• Engage Leaders: TEDxStCloud 2021: Embrace
  • Grow Business: DEED’s Guide on Navigating Funding for Business Growth
  • Expand Talent: Quarterly Business Report Highlights
  • Shape Tomorrow: Question, Persuade, Refer
  • Insights and Inspirations: United Way Days of Caring

Engage Leaders: TEDxStCloud 2021: Embrace


We’re celebrating milestones: TEDxStCloud’s event home, the Paramount Theater, is celebrating one hundred years! The GSDC is marking ten years. TEDxStCloud is celebrating too — we’re half as old as the GSDC, grateful to be in our fifth season. TEDxStCloud provides a platform for local thought leaders across a broad spectrum of topics to present their “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

The theme of this year’s TEDxStCloud is Embrace. We embrace the opportunity to gather, to thoughtfully consider new ideas, and to address together the challenges we face growing as individuals and as a community.

Please join us on Thursday evening, October 14th, from 6:30 to 9:00 at the Paramount Theater. Eight local speakers will surprise, delight and challenge you with short talks covering a broad and eclectic range of topics. This year we will hear from:

  • James Alberts, founder and pastor of Higher Ground Church of Christ, a social justice leader and board member of ISAIAH MN.
  • Annette Atkins, author and historian, teaches that our history and our lives stand in such a close relationship to each other that reflecting on either one helps illuminate the other.
  • Mary Bruno, artist, community ambassador and owner of Bruno Press letterpress print shop in St. Joseph, MN.
  • Charles Eisenreich, lifelong pre-K-12 educator and administrator, with a rich background in participating in and coaching sports.
  • John Harlander, a physicist and designer of a NASA optical instrument that was deployed on the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission.
  • Niloufer Merchant, a psychologist who uses a holistic approach in addressing trauma, PTSD, depression and anxiety.
  • Pete Rogers, a leader and expert in automation technology integration and robotics systems.
  • Robbyn Wacker, leader in higher education and an academician in gerontology and sociology.


TEDxStCloud has enjoyed generous support from GSDC and its investors since the inaugural TEDxStCloud event in 2017. We are grateful to the many local community and business organizations who have supported us across our five year journey.

TEDxStCloud past speakers: David Vee, Sally Koering Zimney, Ayan Omar, Kari Turkowski, Eric Sannerud, Beth Berila, Blair Anderson, Mark Gill, Jolene Singh, CeCe Terlouw, Mary Dana Hinton, Brian Beck, Kathy Yalamanchili, Matt Julius, Jasmin Nakarmi, Steve Henningsgard, Fahmo Abdi, Naimo Abdullahi, Precious Drew, Christopher Lehman, Kathy Allen, Jennifer Lamb, Matt Davis, John Mahowald, and Kathy Kulus.

TED, a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks, created TEDX as a program of local and self-organized events to bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxStCloud, where x = independently organized TED event. TED provides general guidance for TEDx programs, but each individual TEDx event, like ours, is self-organized by a team of local volunteers.

Find additional information and a link to purchase tickets at www.TEDxStCloud.com.

Grow Business

DEED’s Guide on Navigating Funding on Business Grants 

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has recently published a guide for navigating funding available for business growth. The guide includes information on programs that have been funded through the 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session appropriation as well as programs created through the American Rescue Plan to help support the business and the economy.

You can find the guide HERE


Expand Talent

Quarterly Business Report Highlights 

SCSU survey: 52% had hiring challenges, just 43% expected all workforce on site. (Several had good ideas for recruitment!)

The latest St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report (QBR), published on September 12, contained some interesting stats related to employer challenges:

52.4% of those surveyed said it had become more difficult to hire staff than it was as recently as May 2021; 33.3% saw no change, while 7.1% said hiring has improved during that time.

42.9% anticipated a future workforce structure with 100% on site; 31% said there would be a mix based on position/employee needs and 19% forecast a hybrid with some employees on site, some remote.

Since the survey was taken before September 6, the date when expanded federal unemployment benefits expired, it’s possible that hiring challenges have improved since then. We have heard from some employers they have seen a noticeable uptick in applicant flow since the September cutoff which is encouraging. We’ll leave it to you to analyze how things are going in your own organization.

Several of those who took the survey shared good ideas for how to fill open positions:

  • “Large-scale social media campaigns.”
  • “Recruiting and retention is the responsibility of everyone in the organization – All hands on deck!”
  • “Incentives to current employees to find new employees.”
  • “Offering flexible work schedules and benefits employees seek”
  • “Making sure we are at market levels in pay and benefits”
  • “We’ve had the best results from a well-placed black 5×8 portable sign.”
  • “On-campus recruiting is where we do best.”
  • “We are pursuing more automation/process improvement to reduce need for additional staff”
  • “Quick and efficient application process”


Four times each year since January 1999, the QBR has been produced by St. Cloud State University’s School of Public Affairs Research Institute. The GSDC is proud to be a collaborating publisher.

Read the full Quarterly Business Report here:



Shape Tomorrow

Question, Persuade, Refer

On September 22nd National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) presented a virtual training opportunity to learn the three steps anyone can take to help prevent suicide.  Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives.

QPR can help to overcome emotional reactions that can hinder communication.  These reactions may include denial, shock or anger.  Mental illnesses affect one in four adults in a given year. They are biological in nature and when detected are highly treatable.  Therefore, suicide is preventable.  Learning the clues and warning signs to suicide including direct and indirect verbal cues, behavioral clues and situational clues will help you to know when to apply QPR.

Read more about Safe Messaging around Suicide



Insights & Inspirations

United Way Days of Caring 2021

On September 21, the GSDC team spent an afternoon at CentraCare’s Goreki Guest House making cards and waiting room bags for guests. We thank United Way of Central MN for setting up Days of Caring and providing connection between businesses and volunteer opportunities!





Contact Our Staff Team

Patti Gartland, President
pgartland@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-2442

Leslie Dingmann, Business Development Director
ldingmann@greaterstcloud.com | 320-493-9003

Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director 
gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-6775

Amelia Barkley, Communications & Program Specialist 
abarkley@greaterstcloud.com | 320-292-9296