Margaret Johnsson
Margaret Johnsson

Lecturer of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Print Overview
Over the past twenty years, Margaret Johnsson has founded, grown and sold two rapidly expanding entrepreneurial businesses, (The Johnsson Group, Inc. and Magnolia Restorations LLC), founded two other businesses (Get Out Literary Works LLC and Rest Assured Financial Services LLC), and co-founded a fifth business with a partner, (Turnkey Development LLC).

Margaret and her businesses have won many awards over the years including: Rank #218 on the INC 500 List of America's fastest growing companies, The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Illinois, Working Women Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards - Best Employer, Midwest Regional Winner and National Finalist, and Today's Chicago Woman magazine's 100 Women Making a Difference.

Ms. Johnsson has been featured and quoted frequently in local and national media on the topics of finance, accounting and entrepreneurship including NBC Nightly News, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Business Week, Inc. Magazine, Crain's Chicago Business, Crain's New York Business, CFO Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and numerous financial and accounting trade publications.

Margaret has also served as a board member on several industry and not-for-profit boards including Chicago Finance Exchange, Financial Executives International, National Association of Women Business Owners, Audiocast, Inc., Community Television Network (CTVN), and Ballet Chicago's transitional board (during its merger with Joffrey Ballet).

Prior to founding her first business in 1991, Margaret had a corporate career at two of the world's largest consumer products conglomerates, Beatrice Companies, Inc. and Kraft Foods, Inc. where she was heavily involved in acquisition integration, divestitures and strategic planning.

Ms. Johnsson received her Masters of Management in strategy and marketing from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management and earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois Chicago.

Areas of Expertise

Entrepreneurial Finance (Acquisitions, Divestitures, Valuations)
Marketing Management
Small Business Management
Women in Management
Print Vita
MM/MBA, 1991, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
BS, 1985, Accounting, University of Illinois Chicago

Grants and Awards
Peter Henderson Award, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University
Balance Award, The American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA), 2002
100 Women Making a Difference, Today's Chicago Woman magazine, July 2001
Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Illinois, The United States Small Business Administration (SBA), March 2001
First Annual Family Investment Award, Governor's Commission on The Status of Women in Illinois, May 2000
Chicago Chapter's Woman Business Owner of the Year, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), April 2000
Midwest Regional Winner and National Finalist, Best Employer Category, Working Women Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, 2000
Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, University of Illinois at Chicago, February 2000
Ranked #218 on the 1999 INC. 500 List of America's Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award Nominee, Dialogue on Diversity, 1999
Outstanding Financial Executive, Financial Management Association, DePaul University Chapter, 1993
Kraft Financial Person of the Year, 1990

Conference Presentations
Financial Women's Association of New York, November 2003, Demands of Leadership: Expectations, Choices and Tradeoffs

Print Research
Johnsson, Margaret and Fran Weichart. 2003. New Regulations: Preparing for the Unplanned Costs. Financial Executive.
Johnsson, Margaret. 2002. Accounting and Finance Remain Excellent Career Choices. New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Johnsson, Margaret. 2002. The Changing Role of the CFO. Strategic Finance.
Johnsson, Margaret. 2001. Heavy Traffic - The Number of Visitors to Your eBusiness Might Point to Popularity, But Does It Say Anything About Profits?. Insight Magazine.
Book Chapters
Johnsson, Margaret and Jeanne Torrence Hauer. 2003. "Millionaire Women." 101-112. Barrington Publishing.

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
New Venture Discovery (KIEI-462-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Management & Strategy

Formerly ENTR-462-0

The goal of New Venture Discovery is to help you better understand how high-growth ventures are conceived, tested and validated—and to give you frameworks, tools and practical advice to help you build your own business ideas. This course focuses on the “discovery process”, ground zero in the business formation stage, where the goal is to achieve product/market fit. Is there any inherent interest in your idea? Where is your idea strong and where is it vulnerable? The course is designed to help you test and answer these fundamental questions around business viability, with the added constraint of having limited resources available. The goal is to get you as far as you can, with as little as you can, as fast as you can!
The class is taught a lot like a lab course might be taught in the sciences. Students form into teams and begin the class with nothing more than an idea or a problem that they think is worth solving, and from it they create: a) a number of assumptions and hypotheses around their idea; b) an iterative series of in-market experiments to confirm or deny their hypotheses. The “lab” in which the teams conduct their experiments is the market – seeking the input of actual consumers, customers, partners and others in the value chain of your business. Note: if you’re not prepared to get out of the Jacobs Center (and often Evanston) to conduct the necessary fieldwork, you should not take this class.
Lastly, if you’re conversant in design thinking methodology and/or have a fundamental working knowledge of the Business Model Canvas, you may not want to take this class, as three of the ten sessions have a design thinking component and the BMC is a framework used throughout the class. (If you fit in this category, you can likely waive the class for your entrepreneurship concentration.) Note: This course may not be dropped after the second week of the quarter.