Community Development Society

News and Information

CDS 2020 Conference Keynote Speakers

Submitted by Robert Bertsch

The 2020 Community Development Society Conference (July 12 – 15, 2020 in Fargo, ND) will feature three amazing keynote speakers. The conference theme is “Global Challenges, Local Resilience.” Each keynote speaker will address a particular global challenge. Each keynote will be followed by a panel discussion of local resilience in the face of that particular challenge.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah on immigration and refugees, and community resilience

Krish is the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She previously served in the Obama White House as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama and at the State Department as Senior Advisor under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry. Krish has committed her career to public service because she knows how differently life could have turned out. Krish was 9-months old when she and her family escaped a country on the brink of civil war and built a life in Maryland. Her parents came to this country with no jobs and $200 in their pockets.

Jessica Hellmann on climate change/global warming and local community resilience

Jessica Hellman, Director of the Institute on Environment at the University of Minnesota, will speak on the global challenge of climate change. Jessica ’s research examines the adaptation and vulnerability of biological species to climate change. She is an alumna of Stanford’s Leopold Enviornmental Leadership Program and a recipient of a career enhancement fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Ron Wirtz on economics, the labor force, and local community resilience

Ron Wirtz, regional outreach director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will address the global challenge of labor. Ron tracks current business conditions, with a focus on employment and wages, along with sector-tracking in construction, real estate, consumer spending and tourism. Prior to his current role, Ron was the long-time editor of the fedgazette, the Bank’s regional business and economics publication, where he conducted research on such topics as employment trends, health care pricing and consolidation, housing, entrepreneurship, public pensions, and income mobility.

Please join us in Fargo July 12-15, 2020 to hear these wonderful keynote speakers and experience life “North of Normal.” Registration opens soon. Learn more at https://www.comm-dev.org/networking/2020-conference.

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