Friday, March 30, 2012

Who Cares About Minnesota?

Who cares about Minnesota?

I do.

Not only was I born here, I grew up, went to college, met my wife, got married, and started a family here.  My roots go deep.

Before you begin to think "Of course, he would care, he's never left the state...", I should also mention that as an adult I've also lived for years in other notable places, such as Florida, California, Hong Kong, and in the shadow of the Himalayas in India.

You see, I like to travel...alot.

How much?  In a 12 month period, I traveled enough miles to circle the globe at the equator - 3 times.  With 44 states and 21 countries under my belt, I've been a few places I could also consider home.

Why so braggadocious? I don't really care if you consider that a lot or little, but what I do care about is Minnesota, and so I needed to lay a backdrop to explain that my interest in Minnesota isn't for lack of options.

You see, as is true in any great love story, love is a choice (this interestingly holds true for poor excuses for love, like The Bachelor, but I digress).  The bottomline: I keep coming back to Minnesota because I choose to.

So whether you grew up or moved to Minnesota at some point (or in my case, both, multiple times), you have made a choice to live in Minnesota.  And don't give me the excuse that you can't move away due to family, work, etc. Because the truth is you can leave (unless you have a court order), but whether it was intentional like mine, or more implicit, you made a choice to live in Minnesota. And it is your choice which makes all the difference.

So if you and I both chose to live in Minnesota, it stands to reason that what affects Minnesota, also affects us to some degree.  How do you figure?  Well, let's take a look at your life for a moment: Do you eat? Do you live somewhere? Do you work? Do you like spending time with your family?  Or with your worship community? As the world changes, do you plan on continuing your education or educating your children for that matter? Do you want to stay healthy (diet/exercise/air quality/sanity) and find quality health care when you aren't well?  Do you enjoy the great outdoors (or even the little outdoor park down the street)? What about the arts?  And the elephant in the room: could decisions made in government affect any of the above?

I could keep going, but I hope I've made my point: Whatever is important to you, depends not only on you, but on the choices of many other people, businesses, non-profits, worship communities, health care, educational & government institutions. You could just keep doing what you do, and allow others to make decisions that affect your life, and then complain when things don't end up your way, or you can get involved, and be a part of creating the future you want to enjoy.

Minnesota could use a few more passionate souls who truly care.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.
Jeffrey Miller
Jeffrey Miller, Strategist,


About Jeffrey:
As a Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Revivalist, Strategist, Gardener, & Friend, I love spending time with amazing people, enjoying the great (or little) outdoors, building businesses, making my clients successful, worshiping God, and dreaming about the future.

Feel free to get in touch: - - - (blog) - Twitter - LinkedIn

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Will Minnesota's Millennials be less imaginative?

The iconic image below captures Governor Wendell Anderson at a time when Minnesota was known as "the state that works."

I've been a part of conversations recently where community leaders from other generations have posed an interesting question:

Baby Boomers as a generation have seen a time where institutions all of kinds were strong and lasted, government worked and was trusted, and people bowled together. Because Millennials haven't seen and experienced that kind of social and societal success, will they be less imaginative? Can Generation Y know to envision something they themselves have not witnessed?

What say you?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Minnesota Rising Blogger Bio: Heidi Smith!

Greetings! I am Heidi Smith the newest contributing blogger for Minnesota Rising. Since you will continue to see my posts here on Minnesota Rising’s blog, I thought I would tell you a bit about myself and how I found myself contributing.

I moved to Minnesota from Florida in 2009 and have since joined the team at Grassroots Solutions. It was at Grassroots Solutions that I met Diane and learned about her work with Minnesota Rising. I simply am interested in anything that has to with generational studies, diversity and leadership. Lucky for me Minnesota Rising is designed to incorporate this kind of collaborative nature, therefore do not hesitate to approach Minnesota Rising if you have something to share, post or blog about.

More about me
Name: Heidi Smith
Age: 27
Employer: Grassroots Solutions
Studies: I graduated from the University of Central Florida and am currently in the MAPL program at University of Minnesota -- Duluth
In my spare time: Well for starters, I wish I had more spare time for travel, exploration and hammock napping, but since I am not being paid to tour the world exploring barely-discovered magnificent places for the Science channel, I try to spend as much of my time as possible just being outside here in the beautiful state of Minnesota. My goal for this summer is to finally learn to fly fish, but it is too soon to tell whether or not that will actually happen. If it is a rainy day you can probably find me at home working on a crossword puzzle or catching up on some reading, although I must admit being lazy does not come too easy for me – even though I wish it did.
My Vision for Minnesota: I hope that Minnesota can continue to be a great place to live with diverse denizens who maintain high integrity and respect for one another.
Why I am passionate about Minnesota Rising: Engaging young leaders and building trust one conversation at-a-time is easy to get behind. I am excited to see the results of the Cascading Conversation Tour unfold. Being a part of such a unique project gives me hope that the future of Our Minnesota is bright.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You're Invited | SMBMSP #44 Interactive Project Management & More! A Conversation with the Geek Girls Guide

Right on the heels of The Nerdery's Overnight Website Challenge, we have another reminder of how much the Twin Cities loves its gadgets and geekiness. Hang out with @SMBMSP this Friday for some bacon and breakfast conversation with the authors of the Geek Girls Guide!

You are invited to attend:

SMBMSP #44 - Interactive Project Management & More!
A Conversation with the Geek Girls Guide

Friday, March 30, 2012 from 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Interactive project management can be difficult to figure out. While the work entails elements of software development, marketing, and advertising, it's neither purely technical nor traditional "agency" work. Enter the Geek Girls. They literally wrote the book on it (available from Peachpit/New Riders in April, pre-order on Amazon)!

Geek Girls GuideSince 2008, the Geek Girls Guide (aka Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker) have been sharing their unique perspective on the Interactive industry, demystifying technology for non-technical audiences and generally owning every stage they appear on. They speak on topics ranging from social media to brand management to company culture.

Join us for an intimate conversation with this two-some. We'll cover the new book and get their opinion on a variety of other hot topics. Of course there will plenty of time for your questions as well.

Featured Speakers

Nancy LyonsNancy Lyons (@Nylons)
Nancy is President/CEO of Clockwork Active Media, a leading digital agency specializing in designing and developing business solutions for web and mobile. She speaks nationally about work culture, social media, technology, and leadership. She’s been recognized for her role as owner and CEO of Clockwork by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and gives back to the community by serving on the Board of Directors at The Family Equality Council.

Meghan Wilker
Meghan Wilker (@irishgirl)

Meghan is the VP, Managing Director at Clockwork Active Media, a digital agency specializing in designing and developing business solutions for web and mobile. She’s a contributing writer, creator of, and was named as a “Woman to Watch” by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.


Mykl RoventineMykl Roventine (@myklroventine)
Mykl is SMBMSP's Director, designer of things, and a complusive community organizer. He designs engag­ing web expe­ri­ences and speaks about social media, WordPress and typography. He co-founded and coordinates the actvities of Ignite Minneapolis andUnSummit, and runs as the local chapter of TechKaraoke Minneapolis. He has a special passion for the social web and its power to educate and inspire.

PARKING: There's on-street parking & a parking ramp attached to the Design Guild down the street.

Event Sponsors

514 Studios

Stanley's Bar Room

Al's Coffee

Annual Sponsors

Concordia University

514 Studios
514 North 3rd Street Suite 101
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Monday, March 26, 2012


Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences."
―Audre Lorde

Friday, March 23, 2012

You're Invited | Inter-Generational Roundtable: The Minnesota Miracle

Minnesota is often touted as a national leader across many topics and issue areas, ranking high for being a role model as well as for exhibiting significant disparities. There are many stories behind the successes and challenges that have brought our fair state to its current position, and some of the makers and doers behind it will be sharing about their contributions during next week's Citizens League Inter-Generational Forum. Drop in for historic background and to consider how to use their insights and leanings for crafting your own contributions to the future stories and successes of Minnesota!

Paul Gilje photoPaul Gilje photo

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Doors 5:30 p.m. | Program 6-7 p.m.

Axel's Bonfire

850 Grand Avenue, St. Paul

Appetizers are provided | Space limited to first 25 people to RSVP

Free for members | $10 for non-members

Register now

The year was 1971, and the Citizens League played a prominent role in changing Minnesota's fiscal policy. This success, dubbed the "Minnesota Miracle," gained national attention with a Time Magazine cover story depicting Gov. Wendall Anderson holding a fish with the title "The Good Life in Minnesota."

For some, the Minnesota Miracle meant equalizing the tax base between wealthy and poor communities; for others it meant a successful, broad-based approach to civic engagement to address a problem; for others it was about reaching a successful bipartisan solution.

You are invited to attend a 2012 Inter-Generational Roundtable Series discussion on the Minnesota Miracle, featuring Paul Gilje and Steve Dornfeld, the presenters for the evening. Come and learn about its history and what led to its passage; learn about the prominent role the Citizens League played; and discuss whether a policy like this could happen today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You're Invited: Are we winning (or losing) the battle on teenage mental health?

As the Minnesota Public Health Association's policy forum series continues to explore the challenges and conditions surrounding the health of our children, our attention this month will turn to mental health. With a range of threats include bullying, risky behaviors, suicide, self-image issues, and more, young people today are facing a bevy of challenges extending far beyond homework. Join the conversation to consider what we can do to create an environment that supports young Minnesotans in reaching their goals - be they a positive self-image or an A+ on their next assignment.

UPCOMING MPHA EVENT: MPHA Policy Forum – Friday March 23rd, 2012


What Plagues our Children?

Our 2011‐2012 policy forum series explores topics related to the health of our children. At this forum panelists and participants will explore the mental health of our teenagers. Topics points will include issues related to suicide, bullying, social image and the intersection between the pressures created by today’s teen culture and mental health.

Ellen Benavides, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health, will moderate the forum. Please plan on joining MPHA colleagues and friends as we explore:

Are we winning (or losing) the battle on

teenage mental health?

March 23, 2012 7:30-9:00am

Minnesota Department of Health

Snelling Office Park

1645 Energy Park Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55108


A breakfast of locally produced and organic foods will begin at 7:00am. The cost of the forum is $8 for MPHA members, $15 for non-members and $5 for students. There is plenty of free parking and time for networking.

Please register at Walk-ins are always welcome.

General questions about MPHA can be directed to

Questions about the Policy Forum series can be directed to Lindsey Fabian,

If you have a question about your membership status, please send an email to and we can check for you.

Send all newsletter items and Communications feedback to:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We have seen the future and it includes Minnesota Rising!

The "Our Minnesota" Cascading Conversations Tour is well underway, engaging young Minnesotans from across the state in dialogue about their values and visions for the future of our state! We invite you to join in the cascade by downloading the Blueprint yourself as a tool to better connect with your friends or requesting that a member of the Advance Team contact you to schedule a cascading conversation to further grow your own network.

While we're just at the start of building the network for what's next, we wanted to share some our strategic intentions and ideas about how Minnesota Rising can contribute to the livelihood now, and in 30 years, of Minnesota. See below for the start of our ideating and please share your own insights and suggestions in the comments. We hope you'll join in the effort to shape and support our Minnesota!

Short-Term: 2 Years

At the end of the Cascading Conversations Tour, Minnesota Rising will have traveled throughout the state to hear directly from emerging leaders regarding their interest in taking the lead in their communities and their visions for how Minnesota Rising can support and enable their civic contributions. Armed with this knowledge and insight, Minnesota Rising will be able to begin developing its next iteration of collaborative programming, training curricula, and its strategic intentions to endorse and advance the generational theme or operating principles resulting from the Statewide Tour.

As more emerging leaders and organizations come on board, we will be able to engage those with a demonstrated interest in leading Minnesota Rising at a higher level to share in the work and design of the initiative. Gaining a sense for the potential future leaders and leadership styles of Minnesota Rising will also inform what type of governance model may be most effective to develop for its management and stewardship, thus allowing us to also begin preliminary strategizing in the vein of mentorship and leadership transition.

Mid-Term: 5 Years

In projecting five years ahead, we imagine that Minnesota Rising will have a clearer sense of its identity and potential. It will have gained insight from the voices of established and newly emerging leaders across Minnesota, have cultivated relationships with organizations and emerging leaders statewide, and will be actively implementing its strategic intentions.

Emerging leaders and their organizations will have come to know each other via events and joint efforts, and will have had the opportunity to work together on wide-ranging initiatives, thus allowing for trust and relationships to be built. These emerging leaders and their respective groups will be more networked. Friendships, partnerships, and collaborations will have arisen out of Minnesota Rising gatherings. Emerging leaders will feel a deeper connection to the people and successes associated with collegial organizations as well as a commitment to the potential and responsibility that this diversity of people and groups holds for the state of Minnesota.

These groups will understand what they have in common – a shared appreciation for Minnesota and a sense that they will be able to influence and impact change for the betterment of our communities – as well as the things that make us distinct – different stories of coming to civic engagement and unique histories and vantage points – and to start to develop common ground. Whether that looks like a generational theme or operating principles for how we work together and communicate with each other, that which we agree upon will be posited in such a way as to demonstrate that we are committed to each other, Minnesota Rising’s vision, and the well-being of our communities as part of our collective success.

Minnesota Rising will have identified a structure for governance and participation that allows for long-term sustainability by allowing people to exit gracefully when they have moved on to the next stage of their lives and for bringing on board new people, energized by the vision and activity.

Those currently engaged with Minnesota Rising and existing emerging leader groups will continue to rise to new and greater positions of leadership after an additional two years. These transitions will allow for learning and growth, as we practice how to hand off power, even within our own generation, but also learn how to effectively mentor those who are just beginning to emerge.

Long-Term: 30 Years

In 30 years, the passionate, diverse, and highly engaged leadership of society, who were initially connected to each other through Minnesota Rising's network, will be actively handing off leadership of the state to an even more talented, committed, and multi-faceted generation. Because of our association with Minnesota Rising, we will have built relationships encompassing the types of interactions that characterize a healthy community. We will know each other’s families, support and utilize the public institutions and resources that benefit our community at-large, and feel a responsibility to each other and the success of our communities.

Because of Minnesota Rising, civic efforts and successes will be raised up as examples of the potential of individual changemakers as well as the power of the collective to organize for change for the better. This knowledge of a civic tradition is a predictor of continued civic engagement, so will help to inspire civic regeneration.

Minnesota will be vibrant, having adjusted to a variety demographic, technological, and economic changes, and being adequately prepared to manage additional future changes. The ever-present generational theme or operating principles will be a shared point of thought for those in leadership in society and amongst the general public. We will have a unifying understanding of that which we want to accomplish, that which we want to leave behind as our legacies, and our code of conduct for getting there. Most importantly, we will have built our network of peers and a community of support.

Our conversations will be less polarizing, and more focused on consensus or common ground at the State Capitol. Typically siloed sectors will be convinced of the need to work across sectors, will have the relationships and familiarity to engender comfort in doing so, and will thus see more of the innovation that is created at the intersection of disciplines. Stakeholder groups will come together in standard practice to engage in the tabletop demonstrations so common in emergency preparedness discussions. They will understand the value of coming together to form relationships, know the roles and ways in which they or their group contributes to the community, and be compelled to act in accordance as necessary.

Our hope is that we look at each other years from now and remember when we began this work. We will trust each other, have found our individual and collective ways to contribute to the common good in Minnesota, and have continued to pass along those values and training to the younger generation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Accepting Applications: Tri-College NEW Leadership Development Institute

It's that time of year again to apply for a life-changing 5-day intensive focused on women's leadership and public engagement! The Tri-College NEW Leadership Development Institute is seeking applicants with a desire to develop their leadership skills in the areas of politics, leadership, public service, and community service. If that sounds like you, and you'd fancy an excuse for a trip up north early this June, consider applying for a chance to hang out with 50+ amazing women in the Fargo-Moorhead area this summer!

Tri-College NEW Leadership Development Institute

June 2-6, 2012, Concordia College, Moorhead MN

Applications accepted until March 23rd

This intensive 5-day residential program is designed to provide leadership training, inspiration, and support for women in the upper Midwest who do not have extensive leadership experience. There is particular emphasis on recruiting women from groups that have typically been underrepresented voices in the political process.

There is no cost to participate. Participants have the option of registering for a 3-credit course in Women’s Studies, Sociology, or Social Work (Those who choose to register for course credit pay course registration expenses).

For information or to apply, visit or contact Deb White, Institute Coordinator at or 218-477-2041.

Participants attend workshops on running for office, public speaking, fundraising, public policy advocacy, and working with the media. They meet with over twenty women leaders, including state and local officials, women in tribal government, nonprofit leaders, and community activists. All participants and some women leaders reside on campus throughout the institute, extending learning beyond the formal daytime sessions.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A hard battle

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Friday, March 16, 2012

You're Invited: Ashoka Solutions Forum Live Interview with Healthcare Innovation Fellows

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously opined, "The first wealth is health." If so, the two Ashoka Fellows coming to Minnesota next month are on a mission to make their parts of the world and its inhabitants a whole lot richer. Jake Voit, Manager of InCommons, will interview Kathryn Hall-Trujillo and Josh Nesbit about their world-changing ventures in a quest for health equity and access. No doubt we'll all leave the conversation quite a bit wealthier.

Ashoka Solutions Forum

Live Interview with
Ashoka Fellows
Kathryn Hall-Trujillo & Josh Nesbitt
on Healthcare Innovation

Join Ashoka Twin Cities for a live interview, conducted by Jake Voit, Manager ofInCommons, with Ashoka Fellows Kathryn Hall-Trujillo and Josh Nesbitt. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The conversation will be held at the Minneapolis Central Library on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m., with a reception to follow. Doors will open at 6:30p.m.

Picture of Kathryn

Kathryn Hall-Trujillo will share her insights on the power of sisterhood to improve birth outcomes for women of color in America. The Birthing Project model has been replicated in almost 100 communities in the US, Canada, Central America and Africa. Her experience in bridging policy, services delivery and client cultures has earned her national and international recognition including being named a “Hero in Healthcare” by the Coalition for Excellence in Healthcare, receiving Essence Magazine's National Community Service Award, and being featured as a CNN Hero for 2010. Learn more about Kathryn's work at

Picture of Josh

Josh Nesbit will discuss his experience using low-cost, mobile technology to create health systems that save more lives. His work focuses on supporting a wide range of programs – from infectious disease surveillance in rural Malawi to emergency response after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti – in 15 countries across East and West Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Mr. Nesbit is a former Youth Venturer, PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, an Echoing Green Fellow, and was recently named by Forbes as one of the world’s 30 Top Social Entrepreneurs. Learn more about Josh's work at

These two leading social entrepreneurs represent the over 600 Ashoka Fellows throughout the world who are focused on developing and transforming health systems. While varied by geography, health-focused Ashoka Fellows address challenges such as fragmented health care ecosystems, high healthcare costs, inconsistent quality of care, system inefficiencies, barriers to access and capacity needs. Come hear from leading edge innovators and be inspired to act as a changemaker right here in Minnesota.

in partnership with

InCommons Logo


Greater Twin Cities United Way Logo

Thursday, March 15, 2012

You're Invited | Leadership: The 4 E’s of an Excellent Leader‏

The next Network Buzz event sounds like great fodder for conversation about leadership, and more importantly, self-leadership. Consider joining in the discussion to determine what types of knowledge and skills build the base for meaningful and effective leadership. Share your insights, learn from the experiences of others, and toast to the many excellent leaders we already find around us!
Leadership : The Four E's
Stella’s Fish Cafe
1400 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Driving Directions

Tuesday March 20, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM CDT
Add to my calendar

We're excited about our next Network Buzz Event on leadership, presented by author, speaker (and leader) Diane Windingland:

Whether or not you realize it, you are a leader! As a leader, you cannot command excellence in others without first creating it in yourself. In this inspirational and interactive presentation, Diane will help you build your "Leadership Shield" upon the base of integrity and the four cornerstones of excellence: Expectations, Encouragement, Empathy and Empowerment. Learn practical steps to take and hear and share your own leadership experiences, too!

To register for this event, click the link below. For more information about the event, our speaker Diane and the event agenda, or to pre-pay the $15 event fee online, visit our website at
We hope you'll be able to join us on March 20 for a great evening of networking. Remember: latecomers are always welcome.

Jean Nitchals

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reportback: Step Up to Diversity! presented by Torch Community

Torch Community, an organization which aims to connect young professionals in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, orchestrated a fantastic event entitled “Step Up to Diversity! What I Can Do NOW: Being the Diversity Competent Leader.” Minnesota Rising, along with BRIDGE-MN and the National Association of Asian American Professionals – Minnesota Chapter (NAAAP - MN) co-sponsored the event. Each of the co-sponsors took time to share their current work concerning leadership and diversity among young professionals. The evening’s presenters found fun and engaging ways to talk about leadership and diversity though hands-on activities, such as shaping something you find meaningful out of pipe cleaners.

The evening’s keynote speaker was the highly entertaining Jermaine Davis. Jermaine gave an inspirational and interactive talk on diversity. With his anecdotes and exciting tales, Jermaine found a way to combine the perfect amount of humor, statistics and classic quotes in order to emphasize the importance of having open discussions about diversity and being a diversity leader in our communities. For example, Jermaine revealed that over half of the children under
age 10 in the United States are children of color and asked participants to consider what the implications might be of this diversifying demographic on our future workforce, healthcare, education, and more.

Jermaine chronicled how he was able to reestablish a friendship with his seemingly delinquent younger brother through what he calls cognitive complexity – the idea that you try your best to consider another’s perspective and the conditions of their subjectivity. The relationship between Jermaine and his brother was given a second chance when Jermaine stopped trying to change his brother and learned to accept his brother and his brother’s actions before making assumptions. Jermaine is a Communications professor at Century College and has authored more than 10 books on leadership, diversity, inclusion, and more.

If you missed this great event, be sure to visit to watch for more great upcoming events for young professionals!
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