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2020 Most Admired CEOs: Deidre Schmidt, CommonBond Communities

Earlier this year, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal announced their list of “2020 Most Admired CEOs,” and included was CommonBond Communities CEO and President Deidre Schmidt. She is among 10 Minnesota CEOs recognized for professional achievements, community involvement, and steady leadership. We are especially grateful to have such a strong, empathetic leader who recognizes that “business as usual” is not only impossible, but also not a standard to strive for during a year with so many unprecedented challenges.

In the past several months, CommonBond staff across all departments have been forced to pivot their work and adjust to new realities. In the midst of a global pandemic, leading our team of 400 employees—the majority of whom are on-site working with nearly 13,000 residents in 7,093 housing units across the Midwest—is no easy feat, especially considering CommonBond entered this year with our most aggressive expansion plans to date. Still, Deidre and our entire team continue to push forward with planned projects, because stable housing has never been more important for individuals and community well-being.

Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho recognizes the critical nature of our work, saying: “Deidre and her team are passionate and brilliant, and it’s that combination that allows them to keep tackling something [affordable housing] that we underfund.”

Comm. Ho added, “There is no such thing as another Deidre, but I would take four more.”

Leading the CommonBond team internally, Deidre acknowledges that all staff—including herself—are first and foremost individuals affected in various ways by the collective experience of the pandemic, economic strife, social unrest, and natural disaster. When asked how the pandemic has impacted herself personally, Deidre responded:

“There is a continuous reminder of the depth and persistence of health, social and economic disparities along lines of race, class, gender and location. They’re glaring right now, but of course have existed over time. I come from a low-income, single-parent family and can appreciate the stress economic uncertainty brings for adults and kids alike. At the same time, I had many opportunities to thrive because of my race and where I lived. I am appreciative of the advantages I’ve had, and the pandemic has reminded me of my responsibility to remove barriers and make opportunities for others.”

To read the full story and interview with Deidre Schmidt from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, check out the article below:

2020 Most Admired CEOs: Deidre Schmidt, CommonBond Communities


Linda Soderstrom

When Deidre mentions in tpt's documentary Sold Out: Affordable Housing at Risk that profit margins can be reduced without harming the business person's success and create much deeper affordability for properties, especially when the need is so great - it really clicked for me that the profit motive should not overwhelm the common good. We need to keep the values of dignity and self-respect foremost when talking about deeply affordable homes for all. Ms Schmidt does that in all of her work and brings new meaning to the words social and contract. For our social contract to return to its anchoring in the common good is something I consider her a great leader in. She is the only one who comes right out and says we need to lower our profit margin in order to serve those in greatest need. Thank you Deidre. You are the best.

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