with Rise in the 1970s. She has held various positions within the nonprofit before assuming the top leadership role in 2013. She is an ardent supporter of disability employment and community-based support services across Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has held leadership posts in disability organizations. 

Noren has also been a tireless advocate at the Minnesota Legislature, ensuring all Minnesotans are represented in policy and budget decisions. 

“In many ways, I grew up at Rise at the same time Rise was ‘growing up,’ and I treasure that experience,” she said. “I feel so fortunate to have worked closely with the exceptional people we serve, their families, our incredibly talented team members and community supporters.” 

Under Noren’s leadership, Rise successfully navigated a merger with East Metro and Wisconsin-based ESR in 2019. She guided the organization through the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a shutdown of support services and staffing furloughs. Since then, she has worked to expand both employment and life enrichment disability services in new and innovative ways that increase community visibility. Rise also recently transitioned center-based work programs to community-based jobs. 

Rise recently opened new administrative offices in Fridley. 

Noren said there are professional and personal reasons for her to step down.

“Together, we have made great progress to advance our programs and services as well as Rise’s administrative capabilities in my time as president and CEO. That collective work will support Rise’s future so I feel confident that a new leader will join us at a time that is ripe for developing future strategies for the organization.” 

She is working with the organization board on a smooth transition, with a search firm hired to assist. “I am committed to be involved as long as is needed to support the new leader,” Noren said. Updates on the process will be shared. 

“I plan to stay involved with Rise in the future, cheering the organization on as a valued supporter. 

Retirement will give Noren the opportunity to do new things. “Personally, I have learned in life that some people don’t get the opportunity to enjoy a robust retirement, and I really want to enjoy that phase of life. I have retirement goals that will hopefully allow me more time to travel, work in my gardens and volunteer in the community. My family is also very important to me, and I’ll be able to spend more time supporting them in my retirement.”

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