Carl Atiya Swanson

Connecting to Creative People Power
Associate Director, Springboard for the Arts

Carl Atiya Swanson manages projects across Springboard's program areas, leads development and partnerships, and launched Creative Exchange, a national hub for stories and toolkits for artists and organizations to solve local challenges and create new opportunities. Since the launch in 2014, over 6,000 toolkits have been downloaded from Creative Exchange, facilitating artist-led projects, business skills development, and creative placemaking projects. He has presented on arts leadership, creative placemaking, and community engagement for Americans for the Arts, the Delta Regional Authority, IdeaLab, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and others.

Carl previously worked at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and founded Crown & Sparrow, a boutique communications consulting firm specializing in work with artists. He is a theatermaker and has served on the boards of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - Twin Cities, and Dissonance, advocating for mental health and wellness in creativity. Carl holds a BA in Studio Art from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.


Lauren Cox

A Dimension of Dance
Producer, Storyteller

Lauren Cox has a degree in Sociology from San Francisco State University and is Master Faculty at the year-round Jazz & Contemporary program at Joffrey Ballet School in New York City; teaching Jazz, Dance History and Critical Analysis. Lauren is a nationally ranked former Rhythmic Gymnast and has studied dance extensively including Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Ballet, Haitian Cultural Dances, Afro-Brazilian, Salsa, Street Styles, Improvisation and more. Her choreography can be described as the sum of her studies, often infusing poetry, storytelling and explorations of diverse techniques, history, space and authentic movement. 

Her art has been commissioned by Tedx Asbury Park, Joffrey Ballet School, Harlem Arts Festival, Columbia University, Hunter College and many more. Lauren's performance credits include Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, LLCoolJ, Ariana & The Rose, Saturday Night Live, America’s Got Talent, The View, National Commercials for Samsung, Apple & NYU Langone, the Yiddish-Cuban Opera Hatuey: Memory of Fire, as well as the Off-Broadway hit Seeing You directed by Ryan Heffington & Randy Weiner.  


Nikki Gronli

Developing a Culture of Cybersecurity
Marketing Specialist, SDN Communications

Cybersecurity is no longer just the job of IT. Everyone, yes everyone, is now the target of hackers. The number one security threat to any business is its employees. Hackers are looking for the weakest link. Nikki Gronli will provide tips and practical information to protect you and your company from making a costly mistake. A culture of cybersecurity is the greatest defense.

Nikki, SDN Communications’ marketing specialist, joined the staff in 2013 and has over 20 years of experience in advertising and marketing. Nikki loves problem solving and educating customers. She sits on DSU’s Cybersecurity Industry Advisory Board and is a member of the FBI’s South Dakota InfraGard chapter.

Nikki was raised in South Dakota, received her degree from the University of Minnesota, and began her advertising career in Minneapolis, MN. After a decade in the cities, she returned to South Dakota where she enjoys life in the country and spending time with her husband, four grown kids and one grandchild.


Sarah Rhea Werner

Reclaim Your Creativity
Writer & Communications Specialist

Sarah Rhea Werner has spent the last decade of her career at the intersection of creativity and technology, and found her true calling in using these concepts to nurture, teach, and mentor others. After a career in marketing, she left her full-time job to re-invent her life on her own terms. She believed there was a more fulfilling, more creative way of living—and found it.

Sarah is a professional podcaster, writer, editor, coach, speaker, voice actor, and ghostwriter, a contributor to Forbes, and the founder of the Write Now podcast. She is also the writer, editor, and executive producer of the new hit audio drama Girl In Space.



A Musical Conversation
Dakota Wind Quintet

William Cedeño Torres, Principal Flute
Jeffrey Paul, Principal Oboe
John Tomkins, Principal Bassoon
Christopher Hill, Principal Clarinet
Daniel Kitchens, Principal Horn

Since its formation in 1982 the Dakota Wind Quintet has been well received throughout the state of South Dakota and the Midwest, giving concerts and lecture demonstrations, as well as live performances on Minnesota Public Radio. The majority of their time as a chamber ensemble is spent on tour, performing at concert halls, colleges, community centers and public schools. They also serve as principal woodwind players of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, enhancing the quality of orchestra music in this region.


Teddy Hobbins

Winning the Pitch
CEO/Partner, boatBurner

Teddy Hobbins built his career on growing brands through comprehensive launch and relaunch initiatives for a range of companies, from automotive and retail giants to med-tech and CPG startups. His diverse industry background has only fueled his constant pursuit of solving business problems. Teddy knows there is no way to build a powerful and cohesive brand without an intimate understanding of the business, the marketplace and the customer.

Teddy is boatBurner's brand strategist and account director, overseeing every step of the branding process. He works directly with clients to identify the best opportunities to market themselves and align their brand essence with culture. Prior to boatBurner, Teddy was in senior account management and leadership roles at Periscope, Carmichael Lynch and Fallon.