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Featured Speakers

Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito

Comedian (Keynote)

2015 Sessions

99% Invisible

99% Invisible is a tiny radio show about design, architecture and the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world. Creator and host, Roman Mars, will present a special edition of 99% Invisible featuring stories from the region. 

Roman Mars

Roman Mars

Creator and Host, 99% Invisible

Backstage Tours

Backstage tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at how Guthrie shows are taken from script to stage. In 45 minutes, you’ll visit the Guthrie’s signature Thrust and Proscenium stages; enter the expansive scene shop where sets are built and painted, and learn how they’re transported to each stage; and visit the shop where costumes are expertly stitched, fabrics dyed and wigs constructed.

Comedy Show with Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher and Myq Kaplan

Resiliency is an attribute all leaders share. It's also engrained in the DNA of standup comics everywhere. Sit back and take in a comedy show with renowned comics Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher and Myq Kaplan, and discover how bombing and getting back on stage is a lot like leading through failure and trying again. 

Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito

Comedian (Keynote)

Rhea Butcher

Myq Kaplan

Myq Kaplan


Connect Your Mind and Body

Renewal is crucial to sustaining yourself as a leader. Yoga teacher Justin Leaf will share simple practices to slow down and focus the mind, leading to an experience of clarity, connection, compassion, confidence, and calm. Justin will guide you through a sequence of basic movements coordinated with the breath to enhance the connection between mind and body.

Crash Course in Design Thinking

Design thinking is an innovative, problem-solving methodology that encourages deep empathy of the user, creative ideation and rapid prototyping. This is a 90-minute, hands-on, crash course in all five facets of design thinking. Learn by doing.

Data Renaissance

We are in a “data renaissance.” How it's gathered, leveraged and applied has changed dramatically. Join us to see how different groups have employed data to effect change in their communities. We'll consider the potential of data and how it can both reveal overlooked aspects of social ills, and be employed to realize solutions to them.

DayBlock Brewing Company Tasting

Enjoy a short walk over to DayBlock Brewing Company, housed in a building built in 1883 by Leonard Day. See how the current owners have breathed new life into their historic building through blood, sweat and tears (and now beers!) while also paying homage to the past lives of the building. Try a few of their craft beers such as Frank’s Red Ale, a tribute to Frank’s Plumbing that occupied the building for about 40 years. Learn how DayBlock Brewing Company honors the city, state and region by buying from and working with local farmers and businesses. Sip beer and ponder how you can salute the past in your work today. 

Engaging Entrepreneurs – 1 Million Cups Style

Fostering entrepreneurship, creativity and community is imperative for growth. Participate in a live 1 Million Cups event, followed by a Q&A with 1 Million Cups leaders.

Frugal Innovation and Jugaad: How to Do More with Less

Today's nonprofits, entrepreneurs and corporations are faced with a complex environment demanding faster, cheaper and better innovations with increasingly limited resources. How can we do more with less, and leverage constraints as an advantage in order to build and grow? Through the practice of frugal (or jugaad) innovation, a low cost, flexible and empathetic approach to innovation inspired by emerging economies – one that is highly relevant for US-based organizations. Frugal innovation occurs at the intersection of business, design and social innovation, and results in the creation of affordable, sustainable and accessible solutions. This hands-on, interactive mini-lab provides inspiration, as well as clear and simple tools that help bring the principles of frugal innovation to life.

Dr. Simone Ahuja

Dr. Simone Ahuja

Founder, Blood Orange

Give & Take Playshop

This interactive playshop will teach the fundamentals of community engagement using Give & Take as a framework. Attendees will participate in a series of group activities led by local organizers that dig into the creative possibilities and practical know-how of successful engagement. Activities will explore why connected communities are more resilient communities, how to ask the right questions, creating safe spaces for engagement, and how playing games can break the ice and connect communities. Expect to learn, play, build, and share!

Hometown Security

Well-meaning efforts to help blighted neighborhoods usually do one of two things: Displace the impoverished people who currently live there, or entrench the poverty through economic developments that only occur in poor communities. How do you stop the "brain drain" in underperforming economic zones and build opportunities for more Americans to move out of poverty?

Majora Carter

Majora Carter

Urban Revitalization Strategist

Ignite Minneapolis: bushCON Edition

Ignite Talks – a series of impassioned, fast-paced talks about emerging ideas on technology, media, culture, and more. Each speaker has exactly 20 slides and five minutes.

Improv Crash Course: Saving the World Without a Script

Improv, the art of making up entire theatrical performances without any script or pre-planned lines, can do a lot more than just make people laugh. The skills improvisers use to build complex and compelling stories are just as valuable off stage as in the theater. In this session, you'll learn and practice these skills for yourself and talk about how creativity, collaboration and imagination can make any change agent more effective in the world.

Improvisation in the Age of Network Leadership

Jazz is an expression of our fundamental capacity to innovate through improvisation. This session will engage you in the performance of great jazz and introduce the liberating structures of collaborative improvisation – leadership tools for integrating the capabilities of sensemaking and decision-making.

Inside the Izzy Scoop®

Kick off the summer season with a short walk to Izzy's Ice Cream for a private tour of their new manufacturing facility and learn first-hand how Izzy’s makes ice cream. Izzy's owner Jeff Sommers will serve as your tour guide and explain the process of making ice cream from fresh cream to finished product. All participants will get a “free single cone” token at the end of the tour, a $5 Izzy’s gift certificate and time to chat with Jeff about Izzy's leadership in the region. 

It's (Kinda Sorta) as Simple as Saying "Yes"

You’ve heard it before: “I wish we could do this, but it will never work here.” The Numad Group wants to prove this wrong by sharing how a simple “yes” can lead to disproportionate impact within our rural communities.

MacPhail Center for Music Tour

MacPhail Center for Music is a community resource for music education, events and community partnerships. Join us for a brief tour of our new flagship site in Minneapolis and experience the joy of music learning in a relaxed group setting with our teaching artists.

Mill City Museum Tour

Built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, Mill City Museum is located on the historic Mississippi Riverfront. Join your fellow bushCON attendees for a tour and learn about the intertwined histories of the flour industry, the river and the city of Minneapolis.

Minnesota Rising Imagine Lab: New Paradigms, New Possibilities

This highly interactive and energizing session will engage attendees in exploring the power of imagination to reshape our experiences and relationships, exercising our creative muscles and skills in engaging hands-on activities, and elevating the opportunities we have for leveraging our individual and collective imaginations for Minnesota's future!

Old Dog, New Tricks: How to Reinvent your Organization

Thanks to the digital disruption of the last decade, nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes are being forced to reimagine what they do, why they matter and how to sustain their work. Hear from the innovative leaders of local nonprofits who are taking their missions and bringing them to life in unconventional new ways.


Sit down for an intimate conversation with one of these experienced community leaders. Hear firsthand the story of how they got to where they are today and the struggles they face as leaders.

jay thomas bad heart bull

jay bad heart bull

President & CEO, NACDI (Oglala/Hunkpapa Sioux)
Sarah Deer

Sarah Deer

Citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma
Dana Mortenson

Dana Mortenson

Co-Founder & Executive Director, World Savvy
Kim Nelson

Kim Nelson

Senior Vice President, External Relations, General Mills and President, General Mills Foundation
Randy Reyes

Randy Reyes

Artistic Director, Mu Performing Arts


Sit down for an intimate conversation with one of these experienced community leaders. Hear firsthand the story of how they got to where they are today and the struggles they face as leaders.

Susan Haigh

Susan Haigh

President & CEO, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
Bao Phi

Bao Phi

Poet and Program Director, Loft Literary Center
Miguel Ramos

Miguel Ramos

Director, Diversity Marketing, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club
Marla Spivak

Dr. Marla Spivak

Distinguished McKnight Professor, Entomology, University of Minnesota
Kate Wolford

Kate Wolford

President, The McKnight Foundation

Speed Consulting

The premise is simple.  We have 14 experts in a wide range of fields to answer any questions you have.  Some of these folks would charge $300 an hour.  You’ll get to bend their ear for free. Over the hour and a half (1:45 to 3:15pm), you can sign up for three 15-minute sessions.  There is no agenda other than the questions you bring to the table.  They are there to help you!

Here are our experts:

Accounting - Kate Barr - Nonprofit Assistance Fund                           

Advocacy - Irene Quarshie - Target                          

Board Development - Diane Herman - Cincinnatus                             

Career - Lars Leafblad - Ballinger/Leafblad                           

Change Management & Strategy - Kristin Pardue - Reve Consulting.com                   

Fundraising - Stephen Devereux - Devereux Development Consulting                         

HR - Paul DeBettignies - MNHeadhunter.com                      

Law - Hetal Dalal - PopularDemocracy.org                           

Life/Work Balance - Amanda Dustan                       

Marketing - Kolina Cicero - Cicero Media                              

Operations - Dara Rudick - Management HQ                        

Startups - Deepinder Singh - 75f                

Tell Your Story Better - Neil Chudgar                       

Web Development - Toby Cryns - Themightymo.com  

You’re already signed up to attend, but how do you sign up for a specific session?  Two ways.  You can sign up ahead of time online by going to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0a48a9a622a0fa7-speed.  (You don’t need to establish an account).  You can also sign up on the day of the event the during the lunch hour or just before the session.  We’ll be in the 5th floor café towards the back.  Drop by 10-15 minutes early (around 1:30pm) so you get your pick of sessions. 

Taiko Crash Course: Performance, History and Collaboration

Experience the thundering beat of the taiko drums performed by three members of Mu Daiko. They will discuss the historical and cultural context of taiko drumming, and Mu Daiko Artistic Director Jennifer Weir will share her thoughts on the inner workings of a taiko ensemble. There will also be time for Q&A and a chance to try the drums yourself.

The Art of Stage Combat

Enter a “contest of generosity” as you experience the unique art of stage combat. Under the supervision of a professional stage combatant, you will learn the fun and basic techniques of choreographing for a convincing slap, punch and choke. This is an active experience with safeguards and watchful instruction designed to ensure that no one gets hurt.

The Escalator Speech

Did you know it takes exactly one minute to ride the Guthrie escalators from the first floor to the fourth? On a daily basis, we are faced with terrific one-minute opportunities to share who we are and what we do: in line at the coffee shop, while waiting for a movie to begin, while picking up lunch at the deli, and, of course, while riding an elevator or escalator! Join professional Guthrie storytellers in this crash course on how to tell your story quickly and with lasting impact while riding the longest escalator in Minnesota.

The Power of Storytelling: Publish a Book in an Hour!

Join the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute and 826 National for an afternoon of creative writing and bookmaking. All attendees will leave with a completed original book and a better understanding of the importance of storytelling. 

The Science and Power of Connections

In this fun, empowering and thought-provoking talk, Cris Linnares, who experienced the negative effects of the lack of connection after moving from Brazil to Fargo, shares the fascinating psychology behind human connection and reveals practical ways to create more meaningful connections in our personal and professional lives. 
Cris Linnares

Cris Linnares

Out-Loud Advocate for Women's Empowerment

The Stories that Bind and Prepare Us for Leadership

This session will equip attendees to lead with their values and tap into personal stories that resonate with the mission they are trying to advance. Attendees will be inspired by the characteristics of values-based leadership and the power of storytelling to drive change and lead.

This Will Be a Complete Waste of Your Precious Time

To lead well, live well and truly enjoy life, we need to refuse to move at the furious pace around us. Joe Cavanaugh, founder & CEO of Youth Frontiers, will share how "wasting" our precious time can create precious human connections.

Transformative Placemaking

Learn how to transform any space - from a living room, cubical or front lawn, to a park or an entire neighborhood - into a place full of meaning, activity and life. We'll then put placemaking theory into practice within the hallways of the Guthrie Theater!

Volunteer Service Project

People Serving People is the largest homeless shelter in Minnesota and provides temporary, secure housing to children and their families, as well as education, social and life-skill programs to residents in need. Many families arrive at the shelter without hygiene supplies. During this volunteer activity, you'll help assemble hygiene kits and snack packs that help families adjust to their new situation. 


Wait, You Really Believe That?

Mix it up with your colleagues and see where people stand on an array of issues. You’ll be out of your seat, learning from other attendees and comparing your views in this interactive and eye-opening session.

Programming Partners

CoCo Logo
Charities Review Council logo
Emerging Prairie logo
Eyeo Festival logo
Guthrie Theater logo
Ignite Minneapolis logo
Jazz Impact logo
Jeremiah Program logo
Mid-Contnent Oceanographic Institute  logo
Minnesota Rising logo
The Musicant Group logo
Numad Group Logo
Springboard for the Arts logo
Social Innovation Lab logo
Students Today Leaders Forever
The Theater of Public Policy logo
Twin Cities Public Television - Rewire logo
Works Progress logo
Youth Frontiers logo

Recruitment Partners

Council on American-Islamic Relations logo
Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) logo
Cooperative Development Services logo
EDIT logo
Minneapolis Global Shapers logo
Latino Economic Development Center logo
Minnesota Council on Foundations logo
State of Minnesota Department of Management & Budget logo
Minnesota Social Impact Center logo
NDSU Extension Service logo
New American Alliance for Development logo
Northland Foundation logo
Northwest Minnesota Foundation Logo
Numad Group Logo
RSVP + North Dakota logo
Sanford Health logo
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation logo
Springboard for the Arts logo
University of Minnesota Extension logo
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities logo