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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. 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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Ryan Henning

Ryan Henning was born and raised in Minnesota, where he spent most of his formative years in the Minneapolis suburb of Victoria. There, he developed a fascination with the weather – thanks largely to his dad’s career in the airline industry. (Henning loved the radar!) After earning a degree in synoptic meteorology from Purdue University, he worked as an aviation meteorologist for eight years. He lives with his wife Katie, twin sons, and three lively pets.

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Matt Lilley

Matt Lilley moved to Minnesota from Florida about 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He has a Master’s in Scientific and Technical Communication from the University of Minnesota. The focus of his degree was on health and medical writing, with a special emphasis on medical writing for kids. His other favorite writing subjects include exploration and nature. He loves learning about topics in science and sharing that knowledge. Lilley is also a Minnesota Master Naturalist.

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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. He 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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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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Bukola Oriola

Bukola Oriola is an international public and motivational speaker, bestselling author, mentor, advocate, entrepreneur, consultant, and member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking – appointed by President Barack Obama in December 2015, and reappointed by President Trump in 2018. Oriola is an award-winning journalist and a survivor of labor trafficking and domestic violence.

Depicting her experiences in two memoirs, she has dedicated her life to helping others by sharing her story and offering practical solutions to service providers and community members on how to help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Her work has reached millions around the world. Oriola is the founder of The Enitan Story, a Minnesota based nonprofit organization with a mission to advocate for victims and empower survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.

She is the CEO of Bukola Oriola Group, LLC, formerly known as Bukola Braiding & Beauty Supply, LLC. She is an entrepreneur who uses her skills to help others become entrepreneurs through book publishing and small business startups.

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Natalie Fowler

Once a practicing attorney, Natalie Fowler is an author, a freelance editor (for FATE Magazine), paranormal investigator (for Ghost Stories Ink) and a psychic medium. Fascinated by good ghost stories from a very young age, now she writes her own stories inspired by her work as a ghost hunter and psychic medium. An avid researcher and self-proclaimed history nerd, Fowler’s works are also influenced by the dark depths of history.

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Marilène Phipps

Born and raised in Haiti, Marilène Phipps has held fellowships at the Guggenheim Foundation, Harvard’s Bunting Institute, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, and the Center for the Study of World Religions. The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti, won the 2010 Iowa Short fiction Award. Her poetry won the 1993 Grolier prize, and her collection, Crossroads and Unholy Water, won the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize. Her most recent book is Unseen Worlds. She has contributed to American anthologies and collections such as The Best American Short Stories; Haiti Noir: The Classics; The Beacon Best; Ploughshares; River Styx; Callaloo; and Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and she edited Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems for The Library of America. Phipps is the recipient of the NAACP’s Award of Excellence for outstanding commitment in advancing the culture and causes for communities of color.

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