The Think GREAT Team - Think Great

Gina Therwanger, Co-Founder

Joined the Team: Aug, 2008

Born and raised in Southern California, Gina’s wide-array of work experience ranges from working alongside attorneys, estate planners, and financial services representatives, to coordinating high-volume distribution in the produce industry. In 2005, she stepped into the role of Accounting Supervisor for a media company, which experienced over 300% annual sales growth. She successfully enhanced workflows, worked directly with top-tier clients, and collaborated with senior leaders to improve efficiencies and increase margins.

Gina met Erik in 1995 and they married in 1998. Just ten months into their marriage, Gina was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After a successful stem-cell transplant, she would overcome three additional bouts with cancer. Defying the odds of what she was told by doctors, in 2006, she welcomed a baby girl into this world. In 2016, Gina suffered cardiac arrest at the age of 44, and after being in an induced coma, walked out of the hospital just ten days later.

Gina has enjoyed growing in her role as Co-founder of Think GREAT since 2008, and she truly appreciates the opportunity to help others to experience a greater life – personally and professionally. In her free time, she enjoys being a wife, mom and grandma, and loves spending time with family and friends.

Saphire Gilpin, Project Coordinator

Joined the Team: Jun, 2018

Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Saphire began working as a freshman in high school, at a local restaurant. Her attention to detail and customer service skills allowed her to excel and take on new duties. She then pursued a position in the manufacturing industry, operating complex machinery and working in the lab to ensure that the coding was up to specification.

Saphire later fulfilled the role of Operations Supervisor, at a promotional company, and orchestrated the successful completions of orders in all fifty states. In 2018, she began her career path with Think GREAT, as their Project Coordinator. She is a client liaison and performs the highest levels of coordination in event planning for Erik’s speaking engagements and training workshops across the nation.

Saphire has also created multiple reporting formats and supports their social media outreach. Saphire enjoys spending time with family and loves being an aunt to her niece and nephew. In her spare time, she can be found cheering on the Vikes – she is a proud fan of the Minnesota Vikings Football team!

Jacob Therwanger, Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives

Joined the Team: Aug, 2019

Born in San Dimas, California, Jacob graduated from Agoura High School in 2009. At age 15, he began working in the restaurant industry. His attention to detail, customer service and unparalleled work ethic allowed him to excel from an entry level position of hosting and mastered each following position of Kitchen Expeditor, Take-out Specialist, Server, and Bartender. By the time bartending was his primary passion in the workplace Jacob was awarded “Corporate Bar Trainer” – a position which required him to train hundreds of upcoming bartenders, to master a craft most had never attempted, across the company’s 25 locations, continuing to grow by 1-3 new locations they acquired each year. On weekends he tended the bar at his primary restaurant, providing phenomenal service to 200+ guests at any given time. This task developed his ability to successfully juggle countless action items, especially in extremely high-paced environments. Jacob also excelled at consistently enhancing the customer experience and exceeding expectations by developing a clientele that consisted of “regulars” who became his friends.

During Jacob’s time as a Corporate Bar Trainer he also pursued his personal intellectual passion of understanding the world on an intricate scale and obtained his Bachelors of Science, Biology degree from the University of California, Riverside which ranks within the top 1% of worldwide universities. This higher education provided Jacob with the ability to understand the complexity and intricacies of natural systems in the world around us and in our very own bodies – systems like protein signaling cascades, carcinogenic DNA damage, cell signaling theories, human immunology and countless more.

Jacob joined the Think GREAT team in August of 2019, shortly after relocating to Minnesota. Because of Think GREAT’s unique focus on the “people” side of business, Jacob now applies his skills and understanding of system complexity, logistics, and intense detail orientation to the business solutions offered to our clients. Being a part of Think GREAT allows him to simply make the complex world around us GREATER every day. As the Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives, he focuses on enhancing the client experience through interactive technology and enhancing the Think GREAT brand.

Jacob loves spending quality time with his family of three, enjoying fishing, playing sports, watching movies, and playing video games together.

Rhonda Kalal

Joined the Team: Oct, 2020

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Rhonda’s background is in nonprofit and program development. She has worked with businesses in the Childcare, Homecare, and Human Services industries.

Rhonda carries a unique perspective to both civilian and military life.  During her early years as a young mother and military spouse, her family traveled both stateside and overseas. She proudly served as a Volunteer Coordinator for (ACS) Army Community Services and at The American Red Cross.

As a direct response to the Welfare Reform Act of 1997 – Kids’ Care Connection Child Care Center was developed. Rhonda served as Board Chair during the development phase and throughout the first year it was established. This center had become a state model that serves families working to move off of welfare benefits and become independent.

Rhonda had developed interactive presentations that helped to open doors of employment opportunities for the disabled and disadvantaged population. She has been recognized alongside her cohort for the work they accomplished within the collaborative, receiving “The Edison Award” for their work in developing and coaching teams across the organization. This huge lightbulb represents GREAT ideas in action! 

Rhonda joined the Think GREAT team in October 2020 – the year of Covid-19 – when Social Distancing presented a new opportunity!  As a longtime supporter and alumni of Think GREAT, Rhonda brings her unwavering passion for mission-focused organization, coaching, and leadership to the team.

When asked what she likes about Think GREAT, Rhonda replied with, “The Team and their materials – the team is truly dynamic and their materials really work.”

Rhonda’s personal mission statement is BELIEVE-CREATE-ACHIEVE. She and her husband, Mark, live in Shakopee, MN. She is a proud Silver Star family member – mother of two veterans and a grandmother of six – She enjoys cooking, motorcycling, movies, and hanging out with her family.