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Tracy Youngblom

Tracy Youngblom has been living and writing in the Twin Cities for 30 years. She earned an M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. She has published widely in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; individual poems, stories, and essays have appeared in journals such as Shenandoah, Big Muddy, Great River Review, Cumberland River Review, Wallace Stevens Journal, St. Katherine’s Review, Briar Cliff Review, Westview, DMQ, and many other places. She teaches full-time at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and in the community as well.

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Patricia Cumbie

Patricia Cumbie is the author of two books, the memoir The Shape of a Hundred Hips, and the young adult novel Where People Like Us Live. Her writing has been supported by The Loft Literary Center’s Fiction Mentor Series, a SASE/Jerome Fellowship, a Loft Career Initiative Grant, and a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship. She also received the Carol Bly Award for Nonfiction from Bemidji State University. Cumbie is proud to be a volunteer speaker for the Rape, Incest and Abuse National Network (RAINN).

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Carol Masters

Carol Masters is the author of Dear Descendent, poems; the biography You Can’t Do That: Mary Davidov, Nonviolent Revolutionary (finalist for the 2010 Midwest Independent Publishers Award), and The Peace Terrorist, short stories (1994 winner of MN Voices Project). She has been part of a Loft Mentor series and a Loft-McKnight winner. Her poems and short stories have appeared in anthologies and literary publications.

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Jasmine Stringer

Jasmine Stringer was living her life like so many others – on autopilot, without vision or purpose – until she was given an unexpected gift. She was laid off! As she said goodbye to her “corporate gig” she realized she hadn’t been happy or fulfilled in years. So she made a choice to do whatever work was required to find happiness wherever she could. She seized her life and got it “JAZZ’ed UP!” She found endless, little ways to connect with herself and others through DIY projects, style, entertaining, and travel on a budget.

Stringer works as a keynote speaker, an award-winning author of Seize Your Life: How to Carpe Diem Every Day, an on-air TV guest, and host of a weekly podcast and lifestyle blog — Carpe Diem with Jasmine. She has advised corporate and nonprofit clients, and through keynotes, workshops, and coaching sessions, guides people through a process of simple steps to help make their lives better. She introduces inspiration, revelation, and change by leveraging her experiences from working with some of the world’s biggest brands such as Kraft Foods, General Mills, Toyota, Box Tops for Education, Fox Searchlight, Publicis Groupe, and the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Stringer is principal of JB Stringer LLC. She graduated from American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington, D.C. She was named a Twin Cities Fearless Woman in 2017 and a Woman of Promise by the Girl Scouts in 2012. Additionally, she was awarded Distinguished Alumna of American University. Ebony Magazine featured her as one of its “30 Future Leaders Under the Age of 30 in America.” She is based in Minneapolis, but can often be found two hours south of the city working with her husband Roger at the family farm.

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Bev Bachel

Bev Bachel is the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It! A Guide for Teens. A goal-setting classic, the book has sold more than 50,000 copies and been translated into five languages. When she isn’t writing, you can find her working toward her own goals which include catching a muskie, learning to speak Spanish, and spending a year in Paris.

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John Wessinger

John Wessinger

John Wessinger, author of Ride the Wave, helps organizations and business leaders embrace changing markets and explore strategic risk through workshops, executive and team retreats, keynote speaking and published writing. He believes that in order to find success in changing and disruptive business conditions, leaders need to embrace change, adopt a mindset driven by skill progression and use risk as a compass to reach new levels of success. Wessinger is the founder of PLAN | MARKET | SELL and has previously worked for global organizations in the retail and healthcare industries supporting the marketing and sales of billion dollar brands.

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Zaylore Stout

Zaylore Stout is an attorney, community organizer and author. Originally from Southern California, he received his B.A. in International Business Management then his J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He founded Zaylore Stout & Associates in 2012, a law firm handling sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage and hour matters.

Stout was an inaugural recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Business of Pride Award in 2018, serves on the board for RECLAIM and Quorum, and won a 2017 Lavender Magazine Community Leadership Award. He led the charge for the passage of a Gender Inclusion Policy in the St. Louis Park school district making it the first suburb in the state to do so.

Stout authored Our Gay History in 50 States, an LGBTQIA+ educational book highlighting significant people, places, and events on a state-by-state basis.

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Steven Hopstaken

Steven Hopstaken was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he spent his formative years watching and reading science fiction and horror. He has a degree in journalism from Northern Michigan University and spends his free time traveling; writing screenplays, short stories and novels; and practicing photography. He moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota in 1994 where he currently lives with his wife and co-author, Melissa Prusi. In addition to their first novel, Stoker’s Wilde, they have sold two screenplays.

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Ann Schoenbohm

Ann Schoenbohm holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota and a BFA in acting from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She currently volunteers with several organizations as a literacy tutor and teaches writing in Minneapolis community education programs. Rising Above Shepherdsville is her debut novel. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children.

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Laura Packer

Laura Packer knows that the best way to the truth is through a good story. Whether folktale or true, epic or flash, her spoken and written stories captivate audiences. She is committed to helping others find their voice, tell their story, and change the world. Packer is the 2018 MN Grand Slam Champion and Best in Fringe KC 2018, among others. She holds a degree in folklore and mythology and is the author of From Audience to Zeal: The ABCs of Finding, Crafting, and Telling a Great Story. Packer has coached, told, taught, ranted, raved, consulted, and considered storytelling around the world.

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