Banyan Leadership Breakfast

2021 Event Highlights

The 2021 Banyan Leadership Event Built Bridges for 1st Generation Leaders

The Banyan Leadership Event’s live broadcast took place on Friday, April 23rd. You can still join us by growing our network of community leaders through your involvement!

Consistent with the Banyan model that focuses on education as a pathway, we brought a variety of voices to give you insights. Ultimately, we all play a role in building bridges for 1st generation leaders.

Thank you!
Thank you to Dr. Artika R. Tyner who inspired us to be superheroes for justice as we work to support the future leaders at Banyan. With her address on Leadership and Social Change, Dr. Tyner demonstrated her passion for creating a more equitable education system in Minnesota and beyond. She invited us to discover our own talents for creating change. We are grateful for Dr. Tyner’s support of Banyan Community.

Support our work!
You can support Banyan’s ongoing work to develop leaders by making a meaningful gift today! Your partnership is critical to building pathways to the future for Banyan’s 1st Generation Leaders.

Banyan Community Sponsors Minneapolis

Past Breakfasts


During the unprecedented circumstances due to the Covid19 outbreak in 2020, we hosted an online experience and heard from Alene Tchourumoff, Senior Vice President, Community Development and Engagement at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.


Tim McNiff moderated a fabulous conversation on leadership, barriers, and opportunities. Alvin Abraham provided the statistics on the correlation between zip code and access to a quality education. Minnesota has the worst achievement gap between black and white students among the entire nation. Kolu Wilson shared a valuable distinction between the role of mentoring and sponsoring future leaders. We need to do both, but sponsoring actually brings people to the table to participate in the conversation. Sharon Smith-Akinsanya challenged guests to expand their circles to include folks different from you. Jason and Walter shared stories of the opportunities they’ve received from Banyan and the impact it has had for them and their family.


It was a sunny spring day that both inspired and highlighted how together, we can build bridges to 1st generation business leaders. Rey, class of ’16, shared his story of growing up in Banyan and how that has shaped his future. At the breakfast he referenced the 7 college acceptance letters he’d received. Dr. Bill McGuire was introduced by Rey, an avid fan and captain of his high school soccer team. Dr. McGuire shared thoughts on hope, leadership, and the future of soccer in Minnesota. He stressed the importance of education and applauded the results of the work of Banyan. Joani shared how as leaders we are artists, we are way finders, and we are here for a time such as this. She shared many examples of these attributes at work in Banyan every day – ensuring successful outcomes for youth, families, and community.


Over 160 business leaders came to the Phillips neighborhood to be inspired and learn how together we can build bridges to 1st generation business leaders. Walter, class of ’15, shared his story growing up in Banyan and how that has shaped his future. Coach Jerry Kill’s remarks were heartfelt, insightful, and lent tremendous support to the work of Banyan. He highlighted the many parallels to his role as a coach working with high caliber athletes and Banyan’s work in community development. Focusing on the importance of creating pathways for youth, starting as early as possible, and engaging the entire family and community – the core of Banyan. Joani shared how leadership principles are being applied at Banyan every day – ensuring successful outcomes for youth, families, and the community.


The theme of the 2014 Business Leaders Breakfast was Partnering to Build Bridges for 1st Generation Business Leaders. The gym was packed with business leaders, Banyan youth, and community members as Tom Horner talked about ‘Moving Public Policy from the Capitol to the Neighborhood’. Jason, a Banyan youth and DeLaSalle class of ’14 graduate (with high honors) shared his story – the ‘new norm’ in the Phillips neighborhood, thanks to Banyan Community

“I love how Banyan supports families and kids. My kids really enjoy coming here and the educators do a great job.”

Banyan Parent

“I am so grateful for Banyan. I trust Banyan and the staff here with my children, which is very important to me.”

Banyan Parent

“Sometimes I think of moving to the suburbs due to the drug and homeless issues but, then I think of Banyan and my neighbors, friends and family and I say – I CAN NEVER LEAVE PHILLIPS.”

Community Council Member

“I’m glad I came to Banyan this summer or else I would just be at home bored watching TV instead of doing fun things like crafts.”

Banyan Youth

“I’m thankful that we have had Banyan to guide us through this college process. We have never done this before, and don’t know anything about college or financial aid. It was good to know that our son had Banyan to help him understand things and explain the steps.”

Banyan Parent

“Banyan teaches you to stand up for what you know is right, to handle the situation in a respectful manner.”

Banyan Youth

“I give to Banyan because I know that my gift will go a long way both in impact with the community as well as effectiveness with a well-run organization.”

Current Donor