The North’s Urban Sauna Revival
Member-Owners of the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative enjoy and share the Sauna tradition with the Twin Cities by partnering with local businesses and neighborhood organizations to provide reservations at The Forge mobile sauna throughout the year.
Board of Directors
Karoline's Leadership Statement and Bio:
The 612 Sauna Society has been an inspiring project to me from the beginning. It’s focus on bringing people together to enjoy and share sauna traditions, relax, and promote health together is something that I enjoy and love. I grew up in Germany, where there is a strong public sauna culture. I have seen that sharing sauna experience together promotes healthy communities. The Twin Cities are home to diverse communities and traditions of relaxing together in a communal space. I see an opportunity for the 612 Sauna Society as a co-op to create a new sauna culture that is based on tradition and open to creating new traditions. As a member of the board, I would like to share my German sauna experience to help contribute to a vision of the sauna society that is welcoming and distinctly local to the Twin Cities.
Areas I’d like to advance
The areas I would like to advance are in marketing, operations and development. My background is in medicine. I have hosted several Aufguss sessions for the sauna society this season and know how important a welcoming environment is when being introduced to sauna culture. As a member of the board, I would like to focus on investing in active and engaged Stoker and Saunameister teams.
I feel strongly that they are essential to growing and strengthening the community of the 612 Sauna Society.
Glenn's Leadership Statement and Bio:
I am deeply committed to advancing awareness and appreciation of authentic sauna. Being lead builder of the 612 sauna – The Forge, I dedicated myself to helping ensure that our sauna is of utmost quality and performance. As we expand the reach of the coop, I feel it important that folks understand the quality of our sauna as well as the appreciation of the entire sauna experience which extends beyond the hot room (cool down, clean rinse, etc.).
Areas I’d like to advance:
Lend support to the excellent job done with community outreach (residency locations, media relations, servicing members with ideal reservation locations and time blocks, etc.). Open to offering lots of community outreach ideas for the coop, without being offended if the board knocks them down. Eg. Member raffle for free sauna weekend. MN Wild Private sauna party. Special Olympics Polar Plunge (with extended lake shoreline residency and Avanto – hole in the ice – access for members). Minneapolis Park Board Sauna Day – free access to Park Board family and staff on a strategically cold October day.
John's Leadership Statement and Bio:
I discovered the benefits of a regular Sauna practice as an exchange student in Helsinki. Without access to an authentic Sauna experience back home in Minneapolis, I started building.
My first Sauna was a tiny house-sauna mashup called The Firehouse.
I’ve been building and hosting Sauna ever since: first at the Firehouse, then Little Box Sauna and The Forge (the nation’s first community-owned mobile sauna).
Whether it’s a mobile Sauna Co-op, rooftop hot spot or backyard retreat, I believe that authentic wellbeing is worth creating and sharing wherever we can.
Bio: John Pederson is the Founder of the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative, a Member-owned 308B Sauna Co-op (the nation’s first) serving the Twin Cities Metro area. John discovered Sauna and Sauna Society as an exchange student in Helsinki in 2004. He started his first sauna build—a mobile Sauna-tiny-house called The Firehouse—under the guidance of SauanTimes Founder Glenn Auerbach in December of 2013 and opened the doors to family and friends the following winter. He embraced his role as the neighborhood “sauna guy,” hosting over 1100 guests for small back yard gatherings before becoming the official “Sauna Meister” of the Little Box mobile sauna in 2015. John Founded the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative in 2017, where he currently serves as the Chief Firewood Officer and sits on the Board of Directors.
John graduated from the UW-Madison School of Journalism with Honors in 2005 after internships with NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” and “To the Best of Our Knowledge” programs. In 2006, he moved to Indonesia to start the country’s first student-run radio station as a Fulbright Scholar in Sumatra. He moved back to his home state of Minnesota in 2008 and served as the first Communications Strategist for Seed Savers Exchange from 2010 – 2012 before joining the Mighty Mo Design Co. as the Director of Operations in 2013.
He joined the Musicant Group in 2016 where he he oversaw placemaking and Community Management projects around the city. He formed the 612 Sauna Society Co-op Steering Committee later that year. The Committee launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that fall and opened the doors to the nation’s first community-owned mobile sauna, The Forge, on January 1, 2017.
John founded Sauna Society Builders in 2018 as a B-Corp (Benefit Corporation) to bring the wellness benefits of steam bathing to life throughout urban America with trainings, events and product development.
Max's Leadership Statement and Bio
… and Principle of the The Musicant Group. Under his leadership, the firm has pioneered a holistic and organic approach to the creation of place that integrates design, events, and management systems all through the lens of the user experience. Since its founding the firm has demonstrated that community and commercial interests all benefit from more humane, inviting, and lively places for people. He was the first Partner-Sponsor of the 612 Sauna Society and has been instrumental in the groups emergence as a community movement in the Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Prior to founding The Musicant Group, Max began his career at the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) in Queens, NY. While there he worked with one of the early leaders of the Bryant Park Corporation to devise and implement placemaking strategies for the GJDC, one of the oldest and largest community development corporations in New York City.
He received an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, as well as a PH.D. in Fire-tending from the 612 Sauna Society.
Kristjan's Leadership Statement and Bio
I’m passionate about supporting 612 Sauna Society’s co-operative model for sharing sauna with Minnesotans and building community in the Twin Cities. Because we’re a cooperative, it’s essential that we engage members, volunteers, the Board, and the community in developing more sustainable, efficient strategies for sharing sauna, cultivating relationships built on respect, and identifying opportunities for continued growth and inclusiveness. I’ve built a career in organizational improvement rooted in servant leadership and continuous improvement, and I’d like to leverage this experience to enrich the health and vitality of our cooperative.
Areas I’d like to advance:
My background in organizational improvement is a hands-on blend of servant leadership, continuous improvement, group facilitation, project management, and data analytics, which could be leveraged to assist any area of 612 Sauna Society. That said, I’m most interested in advancing Operations and Finance in order to improve the long-term sustainability of our cooperative in a way that remains true to our shared mission, vision, and values. For more details on my organizational improvement experience, please see my LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristjanselvig/.