Business Speakers

Opening Keynote Speakers

Ty J. Tonander, Partner/VP of Brand Design, Ultra Creative
Ashley Junghans-Rutelonis, PhD, founder of AJR & Co. Consulting & Bold Wellness

Both based in Minneapolis, Ty and Ashley are teaming up to help us better understand the post-pandemic workplace, its impact on our health and well-being, and innovative ways that smart leaders are responding. We are especially excited to learn how these changes translate to both the business world and the classroom.

Ty’s Bio:

Ty J. Tonander is Partner/Vice President of Brand Design for Ultra Creative. He is a Brand Advisor and has been in the creative industry for over 20 years—including roles at CBX, FutureBrand North America, and Weber Shandwick Worldwide. He has led numerous redesigns and innovation projects for companies such as General Mills, Starbucks, Amazon, Mars, Pernod Ricard, Foster Farms, Georgia Pacific, Well’s Dairy, Jack Link’s, and Chattem. He’s also worked with many small entrepreneurs to help bring their brands to life.

Ty believes packaging should tell a story, engage consumers in wanting to purchase your product, and be tethered to consumer insights. He’s a trend fanatic and has led numerous trend-hunting expeditions for clients to help uncover the latest and greatest in product, design, and innovation in any category.

Ashley’s Bio:

Ashley Junghans-Rutelonis, Ph.D. is the founder of AJR & Co. Consulting and a licensed clinical psychologist. She works with high-achieving professionals across the country to reinvigorate resiliency, implement wellbeing plans, and improve core leadership skills. During her years in clinical practice and healthcare leadership, she came to a startling realization: many people are skilled at seeing their end goals, but they have no idea how to get there. Individuals AND organizations benefit from education, support, and accountability. By respecting culture, providing instruction in core areas of need, and implementing her approach to change management ~ Assess, Train, Pivot, Implement, Repeat ~ Dr. Junghans-Rutelonis has successfully reshaped training, performance management systems, leadership strategies, data-informed decisions, and program roll-outs across health systems.

Previously, Dr. Junghans-Rutelonis was an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and a Clinical Director for a large Minnesota mental health system. At the onset of COVID-19, she proudly led medical and mental health crisis teams in 30+ hospitals, increasing the access to telemedicine in remote areas of the Midwest. Dr. Junghans-Rutelonis has partnered with healthcare teams for over 15 years. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, presented more than 50 times to medical and psychological professionals, and received accolades for her teaching and staff engagement strategies.

Born and raised in Minnesota, she grew up fishing and spending time outdoors. After living in Illinois and Oklahoma, she returned to Minnesota in 2013 and continues to live there with her husband (a hydrogeologist who loves rocks and water), her 6-year-old son (who always has rocks in his pockets), and their two dogs (Macy, a wise Golden Retriever, and Murphy, an energetic Lab-mutt rescue). In her spare time, she reads, camps with her family, and tries to keep her houseplants alive.

General Sessions

JD Cummings, VP of Recruiting, Raising Cane’s

Even if you’re not a chicken finger fan(atic), you’ll love this general session with JD Cummings, Vice President of Recruiting at Raising Cane’s. JD will share how Raising Cane’s has evolved and grown from its humble beginnings into the chicken finger empire of today. Part of that success is due to Raising Cane’s simple and unique concept of “One Love” – serving exceptionally high-quality chicken finger meals. JD probably won’t reveal the recipe for the secret sauce, but you’ll be able to ask your other burning questions about this successful business operation.

JD’s Bio:

JD Cummings is an Enterprise Talent Acquisition and Human Resources leader with a track record of developing innovative strategies and cultivating top performing teams. JD is an employment brand and recruitment advertising visionary with a strong focus on attracting high potential candidates to fulfill the human capital needs of fast-growing organizations. He is experienced in leading strategic initiatives to support the talent acquisition efforts for multiple brands in domestic and international markets. As a high school student, JD was actively involved in Minnesota DECA and later became the state director in Collegiate DECA at Johnson and Wales University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and Management.

Mark Fritz, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Lakeshirts

We look forward to hearing from Mark Fritz, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Lakeshirts in Detroit Lakes, MN. Mark will share information about his company’s core values, the company culture, and the company’s commitment to its rural origins. With regard to business trends, Mark will speak about access to labor, and the company’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. Come find out why “life’s better in a T-shirt!”

Mark’s Bio:

In 1984, Mark Fritz and his friend Mike Hutchinson started printing t-shirts in Mark’s parents’ basement to sell on the beach in Detroit Lakes. There weren’t many rules back then – no beer until after 8 p.m., no Frank Zappa while customers were around, and no leaving until the orders were out the door – but there was vision and ambition.

Today, Lakeshirts is a $200 million apparel and accessory manufacturing powerhouse. And it’s still proudly based in Detroit Lakes. Their current facility covers over 325,000 square feet, employs more than 800 and serves more than 10,000 customers across North America.

Beyond his leadership at Lakeshirts where he serves as co-CEO, Mark is also very active philanthropically, especially in Detroit Lakes. For example, he and Mike played a leadership role in re-opening Detroit Mountain Recreational Area (skiing and mountain biking) and creating the associated DMRA 501(c)(3), which Mark chairs.

Mark and his wife Cindy have four children. They reside in Detroit Lakes, where Mark can often be found biking, hunting, skiing, out on the boat, and generally proving Lakeshirts’ claim that “life’s better in a t-shirt.”

Stephanie Emenyonu, Consultant, Boston Consulting Group

Stephanie Emenyonu, a Daniels Fund Scholar alumna, will speak about her experience in the program, how it supported her transition to college, and how the Daniels Fund ethical leadership traits inform her work today.

Stephanie’s Bio:

Stephanie Emenyonu has been in the consulting industry for over four years. She is currently a Consultant at Boston Consulting Group, and, prior to that, she started her professional career as a healthcare consultant with UnitedHealth Group’s Optum. Stephanie attended Dartmouth College where she majored in Engineering Sciences and received her Master of Engineering Management. She became a Daniels Scholar in 2012.

Stephanie currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota but loves taking trips back to her home state of Colorado to visit family and friends. In her free time, she also enjoys photography, fitness, meal prepping, and creating networking opportunities for friends, family, and communities around her.

Colin Eide, Senior Manager – Category Lead, Best Buy

Colin Eide, a 23+ year veteran of Best Buy, will speak to us about the state of customer shopping trends today, supply chain issues, multi-channel fulfillment, and the speed of decision-making. He will also address e-commerce analysis (organic metrics), and how technology has impacted the employee experience. Finally, Colin will share how Best Buy communicates its culture of ethics to its employees, having been recognized in 2020 as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies.” This was its 6th time receiving this recognition by Ethisphere Institute.

Colin’s Bio:

Colin Eide was a marketing student in high school (Fargo, ND). His two-year involvement in DECA, where he served as co-president of his local high school chapter and then as North Dakota State DECA President in his senior year, solidified his desire to go into business as a career. In college, Colin was actively involved in student government as Finance Commissioner for three years, eventually graduating from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Starting at Best Buy while still in high school, today Colin works at Best Buy corporate office in Minneapolis. In his long tenure with Best Buy, Colin has held a variety of roles including:

  • Demand Planning Analyst – sales forecasting, inventory purchasing and optimization
  • E-Commerce Manager – responsible for customer experience on Bestbuy.com for specific categories (car electronics, smart home, computing, and TV/home theater)
  • Senior Manager – Category Lead for projection category. Owns all run-the-business decisions for this category including pricing, assortment, inventory, store, and online experience; manages a team of three analysts dedicated to the projection category.

In his personal life, Colin enjoys working on house projects, spending time with friends and family, visiting Ten Mile Lake in MN, golfing, and quality time on a patio. He is a lover of live music, an avid gamer, and a Minnesota sports/NDSU athletics fan.

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