Keynote Speakers

Monday, July 25th

Opening Keynote Address

Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives

Dr. Kathleen Annette, Blandin Foundation

kathleen anetteDr. Kathleen Annette, president and CEO of Blandin Foundation, is a recognized leader at local, regional and national levels. A lifelong resident of rural Minnesota, Kathy is enrolled with the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. She earned her medical and undergraduate degrees from the University of Minnesota, the first Minnesota Ojibwe woman to become a physician.

Kathy retired in 2011 from federal service after 26 distinguished years, having served as Acting Deputy Director of Field Operations of Indian Health Service. She received two Presidential Meritorious Awards and a Presidential Distinguished Service Award for her supervision and leadership of Area Directors across the United States serving 48 hospitals and 238 health clinics serving 1.9 million American Indian patients, and 15,000 federal employees.

Today, Kathy leads the Blandin Foundation in standing with rural Minnesota communities and leaders as they design and claim ambitious, vibrant futures.  In her travels throughout the state, Kathy is witness to the power of local, rural and inclusive leadership on issues most important to communities.

Blandin Foundation was founded in 1941 (75 years ago) by Charles K. Blandin.  It is the state’s largest rural-based private foundation and one of only a handful nationally focused exclusively on strengthening rural communities.  The Foundation awards grants in rural Minnesota, trains community leaders and engages communities on public policy issues such as broadband, early childhood and historical trauma.

Tuesday, July 26th

Plenary Panel Session

Without Community Development There is No Sustainable Development: Reflections on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Anita Paul, Director of the Pan Himalayan Grass Roots Development Program

anita paulAnita Paul is Vice President of the International Association for Community Development (IACD). She is co-founder and Director (Community Initiatives) of the Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, a voluntary organization in India which promotes holistic river basin development through active engagement of communities in the central and western Himalayan regions. She is also the Founder-Chairperson of a for-profit Producers Company with 2,000 marginalized women shareholders engaged in sustainable livelihoods improvement efforts.  Anita has been honored with the Jankidevi Bajaj award for Rural Entrepreneurship in 2010 besides being featured as an outstanding social entrepreneur in other forums. She continues to live and work from a tiny hamlet at 6,000 feet in the central Himalaya; focused about bringing forth sustainable change and development at the grassroots, through a balance between economics, ecology and equity.

Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State 2007-2015

mark ritchieMark Ritchie is the former Secretary of State for Minnesota, USA, a statewide office he held through two Governors and 8 years from 2007 to 2014. He was very active in the Millennial Goals creation with the UN. He is now organizing a nonpartisan international network of business and community leaders across the State to win a bid for the World’s Fair Expo here in Minnesota in 2023.  Prior to his work as Secretary of State, Mark led the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, an international development organization based in Minnesota.






Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President, South Asia

anette dixonAnnette Dixon is the World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region. She has been in the position since December 15, 2014. In managing the World Bank’s engagement in South Asia to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, Annette leads relations with eight countries including India, the institution’s biggest client. She oversees lending operations and Trust-Funded projects worth more than $10 billion a year.  Before joining the region, Annette was Director, Strategic Planning in the Budget, Performance Review and Strategic Planning Vice Presidency. Her career at the World Bank has included senior positions that have given her broad and deep experience with sectors, countries and management issues within the World Bank Group.



Wednesday, July 27 th

Closing Luncheon and Keynote Speaker

Today’s Places, Tomorrow’s People: Recent Findings on Youth Development and Intergenerational Mobility

Richard M. Todd, Vice President, Community Development and Center for Indian Country Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

richard toddRichard M. Todd is a Vice President at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis with responsibilities in Community Development, the Center for Indian Country Development, and monetary policy. He joined the Bank a research economist in 1980 and has also served as an officer in the Bank’s discount window, payments system risk, banking supervision, statistical reports, and information technology functions. He has published articles on consumer credit, homeownership and foreclosures, poverty, financial education, monetary policy, business cycles, financial regulation, payments systems, forecasting, and seasonality and currently focuses on economic development on American Indian reservations. Dr. Todd is on the board of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development and the advisory council for the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Economic Development Center. He holds a Ph. D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota.