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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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Lindsey McDivitt

Lindsey McDivitt writes fiction and non-fiction for children. Her picture book, Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story, was published in 2018 and two picture book biographies are forthcoming in 2020. McDivitt is passionate about tackling ageism in books for children. She reviews picture books with accurate and diverse images of aging and older adults on her blog “A is for Aging.”

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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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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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Joanne Vruno

Joanne Vruno grew up in Maplewood, Minnesota, just houses away from Battle Creek Regional Park, where she spent most of her childhood days hiking and exploring. Her love for nature and the wooded parkland bordering Battle Creek created the magic of the Seasons of Elves series, just as her love for the lakes created her first novel, Loon Child. Today Vruno lives in Saint Paul with her husband. It isn’t unusual to find her working in her yard, walking her two dogs, exploring new places for another novel, or having a picnic while spoiling her five grandchildren.

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