Why Giant Steps?
Giant Steps is an idea conceived by Susan Campion and M.anifest. It was born out of conversations they had about the challenges of committing to a creative career and the opportunities to re-think building a career, a "brand", and a business. Although they had many differences—--as the founder of a business and an independent artist, respectively—they discovered there were many unifying challenges and shared stories. They also realized the benefits of learning from each other's experiences. With Giant Steps, they have expanded that conversation and created a forum to accelerate learning and create connections across the creative community.
Susan Campion is the founder of Camponovo Consulting, where she works with leaders to crystallize, scope, and execute emerging business strategies. She combines strong analytical skills and creative capabilities to help your team re-frame problems, identify new opportunities, and design new ways of working. She has spent her career working across cultures, industries, and sectors--fostering innovative and “unlikely” collaborations and constructively blurring boundaries between business and art.
Susan is also Distinguished Service Professor at the University of St. Thomas , where she teaches in the MBA, undergraduate, and executive education programs. As a speaker, she has been invited to deliver keynotes and workshops at conferences and events across the United States and Europe. As a volunteer, she spends time advising and mentoring at the High School for Recording Arts (“Hip Hop High").
Prior to starting Camponovo, Susan worked for 3M in Italy, France, Germany, and the United States. She holds degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the College of William and Mary. She also spent 16 years training as a classical pianist. A global citizen who’s lived in five countries and traveled to many more, Susan has been collecting good ideas, good stories, and good music from all over the world for most of the last 20 years.
M.anifest (Kwame Tsikata) is an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning musician from Accra, Ghana. In 2013 he won the “Best Rapper of the Year” award at the Ghana Music Awards, only a year after being tipped by BBC's “The Strand” as one of four artists to watch in the World. The rising Ghanaian rapper has already stacked up an impressive resume: He has recorded with legends such as Damon Albarn (Gorillaz), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Afrobeat co-founder Tony Allen, Erykah Badu, & more. He was prominently featured on 5 tracks on the "Rocket Juice & the Moon" album.
M.anifest graduated from Macalester College in 2005. He released his sophomore album "Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America" in September 2011 to critical acclaim. He was also nominated for Best Rapper and Songwriter of the year at the 2012 Ghana Music Awards based on the success of Immigrant Chronicles. The album also received top ten albums of the year honors in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In the fall of 2011 he toured Europe with Damon Albarn, Flea, Tony Allen, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and more as part of Another Honest Jon's Chop Up.
In 2010, MTV spotlighted M.anifest as a hot new artist to look out for on the program "Seven." He was voted City Pages “Songwriter of the Year” after his critically acclaimed 2007 debut "Manifestations." He has been described as an artist with “an incredible gift” (the run off groove) who possesses “the kind of assured, joyful, ruminative voice that made Mos Def into Hollywood's favorite conscious-rap star" (City Pages).
Giant Steps Advisory Council
Bob Gardner, CEO of Gardner Builders
Brother Ali, Artist / Activist
Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts
Nancy Lyons, CEO of Clockwork Active Media
Sara Stern, Director of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas
Scott LeGere, Musician / Educator / Entrepreneur
Semhar Araia, Founder and Executive Director of Diaspora Africa Women's Network (DAWN)
Giant Steps also has amazing team members who have helped make each conference a reality.
Here are a few of them:
Camponovo is a creative organization that brings new ideas--and new ways of applying time-tested concepts--to your organization so that you can grow intelligently and increase your impact and results. We work with your team to create simple solutions that are creative, practical, and tailored to your organization and its culture.
Our services help you to:
- Align your activities with your goals
- Engage your organization--and your customers--in designing better ways to deliver your products and services
- Improve your processes for better performance and profit
- Grow your business and its impact, as well as the skills of your individual employees.