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38th Annual Conference - Speakers
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2014 Minnesota Planned Giving Conference

MPGC's 38th Annual Conference
November 4-5, 2014
St. Paul RiverCentre


Jump to: Featured Keynotes | Breakout Speakers

Featured Keynotes

Keith Ferrazzi, Best-Selling Author of Never Eat Alone and Who's Got Your Back

As founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, Keith Ferrazzi transforms behaviors that block global organizations from reaching strategic goals into new habits that increase shareholder value. The firm’s Greenlight Research Institute has proven the correlation between practices that improve relationships and business success, particularly in sales performance and team effectiveness in an increasingly virtual world. Greenlight’s behavior engineering methodology for diagnosing and instilling the highest ROI behavior change is based on a decade of field engagements with iconic global organizations. Keith is the author of the bestsellers Who’s Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone. Ferrazzi has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Fast Company. He was the youngest person to make partner and hold the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Deloitte Consulting, where he raised Deloitte’s brand recognition from lowest to a primary position, spurring the highest growth rate in the industry.

Pamela Jones Davidson, J.D., President of DAVIDSON GIFT DESIGN and perennial favorite with MPGC attendees

Pamela Jones Davison, Consultant and Charitable Gift Planner. Pamela Davidson, is a 1979 magna cum laude graduate of the Indiana University School of Law. She is a talented charitable gift planner and nationally recognized dynamic public speaker with more than 16 years experience in the planned giving field. From 1984 through 1996, she served at the Indiana University Foundation, leaving as its Executive Director, Planned Giving and Associate Counsel. She and the planned giving staff there annually closed on more than $10 million in new planned gift commitments. Previously, she was an examiner in the Gift and Estate Tax Division of the IRS and in the private practice of law in Indianapolis. She is a past president and board member of the Planned Giving Group of Indiana and past treasurer and board member of the Indiana Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. She served on the Board of Directors of the National Committee on Planned Giving for six years beginning in 1994, and was Chair of its Education Committee in 1995 and Secretary in 1996. She was the 1998 President-Elect of NCPG, served as its President in 1999 and, as a former president now serves on its ethics committee. She is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, and a former Leadership Bloomington participant. She is actively involved in her community, and currently serves on the board of her community's women's shelter.

Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor at Marketplace

Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor at Marketplace, American Public Media’s nationally syndicated public radio business and personal finance programs. He is also economics commentator for Minnesota Public Radio. An award winning journalist, Chris is a columnist for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Next Avenue. He has written for a number of other media outlets. The author of several books, his latest is Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community and the Good Life.

Bob Harding, J.D., Gray Plant Mooty

Bob is a principal at Gray Plant Mooty and practices in the area of charitable gift planning. He represents colleges, universities, churches, health care organizations, social service agencies, arts organizations, and other nonprofit entities in developing and implementing gift plans for their donors. Bob chairs the firm’s Charitable Gift Planning team. He is a regular speaker at regional, national, and international conferences on planned giving.

Gregory S. Jordan, CFA, Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services

Gregory Jordan is a Senior Vice President and National Philanthropic Investment Officer. He is the thought leader for philanthropic investment management across Wells Fargo and partners with the investment thought leadership and fiduciary leaders in the development of investment strategies and solutions for charitable and nonprofit clients. Mr. Jordan has more than 22 years of experience in the financial services industry with an emphasis on investment and portfolio management for institutions and high-net-worth clients. Previously, he served as a Regional Investment Manager for The Private Bank in Chicago, IL and Jacksonville, FL. Mr. Jordan earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Wayne State University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a member of the CFA Institute and the Investment Analyst Society of Chicago. Mr. Jordan works closely with regional wealth partners and their philanthropic clients and prospects to communicate and foster Wells Fargo's philanthropic investment philosophy and approach.

Sheryl Morrison, Gray Plant Mooty

For more than 25 years, Sheryl Morrison has focused her practice in the areas of estate and wealth planning, transfer tax strategies, business succession planning, estate and trust administration, creation and administration of charitable trusts and nonprofit organizations, and guardianships and conservatorships. She helps clients accomplish their objectives for management, protection, and preservation of their wealth through strategies which minimize taxes and promote effective ongoing family management of assets, including wills, revocable trusts, testamentary and inter vivos irrevocable trusts, generation-skipping trusts, charitable trusts, and other charitable gift entities, gifts and sales to grantor trusts, GRATs and QPRTs, family partnerships, and other business entities. Her experience enables her to advise clients about the many issues affecting the administration and operation of their trusts, estates, partnerships, and other business entities, including the unique business succession planning issues and strategies for business owners. Sheryl’s practice also focuses on philanthropy planning through creating, qualification, and operation and administration of nonprofit and tax-exempt entities, as well as counseling higher education institutions and health care organizations about their charitable gift acquisition programs and administration practices.

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Breakout Speakers

Gregory Baker, J.D., ChFC, CFP, CAP, Renaissance Administration, LLC

Gregory W. Baker, J.D., ChFC®, CFP®, CAP, is Executive Vice President of Renaissance, the nation’s leading third-party administrator of charitable gifts. Mr. Baker is a past President of the Planned Giving Group of Indiana. For the past 25 years, he has provided trust, tax and philanthropic financial planning advice to over 4,000 attorneys and 8,000 development officers and financial planners in all 50 states regarding more than 18,000 charitable remainder trusts, more than 800 charitable lead trusts, and numerous foundations, charitable gift annuities and donor-advised funds. Mr. Baker has helped donors to contribute over $6 billion to charitable gift plans.

Richard Berning, CAP/ABV/CFF, CBA, CVA, ABAR, CMA, Berning & Heidebrecht, Ltd.

Rick started the firm in 1997 after more than a decade with a local CPA firm. His credentials include being a CPA, Accredited in Business Valuations (ABV), a Certified Business Appraiser (CBA), a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), Accredited in Business Appraisal Review (ABAR), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). He has been involved in hundreds of business valuations involving companies with revenues from $100,000 to over $600,000,000. Rick is a frequent speaker locally and nationally on business valuation and divorce related topics. He has developed courses for the Minnesota State Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, the Institute of Business Appraisers, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accounts, the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts and the College for Financial Planning. He has acted as a court-appointed neutral expert and has provided expert witness testimony on more than 100 occasions.

Joshua Birkholz, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Joshua is a principal at Bentz Whaley Flessner, where he oversees specialty consulting services. His team includes experts in development operations, prospect development, social media, constituent engagement, and analytics. Josh is founder of the BWF analytics division, DonorCast. He has streamlined fundraising infrastructure and ushered organizational change for leading non-profits in higher education, healthcare, the arts, and human services throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim. He is widely regarded as a leading innovator in 21st-century development strategies, and, he is the author of the sought-after book, Fundraising Analytics.

Mauria Brough, Advancement Resources

Mauria is vice president of design at Advancement Resources. She has delivered hundreds of workshops for development professionals, academic and healthcare institutions, and other non-profit organizations. In addition, she leads the team that has designed Advancement Resources' curriculum of more than 80 highly impactful philanthropy workshops. Among the institutions Mauria is privileged to serve are University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Boston, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Penn State University, Oregon State University, and the Smithsonian Institution. Mauria and her husband, Bryon Winn, reside in North Liberty, IA. She holds a Bachelor of Education degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Weber State University.


Susan Cornell Wilke, Global Horizons for Women

Susan Cornell Wilkes is co-founder and President of Global Horizons for Women, which provides retiring/retired professional women with opportunities to use their time, expertise and assets supporting economic opportunity for women in developing countries. Susan advises family foundation on effective international grantmaking as well as leading Global Horizons for Women into the future. Educated at Harvard, Susan was a co-founder of internationally acclaimed Up With People Inc. Working with the Clintons, Susan founded the Arkansas International Center.  She then led the San Francisco Education Fund and subsequently spent two years collaborating with Rockefeller family members in an innovative effort to stimulate the creation of social venture capital funds in Africa and Latin America. Susan is co-author of The Miracles of Barefoot Capitalism, the story of microfinance on three continents. Susan is past Vice-President of Women Thrive Worldwide, has served on the Board of Microcredit Enterprises and is currently on the Boards of Freedom from Hunger, Compatible Technology International and the Harvard Alumni Club.  Susan is a 2013-2014 featured professional of the National Association of Professional Women and Continental Who’s Who. Susan has been happily married for twelve years to her husband, Jim Klobuchar, and they have five children: Sam, Thomas and Katharine Wilkes, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Meagan McGlade. Find out more about Global Horizons for Women and Susan’s work at:

Patrick Costello, Costello, Carlson & Butzon, LLP

Patrick K. Costello is a partner in the law firm of Costello, Carlson & Butzon, LLP. He is a graduate of Hamline University and Creighton University School of Law. His law practice involves large and complex estates, agricultural law, real estate, probate and trust, estate and gift tax, business and charitable entities, estate planning, and commercial transactions. Costello is a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the American Bar Association, and the Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska State Bar Associations. He is a director of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation. Costello is the president of the American Agricultural Law Association.


Charles M. Denny

Charles M. Denny was raised in Minnesota, attended Stanford University, and spent his career working for Honeywell and ADC Telecommunications, from which he retired in 1991 as Chairman and CEO. He has been engaged as a civic volunteer in a variety of local organizations, including, Chair of the Board of Trustees, College of Catherine, Chair and founder, Minnesota High Technology Council, among numerous other non-profit and for-profit boards. He recently chaired the Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group charged by the Minnesota Legislature to make recommendations for policies and programs that would prepare Minnesota for the future. The resulting report and implementation via the ACT on Alzheimer’s collaboration, are garnering national attention as a model to follow. Currently, Mr. Denny is a member of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Advisory Committee and the Wallin Educations Partners.

Claudine Donikian, J.D., MBA, Pentera, Inc.

Claudine A. Donikian, JD, MBA, is the president, chief executive officer, and chief marketing officer of Pentera, Inc., and is regarded as one of the foremost experts in planned giving marketing. She is a frequent speaker on the national planned giving and AFP circuits and writes and conducts training modules for Pentera training seminars. As Pentera's Chief Marketing Officer, she is the editor-in-chief for Pentera's corporate marketing content and client marketing content — and she personally consults with a select group of Pentera's clients on their marketing strategy and execution. Claudine's professional area of interest is women in philanthropy, and she serves as a member of the Advisory Council for the prestigious Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy. Claudine oversees all aspects of Pentera's business and marketing strategies, as well as new product development, with an emphasis on digital marketing, and she recently served on the Direct Marketing Association's Digital Innovation Committee.

Prior to becoming Pentera's president and CEO, Claudine directed Pentera's integrated marketing department, which includes both the interactive Web and print departments. Under her leadership, the interactive department and client base tripled in size in two years. Claudine graduated with highest distinction from Indiana University, received an MA in French from New York University, and holds a JD and an MBA from Boston College. She serves on the board of directors of the Planned Philanthropy Group of Greater New York in Manhattan (PPGGNY), the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund (child abuse prevention agency), and the Brookview House (provides housing for homeless women and children). She is an active member of PPP, PGGNE, and PPGGNY. Fluent in French, Claudine has also taught French for colleges, corporations, and adult education centers, where she was regarded as one of the top motivational teachers.

Nathan Dungan, Share Save Spend

Nathan Dungan is the founder and president of Share Save Spend®. For over 20 years, Nathan has been an industry thought-leader, on helping individuals and families align their values with their money decisions. Nathan speaks and consults with families and organizations on the topic of money and the effects of our consumer culture on money habits. Money Sanity U® is Nathan’s newest resource for organizations. This subscription-based virtual learning library is designed to improve individuals' and families' financial well-being by addressing a variety of money topics in a simple and interactive format.

Nathan is also the author of three books and numerous resources including Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child’s ATM, Money Sanity Solutions: Linking Money + Meaning and a textbook for high school students — PersonalFinance: A Lifetime Responsibility. A study utilizing Nathan’s tools showed that teaching youth about money can decrease their materialism and increase their self-esteem. The study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, is the first experimental evidence to demonstrate that decreasing focus on materialistic goals can cause long-lasting improvements in the well-being of youth.

Nathan has been widely quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Business Week, and TIME magazine, and has been a featured guest on CBS, CNN, PBS and public radio’s Marketplace Money and On Being with Krista Tippett. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and Youth Frontiers. Nathan also has served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Foundation and as the Board Chair of YouthCARE. Prior to founding Share Save Spend, he was a top-performing financial advisor and vice president of marketing for a Fortune 500 financial services company.

Susan Dunlop, Luther Seminary

Susan has an M.B.A. with a Strategic Planning focus from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. She has extensive experience working with donors to cultivate and develop strategic gift plans and solicit planned and major gifts. She collaborates with organizational leaders and donors to raise significant philanthropic support. She manages the gift planning effort for Luther Seminary. Previously, as Director of Development of the American Brain Foundation, a national medical foundation, she worked to raise funds to cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis and other brain diseases. At the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, she managed the gift planning effort. And prior to that, she was part of a seven person major planned giving team at the Minnesota Medical Foundation, University of Minnesota, for 20 years. She has worked with over 26 donors who have made personal commitments in excess of $1 million each and managed an average of 300 prospect visits/yr. and $8 million raised annually.

Susan effectively uses major gift planning in comprehensive development efforts including capital campaigns. She has extensive knowledge about gift planning techniques, the role of taxes and other financial considerations in planning gifts, the gift potential of various assets, the integration of charitable gifts into overall estate planning, and working with donors' professional advisors. She has organized and presented at three to five planned giving seminars annually, and managed volunteer gift planning committees. She established a planned giving recognition program and an annual recognition stewardship banquet. She also has managed planned giving marketing and communications. She frequently teaches and gives development seminars and offers consultation on how to initiate and manage a major/planned giving program.

Susan is a member of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC), was an instructor at the University of St. Thomas Center for Business Excellence in its Fundraising track, past instructor of at The Brisk Walk through the Basics Planned Giving Training Program for the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC), an MPGC Annual Conference Presenter in multiple years, as well as a past MPGC regular meeting presenter. She was 1997–1998 President, a Board member from 1994 to 1999, and the Membership Committee Chair from 1994 to 1997, and Council member from 1987 to the present. She is a recipient of the Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award. She currently is the Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church Foundation Board Chair. She has been a Hamline University planned giving presenter and an MPGC Leave A Legacy Trainer.

Elaine Eberhart, Mayo Clinic

Elaine Eberhart currently serves as Associate Chair for Gift Planning at Mayo Clinic. She earned a B.A. at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and also graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She has over 24 years of experience in gift planning.

Prior to coming to work at Mayo Clinic, she worked most recently as Senior Director of Development for Planned Giving at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She also led the planned giving programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Pennsylvania and began her career at Emory University.

Kim Embretson, CFRE, West Central Initiative

Kim Embretson is the Vice President of Development for West Central Initiative. He has responsibility to design, implement, and evaluate the overall development plan to grow the $30 million WCI unrestricted endowment and build strong donor relationships throughout the nine counties served by WCI in west central Minnesota. Kim began his duties with West Central Initiative in August 2002.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College, a Certificate of Fund Raising Management from The Fund Raising School at Indiana University, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. Kim’s background includes over 20 years experience in fund development. He serves on the board of the Minnesota Council of Foundations, where he chairs the task force on Endow Minnesota. Endow Minnesota is legislative action inspired by the Minnesota Generational Transfer of Wealth Study. Kim and his wife, Deborah, make their home in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. They enjoy antiques, making rustic willow furniture, and relaxing at their cabin in Canada.


Sidney W. Emery, Jr., Supply Chain Services

Sidney “Chip” Emery is CEO and owner of Supply Chain Services of Oakdale, MN, a barcode equipment solutions supplier to commercial businesses nationwide.
In 2008 Chip retired after 10 years as Chairman and CEO of MTS Systems (NASDAQ - MTSC), the world’s leading manufacturer of mechanical testing solutions and high performance industrial sensors. During Emery’s tenure, MTS grew its global market share while concentrating on its core competencies, consistently delivering double digit earnings growth while expanding its customer base across Asia and Europe.
Prior to joining MTS, Emery held management positions at Honeywell and Bendix including European Honeywell leadership based in Brussels, Belgium.
Emery is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served in gunboats in Vietnam and attained the rank of Lt. Commander as special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy in the Carter administration. He holds a masters degree in Operations Research and a PhD from Stanford University in Industrial Engineering.
He is a director of Allete (NYNEX – ALE) the parent company of Minnesota Power, the medical device manufacturer Urologix (NASDAQ – ULGX) and Field Solutions, a privately held provider of field service technicians. He chairs the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering Board of Governors, serves as a mentor for charter school principals and is an enthusiastic director of the Minnesota Opera.
He and Vicki, being happily married since 1971, enjoy supporting the performing arts in the Twin Cities.

Carolyn Freeman, State Street Global Advisors

Carolyn is a Principal of State Street Global Advisors and is a Relationship Manager and Team Leader in SSgA's Charitable Asset Management group, responsible for the client service and administration of planned gifts. Carolyn joined State Street Global Advisors in 1990. She has served as chairman of the Charitable Asset Management Training Committee and is currently a member of our Work/Life Initiative Committee and our Thought Leadership Committee. Carolyn received her BA from Fordham University. She is a past member of the Planned Giving Group of New England (PGGNE) and PPP. She is a member of the Tufts Medical Center's Gift Planning Advisory Council. She regularly speaks at conferences across the country.

Phil Hansen, American Red Cross

Phil Hansen has served in the nonprofit sector as a strategic leader, successful executive and emergency services professional for more than 25 years and is currently the Regional Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Northern Minnesota Region based in Minneapolis. Hansen began as a District Executive with the Boy Scouts of America-Gateway Area Council in La Crosse, WI. During his career with the American Red Cross, he has successfully served as a Director of numerous programs including disaster services, health and safety services, regional development and as a Chapter CEO in Madison and LaCrosse, WI. As the Service Area Executive for the national American Red Cross, he was responsible for overseeing 140 Red Cross chapters in eight northeastern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has responded to hundreds of disasters across the country, serving in a variety of leadership roles — including a recent deployment to provide executive leadership for the Red Cross' response to Superstorm Sandy.

From board room to disaster shelter, Hansen is known for his integrity, boundless passion and commitment to the mission. He is the recipient of the Red Cross Presidential Award for Employee Excellence, one of the highest honors in the organization. A frequent presenter at industry forums, civic organizations and professional associations, Hansen embodies and champions servant leadership, relationship-based fundraising and the vital work of the American Red Cross. Hansen holds a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and a Master's in Nonprofit Management from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. He's a member of the Minneapolis Rotary Club, Downtown Council and the Minneapolis and St. Paul Chambers of Commerce, among other organizations. In addition, Hansen shares his skills as an instructor in board member development at MAP for Nonprofits. He and his wife Linda live in St. Paul.

Josh Hanson, The Stelter Company

Josh Hanson is a marketing consultant for The Stelter Company, a leading source for strategic marketing for the nonprofit community. The Stelter Company, which was founded in 1962, currently serves more than 2,000 organizations nationally with a staff of over 90 individuals. The home office is located in Des Moines, IA, with regional offices in Dallas, TX; Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA; and Denver, CO. Josh's responsibilities include planning, facilitating and executing strategic marketing programs for Stelter Company clients in the Midwest region. His primary concentration is to understand each nonprofit's history, mission and fundraising efforts in order to develop strategic marketing solutions to best support the short and long term goals of the organization. Prior to joining The Stelter Company in 2011, Josh owned a sales and consulting company that worked with Fortune 500 companies in the areas of leadership training, sales training and coaching and small business owners. Josh is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a B.B.A. in finance. When not on the road seeing clients, Josh enjoys spending time with his family, coaching youth sports, golfing and being a loyal Iowa Hawkeye fan. He and his wife, Michelle are the proud parents three boys, 11-year-old Drake, 9-year-old Cooper and 6-year-old Nash.

Gary Hargroves, Thompson & Associates

Since 2007, Gary has worked as a Planned Giving Consultant; since 2011, as a Vice President for Thompson & Associates — which provides values-based estate planning services for nonprofit organizations. From 1986 to 2007, Gary was the Director of Gift Planning for the University of Minnesota Medical Foundation. During those years, the gift planning staff grew from one to seven, raised more than $20M per year and assisted hundreds of couples and individuals discover their legacies and implement their charitable and estate planning goals. From 1976 to 1986 he worked on a state-wide church fundraising project; prior to that, for private liberal arts colleges in admissions. He has been a frequent presenter, especially at the Minnesota Planned Giving Council fall conferences. He has been an active member of the Minnesota Planned Giving Counsel — serving as President in 1998, Annual Conference Chair in 1997 plus additional board and committee assignments. In 2009 he was awarded The Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award. He is active in his church and serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Council of Churches Foundation and Chairs the Development Committee. He lives in Minnesota and has two children, Karin and John. Gary is a native of Iowa with a B.A. from Morningside College, Sioux City, IA and a Rel.D. from the School of Theology, Claremont, CA. When not working in charitable estate planning, involved with family or volunteer activities, Gary enjoys his hobby farm located in the Loess Hills of west central Iowa.

Jessica Johnson, J.D., Gray Plant Mooty

Jessica Johnson practices in the Trust, Estate & Charitable Planning group. She helps individuals, families, family businesses, and charitable organizations plan and prepare for the future. This includes drafting wills and trusts, advising clients on tax law and tax saving strategies, and guiding families through the estate administration process. Jessica’s practice also focuses on advising individuals and entities through tax and fiduciary dispute resolution. She has assisted clients through the gift and estate tax audit process and authored private letter ruling requests on clients’ behalf. Jessica served as a judicial clerk and attorney advisor at the United States Tax Court in Washington, DC. As part of her role at the court, she researched and wrote about complex income, business, estate, and gift tax issues. Additionally, Jessica speaks regularly about financial, tax, charitable, and estate planning matters. Prior to law school, she worked as a financial planner at a local wealth management firm.

Mark Ladendorf, CFRE, Kaspick & Company

Mark Ladendorf, Senior Relationship Manager. Prior to joining KASPICK & COMPANY in 2008, Mr. Ladendorf was President and CEO of The Lutheran Hour Ministries Foundation and Director of Advancement for Lutheran Hour Ministries in St. Louis, MO. He has over 20 years of experience in gift planning and fundraising management. He has served on the national board of the Association of Lutheran Development Executives and as co-chair of the 2007 International Educational Conference. Mr. Ladendorf received a BA in Economics and International Studies from American University, Washington, DC and an MA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

Greg Lassonde, CFRE, Legacy Giving Consultant

Greg Lassonde, CFRE, has been working as a legacy giving specialist since 1992. He launched a legacy giving professional services consulting practice in 2007 and has built a diverse client base of nearly 40 organizations nationally, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. A native of Minnesota, he is expanding his business here as well. His fund development experience since 1982 covers the full spectrum of programs, executed in a wide variety of nonprofits, from KPFA Radio to the San Francisco Symphony. He is a board member of the Oakland Zoo Foundation. He is a past board member and officer of the Northern California Planned Giving Council, Silicon Valley Planned Giving Council, Development Executives Roundtable, Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter, Development Exchange, and Youth Radio.

Dave Lewis, Advancement Resources

With more than two decades of experience in instructional design and delivery, Dave brings extensive expertise to training presentation, primarily for development professionals.

In addition to full-time Advancement Resources facilitation responsibilities, Dave led the team that has introduced computer- and video-based programs for onboarding and certification of hospital employees in appropriate and ethical philanthropic practices.

Brianna Mooty, J.D., LL.M, Gray Plant Mooty

Brianna Mooty helps individuals and families prepare for the future through the preparation of estate planning, business succession and charitable giving plans, and related documents. She assists families with probate, estate administration, and the preparation of estate and fiduciary tax returns. Brianna also works with charitable organizations to structure and administer planned gifts, endowments, and donor advised funds. She served as a summer associate with the firm in 2009.


Kate Mortenson

Kate Mortenson is a civic-engaged volunteer, project leader and philanthropist with more than 20 years of community leadership experience. Successful projects include cross-sector collaborations and major fundraising initiatives.  Kate is a hands-on philanthropist who has organized and led coalitions to: improve opportunities for youth in the after-school hours, broaden stakeholder support for high-quality early childhood education, and make college possible for youth living in urban poverty. A hallmark of these efforts is the involvement of policy makers, business representatives and community leaders.  A graduate of Boston University, Kate’s professional background is in journalism and she worked as a Managing Editor in television news after serving in the Comoros Islands with the United States Peace Corps. As an active community member, Kate serves on four non-profit boards of directors, including Greater Twin Cities United Way and Minnesota Public Radio. In 2012, Social Venture Partners and The Minnesota Community Foundation acknowledged Kate with their Engaged Philanthropy Award, recognizing her strategic and multi-faceted approach to philanthropy.

Candace Riordan, Costello, Carlson & Butzon, LLP.

Candace L. Riordan is an associate in the law firm of Costello, Carlson & Butzon, LLP. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University and Hamline University School of Law. Her law practice involves probate and trust, estate and gift tax, charitable entities and estate planning.

Riordan is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and serves on the governing council of the Outstate Practice Section. She has extensive experience with private charitable foundation, exempt organizations and nonprofit entities.

Alison Roberts, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Alison is a project associate at Bentz Whaley Flessner. As the lead project manager for the Specialty Services team, she provides a full range of operations counsel, engagement coordination, and financial management for clients throughout the US and Europe. With a strong knowledge of effective fundraising strategies and operational structures, Alison offers great insight and creativity for clients in diagnostics, service enhancement, and change management. Prior to joining the firm, Alison coordinated efforts for annual giving, planned giving, and research at the Minnesota Orchestra. She is an active fundraising volunteer for the Minnesota Zoo Foundation and a member of APRA Minnesota, the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, and the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Jon Ruzek, University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Jon Ruzek is the senior director of alumni networks for the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.  He connects with the expertise of more than 445,000 alumni and friends worldwide to support alumni and student career aspirations, employment opportunities, corporate outreach, and mentoring programs.  Jon has worked in admissions, registration, student affairs, and alumni relations at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota.  He holds a B.A. from Concordia College- Moorhead, and a M.A. in education from the University of St. Thomas.

Jesse Stremcha, The Foundation of Children's Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota

Jesse Stremcha helps nonprofits build connections and fundraise more efficiently and effectively.  Currently, Jesse leads the foundation operations team at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, overseeing data management, ePhilanthropy, information systems, finance, gift processing, research and revenue support.  Previously, he led internal and external partnerships to develop and implement aggressive fundraising strategies to increase online giving, social media engagement, and web usage by donors and prospects.  In three years, the team increased online gifts over 250% and established a nationally recognized online fundraising program.  Jesse is a voracious consumer of content, loves St. Paul, works at being a good husband and dad, has a passion for food and drink, and tries to stay fit biking and running (not necessarily in that order).

Tom Struthers, MBA, TurnKey Direct Marking, Inc.

Tom Struthers, MBA, has 17 years of exclusive service to charities and hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts. He consults on donor acquisition, cultivation, appeal package design, letter content, and donor prospect lists. Tom specialized in using the latest in print and database technologies with best practices to maximize response.

Jen Swanson, The Foundation of Children's Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota

Jen Swanson is a consumer of culture, a kitchen warrior, a mama to wild boys and also happens to be the Director of Digital Marketing at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. She’s fashioned herself as an innovative customer experience strategist, specializing in developing and delivering exceptional digital experiences to help organizations engage their customers in a sustained relationship of unparalleled loyalty. But really, she just comes to work every day with a simple goal: make the web a more interesting place, one page, app, and post at a time. She’s earned her stripes in jobs that mostly come with the word “relations” in the title at organizations including the Carlson School of Management, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, and Capella University. In her spare time, she’s a passionate advocate for and mentor of women in leadership roles in business, non-profit, and social enterprises. And she makes a mean red pepper and onion relish.

Grant Wacker, Wells Fargo Wealth Management

Grant coordinates fiduciary investment management and other financial services for tax exempt organizations, and provides integrated estate and financial planning services for affluent individuals including philanthropic planning and foundation support. Grant has twice served as a nonprofit board chair, and has ten years of experience on nonprofit boards. He is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leaders Impacting the Nonprofit Community program sponsored by the Hennepin County Bar Association.

Craig Wruck, Humboldt State University

Craig C. Wruck’s experience in charitable giving spans more than 30 years in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.  He is Vice President for University Advancement at Humboldt State University in California and has served the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul Community Foundation and US Bank.  He is past president of the National Committee on Planned Giving.  Craig is the author of Planned Giving in a Nutshell, a practical guide to planned giving for development generalists now in its fourth edition.

Randi Yoder, Minnesota Public Radio

Yoder is the senior vice president and chief development officer for Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media and oversees all major individual, planned and institutional giving.

Prior to joining the organization in March 2011, Yoder was senior vice president of Donor Relations for the Greater Twin Cities United Way. Yoder also served as president of Yoder Henley Development Resources, vice president of Institutional Advancement at St. Catherine University, and associate dean for External Affairs at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

In recognition of her work, Yoder received the of the 2011 Outstanding Professional Fundraiser award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the 1995 Woman of Distinction award, sponsored by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Journal.

She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Western Michigan University and an MBA in international marketing and management from the American Graduate School of International Management.

Yoder serves on the advisory boards of the WomenVenture and Minneapolis Junior League; and the boards of trustees of EARTH University in Costa Rica and EARTH University Foundation.

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