About Us

At Fusion Learning Partners, we believe learning is the origin of change and transformation, and we believe learning never stops – it’s a lifelong endeavor that continues beyond the classrooms of our youth.

Fusion is a nonprofit organization committed to creating environments that promote learning for the individuals, organizations, and the communities they serve. From conferences and convenings to supporting collaborative initiatives and organizations, Fusion exists to strengthen and transform the communities where we work, live, and thrive.

Since 1976, Fusion Learning Partners (fka GTS Educational Events) has served a diverse set of public and private partners ensuring they have the knowledge, skills, and relationships needed to make positive change for themselves, and the organizations and communities they serve.

Our Mission, Vision & Purpose

Mission:

To serve the public and civic sector with events, programs and services that inspire innovation for the greater good.

Vision:

To be a catalyst that strengthens and transforms the communities in which we work, live and thrive.

Purpose:

We convene, connect and engage people and organizations so that they can discover innovative solutions to complex social problems.

We do this through:

  • Professional Learning Programs and Events
  • Meeting Coordination and Support
  • Organizational Support Services for Associations, Organizations and Initiatives

We value and are committed to:

Passion

We approach every project and partnership in the belief of our purpose, mission and vision.

Purpose

We believe that everything we do should be rooted in promoting innovative practices to strengthen and transform our communities.

Partnership

We build relationships that are mutually-beneficial, mission-aligned and transformational.

Fusion Staff 

Fusion Learning Partners prides itself on the experience, expertise and passion of its staff. Whether our knowledge and expertise of program planning and event management, marketing and sales, operations management or providing key capacity building services, our team is passionate about the work we do and the impact our efforts have on the careers and lives of those who are served through the partnership and services we provide.

Mary Wynne

Mary Wynne

Executive Director

Mary has twenty years of experience as an accomplished nonprofit leader with a proven track record of designing and leading innovative, impactful programs and client services, including educational programming. She is adept at building relationships and incorporating the unique needs of diverse stakeholders to deliver outcomes that exceed expectations. Mary has been recognized for her strategic leadership skills and has been successful in overseeing complex change and growth initiatives.

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality.” – Charles Eames

Cynthia Berg

Cynthia Berg

Director of Business Operations

Cynthia is a natural-born capacity builder with over 20 years of leadership in nonprofit administration and management. She has helped grow grassroots social service agencies, as well as multi-million dollar advocacy and performing arts organizations. In addition to her extensive experience in financial and human resource management, she is a seasoned coach with a unique ability to elicit positive change, productivity and motivation in others. Cynthia is also a Marine Corps veteran and enjoys volunteering in the community.

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

Sam Alley

Sam Alley

Senior Program & Event Planner

Sam is responsible for the planning and project management of existing Fusion-sponsored conferences, trainings and other educational programs, as well as helping to imagine, design and grow new programming. Sam is also responsible for leading program and event staff, providing guidance and supervision, developing efficient work processes and tools, and ensuring consistent, high-quality results. With over a decade in event management experience, Sam excels at creating connections for attendees and meaningful work for our volunteers.

Severyn Skoug

Severyn Skoug

Senior Marketing
& Communications Manager

Severyn is the newest team member at Fusion Learning Partners and will be managing all of the marketing & communications initiatives. He brings over 15 years of experience in both print and digital communications – 12 of which have been spent working with numerous nonprofit, professional and trade organizations in a variety of industries. In his previous role, he built and led an in-house, creative department that served over 20 clients at any given time. Severyn looks forward to sharing his wide range of knowledge and skills he has developed over his career, while continuing to grow and learn even more.

“Greatness is earned, never awarded”

Sarah Bednarek

Sarah Bednarek

Marketing & Events Manager

Sarah joined the Fusion team in February of 2020, bringing with her 4 years of nonprofit communications & event planning experience. As the Marketing & Events Manager, she is responsible for platform management, content creation and design assistance as well as event logistics planning. She is a positive, self-motivated worker who has a passion for the greater good, making her the perfect fit for Fusion Learning Partners!

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Megan Kallestad

Megan Kallestad

Event Engagement & Registration Specialist

Megan joined the Fusion team in August 2018. She manages our registration services and attendee engagement communications for all conferences, trainings and events. Megan loves efficiency and innovation, and integrates these values into our registration processes and internal operations. Drawing upon several years’ experience planning and attending events, she strives to create impactful, productive, and meaningful connections with attendees. Her combination of logistical knowledge and high-touch customer service ensures that every attendee has a positive experience.

“There are times when the world is rearranging itself, and at times like that, the right words can change the world.” –Orson Scott Card

Christopher Kohn

Christopher Kohn

Sponsorship & Tradeshow Manager

Chris has 20 years of exhibit and sponsorship sales and comprehensive trade show management experience. Throughout his career he has been involved with over 100 conferences and trade shows. He is no stranger to events both large and small, ranging in size from 75–10,000 attendees and 10–500 sponsors & exhibitors. His event experience and on-site responsibilities include client contracts, facility rules & regulations, logistics / shipping / material handling procedures, union rules & regulations, booth selection, membership / sponsorship point systems, sponsorship programs & vendor contracts. Chris excels at fostering and maintaining positive, working relationships with new and existing sponsors & exhibitors to ensure budget goals and client satisfaction are met.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain

Noelle Hulshizer

Noelle Hulshizer

Production & Communications Coordinator

Noelle excels in her field of public relations and brings talented experience in marketing, communications, digital media, and event management. Her role at Fusion also includes administration, operations, event support, and customer service support.

“Curiosity is the very basis of education, and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say the cat died nobly.” – Arnold Edinborough

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors represents different roles and organizations, which helps provide breadth and depth as they guide and advise Fusion Learning Partners on issues of the day and future direction. This team of nonprofit and business professionals knows the underpinnings of Fusion and what guides our work. The Fusion Board of Directors shares our mission and values and hold us to the highest standards so that the communities and partners we serve receive exceptional service and results.

 

Mike Sable

Mike Sable

Board Chair
Assistant City Manager, City of Maplewood

Melissa Reeder

Melissa Reeder

Board Vice Chair
Chief Information Officer, League of Minnesota Cities

Dave Blanchard

Dave Blanchard

Board Secretary
School of Education, Teacher Development: Information Media, Saint Cloud State University

Claudia Dengler

Claudia Dengler

Board Treasurer, Chair of the Finance Committee
Interim Executive Director, Islands Community Medical Services, Inc.

Jerry Driessen

Jerry Driessen

Assistant CIO / Chief Technology Officer, City of San Jose, CA
Faith Folayan

Faith Folayan

Special Events Manager, This Love Weddings
Cathy Hart

Cathy Hart

President and CEO, Slainte Group
Jay Kiedrowski

Jay Kiedrowski

Senior Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Tom Steichen

Tom Steichen

General Counsel & COO, Colliers Mortgage Holdings
Osman Ahmed

Osman Ahmed

Director of Community Partnerships, Great MN Schools
Kaela Dickens

Kaela Dickens

Client Lead & Analytics Consultant, Data Drive LLC
Jackie Aman

Jackie Aman

Research Scientist, Wilder Research
Joe Sheeran

Joe Sheeran

Communications Manager, City of Maplewood
Mary Wynne

Mary Wynne

Executive Director, Fusion Learning Partners

Press Releases

MNIT Receives Golden GOVIT Awards at the 39th Annual Government IT Symposium

These awards recognize Individual Leadership and COVID-19 Rapid Response Efforts made by MNIT Services.

Accessibility Highlights from the 2020 Government IT Symposium

Minnesota’s digital accessibility coordinators share accessibility news, techniques, and resources with their state of Minnesota colleagues. They attend conferences to learn the latest and maintain their certifications. The Office of Accessibility asked Rita Larson to share takeaways from the 2020 Symposium.

NDIT Executives Participating in Virtual Government IT Symposium

Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley, Chief Information Security Officer Kevin Ford and Chief Data Officer Dorman Bazzell will participate in the 39th Annual Government IT Symposium Dec. 8 – 10.

Bush Foundation Grant for the Transforming Learning Summit Speaker Series

Fusion Jobs

Please email support@fusionlp.org or check out additional open opportunities on LinkedIn if you are interested in working with Fusion Learning Partners. Thank you!

Our History

45 Years of Connecting, Convening, Inspiring and Informing

How do local policymakers, staff, and appointed officials in diverse settings and from diverse backgrounds gain the knowledge to make informed decisions and the skills to work effectively with other stakeholder groups? This is the question from which Government Training Services (GTS) was born.

In 1976, as a result of work started by the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Minnesota, GTS was established as a public joint powers association. The intent was to bring together the providers and consumers of education and training, to develop quality programs available to all local governments so that each local entity did not have to “reinvent the wheel,” and to consider economies of scale. What emerged was a vehicle ideally suited for addressing intergovernmental and multi-sector educational needs.

In 2003, due to cuts in state appropriated funds, GTS transitioned to an independent, nonprofit corporation, with a new board of directors, an expanded mission to serve both the public and civic sector, and a new name – GTS Educational Events.

Over the years, GTS has formed meaningful relationships with dozens of public, civic and private sector partners. Our partners include those who have worked with GTS for decades, as well as new partners who are just beginning to reap the benefits of working with an organization that shares similar goals and values around the power of convening and connecting people.

Building on the strength of our 45 year history, we are moving into the future as an organization that is focused on playing an important role in our society – perhaps now more than ever – to be a catalyst for organization and community transformation. We do this in a spirit of partnership and co-creation, working with our partners, clients, stakeholders and participants to bring people together to learn, solve problems and create positive social change.

Starting in 2021, we are transitioning away from the GTS Educational Events brand to become Fusion Learning Partners. Our hope is that our own transformation will better align with our new mission and focus on innovation and technology, our values of purpose, passion and partnership; and our new vision to be a catalyst that strengthens and transforms the communities in which we work, live and thrive.