November 16, 2022 • 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Best Buy Headquarters – Richfield, MN

November 16, 2022 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Best Buy Headquarters – Richfield, MN


9:00 am – 9:40 am • Welcome and setting the stage
9:40 am – 10:10 am • Business Panel
10:10 am – 10:30 am • Coffee Break
10:30 am – 11:05 am • Training and Development Panel
11:05 am – 11:20 am • Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent – A Business Imperative
11:20 am – 11:30 am • Wrap Up and Next Steps
9:00 am – 9:40 am • Welcome and setting the stage
9:40 am – 10:10 am • Business Panel
10:10 am – 10:30 am • Coffee Break
10:30 am – 11:05 am • Training and Development Panel
11:05 am – 11:20 am • Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent – A Business Imperative
11:20 am – 11:30 am • Wrap Up and Next Steps


Steve Grove
MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development

Commissioner Grove was previously an executive at Google for 12 years, most recently serving as the founding director of Google’s News Lab, a global division of the company that partners with media companies and startups to drive innovation in the news industry. He has built teams in over a dozen countries and launched partnerships around the world, including a global technology training effort that trained over 500,000 people every year. Grove also led Google’s civic engagement work, including the company’s non-partisan voter information and get-out-the-vote efforts. He previously built YouTube’s news and politics team, launching the first partnership programs for news organizations, nonprofits, and political candidates at the technology company. 

Grove wrote for The Boston Globe and ABC News prior to joining Google. He has served as an advisor to the White House and State Department on counter-terrorism strategy. He holds a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in philosophy, politics, and economics from Claremont McKenna College. Along with his wife Mary, Grove co-founded a nonprofit in 2014 called Silicon North Stars, which helps youth from underserved communities in Minnesota pursue careers in technology. 

Brian Tilzer
Chief Digital, Analytics, and Technology Officer
Best Buy

Brian Tilzer is the chief digital, analytics and technology officer for Best Buy Co. Inc. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of information technology and digital at Best Buy to create a seamless and superior multichannel customer experience in support of the company’s Best Buy 2020 growth strategy. He also leads Best Buy’s enterprise data and analytics capability.

With more than 25 years of experience in strategic business development, operations and information technology, Brian has deep expertise in understanding, defining and delivering the technology necessary to provide a superior customer experience in a multichannel environment.

Prior to joining Best Buy in 2018, Brian served as chief digital officer at CVS Health, the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S. He also has served as senior vice president of e-commerce for Staples and senior vice president of strategy and business development for Linens ’n Things. Before that, he held leadership roles with Accenture, including helping Best Buy with several growth and performance-improvement programs.

Brian holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the board of directors for Signet Jewelers, the largest retail jewelry chain in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom.

Business Panel

Sharon Kennedy-Vickers
Software for Good

Sharon Kennedy Vickers joined Software for Good as the CEO in 2022. Previously, she was the Chief Information Officer of the City of Saint Paul, the founder of Code Switch civic hackathon, and co-founder of Techquity. At the City of Saint Paul, she provided leadership to the City’s Office of Technology and Communication and oversaw areas including Cybersecurity, Infrastructure and Operations, Digital Solutions, Technology Business Management, and Digital Communications. Software for Good exists to leverage software to improve the human condition in every sector where tech can build tools people need to live more fully and freely. This includes civic tech, in community safety, in human services, and in climate action.

Phil McKoy
Chief Information Officer

Phil McKoy was named chief information officer for Optum in April 2021. In this role, he is responsible for accelerating the digital adoption of our products and services and creating a health care ecosystem of connected platforms that puts people in the center.

Previously, McKoy led digital transformation for UnitedHealth Group, focused on building a comprehensive digital, virtual and home-based care platform. He was also the chief executive officer of Rally Health, previously a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group and now part of Optum, which provides online and mobile experiences to make it easier for consumers to take charge of their health and health care.

McKoy additionally spent four years as chief information officer for UnitedHealthcare, where he was responsible for UnitedHealthcare’s strategic technology roadmaps and the associated capital investments across the company’s domestic and global businesses.

Tim Welsh
Vice Chair
U.S. Bank

Tim is vice chair, Consumer and Business Banking (CBB), for U.S. Bancorp. In this role, Tim leads a team of more than 26,000 to drive the company’s overall consumer and small business strategy. This includes the branch network, product management functions, mortgage, auto, deposits, and related operations. CBB represents about half of the loans and deposits of the bank.

Prior to joining U.S. Bancorp in 2017, Tim spent more than 26 years at McKinsey & Co., specializing in financial services and the consumer experience. Serving as senior partner, Tim was elected by his colleagues to the McKinsey’s Shareholders Council, led McKinsey’s global learning and development function, and co-led the firm’s people strategy.

Throughout his career, Tim’s work has focused on financial services, where he has worked extensively on connecting with consumers and small businesses to develop strategies that generate significant growth. In addition, his work in other industries focused on understanding consumer behavior and creating strategies to respond to consumer preferences.

Tim is active with many non-profit organizations, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Y of the North, the Constellation Fund, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Ordway. He is the chair of the board for GREATER MSP, vice chair of the board of Allina Health, and lead independent director for the GHR Foundation.

Nationally, Tim serves as co-chair of the Small Business Committee of Project REACh. He also serves on the boards of the Consumer Bankers Association, Catholic Charities USA, and is a member of the Global Board of Advisors for Operation HOPE.

In addition, Tim is a founder of the Itasca Project, a dedicated team of business, government and not-for-profit leaders who are working to improve the quality of life in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Tim is also a founding board member of Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats).

Tim holds a masters of business administration with distinction from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in social studies from Harvard University.

Rachel Whitcomb
Vice President, Technology

Rachel Whitcomb and her global engineering team are responsible for building and operating over 50 technology products that enable Target’s global supply chain. From inventory planning and ordering through warehousing and logistics all the way to transportation of goods to the guest, these technology products are foundational to the total transformation of Target’s supply chain – a key part of the retailer’s strategy to leverage the stores network to provide elevated service to guests.  

In her 15-year tenure at Target, Rachel has played a variety of engineering leadership roles, supporting nearly every area of Target’s business. Prior to joining Target, Rachel worked for small and large companies leading teams, providing professional services, and building enterprise scale technology for global logistics, manufacturing, retail, academic, and non-profit organizations. 

Rachel holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Communications from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. 

Amelia Hardy
Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer
Best Buy

Amelia Hardy is the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Best Buy Co. Inc. She leads efforts to increase the engagement, representation, and retention of diverse employees at all levels of the company. She also oversees initiatives aimed at increasing the presence of products and services acquired from minority-owned businesses and partners with other organizations to eradicate racial and social disparities in underrepresented communities. Amelia has more than 20 years of experience in transformational leadership at Fortune 100 companies, primarily within marketing and business management. She also plays a key role in Best Buy’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, serving as an active leader for Best Buy’s Black and Women’s Employee Resource Groups while also serving on the Best Buy Foundation Board. 

Training and Development Panel

Stephanie Hammes-Betti
SVP, Systems and Digital Risk
U.S. Bank

Stephanie Hammes-Betti is Senior Vice President of Digital Risk within the Operational Risk Management group at U.S. Bank. Prior to his role, she held roles in within the U.S. Bank Innovation group, Customer experience team and the User Experience group.  Ms. Hammes-Betti has more than 20 years of experience in aligning business strategy and objectives, with extensive experience in innovation, UX design, user research and development of technology solutions. She has been with U.S. Bank since 2002. 

Mats Heimdahl
Department Head, College of Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota

Mats Heimdahl joined the Department of Computer Science & Engineering in 1996 as an assistant professor. He was named a Distinguished University Teaching Professor in 2004 and has been serving as the head of the department since 2015. In his tenure at the University, Heimdahl also served as the center director for the University of Minnesota Software Engineering Center from 2004-15. Prior to his work in Minnesota, Heimdahl was an assistant professor at Michigan State University from 1994-96, during which time he also served as the vice president of Safeware Engineering Corporation (1995-98).

Stephanie Graff
Assistant Commissioner
MN Department of Education

Stephanie Graff is the Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Educational Opportunity, overseeing the divisions of School and Educator Support; Career and College Success; Student Access and Opportunity; and Data Practices and Analytics. Prior to assuming the role of Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Assistant Commissioner, Stephanie worked as a special advisor on education for Minnesota’s Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. She has previously held multiple roles at MDE, providing leadership and support for efforts focused on equitable opportunities and outcomes for all of Minnesota’s students, most recently as the former director of the Equity and Opportunity Division. Prior to her 10 years of service at MDE and the governor’s office, Stephanie was a high school math and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher. Stephanie graduated with two bachelor of science degrees in marketing and management from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and received a master’s in public policy and leadership from the University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Rhoda Mhiripiri – Reed
Hopkins Public Schools

Dr. Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed has served in public education for over two decades. Improving the lives of others has been a driving force throughout her life. During her time as a student at Bloomington Kennedy High School, she became intrigued with community service while in the role of a candy striper for the Minnesota Masonic Home for the elderly. While attending Yale University, she became even more involved in the community through tutoring adolescents, volunteering weekly at the local Head Start, and serving meals at a homeless shelter. These experiences helped her realize the impact that high quality education can have in young people’s lives, and she decided to make education her lifelong ambition.

After graduating from Yale with a teaching license, she returned to Minnesota to begin her career as an educator. Mhiripiri-Reed taught social studies at Highland Park Junior High in Saint Paul, later served as an assistant principal at her alma mater Bloomington Kennedy, and then as a high school principal for five years at Champlin Park in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. She was soon after admitted into Harvard University’s new doctoral program in Education Leadership, which resulted in a doctoral residency with District of Columbia Public Schools, building a principal training program. Before moving back to her home state, Mhiripiri-Reed served as Associate Superintendent in the Monterey Peninsula Unified District in California for three years.

Mhiripiri-Reed has served as Hopkins Public Schools’ superintendent since 2016. Under her leadership, Hopkins created a bold plan to go from great to world class through a community designed strategic plan, Vision 2031, a vision of innovation to reimagine Hopkins Public Schools starting from the ground up.

Mhiripiri-Reed lives with her husband Frank and their two children Sterling and Maddie who are both Hopkins scholars. She is a self-described workaholic, but in her downtime you may find her running on one of the metro trails, connecting with friends, or maybe watching some reality TV.

Richard Walker
Chief Executive Officer
York Solutions

Richard Walker is the CEO of York Solutions.  He was born in 1966 in a small farming town in northern England called Settle. He left school at the age of 16 to take on a bricklaying apprenticeship. At the age of 23, he started a 4 year degree in physical education with the intention of becoming a teacher. After spending many summers working as a camp counselor at various locations in the United States, he emigrated to the US in 1994 with his American wife. Given that his P.E. qualifications weren’t recognized in the U.S, he started what he thought was a temporary role as an IT recruiter with a company in St. Louis, MO. Temporary it was not! After 4 years in the IT industry, he started York Solutions LLC with his business partner, Bill Carr. Their headquarters are located in Westchester, IL. He then opened an office in Milwaukee in 1998, shortly followed by another one in Minneapolis, MN in the year 2000. York also opened another office in Nashville, TN in 2017.  

In addition to building York’s IT consulting practice, Richard also founded Think IT in 2009. This is a service designed to give back to the IT community by offering professional development services at no cost. Richard has a passion for giving back and has been heavily involved in furthering the mission of Genesys Works. He is currently on his 2nd stint as a Board member. York’s Barriers to Entry program was established in 2016. Richard is deeply passionate about this program and its ability to change the lives of hundreds of people and provided valuable service to York’s clients. 

Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent – A Business Imperative

Tawanna Black
Center for Economic Inclusion

Tawanna A. Black is a nationally recognized thought leader known for influencing, inspiring, and equipping cross-sector leaders to transform a personal conviction for equality into actions that produce equitable and thriving communities. For more than 20 years, Tawanna has led multi-sector collaboratives, triple bottom line diversity and inclusion strategy development, and economic revitalization organizations in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

In 2017, Tawanna launched the Center for Economic Inclusion, the nation’s first organization dedicated exclusively to creating inclusive regional economies by equipping public and private sector employers to dismantle institutional racism and build shared accountability for inclusive economic growth.

As Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tawanna leads a team of people who offer ground-breaking consulting products and services to move businesses and local and regional governments from diversity and inclusion programs to triple bottom line results that are good for employees, employers, and communities; foster shared accountability for regional inclusive growth; change the narrative about the economic imperative and value of closing racial wealth gaps.


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