NEON-cc logo.banner.png

Northside Economic Opportunity Network Conversations!

Listen in on a series of Community Conversations with a small group of business executives and community leaders with NEON President, Warren McLean, who is leading these candid discussions around the impacts of COVID-19, the economic downturn, and recent civil unrest all fueled by longstanding racial inequity and injustice. All have had a disproportionate impact on small businesses in North Minneapolis.

Join us for these virtual conversations sparking strategic discussion, initiating collaboration, and sharing NEON’s economic recovery efforts with the community.



Conversation 3

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

7:30 am

Grab a fresh cup of coffee and join us for NEON’s 3rd Community Conversation, an in-depth dialogue on the economic forecast, trends, and election impact on 2021 with guest speakers, Neel Kashkari, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Honorable Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General.

We will also introduce our Grow & Thrive Campaign to support growth on the Northside as part of the discussion. 

Neel Kashkari

Neel Kashkari has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis since Jan. 1, 2016. He serves as a voting member on the Federal Open Market Committee, bringing the Ninth Federal Reserve District’s perspective to monetary policy discussions in Washington, D.C.

Keith Ellison

Keith Ellison was sworn in as Minnesota’s 30th attorney general on January 7, 2019. He is the first African American and the first Muslim American to be elected to statewide office in Minnesota. As the People’s Lawyer, Attorney General Ellison’s job is to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect. His guiding values are generosity and inclusion.

View Conversation #3

Conversation 2

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The focus of our 2nd conversation: the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in North Minneapolis, specifically the food and hospitality industry, and the potential for these businesses to create community vitality and economic prosperity with support from NEON and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).


Join Warren and Hamse Warfa, Deputy Commissioner at DEED along with Ann Fix, Program Manager of Northside Food Business Incubator and Chef K and Mariam, NEON client and owners of K’s Revolutionary Catering & More.



Hamse Warfa

Hamse Warfa is the Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development at the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Appointed in April 2019, Deputy Commissioner Warfa oversees DEED’s Employment and Training Programs, the Office of Economic Opportunity, CareerForce, and the Governor’s Workforce Development Board.

Ann Fix

Ann created, launched, and now manages the Northside Food Business Incubator program at NEON, the only industry-specific incubator designed specifically for food businesses in Minnesota. Clients work one-on-one with an advisor to learn how to build a food business, including navigating the city’s food regulations and engaging in market testing opportunities for their products..

Chef K and Mariam

Together, they form “K’s Revolutionary Catering & More.” Mariam handles the management side of K’s Revolutionary Catering & More, and Chef K brings the culinary expertise. Their business fills a niche in African-influenced cooking that accommodates a wide variety of dietary preferences and allergies. They have been involved in the Northside Food Business Incubator Program operated by Ann Fix, where they have received one-on-one coaching to help build their business.

View Conversation #2

Conversation 1

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 

In the inaugural Community Conversation, Warren invited a group of high-impact business and development leaders to share their perspectives. View this dynamic virtual conversation of community perspectives on the pandemic, civil unrest, recession, and recovery—and what it takes to keep small businesses operational.



Guest Speakers

Tim Baylor


JADT Development Group

Sarah Clyne

Executive Director

Northside Funders Group

David Mortenson


Mortenson Company

View Conversation #1

Community Conversations Sponsors

NEON's Community Conversations are brought to you by our sponsors—thank you! Their support is a commitment to building equity, business development, social justice, and collaboration in North Minneapolis.

Key Investment_2C.jpg

Learn more:

Contact Bev Ordahl for information on sponsorship, registration, and NEON's Community Conversations series.