View Keynotes and Breakouts Below

About the Futurist Conference

Get ready to Face Forward!

Held in celebration of The Minneapolis Foundation’s Centennial, the Face Forward Futurist Conference drew an audience of more than 1,500 nonprofit and business leaders, change-makers, and students from across the Twin Cities to learn about innovative approaches to some of the community’s biggest challenges and opportunities. The conference featured world-renowned speakers, including physician Atul Gawande, physicist Michio Kaku, charity innovator Dan Pallotta, and longevity expert Dan Buettner. MPR host Kerri Miller served as the conference moderator, leading the day’s robust discussions. In addition, an array of local leaders shared their visions for the future during breakout sessions on community issues such as education, civic engagement, the arts, and economic vitality.

The conference was the official kick-off for the Foundation’s second century of community building.

We are pleased to share recordings of our keynote presentations and breakout sessions.



Conference Keynote Presentations

For more information on Dan Pallotta’s complete presentation, please contact communications@mplsfoundation.org


Breakout Sessions


Check out some of our forward thinking conference speakers and share with friends.

Atul Gawande’s bold visions for improving performance and safety in health care have made him one of the most sought-after speakers in medicine. His books, including Complications, Better, and The Checklist Manifesto, have been highly praised inside and outside the medical community. His new book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. TIME Magazine has named him among the world’s 100 most influential thinkers.

Presented by The University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing

Atul Gawande

Professor, Harvard Medical School. Renowned surgeon and researcher.

Kaywin Feldman has been the Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) since 2008. Feldman oversees the museum’s staff of 250, its fine-art collection of some 89,000 objects, and an annual operating budget of $30 million. She is also the current board chair of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Kaywin Feldman

Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Dan Pallotta is founder and president of Advertising for Humanity and the Charity Defense Council. Pallotta invented the multi-day charitable event industry with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Days. His iconic TED Talk is one of the 100 most-viewed TED Talks of all time. The author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, Pallotta will speak on why the way we’ve been taught to think about charity and change is upside down.

Presented by Bank of America

Dan Pallotta

Founder and President, Advertising for Humanity and the Charity Defense Council

Mary Brainerd is president and CEO of Minnesota-based HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation. Brainerd leads more than 22,500 employees in the HealthPartners integrated system, which includes a care delivery system with more than 1,700 physicians, seven hospitals, 55 primary care clinics, 22 urgent care locations and numerous specialty practices in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a large dental practice, 1.5 million members in top-rated medical and dental health plans, and HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research.

Mary Brainerd

Chief Executive Officer and President of HealthPartners, Inc.

Dr. Michio Kaku, a physicist, professor, and futurist, has written two New York Times bestsellers and hosted several TV specials for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the Science Channel. Kaku will discuss The World in 2030: How Science will Affect Computers, Medicine, Jobs, Our Lifestyles and the Wealth of our Nations.

Presented by Peregrine Capital Management

Michio Kaku

Theoretical Physicist, Author & Professor

Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times bestselling author. He has discovered, through expeditions with teams of research scientists, the five places in the world – dubbed Blue Zones – where people live the longest, and are healthiest and happiest. He is founder of Blue Zones, LLC, which puts the world’s best practices of longevity and well-being to work in people’s lives at the community level.

Presented by Target and the Bush Foundation

Dan Buettner

Bestselling Author and National Geographic Fellow

Thomas Fisher is director of the University of Minnesota’s Metropolitan Design Center. Fisher has been a leader in the public-interest design movement and a longtime researcher and advocate for using design to tackle the major economic, environmental, and societal challenges facing the world.

Thomas Fisher

Director of the University of Minnesota's Metropolitan Design Center

Shalini Gupta is executive director of the Center for Earth, Energy & Democracy. Gupta was awarded a Bush Leadership Fellowship to investigate equitable energy and climate change policies. Formerly, she was the senior energy associate at the Izaak Walton League, a U.S.-based environmental nonprofit, where she conducted regulatory and legislative policy analysis, and advocacy related to renewable energy and climate change issues.

Shalini Gupta

Executive Director of the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy

Since taking office in 2011, President Eric Kaler has focused on core priorities: academic excellence, access for qualified students, stewardship of tuition and public dollars, a world-class research enterprise that aligns with the needs of the state of Minnesota and its industries, and a deep commitment to public engagement and outreach, locally and globally.

Eric Kaler

President of the University of Minnesota

Nekima Levy-Pounds, Esq. is a law professor and nationally recognized expert on a range of civil rights and social justice issues. Much of her legal work, writing, and advocacy focuses on improving the quality of life for African Americans. At the University of St. Thomas Law School, she is the founding director of the Community Justice Project. She is also co-founder of Brotherhood, Inc., a nonprofit geared towards young African American men who either have been or are at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system or gangs.

Nekima Levy-Pounds

Professor & Director, Community Justice Project, University of St. Thomas School of Law

Founded in 1998, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children serves as a catalyst for creative, innovative, and systems-changing programs to achieve long-term impact in promoting equitable education and opportunities for Minnesota’s children and youth. As a Futurist Leader sponsoring the conference, the Foundation is helping ignite the next 100 years of innovative community building in Minneapolis.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children

Futurist Leader Sponsor

Kerri Miller is host of MPR News with Kerri Miller and Talking Volumes. She was the political reporter for KARE 11 television in Minneapolis-St. Paul before coming to MPR in 2004.

Kerri Miller

Host, MPR News with Kerri Miller

Conference Schedule

7:30 AM


8:00 AM

Breakfast & Welcome
Sandra Vargas, CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation
Norm Rickeman, Chair, The Minneapolis Foundation Board of Trustees
Kerri Miller, Minnesota Public Radio

9:00 AM

Keynote Speaker
Dan Pallotta, Chief Humanity Officer, Advertising for Humanity
Presented by Bank of America

10:45 AM

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist, Author & Professor
Presented by Peregrine Capital Management

12:00 PM

Lunch & Keynote Speaker
Dan Buettner*, Bestselling Author and National Geographic Fellow 
Presented by Target & The Bush Foundation

1:45 PM

Breakout Sessions
The Future of the Arts
The Future of Civic Engagement
The Future of Education
The Future of the Environment
The Future of Health
The Future of Urban Design & Economic Vitality

3:30 PM

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Atul Gawande, Surgeon, Writer & Public Health Researcher
Presented by the George Family Foundation, Maslon LLP & the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing

4:10 PM

Closing Remarks
Sandra Vargas, CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation

*Our original lunch keynote speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, is unable to join us due to unforeseen circumstances.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Your generous support is helping to ignite the next 100 years for our community.

Futurist Leader

Futurist Innovator

Futurist Visionaries

Futurist Thinkers

Futurist Friends

Futurist Media Partners