Monthly Speaker Preview Of TEDxFargo 2017 – Part 2

Written by: Fargo Inc Staff

Photos special to Fargo INC!

With the help of Emerging Prairie, Fargo INC! will be bringing readers a preview of speakers who will be presenting in July at TEDxFargo. From the first lady of North Dakota to the founder of a stick-figure-cat-drawing company to an eating-disorder activist, this year’s event is sure to have something for everyone.

Dr. Michael Burns

Dr. Burns is an applied-communication researcher and conducts theoretically based research with practical applications. He’s a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies and the Honors College at Texas State University. He also serves as the co-director for the College of Fine Arts and Communication’s research startup program, CoSearch.

Dr. Burns is an award-winning instructor who teaches several courses, including “Persuasion,” “Re-humanizing Communication,” and “Talking Like TED,” among others.

His professional experiences outside of academia include working for NBC’s Today Show at the last four Olympic games. When at the Today Show, he works on the production-management and logistics team while overseeing their intern program. He has also worked as a communication specialist for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Steve Gadlin

Reid is an idealist-realist who was raised by ex-hippies in northern California. He spent the last three decades chasing big questions through careers in construction, social-venture capital, and strategy consulting before falling for his South Dakota dream girl, launching his own consulting firm, and realizing that—even when he’s his own boss—it’s still really hard to be the father, husband, leader and friend he wants to be.

Kathryn Helgaas Burgum

The current first lady of North Dakota, Helgaas Burgum grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota. She earned her undergraduate degree in retail business from Arizona State University and a master’s of business administration in human resources from the University of North Texas.

Her 25-plus-year career in human resources and marketing has spanned many industries. Helgaas Burgum has donated her time and leadership to many charitable endeavors, including at-risk women and children, animal welfare, visionary artists and the arts.

Now, as first lady, her priority is supporting and developing initiatives for fighting addiction in North Dakota’s communities.

Sam Reid

Steve Gadlin is a serial silly-projects guy. He appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and struck a deal with Mark Cuban with his stick-figure-cat drawing company, “I Want To Draw a Cat For You!”

Kitty Westin

Kitty Westin founded the Anna Westin Foundation (now known as the Emily Program Foundation) following the death from anorexia of her daughter, Anna, in 2000. Soon after Anna’s death, the foundation opened Minnesota’s first residential treatment program for eating disorders, the Anna Westin House.

Kitty is an advocate for people affected by eating disorders and has become a nationally and internationally recognized authority on the impact that mental illness has on individuals, their families and the community.

She is a licensed psychologist and past president and current board member of both the Emily Program Foundation and the Eating Disorders Coalition, a national advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. She has received numerous awards for her advocacy work and has written several book chapters and articles related to eating-disorders advocacy and the impact they have on society.

An important milestone was being present last fall when former President Barack Obama signed into law the groundbreaking healthcare initiative, the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act includes extensive language from the Anna Westin Act, a bill that will improve access to treatment for eating disorders and education of all healthcare professionals.

Gavin Kaysen

There is nothing quite like the frenetic and fleeting seasonality of the upper Midwest to inspire a soulful cook. For chef Gavin Kaysen, this idea beckoned him back home to Minneapolis to open Spoon and Stable restaurant in the North Loop neighborhood in fall 2014.

Even though the award-winning chef has cooked in top kitchens throughout the U.S. and Europe, he says he gravitates most toward traditional, heartland dishes, the kind he grew up eating and cooking.

After graduating in 2001 from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, Kaysen worked at a number of world-renowned restaurants from New York City to Switzerland to London.

Today, he helps the next generation of young culinarians refine their skills in the kitchen. He is one of the founding mentors of the nonprofit ment’or BKB foundation (formerly Bocuse d’Or USA foundation), for which he currently serves as Team USA’s head coach in preparing for the famed biennial culinary competition that showcases the world’s best up-and-coming chefs.

Sister Thomas Welder

Sister Thomas Welder, a native of Bismarck, North Dakota, and a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation monastery, has served the University of Mary as a teacher and administrator since the 1960s. In 1978, she assumed her role as president. Retiring as president in summer 2009, she currently serves as president emerita in the area of public affairs.

Active on local boards and in professional organizations, Sister Thomas Welder has received the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, United Way’s Lifetime of Caring Award and the Catholic Charities of North Dakota’s Caritas Award. She was also inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 2007. She is committed to fostering servant-leadership development in students and colleagues through living mission and core values.


Thursday, July 27
Fargo Civic Center
207 4th St. N, Fargo
For more information, visit

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