Twin Cities Startup Week 2022 Twin Cities Startup Week 2022
Register to build your agenda.

Designing Your DEI Culture to Attract Top Talent!

FINNEGANS House 817 S 5th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Amy Root
Optum / UHG, Director of Neurodiversity Inclusion

I'm #ActuallyAutistic and passionate about the empowerment of historically marginalized and underrepresented populations, dismantling systemic barriers of inequality, and creating accessible and supportive environments where each individual can fully participate. Disability rights are human rights.

Louie McGee
University of Minnesota, Student

I am a successful speaker, student leader, and disability advocate.  I have spoken to audiences both large and small - corporate, student, and non-profit.  I recently gave a talk at TEDx Minneapolis about possibility and inclusion.  I have a rare retinal disease that has caused my blindness.  I am a Senior at the University of Minnesota and plan to go to law school next year.  I served as President of the Disabled Student Cultural Center.  I work in DEI at the Weisman Art Museum and just completed an internship in DEI at Blind In Business in London.

Mychal Frelix
TurnSignl, Co- Founder and Chief Growth Officer

Mychal Frelix serves as co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at TurnSignl. Mychal is also Co-Founder and Vice President of Foreshadow; a non-profit organization focused on providing career exploration services to inner-city youth. Mychal also volunteers with a number of non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities area. Before joining TurnSignl, Mychal managed Enterprise Accounts at Sony Electronics, where he helped Fortune 500 companies adopt innovative technology solutions and guided channel partnership relationships. Mychal has eight years of technology and sales experience with extensive knowledge of cloud, hybrid IT, SaaS, ERP/MRP, hardware, and electronics. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of St. Thomas, where he majored in Marketing, and a master's of business administration (MBA) from Augsburg University focusing on organizational leadership.

Seena Hodges
The Woke Coach®, CEO & Founder

Seena Hodges (she/her) is a connector who loves people and is passionate about equity, intersectional feminism, and access to brave spaces for all. She founded The Woke Coach® in 2018 because she wholeheartedly believes that racial equity is the defining issue of our time. The company has partnered with institutions, businesses, and organizations across the globe to help them create more equitable and inclusive organizational cultures. 

Seena is a graduate of Columbia College (SC) and earned her MFA at Columbia University in New York City.  She is a trained equity, diversity, and inclusion facilitator and a certified administrator of Clifton Strengths® (StrengthsFinder) and the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI) — the premier cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence. She has received a professional Train the Trainer certificate from the University of Minnesota. She previously partnered with the State of Minnesota to facilitate cultural competency training for teachers across the state through the Professional Education Licensing Standards Board. Seena is also a core facilitator with artEquity — a national organization that conducts social justice and racial equity training that lives at the intersection of arts and activism.

An avid supporter of the arts, Seena is the President of the Board of Trustees at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the first person of color to hold this distinction. She is also a member of the Black Trustee Alliance for Art Museums (BTA), an organization created to increase the inclusion of Black perspectives and narratives in North American art museums. In keeping with her commitment to promoting entrepreneurship and helping individuals design their destiny, Seena is a member of The Women’s Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a non-profit membership organization for women presidents, CEOs, and managing directors of privately held companies; and Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable, a forum for high-profile women leaders to gather insights on broad economic issues; examine their implications, and take action in their communities and lives. Seena was named one of Twin Cities Business' “100 People to Know in 2022".

Seena is currently writing her first book, From Ally to Accomplice, to be released in December 2022.

Adam Hjerpe
Optum Growth Office, Chief Operating Officer

Adam Hjerpe is Chief Operating Officer – Growth Office at Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company, since February 2022 and is responsible for overall operating capability, growth performance and strategic initiative enablement. He assumed the Board Chair role in June 2022 to bring the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games to Minneapolis.

He joined UnitedHealth Group in 2004 to lead Program Management and Six Sigma Quality. He rejoined Optum in 2022 after leading Enterprise Client Optimization, starting the ProtectWell business during the COVID pandemic and serving four years as the Chief of Staff managing the office of the CEO. Previous assignments include UnitedHealth Group Corporate, UnitedHealthcare, R&D and Optum Health. He is a passionate ambassador and facilitator for Our United Culture and championing people with disabilities through sponsoring the Disability Inclusion movement.

Adam’s career includes a decade of work at General Electric, where he worked his way from call-center representative to Vice President, Operations. Additionally, he founded and served as President for the Strategic Solutions Exchange Group, a Six Sigma consulting firm.

During his professional career, Adam gained experience in general management, business development, operations, strategic growth, supply chain management, program management, Six Sigma quality, e-Commerce / digital, commercial finance, and client service. Adam earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. He is also a graduate of the GE Management Training Program. He completed his executive education at the Wharton School of Business, Stanford University and UnitedHealth Group’s General Manager Development program. In his spare time, Hjerpe (pronounced Jurpy) is a coach, unified partner and volunteer for Special Olympics MN, advisory board member of Fraser Community Services, board member of the professional consulting practice of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and an avid Polar Bear Plunger and outdoor enthusiast.

Did you know having a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) culture can become a competitive advantage in talent recruiting and retention? This panel will share their experiences working in and recruiting for organizations with varied DE&I structures.

You will leave with different strategies that you can use to develop your company's DE&I culture and make your startup an employer of choice.

Click here to join virtually!