Come Jam With Us Every Month!
And Meet Some Pretty Great People, Too!

Jammin’ Sessions

Jammin’ Sessions are interactive sessions that are open to the public and held online the first Tuesday of each month (except for January, July, and September), from 8 – 9:30 a.m. via Zoom video conferencing. These interactive sessions feature keynote speakers and cover a range of topics that address virtually every aspect of business and life. Our Jammin’ topics draw in people of all ages— from 10-year-old children to 92-year-old grandparents—and from all walks of life. Everyone is encouraged to step outside their comfort zone and participate in energizing and thought-provoking discussions.

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.

Established in 2005, the Stretch Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation is committed to making the world a better place through building leadership skills in kids ages 6-18 to help them lead lives of courage and adventure. When we reach $2 million in the Fund, the intent is to give back with a primary focus on children and education. The Stretch Fund is supported by the Minneapolis Foundation – one of the first community foundations in the world, which brings together people, ideas, and resources to improve the lives of all people.

Why 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 nearly 30 years ago in 1995. Prouty read the book and heard the Harvard Business School professor speak at a conference.

“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.” From the Publishers Weekly review of Kao’s book.

Since then, The Prouty Project has hosted 9 to 10 “jams” a year!

Jammin Session 1
Jammin Session 2
Jammin Session 3

It Only Takes 3 Steps to Join a Jammin’ Session

Click “RSVP” on the list below for the Jammin’ session you’ll be attending.
make your donation
Fill out the form on the popup, and feel free to check the box for any other sessions you want to attend..
Save the Zoom link, mark your calendar, and join us (virtually) on the day of the event with an open mind and an eagerness to learn.


Downloadable PDF available here

February 6

#286: Using Dance to Bridge the Gaps in Society

Nieya Amezquita
Performer & Choreographer, Amez Dance

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Session Description:
Nieya Amezquita shares her journey of being an artist of color navigating the dance industry, and discusses how she has dedicated herself and her business to utilizing the arts to help transform and develop our community.

Speaker Bio:
Originally from Decatur GA, Nieya is a dancer, choreographer and development professional based in the Twin Cities. Currently, Nieya is performing with Threads Dance Project and Rhythmically Speaking Dance. She has also worked with Alexandra Bodnarchuk Dance Projects, Yuki Tokuda, Off Leash Area and Concerto Dance. In addition to performing, Nieya is an independent choreographer who has created contemporary works for companies throughout the Twin Cities including Alternative Motion Project and Ballet Co’Laboratory before starting Amez Dance in 2023.

Amez Dance is a project-based dance company created to be a hub for artistic experimentation and to push the boundaries of art and how it can change and develop our community. It was created to connect artists in collaborative performances and form an environment that helps artists feel encouraged and supported while taking risks. Amez Dance uses dance as an artistic medium to explore, understand and create conversations about human psychological concepts while emphasizing vulnerability and authenticity.


March 5

#287: How Many Mondays Do You Have Left?

Jodi Wellman, Speaker, Author, Certified Coach
Four Thousand Mondays

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Session Description:

The secret is out that we’re all living on borrowed time, so the question is whether we’re stuck in autopilot or whether we’re living lives we’d be proud to look back on, without the faintest whiff of regret on our eventual deathbeds.

Shining the light on our scarcity of time helps us get clear about what matters. You might have more than 2,000 Mondays left until your life calls it quits or only 20 to go. How do you want your thousands or hundreds or dozens of weeks to be? The practice of memento mori—the Latin phrase for “remember we must die”—has the profound potential to wake us up, to reinvigorate our lives with urgency and meaning.

In this interactive session rooted in the science of positive psychology, we’ll talk about how we can be more mindful about living and working like we mean it… without a Monday to spare. Leave motivated and ready to fully engage with life and work!

Speaker Bio:
Jodi Wellman is a leading authority on living lives worth living. As a speaker, facilitator, and author, she helps her clients live squander-free lives while they’re lucky enough to still be above ground. She named her business Four Thousand Mondays because it shines the light on the finite number of weeks we have to live like we mean it. Jodi holds a Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also an Assistant Instructor. As a certified coach with 25 years of corporate leadership experience, she helps people who might die someday work well and live even better. Her TEDx talk is called “How Death Can Bring You Back to Life” and has over 1.3 million views, and her book called “You Only Die Once: How to Make It to the End with No Regrets” comes out in May 2024!


April 2

#288: The Gift of Adversity: Lessons from Life’s Challenges

Mychal Frelix, Co-Founder & COO, TurnSignl

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Session Description:
Join us for a transformative exploration of life’s adversities and the invaluable lessons they bestow. In this thought-provoking presentation, we’ll delve into the profound insights that can be gained from personal challenges. Our speaker, Mychal Frelix, a seasoned startup founder and the COO at TurnSignl, will share his journey of resilience and self-discovery, highlighting how adversity can be a powerful catalyst for growth and transformation, particularly in the context of entrepreneurship and life.

Speaker Bio:

Mychal Frelix, the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at TurnSignl, is a dynamic leader known for his significant contributions to the company’s growth. Notably, he played a pivotal role in TurnSignl’s expansion to all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, demonstrating his strategic vision and commitment to road safety and race and health equity nationwide.

Before his role at TurnSignl, Mychal excelled at Sony Electronics, managing Enterprise Accounts and facilitating the adoption of innovative technology solutions by Fortune 500 companies. With ten years of technology, marketing, and sales experience, he has extensive knowledge in various domains, including cloud computing, Software as a Service, and electronics.

Mychal’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on organizational leadership from Augsburg University. His remarkable achievements have earned him recognition as one of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “Black Leaders to Know” and as a “Notable BIPOC Executive” in Twin Cities Business Magazine.


May 7

#289: The Growth Leader: Strategies to Drive the Top and Bottom Lines

Scott Edinger, Business Consultant, Advisor, Author
Edinger Consulting

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Session Description:
Growth is a leadership issue. Not a sales issue. Learn how to lead your organization to growth by aligning strategy, leadership, and sales.

Speaker Bio:
Clients in the Fortune 50 and across the globe trust Scott K. Edinger as their premier consultant for leading business growth. Scott has worked with CEOs and senior leaders to develop pragmatic strategies and execute approaches to drive top and bottom-line results. He has written three books and over a hundred articles in Forbes and Harvard Business Review, among other prominent publications.

As a consultant, author, advisor, and speaker, Scott creates positive change for clients and is recognized as an expert in the intersection of leadership, strategy, and sales.

He is the author of The Growth Leader: Strategies to Drive the Top and Bottom Lines (Fast Company Press, 2023), as well as the bestselling co-author of The Hidden Leader: Discover and Develop Greatness Within Your Company (AMACOM, 2015) and The Inspiring Leader (McGraw Hill, 2009). His Harvard Business Review article “Making Yourself Indispensable” has been called a “classic in the making.” Scott’s work has been published in the HBR Guide to Your Professional Growth and HBR Guide to Being More Productive.


June 4

#290: Shooting for Greatness: The Paths of Three African American Basketball Pioneers and the Life Lessons They Learned Along the Way

Lisa Lissimore (Retired Minnesota State High School League Associate Director), Linda Roberts (Retired University of Minnesota Athletic Department) and Kathie Eiland-Madison (Chief Engagement & Inclusion Officer for Delta Dental of Minnesota)

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Session Description:
This multi-talented group of women will provide a captivating perspective of the lived experiences in sports that shaped who they are and set them on a path to greatness. Learn how these women remained resilient when obstacles in the path got in the way, and how their friendship of 40 plus years has endured the test of time.


Lisa Lissimore Bio:
Lisa is a retired Minnesota State High School League Associate Director. For 34 years, she managed the organization’s sponsorship sales and marketing and directed a variety of the sports including girls basketball.

Prior to working for the Minnesota State High School League, Lisa worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives and coached women’s basketball at the University of St. Thomas for five years and one season at Central High School, St. Paul, her alma mater.

Lisa was a member of Central’s 1976 Class AA girls’ championship basketball team. The two-time, all-state guard earned a scholarship to play at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she captained the women’s basketball team during her junior and senior years and was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.

Lisa is a member of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of Links Incorporated. She also co-founded the Shooting Stars Inner City Girls Basketball Clinic along with Linda Roberts and Kathie Eiland Madison. She also has served on several nonprofit boards and University of Minnesota Athletic Department task forces and advisory committees.


Linda Roberts Bio:
Emblazoned in the annals of Gopher women’s athletics is the name Linda Roberts. A native of St. Paul, MN, Linda attended the University of Minnesota where she emerged as one of the most highly respected basketball players in the Big Ten Conference.

A 1982 graduate and former four-year starter, Linda still holds 11 University of Minnesota basketball records including 1,413 career rebounds. She ranks 6th in all-time scoring and her maroon and gold jersey #21 now prominently hangs in the William Arena rafters. Prior to joining the Gopher squad, Linda along with Lisa Lissimore helped St. Paul Central High School win the first Minnesota Class AA girls’ state basketball tournament in 1976.

After college, Linda embarked on an administrative career. In 1992, she became the University’s first African American female athletic administrative assistant. She worked for the athletic department for 27 years—directing a variety of programs focused on student-athlete support and mentoring, cultural diversity, and community outreach.


Kathie Eiland-Madison Bio:
Kathie is the Chief Engagement and Inclusion Officer for Delta Dental of Minnesota. Prior to her role at Delta Dental, she held Human Resource leadership positions in several Minnesota Fortune 500 companies. Kathie has served on a variety of boards and committees including the University of Minnesota Athletic Department Cultural Diversity Task Force and the University’s Advisory Board.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business, Kathie played basketball for the Gophers from 1976 – 1978. She was awarded one of the first athletic scholarships for women at the University. Kathie and Linda Roberts were Gopher teammates during the 1977-78 season.
Kathie attended Marshall University High School in Minneapolis where she led the girls’ basketball team to a fourth-place finish in the first Minnesota Class A girls basketball tournament in 1976. It was at this historic tournament that Kathie met Linda Roberts and Lisa Lissimore. A recipient of the coveted Athena Award, Kathie also lettered in volleyball, track, and cheerleading.


August 6

#291: Lead Like a Futurist: How To Know What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Cecily Sommers
Futurist, Speaker, Author

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Session Description:
Staying centered amid chaos and uncertainty is the leadership imperative of our time.

Only then can strategy, resiliency, and healthy growth get traction, as you keep your eyes on the future and your hands on the present. This is the essence of what it means to Lead Like a Futurist.

In this interactive workshop, futurist Cecily Sommers presents a handy Swiss Army Knife for cutting through drama, stuckness, and fear in any circumstance. Applying the Futurist’s Habits of Mind to a situation in your own life, you’ll learn how to quickly free yourself from conflicts that keep you small, and transform the energy into deep, authentic power and wisdom. These simple yet profound tools are what’s needed to stare uncertainty in the face while moving forward from your center, with clarity and confidence.

Speaker Bio:
As the strategist that Google, Salesforce, Purina, and JP Morgan Chase turn to make sense of their future, Cecily is also a renowned speaker and author who helps leaders explore big questions like “Which opportunities give us the most advantage?”, “How do we break our addiction to certainty?”, and “How can we Lead Like a Futurist?”

Cecily is distinguished as one of the “Top 50 Female Futurists in the World” (Forbes). Her book, Think Like a Futurist, was nominated for the “Most Significant Futures Work in Methods and
Practice” award. Cecily is also a two-time TEDx contributor and a frequent speaker at events around the world.


October 1

#292: The Business of Shared Leadership

Kevin Hancock, Speaker, Author, Managing Owner & Chairman, Hancock Lumber Company

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Session Description:
Kevin Hancock is an award-winning author, speaker, and the senior executive of one of America’s oldest family businesses. In this talk Kevin will discuss the potential for using capitalism to advance humanity by creating an employee centric work culture designed to disperse power, share leadership, and strengthen the voices of others. Companies can learn to soar to unprecedented heights on the wings of thriving humans at work.

Speaker Bio:
Kevin Hancock is the managing owner and Chairman of one of America’s oldest family businesses as well as an award-winning author and nationally recognized public speaker.

Established in 1848, Hancock Lumber Company is led by its 720 employees operating 11 lumberyards, 4 sawmills, a truss manufacturing facility, and timberlands in Maine and New Hampshire. Hancock Lumber is a nine-time recipient of the ‘Best Places to Work in Maine’ award. The company is also a recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, the ProSales National Dealer of the Year Award, and the Maine Retailer of the Year Award.

Kevin is a past chairman of the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association, the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association, and the Bridgton Academy Board of Trustees. Kevin has also served of the Board of Directors for the Hussey Seating Corporation in Maine, the Seneca Sawmill Corporation in Oregon, and the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission.
Kevin is a recipient of the Ed Muskie ‘Access to Justice’ Award, the Habitat for Humanity ‘Spirit of Humanity’ Award, the Maine Development Foundation ‘Ken Curtis Leadership Award’, and the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame ‘Directors Award’.
Kevin is the author of three books:

  • Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse
  • The Seventh Power: One CEO’s Journey into the Business of Shared Leadership
  • 48 Whispers from Pine Ridge and the Northern Plains

Kevin also partners with the executive coaching firm SSCA to provide senior management training programs around the concepts of shared leadership, dispersed power, and deep employee engagement.

Kevin is a frequent visitor to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and an advocate of strengthening the voices of all individuals—within a company or a community —through listening, empowering, and shared leadership. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and lives in Maine with his wife Alison.


November 5

#293: A No Barriers Life

Erik Weihenmayer, Speaker, Athlete, Author & Co-Founder, No Barriers

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Session Description:
In 2001, as Erik descended from Mt. Everest, becoming the first blind person to reach the summit, his team leader pulled him aside and said, “don’t make Everest the greatest thing you ever do.” Despite the abrupt timing of this remark, Erik took it to heart and has spent the better part of his life exploring what it means to live a No Barriers Life. That is, not a life without barriers, without struggle, where anything is possible, but rather a dive into the heart and mind at the core of the turbulent human experience. It is an exploration of the light that burns in all of us, the obstacles that threaten to extinguish that light, and the treacherous path of becoming a pioneer, practicing alchemy and reaching towards growth and rebirth to find our own summits and elevate the world.

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 bestselling 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.


December 3

#294: My Rookie Season with the Green Bay Packers

Maureen Smith, CFO, Green Bay Packers Football

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Session Description:
Maureen will walk us through how she was able to recognize key insights in a new sport with a new structure at a new scale; navigate personal and professional transitions; and build history through culture, community and championships.

Speaker Bio:
Maureen has more than 20 years of diverse experience across the sports, healthcare, consulting and finance industries, and recently joined the Green Bay Packers after seven years with Minnesota United FC of Major League Soccer. After beginning with the club as a controller in 2016, she was promoted to Senior Vice President of Finance the following year and in 2018 was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, one of just a few women at the time in MLS to be named to that level.

“We’re excited to welcome Maureen to the Packers,” said Murphy. “She played a key role with Minnesota United FC as the team grew into a Major League Soccer club. Her impressive financial expertise, in a variety of industries, will be excellent assets to our organization. We look forward to seeing the impact she will have on the Packers as a member of our Senior Staff.”
During her time with Minnesota United FC Maureen developed and drove all core business functions as the club rapidly grew from a minor league start-up with 50 employees to a Major League Soccer club with more than 150 full- and 300 part-time employees. She also oversaw the construction and opening of Allianz Field, a $250M soccer stadium, and facilitated collaborative relationships between the club and external clients.

Maureen began her career as a CPA in public accounting and subsequently spent more than a decade as an independent small business consultant. From 2011-16, she worked for UnitedHealth Group as Director of Operations, overseeing finance, accounting and operations responsibilities for the company’s Office of Social Responsibility and the United Health Foundation.

In addition to leading the Packers’ financial operations, Smith will oversee the club’s information technology department. She will begin her duties in September.

A native of Davisburg, Mich., Maureen earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Her family includes her husband, Sam, and their five children.


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