Cross-Sector Conversation Series

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We believe that hosting dialogue and debate related to complex challenges is an essential tool of integrative leadership.  To this end, we provide opportunities to practice methods that can help in convening and conducting participatory and action-oriented dialogue.  We also seek to enable informal discussion among individuals interested in particular challenges, theories, data, experiences or initiatives.  We strive to provide forums for hard and critical conversations – conversations that bring diverse viewpoints together as a key step toward future collaborative work.  

Our Cross Sector Conversation Series (previously titled Bagels Beyond Boundaries) provides an informal space for students, staff, faculty, and community members to engage in discussion regarding cross-sector challenges. Speakers from different sectors illuminate examples from their own experience or research on ways to bring people together across boundaries to address a particular issue. These discussions typically take place twice per semester.

Past Events

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Cross-Sector Approaches to Preventing Domestic Violence in Minnesota

In October 2021 for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Center hosted a panel discussion on cross-sector initiatives to prevent violence in Minnesota with Sandra Cotton, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention for the City of Minneapolis, and Justin Navratil, Program Planner and Policy Analyst for Anoka County Public Health and Environmental Services and facilitator of the Anoka County Violence Prevention Roundtable. The discussion was moderated by the Center’s PhD Research Assistant, Amy Dorman, and centered on the challenges, innovations, and future opportunities for collaborative violence prevention efforts going forward. You can watch the panel discussion recording here

Crossing Boundaries for Worker Protection

Students, staff, faculty, and community members had an engaging conversation with Aruna Kashyap, Senior Counsel, Women's Rights Division, Human Rights Watch, about her efforts to reduce violence and harassment in the fashion industry. Working with Human Rights Watch, Kashyap has exposed widespread abuse of garment working, including sexual harassment, labor exploitation, child labor, pregnancy discrimination, union busting, and retaliation against whistle-blowers.

Thinking Big by Acting Small: Creating Change with Hot Indian Foods

Hot Indian’s founder and CEO, Amol Dixit spoke about his boundary-crossing efforts through his small business to make Indian cuisine and culture more accessible to a broader audience, disrupt stereotypes, and build a people development culture. Opening multiple locations, operating a food truck, and planning for more expansion requires working across boundaries within the realm of entrepreneurship, skills to secure partnership and support from a variety of stakeholders, and bringing greater awareness of Indian food and culture. Amol shared his community-minded approach to entrepreneurship, his experience of being a small business owner in a big business town, and lessons learned as an individual leader aspiring to drive change in preconceptions and employment opportunities. 

Creating Change: Lifting the Curtain for Mature Women in Theater

This conversation featured Prime Productions’ co-founder, Alison Edwards, and some staggering statistics about the number of women over fifty in theater. Alison shared lessons from Prime’s efforts to engage with women’s organizations and senior groups to illuminate and support women over fifty and their stories through the creative voice of performance. This fall, the Guthrie Theater presented Prime Productions’ Two Degrees, which explored the dilemma of a research scientist navigating environmental policy-making in Washington, D.C. 

Navigating Conflict and Building Consensus to Address Grand Challenges in Healthcare

This event was an engaging conversation with Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm about navigating conflict and building consensus to address some of Minnesota's greatest health challenges. Commissioner Malcolm shared a wealth of experience in the public, non-profit and private sector and lessons about collaborative efforts for change. A two-time Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, Malcolm has also served as CEO of the Courage Center, President of the Courage Kenny Foundation and Vice President of Public Affairs and Philanthropy at Allina Health. 

Civil Dialogue Across the Table, featuring Marnita's Table

Marnita Schroedl, Elexis Trinity, Blanca Martinez Gavina, and Lauren Williams from Marnita's Table shared the goals, strategies, and challenges of Marnita’s Table as a case study on promoting civil dialogue across differences. Marnita’s Table specializes in bringing people together across difference around a delicious feast to find common ground on important public policy issues and to identify and repair divisions in communities and institutions. Using neuroscience, retail experience engineering and her own life experiences, Marnita created the successful model of Intentional Social Interaction, which is a human-centered approach to decreasing disparities by catalyzing enduring relationships across race, class and culture. Marnita’s Table seeks to make Intentional Social Interaction the new pattern for society where people of color, the disenfranchised, the poor, the unheard, the fragile, the LGBTQ+, and the traditionally excluded are actively and intentionally included and valued at the policy-making and resource-sharing table.

Cub’s Community-First Approach: Highlighting Learnings from Northside Cub

PANELISTS: Mike Stigers, CEO, Cub; Trahern Pollard, Founder/CEO, We Push for Peace; Lisa Clemons, Founder/Director, A Mother’s Love Initiative; Rev. Jeff Nehrbass, Pastor, Gethsemane Lutheran Church

MODERATOR: Samantha Silker, Program Director, Center for Integrative Leadership, University of Minnesota

In the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice reckoning after the murder of George Floyd, a brand-new approach to community-centered business has emerged. The Northside Cub location has partnered with non-profits We Push for Peace and A Mother’s Love Initiative to make Northside Cub a place that listens to, supports, and uplifts the community it serves. From remodeling how loss management, or shoplifting, is handled to creating a space within the grocery store’s walls for community activities and a food shelf, Northside Cub is moving beyond old business models by listening to community members and prioritizing community health and wellness.

Leadership from Cub, We Push for Peace, A Mother’s Love Initiative, and Gethsemene Lutheran Church discussed the partnership’s impacts on the community, challenges, and recommendations for those interested in cross-sector work. You can watch the panel discussion here.