Board of Directors & Chapter Leaders

2018 Board of Directors


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.

VP Professional Development

Mary Rapaport
is a business to business (b2b) marketing executive specializing in transforming Marketing in companies that want to accelerate their growth.  A high-energy change agent, Mary helps companies to build growth-oriented marketing capabilities including B2B brand strategy, product launches, go-to-market, voice of the customer, thought leadership and closed-loop demand-generation campaigns.

In her spare time, Mary is an active mentor, speaker, facilitator and instructor. She has always focused on the intersection of marketing and training, knowing Communication, Connection and Knowledge Transfer are each an aspect of growth.

Leveraging over 20 years of experience, 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, building marketing programs and helping them better connect with their customers.

VP Business Development

Damian Hanft, Vice President Training (& Team Member Activation), 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. In his current role at Buffalo Wild Wing, in addition to leading the L&D team, he helped launch the transformational service and culture program, Buffalo Camp. He also has a key role in the organization’s recognition and the architecture of the team member experience. These initiatives are increasing engagement and contributing to a winning culture and organization.

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.

Executive Director

Esther Sykora has served on the board since 2008. Where besides completing the president track and now serving as Executive Director, she also served as the Director of Finance, and Regional Conference Director.                        

Esther has extensive, diversified experience with a Fortune 500 company in finance and accounting, and professional training and development. More recently she has been working as a training consultant focusing primarily on financial acumen for small businesses. She draws on her years of experience working directly with business leaders as a internal financial consultant to develop and deliver training in the arenas of financial and general business acumen.

She is a respected facilitator, and accomplished developer who incorporates experiential learning to achieve learning objectives. In this role, she has facilitated both computer and board simulations, she has developed and coached action learning projects, and collaborated on developing computer simulations. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Emerging Leadership for 2 years. She is a speaker for the Arthritis Foundation.

Director of Technology

Staci Gilbert, Senior IT Project Lead - Training , has worked at Medtronic, in the Global IT for the last 11 years on the Organization Readiness team and at Medtronic for 18 plus years. Staci develops and delivers blended learning for global applications at Medtronic.

She completed her Masters of Education, Corporate Training and Knowledge Management, at Jones International University in 2005. Staci’s undergraduate work was completed at University Wisconsin River Falls with BS in Biology, Art minor.

Director of Sponsorship

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, and a series of films for the United States Information Agency.

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 incorporated Badiyan Productions in 1976 where he is president, owner, and producer. Eventually, he was involved in the entire spectrum of corporate communications, working for nearly every major corporation in the Midwest including Fortune 500 companies, both state and federal government agencies and many health care facilities. Firms such as 3M Company, IBM Corporation, Cargill, Honeywell, and Deluxe, and medical firms such as Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, and Allina Health have been served well by Badiyan, Inc.

Fred has turned Badiyan, Inc. into one of the most complete Twin Cities corporate training and marketing companies, offering media and training programs in video, interactive media, web delivery and mobile applications. With over 300 industry awards to its credit, including Clios, Badiyan, Inc. has been the most stable force in the Twin Cities video community for over twenty-five years. Fred Badiyan has established himself as a stable leader, technically, creatively, innovatively and with results within the worldwide communication industry.

Director of Finance

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.

2018 Chapter Leaders

Co-Chair of Professional Development

Terri Brooks
has supported the growth and development of others throughout her career.  Terri currently is the Leadership and Organizational Development Specialist at Dakota County.  Previously, she was the Training and Development Manager at the University of St. Thomas and the Director of Learning and Development at A’viands.  Prior to her career in learning and development, Terri worked in a variety of positions as a Registered Dietitian. 


Terri has a BS in Dietetics and a MS in Training and Human Resource Development.  She also has completed the Mini Masters programs in Project Management and Lean Enterprise at the University of St. Thomas.  She has held several board positions for the Twin Cities and Minnesota Dietetic Associations and is looking forward to serving on the board for ATD-GTC. 

Co-Chair of Professional Development

Kristina Wagner has designed curricula and delivered workshops, presentations, and trainings at college, non-profit and government agencies.

Several years ago, Kristina was introduced to professional coaching and welcomed the depth it brought to her work with adult learners. Since then she has earned several coaching credentials and now uses a coaching approach to enhance learning in individual and group engagements. 

Kristina’s enthusiasm involves coaching as a model for learning and development. Kristina holds a MS in Counseling and she is currently a doctoral student, studying Educational Leadership.
SIG 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.

PO Box 604
Hopkins, MN 55343

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