• Speakers

    Brad Brown

    Brad BrownPrincipal, socentia

    Brad’s firm, Socentia, provides consultation for social venture leaders, philanthropists, and investors committed to solving the leading social challenges of our time.

    Brad has worked as a business consultant and served as a nonprofit executive and foundation program officer and was the executive director of Social Venture Partners Minnesota. Brad has been a board member for several nonprofit boards and currently serves on the GiveMN.org strategy council and board of Social Enterprise Alliance Twin Cities. He was included on the Twin Cities Business Journal’s “200 Minnesotans You Should Know.” He is the organizer of IMNPACT Angels, Minnesota’s first impact investing angel network.

    He has his MAPA from Hamline University and is enrolled in the Doctorate in Public Administration program there.

    Steve Cramer

    Steve CramerPRESIDENT & CEO,Minneapolis Downtown Council & Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District 

    Previously, Mr. Cramer held the position of Executive Director of PPL, a Twin Cities Community Development Corporation (CDC) dedicated to creating opportunities for lower income families. He was elected to the Minneapolis City Council and served from 1984 through 1993. He served as the Executive Director of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency from 1999 to 2001, and as first Director of the Hennepin County Department of Housing, Community Works & Transit from 2002 through 2003.

    Mr. Cramer is also currently serving as Chairman of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, and as a member of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Mr. Cramer received his M.A. in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.


    Chris Ferguson

    Chris Fergusonpresident & ceo, bywater business solutions

    An entrepreneur and visionary, Chris Ferguson is president and CEO of Bywater Business Solutions. Bywater is focused on helping its clients grow by building custom solutions with a combination of commercial print, branded merchandise and technology. In addition, Chris advises businesses on sales and marketing strategy, deal structuring and capital raises.

    Prior to founding Bywater, Chris held management positions in finance, sales and operations in companies ranging in size from startup to Fortune 500. Chris has an MBA, JD, a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering and Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.

    Chris serves as a Member of the Corridors of Opportunity Policy Board, Chair of the Business Resources Collaborative, Member of the Board of The Midway Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Board of DRIVE Emerging Leaders, a committee of the Minneapolis regional Chamber of Commerce.

    He lives in Eden Prairie, MN with his wife and 2 sons and enjoys coaching his son’s hockey team. Chris owns and operates a Dairy Queen in his spare time.

    Reginaldo (Regi) Haslett-Marroquin

    CEO, Mainstreet Project

    Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin began working on economic development projects with indigenous Guatemalan communities in 1988, served as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program’s Bureau for Latin America and as advisor to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. He is a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation and started Peace Coffee, a MN based fair-trade coffee company. Haslett-Marroquin was named one of the Twin Cities International Citizens of the Year in 1996. In 2008 he received both the Northfield and College City Sertoma Service to Mankind Award, as well as their district award. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Northfield Area Foundation, is a member of the Rotary Club of Northfield and Chief Operating Officer at Main Street Project. A Guatemalan native, Mr. Haslett-Marroquin received his agronomy degree from the Central National School of Agriculture, studied at the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala and graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a major in international business. His work in food and agriculture has gained national and international attention. Part of his current work includes the organizing of system level changes in Guatemala which seeks to re-organize the utilization and management of natural resources in rural communities.

    Amy Jensen

    Amy JensenInvestment Director, Northwest Area Foundation

    Amy Jensen is the Investment Director for the Northwest Area Foundation. Having joined the Foundation in 2013, Jensen leads the investment of the Foundation’s $430 million portfolio with responsibility for all asset classes and strategies. The mission of the Foundation is to support the efforts by the people, organizations and communities of our eight-state region to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity.

    Immediately prior to joining the Northwest Area Foundation, Jensen worked for the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies as a portfolio manager. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in economics and communication studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and a master’s from the University of Minnesota. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designations.

    Duane Johnson


    Duane Johnson is the co-founder of Tuloko. Based in Minneapolis with an office in Santiago, Chile, Tuloko is an internet platform and social networking site that has been featured on CNN and in various news publications across the country. Prior to Tuloko, he held several roles at a Fortune 200 company that included positions as a senior analyst, planning manager, and buyer with multimillion of dollars in P&L responsibility. Duane is an MBA candidate at the Carlson School of Management.  While studying for his MPP degree at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, he pursued graduate research at the University of Oslo in Norway and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.


    Paul C. Light

    Paul LightPaulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service

    Before joining NYU, Paul Light was vice president and director of governmental studies at the Brookings Institution, Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow, and founding director of its Center for Public Service. He has held teaching posts at the University of Virginia, University of Minnesota, and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

    Mr. Light was also senior adviser to the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee from 1987-1989, senior director of the public policy grant program at the Pew Charitable Trusts from 1995-1998, and vice president and founding director of the Center for Public Service at the Brookings Institution (1998-2003).

    Jeff Ochs

    Jeff OchsCustoms Made

    Jeff Ochs is a successful Minnesota social entrepreneur. He first founded and directed Breakthrough Twin Cities, a nonprofit college access and teacher training program. Jeff then invented and commercialized Snake Oil, a hit educational party game that won the prestigious Mensa Select award and was licensed by a major game company. Most recently, he founded Cornerstone Stories, a social business that placed in the top three of the 2013 Minnesota Cup social entrepreneurial competition.  In addition to completing his Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy at the University of Minnesota, Jeff is a Sands Social Venture Fellow and serves on the Social Enterprise Alliance Twin Cities board as well as Minnesota’s Benefit Corporation statute drafting committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

    David Reiling

    David ReilingCEO, Sunrise Banks

    David is a social entrepreneur with a history of innovation in community development finance. Under David’s leadership, Sunrise Banks became the first Minnesota bank certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), the first Minnesota B Corp and the first Minnesota bank to join the Global Alliance of Banking on Values. David has been recognized by Trust Across America as one of 2014’s “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business”, Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, and Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” honoree.

    Dave Roeser

    Dave RoeserPresident, Garden Fresh Farms, Inc.

    President of Garden Fresh Farms, Inc.; a fully integrated aquaponics farm located in Maplewood. Dave is also the patent holder of the Orbiting Garden and The Lettuce Factory indoor agriculture systems; a unique growing systems that maximizes the space usage of the plant growing area. Garden Fresh Farms in the 2013 CleanTech Open winner of the National Sustainability Award and the Division of the Minnesota Cup. Dave is currently working to roll out a network of “farms” using the Garden Fresh Farms equipment, methods and management with products distributed under the same national brand name.

    Steve Rothschild

    Steve Rothschild

    author, ashoka fellow

    Steve Rothschild is a social entrepreneur, businessman, and author. He is the founder and board chair of Twin Cities RISE! an award winning , anti-poverty program for adults living in generational poverty. He also founded Invest in Outcomes, which developed the Human Capital Performance Bond (HUCAP), a new financial instrument to fund human services being piloted in Minnesota. Steve is an Ashoka Fellow.

    Earlier Rothschild launched Yoplait U.S., the yogurt company, and was Executive Vice President of General Mills.

    Steve is the author of The Non NonProfit: For-Profit Thinking for Nonprofit Success which shares seven principles that exemplary organizations practice to obtain superior results.

    David Simms

    David Simms

    Opportunity  International Network

    David is the Head of Global Strategy for Opportunity and responsible for leading Opportunity's focus on delivering client­ centric solutions to empower people living in extreme poverty to transform their lives. David served as a Partner with the Bridgespan Group and led its Leadership and Careers initiative. Previously he served as a SEVP at MBNA America, was CEO of the American Red Cross Blood Services Washington Region, was a White House Fellow, and started his career at Bain. David has served on Opportunity boards for 20+ years, including three years as executive chair of the Network board, and as chair of the MicroEnsure board which provides microinsurance to poor families in the developing world. He holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. David earned a BS (Economics) and a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude, Phi BetaKappa.  He and Kim celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last October.

    Steve Spruth

    Steve Spruth

    Carlson School of Management

    Steve Spruth is a Senior Lecturer at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, with a BA in Biology from Brown University and a Masters in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management. His academic interests include entrepreneurship, innovation, globalization, social entrepreneurship and sustainability. He currently brings University of Minnesota undergraduates to China each May to study entrepreneurship, and to Brazil each January to study innovation and sustainability. His international experience includes study and teaching in Brazil, China, Spain and Venezuela. His consulting clients include Medtronic, UnitedHealth Group, Select Comfort and Behavioral Health Services. He is on the Advisory Board of The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University St Louis. His industry experience includes executive positions at UnitedHealth Group, Long Term Care Group, and Peak Health Care.

    Jeanne Voigt

    VoigtWorksJeanne Voigt

    Jeanne Voigt is the founder and past CEO of MindWare, a direct marketing company that creates and distributes Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages to consumers and educators in the US and globally. Founded in 1989, Jeanne sold a significant portion of her interest in 2003 exiting completely by 2008. In 2013 MindWare sold again, this time to Berkshire-Hathaway.

    After selling MindWare she set up the Jeanne M Voigt Foundation to support her philanthropic activities to focus on women's economic development in emerging economies. She leverages her donor involvement with on the ground pro bono work and related impact investing in Africa. She is also active in the local impact investing ecosystem in the Minneapolis area.

    Jeanne sits on the boards of several for profit companies including DRG, a direct marketer and publisher of creative crafts for women; Rockler a marketer of woodworking tools; Finnegan's a social venture company that markets craft beers, contributing its profits to food shelves; and Nguku, a Kenya based chicken processing and distribution company. She is active on the Minnesota Children's Museum and Carlson Alumni boards.

    Jeanne was raised in a small town in North Dakota and received her BS in Music Education and an MBA in Finance, both from the University of Minnesota. She is passionate about many things, including gardening, traveling, lifelong learning and performing as a singer and actor. She lives in Minneapolis with her cats Koshka and Sunny and Jim, her long term spousal equivalent.

    Lee Wallace

    Lee Wallace

    Peace Coffee

    Lee Wallace is the Queen Bean of Peace Coffee, a mission-driven coffee company based in Minneapolis. Founded in 1996 by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Peace Coffee works for economic justice for coffee farmers and consciously works to promote healthy local economies and sustainable business practices.

    Named one of Minneapolis’ 40 Under 40 in 2012, Lee speaks frequently about fair trade, ethical business and building a successful organization. Lee’s professional background includes social entrepreneurship, rural economic development, small business incubation, and natural foods. In her spare time, Lee enjoys reading, gardening, playing ice hockey and collecting pets.

    Luke Weisberg

    LukeWorks, LLCLuke Weisberg

    Prior to establishing LukeWorks, LLC, Luke was Executive Director of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council (GWDC) from 2000 to 2005, serving Governors Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty. Previously, Luke held leadership and management positions in nonprofit organizations focused on employment and housing issues in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Luke is a graduate of the Hubert Humphrey Policy Fellows Program at the University of Minnesota, the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle and Haverford College.