Keynote Facilitator
James C. Burroughs II serves as Chief Inclusion Officer for the State of Minnesota under Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. In this role, Burroughs leads the State of Minnesota’s effort to increase the percentage of state jobs held by people of color, provides training, fosters a state work environment that welcomes and respects all Minnesotans, and works with outside groups to ensure that Minnesota is a state that works for everyone, everywhere.

Before joining the Governor’s Office, Burroughs served as the Executive Director for Equity and Diversity for Minneapolis Public Schools. In that role, he monitored and implemented the district’s integration plan, developed diversity and workplace inclusion training, and lead efforts to help the school district reach its goals for diversity and equity.
Bill Wells is President/CEO, W. Wells & Associates, LLC, management consultants. In his work, Bill provides comprehensive consulting services addressing various types of Human Capital and organizational issues with a focus on helping his clients create a vision and a strategic framework for advancing diversity and inclusion (D&I)  in the workplace. Bill also works closely with senior leaders providing coaching and guidance during the various stages of culture change and transformation.

Previously, Bill served as Vice President, Global Diversity and Chief Diversity/ EEO Officer for The St. Paul companies (now Travelers Insurance). In that role, Bill was responsible for guiding the creation of the enterprise-wide D&I platform.

Panelist Panelist
Shelley Carthen Watson joined Office of the General Counsel in 1999. Her practice is primarily devoted to providing advice, counsel, and training in labor relations and employment issues, as well as defense of the University in collective bargaining and internal grievance arbitrations, and administrative matters before the EEOC, Minnesota Department of Human Rights and Department of Labor. Prior to coming to the University, Shelley was a partner with the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, where her practice focused on business litigation and employment counseling and litigation.

The former Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Shelley also served as Executive Director of the Hennepin County Bar Association and Hennepin County Bar Foundation. An honors graduate of Macalester College, she received her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1985, where she was a member of the Jessup International Moot Court Team.
Dr. Arnoldo Curiel is the Vice President of Racial Justice and Public Policy where he provides leadership, vision and represents the YWCA of Minneapolis on racial equity and public policy related issues both locally and nationally. Prior to joining the YWCA, Dr. Curiel worked in higher education for 10 years, most recently at College of St. Scholastica, where he was an assistant professor and continues to adjunct for the Graduate Teaching Licensure program teaching such course as “Foundations of American Education”, “Diversity in the Classroom” and ”Poverty and Education”.

Dr. Curiel has provided countless multicultural training for organizations as varied as the Minnesota US Attorney’s Office, the Dunwoody Institute, the St. Paul YWCA, the Overcoming Racism Conference, and the Higher Learning Commission conference.
Panelist Panelist
Senator Scott Dibble first became involved in politics in the mid-1980's working on issues concerning the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) communities including HIV/AIDS. His involvement led to organizing on issues of social and economic justice—especially in the areas of neighborhood livability, transportation, housing, energy and the environment.

He later worked as aide to Minneapolis City Council Member Doré Mead for about 6 years. In 2000, Dibble ran for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, becoming the third openly gay legislator to serve in the Minnesota Legislature. After serving one term in the House, Dibble ran for State Senate in 2002 where he is now serving in his third term.
Jennifer Ford Reedy has been President of the Bush Foundation since September 2012. The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native Nations. The Foundation was established in 1953 by Archibald Bush, a 3M executive who played a key role in growing 3M into one of the world’s leading companies.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Jen served as chief of staff and vice president of strategy for Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, where she led the creation of GiveMN.org, Give to the Max Day, and the Minnesota Idea Open. Jen was also a consultant with McKinsey and Company for nine years and the first director of the Itasca Project, a CEO-led regional civic initiative in the Twin Cities.
Rev. John D. F. Nelson currently serves as Senior Pastor at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Hopkins, MN. John has helped guide their congregation’s dedication to reaching out and impacting the larger community. Gethsemane is one of the key stakeholders in the Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative, a joint effort between the Hopkins Police dept., the Hopkins Public Schools, and the faith community to engage their community in conversations on race and equity that bring about change. 

He also helped create the Community Day of Service project that at its height incorporated three cities, eighteen faith organizations, and several nonprofits. John is a volunteer police chaplain for the city of Hopkins and has previously served congregations in Bloomington, North Mpls, and Boulder CO. He has degrees from Luther Seminary, St. Olaf College, Augsburg College, and originally comes from New Jersey.
Sponsored by the Bush Foundation

Special thanks to our event partner Hamline University