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Speakers & Special Guests

Our 7th Annual Symposium - Building Business for Success

Andre Koen

Andre Koen

Andre Koen is an energetic presenter, a powerful communicator, and a dynamic teacher. There are many words that describe him. The most illustrative is, "Andre, the Enkindled Spirit". Andre is a diversity trainer in Minnesota. He provides face-to-face and online courses on diversity education including leadership development, empowerment training, cross-cultural competence, sensitivity training, anti-racism training and team building. Most of his clients include professionals needing continuing education credits. His weekly blog includes ideas for controlling, removing, and fighting discrimination. Koen also offer one-on-one training and coaching.

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Sara Christiansen

During her 20+ year career as a Social Scientist, Sara Christiansen has had the privilege to work with very diverse companies in both the private and public sectors.

Sara has vast experience working with professionals at all levels in an organization. Whether delivering a formal presentation to a room full of managers, or providing one-on-one guidance to a new employee; Sara's passionate style allows her to connect with all audiences in a way that energizes individuals to perform at a higher level.

As the VP of Client Services at Ideation Consulting, Sara is responsible for providing customized business performance solutions that drive "true" business results.​ She has developed many strategic programs that help our clients maximize the return on their human capital investments.

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Matt Weis, PHR, Client Safety Coordinator

As a Client Safety Coordinator with Dawson Insurance, Matt is a dedicated resource to Dawson's valued commercial lines customers. Reducing the total cost of risk is the common denominator of a range of services he provides. In addition to his work with Dawson, Matt owns Edgecraft Consulting Company, where he specializes in high impact team events, change management and DiSC behavioral profiling. Originally from Wadena, MN, Matt currently resides in Fargo, ND.          


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Sharon Connell-Rick, MBA, SPHR 

Sharon Connell-Rick has held the position of Senior Vice President of Human Resources at TMI Hospitality, Inc. since May, 2012. As TMI Hospitality's human resources leader, she is responsible for organizational culture development, compensation, benefits, employee relations, talent acquisition, organizational and leadership development, payroll, succession management and corporate communications. Sharon has 18 years of experience in the field of human resources in hospitality, manufacturing, banking and health care. Prior to joining TMI Hospitality, Inc., Sharon was the Vice President of Human Resources for Essentia Health's West Region (which includes 5 hospitals, 22 clinics, 5 assisted living facilities and 2 long term care facilities). She has also worked as the Labor Relations Manager and Corporate Human Resources Manager at American Crystal Sugar Company. Sharon earned her Bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and her Master's degree in business administration from North Dakota State University. She received her certification as a senior professional in human resources in 2002. She is currently the Technology Director for the North Dakota Society for Human Resource Management (NDSHRM); she has previously held the State Director position for this organization as well. Sharon is currently a member of the Fargo-Moorhead Human Resources Association (FMHRA), and is also a member of the Agassiz Valley Human Resources Association (AVHRA). Sharon currently resides in West Fargo, ND, with her husband, Lance, and their two children.