Achieve break-through growth.
[think people, not just revenue].

Attain high-performance results.
[think sustainable, not just fiscal].

Stretch Expeditions

The idea of being stretched is more than an everyday exercise for The Prouty Project and our clients. It’s an annual expedition going back to 1999.

Thinking differently is only the beginning when clients, associates and friends join us on Stretch Expeditions to a world beyond our comfort zones. These adventures are meant to push the limits of our mind, heart and body. That’s when people get energized to think more strategically.

Joining The Prouty Project for a Stretch Expedition delivers tangible results. You develop a keener mindset to learn; gain a longer view of business and life; and stimulate a capacity for inner reflection, along with a greater sense of awareness.

We invite you to join us on our next Stretch Expedition. You’ll never go back to your old dimensions.

Download 2022 Stretch Expedition: Namibia

Stretch Expeditions

Jammin Sessions

Jeff Prouty was inspired by John Kao, author of Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, when the idea for Jammin Sessions was realized 22 years ago. Prouty read the book and heard the Harvard Business School professor speak at a conference. Here’s an excerpt from a Publishers Weekly review of Kao’s book:

“It took a Chinese American student listening to jazz and jamming with a group of African Americans at a private boarding school to internalize the polar tensions between musical score and improvisation and come up with a formula for creativity. Kao, now a professor at Harvard Business School, has been using the jamming metaphor to teach creative entrepreneurship for 14 years. In business, the score is not a musical theme but an idea, process or question that takes on new dimensions when bandied about by a group. This business version of jamming, Kao says, is the creative advantage that can give a company a competitive edge.”

Since then, The Prouty Project has hosted 10 “jams” a year on topics addressing virtually every aspect of business and life — topics that draw 10-year-old kids to 92-year-old grandparents and all ages in between to participate in energizing and thought-provoking discussions.

Jammin Session 1
Jammin Session 2
Jammin Session 3
These interactive sessions are open to the public and held online the first Tuesday of each month (with the exception of January and July), from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. via Zoom video conferencing. A $20 donation will be requested for each Jammin Session. All proceeds will be donated to The Prouty Project Stretch Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation.

2 steps to register:

– RSVP to The Prouty Project: Click “RSVP” on the list below for the Jammin session you’ll be attending.
– DONATE to the Stretch Fund: Please follow this link.

Your donation and RSVP will secure your spot!

We look forward to seeing you (virtually!) soon. You’ll leave inspired and stretched!

JAMMIN SESSION SCHEDULE
2021

February 2

#257: Is Purpose Spiritual?

Richard Leider, Best-Selling Author And Coach

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Session Description:
The path of purposeful living and working is, ultimately, a spiritual journey. From birth onward, we are all getting older. But we are, hopefully, also growing whole-maturing spiritually. Aging belongs to the body, but purpose belongs to the spirit. The power of purpose is in spiritual wisdom embodied.

I will also share a “sneak peek” into my new book coming out in May…WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW OLD?: The Path of Purposeful Aging by Richard Leider & David Shapiro [Berrett-Koehler, 2021].

Speaker Bio:
“Why do you get up in the morning?”

Internationally bestselling author and coach Richard Leider is founder of Inventure – The Purpose Company, where the mission is to help people to “unlock the power of purpose” and answer that question. He is ranked by Forbes as one the “Top 5” most respected coaches.

Along the way, Richard has written eleven books including three best-sellers which have sold over one million copies. The Power of Purpose and Repacking Your Bags are considered classics in the personal growth field. His latest book, Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old? is a defining book on the power of purposeful aging.

Widely viewed as a pioneer of the global purpose movement, his work has been featured in many media sources, and his PBS Special – “The Power of Purpose” – was viewed by millions of people.

He has taken his purpose message to all 50 states, Canada, and 4 continents, and he has advised everyone from AARP to the National Football League to the U.S. State Department.

During his career, Richard has addressed more than two million people worldwide in his speeches to corporate, association, and social service groups. He and his wife, Sally, live in the Minneapolis, MN area.

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March 2

#258: The Path and Life of a NASA Astronaut

Leroy Chiao

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Session Description:

Life among the Stars. Leroy Chiao has a unique perspective of the world, being one of the few individuals to have seen it from space. Ever since he sat transfixed as a child watching the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, he knew that his destination was the stars. The son of Chinese immigrants, Chiao became one of the most accomplished astronauts in the history of the United States’ space program. He is a veteran of four space missions, and during his stellar, 15-year NASA career, he logged 229 days in space – more than 36 hours of which were spent in Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA), and he earned the honor of commanding the International Space Station.

Performance Specialist, and Innovation/Technology Futurist. Dr. Chiao’s impressive resume does not begin or end at Cape Canaveral. Before joining NASA, he earned three degrees in chemical engineering from the University of California (Berkeley and Santa Barbara), and a Q-clearance for nuclear secrets at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Post-NASA, He is a co-founder and President of a space technology startup, a cofounder and CEO of a corporate training and education company, and previously served as the CEO of a biomedical materials company. In addition, Chiao was a member of the White House-appointed Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, and has testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space. He holds appointments at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine and is the special advisor for human spaceflight to the Houston Association for Space and Science Education. He serves as part of the NASA Advisory Council, is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, and the Committee of 100. He is also a fellow of the Explorers Club. A trusted expert, Chiao frequently appears on television and other news media addressing science, space exploration, and international issues.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Leroy Chiao is a renowned American astronaut and international space station commander. He speaks from experience on important business topics such as leadership, how to combat complacency, and essentials to bring your business to the next level. A pioneer in the commercial space sector, his accomplished track record in space, in the lab, and in the business world offers audiences an unparalleled perspective into space exploration and how lessons learned apply to businesses worldwide. His broad technical expertise allows him to offer compelling insights on future technology trends, the fascinating biomedical effects of spaceflight, and how businesses must pay attention to technology and innovation to stay on top. In presentations, Chiao shares breathtaking photos and awe-inspiring stories of leadership, innovation, and running international teams from his four space missions, including nail-biting tales of real emergency situations, and shows audiences how his out-of-this world knowledge can impact their organizations. Few people have reached the heights in their careers that Leroy Chiao continues to experience, and he is happy to offer the benefit of his experience to inspire and enlighten others in all fields.

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April 6

#259: Living the Life of Your Dreams

Dane Espegard, Division Manager of Vector Marketing/Cutco Cutlery

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Session Description:
Once we reach a certain age we are told to ‘be realistic’, ‘be practical’, ‘take the safe path’ – all of which aren’t inspiring. It’s easy to fall into a rhythm in life of just doing the same thing we did last year over and over again and never really being fulfilled. The purpose of my message is to reintroduce the idea of dreaming and then showing how it can be applied in your everyday life. I’ve been doing this personally for the last 7 years and within my organization for the last 5 years. In those 5 years I’ve witnessed numerous people implement the Dreams Concept and it’s brought a different level of excitement to their lives. We are able to live out the quote “When there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.”

During the ‘jam session’ I plan to take people through the ‘Dreamstorming’ exercise, have some fun, and leave them with some action steps.

Speaker Bio:

I’ve been married to my amazing wife Brookelynn for 5 years now, and we have 2 wonderful little girls, Elin (3) and Izzi (1.5) as well as a corgi (Dude). I’m a Division Manager for Vector Marketing/CUTCO for the North Star Division where I help managers develop into business owners and equip students with skills for life such as basic sales and communication skills. I love to travel and live life to its fullest!

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May 4

#260: No Barriers

Erik Weihenmayer, Author, Speaker, Athlete, and Founder of No Barriers

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Session Description & Speaker Bio:
Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. In 2001, he became the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest. When he stood on the top of Carstensz Pyramid in 2008, he completed his quest to climb all of the Seven Summits-the tallest peak on each of the seven continents.

Erik is the author of the best selling memoir, Touch the Top of the World, which was made into a feature film, as well as The Adversity Advantage, which shows readers how to turn everyday struggles into everyday greatness. His latest book, No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon is more than an adventure story; it illuminates how we move forward in our lives towards growth and purpose – despite the barriers that get in our way. He is an internationally recognized speaker and brings his message of living a No Barriers Life to audiences around the world.

In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world. Erik continually seeks out new adventures, focusing his efforts on empowering people traditionally swept to the sidelines of life. He founded an organization called No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world.

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June 1

#261: Prouty i•will: Building Community Through Authentic Connections

Adrienne Jordan & Kristin Jonason, Senior Consultant and Consultant at the Prouty Project

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Session Description:
“Deep human connection is the purpose and the result of a meaningful life – and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity, and humanity.” – Melinda Gates.

Through vulnerability and empathy, we will explore how to deepen our relationship with ourselves and each other, and how to build and strengthen our individual and collective communities. Our hope is for participants to leave with a better sense of how to meaningfully and more authentically connect with themselves, and the peoples in their lives.

Speaker Bios:
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An abundance of purpose-filled women have led, inspired, and supported Adrienne Jordan through her journey, and she is truly grateful for each of them. They have all shaped and informed her life and 20+ year career journey with multiple organizations including General Mills, Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. Recognizing those women’s powerful and positive force in her life, Adrienne co-created the Prouty i•will leadership program to help ignite women to purpose. As a strong champion and mentor, Adrienne has served on boards and committees of women-focused organizations such as Her Next Play, WomenVenture, WithAll, and Play Like a Girl. Adrienne has a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame.

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Kristin Jonason specializes in the area of Positive Psychology, the scientific study of well-being and human flourishing. She aims to integrate elements, research, and interventions from Positive Psychology into all our client engagements to increase their individual and organizational well-being. Kristin has been a key leader in researching, designing, and facilitating content for Prouty i•will. Kristin is an adventurous person who loves trying new things and is not afraid to stretch herself in out-of-the-box situations. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and has a B.A. in psychology from DePauw University. Kristin is one of our Licensed Practitioners of Insights Discovery.

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August 3

#262: Music, Money & Marriage

Pamela Helmer McNeill, Singer, Songwriter, and Recording Artist
Bruce Helmer, WCCO Radio Host & Financial Advisor

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Session Description:
When Pamela McNeill was going through a divorce and needed financial advice, she “didn’t know anyone in the financial world.” A band mate and fan of Bruce’s weekly “Your Money” radio show said, “Yes you do. That nice man Bruce Helmer (one of the owners of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres) is a financial advisor. You should talk to him!” They set up a meeting and the rest is history. Blending the life of a rock and roll musician (late nights and sparkly boots) with a financial advisor (early mornings and pressed shirts) was unusual, unexpected and absolutely the stuff of dreams!

Speaker Bios:
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Pamela Helmer McNeill grew up in Minnesota City, MN – just north of Winona, between Hwy 61 and the Mississippi River. At the age of three, performing as an angel on Christmas Eve at her church, her dream of becoming a singer was born. Since then her career as a singer / songwriter has taken her around the world. Highlights include performing with British Superstar Rick Astley as a backing vocalist in the 80’s, playing throughout the UK including Royal Albert Hall in London.

Other stand-outs include playing The Tokyo Dome in Japan for 50,000, headlining The Staples Center in Los Angeles and performing ‘In the Round’ at the legendary Bluebird Café in Nashville.

She’s composed 6 solo albums – the latest being “Solitary”, recorded in Nashville, released in 2019 and nominated for Midwest CMA’s “Album of the Year.” She has written with the likes of Pam Tillis in Nashville and Instrumental Icon Yanni, and has had songs recorded by Wynonna Judd, Buffy Lawson and Yanni. Her songs recently caught the ear of Reba McEntire.

Pamela produces several Tribute Shows including “Rumours and Dreams – A Fleetwood Mac Tribute” where she channels Stevie Nicks, and “Wild Angels – The Women of Rock, Pop & Country.”
She lives with her husband, WCCO radio host and financial advisor Bruce Helmer in Eden Prairie. www.pamelamcneill.com

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Bruce Helmer – Widely Recognized Financial Thought Leader

Forget the big ego. When Bruce Helmer talks, it’s like getting top-notch financial advice from a wise friend. His presentations are straightforward, engaging and (most importantly) spoken in plain English – a far cry from what we’re used to hearing from some financial gurus.

As co-founder of Wealth Enhancement Group, Bruce has earned the respect and trust not only of his many faithful clients from his 35+ years as a financial advisor, but also from industry peers. Fans of his popular Sunday morning radio show “Your Money”, which just celebrated its 24th year on WCCO 830am, often seek him out to thank him for his reassuring presence and for being “real.”

He is the author of 3 personal finance books as well as a weekly column for St. Paul Pioneer Press.

In 2010 he lead in the creation of an investment group that acquired the then-struggling Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Since then it has become the nation’s most successful dinner theater. As an owner of the Chanhassen Dinner Theater and a music lover, it is also where he met his wife, singer/songwriter Pamela Helmer McNeill.

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September 7

#263: Unleashing Abundance

Tharangi Cumaranatunge, Ambassador & Global Connector of ALIGHT
Mark Mortenson, President, Lansing Group, LLC

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Session Description:
Alight (formerly American Refugee Committee) is on a journey to disrupt the global humanitarian sector and unleash abundance in the places where you often hear narratives of scarcity. You’ll get to hear about a few of the key ways that Alight has started to disrupt traditional models. For example, the journey to create the first ever Rotaract Club inside a refugee settlement and being the first NGO to create a customer service platform that tests extreme accountability and ultra-transparency. We will also talk about how our belief in radical generosity has shaped our acquisition and growth strategy.

Speaker Bios:
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Tharangi Cumaranatunge has been with ALIGHT (formerly American Refugee Committee) an international non-profit that works with displaced and marginalized communities since 2012.

She has been a leader in strategic and finance systems and transformative change both at the individual and organizational levels. She comes with diverse experience in for-profit and nonprofit in both local and global organizations spanning a multitude of disciplines such as operations, strategy, finance, fundraising and marketing.

She’s passionate about combining her work and personal experiences to serve the global community. More recently she helped with the creation of the first Rotaract Club inside a refugee camp and led efforts to support international communities hit by natural disasters.

Tharangi grew up in Sri Lanka and came to Minnesota on a Fulbright scholarship for her MBA from Carlson School of Management. She also led and continues to participate in Stretch Expeditions with the Prouty Project to serve and learn about diverse societies around the globe.

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Mark Mortenson joined M. A. Mortenson Company (the “Company”) in 1990 as a financial analyst where he supported senior leadership’s financial management of the business. While working for the Company, Mark attended William Mitchell College of Law and received his law degree in 1995. After spending two years in a private practice, Mark rejoined the Company and served as its assistant corporate secretary. In 2002, the Company’s board of directors appointed Mark to the position of corporate secretary.

In 2005, Mark led the Company in restructuring its investment program and in 2007, became president of Lansing Group, LLC, which manages the investment programs for the parent company and its subsidiaries. Lansing Group also manages investment programs for the Mortenson Family Foundation and private entities and has become a full-service family office.
In the last ten years Lansing has helped the Foundation build an impact investment program that has enabled the Foundation to increase its impact. Lansing is currently working to increase the impact investing programs of the other Mortenson entities that it serves.

Mark is a past chairman of the board of the American Refugee Committee. Mark also serves on the board of Minnesota United FC and a number of other mission-driven businesses. In the past, Mark served as the vice chair of the board for the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, as a director on the Minnesota Zoo Foundation board, as a trustee on the board of the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and as a director on the board of Daystar U.S.

Mark has traveled extensively in Africa and has taken particular interest in issues surrounding smallholder farming and regenerative agriculture. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three sons, ages 19, 17 and 15.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Northwestern University and J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

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October 5

#264: The Butterfly Effect: How Great Leaders Drive and Sustain Revenue Growth

Scott Edinger, Author, recognized expert in leadership and revenue growth, and Founder of Edinger Consulting

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Session Description:
Revenue shortfalls are failures of leadership, not sales. Through his work with CEOs, sales teams and senior leaders over the past several decades, Scott Edinger noticed a reoccurring problem: strategy (established from the C-suite) is utterly disconnected from sales objectives and the realities of frontline sales teams. This lack of alignment, when understood and addressed, is vital to creating long term growth on the top and bottom line.

Speaker Bio:
Scott Edinger is the founder of Edinger Consulting, and a recognized expert in leadership and revenue growth consulting. He is also the author of the Washington Post bestselling book The Hidden Leader and The Inspiring Leader. He brings years of experience working with senior executives seeking to achieve maximum revenue growth and success.

Although he cannot read music and is not a Mormon, he has performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Scott and his family live in Tampa, Florida.

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November 2

#265: Improv: The Little Scenes of Life

Samantha Baker Harris, Improvisational Coach and Performer

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Session Description:
Join Samantha as she shines light in how improv is a part of our everyday experiences. Understand the importance of letting go of judgement and staying present in the moment. Rediscover your imagination and let the act of play ignite your creativity.

Speaker Bio:
Samantha Baker Harris has a Bachelor’s degree in Performance Studies, a Graduate Certificate in Leadership, and 15 years experience in improvisational theater. Her improv journey began after seeing a show at the Brave New Workshop, where she later completed five levels of improvisational courses and then soon after as an instructor. She’s written, directed, produced, and performed in ten Minnesota Fringe Festivals and spent time as an instructor and performer at Strike Theater, Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret, and HUGE Improv Theater. In her spare time, she leads Improv workshops for organizations, plays with her two small children, and works a full-time job as a Manager.

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December 7

#266: The Adventure Mindset

Martin Frey, 2016 Guinness World Record holder to climb the world’s Seven Summits and sail the Seven Seas

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Session Description:
Martin Frey is the only person to have climbed the 7 Summits and sailed the 7 Seas. Join us as he shares the challenges and inspiring life lessons behind his amazing adventures and describes how an adventure mindset will enable you to embrace uncertainty and overcome fear to conquer your summits in life.

Speaker Bio:
Martin Frey is a successful business leader, tech investor, and an accomplished mountaineer and sailor. In April 2016, he set a Guinness World Record when he became the only person to climb the world’s Seven Summits and sail the Seven Seas.

Martin’s groundbreaking achievement follows a business career that included 13 years in Silicon Valley as a senior director at Cisco, where he led a global organization while Cisco rolled out the internet and became the world’s most valuable company. In 2004, he served as the managing director for Utah’s Office of Economic Development where he developed Utah’s economic model that continues to receive national recognition. Since then, he has actively invested in Utah’s tech sector and mentors companies that are making a social impact.

Martin is passionate about inspiring the next generation of leaders and offers his time to a wide array of organizations in the Utah community. He has served on the advisory councils for BYU’s College of Engineering, UVU Business School, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Academy for Creating Enterprise. He currently leads Summit Journeys, a non-profit that strengthens character and well-being by providing transformational outdoor adventures.

Martin graduated from BYU in Mechanical Engineering and from Harvard’s Advanced Management Program. He and his family live in Holladay, Utah.

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Keynote Addresses

We’re mighty proud of our people. We have consultants who have transfixed audiences with their ability to deliver a keynote address; regularly appeared as guests on both television and radio programs; and been invited to give TED Talks. All that wisdom and content comes from the client work we do every day with people like you.

Our professional speaking topics range from human centered design to the hero’s journey; from audacious goals to blue ocean strategies; from mission-vision-values work to board assessment and development; from organizational readiness to cross-cultural communication; and from team effectiveness to the power of creativity.

See a Consultant in Action

Twins Baseball Club

“The Minnesota Twins salute the work of The Prouty Project and their impact on organizations like ours. They have made significant contributions to the Twins on so many fronts including leadership development, strategic planning and team building.”

Dave St. Peter

President and Chief Executive Officer, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club