Minnesota Business Venture, Session 2: Day 1 Dare to Dream Day, Sponsored by Arby’s

Another session of MBV means another opportunity for campers to broaden their horizons, develop their teamwork skills, and learn from the experience of business leaders. Dare to Dream Day was sponsored by the Arby’s Foundation. Thank you Arby’s for making camp a possibility this year!

Following our kick off led by Janae, students heard from Adam Cohen, Enterprise Vice President with UnitedHealth Group. Adam oversees the business impact at the intersection of Culture, Inclusion & Diversity, and Social Responsibility — both the impact to business processes and the impact to business results. In his free time, Adam trains for amateur strongman competitions.

In his keynote speech, Cohen discussed the Mood Elevator and how to find meaningful workplaces. “When you end up in the right spot … there really is no limit,” says Cohen. In his fifteen year long career journey, Cohen has found his fit with the UnitedHealth Group. Throughout this journey, Cohen has utilized the Mood Elevator as a tool for success. At the top of the Mood Elevator, “you’re probably bringing your best,” but when you find yourself at the bottom, “the world doesn’t look the same way,” and you are not “nearly as effective.” The Mood Elevator is a powerful tool for reflection and understanding the quality of our thinking. 


Following Adam Cohen’s engaging speech on the importance of reflection and aligning with a greater mission, students got introduced to their student CEO-led companies. In collaboration with a professional Resident Business Leader (RBL), students and their CEO design a product or service and present their business model to a group of Business Panel judges.  The companies help students develop their entrepreneurial skills and experience different roles within a company, from marketing to operations. After this meeting, students attended their first breakout session. 


Breakout sessions contribute to a dynamic, engaging morning at MBV. These sessions teach students about a variety of career and life skills. Today as students ‘Dare to Dream’, breakout sessions were focused on understanding the importance of soft skills and finding ways to develop them. Breakouts explored Mindfulness, Teamwork, Overcoming, and Staying Organized & Getting Motivated.  After each session MBV students had the opportunity to listen to speakers as well as participate in a Q&A, giving great insight into valuable life and workplace knowledge. These Q&A sessions are also fantastic opportunities for students to seize the day and engage with our experienced speakers. 


Every day, students will hear an entrepreneur’s story. These keynotes offer students the chance to learn more about the different ways entrepreneurs get their start and showcase how “there is no one single right path” to success as keynote speaker Adam Cohen puts it. 

Joy McBrien is the Founder and CEO of Fair Anita, a fair trade accessories company. Fair Anita is a social enterprise that strives to build a more inclusive economy for women by providing economic opportunity and dignified jobs through beautiful fair trade jewelry and accessories. McBrien is a global learner who is passionate about creating opportunities for women and girls. McBrien partners with women in nine countries across four continents and prioritizes local leadership through Fair Anita. Her story of supporting women across the world is an inspiration to students and is a testament to the power of social enterprises. 


Following McBrien’s keynote speech, student emcee Khadra gave students a photo challenge, introduced camper shoutouts as a way to show encouragement and acknowledge quality engagement. Each company is off to a great start after today and we can’t wait to see their presentations.


Finally, students finished their first day of MBV with camp tradition: Ask an Influencer! This Q&A session gives students the opportunity to engage with change makers, local and global, and to see how these influencers are making a difference in their field. Today we were joined by First Base Coach Tommy Watkins for the Minnesota Twins.

Watkins discussed how he decided to pursue his childhood dream of being an athlete and how a growth mindset can turn hardship into lessons. Watkins encourages young people to take action in making their dreams a reality by putting themselves out into the world and by being lifelong learners. 


After a long first day jam packed with speeches, breakouts, meetings, and engaging activities, one question lingers: What does it mean to dare to dream? 


From Adam Cohen, daring to dream means finding a “mission that aligns” with how you impact the world. In her breakout speech on overcoming, Khadra Sharif dared to dream by attending MBV in 2017 and taking every opportunity possible to expand her comfort zone. Keynote speaker Joy McBrien dared to dream by creating a profitable social enterprise that empowers women around the world and prioritizes local leadership. Finally, Tommy Watkins shared that daring to dream means adopting the mindset that will keep your head up through hardship.


This first day of MBV has been full of insight and powerful messages. We’re looking forward to capturing more of this experience for you all and to see what unique perspectives will be shared over the next three days.