The Thrive Minnesota Event

Thrive Minnesota Event at ModernWell, Minneapolis

One night while trying to fall asleep with a million thoughts racing through my mind, I had an idea. As I thought about my work and how the hospitality industry has navigated the pandemic, I wondered what I could do differently to help. Then I thought, if I’m thinking about this, maybe others are too. Perhaps I could host an event bringing Minnesota hospitality experts together with Travel Bloggers, Influencers, and Content Creators to learn from each other. In my stupor, I mumbled, I will call it Thrive Minnesota. One minute after my idea blossomed, fear moved in and crushed it.

Say yes to life

The following day, as the idea was still simmering in the back of my mind, I read a quote. It said Say Yes to Life (see full quote below). It moved me. Those four words pushed me out of my comfort zone. I decided to take a step forward and call one hospitality expert to measure interest.

So, I called Ann Kirby, Vice President, Hospitality Minnesota. I nervously shared my idea, we got disconnected a few times, but then- she said YES. My first yes! Her yes, pushed me to reach out to Stephanie March, Senior Food Editor, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Stephanie responded with another yes! I’ve worked with Stephanie before and love that she is a champion for small businesses. From there, my passion was ignited and a domino effect started. I contacted Shelby Stahl, Marketing Manager, Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau and Courtney Ries, Senior Vice President, Destination Branding & Strategy, Meet Minneapolis. Both were on board! The Thrive Minnesota Event was born.

speakers at ModernWell in Minneapolis at the Thrive Minnesota hospitality event
Speakers from L to R – Stephanie March, Ann Kirby, Shelby Stahl, and Courtney Ries

The Importance of Hospitality

The speeches kicked off appropriately with Stephanie March raising a glass. A poetic cheers- that we are all connected and touched by hospitality. “Sometimes we don’t realize the importance of something like hospitality until it’s gone”, says Stephanie. It was an important reminder of all the ways hospitality touches our lives. It’s where we eat, sleep, connect, find ourselves, let go, make new connections, discover adventure, explore, and where family and friends gather to celebrate life.

Each speaker brought a new point of view that was valuable, building off each other’s words of wisdom. Ann Kirby talked about how the industry offers lifetime careers from accounting to management and not just summer jobs. Shelby Stahl and Courtney Ries helped attendees understand the process of travel bloggers working with tourism companies and the best approach. Courtney was open about the recent challenges that Minneapolis faced. She reminded us that we can share our experiences even if they are not perfect. We discussed how George Floyd impacted the world, the changes that Minneapolis is making, and how the city is coming back. We found a lot of common ground and I think it was nice for all of us to have a space to discuss life and everyday struggles. Community coming together.

Amazing Giveaways

A HUGE thank you to all of you for the generous donations.

Jamie Tatge, Leisure Hotels & Resorts, offered two night stays at Pier B Resort Hotel and Cove Point Lodge.

Julie Burton, Founder & CEO of ModernWell, gave one FULL MONTH co-working space, Shelby Stahl, Marketing Manager, Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau, donated a fantastic Mall of America behind the scenes package, North Mallow donated a yummy cocoa package, and Pearson’s Candy donated a ton of Salted Nut Rolls! The tables were full of Salted Nut Roll bars, and everyone loved being able to take some home.

Thrive Minnesota Recap

ModernWell, a collaborative space in Minneapolis, offered a festive setting with floor to ceiling windows, cozy couches, and warm lights. Little Ember Co. mobile sauna set up in the parking lot with lights, lounge chairs, and a bonfire – and a Deane’s Kombucha keg at the ready. Number 12 Cider employees greeted attendees at the entrance with a taste of their best Legacy Holiday Cider. We savored charcuterie from Bacio, baked goods from Honey & Rye Bakehouse, cheesecake cupcakes from Muddy Paws Cheesecake, and the best hot chocolate and gourmet marshmallows from North Mallow.

Minnesota Makers Market

Attendees also enjoyed a small MN Makers market. Sheri with Hartwood Floral offered a gorgeous array of wreaths and fresh flowers. I love her work because it’s like walking through nature, truly wild. Laura with Wood and Weiher brought her incredibly scented candles that she puts her love into and creates scents for every season. Jodi with Women & Veteran owned, Allvane CBD, shared CBD for people & pets that is THC-Free and 100% USA grown.

We learned and we connected. At the end of the night, my heart was full.

I was nervous, especially about speaking in front of the group but I did it. I won’t forget this night and that I stepped out of my comfort zone, made new friends, and connected with old – true what stirs your soul moments.

The full quote that helped change my direction:

Let go. Say yes to life! Be daring. Dance to your heart’s desire. Unfurl your wings and fly. Cast aside conventions and restrictions. Tune in to the rhythm of life. Laugh. Explore. Go beyond your predictable behavior. Sometimes life is messy and chaotic, and that’s okay. Leave the dishes; run outside in the sprinklers. – Denise Linn

The next idea that you have – do it – share it – and say yes to life.

Thank you so much to everyone for being there and your support! Cheers!

©Tracy Blowers

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I'm a freelance content creator and photographer. My passion is telling stories through my photography and writing. Freelancing has allowed me to fulfill my dream of traveling alongside my freelancing husband and our rescue dog. We share our experiences on our blog offering inspiration for life and travel. We hope to stir your soul from our backyard in Minnesota to road trippin’ the US!

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