Mnovation panel 8
Mnovation panel 7


The new MNovation Seminar Series is a unique opportunity for professionals at all levels to spark innovative thinking and behaviors by participating in interactive sessions with some of Minnesota’s top innovators in a full-day session at the Brave New Workshop’s Experimental Thinking Centre (ETC).

Attendees will learn and practice five behaviors proven to spark innovation, and increase the amount of time we spend in a mindset of discovery. This series is the first of its kind, combining the resources of innovation behavioralist, author and trainer John Sweeney and the Brave New Workshop’s Creative Outreach and some of Minnesota’s most innovative people and organizations.



We are inviting leading innovative thinkers and doers from diverse and interesting fields to share their insights with you and help you craft your own innovation fitness plan and journey. Our panelists play in large corporate environments, small companies, social enterprises, academia, government, non-profits, media and arts organizations. We pride ourselves on the divergent points of view present on our panels and look forward to the unexpected connections and moments of brilliance that will inevitably enrich your experience. Confirmed panelists include:

Dr. Simone Ahuja is the internationally best-selling author of “Jugaad Innovation and founder of Blood Orange, an innovation and strategy advisory boutique. Dr. Ahuja has served as a consultant to the Centre for India & Global Business at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, and as an associate Fellow for the Asia Society in New York City.  She provides innovation and strategy services to organizations including 3M, Procter & Gamble, Target Corp, the World Economic Forum and MIT. She is a regular columnist for the Harvard Business Review online.



Jacquie Berglund is The Rambunctious Social Entrepreneur, CEO and Co- Founder of FINNEGANS, the first beer company in the world to donate 100% of profits to fund fresh produce for those in need. Through the creation of both FINNEGANS Inc. and its nonprofit counterpart, FINNEGANS Community Fund, Berglund has championed an innovative, market- based approach to addressing and raising awareness about food security in communities across the Midwest.




Christopher Finlay is the author of “Getting to Thank You – A Practitioner’s Guide to Innovation and Senior Director of Product Experience Design at UnitedHealth Group. Chris is an innovation expert and designer with a mission to help people do their best work. At UHG, Chris designs and delivers human centered health services across channels and across products as part of the Optum Consumer Experience team. He enjoys working at the intersection of design, business, operations, tech, and marketing to bring experiences to people’s lives.



Catherine Gray is the Director of Impact Strategy Civic Engagement at the Minneapolis Foundation. She leads strategic grantmaking, advocacy, and partnerships to advance equity through civic participation. An expert in leadership development, she is known internationally for her previous work at The White House Project, an organization aimed at increasing the number of women in civic leadership. Catherine’s work is informed by her varied life experience as an entrepreneur and an innovator, an athlete and a filmmaker.



Stephanie Hammes-Betti is Senior Vice President of Innovation Design for the U.S. Bank Innovation Group. She leads a team who are responsible for the development and execution of Innovation engagement programs to promote and grow Innovation talent with in the company. She and her team are also responsible for providing education on new trends, managing the U.S. Bank Innovation Community, the Innovator in Residence program and for collaborating with the lines of business on the piloting of new digital tools into their marketing programs.



Bruce Lambrecht is currently the President of MTM Investments, a real estate and early stage investment company.  He has both a corporate and entrepreneurial background and has extensive experience in taking an idea and following it through to execution and hopes to share that with the audience at the Innovation seminar.



Jenni Lilledahl is the Founder of Gilda’s Club Twin Cities, a free and welcoming “clubhouse” where everyone living with cancer can come for social, emotional and psychological support. In 2005 Jenni joined forces with two other community leaders to begin the journey of raising $3.8 million from 2,200 donors over eight years, buying and renovating a building, hiring staff, creating programming, engaging a medical advisory board and building a community. Jenni is also a co-owner of the Brave New Workshop and the leader of its non-profit arm, the Student Union. 


Vikas Narula is an entrepreneur, blogger, speaker, adjunct professor and Co-founder of Keyhubs. After spending 15 years in mnovation_vikasthe start-up world, Vikas stumbled-upon his own business idea of Keyhubs, a software-enabled management consulting company specializing in the power of human connection, while completing his MBA at Duke University. Around the same time (2009), Vikas started Neighborhood Forest – a social venture dedicated to giving free trees to schoolchildren every Earth Day. He is passionate about purpose-driven entrepreneurship and teaches on the subject, as an Adjunct, at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Philomena Morrissey Satre is currently the VP of Organizational Effectiveness and the former VP of Diversity and Inclusion at Wells Fargo. She has worked with 72 Diversity and Inclusion networks and five diversity councils in 15 states, focusing on recruitment, retention and reputation, and ROI. In partnership with Hamline University and the U.S. State Department, she led a Middle East Fellows peace and economic development project.



mnovation_stephensonIan Stephenson is the former VP of Organizational Effectiveness at Cargill and is an experienced and successful global business leader, organizational consultant and advisor to executives. Ian has hands on experience of building organization capabilities in innovation, customer focus, marketing and change management. He developed a leadership academy that was frequently cited as best practice and recognized with external awards several times.


Patrick Waddick is the President of Innovation and Operations at Cirrus Aircraft. He is responsible for leading enterprise-wide Innovation and Operations activities including research and development, engineering, program management, manufacturing operations, global supply chain and quality. Patrick began his professional affiliations first with AIAA at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a student chapter Vice President. In 2004, he was the recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Hap Arnold Award for Excellence in Program Management.


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Rob Zeaske is the Chief Executive Officer of Second Harvest HeartlandUnder Rob’s direction, Second Harvest Heartland has not only grown in size and scale, but also has earned a reputation as an innovator and national thought leader in hunger relief. Rob is helping change the conversation about hunger relief by bringing together partners from private and public organizations that have a stake in closing the missing meal gap.



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8:30 AM – 9 AM Registration and light breakfast

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Keynote and Warm Up: John Sweeney on the Mindset of Discovery

10:45 AM – 11:30 AM Panel Discussion 1

The Catalysts: Stephanie Hammes-Betti, Christopher Finlay, Ian Stephenson

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM Panel Discussion 2

The Connectors: Catherine Gray, Vikas Narula, Philomena Satre

12:15 – 12:45 PM Lunch

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Innovation Fitness Sessions: Big Five Workout Breakouts facilitated by BNW instructors

3:15 PM – 4:00 PM Panel Discussion 3

The Reframers: Simone Ahuja, Jacquie Berglund, Rob Zeaske

4:00 PM – 4:45 PM Panel Discussion 4

The Marathoners: Bruce Lambrecht, Jenni Lilledahl, Pat Waddick

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM Wrap Up/Comedy

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Happy Hour Squared (HH2)
Attendees are invited to take part in fun and relaxing happy hour after a full day of learning! This happy hour will be like no other as we’ll be making sandwiches to be distributed to the hungry by Mr. Law’s MRD 363 Days Food Program.


All MNovation attendees will receive John Sweeney’s groundbreaking new book helps you identify what you need to do in order to become more innovative and less fearful, and assists in creating a regimen that transforms how you act. Whether personally or in a business setting, this text provides a fresh, practical understanding of innovation can revolutionize the way you think about work. | More about THE BOOK!