Audrey Johnson, CEO of Lakeville, Minn.-based Johnson Companies, has been chosen a 2019 Amazing Outside Director by BankBeat Magazine for her nearly 30 years of service on the New Market Bank Board of Directors. While 81-year-old Johnson retired from the board of the fourth-generation, family-owned bank last summer, she continues to serve on the bank’s governance committee.
Johnson joined the board in 1990, shortly after the bank opened its first branch outside Elko New Market. She was, and still is, a respected business woman in Lakeville, the community where the bank had recently opened, and brought the bank quick credibility with the local business community. Throughout her years of service, she has guided the bank’s leadership on human resources, property management, strategic planning and corporate governance.
“Audrey has been a constant source of wisdom, direction and expertise for the bank, as well as a trusted confidant to me personally, and my father before me,” said Anita Drentlaw, CPA, New Market Bank president. “When we needed an objective, nonjudgmental perspective on tough issues, she always counseled us with the best interest of the bank at heart and guided us with complete composure, even during the most tenuous times.”
Johnson is CEO of Johnson Companies, a property management company she operated with her late-husband Brad until he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1999. Prior to and simultaneous to running Johnson Companies, she built a long career as a human-resources executive. The Harvard-educated Johnson has a master’s degree in industrial relations from the University of Minnesota.
As the first outside woman on the board, Johnson served as a personal role model and mentor to Drentlaw. “She successfully transcended many barriers for women in business, juggling a full time HR position, a property management business she and her husband owned, and motherhood,” Drentlaw said. “I am deeply indebted to her for sharing her experience with me and encouraging me in my leadership.”