piper jaffray president deb schoneman at first friday podium

First Friday

For more than 30 years, St. Thomas alumni and friends have been drawn to the First Friday Speaker Series luncheons to network and hear first-hand from the community’s most interesting “thought leaders.” Their often candid and always relevant messages offer a unique perspective on the common good, and divulge what’s next for Minnesota and beyond.

2022-23 Season

Preparations are underway for the 2022-23 First Friday Speaker Series season. It promises to again provide insights from thought-leaders about topics that pertain to the professional and community life of alumni and our local, regional and national partners. 

More details are coming soon!


Number of years of thought-leaders speaking to the St. Thomas community

Watch Video from Last Year

2021-22 Speakers

In-person or virtual, from the podium or as a fireside chat, these featured speakers provided valueable insights across many disciplines.
Environmental photos of Mayor Melvin Carter and Dr. Yohuru Williams

November 19

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Dr. Yohuru Williams, founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas discussed racial equity, educational disparities and where we go from here.

Read Bios or Watch on YouTube
Headshots of Jennifer DeCubellis and MayKao Hang

February 4

Jennifer DeCubellis, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare and Dr. MayKao Hang, founding dean of the Morrison Family College of Health at University of St. Thomas discussed the challenges and opportunities in transforming health care.
Read Bios or Watch On YouTube
Headshots of Karyn McCoy and Ozzie Nelson

March 4

Ozzie Nelson, chairman and CEO of Nelson, and Karyn McCoy, AVP of Alumni, Career and Corporate Engagement at St. Thomas, discussed surviving and thriving in a hybrid world, with lessons to be learned on building culture, connection and careers.
Read Bios or Watch on YouTube
Environmental Photos of Shari Ballard and Stefanie Lenway

April 1

Shari Ballard, CEO of Minnesota United FC and Dean Stefanie Lenway discussed and shared life-long lessons learned from their executive experiences.
Read the Bios or Watch on YouTube
greg cunningham seated on stage and speaking at first friday

Watch From Home

Couldn't make it to a First Friday? Watch previous speakers on our YouTube channel. Recordings of the 2020-21 season can also be found above.