Singer/ Songwriter/ Fiddler
What’s the Point of it All? Focusing on Enrichment Rather than Progress
In 2016, when Gaelynn Lea won National Public Radio’s “Tiny Desk Concert” competition over 6,100 entrants, it was a catapult into the musical fast lane. The recognition gave a national audience what the people of Duluth have known for many years. Something magical and hypnotic takes place when Gaelynn combines her unique violin style with her mesmerizing vocals. Add talented songwriting to a fascinating life perspective and it’s no surprise she captured the unanimous approval of the Tiny Desk Concert judges.
Gaelynn has been playing violin for more than 20 years. Classically trained, she began learning traditional Celtic and American fiddle tunes at the age of 18. During her college years Gaelynn started sitting in with various folk/rock musicians and developed an improvisational style all her own. She has played alongside many notable Minnesota musicians over the years, including Alan Sparhawk, Charlie Parr, and Billy McLaughlin.
Gaelynn has a disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta and regularly advocates for disability rights. She loves to think about politics, psychology, and spirituality. Her favorite hobby (aside from music) is camping with her husband Paul and their dog Clara.
CEO, RoverMed BioSciences
Nano-tech breakthrough delivers medicine directly to cancer cells
Laura sees herself as a “possibilitarian,” someone driven to define any path by the “why” value proposition. She often speaks about detours that drive creativity and discovery as well as the need to simply “get going.” Laura has been the catalyst and owner of a number of start-ups with a specific focus on strategy, communication, collaborative partner engagement, and the intersection between government regulators and the private sector. As CEO of RoverMed BioSciences, Laura oversees a biotechnology company specializing in crystallized ultra-small nanoparticle drug delivery technology that has the potential to enable the next class of new drugs for cancer and other challenging diseases. She is also CEO and board director for GeneSegues Therapeutics, which specializes in the innovation of DNA and RNAi cancer therapeutics. She serves as a member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and is a Board Director for Drake Bank.
Laura was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2002 to 2010, during which time she served as Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Minority Leader and ranking member on the Tax Committee and Health Policy Committee. She has been honored by a number of national and international organizations as a fellow, including the Aspen Global Fellowship, the German Marshall Fellowship and the Aspen-Rodel Fellowship for Enlightened Leadership. She has furthered her international connections through participating in the Canadian Rising Leaders and Swiss Young Leaders programs. Laura has previously been honored as one of the Mpls/StPaul Business Journal’s 40 under 40. Laura has two college-aged children, James and Camille, and she enjoys traveling, great restaurants, and golf.
Tech Innovation in Minnesota: What it means for rural areas
Nick is a passionate technology leader who works at the intersection of business, creative solutions, and technology. Over the course of a 15-year career in digital technology, he has touched all aspects of tech development. Nick served as producer for DocuMNtary, a video project designed to support Minnesota’s goal to become a Top 5 tech community. The video series looks at the fast-growing technology environment in Minnesota and serves as a remembrance of Minnesota’s tech-heavy past. “We have an incredible community, we are growing, we need tech talent, and we don’t do a very good job of telling our story,” he writes on the www.documentary.com website. “We have so much here, but these stories, opportunities, and communities are not always visible.”
Nick is also Chief Operating Officer at SWAT Solutions in St. Louis Park, where he oversees marketing, execution, and the consulting group. He says he is driven by lifelong learning and continuously seeks ways to explore new disciplines and grow our creative communities.
NOTE: The TEDxGullLake appearance by Paul Huttner has been canceled