Mnovation panel 8
Mnovation panel 7


March 1, 2018 Brave New Workshop Minneapolis

Get a real-world perspective on the human side of innovation


MNovation gathers some of the most innovative minds from across our state for an all day party designed to help you:

  • Open your mind through exposure to smart cookies from a wide variety of industries and companies.
  • Bust out of your comfort zone with hands-on exercises.
  • Learn and network with panelists and other innovators that are getting it done every day!


You will learn and practice five behaviors proven to create a change-ready culture, engaged teams, and an environment that welcomes the whole human. This series is the first of its kind in its focus on the mindset + behaviors that fuel innovation not just the systems, tools and skills necessary.

“I learned a ton, met lots of interesting people and have some cool ideas to take back to my business. I was really impressed with the whole day and your team.”


Learn from the best – this diverse group of innovators can teach you how to get your mind right, stay the course, and change the world.

Our panelists play in large corporate environments, small companies, social enterprises, academia, government, non-profits, media and arts organizations. Confirmed panelists below, we are adding new rockstars every day. If you are curious about past events see past panelists.


Thompson Aderinkomi, Co-Founder and CEO, Nice Healthcare

Thompson Aderinkomi is an accomplished statistician, leader, and entrepreneur. He has founded multiple companies and led large teams over the last 10 years. Thompson is the co-founder and CEO of Relate, an artificial intelligence coach that helps people improve their relationship, leadership, and parenting skills. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Nice Healthcare, an innovative primary care practice that delivers care in patient’s homes outside of traditional health insurance arrangements by working directly with employers to offer the service as a benefit to employees. He maintains his popular blogs on leadership and relationships at  He also has served on the board of directors for WATCH MN, Youthprise, and MNsure. He received a BS in Economics and an MS in Statistics from the University of MN and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management. Twitter handle: @ThompsonAder


John Alberts, Executive Director of Educational Services, Austin Public Schools

John Alberts, Executive Director of Educational Services for Austin Public Schools, is in charge of overseeing teaching and learning, staff development, gifted programs, English learner programs, integration programming, and federal funds. John is the co-chair of an annual Gifted and Talented Education Symposium that brings in speakers and attendees from around the world to Austin each summer. John was named the Austin Education Association teacher of the Year in 2005, was named to the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) 23, and named the Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented Friend of the Gifted in 2015. John received his BA in English and psychology from the University of MN, Morris, and a MA in curriculum and instruction from the University of MN. Twitter handle: @alberts_john 


Jodi Brendel, Managing Partner, Patina Solutions

Jodi Brendel is at the forefront of an “executive-on-demand revolution” as a Managing Partner of Patina Solutions. She’s responsible for the company’s Minnesota-market, taking an innovative approach to the way companies address their critical initiatives and open positions. With more than 25 years of success managing and scaling-up businesses, she has a track record of building high performance teams for large and small companies across multiple business sectors – with national and international reach. She’s been an executive consultant, bringing her experience and insights to emerging and growing life sciences and food & agribusiness companies. A results-oriented leader, Jodi held positions at leading life sciences companies including Medtronic, Hill-Rom Respiratory Care, and Synovis Life Technologies. She’s a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Twitter handle: @PatinaSolutions


Theresa Glomb, Toro Company-David M. Lilly Chair, Carlson School of Management

Theresa M. Glomb is the Toro Company-David M. Lilly Chair in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. in social, organizational, and individual differences psychology from the University of Illinois and her B.A. in psychology from DePaul University. Her research suggests the important role of work events, mood, and micro-interventions in predicting on the job behavior and employee well-being. She has conducted field research in dozens of companies, including several Fortune 500 firms, with thousands of workers as participants. Her research uses a variety of methodologies including experience sampling, surveys, interviews, and physiological assessment. Her work has been published in top management journals such as the Academy of Management Journal and the Journal of Applied Psychology and cited in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Huffington Post.  Twitter handle: @CarlsonNews


Melissa Lenk, Director of Organizational Development, Honeywell

Innovation has been a central component of Melissa’s nearly 25 year career in the public, nonprofit and private sectors, spanning agricultural land reform in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova as a Peace Corps Volunteer; launching the first Habitat for Humanity International affiliate in Russia; hosting the first virtual leadership forum at Cargill; and supporting Breakthroughs at Honeywell. Melissa understands what it takes to work with a diverse set of stakeholders and across cultures to create positive change. She has a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor’s of Science in International Business with a Minor in Soviet Studies from St. Cloud State University. Twitter handle: @honeywell


Jen McCuen, Senior Director, Enterprise Learning, UnitedHealth Group

Jen is a global learning leader with a background in sales, organizational effectiveness and development, as well as performance coaching. Her interest and focus is on modernizing learning using a sustainable and scalable learning eCosystem that optimizes learning for the employee, moving it as close to the work as possible. Jen has an intuitive ability to connect with people to create insight, maximize development and facilitate change. When she’s at her best, she’s helping others realize their own best selves. In her current role, she leads the research and development, including technology enablement, for the enterprise learning and development space, including user experience design, graphic design, learning curation and learning technology enablement. She has worked at UnitedHealth Group for 10 years and former roles include Enterprise OE/OD Consulting and Director of Sales Training for UnitedHealthcare. She is a master facilitator and specializes in team development, adaptive positive leadership and organizational strategy. Twitter handle: @UnitedHealthGrp


Steve Meyer, Owner, Future Farm Grown

Steve comes from a family rooted in Agriculture and Entrepreneurship. He started Future Farm Grown in 2010 with the goal of delivering high quality greens into Minnesota and Wisconsin year round. Working with a partnership based in innovation and using farm equipment that was previously sitting unused, Steve Meyer and his team have been producing aquaponically and hydroponically grown lettuce, herbs, and greens in their 27,000 square foot facility located in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Their environmentally controlled facility allows them to maximize plant growth while conserving water so they can get the freshest and most nutritious produce possible. They take pride in their clean growing methods where they are certified in Good Agricultural Practice through the USDA, use only Non-GMO seeds and do not use any harmful pesticides in an effort to give their customers the cleanest possible produce.Their farms are good for the earth, good for the plants and fish, and good for the people enjoying Future Farm Grown produce! Future Farm Grown takes their responsibility to preserve the environment seriously, and they are proud to supply the best quality foods to the local area all year round. Twitter handle: @FutureFarmWI


Jeff Munneke, Vice President, Fan Experience and Community Basketball, Minesota Timberwolves

Jeff Munneke is the Timberwolves’ employee with the longest tenure, having been hired on June 20, 1988. Munneke oversees all aspects of the fan experience department, which includes serving as the primary contact for all fan interactions with a focus on Wolves season ticket holders. Munneke has also overseen community youth basketball for 16 seasons, and earned a distinguished service award from the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA) in 2007, as well as being inducted into the MBCA Hall of Honor in October of 2011. Munneke and his wife, Julie, reside in Champlin, Minn., their son Ty is the region sales rep/fitter for PXG Golf and daughter, Megan will graduate this June and go play golf at the University of South Dakota next fall. Twitter handle: @Timberwolves


Diana Shulla-Cose, Co-Founder and President, Perspectives Charter Schools

Diana Shulla-Cose is the Co-Founder and President of Perspectives Charter Schools in Chicago. Despite coming from some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Chicago, Perspectives students graduate from high school, enroll in college, and persist towards graduation at rates above the national average. The key to these results is a social-emotional learning curriculum and culture called A Disciplined Life®, which Diana co-created. Diana is a contributing columnist for Smart Business, an online publication, and recently published an article on Bright, Medium’s pop-up publication and innovation in education. She is also the Executive Producer of the “I Am for Peace” documentary, which features U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and performer Jennifer Hudson. She has spoken at local and national conferences, recently led a Lab at Chicago Ideas Week 2014 on social-emotional learning, was a featured panelist at the National Charter Schools Conference in 2015 and served on the National Charter Schools Conference Program Committee in 2016. Diana has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Loyola University Chicago. Twitter handle: @DianaShullaCose


Mary Uran, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Girls on the Run Twin Cities

Mary Uran is the executive director and co-founder of Girls on the Run Twin Cities (GOTR-TC), a non-profit that empowers girls to know and activate their limitless potential and boldly pursue their dreams. Mary co-founded the Twin Cities chapter of Girls on the Run International and has grown it from two school site locations and 24 girls in spring 2012 to more than 150 locations and 3,000 girls in spring 2018.  GOTR-TC is an innovative afterschool program that sits at the cross roads of youth development and sport. In a world of competitive youth sports, it focuses on building a mastery climate and life skills at the same time (gratitude, community service, self worth). A recent longitudinal study showed that the two components that set the organization apart are trained, volunteer coaches who serve as mentors and role models, and a proven social-emotional curriculum. GOTR-TC is also working hard to remove as many barriers to access, including being one of the first organizations to partner with local company Asiya to offer any girl in our program who wants it a sports hijab. GOTR was awarded Nonprofit of the Year in 2016 by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, recognized as one of the National AfterSchool Association’s Most Influential program in Health & Wellness, and a BOLD Award finalist. Twitter handle: @gotrtwincities

“The panel discussions were great, enjoyed the interactive workshop, and the super interesting people I met. I always appreciate ending the day packing sandwiches, a powerful reminder of the work we need to do in the community.”

“Networking at conferences usually intimidate me, but the atmosphere was so fun that I was able to comfortably talk to people and I had some really good conversations. You guys are doing cool work!”


8:30 AM – 9 AM Registration and light breakfast

9:00 AM – 9:55 AM Keynote and Warm Up: John Sweeney and Elena Imaretska on the Mindset of Discovery

9:55 AM – 10:15 AM “Let’s Make Work Better”  Theresa Glomb

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM Break

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM The Reinventors: Thomson Aderinkomi, Jodi Brendel, Steve Meyer

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM Exercise and Energizer

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM The Guides: Jennifer McCuen, Diana Shulla-Cose, Mary Uran

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Innovation Fitness Sessions: Big Five Workout Breakouts facilitated by BNW Master Facilitators: Bobby Gardner, Caleb McEwen, Jenni Lilledahl, Lauren Anderson, Margi Simmons, Heather Meyer

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM Break

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM The Weavers: John Alberts, Melissa Lenk, Jeff Munneke, Cassandra Utt

4:15 PM – 4:45 PM Personal Innovation Activation Plan and Discussion

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM Wrap up

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.

“The workshop focus on positivity and reframing challenges as opportunities is really relevant to my role. I’ve been applying this all week and will continue to use this technique with my team moving forward!”


All MNovation attendees will receive John Sweeney’s groundbreaking new book The Innovative Mindset, which 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 HERE!