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Meet the Presenters

The 2016 Badger Bioneers Conference features distinguished speakers and interviewers, in addition to screening two featured keynote addresses from the National Bioneers Conference.
 Find the full program agenda here.

Head Facilitator

Gregg Potter

Gregg Potter is a writer, activist, public speaker, and the founder of Project Kinect. Potter, a Wisconsin native, recently returned to Madison after spending more than a decade on the west coast and abroad. His life has been focused on offering his tools and gifts to others. In 2014, Potter received his Masters in Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service in Arkansas. The experience catapulted him into a new reality of tangible ways he can create meaningful change. From tornado relief in Alabama, to working with corporations to become more effective in their communities, to fighting for human rights of the marginalized in South Africa, Potter strives to be an effective tool for other people doing social good. Project Kinect was created because of an unfulfilled need that Potter frequently encountered from individuals and organizations. These groups continuously have great ideas but needed tools, insight, and resources to accomplish them. This solution process begins by accepting all definitions of positive social change, is applied with collaboration, and is completed when an endeavor is executed and fully owned by the creator. That is the equation for the success Gregg Potter and Project Kinect have had. His hope is that we can all accept each other, work together, and take responsibility for ourselves to create real sustainable change that benefits everyone. 


Distinguished Speakers

Everett Mitchell

Judge Everett Mitchell is a Dane County Circuit Court Judge. He is also Senior Pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church.  A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Judge Mitchell believes in the idea as expressed by James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” He is a graduate of Morehouse College, Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Wisconsin Law School. Judge Mitchell has demonstrated in many areas his continued commitment to fairness and justice. As a Restorative Justice coordinator with Madison-area Urban Ministry, he and his team developed a system so men and women who return from prison would have a residence, employment, support, treatment and education. Even while in law school, Judge Mitchell taught non-violent communication with Chapter 980 Sex Offenders as well as co-facilitating a program entitled, “Tying Your Tie,” to teach Dane County Jail inmates how to use computer systems to job search.

Of all the speaking engagements and awards, Judge Mitchell is most honored to be the first black Pastor of a Baptist Church to marry a same sex couple. While he has received considerable push back and anger from those who oppose his position regarding same gender marriage, he has remained committed and dedicated to his path of equity and justice. Whether Judge Mitchell has marched in the streets protesting the shooting of unarmed people by police or counseling young men and women at community centers about how to build a life of options, he does so with a passion and desire for justice and equality. He is a father, a husband, a friend and is committed to a vision of humanity where the “Beloved Community,” is not just aspirational but real.

Andrea Larson

Andrea is the City of Minneapolis’ Results Management Program Coordinator, leading their work on enterprise strategic planning, analysis and reporting. In this role, Andrea is responsible for setting the management and reporting structures for the City and her focus is on evolving the way that local government uses and shares data, especially through the use of community indicators and analysis. Prior to working for the City, Andrea spent time in both the private and nonprofit sectors, applying data-driven strategy principles to drive progress. She spent five years working at Target Corporation, focusing first on driving profitability in the core business and later in Target’s philanthropic arm. In corporate philanthropy, Andrea led national education initiatives, where she created shared value between the customer, the community and the company. In this position, Andrea was recognized for her work on developing Facebook’s largest ever giving campaign at that time. Andrea also spent time consulting on policy and implementation strategy for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Andrea earned her B.A. in Psychology and Scandinavian Studies with a minor in Business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received her Master’s in Public Policy with a focus on public and nonprofit leadership and management from the University of Minnesota.


National Bioneers Keynote Speakers

Bren Smith

Bren Smith, owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm and Executive Director of GreenWave, a lifelong commercial fisherman since age 14, has pioneered "restorative 3D ocean farming" to restore ecosystems, mitigate climate change, create blue-green jobs for fishermen, and ensure healthy food for communities. Winner of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize for ecological design and the Clinton Global Initiative award for ocean innovation, he is an Ashoka and Echoing Green Fellow. 



Vien Truong

Vien Truong, Director of Green For All, a longstanding, highly effective environmental and social justice activist, helped lead a coalition to pass California's landmark SB 535 (de Leon) law, which reinvests hundreds of millions dollars in disadvantaged communities and offers a national model for making polluters pay. Vien has received many prestigious state, regional and local awards for her work advocating on behalf of those most vulnerable to climate change.

Badger Bioneer Interviewers
At the conference on November 10, these four sustainability-minded rockstars will interview the 2016 Badger Bioneer awardees on their work, their inspiration, and their calls to action. Learn more about the 2016 Badger Bioneers.
Amy Gannon

Dr. Amy Gannon is a co-founder of the Doyenne Group, an organization committed to advancing women's entrepreneurship. She is an Assistant Professor of Management at Edgewood College and teaches courses on entrepreneurship and organizational behavior. She is committed to growing entrepreneurial talent and building inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems. Amy will interview 2016 Badger Bioneer Karen Menéndez Coller.


Karen Lincoln Michel

Karen Lincoln Michel is the editor of Madison Magazine and has more than 25 years of experience in journalism. She is vice president of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism board of directors and is a past president of the Native American Journalists Association and UNITY: Journalists for Diversity. Karen will interview 2016 Badger Bioneer Rev. Dr. Carmen Porco.


Robert Chappell

Robert Chappell is co-founder and associate publisher of Madison365, an online magazine and multimedia platform serving Madison's communities of color. His career in journalism and media spans more than 25 years. Robert will interview 2016 Badger Bioneer Anne Reynolds.



Jonathan Zarov

Jonathan Zarov is a marketing professional with over 25 years experience, primarily in nonprofit arts and healthcare. He currently serves as the director of marketing and communications for Madison Children’s Museum. He is a passionate volunteer at WORT radio, 89.9 FM, where he’s hosted the Friday 8 O’Clock Buzz for the past  24 years, conducting nearly 4,000 interviews. Jonathan will interview 2016 Badger Bioneer Raj Shukla.