Igniting Legendary Leaders, Bismarck ND


Inspiring Leaders to Share Their Stories

Morris Morrison, author and motivational speakerMorris Morrison, author and motivational speaker
Greg Tehven, co-founder and executive director of Emerging Prairie, FargoGreg Tehven, co-founder and executive director of Emerging Prairie, Fargo
Katie Pinke, small-business owner, community volunteer and bloggerKatie Pinke, small-business owner, community volunteer and blogger
Ben Winchester, senior research fellow, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community VitalityBen Winchester, senior research fellow, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality
Hinckley and others will speak April 27-28 at the Igniting Legendary Leaders conference in Bismarck.

When Bismarck Century High School student Lauryn Hinckley was 9, she witnessed a family who couldn’t afford to buy groceries.

The family was in a busy checkout line, and she recalls seeing the two boys’ faces drop and their mother looking embarrassed. She vowed to do something to help families like this one.

In five years, with support from family and friends, she collected 1,701 pounds of peanut butter and jelly and $1,537. Then she teamed up with the Bismarck United Way. Now she is collecting peanut butter and jelly or monetary donations for the Backpack Program, which sends healthful meals home with students on weekends and school breaks.

Hinckley will share her story at the Igniting Legendary Leaders statewide leadership conference, which will be held April 27-28 at the Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence.

Ben Winchester, a senior research fellow at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, will talk about rural leadership supply and demand and the rural “brain gain.”

“People often lament a brain drain in rural communities, which is the loss of 18- to 25-year-olds who leave their hometown after high school graduation,” says Lynette Flage, director of the North Dakota State University Extension Service Center for Community Vitality. “Winchester’s work shows there has been an in-migration to many of these same communities of 30- to 49-year-old adults with their children, which helps offset that loss. It is exciting news for many regions, but leaders must consider how to maintain this trend.”

The NDSU Extension Service and North Dakota Leadership Network are hosting the conference.

“Our goal is to engage, excite and motivate current and future leaders, including elected officials, young professionals who aspire to leadership positions, business and organization leaders, and youth who want to make a difference in their communities,” Flage says. “This conference will give participants an opportunity to network with others and learn from many inspiring speakers who have been involved in leadership efforts to assist their organizations and communities.”

Author and motivational speaker Morris Morrison is the keynote speaker and emcee for the event. He has presented for corporations such as GE, Microsoft, CBS, Pepsi and the NBA, and has spoken at many major colleges and youth organizations. Morrison’s popular “Positioned for Success” program encourages and inspires students on a journey toward personal growth, and he challenges them to make intentional choices to apply their “lead-ur-ship” skills.

Greg Tehven, co-founder and executive director of Emerging Prairie in Fargo, also will share his story. While an undergrad in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, he co-founded Students Today Leaders Forever. Now Tehven is a leader in the Fargo-Moorhead (Minn.) area who organizes and manages numerous entrepreneurial events, including TEDxFargo and 1 Million Cups Fargo, which is the largest and most active 1 Million Cups program in the nation.

Other speakers include Ryan Taylor, state director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in North Dakota and the author of the syndicated column “Cowboy Logic.” He will discuss leadership, change and cowboy logic. Katie Pinke, a small-business owner, community volunteer and blogger from Wishek, will talk about building and connecting rural engagement on- and off-line.

Several North Dakotans also will deliver Ignite Talks, five-minute fast, fun and informative presentations. They include:

  • Megan Myrdal, a young professional from Fargo who will discuss her leadership work and the concept that how we look at food can change the world
  • Sean Gierke, a high school student from Beulah who will share his story of leading a successful community project, “Keeping Everyone Warm”
  • Megan Laudenschlager of Minot, the founder of Strengthen ND, an organization to aid nonprofit organizations in western North Dakota, who will share 10 rules for community development
  • Michelle Walker and Andrea Fonkert, young professionals from Bismarck who will talk about Building Community: The Mandan Universal Playground Project, which they led in the Bismarck-Mandan area
  • Dawson Schefter, a Langdon high school student who will present his ideas for youth leaders
  • Jeff Knight, a Fargo entrepreneur who will share his thoughts and information on a project for making art accessible to communities

Visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ignite for more information and to register.

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