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2019 Board of Directors & Chapter Leaders

Dan Bixby

Chapter President

Damian Hanft


Mary Rapaport

Vice President, Professional Development

David Andrews

Vice President, Finance

Betsy Pedersen

Director of Events

Fred Badiyan

Director at Large

Vanessa Diaz

Director of Communications

Dan Bixby is a highly accomplished and innovative thought leader with nearly 20 years in the learning industry. He has a passion for creating learning that produces change and a talent for turning subject matter experts into effective instructors, communicators, and leaders. Dan wants ATD-GTC to be an organization that enables learning professionals to learn from each other and enables them to work together to make a better community.

His recent book, “Product Training for the Technical Expert: The Art of Developing and Delivering Hands-On Learning” teaches technical experts how to facilitate effective learning events and is published by Wiley and IEEE Press.

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Damian Hanft is Vice President Training (& Team Member Activation), for Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.  As a teacher and a learner in it for the purpose, Damian believes that successful teams are developed through authenticity, radical candor and a lot of laughter. He is passionate about building innovative talent and learning teams in growth-centric environments, while developing an authentic culture that attracts and develops world-class talent. He has held leadership positions in training, talent management and learning and development. He has a key role in the organization’s recognition and the architecture of the team member experience. 

Damian currently serves as a board member on the national Council for Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) and is involved on a local and national level. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. As an active supporter of Share Our Strength, he participates annually in the 300 mile Chefs Cycle ( ride to end childhood hunger.

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Mary Rapaport is a sales and marketing trainer, experienced in developing and delivering training programs that help people sell and market more effectively.  Mary is an active mentor and speaker and specializes in the intersection of marketing and training where communication, connection and knowledge transfer drive growth. 

Mary works with companies that specialize in technical or complex products and services and who want to become indispensable to the buyers and decision makers in their target markets. Whether it’s persuading prospective customers to buy or helping users learn how to make the most of a product, Mary has built a career helping companies to better connect with their target audience.

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David Andrews is a life-long resident of the State of Minnesota who is currently working for the State of Minnesota. For past 25 years, David has worked in the accounting department at the Public Employees Retirement Association currently serving as the Accounting Director.

David has served as the treasurer for a local church for over 20 years providing bookkeeping services and preparing their basic financial statements.

David has been married to his beautiful wife, Renee, for over 30 years and together they have 3 grown children living across the country. In his free time, he enjoys visiting State parks and exploring the great Minnesota landscape.

Betsy Pedersen has more than 15 years of experience planning meetings and events and helps to create high-impa t environments for ATD-GTC program hosts and sponsor.  Accomplished 15 + yrs Non-Profit Program and Marketing Project Leader with innovative ideas and a passion for engaging clients and supporters, motivating employees into action in healthcare, medical, and non-profit environments. 

She values that every individual can contribute purposefully and can collaborate to create an environment of innovation.Betsy welcomes all ATD professionals, guests and members, admiring their deep commitment and passion to developing talent.

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Fred Badiyan began his film career in his native Iran in 1958 as the head of sound engineering, director, editor in Iran's largest motion picture facility. His talents were used on over one hundred theatrical productions, scores of industrial films, television and radio commercials.

In 1968 Fred came to the Twin Cities and began putting his considerable and unique talents as a motion picture director to work on the production of corporate and public relations films, video, training and marketing programs and television commercials. He is president, owner, and producer at Badiyan Productions.  

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Vanessa is a Global Learning and Development Manager at a software company, named Sovos. Her passions for content creation, facilitation, change management, and organizational development have increased with her time in the technology space. Having started a career in staffing, Vanessa holds several years working in all areas of the employee life-cycle with an emphasis in talent management and development. She has traveled all over the world holding training seminars on communication efficiency, leadership development, and cultural awareness.

Vanessa completed her undergraduate studies at Minnesota State University and her Master’s Degree at Touro University in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with an emphasis in Human Resources. With a passion for learning, Vanessa has also obtained her ODCP (Organizational Development Certified Professional), is a certified Insights Discovery® Client Practitioner, and holds both local and national ATD memberships.


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2018 ATD-GTC Community of Practice Co-chairs

Cindy Edwards, Find Your Fit™ LLC., offers Career Development coaching and talent development services for individuals and groups. Cindy has been an active participant in both training and career development communities in the Twin Cities for over 10 years. She is an active member of ATD-GTC; acting as the co-leader of the chapters Coaching Special Interest Group. She holds an M.A. in Human Resource Development from the University of St. Thomas, is an AAC -ADDCA Certified Coach, and is currently completing a Brain-Based coaching certification through the Neuroleadership Institute.  
  Julie Berg, Principal Consultant of HRD Consulting in St. Paul, is an energetic facilitator, learner-focused training designer and trusted leadership coach with over 25 years of experience in a variety of industries. She holds an M.A. in Human Resources Development from the University of Minnesota and teaches at the University of Minnesota and Normandale Community College.  She is also an International Coach Federation Associate Certified Coach (ACC). Julie is a long-term member of ATD-GTC, serving in various chapter roles such as the Coaching SIG co-chair.

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Hopkins, MN 55343

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