Dr. Burns is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies and the Honors College at Texas State University. He also serves as the CoDirector for the College of Fine Arts and Communication's research startup program, CoSearch. He is an award-winning instructor who teaches several courses including: Human Communication, Small Group Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Sport Communication, Leadership, Persuasion, and honors courses titled Re-Humanizing Communication and Talking Like TED. Dr. Burns currently serves as a Faculty in Residence where he lives and works with the Honors and Terry Scholars Living Learning Communities.
Dr. Burns' professional experiences outside of academia include working for NBC’s Today Show at the 2006 Torino, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London, and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. While at the Today Show he works on the production management and logistics team while overseeing their intern program. Dr. Burns also worked as a communication specialist for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Burns is an applied communication researcher and conducts theoretically-based research with practical applications. He has published and presented research in the areas of persuasion, message development, higher education and the college transition, narrative influence, interpersonal communication, and family communication.
Kathryn Helgaas Burgum
Kathryn Helgaas Burgum became First Lady on December 15, 2016, when her husband Governor Doug Burgum was sworn in as the 33rd Governor of North Dakota. Kathryn grew up in Jamestown, N.D. She earned her undergraduate degree in retail business at Arizona State University and a master’s of business administration degree in human resources from the University of North Texas.
Her 25-plus year career in human resources and marketing has spanned many industries. Kathryn has donated her time and leadership to many charitable endeavors including at-risk women and children, animal welfare, visionary artists and the arts.
Now, as First Lady, her priority is supporting and developing initiatives for fighting addiction in North Dakota’s communities.
Ali is a musician, writer, and social entrepreneur from Dearborn, MI, and a Lebanese, Muslim-American. Ali recently earned his Doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University, as well as his Master's in Business Administration from Emory University. Ali runs Rima Records, an independent record label that supports top performers in the music industry who are passionate about social change, and top reformers in the education sector who are passionate about career-focused schooling within arts, media, and entertainment.
As a marketing and communications specialist for Hospice of the Red River Valley, Kelly Krenzel focuses telling the hospice mission through those who have experienced it firsthand. She is truly moved by the small, but beautiful moments she has witnessed among hospice patients and their families and staff. Inspired by this work, the love for her Grandma Freda, a bit of a green thumb and incredible amount of compassion for others, Kelly started Hope Blooms, a flower recycling project, to spread joy, happiness and emotional healing to those facing difficult times.
Kelly grew up in Bismarck, N.D., and moved to Fargo 15 years ago to earn a mass communications degree from MSUM. She met her now husband, Scotty, at a local pizzeria 5 years ago, and the two have been adventuring ever since. In late 2015, the pair embarked on their biggest adventure yet with the arrival of their son, Henry Fisher. In her spare time, Kelly loves being with family and friends.
A Dickinson, ND, native, Andrew (Andy) J. Maus received a Bachelor’s Degree in 2002 in Studio Art and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management in 2010, both from Minnesota State University – Moorhead.
Currently, Maus is Director/CEO of Plains Art Museum, an organization that first sparked his love for art museums and the roles we play in building stronger, more innovative and healthier communities. Plains Art Museum, located in downtown Fargo, is the largest and only AAM-accredited art museum in North Dakota, and has several strong focus areas including modern and contemporary exhibitions, regional artists, Native American programming, cultural diversity, creative placemaking, learning, and artistic creation. The Museum is an exemplary, regional mid-sized museum serving a vast and largely rural population. Maus is in his third stint at the Plains, where he has worked in a variety of capacities throughout the years. Prior to returning to Plains Art Museum, Maus served as Executive Director of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) in Winona, where he provided leadership in every major facet of the Museum’s operation and oversaw a dramatic transformation and expansion of the organization.
Maus currently lives in Moorhead, MN with his wife, 2 kids and 2 dogs.
Bridget McManamon is 17 years old and a Junior at Moorhead Senior High School. She started the charitable organization Herstory to increase access to menstrual hygiene products, empower young women to have a better understanding of their physical well being and increase their confidence and ability to access leadership opportunities within their schools and communities. Bridget is also heavily involved with her schools speech team and theater department and hopes to go to college for Political Science and Women's Studies.
From New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Upper Valley office in Hanover, Kevin co-leads design and implementation of the Impact Investing Program. He also manages four grant programs: a statewide environment portfolio (grants, initiatives and relationships with conservation-focused nonprofits); the Wellborn Ecology Fund (which supports place-based ecology education); the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund (which supports watershed protection/restoration); and regional grants/nonprofit/donor relations in the Upper Valley. He joined the Foundation staff in 2001.
Prior to the Foundation, Kevin spent 15 years with Appalachian Trail Conservancy coordinating land protection, resource management and volunteer stewardship along 700 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in New England.
Kevin has a Geography degree from Dartmouth College. He chairs the advisory committee for the Class of ’82 Upper Valley Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship at Dartmouth’s Center for Community Service, and serves on the Dartmouth Outing Club Advisory Board.
Kevin and his wife, Rebecca Lovejoy, live in Lyme, New Hampshire, where he serves as the elected Town Moderator and maintains a network of trails for walking and skiing. From 2002 to 2016, he performed with Revels North’s “Christmas Revels” as a singer, dancer, actor and emcee/song leader.
There is nothing quite like the frenetic and fleeting seasonality of the upper Midwest to inspire a soulful cook. For Chef Gavin Kaysen, an old soul at heart, this idea beckoned him back home to Minneapolis to open Spoon and Stable restaurant in the North Loop neighborhood in fall 2014. “Cooking is very emotional for me; I have to cook how I feel,” Gavin says. “There’s something to be said for how you feel emotionally as one season gives way to the next, when it snows, rains, or is sunny. I never thought about that growing up here, but coming back, I see that now.”
Even though the award-winning chef has cooked in top kitchens throughout the U.S. and Europe, Gavin gravitates most toward traditional Heartland dishes—the kind he grew up eating and cooking. “I love the classics. Starting with my grandmother, we always cooked very classical American dishes, like pot roast and chicken. I’m taking the knowledge I have now to shift, change, and morph those at Spoon and Stable.”
The chef refined his dexterity in contemporary American fine dining by dedicating time to some of the world’s best restaurants. After graduating in 2001 from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT, Gavin worked at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, CA; L’Auberge de Lavaux in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the famed L’Escargot in London, before becoming executive chef at El Bizcocho in San Diego, where he was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs. In late 2007, he joined Chef Daniel Boulud as chef de cuisine of Café Boulud in New York City, where he later earned the James Beard Rising Star Chef award and a coveted Michelin star. While there, he discovered so much more than tangible, technical skills. “It was like getting my master’s and PhD with Daniel and his organization,” he explains. “I learned so much about hospitality, about the business, cooking—but more importantly, I learned a lot about soulful food. When he cooks, it’s all about spontaneity, which I have discovered is how I really thrive, too.”
Today, Gavin helps the next generation of young culinarians refine their skills in the kitchen. He is one of the founding mentors of the nonprofit ment’or BKB Foundation (formerly Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation), for which he currently serves as Team USA’s head coach in preparing for the famed biennial culinary competition that showcases the world’s best up-and-coming chefs. Gavin brings an intimate knowledge of the Bocuse d’Or competition, as he proudly represented the U.S. in 2007.
Gavin lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, he tends to the strawberries, peppers, zucchini, cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, and tomatoes growing in his home garden.
After 13 years of chronic moving, Melody Warnick managed to fall madly in love with her adopted hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia, then wrote a book about how other people could do the same. "This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are" (Viking, 2016) helps Movers and Stayers alike rethink the value of their community and was described by Richard Florida as “an important book for so many people who are choosing their place to live."
A freelance journalist for more than a decade, Warnick has written for The Guardian, Atlantic CityLab, Quartz, Reader’s Digest, O: The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, Better Homes and Gardens, and many other publications; she and her book have also been featured in the likes of Time, Fast Company, Psychology Today, Realtor.com, and Inc.com. She (still) lives in Blacksburg with her husband and two daughters. She's big into libraries, bakeries, and taking walks. Find out more at her website, melodywarnick.com, or follow her on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (@melodywarnick).
In her journey to create a more inclusive environment, Natesho has brought attention to uncomfortable issues such as white privilege, Black Lives Matter/ All Lives Matter, and Islamophobia. Nastesho Ulow will start her senior year of at West Fargo High School in the fall.
Fun fact: Natesho was selected from our open call in April. Join us in welcoming her to our group of speakers!
Sam is an idealist realist who was raised by ex-hippies in Northern California. He spent the last 3 decades chasing big questions through careers in construction, social venture capital, and strategy consulting before falling for his South Dakota dream girl, launching his own consulting firm, and realizing that even when he's his own boss, it's still really hard to be the father, husband, leader, and friend that he wants to be.
Speaker Release: Adelynn Mrosko
Adelynn Mrosko is an undergraduate student at the University of North Dakota majoring in Commercial Aviation. In her time at UND, Adelynn has done extensive work in promoting LGBT+ visibility and equality within the aerospace college. In late 2015, she created the first ever university chapter for the National Gay Pilots Association at the University of North Dakota. Since then, Adelynn’s template has been used to create more NGPA university chapters at different aerospace colleges all around the country. Currently, Adelynn is an advocacy writer at the National Gay Pilots Association. Over the past two years, her writing has been focused on educating the aviation community on current transgender issues.
Mert Hilmi Iseri is the young turk of design. His journey started off in Istanbul, Turkey and changed courses completely once he arrived at Northwestern University. He is the co-founder of Design for America, a national initiative amongst college students to use design thinking for social impact in their communities. Mert has seen the organization grow from three friends in his apartment to thousands across 38 campuses.
He is also fortunate enough to have the best job in the world as the CEO of SwipeSense, aiming to eliminate Hospital-Acquired Infections from US hospitals and beyond. An energetic speaker who likes to stir things up, he has presented at conferences such as TEDActive, CUSP, Design:Chicago and many others. He is based out of Chicago, IL.
Sister Thomas Welder
Sister Thomas Welder, a native of Bismarck, North Dakota, and a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, has served the University of Mary as teacher and administrator since the 1960’s. In 1978 she assumed her role as president. Retiring as president July 1, 2009, she currently serves as president emerita in the area of public affairs. She attended the College of St. Benedict, graduated from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, and earned a master’s degree in music from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Active on local boards, in professional organizations and religious affiliations, Sister Thomas received the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award by Governor Hoeven in May, 2004, was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 2007, and received the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way’s 2007 Lifetime of Caring Award and the 2013 Caritas Award from Catholic Charities North Dakota. She is committed to fostering servant leadership development in students and colleagues through living mission and core values.
Kitty Westin founded the Anna Westin Foundation (now known as The Emily Program Foundation) following the death from anorexia of her daughter, Anna, in 2000. Soon after Anna’s death the foundation opened Minnesota’s first residential treatment program for eating disorders; The Anna Westin House. Kitty is an advocate for people affected by eating disorders and has become a nationally and internationally recognized authority on the impact mental illness has on individuals, their families and the community.
Kitty is a licensed psychologist and past president and current board member of both The Emily Program Foundation, a Minnesota-based 501c3 on a mission to eliminate eating disorders and the Eating Disorders Coalition, a national advocacy organization based in Washington D.C. She has received numerous awards for her advocacy work and has written several book chapters and articles related to eating disorders advocacy and the impact they have on society.
An important milestone was being present last fall when President Obama signed into law the ground-breaking health care initiative, the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act includes extensive language from the Anna Westin Act, a bill that will improve access to treatment for eating disorders and education of all health care professionals.
Kevin has an undergrad in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley and a graduate degree in Education from Harvard University. He built and taught a CS program for three years at a San Francisco Bay Area high school. He was a member of the MIT Teacher Education Program‘s StarLogo programming language team, a Teaching Fellow for Harvard CS 1, and held engineering fellow positions at Lockheed Martin and Toyota. Kevin was a software engineer in the Microsoft Office 365 group when he founded TEALS in 2009. He now runs TEALS full time generously supported by Microsoft Philanthropies. Kevin spends what little of his free time trying to not be outsmarted by his dog while watching British panel quiz shows.
Steve Gadlin is a serial silly projects guy. He appeared on ABC's Shark Tank and struck a deal with Mark Cuban with his stick figure cat drawing company, "I Want To Draw a Cat For You!"
Steve Rohr is a widely-recognized Communication expert, bestselling author, professor and the Show Publicist for the Academy Awards.®
As a Communication expert, Steve has made over a hundred media appearances in the US, Canada and UK. Television audiences will know him from multiple appearances on “WGN Morning News” (Chicago), “CT Style” (ABC 8, New Haven/Hartford), Canada’s #1 daytime television talk show “The Social” (CTV) and the national television breakfast shows “The Morning Show” (Global TV, Canada) and “Good Morning Britain” (ITV, UK) among others. In addition, he is a regular on-air contributor for “The Night Side” (Newstalk 1010 Radio, Toronto) hosted by Barb DiGiulio. Steve has also been featured in print and digital publications including INC., AARP, The Magazine’s “Life Reimagined,” Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Toronto 24HRS, Public Management magazine, CORP! and The Hollywood Reporter. He is a regular entertainment industry expert contributor for Backstage magazine, the premiere career resource for actors and performers.
Steve co-authored the bestselling how-to book “Scared Speechless: 9 Ways to Overcome Your Fears and Captivate Your Audience” (Career Press, 2016) with psychologist and media expert Dr. Shirley Impellizzeri (“Dr. Drew,” “The Doctors”), which won a 2016 Foreword Reviews “Book of the Year” Award (Self-help). For several years, he taught Communication, Public Relations or coached Speech part-time on several Southern California campuses including Cal State, Long Beach; Loyola Marymount University; MiraCosta College; Rio Hondo College and Saddleback College.
Steve was the Show Publicist for the 2016 and 2017 Academy Awards, spearheading both the domestic and international publicity for the annual telecast, aired live in the US on the ABC Television Network and via broadcast partners in 225 countries and territories to an audience of several hundred million.
Prior to becoming a media expert and the Show Publicist for the Oscars®, Steve founded his own LA-based entertainment public relations agency representing award-winning actors, recording artists, personalities, authors and films. Steve’s corporate clients included Sony Entertainment Music Group and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. He is a member of the Television Academy (voting on the Primetime Emmy Awards® ) and the Publicists Guild.
Steve mentors promising young people, most of whom are his former community college students. These scholars have distinguished themselves as speech champions and earned merit-based Speech scholarships to top transfer universities and graduate programs.
He graduated magna cum laude from Concordia College (Minnesota) with a B.A. in Communication, Political Science and Art and was recently elected to the school’s National Alumni Board. Steve earned an M.A. from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. A native Montanan, Steve is Canadian/American and divides his time between Los Angeles and Toronto.
Stuart was raised in small towns in North Dakota and has had a long career in the U.S. Navy. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and, as a Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University. Stuart has deployed around the world in submarines and an aircraft carrier and has commanded a submarine, a squadron of submarines and our largest overseas submarine command that spanned from the Suez Canal to the International Date Line. Ashore he has had several Pentagon assignments, including twice serving as a military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense; and, as a White House Fellow, a special assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture. He presently is a Rear Admiral and serves on the Navy Staff in the operations, plans and strategy office. The son of teachers, education and leadership have always remained important to Stuart and he still feels most at home when he is on the prairie.
Globally sought-after speaker, author, and kick ass mother Felecia Hatcher is a White House award Winning entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Code Fever and Blacktech Week
Wendy Guillies is the president and chief executive officer of the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States with more than $2 billion in assets.
Guillies leads the Foundation’s work to boost student achievement in Kansas City and to accelerate entrepreneurship across the country. Before becoming CEO, she played an instrumental role in building the Foundation's local, national and global reputation as a thought leader and innovator in its fields.
Guillies has deep expertise in communications, marketing, organizational development and talent management. She serves on the boards of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, MRI Global, Folience, and the Enterprise Bank Advisory Board. She was named by the Kansas City Business Journal for the past two years to the Power 100 list, as well as the Tech 100 list by TechWeek KC. She was also selected for the 2014 class of Women Executives in Kansas City by Ingram's magazine.
Donna Lynne, DrPH, was sworn in as Colorado’s 49th Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer on May 12, 2016. She is widely respected as both a leader in the private sector and an expert in the health field.
Prior to assuming her roles in Colorado state government, Dr. Lynne served as the executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and as group president responsible for its Colorado, Pacific Northwest and Hawaii regions – overseeing an $8 billion budget, 1.4 million members and 16,000 employees.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics and Political Science), a Masters of Public Administration, and Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University. Since 2005, she has been an adjunct associate professor of Public Health at Columbia University. Dr. Lynne resides in Denver and has three children and two step-children. She enjoys skiing, mountaineering, cycling, and reading. She has climbed all 58 of Colorado’s Fourteeners.
As the Chief Strategy Officer at The Nerdery, Mark Hurlburt was an early advocate of the company’s exploration of partnering with agencies to handle the interactive needs of their end clients. The agency partner program has helped to fuel the growth that has earned The Nerdery it's ranking on the INC 5000 list for four consecutive years and has made The Nerdery among the top 20 fastest growing companies in Minnesota. As an advocate for a strong company culture, Mark helped to build the working environment that has been voted as the best place to work in the Twin Cities for two consecutive years by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Before building The Nerdery's brand, Mark Hurlburt spent his time coding, designing and occasionally zoo keeping. Mark is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, with additional studies at MCAD and The University of Queensland - UQ in Brisbane, Australia.
Anish Shroff is a studio host, anchor and play-by-play commentator for college sports, including lacrosse, football, basketball and baseball. Shroff joined ESPN in January 2008 as an anchor and studio host for ESPNEWS, ESPN’s 24-hour sports news network.
He has previously hosted College Football Live and Goal Line along with select college football studio shows during the year.
Shroff was featured on ESPN’s second season of the reality show, Dream Job, in 2004, and advanced to the final three contestants. Since then, Shroff has spent time working in both TV and Radio.
Directly following his stint on Dream Job, Shroff worked as an anchor, talk show host, and play-by-play announcer at WHEN radio in Syracuse, N.Y., before venturing into his first job on television as a freelance anchor at College Sports TV in New York City.
With a growing interest in sports television, Shroff headed west and took a position as the Sports Director at KNDO-TV in Yakima, Wash. There, Shroff was exposed to all aspects of the television business including shooting and editing and covered a multitude of sports teams and programming, while also covering Heisman Trophy candidate Kellan Moore of Boise State. Before joining ESPN, Shroff also worked at WSYR-TV.
Shroff was born in Bloomfield, N.J., and earned a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University in 2004. He currently lives in Charlotte with his wife Faye and their German shepherd Lola.