Tom is the principal and consultant with Creative Community Builders in Minneapolis, and works with cities, foundations, and nonprofits across the U.S. on leveraging cultural and creative assets for community revitalization and change. He served as executive director of Intermedia Arts from 1980 to 2002. He received his Ph.D. from the Leadership and Change program at Antioch University; his research and dissertation addressed the role of organizational and social networks in the planning and ongoing management of cultural districts. In addition to his work at the University of Minnesota, Tom also teaches as an adjunct instructor for several university programs in urban planning and in arts and cultural management.
Marcia teaches in the Master's in Advocacy and Political Leadership Program (MAPL) at Metropolitan State University. Her consultant practice, Avner Advocacy, includes strategy design, training, curriculum development, and facilitation. She works with nonprofits, foundations, and academic centers on initiatives to advance public policies and civic engagement. Marcia also serves as a senior fellow at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits where she was public policy director from 1996−2010. Her career includes service as the Deputy Mayor of St. Paul, MN, the Assistant Commissioner for Energy in Minnesota, and communications director for a U.S. senator. The unifying thread in Marcia’s work is her commitment to advancing advocacy in the nonprofit sector and the broader community. She authored The Lobbying and Advocacy Handbook for Nonprofit Organizations: Shaping Public Policy at the State and Local Level (2013) and The Nonprofit Board Member’s Guide to Lobbying and Advocacy (2004).
Dawn is an expert consultant focusing on navigating strategic vision, energizing marketing, and development pursuits. She holds a dual-degree master's in nonprofit management and business administration from Hamline University. Her undergraduate degree in microbiology was applied to a previous career of scientific research for the Food and Drug Administration and the University of Minnesota. Dawn has also been a professional violinist for over 25 years, recording with various ensembles from rock bands to orchestras. In addition to her work at the University of Minnesota, she also instructs classes on nonprofit financial management at Minnesota State University–Mankato and combines her musical passion with her master’s education as adjunct faculty at McNally Smith College of Music. She integrates her artistic background into professional practice as the executive director of Art Shanty Projects, a creative place-making nonprofit in Minneapolis.
Susan is an entrepreneur and educator focused on improving business and entrepreneurship, and facilitating connections and collaborations between artists, businesses, and communities. She is the cofounder and CEO of Giant Steps, which links path-forgers from the entrepreneurial and artistic communities in Minnesota and around the world, and of Camponovo Consulting, a firm which helps for-profit and not-for-profit organizations improve their results and increase their impact. Prior to consulting, she worked for 3M for 12 years, including seven years in management positions in Italy, France, and Germany. Susan has been a speaker at the Salone Gamma Donna in Italy, Women’s International Networking (WIN) Conference in the Czech Republic, University of Minnesota’s Women’s Leadership Conference, The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHIMBA), The Minnesota Music Coalition, the American Management Association, University of St. Thomas’ Entrepreneurship Roundtable, and more.
Carlo has 17 years of experience leading and working with nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies with a particular focus on participation building, branding, and fundraising. As founder and managing partner of the consulting firm Creation in Common, he oversees client services as well as leads research and planning engagements. He specializes in strategic planning and management, research, communications, and fund development. Carlo’s previous leadership roles include producer and general manager for Shakespeare in the Park in Dallas/Fort Worth and executive director of the Playwrights’ Center, where he led the organization through a successful capital campaign and facility renovation.
DeAnna Cummings is cofounder and CEO of Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA), located in and dedicated to the community of North Minneapolis. JXTA combines art and design education with youth empowerment through learning, teaching, and employment in the arts. Under her leadership JXTA has grown from an eight-week art program serving 15 youths to a community arts organization employing 100 people (including 70 youth) and serving 6,300 youths and more than 10,000 community members annually.
In addition to her work at JXTA, DeAnna worked as a program officer for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Currently, she is the Board Vice Chair of the Bush Foundation where she has also served on the Minnesota Bush Prize Selection Panel. She co-chairs the HS Expanded Learning (ExL) Action Team for the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). In 2013, Minnesota Public Radio named her an Art Hero. DeAnna is a 2007 Bush Leadership Fellow. She earned a master’s of public administration from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2009.
Lisa is an accomplished professional in the nonprofit, public administration, and private sectors. In her legal career, she was selected for the Minnesota Super Lawyer list in multiple years and practiced as an AV-rated law firm partner. Currently she works for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where she advances agency resource management practices. Lisa is an experienced nonprofit project and program administrator, and she is currently a board member at Youth Performance Company, a two-time Ivey-recognized youth theater. In addition to her work in the Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership program, Lisa’s academic pursuits include work for the Journal of Public Affairs Education and teaching continuing law education courses. Her interests include analysis and synthesis in complex cases and equity and social justice topics. Lisa has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in both public administration and nonprofit management, and a juris doctor.
Anita is a teaching consultant for the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota. For the Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership program, she designs and teaches interdisciplinary seminars with a focus on contemporary culture and multicultural studies within an international context. Anita earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of Michigan and has a PhD in American studies from the University of Minnesota. Her current research includes 20th- and 21st-century American culture, comparative ethnic studies, critical theory, and interdisciplinary pedagogy.
Gayle is current president of the Bill and Penny George Family Foundation. Previously, she was executive director of the Dale Warland Singers, director of cultural affairs for the St. Paul Mayor's Office, vice president of the Mardag Family Foundation, and director of Classical Music Programming for American Public Media (MPR). Gayle brings her expertise in executive leadership, fund development, and cultural policy to her role as a community faculty member in the Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership program.
Sheila is the executive director for Minnesota Citizens for the Arts where she provides leadership for statewide membership, maintains and strengthens strategic relationships, and works with the board to develop and implement public policy initiatives. She has served on numerous nonprofit organizational boards and worked for a variety of legislative committees including the state government division of the Finance Committee. Sheila was the recipient of the Conservation Leadership Award and the Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award (both in 2009). She earned her master’s degree in arts administration from St. Mary’s University and completed the Renewing Community Leadership program at the University of St. Thomas. In addition to her work with the Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership program, she is an adjunct professor for the Master’s of Advocacy and Political Leadership program at the University of Minnesota–Duluth.
Laura Zabel is the executive director of Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development agency run by and for artists. Springboard provides programs that help artists make a living and a life, and programs that help communities connect to the creative power of artists. Based in Minnesota, Springboard's projects include: Community Supported Art (CSA); the Artists Access to Healthcare program; artist entrepreneurial development; and Irrigate artist-led creative placemaking. A 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow and an expert on the relationship between the arts and community development, Zabel has spoken at leading conferences and events including the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Urban Land Institute, and Americans for the Arts. Her insights on industry trends have also been featured in outlets from The Guardian to The New York Times. Zabel serves on the board of directors of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice and the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers.