John Foley is the author of Balanced Brand and the founder and CEO of LEVEL, a brand and marketing communications agency. He is also the founder and Executive Director of 4FRONT.
John has provided strategic brand planning since 1986 for such organizations as American Express, 3M, Coca-Cola, Cargill, Caterpillar, GMAC, Hazelden, KPMG, Lawson Software, Pearson, Medica, Tiffany & Co. and UnitedHealth Group. Beyond consulting, Mr. Foley writes for numerous business and trade publications in the areas of branding, advertising and public relations. He frequently guest lectures at the Conference Board, University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business, Reputation Institute, St. Thomas University and numerous professional and educational events.
John wrote the groundbreaking book Balanced Brand which explores why organizations must align corporate values with stakeholder values to build and protect strong brands and reputations. Balanced Brand was published by Jossey-Bass in 2006.
He has served on the boards of the Carlson Brand Enterprise at the University of Minnesota, the Design Institute and the Reputation Institute.
David Larson is an executive vice president for Cargill, where his responsibilities as a member of the Board of Directors and Cargill Corporate Leadership Team include strategic direction and leadership, brand management, employee engagement, business excellence, business conduct and compliance, and overseeing businesses in 67 countries. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in political science, Larson currently serves on the boards of the University of Minnesota Foundation and the Minnesota Historical Society. He is past chair of the American Feed Industry Association.
Andrew Blauvelt is Chief of Communications and Audience Engagement and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Walker Art Center. Previously, he served as Design Director of the Walker for more than a decade, leading the organization’s progressive brand identity. A graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, he has been a practicing designer for more than twenty years and the recipient of more than 100 design awards. He writes and lectures about design and culture for various publications including DesignObserver.com. Before joining the Walker, Blauvelt was a professor of design at several institutions in the U.S. and abroad, developing new undergraduate curricula and graduate study programs. He currently oversees the departments of design, education, new media, marketing and public relations at the Walker and is engaged in several major organizational initiatives and is currently developing new design-oriented programs, projects, and exhibitions.
Mike Hess is the VP of Innovation Excellence at Medtronic. Mike has been at Medtronic for 19 years, beginning as a biomedical engineer in the pacemaker research department. He has also worked in product development/systems engineering, clinical trial management, program management and product planning marketing. Mike is a Medtronic Technical Fellow, a member of the Bakken Society, and has 25 issued patents and numerous publications. He has a BS in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a MS in software engineering from the University of St. Thomas.
As VP of Innovation Excellence Mike leads the Medtronic R&D council which is primarily focused on R&D productivity. Mike also leads activities focused on improving the culture of innovation and collaboration at Medtronic, and serves as the primary sponsor of internal technical employee organizations.
Philip Brunelle is the artistic director and founder of VocalEssence. As an internationally renowned conductor, choral scholar and performer, he believes that listeners and musicians alike must experience music of many genres and styles. He has conducted operas, symphonies and choral festivals on six continents and was on the very first "Prairie Home Companion" broadcast.
For the past ten years he has been very involved with the International Federation of Choral Music: as president of the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music held in Minneapolis in 2002 which brought people here from 69 countries, on the Artistic Committees planning the Eighth Symposium in Denmark (2008) and the Ninth Symposium (2011) in Argentina. He serves on the board of Chorus America and previously served on the National Council for the Arts (NEA) in Washington DC.
Philip holds four honorary doctorates, was invested as an Honorary Member of the Order from the British Empire (OBE) in 2005 for his services to music, and Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit in 2007. He has also been honored by the governments of Sweden and Hungary.
Alex Cirillo recently retired from 3M. Mr. Cirillo was president and general manager of 3M Canada. Most recently Mr. Cirillo was Vice President of the 3M Foundation.