2007-2008 Breakfast st Blake Speakers
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Dean Phillips '87
President & CEO, Phillips Distilling Company & Current Blake Parent
Dean Phillips, President & CEO of Phillips Distilling Company, represents the fifth generation of his family to manage the Minneapolis-based spirits producer and marketer.
After joining the organization in 1993, Mr. Phillips held a variety of sales and marketing positions at both Phillips Distilling Co. and Millennium Import LLC, the marketer of Belvedere and Chopin luxury vodkas before their sale to Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy in 2005.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Winmark Corporation (WINA), a Minneapolis-based retail franchisor and leasing company, and was a Director of Ardea Beverage Co., maker of airforce Nutrisoda, until its recent sale to Pepsi Americas.
Community and civic service are integral parts of Dean's life. He serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Allina Health System, Minnesota's largest health care provider, and Chairs its Investment and Philanthropy Committees. He also serves as a Trustee of The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation, the Minneapolis-based philanthropic organization established by his great-grandparents in 1944 and now one of Minnesota's largest private grant-makers.
Mr. Phillips is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute, a Director of The Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning, and of Walking Minneapolis, an organization dedicated to improving the pedestrian experience in Minneapolis. He is also a regular guest speaker in the areas of marketing, philanthropy and ethics at the University of Minnesota.
He is a former member of the Board of Regents of Saint John's University in Collegeville, MN, a former Director of Meld, a national organization that provides support for parents raising children in high stress conditions, and a former Trustee of Temple Israel of Minneapolis.
A graduate of The Blake School in Minneapolis, Mr. Phillips holds a B.A. degree in Urban Studies from Brown University and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.
Mr. Phillips is thirty-eight years old and resides in Minneapolis with his wife, Karin, and their young daughters, Daniela and Pia. His interests include sports, travel, architecture & design, civic engagement, archaeology and history.
The theme of his remarks will be "Family Business, Family Philanthropy."
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Kim Carlson '77
Eco-preneur and EarthSmart Consumer
Kim Carlson '77 is an award winning socially responsible business owner and earth-friendly living maven. For Kim, helping people connect to the environment has been a lifelong commitment. With an eco-preneurial background that has successfully and profitably put environmental ideals into action in the housing industry, she has helped consumers, businesses and governments embrace their role in being planet friendly and human healthy. And Kim practices what she preaches. (Except she doesn't really preach. She enthuses and inspires.)
Recently, wanting to expand her brand into consumer products, Kim searched the world over and found luxurious recycled and renewable materials for the launch of her new line of green housewares, EarthSmart Kim Carlson™. The product line includes dishes, rugs, vases, frames and accent pieces for the home all made from earth-friendly or recycled materials.
For over 20 years, Kim has been a high profile business leader. She is founder of 3 companies that use earth-friendliness as their driving force. She was a pioneer in the green housing movement in the early 90's, which subsequently has become a major national phenomenon. She has the proven knack to combine her passion for the planet with building successful businesses making her a popular board member for environmental non-profits. She currently provides her green wisdom and reputation as a board member for 5 environmental non-profit organizations.
Kim uses her media appearances as the EarthSmart Kim Carlson™ to convey the myriad pleasures of a planet-friendly lifestyle, touching upon topics ranging from indulgent spa treatments and stylish entertaining to nontoxic gardening and eco-golf. With over 150 television segments on green living topics, Kim has been a regular lifestyle contributor to NBC TV and hosts a weekly radio show on the VoiceAmerica Network called "Livin The Green Life". She has appeared as a green living expert on many television and radio stations around the country. Kim also contributes to regional and national magazines such as Minneapolis Star Tribune, Self, Natural Health, Health, Shape, Experience Life, and Midwest Home & Garden.
The theme of her remarks will be "Living the Green Life in the Business World."
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Al Franken '69
Satirist, author, and U.S. Senatorial candidate
Al was born on May 21, 1951. His family moved from New Jersey to Albert Lea, Minnesota when Al was four so that his father, Joe, could open a quilting factory there. When the factory failed two years later, Al, his parents, and his brother Owen moved to St. Louis Park.
Growing up in a middle-class family in a two-bedroom, one-bath house in the second alphabet in St. Louis Park, Al felt like the luckiest kid in the world. And he was lucky enough to get into Harvard, where, after four years at a world-class university, he informed his parents that he wanted to be a comedian. (His brother Owen, after four years at MIT, had decided to become a photojournalist.)
During his freshman year, he met Franni Bryson at a Simmons mixer. They've been married for 32 years, "many of them happy," as Al likes to joke. They have two kids: daughter Thomasin, 26, graduated from Harvard and became a public school teacher in the Bronx; son Joe, 22, graduated from Princeton this spring with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Al's first big break in comedy was landing a spot as one of the original writers for "Saturday Night Live." He went on to win five Emmy Awards for his work on the show. He has also written five New York Times best-sellers, including three #1 best-sellers: Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, and The Truth (with jokes). He has also won two Grammy Awards, and has written movies including Stuart Saves His Family and (with co-writer Ron Bass) When A Man Loves A Woman, both of which are recognized as influential films about the family disease of addiction.
In 2004, Al agreed to do a daily radio show on the fledgling Air America Radio network, and for three years, broadcast live for three hours a day, five days a week, on its flagship program, "The Al Franken Show." The show mixed Al's trademark wit with passionate advocacy for progressive causes and a variety of experts on every issue, from Iraq to health care to Social Security.
In late 2005, Al founded a new political committee, Midwest Values PAC, which raised over $1.1 million for Democratic candidates in the last cycle. He and Franni moved back to Minnesota, and during 2006, Al made over 50 appearances in Minnesota on behalf of DFL candidates and local party units.
Al has also taken part in seven USO tours, visiting our troops overseas everywhere from Germany to Bosnia and Kosovo to Uzbekistan. He has visited Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times.
Al announced his candidacy for the United States Senate seat currently held by Norm Coleman on his last Air America Radio show on February 14, 2007.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Mark Jacobs '81
President, Watkins Incorporated
Mark Jacobs graduated from Blake in 1981. After his graduation from Brown University in 1985, he attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. As an actor/producer he was involved with such films as "Biloxi Blues," Martin Scorsese's "Good Fellas," "Trusting Beatrice" and Gregory Hines' directorial debut "Bleeding Hearts."
While living in New York City, Jacobs also worked from 1989 to 1991 with the mentally disabled through the Association for the Help of Retarded Children.
Eventually his passion to grow the family's natural products company, Watkins Incorporated, overtook his passion for show business. Experiencing numerous strategic business challenges, Watkins, a diverse line of natural personal care, home care and gourmet flavorings, was in a period of sale's decline. In 1995, Jacobs and his wife Tricia decided to embrace country living and move to Winona full time to help manage a turnaround and grow Watkins. In 1996 he became Vice President of Sales, and in 1998 he was named President.
Until Jacobs became president, Watkins was only sold through its traditional direct selling channel. Realizing the growth opportunities available in other sales' channels, he has led Watkins into multiple new channels including mass retailers, franchise grocers and drug chains. Watkins has also expanded into other countries such as Korea, China, and Great Britain.
In addition to his role as CEO of Watkins, Jacobs is actively involved in numerous non-profit organizations, including Winona Health, Saint Mary's University, Winona State University Foundation, Great River Shakespeare Festival, and the Young Presidents Organization.
He and his wife Patricia and their two children live on a bison ranch in southern Minnesota.
The topic of Jacobs' talk will be "From Blake to Hollywood to Family Business."
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Buffalo Rancher, Falconer, Wildlife Biologist and Author
Dan O'Brien has been a wildlife biologist and rancher for more than thirty years, and knows the boom and bust cycle of cattle ranching inside out. Described by the New York Times as a writer with "a keen and poetic eye..." Dan is one of the most powerful literary voices on the Plains. Dan's latest non-fiction book, Buffalo for the Broken Heart, explores the history of his ranch and the conversion from beef to buffalo.
Dan is a two-time winner of the National Endowment for the Arts individual artist's grant, a two-time winner of the Western Heritage Award and a 2001 recipient of the Bush Creative Arts Fellowship. Dan divides his time between teaching ecology and writing, serving on the board of Wildlife Experiences and the Black Hills branch of TNC, working on the ranches, and running Wild Idea Buffalo Company.
As the 2008 Otis Environmental Author, Dan is in residency at Blake for the week of April 14. His Breakfast at Blake topic will focus on buffalo ranching, sustained agriculture and working with Native Americans.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Brian Cousins '90
Co-founder, President of Cloudveil, a mountain apparel company based in Jackson, Wyoming
In the spring of 1997, Cousins and his co-founder Stephen Sullivan, quit their day jobs and introduced eight products at an Outdoor Retailer trade show. Since then, the Cloudveil line has grown dramatically, with over 250 products sold in more than 450 outdoor specialty stores in the United States. Cloudveil also sells retail direct to a growing customer base through its catalogs, website, and specialty international accounts.
Before Cloudveil, Cousins gained retail management and operations experience working for Skinny Skis, Active Endeavors and Pearl Izumi. He brings an extensive understanding of apparel and textile application and performance gained through years of practical experience in the outdoors. Cousins is a two-term board member of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and a 1994 graduate of Northwestern University.
His interests include backcountry skiing, alpine climbing, fly-fishing, hockey, and spending time with his wife Sandy and their two dogs.
Cousins' Breakfast at Blake topic will be "From Ski Bum to Entrepreneur."