Michele Norris is a Peabody Award-winning journalist, founder of The Race Card Project and Executive Director of The Bridge, The Aspen Institute’s new program on race, identity, connectivity and inclusion.
For more than a decade Norris served as a host of NPR's "All Things Considered" where she interviewed world leaders, American presidents, Nobel laureates, leading thinkers and groundbreaking artists. She has also produced in-depth profiles, interviews and series for NPR News programs as well as special reports for National Geographic, Time Magazine ABC News and Lifetime Television. Norris created The Race Card Project, an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America, after the publication of her family memoir, The Grace of Silence.
Before joining NPR in 2002, Norris spent almost 10 years as a reporter for ABC News in the Washington Bureau. She has also worked as a staff writer for The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times. In 2014, Norris earned a Peabody award and the Distinguished Dialogue Award for her work on the Race Card Project.
In 2009, she was named "Journalist of the Year" by the National Association of Black Journalists. The NABJ recognized Norris for her coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign — when she co-hosted NPR's Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, covered both conventions, anchored multi-hour election and inauguration live broadcasts and moderated a series of candid conversations with voters on the intersection of race and politics. That series earned Norris and Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep an Alfred I. DuPont -Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcasting.
Norris was honored with NABJ's Salute to Excellence Award, for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the 1990 Livingston Award for a series about a six-year-old who lived in a crack house. That series was reprinted in the book, Ourselves Among Others, along with essays by Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, Annie Dillard and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
In 2010, Norris' book, The Grace of Silence: A Memoir was published. In the book she turns her formidable interviewing and investigative skills on her own background to unearth long hidden family secrets that raise questions about her racial legacy and shed new light on America's complicated racial history. The Grace of Silence has been selected for community reads in Minneapolis, Seattle, St Cloud, Rochester, and several college & High School campuses including Michigan State, Sacramento State, Coe College, Monmouth and USC.
She graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where she studied journalism. She also attended the University of Wisconsin where she studied electrical engineering. Norris is also a former Shorenstein Fellow at The Harvard Kennedy School. She serves as a judge for the John Chancellor Awards at Columbia University and she was on the 2015 judging panel for the US Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Norris, who created and hosted NPR's Backseat Book Club, also received a Children's Choice Book Award for being an "outspoken and enthusiastic advocate for reading."
She and her husband, Broderick Johnson, have three children and live in Washington, DC.
There is power in giving and receiving pie...sweet potato pie, that is. We will convene in circle and engage together by listening to one another’s authentic stories around critical community issues such as race and other topics. This practice will lead us to new ideas for creating realistic solutions, through the "Sweet Potato Comfort Pie" approach.
And, yes, there will be sweet potato pie for all to try...the sacred dessert of Black culture.
Rose McGee is a sweet potato pie philanthropist and creator of the Sweet Potato Comfort Pie approach – a catalyst for building and strengthening community. She has a TEDx Talk on The Power of Pie, is featured in the national PBS documentary, "A Few Good Pie Places," is a 2018 Charlies Awards Nominee, has been featured on the national talk show "The Real," and several appearances on "The Jason Show." It was 2014 during the racial disturbance in Ferguson, MO, when Rose felt compelled to bake 30 pies, load them into her car and drive to Ferguson to offer comfort. Upon returning home to Golden Valley, MN, she felt a deeper calling to get something done right here at home. Since then, Sweet Potato Comfort Pie has become a cornerstone service approach during the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend when Rose, along with dozens of volunteers of all ages and ethnicities, bake the number of pies Dr. King’s age would have been. The 89 pies (his age in 2018) are then distributed to individuals and organizations throughout the community as a symbol of concern and celebration. Rose is author of the book "Story Circle Stories." In 2017 she was named "Citizen of The Year" in Golden Valley where she resides.
Roslyn Harmon is an ordained pastor, educator, entrepreneur, and artist. She is a graduate of Adler Graduate School, obtaining her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. As an enthusiastic young pastor Roslyn’s love for others and concern for her community’s lack of embracing therapeutic services inspired her to learn more about mental health. Through her use of healing circles, her teachings are changing the lives of many. Healing story circles, allow individuals the opportunity to be heard, felt, and embraced. Circle of Healing Ministry brings forth truth and accountability to the meaning of spirituality while breaking the stigmas of mental health systems that are so often miss-perceived by religious communities. Roslyn is "CreArtive" (a self-developed term that encompasses her wide range of artistic gifts). She uses her natural talents to help others tap into their own source of inner-self for renewed growth and healing via artistic expressions and creative thinking. She is the owner of 3:16 Bling! Custom Designs and Apparel and resides in Golden Valley, MN.
Leslie Badue is a 25-year-old community advocate, activist, and activator. She currently serves as President of the Minneapolis NAACP and Initiative Director for Network for the Development of African Descent (NdCAD) “Think Different, Do Different” Educational Affiliate Network. Growing up in the inner city of Washington, D.C, fueled Leslie’s passion for the community. She previously served as the Vice President and Education Chair for the Minneapolis NAACP. Leslie has dedicated her life to fighting for issues ranging from education to police brutality. As the President of the Black Law Student Association at the University of St. Thomas and a member of the award-winning civil rights clinic the Community Justice Project, Leslie stood on the front lines after the unjust killings of Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, and Justine Damond. She obtained her Bachelors in Political Science and African Studies from Barry University in Miami, Florida.
Kate Towle has worked with schools and organizations to foster best practices for engaging youth in the challenges of our times. Kate’s model for intercultural and intergenerational youth engagement won the St. Paul Foundation’s 2011 Facing Race Idea Challenge. Kate now works actively with communities and organizations to explore the intersection of racial equity and peace education. Kate serves on the National Peace Literacy Committee for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to advocate for peace literacy as a human right—a skill set as much as a goal. Kate is putting finishing touches on her novel about an interracial friendship and convenes circles to discuss ways for white people to engage in community with greater skills, awareness, and capacity. She provides strategic and logistic support to the community-building model Sweet Potato Comfort Pie™, developed by educator Rose McGee, that revives the African American culinary tradition of sharing sweet potato pie to join community members together for dialogue and action.
How can we use art to raise up community voices? Experience an original art exhibit from Rapid City, SD, as the curators share their framework and process using visuals, audio/video and a sample object from the exhibition.
You’ll be led through hands-on activities based on the artistic practices employed in the exhibit, such as conducting meaningful interviews, the creation of found poetry and discovering innovative methods of displaying and tying together community voices. You’ll also interact and share stories with other participants as we explore and identify ideas for applying these practices.
Mary V. Bordeaux (Sicangu/Oglala Lakota) is the co-owner of Racing Magpie and received her B.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and M.F.A. from the University of the Arts in museum studies and exhibition design and planning. She is currently working on her Ed.D. at Saint Mary’s University, researching Lakota epistemology, and has held multiple curatorial and artistic positions.
Clementine Bordeaux (Sicangu Oglala Lakota) was raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation. From 2011 to 2017 she worked as the Academic Coordinator for the American Indian Studies program at UCLA, where she is now working on a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance. She earned a graduate degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, through the Native Voices Indigenous documentary film program.
Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota) earned a B.F.A. from IAIA and an M.F.A. from Bard College, and is the author of "Chromosomory" and "Whereas." "Whereas" received the prestigious PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2018. She has been a contributing editor to "Drunken Boat," and created a participatory installation, "Whereas We Respond" on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She received a national fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry and a Whiting Award.
Dusty L. Nelson is a visionary Lakota educator, having worked as a Lakota Language Teacher, Lakota Woglaka Wounspe, Kyle, SD, as well as translating children's games into Lakota. Currently a teacher at Anpo Wicahpi - The Pine Ridge Girls' School, she is engaged politically on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and carries the vision of the School as a fundamentally different way to empower Lakota girls. Dusty was one of the interviewees for the original exhibition.
Peter J. Strong is co-owner of Racing Magpie in Rapid City, SD. He holds degrees in history and museum studies from Marshall University and George Mason University. He has worked as Director of The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and as Vice President of Operations and Programs for First Peoples Fund before co-founding Racing Magpie. He has volunteered on local and statewide arts boards, and currently provides executive leadership for the Native POP: People of the Plains cultural event.
In "Between the World and Me," Ta-Nehisi Coates exposed the ongoing destruction of the Black body in America. That destruction will continue until Americans learn to feel the inherited trauma of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. This trauma doesn’t just affect people of color and Indigenous bodies. White American bodies suffer their own historical trauma as well. We ALL need to recognize this trauma, metabolize it, work through it and grow up out of it. Only in this way will we heal our bodies, our families and the social body of our nation.
This session builds from a grounding platform of arts and culture to contextualize generational trauma. The session will move between participatory exercises, open-format conversation, musical performances and sharing from artists for a new understanding of how racism is not only a cognitive application but lives in our bodies as well.
Tricia Heuring is a curator, arts organizer, educator and Co-Founder of Public Functionary. She is an advocate for curatorial practices that re-frame the role of the gatekeeper to instead facilitate equity and inclusivity in the art world.
Mike Bishop is an arts organizer, event producer and Co-Founder of Public Functionary, a Minneapolis-based platform and space for multi-disciplinary cultural production. He also facilitates conversation spaces around dismantling racism and toxic masculinity.
Resmaa Menakem is a licensed therapist and the author of "My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies." He has appeared on both The Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil as an expert on conflict and violence. Resmaa currently teaches workshops on Cultural Somatics for audiences of African Americans, European Americans and police officers.
Mychal Tikar-Fisher is a music producer, cinematographer and part of local music group AstralBlak.
Sarah White is a documentary photographer and musician known for her soulful exploration of culture and activism. Also a healer/yogi/artist/massage therapist, Sarah channels her multi-faceted skillset as a means for empathy and healing through both storytelling and bodywork.
No matter what organization you work for or what position you have within that organization, your actions and inactions have a direct effect on the system. When you know you are impacting the system, how you show up, your identities and your perspectives matter. Systems change agents need to take the time to ask themselves: "What am I doing or not doing that is maintaining the inequities that inhibit systems change? How is my identity and the way I make sense of the world an asset to systems change? How do I bring my whole self to this work?" This session will challenge your perception and awareness of your impact as a change agent.
Steph Jacobs is the director of the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC), a community that creates and nurtures excellence in public affairs management and leadership. Steph is a developer, encouraging others to tackle the leadership and change challenges that hinder progress. You'll often find Steph on her bike, catching some live music, or hiking or camping in one of Minnesota's state or regional parks.
Isadora Tabue is an Innovation Manager of the Future Services Institute, Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center. In her work with the Institute, she facilitates collaborative efforts centered on operationalizing equity and inclusion within public and nonprofit entities. Prior to her work with the Institute, Isadora served in a variety of professional roles advocating for youth, teens and families from diverse communities. Isadora is passionate about eliminating barriers that hinder education, employment and economic advancement of individuals from communities of color.
Sook Jin Ong is the director of the Future Services Institute, an initiative of the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center. In this role, she brings her interest and practice in blending human-centered design and participatory leadership principles to be of service to those in human services. Sook Jin comes from the multicultural cosmopolitan city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She posits that you can take her out of Malaysia, but not the Malaysian out of her - that spirit lives in how she hosts spaces and graphically records the world around her.
Diana Beck is the Administrative Director of the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center and works on a number of public sector redesign projects with the Future Services Institute. Diana comes to Minneapolis from New York City, where she spent more than 13 years working and teaching at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Diana began her public sector career as a Research Associate at the Center for Health and Public Service Research, where she worked on multiple projects focused on improving the systems that serve vulnerable populations. She is thrilled to return to this focus through her work with PNLC.
Jen Mein is an Innovation Manager of the Future Services Institute, Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center. Jen is highly successful in cultivating authentic engagement that invites diversity of perspectives into critical conversations, fosters creativity and innovation, and energizes motivated individuals and groups to experiment with new ways of working, learning, and leading. Playing various board and card games with her family, enjoying a nature walk with friends, and practicing graphic recording are just some of the ways Jen spends her free time.
Breaking Ice, one of Pillsbury House Theatre’s signature, award-winning programs, is an entertaining and thought-provoking theatre experience designed to foster better understanding and communication around difficult issues. Each customized Breaking Ice performance uses drama, humor, poetry and monologue to explore how systemic inequities, implicit bias and misperceptions show up in relationships among people, creating friction that impedes innovation, motivation and productivity. An organized discussion facilitated by a trained Breaking Ice artist follows each performance and uses deep reflection and dialogue as a springboard to positive action.
The speakers will all be Breaking Ice performers and members of the larger Pillsbury House Theatre company.
In collaborative work, we often tell the positive stories of our successes. But what about the flip side? This interactive workshop invites you to learn from what went wrong. Through storytelling, we’ll practice using wrongness as a resource, and we’ll examine surface-level conflicts and underlying layers of power, self-interest, culture and history. Our goal is to support more just, equitable, inclusive and power-sharing collaborative work. You’ll walk out with tools you can use!
Susan Ann Gust is a community activist and small business owner of a 40+ year-old construction management, consulting and community development company and a 2003-04 University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute Public Policy Fellow. She was the co-founder and Chair of the Phillips Neighborhood Healthy Housing Collaborative (PNHHC), a community-university and public agency research partnership spanning 10 years. Susan also teaches, consults and does public speaking about community-institutional partnerships and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). Currently, she co-instructs a CBPR course to community partners and graduate students at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Her consulting work includes being a co-facilitator of MN Campus Compact’s Cultural Agility Collaboration funded by the Bush Foundation. She served on the Board for seven years of Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH). Additional, local civic responsibilities include the Backyard Initiative, a partnership between the Cultural Wellness Center, Allina Health and the community. Susan is also a planning committee member of the Cultural Wellness Center’s Community Research Ethics Board. The University of Minnesota awarded Susan with the 2018 Community Service Award in her role as a Community Partner.
Katie Johnston-Goodstar is associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. She studies the social, political and historical contexts of urban and Indigenous youth development. Drawing on Indigenous and social justice youth development frameworks, Johnston-Goodstar collaborates with youth in participatory action research (PAR) to explore social justice issues, decolonization and community building. She is particularly interested in the use of youth media in the PAR process.
Cathy Jordan is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Extension at the University of Minnesota. Her early research focused on two large, longitudinal, federally-funded community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects beginning in the 1990’s on childhood lead poisoning prevention and impact. Her current research focuses on the developmental benefits of connecting children and families to nature. Through her early CBPR projects she became intensely interested in models of research that aim to address community-defined needs and contribute to social and policy change yet enhance scientific methodology and contribute valid information to our knowledge base. Cathy enjoys helping academics and community members learn to use participatory approaches. She has extensive experience working with faculty members to build their capacity to develop scholarly products from community-engaged activities and to navigate promotion and tenure as community-engaged scholars. Cathy earned her B.A. with high honors in psychology from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University. She is an inaugural inductee of the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship and winner of the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Community Service Award and Outstanding Partner in Engagement Award. She is also the recipient of the President’s Community-Engaged Scholar award from the Medical School.
Brian Lozenski is an assistant professor of urban and multicultural education in the Educational Studies Department at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota where he studied the cultural contexts of teaching and learning. His research explores the intersections of critical participatory action research, Africana Studies, and cultural relevance, particularly in the education of youth of African descent. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., he taught for over a decade in Philadelphia, PA, and St. Paul, MN. As a teacher educator and researcher, he has worked with other educators, parents, schools and districts to develop perspectives and strategies that aspire toward social justice while illuminating the historical realities that have created raced and classed educational disparities. He holds deep commitments to community-engaged research where academic researchers follow the lead of community members and organizations to identify prevalent issues that can be addressed through an inquiry-based approach. In this effort he coordinates a program called the Uhuru Youth Scholars, where high school youth gain college credit by conducting participatory action research through the lens of African knowledge systems. Heco-created this partnership between multiple post-secondary institutions in the Twin Cities and a community-based family education center called the Network for the Development of Children of African Descent (NdCAD).
Sinda Nichols is associate director of Minnesota Campus Compact. She has a background in counseling, education and social change work and is an experienced trainer and facilitator. Before joining the Compact, she managed the Speak Up! Speak Out! youth action civics initiative at the University of Texas at Austin’s Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. Sinda holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Carleton College, is an alumna of HECUA, and has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. She serves on the board of the Waite Park Community Council in Northeast Minneapolis and loves cooking, dancing and spending time outside.
Brian Xiong joined Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College in January 2018 as the coordinator of the Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Before joining BSU/NTC, he served as chief diversity officer for college-wide at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, an assistant professor at Minnesota State University-Mankato and an instructor at Inver Hills Community College. Dr. Xiong is an inspirational scholar and multicultural affairs professional who speaks energetically on the importance of multicultural education and diversity in higher education. He is a former Page scholar, Wallin scholar, Cornwell scholar, and postdoctoral fellow in multicultural and ethnic studies. Dr. Xiong is a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals and conferences. He is an active editorial board member for the Journal of Education Foundations at Metropolitan State University and the Hmong Studies Journal devoted to the scholarly discussion of Hmong history, Hmong culture, Hmong people, and other facets of the Hmong experience in the United States, Asia and around the world. He is also a member of the executive board for the East Side Freedom Library, Hmong Archives, Cultural Diversity Resources, National Advisory Council for NCORE, and Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative. Dr. Xiong has a bachelor’s degree in justice administration and sociology from Southwest Minnesota State University, and a master’s degree in multicultural and ethnic studies and a doctorate in counselor education and supervision with an emphasis on college student affairs from Minnesota State University-Mankato.
This session is a gift of time and space for us to take a big deep breath in community. The Orange Method approach to Radical Self-Care and healing encourages us to play hard, think smart, get dirty, sing loud, love openly, eat well, raise hell, and rest and not give up. We will practice the Orange Method of Radical Self-Care and Radical Hospitality: Meditation, Mindfulness, eMotional liberation and conscious Movement. We will draw on the wisdom of the community to co-create an "orange" print for wellness against the backdrop of racism and sexism and its intersection with other forms of oppression-induced trauma: creating healthy boundaries, falling in love with our beauty, and healthy expressions of grief, pain and joy that allow us to heal and fall in love with our community and ourselves more deeply—or for the first time. The practice of radical self-care mirrors in some ways the practice of yoga, which asks us to explore our present limitations, detach, find self-acceptance and face our emotions with honesty. Healing circles offer us a start, one that is accessible to every human being right where you are; we move from "Hollering to Healing."
"Dr. Joi" Lewis is CEO and Founder of Joi Unlimited Coaching & Consulting and the Orange Method and the OM Community Coach Certification Virtual Program in Healing Justice. Dr. Joi’s work is deeply grounded in healing justice as a "bodyworker" of the collective body (systems) and individual bodies (self), holding space for discovering critical pressure points for liberation. Dr. Joi completed her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, was a Bush Fellow, conducted research in South Africa, and had a 20+ year career in higher education. She is a social entrepreneur, facilitator, coach, healer, space holder, lightworker, yogi and "joy" instigator, who believes in interrupting her own oppressor patterns with loving kindness to examine how race intersects with our multiple and intersecting identities, and she invites others to do the same. She encourages us to embrace heartbreak and "joy" as we reach for more of our own humanity and each other’s. Dr. Joi is critically shaped by her hometown, community and family in East St. Louis, IL. She has a daily practice of trying to "Live" fully in her own body. She claims St. Paul, MN, as her adult home, in the Frogtown neighborhood.
Dr. Lisa L. Moore, LICSW, is a clinical social worker with a trauma specialization and educator who has been a practicing social worker for over 20 years working in community-based settings, higher education and in private practice. Her clinical training occurred at the Dallas Child and Family Guidance Clinic in Dallas, Texas, and at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute’s Spanish Speaking Clinic, where she received specialized training working with immigrants and refugees from Mexico and Central America. In addition to her clinical practice, she is also an educator who has been addressing issues of race, racism and gender through her work at St. Olaf College, Smith College School of Social Work, and Boston University School of Social Work. Dr. Moore completed her coaching training through Joi Unlimited and has recently been integrating coaching into her clinical and consulting practice.
Nasreen Mohamed has 15 years of experience in higher education. His work in higher education has focused on designing programs to facilitate access and retention of underrepresented students using holistic models that challenge structural inequality and methods proven to increase the success and graduation rates of students. Currently, Nasreen works at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) as the Director of Student Engagement in the area of international education. At the U of M, he has focused on providing a systems-change approach to support the transition of international students from pre-arrival through their first year of college. He also identifies as a Muslim queer, gender non-conforming writer and visual artist who is a transplant from Tanzania who looks at the interconnections of injustice through a local and global lens, illuminating the potential of solidarity across imposed borders and imagined boundaries. He is a Founding Faculty of the OM Community Coach program and a Certified Orange Methodologist.
Roadblocks can be paralyzing, even for leaders. Sometimes when we hit roadblocks, we assume we lack skills or resources. However, roadblocks exist because of the stories we create. This session will help break down those roadblocks and remind us that everyone deals with similar barriers. We’ll help you exercise your self-awareness muscles and challenge yourself to think through the narratives you’ve created for yourself.
Amee McDonald is a Minneapolis-based writer, artist, entrepreneur, college instructor and activist. Born into poverty and domestic violence, Amee uses her voice and platform to fight gender and racial injustice. In the community, Amee was named volunteer of the year for BestPrep in 2014 and FamilyWise in 2017, 2014 AdFeds 32 under 32, 2015 Minnesota Business Magazine 35 Entrepreneurs under 35, and 2016 Real Power 50. She was the 183rd survivor to stand up against sexual violence through Break the Silence.
John Gebretatose rose through the ranks of HUGE Improv Theater from being a student to a HUGE Improv instructor and now also the Director of Diversity and Inclusion. He trained and worked at Brave New Workshop and has been performing stand-up comedy in the Twin Cities for more than nine years. John is a founding member of one of the hottest new improv groups, Blackout. He is the co-creator of the Black and Funny Improv Festival.
An elevator pitch is a brief introduction of yourself and your work. On the Guthrie’s four-story escalator, you will hone and perfect an escalator pitch! In this highly participatory session, you’ll work with a Guthrie Teaching Artist to incorporate theater skills into your efforts to describe what you do. Then...Practice your pitch with a partner on the 59-second ride up, and gather feedback on the way down!
Michelle Hutchison is a professional actor of stage, screen and television. She has appeared in local theatres such as The Guthrie, The History Theatre, The Mixed Blood, Theatre Latte Da, Playwright’s Center, Thirst Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Minnesota and Dudley Rigg’s Brave New Workshop. In Los Angeles she appeared in the LA Weekly nominated comedy, The Bad Seed and Cabin Pressure at the Hudson Theatre. She has been seen in films such as Fargo, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Into Temptation, Factotum, and the recently released, Thin Ice as well as appearing in numerous television commercials, industrials and radio voiceover spots. As an educator she has led classes in Acting, Improvisation, and On Camera Acting at The Guthrie Theatre, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Augsburg College, General Mills and Lynn Blumenthal Casting. She has assisted at LBC in the casting of films such as Disney’s Ice Princess and Sky High, Superbad, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, It’s Complicated, Bad News Bears, and many more. In addition, she wrote and produced twelve episodes for the nationally syndicated Travel Channel show, Passport To Design, while writing and appearing in corporate live theatre productions for companies such as General Mills, Pillsbury, Mrs. Meyers, American Express, and Schwan’s. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre.
The process of creating a play is a highly collaborative act. A company of actors must quickly learn how to work together and create a space of trust and support so each can bring their best work forward. Never is that spirit of collaboration more necessary than when choreographing stage combat. In this workshop, participants will enter a "contest of generosity" as they experience the unique art of stage combat. Under the instruction of a professional fight director, you will learn the basic techniques of how to work with a scene partner to duke it out on stage while focusing on active listening, presence and verbal and non-verbal communication. This is a fun, on-your-feet experience with safeguards and watchful instruction.
Aaron Preusse is the Founder and Grand High PooBah of the Fake Fighting Company, LLC. He is also the Mid America Regional Rep and a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors. Aaron received honors of Advanced Gold with Recommendation from the British Academy of Dramatic Combat and has completed the Society of American Fight Directors Theatrical Firearm Safety Course. In addition to his training in Tai Chi and other martial arts, he is a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Aaron has created fights for the Guthrie Theatre, most notably Watch on the Rhine, Royal Family and The Bluest Eye. He has also been the fight choreographer for the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, the Minnesota Opera, the Children’s Theatre Company, Park Square Theatre, Theatre in the Round, Theatre Pro Rata, Red Bird Theatre, Skylark Opera, Lyric Arts Company of Anoka, Six Elements Theatre Company, the University of Minnesota, as well as many other schools and universities in the region.
Aaron has also served as Stunt Coordinator and Stunt Double for the film Profile of a Killer. He was also a precision stunt driver for the movie Thin Ice. Other film credits include Mallrats, Memorial Day, Totally Sadie and Art. He is a graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
It is more important than ever to confront individual bias and build empathy so that all people can contribute to our communities and thrive. First-person storytelling facilitates understanding and empathy more effectively than mere fact propagation alone. In this session, you’ll learn about the innovative and unconventional storytelling work of Green Card Voices (GCV), a nonprofit that records and shares the stories of immigrants.
The presenters will include five of GCV’s own youth storytellers from five different countries — Yemen, Tanzania, El Salvador, Haiti and Myanmar — and GCV’s Executive Director, Tea Rozman Clark. You will learn how effective storytelling educates and empowers both the teller and the audience, and you’ll leave with resources and ideas to incorporate storytelling into your own work. The session will offer the chance to watch first-person immigrant video narratives, engage in group discussions and play the newly released "More Than One Story" card game!
(Slovenia) - Executive Director of Green Card Voices.
(Yemen) - Immigrant & Youth Ambassador, Green Card Voices. Student at St. Catherine's University.
(El Salvador) - Student at MCTC getting a degree in Social Work.
(Haiti) - Air Force cadet, student at St. Thomas University.
(Myanmar) - Student at St. Paul Technical College getting a degree in Nursing.
Get ready to explore the mindset, behaviors and skills necessary to be a better collaborator, innovator and communicator who can truly foster growth and change. You will walk away from this workshop with increased self-awareness, a set of micro-skills you can utilize in everyday work and life, and inspiration to help you transform the way you interact with others.
Elena Imaretska works at the intersection of arts, business and innovation. As Chief Innovation Officer for the Brave New Workshop, Elena spends her days managing programs that focus on the human side of innovation. She is the co-author of "The Innovative Mindset: 5 Behaviors for Accelerating Breakthroughs" and often speaks on the topic of innovation. Prior to joining the Brave New Workshop, Elena was raised in Bulgaria, studied in Germany, worked in Japan and received a B.A. degree at Colorado College and an M.B.A. from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Elena lives in Minnetonka with her husband and son and is an active member of the Twin Cities running community.
Jim Delaney is the founder of Engine for Good. Since 2010, Engine has engaged thousands of people and dozens of nonprofits to collaborate to build better business, stronger leaders and a healthier community. Jim worked in financial services for 12 years, was interim executive director at a small nonprofit in Minneapolis and a board member/adviser at the YMCA, Free Arts MN, Charities Review Council and others. Jim lives is south Minneapolis with his wife, Kari.
For people of color and Indigenous (POCI) leaders, navigating and holding multiple truths between worlds – and across experiences – requires different skills and strategies. POCI leaders work within and outside of their communities and often serve as the bridge between majority and minority cultures.
So how can POCI leaders recognize their multi-cultural advantage, build their leadership capacity and become their most effective selves? How can they see their voices as powerful and able to lead transformative change?
We will address the paradigms of honoring the traditions and practices of POCI communities, while exploring how to be effective leaders outside of our communities. We will address external stereotypes and discrimination, realize our own internalized oppressions, and build our leadership from the whole of who we are as multicultural leaders. Presenters and facilitators will provide mental maps to address these issues and use interactive vocal and physical exercises to actively engage participants to develop skills that help leaders fully live into being their full selves.
*This workshop is open to all but will focus on the experience of people of color and Indigenous leaders.
Bo Thao-Urabe’s commitment to creating community-centered, asset-based solutions has led to the creation of local, national and international organizations, a giving circle and several businesses. Today, she serves as Executive & Network Director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL), which harnesses the collective power of Asian American leaders from across sectors, generations and ethnicities to improve the lives of community. She is also the Chief Operating Officer of RedGreen Rivers, a social enterprise she co-founded that connects women artisans in Southeast Asia to US markets to preserve indigenous art forms and increase the economic well-being of women and their families. She has served as executive director of local and national nonprofits, worked on public policies that protect refugees and immigrants, ensure all children have quality education, and ensures all people can participate in our democracy. Beyond her jobs, she's spent most of her life working globally to end gender-based violence. Bo has received numerous awards for her work and leadership, and she is among just a handful of people in Minnesota with the honor of having the same day named after her in both the City of Saint Paul and the State of Minnesota.
Randy Reyes is an acclaimed actor and Theater Mu Artistic Director. Randy graduated from The Juilliard School Drama Division in 1999. He is an award winning theater artist that has worked as a professional actor, director, and theater educator with institutions across the country, including Mu Performing Arts, The Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Ten Thousand Things, Thirst Theater, Chicago Ave. Project, The Playwrights' Center, Workhaus Collective, Theater in the Round, Cincinnati Playhouse, Seattle Children's Theatre, NYU Graduate Acting Program, University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Acting Program, Wagner College, The University of Utah, Augsburg College, and Macalester College. He is a board President of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) and a board member of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL). Randy also represents Mu as a member of the Twin Cities Theater of Color Coalition along with Penumbra Theatre, New Native Theatre, Pangea World Theatre, and Teatro Del Pueblo. A 2006 recipient of the TCG New Generation Future Leaders fellowship under the mentorship of Rick Shiomi at Mu Performing Arts and the 2016 University of Utah Distinguished Alumni Award. Randy has also served as Artistic Director of The Strange Capers and the Theater in Education Director at The Guthrie. He became Mu Performing Art’s Artistic Director in September 2013.
David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist. A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was listed in the New York Times Notable Books of Year, and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity. His other works include the novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, and four books of poetry, including most recently The Last Incantations. He has received the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, won the National Poetry contest, and received fellowships from the NEA, the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. Mura has been featured on the Bill Moyers PBS series, The Language of Life and the PBS series Alive TV. He helped co-found the Asian American Renaissance, a Minnesota based community arts organization. He has taught at the Stonecoast MFA program, the U. of Minnesota, the U. of Oregon, Macalester, Hamline, St. Olaf and VONA, a conference for writers of color.
Do you have ideas that your organization needs, but don't have a clear pathway to bring them to life? Is problem solving in your blood but maybe not in your job description? In this interactive, practical and fast-paced whiteboard session that’s part playbook, part case studies, and part innovation therapy, we’ll share top intrapreneurial challenges and map out strategies to effectively navigate them. Real-world examples from Dr. Simone’s Ahuja’s research and from session attendees will illuminate these barriers — and the incentives that can help keep intrapreneurs afloat.
Dr. Simone Ahuja is a founder of the innovation strategy firm, Blood Orange, an HBR.org columnist and an advisor to MIT’s Practical Impact Alliance. Simone provides innovation and intrapreneurship consulting services, interactive labs and keynotes to local and global organizations including Wilder Foundation, the University of Minnesota, 3M, Procter & Gamble, Target Corp, and the World Economic Forum. She regularly mentors social entrepreneurs, with a focus on women entrepreneurs. She is the author of the international bestseller "Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth" and the forthcoming “Disrupt it Yourself: Eight Steps to Hacking a Better Business... Before the Competition Does” (HarperCollins Leadership, January, 2019).