Guest speakers at the Multicultural Career & Leadership Summit are Professionals of Color from the Twin Cities who will share their expertise and advice during a 5-minute "flash talk" and a 45-minute workshop.
Registered students will eat breakfast and lunch with the speakers and attend their workshops. Meet our speakers here before meeting them at the Summit!
Program Officer, Creative Placemaking
Talk/workshop: "The Art of You"
Kathy Mouacheupao is the Program Officer for Creative Placemaking with the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (TC LISC), supporting community organizations that leverage arts and culture for community economic development throughout the Twin Cities. In 2011, she was a Bush Leadership Fellow and researched the Hmong diaspora with a focus on the arts. Before the Fellowship, Kathy was the Executive Director for the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT). She has been hosting HmongFM on KFAI Community Radio since 2007 and currently serves on three organizational boards: Hmong Museum, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) and the MN Association of Museums. She also serves on the Saint Paul Planning Commission.
Vice President, Red Circle Agency
Talk/workshop: "Three Legs of the Success Stool"
Angel Suarez spent the beginning of his career working for “Madison Avenue” agencies and Fortune 500 companies in New York City. In 2008, he was featured in Advertising Age Magazine for the ADCOLOR “Rising Star Award,” honoring only three individuals each year for their career achievements in the communications industry. As a Brand Manager at ESPN, he led the 2010 FIFA World Cup launch campaign of ESPN3.com, helping to bring live sports to the internet. In 2012, he and a small team left ESPN to help start a new sports division in USA TODAY Sports. His experience has led him to his current role as Executive Vice President at Red Circle where his focus has been bringing the best marketing practices of big national brands to the hospitality industry.
President & Chief Strategist, Rae Mackenzie Group
Talk/workshop: "Networking 101: How to develop effective networking skills to land your dream job, internship, or co-op"
With over 20 years of experience as a strategist and diversity marketing consultant, Sharon Smith-Akinsanya is a superstar when it comes to creating and producing powerful events that connect Minnesota’s businesses and corporations with people of color.
As the president and CEO of the rae mackenzie group, inc., Sharon’s vast experience includes many projects, events, and partnerships with top area corporations—including Fortune 500 companies such as Target, U.S. Bank, Verizon Wireless, General Mills, Best Buy, Microsoft, and AT&T. Known as their “secret weapon,” she has routinely developed and delivered strategies, concepts, and events that have given her corporate partners a competitive edge for marketing, recruiting, and building strong relationships with people of color.
Sharon is dedicated to making Minnesota a great place to live, work and play for all people, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. She has continually proven her commitment to this goal by creating and producing high-profile events that celebrate diversity and inclusion, including The Gathering!, a two-day women of color expo that attracted 100,000 attendees over eight years, Moms Rock! Expo in 2015, and the hugely successful semi-annual People of Color Career Fair launched in October 2016 with 28 top area employers and over 1000 candidates in attendance.
Sharon has been named one of the Twin Cities Business Journal’s “Top 25 Most Influential Women.” She’s been featured in multiple publications, including Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and rae mackenzie group, inc. received Twin Cities Business Journal’s Minority Business Award.
Vice President of Supply Chain and Procurement, Land O'Lakes
Talk/workshop: "Invest in Yourself"
As senior vice president for supply chain and procurement, Yone is responsible for supply chain strategy, supply and demand planning, transportation, warehousing, analytics, talent management and Procurement. Prior to this role, Yone was the Director of Planning for the Dairy Foods division of Land O’Lakes.
Yone joined Land O’Lakes in 2008 as director of planning for the dairy foods business. Before joining Land O’Lakes, he spent 12 years traveling extensively throughout the world as a supply chain consultant and for 15 years working for fast moving consumer goods and chemical companies. Yone earned his MBA from Lehigh University and his bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Senator Patricia Torres Ray
Representing Minnesota's District 63
Talk/workshop: "Opportunitites for People of Color in Government"
Patricia Torres Ray was elected in 2006 to the Minnesota Senate to represent District 63. She was the first Latina to serve in the Minnesota Senate, and in 2010 the first woman of color to run as Lieutenant Governor in Minnesota. From the start, she took leadership roles like Majority Whip from 2007-2010, Chair of the Parks and Trails Legacy Committee and Chair of the New Immigration Policy Commission.
Later, she became chair of one of the most challenging committees in the Senate, Education Policy Committee leading significant policy reforms in education. She currently serves on Environment Policy/Legacy Finance, E-12 Finance and is the ranking member in the Local Government Committee.
She is a recognized national leader, and was recently elected to chair the National Caucus of Latina Elected Officials within the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, NHCSL. She is a State Director for the Women Legislators' Lobby.
She is a Public Affairs graduate from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, at the University of Minnesota, and former adjunct faculty, and ongoing consultant for the school. Major policy accomplishments include:
- Authored the Minnesota Homeowners’ Bill of Rights. A bill that curbed foreclosures throughout the state and aligned state legislation with federal legislation.
- Proposed the creation of a specific committee to address the needs of parks and trails in Minnesota, which she later chaired. She convened groups of experts to create a complete inventory of all parks and trails in the state of Minnesota, resulting in a mapping system that is now utilized by the DNR to manage and allocate resources for parks and trails in the State.
- In 2013 she led a significant reform of outdated policy governing the education of students with limited English proficiency. She authored the LEAPS act, allowing much needed clarity and streamlining of policies affecting students statewide.
Senator Torres Ray has been recognized by many as one of the most progressive, courageous voices in the Senate. She is also recognized for her efforts to build some of the most diverse/representative coalitions in public policy.