Speaker Series: Diverse Paths of Leadership & Innovation

February 12, 2019

Alumni innovators will return to Grinnell College this spring as part of the “Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation Speaker Series,” sponsored by the Grinnell College Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership.

The series is part of Creative Careers: Learning from Alumni.


Past Speakers

  • Nancy Radermecher ’83, Radermecher is president of JohnRyan, a Minneapolis company, which is a leader in Total Store Messaging solutions for leading retailers and banks.
  • Jay Dick ’93, Dick is senior director of state and local government affairs at Americans for the Arts, where he works to educate and inform elected officials about the value of the arts and culture.
  • Steven A. Elkes ’83, He is an entrepreneur, deal-maker, financial executive and turnaround specialist for preparing internet companies for sale. He is president of a Surface Travel, a startup in the travel space.
  • Ellen McDonald ’81, She is co-founder of Mershon & McDonald, which was created to serve a philanthropic cross-section of corporate, foundation and nonprofit clients. Its services include capacity-building development and training, project planning and outcome management, and strategic and communications planning and implementation.
  • Cullen Davis ’94, He is an expert in the urban real estate market in Chicago, and has long been dedicated to preserving and rebuilding his hometown. He has expanded his portfolio to include projects throughout Illinois and the Midwest – he has a personal portfolio in excess of 1,000 multifamily units and his management companies operate over 4,500 units in the State of Illinois.
  • Kathy Clemons-Beasley ’95, She is an executive director within Morgan Stanley’s Global Sustainable Finance group. She drives strategic projects for the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, including managing the institute’s external Advisory Board, stakeholder engagement, sustainability reporting and strategic communications.
  • Robert Gehorsam ’76, He consults on ed-tech projects and advises start-ups that range from toys to biofabrication. He also serves on the advisory board of the George Lucas Educational Foundation’s research arm.
  • Jonathan Daen ’78, He is chief financial officer of Australis Holdings Inc., a privately held high-growth company that is an international leader in sustainable aquaculture.
  • Jason Chen ’07, He is CEO and founder of MSW Media in Shanghai, China. He started the internet media company in 2009. MSW Media has 2.3 million subscribers and has accumulated over 2 billion views for its video/audio content production as of May 2017.
  • Mitchell D. Erickson ’72, He facilitates the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's science and technology activities with other federal, state, tribal and territorial agencies from New Jersey to Maine, and in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He works with organizations in the Northeast to integrate vertically among the various organizations and horizontally across all threats. Erickson also provides a conduit to subject matter experts for government homeland security agencies and first responders.
  • Frank Douma ’92, He is a director of the State and Local Policy Program of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. His current projects include examining inter-relationship between traffic laws, speeding and safety, as well as the possible role of pricing in an environment with an increasing number of self-driving cars.
  • Peter Ferrell III ’74, He has worked in ranch operations all his life, from co-founding and serving as president of the Tallgrass Prairie Producers Cooperative, assisting in the formation of the Tallgrass Beef Co. LLC and, most recently, serving as a project development consultant for Energy for Generations LLC, a wind power development company.
  • Kenji Yoshino ’11, In the fall of 2013, while he was working for Grinnell College’s Science Learning Center, Yoshino invented and released the plans to create the first Smartphone Microscope. The instructions went viral with over 2.5 million views, and the scope is now being used in classrooms around the world.
  • Rhonda Stuart ’86, She is owner and principal of the Stuart Law Office in Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The firm offers legal services in a variety of areas, including all aspects of domestic relations law, employment discrimination, real estate, collections, contracts and general business litigation, health care, risk management and human resources consulting.
  • Maia Olsen ’11, She is program manager of the non-communicable disease program at Partners In Health, a global health nongovernmental organization that works with local government officials and the world's leading medical and academic institutions to build capacity and strengthen health systems in some of the poorest areas of the world.
  • Marcus Eagen ’12, After founding and selling his own company, Nodal Security, he moved to Ford Motor Company, where he leads a team of software engineers at Ford Motor Company, where he works on a global software platform with team members in the US, Europe, and Asia.
  • Jeanne Myerson ’75, Myerson reinvented her career for the fourth time in her adult life in January, 2015 and now focuses on a mix of independent consulting, corporate board directorships and nonprofit activities.
  • Brian Hanson ’85, He is vice president of research at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which he is responsible for building into a leading premier global think tank. He overseas research teams on a broad range of global issues, with the goal of producing innovative approaches to addressing crucial global challenges.
  • Karissa Kovner ’93, She is a senior policy adviser at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she has worked since 2003. Prior to that, she was director for international environmental policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
  • Jeff Dickey-Chasins ’81 Dickey-Chasins spent a decade in magazine publishing, launching several magazines for programmers as well as a book division, CDs, a seminar series and trade shows. He then became the first marketing director for Dice.com, the world's largest IT job site, growing its revenues from $7 million to $65 million in three years.
  • Will Schnabel 89, Schnabel is an experienced marketing and technology executive, having lived and worked across the world as part of technology start-ups and global technology organizations. In 2002, he founded a marketing technology start-up providing a cloud-based offering, and lived and worked through 10 years of growth, before selling the company to IBM in 2014.

Endowed by Grinnell alumni Donald ’25 and Winifred ’27 Wilson, the Wilson Center is the hub of innovation and leadership at Grinnell College. The center seeks to engage students from different areas of study and diverse backgrounds for one common purpose: to inspire and prepare students as innovators and leaders.

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.