Christopher Swanson is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of PureDriven. PureDriven is a market leader in the US and Canada in franchise and manufacturer digital marketing and technology, and is based in Two Harbors, Minnesota. He is an entrepreneur and leads the vision and strategic growth of PureDriven. PureDriven is a high growth company that seeks to change the world by being a role model business. Chris also served on the Two Harbors City Council. He was first elected in 2002 and won re-election bids in 2006 and 2010.In 2016 he was elected Mayor of Two Harbors
Shelly DeMotte Kramer - V3*Broadsuite
Shelly Kramer is a 20+ year marketing veteran and co-founder of V3*Broadsuite. She’s a brand strategist focused on delivering integrated marketing solutions in both the B2B and B2C space. She was recently named as one of MediaPost’s Top-100 Social Media Power Influencers, 2015 Edition, and has also been recognized by Forbes on a number of occasions, most recently as one of the Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Experts and Top 50 Social Media Influencers. Shelly is half marketer, half geek, with a propensity for numbers, producing results and the occasional bit of sarcasm. She also likes beer. She’s known for her expertise in brand strategy, technology, big data, mobile, cloud, content and social media. Her clients have included USA Today, Burns & McDonnell, Spiral16, Chipotle, Maytag and JennAire, and numerous big pharma brands.
George Goldfarb - Maurices
George Goldfarb is president and CEO of Maurices, a position he has held since 2011. He has strong tenure with Maurices and has led the company in a variety of roles, including EVP, Chief Operating Officer, SVP, and Chief Financial Officer. In his current role, George oversees all aspects of Maurices’ operations, including its more than $1.1 billion in annual revenue, top tier industry profitability and more than 975 stores in the US and Canada. Prior to joining the Maurices team, George worked in public accounting. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. His leadership and commitment to education and philanthropy is an asset to the organization and community. Goldfarb is a Director for ALLETE and a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Board at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He has held prior board roles with the Labovitz School of Business and Economics and various philanthropic organizations.
Katrina Pierson - Vela Strategy
Katrina is an entrepreneur and Duluth-based consultant that works with nonprofit organizations throughout Minnesota and beyond. She is Co-Founder and Principal of Vela Strategy--an engagement firm that helps nonprofit organizations and foundations connect people to purpose through storytelling, fundraising, community engagement and leadership support. Katrina is a skilled fundraiser, leadership coach, and creative communications strategist. Her focus is on helping leaders articulate their story to activate support for their cause. In 2013 Katrina was recognized for innovation, influence, and involvement in the community by Times Media in St. Cloud as a recipient of their 2012 “5 Under 40” award. She is interested in helping organizations and young people to prepare for the next wave of nonprofit leadership. Katrina is a Certified Fundraising Executive, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Mass Communications and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is also a former Hubert Project fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Jamie Sundsbak - Collider Coworking
Jamie is the Community Manager of Collider Coworking, a space for startups, freelancers and remote workers located in Rochester, Minnesota. Collider provides space, assistance, and events to fuel the entrepreneurial Rochester economy. Jamie left a ten-year long career at Mayo Clinic where he worked to establish the Mayo Department of Surgery Innovation Accelerator. Jamie was also the founder of BioAM, a meetup group dedicated to creating a strong biobusiness startup community in southern Minnesota. As part of BioAM, he worked closely with area leaders to help support biotechnology, healthcare IT and educational initiatives. BioAM was merged into Collider in July of 2016. Sundsbak is also a Mayo Clinic Social Media Fellow, a Rochester Destination Medical Center Ambassador and recipient of the first RAEDI Entrepreneurial Warrior Award for his work in transforming the Rochester entrepreneurial community.
Mandy Abdo Sheahan: Co-Owner/Operator of Saguaro & Big Fat Bacon
AMANDA ABDO SHEAHAN is the co-owner/operator of Big Fat Bacon at the Minnesota State Fair and Saguaro Mexican restaurant in South Minneapolis. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Mandy has been making and losing money in a variety of business ventures since the age of 12. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and is part of a large entrepreneurial family responsible for a variety of businesses in both the real estate and hospitality industries. Mandy is a 2016 MplsStPaul Magazine Women In Business honoree and, in her spare time, she serves on the board of a number of charitable organizations, including Breakthrough Twin Cities and Shakespeare at Notre Dame.
Chad Allen Tafs Sr. - Total Pro Flooring
Chad is the founder and CEO of Total Pro Flooring LLC in Austin, Texas. Chad has been in the flooring industry for 24 years as a salesperson, store manager, sales trainer, national trainer and now an owner. Chad started his company in August of 2014 with the goal of building his company on three core values, TRUST, VALUE, & QUALITY. Chad comes from humble beginnings and grew up in Duluth, MN. He was raised in welfare, the juvenile justice system, and never knew his biological father. In 1984, he turned his life around through the Woodland Hills Program. Chad took everything he learned to earn his bachelor’s degree in Business Management at the age of 35. He modeled himself after other successful entrepreneurs to build a company that will exceed $2 Million dollars in revenue this year with goals of opening up 2 to 3 more locations between Austin & Duluth.
Karine Woodman - 24hr Bookkeeper
Karine Woodman started 24hr Bookkeeper in 2010, offering bookkeeping, payroll and QuickBooks training and integration. She has built a team who strives to help businesses create efficient systems and simplified workflows using QuickBooks Online and 3rd party applications. She's passionate about entrepreneurship, loves the world of business and is on a mission to guide businesses to financial clarity.
Luke Riordan - DAYTA Marketing
Luke Riordan is the CEO and Founder of DAYTA Marketing. DAYTA’s services provide a comprehensive solution in the following four categories: Brand Awareness, Brand Reputation, Customer Engagement and Talent Engagement. Luke and the DAYTA Team have been recognized for the following achievements: “Top 100 Companies to Work For” by Minnesota Business Magazine, “Business Central Mark of Excellence” - Emerging Entrepreneur award by the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, “Minnesota's Young Entrepreneurs 35 and Under” by Minnesota Business Magazine, and the “5 Under 40” award from the St. Cloud Times. In addition to his responsibilities at DAYTA Marketing, Luke also serves as a Board Member of Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Minnesota, Falcon National Bank’s Advisory Board and is chair of the Talent Committee at the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. Originally from Stevens Point, WI, Luke moved to Minnesota to earn his degree from Saint John's University in 2011. Luke lives with his wife Karli and his two sons in Sartell, Minnesota.
Clint Agar: CEO & Co-Owner of Duluth Running Co.
Clint is the CEO and Co-owner of Duluth Running Co., a specialty running retail store that specializes in creating unique in-store experiences, such as providing customers individual biomechanical analysis. DRC also produces award-winning running and triathlon events. Clint received a “Bridgie” award for civic activism related to the charitable giving of the Gobble Gallop event which now draws over 2,500 participants. The Superior Man Triathlon which brings athletes out into the Bay of Lake Superior to “Escape from the Vista Fleet!” has won the “Triathlete’s Choice Race of Year!” three times. As CEO, Clint especially enjoys his role in creating and improving retail and event consumer experiences. He recently became part of a highly selective cohort in the Joint Undergraduate/Graduate Degree Program in Management at Harvard University through the Harvard Extension School. Clint lives in Duluth with his wife Andrea and their daughter Parker.
Moderator: Karen Sunderman: Producer at WDSE-TV, Duluth PBS
Karen Sunderman is the producer/host of two PBS eight programs: "Venture North" and "Great Gardening". Prior to coming to PBS, she spent five years in commercial TV news as a reporter and producer in Duluth. At PBS eight, she coordinates "Venture North" and documentary projects as they arise. In her spare time she skis, camps, canoes & pulls weeds.