Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
The eldest daughter of Carlson Companies' founder, Curtis L. Carlson, Nelson is former chairman and chief executive officer of Carlson, a global travel and hospitality company. The company operates more than 1,300 hotels (Radisson, Country Inns & Suites) and 900 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants.
Nelson has appeared on Forbes magazine's list as one of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women", named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report, and in 2007, Ethisphere Magazine called her one of the "100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics". Nelson also helped create Scandinavia Today.
Under Nelson's leadership, Carlson was the first major North American travel company to take a stand against the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry. On behalf of the company, she signed the travel industry's international Code of Conduct to end child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Carlson also joined with the Queen of Sweden to co-found the World Childhood Foundation to protect street children around the world. In recognition of Carlson's initiatives to protect children at risk from human trafficking, President Obama honored the company with the inaugural "Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking".
As of 2013, Nelson serves on the boards of the United Nations Global Compact, The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, the Kennedy Center fo rthe Performing Arts and Harvard Kennedy School Advisory Board. She is Chairman of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees and former board member of ExxonMobil.