About the Author
John Sweeney (Minneapolis, MN; www.bravenewworkshop.com) is the owner and director of Brave New Workshop, America's oldest comedy theatre. Through his work with Brave New Workshop's Creative Outreach program, John has honed his powers of improvisation to ignite cultures of innovative behavior within America's biggest businesses, including Microsoft, PWC, General Mills & United Health Care -- resulting in more than 2,000 events to date.
Featured across countless media platforms including Inc, Forbes, and Financial Times, John uses his scientific understanding of how human behavior is influenced to create simple but groundbreaking tools such as "Yes and..." and "The Big 5" so you too can be at peak innovation fitness.
John's high octane presentations are consistently rated 10/10 at every conference he speaks at, and his humor, mixed with clear, actionable tools, continues to create waves of change across organizations.
Elena Imaretska (Minneapolis, MN; www.bravenewworkshop.com) works at the intersection of arts, business and innovation. She is VP of New Products, Partnerships and Sustainability for the corporate speaking and training business of the Brave New Workshop, the oldest satirical comedy and improv theater in the USA, located in the heart of Minneapolis. Elena spends her days managing programs that focus on the human side of innovation, and specifically the behaviors and mindset needed for employees and leaders to foster an open, inclusive, and nimble culture. She is a strategist, innovative thinker and life-long learner who focuses on maximizing the impact of BNW's training programs and creating sustainable models for behavioral change. Elena and her team have the pleasure of working with interesting global companies including Cargill, General Mills, UnitedHealth Group, Target, Hilton, Microsoft, and Heineken to name a few.
Prior to joining the Brave New Workshop, Elena was raised in Bulgaria, studied in Germany, worked in Japan and received a BA degree at Colorado College, CO and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. It's fair to say, she's been through the ringer on three continents and recognizes the value that new ideas, diversity and different points of view can bring to a company. Elena is also passionate about sustainability and innovating the way we do things to ensure social, economic and environmental prosperity. She heads the Brave New Workshop's citizenship efforts and has led the formation of a coalition of theaters in the Twin Cities who are dedicated to sustainability. The Brave New Workshop itself is a self-funding arts organization, an innovative model that has worked for 55-plus years entertaining millions of people and launching the careers of many famous alumni, including the first two head writers of Saturday Night Live.
Elena lives in Minnetonka MN with her husband and son and is an active member of the Twin Cities running and biking community.