Speaker Date Topic
Barbara Hensley Aug 14, 2018
How we give hope in an EXTRAORDINARY way
How we give hope in an EXTRAORDINARY way

Losing both of her sisters to breast cancer devastated Barbara Hensley. During their combined six year   battles, she became painfully aware of the challenges faced by underserved women. Seeing women who are already struggling just to afford rent and food and who are then faced with fighting breast cancer disturbed and angered her. So she did something.  In 2001 Barbara resigned her executive corporate position and founded the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer® where she is CEO of the Foundation, Hope Chest Franchising and LeeRyan Corporation.

The Hope Chest raises critical resources through the sale of upscale furniture, decorative accessories and designer women’s clothing donated by individuals, retail and wholesale businesses. The Foundation uses funds from the stores and other fund-raising opportunities to provide the quickest and most effective access to the most urgent needs of local, financially challenged patients in treatment for breast cancer. Barbara brings extensive experience to her role as creator of Hope Chest for Breast Cancer®. Prior to founding the organization, she was an executive in upper level management positions with Ceridian Corporation and Honeywell Inc. Hensley was a business instructor at the Wooster campus of Ohio State University. She has also owned and operated a successful retail business.

Hensley is a 2003 recipient of Women Venture’s “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained” award, Minnesota Women’s Press Change Makers Award, Minnesota Oncology and Hematology Foundation’s Star Award. In 2004, she was honored by Volvo US with the Minnesota Volvo for Life Award, by the National Association of Women Business Owners Luminary Award, and by the Business Journal as one of the 25 Women Change-Makers. Hensley was a semi-finalist in the Yale Graduate School of Management Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures’ National Business Plan Competition in 2005, and took second place in the Claremont Graduate School Peter Drucker Award of Innovation. In 2006, Hensley was selected as one of the General Mills Yoplait Champions recognizing individuals from across the nation for their contribution to breast cancer causes. The St. Paul Chamber of Commerce presented Hensley with a 2006 Celebrate Business Success Award. In 2007, Upsize Magazine honored her with their Life Line Award. In 2008, the Minnesota Cancer Alliance presented the Leader in Collaboration Award to Hensley. Also in 2008, the National Association of Women Business Owners honored her with the Benefactor Award. In 2009, she was honored by Austin College with their Distinguished Alumni Award. Wells Fargo and the National Association of Women Business Owners honored Hensley as one of three women business owners across the nation to receive their 2009 National Trailblazer Award.  In 2012 Hensley and the Hope Chest were featured in Savvy Magazine, HerLife Magazine, and Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine. In 2014 Hensley was honored as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Twin West Chamber of Commerce and received the Innovator International Award from Women of Leadership Forum. In 2015 Hensley was honored with Minnesota Business Magazine’s (Real) Power 50 award and in 2016 Parkway High School (St. Louis, MO) Distinguished Alumni Award.

Hensley has a Bachelor of Art degree from Austin College; a Master’s Degree in Business Information Management from the University of Missouri; and a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs from Webster University. She is a member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable, past member of the Board of Directors for the Breast Cancer Awareness Association and serves on the Hope Chest Board. Hensley resides in Shakopee, Minnesota, with her husband, Jay. In her spare time, she treasures spending time with Jay; her son Jason and wife Melissa; her son Will and partner Amanda and her grandchildren: Dawson, Noah, Manny, Addy and Melody. She also enjoys being on the lake, gardening, walking with friends and reading.


Jeff Missling Aug 21, 2018

Jeff has built SpineThera as a semi-virtual company with in-house formulation development and pilot plant operations and contracted services for all supporting functions. Jeff has further established a world class team of clinical and regulatory consultants (C-level and FDA director level). Mr. Missling has an extensive background in formulation, preclinical, and clinical development of polymeric, sustained release products including biodegradable microspheres, ophthalmic implants, drug coated medical devices, and biodegradable implants. Before founding SpineThera, Jeff led the formulation development and clinical study manufacturing of a sustained release steroid implant for ocular administration that was licensed to Merck for $40M. A chemical engineer trained at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jeff has spent his career developing functional polymeric materials including polymeric batteries, medical devices, and sustained-release drug products.

Cozy Wittman Aug 28, 2018
College Inside Track
College Inside Track

Cozy Wittman - Education and Partnerships

Education and networking are a way of life for Cozy. She has spent her career educating adults, helping people think outside the box and connecting people with common interest. She runs both the College Inside Track parent events as well as professional development for those who work with families with HS students.

Cozy is excited to extend the reach of College Inside Track, connecting with organizations and families interested in learning more about the complex college process.  She is a mom of 5 with her youngest just starting her sophomore year, she is no stranger to the challenge of the search.

No meeting - Enjoy Labor Day! Sep 04, 2018
Tina Rexing Sep 11, 2018
T-Rex Cookie Company, LLC
T-Rex Cookie Company, LLC

Meet The Owner: Tina Rexing Tina Rexing spent almost 20 years in Corporate America working in companies from Northwest Airlines, Thomson Reuters to Target as well as spending 5 years as a professional tennis instructor. In late 2014, Rexing left corporate America looking for a new adventure. An avid baker and 17 year veteran of competing in MN State Fair Baking competitions, she launched T-Rex Cookie Company in February 2015.

About T-Rex Cookie Company, LLC: In the 3 years T-Rex Cookie has been in business her enormous cookies have gained national recognition on NBC’s Today Show in December 2015. She has made local visits to Fox’s Jason Matheson Show, Twin Cities Live and Kare 11 as well as WCCO, KFAN & The Current radio shows. In May 2016, her 1/2 pound Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie was voted #1 Cookie in the Country by TimeOut Magazine and the New York Post. Insider Food featured the making of the giant 5 pound T-Rex Cookie with over 5 million views across the web. The US Bank Stadium has named her one of the 20 inaugural local food vendors for the stadium and is currently sold in the Club Levels and Suites and will be sold during Super Bowl LII. T-Rex Cookie is a staple at Orchestra Hall and have made appearances at the MN Wild (Xcel Center) and Timberwolves (Target Center). Restaurants that carry T-Rex Cookie; Willy McCoys, Buon Giorno Deli, Seventh Street Truck Yard, Erik The 5/24/2018 Red, Dan Kelly’s Pub, Andrea’s Pizza and Sprout Salad.

Manny Villifana (Joint Meeting) Sep 18, 2018
Manny Villafaña, Living Legend of Medicine, Entrepreneur
Manny Villafaña, Living Legend of Medicine, Entrepreneur

Manny Villafaña, a nationally recognized entrepreneur and medical device developer, was born in the South Bronx, New York in 1940, of poor Puerto Rican parents.

After beginning his medical career at Picker International, a medical device exporter, in White Plains, NY, he joined Medtronic in March 1967; at that time, Medtronic had annual sales of approximately $3-4million.

After being involved with not only the development of sales of the recently introduced MEDTRONIC pacemaker, he also helped develop the Latin American market by living in Argentina for a two-year period of time as their Latin American Sales Manager.

Returning to Minnesota, in 1972, he founded CPI/Guidant; and developed the first lithium powered pacemakers and defibrillators; this technology is incorporated in virtually every defibrillator and pacemaker in the world. This company was purchased by Boston Scientific for $27billion!

In 1976, he became the co-developer of the St. Jude heart valve and founder of ST. JUDE MEDICAL Inc. This is the most commonly use prosthesis in the world. There are over 3 million patients with this valve implanted! Abbott Medical of Chicago recently paid $30billion for St. Jude Medical.

Manny went on to develop several other companies, including ATS Medical in which he developed the new generation ATS heart valve, which is now part of Medtronic, Inc. through a purchase in 2010 of $400million.

Villafaña continues his work in revolutionizing cardiac surgery. His most recent effort, Medical 21, Inc., Plymouth, MN, the development of an artificial artery, promises to eliminate the harvesting of vessels from the patient during bypass CABG surgery. Currently, preclinical trials have begun, and if continued successfully, human trials will be pursued in early 2019. The potential market is bigger than the markets of pacemakers, heart valves, stents, and defibrillators COMBINED!

Manny has done seven (7) financial IPO’s; raising capital for his companies and charities over 45 different times.

Villafaña is globally recognized as the “Living Legend of Medicine“ an honor that was bestowed on him by The World Society of CardioThoracic Surgery, in 2006; is an award winning USA Master Entrepreneur; a member of the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame; inducted into MN Science and Technology Hall of Fame; recently honored by his hometown of The Bronx, New York by having a Street named “Dr. Manny Villafaña” Street;

The Halls of Fame of The Boys’ & Girls’ Club of America (Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club), Cardinal Hayes High School; and Medical Design Association Life Time Achievement Award and Minnesota Business Lifetime Award include Manny’s name.

For his work in the medical field, and his teaching lectures/efforts at Harvard, Universities of MN, Iowa, Notre Dame, Miami of Ohio, Stanford, Brown, St. Olaf, and others, Manny became a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Iowa.

Our Governor and previous Lt. Governor, Mark Dayton and Tina Smith proclaimed October 27th as “MANNY VILLAFAÑA’s DAY”

Along with his contributions to medtech, Villafaña is known for his philanthropic efforts, especially his generous gifts to the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, which he spent time at growing up.

Most of all, Manny recognizes and honors the many great teams of dedicated employees, doctors, scientists, financial advisors and, especially, the love and support of his wife of 35 years, Elizabeth Elder Villafaña of Mason City, Iowa; of his family of Manuela, Elisa, Michael, Jude and Ann Marie and his greater families of Blackwells, Keoughs, and Lyons. God has blessed Manny, for which he is very grateful.


Mary Book Sep 25, 2018
Barnes & Noble is more than just a book store!

Mary Book is the Community Business and Development Manager at Barnes & Noble, Galleria, one of 5 new concept stores in the United States. Mary has tremendous expertise and excellent need and skill assessment abilities that directly contribute to an unprecedented level of customer service that includes local School districts serving pre-k through 12th grade on volume book orders, working with educator curriculum  and corporations training and development needs, fundraising for nonprofits , especially literacy and the arts.

A true passion for serving, volunteering which she has done for over 18 years with BSF International, Wooddale Church and Freeset USA.

Mark Coyle Oct 02, 2018

Mark Coyle became the University of Minnesota’s athletics director in May 2016. A former athletic administrator at Minnesota, he returned to Gopher Athletics after serving as athletics director at Syracuse University and Boise State University and as deputy athletics director at the University of Kentucky.

During Coyle’s first year leading Gopher Athletics, Minnesota’s student-athletes recorded the highest grade-point average in school history, remained the top public institution in the country with respect to NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Recognition Awards and saw 300 student-athletes recognized as Academic All-Big Ten. In addition, the Gophers won five Big Ten championships and had two teams (volleyball and women’s hockey) advance to the Final Four. Men’s hockey won its sixth straight regular season conference title, a Division I men’s ice hockey record, and men’s basketball engineered the largest turnaround in Division I last season and returned to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Overall, the department once again finished in the Top 30 of the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, which measures athletics success across all sports.

While at Syracuse, Coyle guided the Orange during a year (2015-16) in which two of its programs won national titles and three, including both men's and women's basketball, competed in Final Fours. The Orange also won five Atlantic Coast Conference titles under Coyle's watch.

During Coyle's tenure at Boise State, Bronco teams posted the highest grade-point average in school history, with 18 teams setting team GPA records. Boise State also won 12 conference championships in six different sports during under Coyle's leadership. During the 2014-15 academic year, Boise State was the only Football Bowl Subdivision school in the country to win conference titles in football, men's basketball and women's basketball.

Prior to joining Boise State, Coyle served in several athletics roles at the University of Kentucky, eventually rising to the title of deputy director of athletics. At Kentucky, Coyle led a team that raised more than $140 million in annual donations and capital pledges, while also serving as a sport administrator for multiple teams, including the famed men's basketball program, which reached the NCAA Final Four in 2011 while Coyle oversaw the program.

During his first tenure at Minnesota, from 2001 to 2005, Coyle served as Associate Athletic Director for External Relations, a role in which he was responsible for managing the marketing and sales unit, athletic communications, the ticket office and licensing.

A former football student-athlete, Coyle graduated from Drake University with his bachelor degree in English in 1991. He earned his master's degree in teaching from Drake in 1992 and a master's degree in sports administration from Florida State University in 1993.

Clyde Doepner Oct 16, 2018
The Story of Clyde Doepner, the MN Twins Curator
The Story of Clyde Doepner, the MN Twins Curator

This is my 52nd year being involved with the Twins baseball going back to a close friendship with the twins owner Clavin Griffith. I collect and display memorabilia, give pre-game tours and do more than 70 off site presentations.  I taught American History for 38 years and workd with the Twins during the Summer and went full time as a curator upon retiring 10 years ago.  At the time, I was the only full-time curator in baseball. 

Mark Henneman Nov 06, 2018
Why Minnesota Can Work for Investors
Why Minnesota Can Work for Investors

This presentation provides a case study informing how a regional economy can create an opportunity rich landscape for investors.  With the state of Minnesota as our example, we will delve into how a regional business culture with self-reinforcing robust business climate evolves over time and what the drivers are for that development.  We will also examine the importance of diversity across sectors, as well as the impacts of cross fertilization of ideas and talents.

  • How a regional economy can create an opportunity rich landscape for investors;
  • How a regional business culture  with a self-reinforcing robust business climate evolves over time and what the drivers are for that development;
  • The Importance of diversity across sectors;
  • The impacts of cross fertilization of ideas and talent.
Mark C. Gordon Feb 05, 2019

Mark C. Gordon is the President and Dean of Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. Prior to his arrival in the Twin Cities in July, 2015, Gordon served as President of Defiance College, a small, liberal-arts based undergraduate institution in rural Northwestern Ohio, and before that as Dean of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in Detroit.

Gordon is originally from New York, where he worked as an aide to New York’s Governor Mario Cuomo in the mid-1980’s and then, during the first Clinton Administration, as Chief of Staff to Andrew Cuomo at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Gordon has also served as Associate Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He received his B.A. and his Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University, and his law degree from Harvard Law School.