Margaret Johnsson was hired as an adjunct professor of management and entrepreneurship for the current school year and it was exciting for her to discover that students were eager to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship. Johnsson is a serial entrepreneur looking to make a difference by training faculty and students on how to start their own businesses.
Education was emphasized when she was growing up because it was her path out of poverty. She earned her Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Illinois in Chicago and her MBA in strategy, organizational design and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is now working on her DBA in leadership at Concordia University and looks forward to walking across the stage on Dec. 15, 2020.
Johnsson is also the director of NEIU’s Business Innovation & Growth (BIG) Center. The BIG Center is a business incubator with resources available for all NEIU staff, faculty, students, and the Albany Park community where she grew up. It reaches beyond the College of Business and Management because she knows that entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and you just need a great idea and the drive to pursue your dreams. That is why she is passionate about setting people up for success, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, and connecting people through the proper networks to help execute their business plans.
When asked what it is like for her to be a woman in academia, Johnsson recalled, “I have always been in predominantly male fields.” Something she has always done was increase the number of women in every field and organization she has been a part of by mentoring and recruiting others. She feels fortunate to have had several outstanding mentors, especially when she was 29-years-old and started her own finance and accounting firm, consulting to Fortune 100 companies such as Kraft Foods. The consulting business made 10 million dollars in revenue which she sold and reinvested until the 2008 financial crisis when she lost millions after a 300% growth in profits. She returned to education as an instructor and make a living while working on her doctorate as preparation for the next stage in her life.
In her spare time, Johnsson enjoys kayaking and hanging out with her daughters. She hopes that her contract with NEIU will be renewed in May and already has great plans for the fall semester. Some of these plans include helping motivated students in a schoolwide pitch competition through the NEIU chapter of the CEO Club. She encourages students to develop their proofs-of-concept into winning business plans so that they can compete for funding and build their own startup companies. Johnsson would also like to teach an entrepreneurship course for non-business majors and hopefully as part of a new minor of the same name. The main message she would like women to know can be found in her only Pinterest post, a quote from leadership author, Robin Sharma: “If other people are not laughing at your dreams, they are not big enough.”