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GTS Educational Events

GTS drives organization and community change by designing, convening and supporting initiatives that engage, inspire and inform. Since 1976, GTS has served a diverse set of public and private partners ensuring they have the knowledge, skills, and relationships needed to make positive change for themselves, and the organizations and communities they serve.

Mission, Vision, Purpose

Our mission: To serve the public and civic sector with events, programs and services that inspire innovation for the greater good.

Our vision: To be a catalyst that strengthens and transforms the communities in which we work, live and thrive.

Our purpose: We convene, connect and engage people and organizations so that they can discover innovative solutions to complex social problems.
We do this through:

  • Learning Opportunities and Events
  • Individual and Organizational Development
  • Collaborative Initiatives

We value and are committed to: 


We approach every project and partnership in the belief of our purpose, mission and vision. 


We believe that everything we do should be rooted in promoting innovative practices to strengthen and transform our communities. 


We build relationships that are mutually-beneficial, mission-aligned and transformational. 


We view our clients as partners. These partners include those who have worked with GTS for decades, as well as new partners who are just beginning to reap the benefits of outsourcing their current event planning and management needs. By managing or assisting with events, we equip them with the solutions and resources needed to create positive change.

In addition to our partners’ events, we also host our own events – events for the public and civic sectors that engage stakeholders, inspire change and inform action.

Minnesota Association of City Attorneys


Minnesota Department of Health

Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Division

Minnesota City/County Management Association


Upper Midwest Security Alliance (UMSA)

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) 

Ramsey County League of Local Governments (RCLLG) 


GTS Educational Events prides itself on the experience, expertise and passion of its staff. Whether its knowledge of event planning, marketing and sales expertise, operations management or experience with nonprofits, our team is passionate about the work we do and the impact our efforts have on the careers and lives of those who are served through the events we plan.

Mary Wynne

Executive Director

Mary has twenty years experience as an accomplished nonprofit leader with a proven track record of designing and leading innovative, impactful programs and client services, including educational programming. She is adept at building relationships and incorporating the unique needs of diverse stakeholders to deliver outcomes that exceed expectations. Mary has been recognized for her strategic leadership skills and has been successful in overseeing complex change and growth initiatives.

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality.” – Charles Eames

Cynthia Berg

Director of Business Operations

Cynthia is a natural-born capacity builder with over 20 years of leadership in non-profit administration and management. She has helped grow grassroots social service agencies, as well as multi-million dollar advocacy and performing arts organizations. In addition to her extensive experience in financial and human resource management, she is a seasoned coach with a unique ability to elicit positive change, productivity and motivation in others. Cynthia is also a Marine Corps veteran and enjoys volunteering in the community.

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

Michelle Showalter

Senior Marketing Manager

Michelle joined the GTS team in September 2016, bringing with her more than ten years of nonprofit marketing experience. She is responsible for strategy and implementation of all event promotion and communication, as well as execution of organizational marketing in support of GTS’s mission, to assure consistency, quality and alignment with GTS’s branding, business and strategic plans.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sarah Condon

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Sarah joined the GTS team in February of 2020, bringing with her 4 years of nonprofit communications & event experience. As the marketing & communications coordinator, she is responsible for platform management, content creation and design assistance. She is a positive, self-motivated worker who has a passion for the greater good, making her the perfect fit for GTS!

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Jeremiah Dexter

Marketing Coordinator

Jeremiah believes that marketing is about forming relationships and creating connections that show your organization is human and your product is designed for people. As marketing coordinator for GTS, Jeremiah manages and updates web platforms, creates enticing content, and assists with marketing research and outreach.  

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Megan Kallestad

Event Engagement & Registration Specialist

Megan joined the GTS team in August 2018. She manages our registration services and attendee engagement communications for all conferences, trainings and events. Megan loves efficiency and innovation, and integrates these values into our registration processes and internal operations. Drawing upon several years’ experience planning and attending events, she strives to create impactful, productive, and meaningful connections with attendees. Her combination of logistical knowledge and high-touch customer service ensures that every attendee has a positive experience.

“There are times when the world is rearranging itself, and at times like that, the right words can change the world.” –Orson Scott Card

Christopher Kohn

Sponsorship and Event Manager

Chris joined the GTS team in February of 2019, bringing with him more than ten years of event management and sponsorship sales experience. He is responsible for outreach to and maintaining positive working relationships with existing and potential exhibitors and sponsors, as well as providing stellar on-site event management.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain

Noelle Hulshizer

Programs and Operations Coordinator

Noelle excels in her field of public relations and brings talented experience in marketing, communications, digital media, and event management. Her role at GTS also includes administration, operations, event support, and customer service support.

“Curiosity is the very basis of education, and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say the cat died nobly.” – Arnold Edinborough


Our Board of Directors represent different roles and organizations, which helps provide breadth and depth as they guide and advise GTS Educational Events on issues of the day and future direction. This team of nonprofit and business professionals knows the underpinnings of GTS and what guides our work – and your deliverables. The GTS Board of Directors shares our mission and values and hold us to the highest standards so you receive exceptional service and results.

Our Board of Directors represent different roles and organizations, which helps provide breadth and depth as they guide and advise GTS Educational Events on issues of the day and future direction. This team of nonprofit and business professionals knows the underpinnings of GTS and what guides our work – and your deliverables. The GTS Board of Directors shares our mission and values and hold us to the highest standards so you receive exceptional service and results.

Jackie Aman

Board Member
Research Scientist, Wilder Research

Dave Blanchard

Board Member
School of Education, Teacher Development: Information Media, Saint Cloud State University

Claudia Dengler

Board Treasurer
Business Planning Consultant

Jay Kiedrowski

Board Member
Senior Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Terrance Kraling

Board Vice Chair
Senior Manager, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP

Jennifer O’Rourke

Board Member
Director, Government Relations, Ramsey County

Melissa Reeder

Board Member
Chief Information Officer, League of Minnesota Cities

Mike Sable

Board Member
Director, Facility Services
Hennepin County Government Center

Joe Sheeran

Board Member
Communications Manager, City of Maplewood

Mary Wynne

Board Secretary
Executive Director, GTS Educational Events


GTS has won both formal and informal recognition with awards, commendations and formal recognition from the American Society for Training and Development (Minnesota Chapter), the Minnesota Association of Continuing Adult Education, three Minnesota governors and several professional and trade associations.

Although esteemed, the best award/reward we receive is the satisfaction of our clients and the success of the events that we manage and host. GTS has many long-term partners and clients including the Minnesota City and County Managers Association, the Minnesota Association of City Attorneys, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Education and others.

Some of our awards include:

  • Pace Setters Award by the Intergovernmental Information Systems Advisory Council
  • Excellence in Count Government Award by Association of Minnesota Counties
  • Outstanding Contributions to Improving City Government by League of Minnesota Cities
  • Outstanding Professional Excellence Award by American Society of Training and Development
  • Outstanding Service for 25 years by Minnesota City/County Management Association
  • Outstanding Service Award, Minnesota Association of Townships
  • Outstanding Service Award, Municipal Clerks and Finance Association of Minnesota
  • Certificate of Commendation for Commitment to Education, from then Minnesota Governor Arnie Carlson

    “GTS was calm, organized and professional in helping us prepare for our statewide (Learning Days) conference. Their staff has expertise that made our job easier and, more importantly, helped produce a great event for our stakeholders. GTS is more than a conference planner. They’re an event partner.”

    Carol Bauer

    Planner Principal, Health Care Homes, Minnesota Department of Health

    “Cisco has been a sponsor of the Government IT Symposium for over 10 years. We have found this is to be the most effective event in Minnesota for reaching our public sector customers.”

    Bill Bleckwehl

    Account Manager, Government Sector, Cisco

    “After years of doing sponsor recruitment through volunteers, we decided to ask GTS to help us out by partnering with our PMI-MN team. Based on experience with other events, they developed a program and structure that helped ensure that the sponsorship opportunities we offered were a win/win for the sponsor and PMI. Through their email campaigns and personal outreach, they also helped us bring in new sponsors as well as upgrade current exhibitor and sponsor commitments.” 

    Joe Perzel

    Board of Directors, Minnesota Chapter of PMI

    “The key value that GTS provides is its ability to take charge of the event from beginning to end with outstanding results. I continue to be impressed with the staff’s efficiency and effectiveness in handling the overall process, from working with the planning committee and co-sponsors to taking care of the myriad of details that an event of this magnitude demands. One of the special benefits that GTS offers is the fact that it has worked with state and local governments for years, and knows the ins and outs of delivering community services and intergovernmental operations.”

    Gopal Khanna

    Chief Information Officer, State of Minnesota


    Five Benefits of Sponsorship

    Thinking about becoming a sponsor, but unsure as to whether or not it is a wise investment? Here are five benefits of sponsorship that will make your decision a no-brainer.

    Exhibiting Defined – 10 Important Tips for Success!

    Highlighting Minnesota Government’s IT Innovations

    An article on the Route Fifty web site about the 36th Annual Government IT Symposium and the Golden GOVIT awards.

    Golden GOVIT Award Winners Work to Transform Minnesota Communities Through Collaboration, Innovation and Service

    GTS Educational Events announced and celebrated the winners at a special ceremony on December 5 at the Science Museum of Minnesota, in Conjunction with the 36th Annual Government IT Symposium.

    Media Alert: Career Connection

    Career Connection: Exploring Opportunities in Government IT is an afternoon of learning and networking for recent grads and professionals looking for new career and government agencies in need of IT staff.

    Media Alert: 36th Annual Government IT Symposium

    The Government IT Symposium is hosted by GTS Educational Events, a non-profit organization that designs, convenes and supports educational programs for government and civic sectors that engage, inspire and inform.

    GTS Educational Events Launches New Golden GOVIT Awards Program in Concert with the 36th Annual Government IT Symposium

    Winners will be celebrated at a special awards ceremony on December 5 at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

    The A+ Education Conference: Supporting the Professional Development of Minnesota Educators

    The conference grows the work of the Minnesota Department of Education’s Minnesota Assessment Conference, with expanded programming and a broader focus.

    Join GTS in Celebrating 40 Years!

    GTS Educational Events invites you to our celebratory open house for food, drive and music.
    Thursday, October 10, 4-6 p.m.
    At our new location: 1380 Energy Lane, Suite 206, St. Paul, MN 55108

    GTS Celebrates 40 Years of Dedication

    GTS Celebrates 40 years of dedication to helping those in the public and civic sectors meet their needs for continuing education and professional management. Celebration to be held during the 35th Annual Government IT Symposium, December 6 – 8, 2016 at Saint Paul RiverCentre.

    Date is Set For 35th Annual Government IT Symposium

    Date is set for 35th Annual Government IT Symposium, December 6 – 8, 2016

    GTS to Host Minnesota Assessment Plus (A+) Conference

    GTS to host Minnesota Assessment Plus (A+) Conference, August 10, 2017


    Senior Program & Event Planner

    Marketing & Communications Coordinator

    Please email GTS@mngts.org if you are interested in working with GTS Educational Events, thank you.

    10 Reasons to Select GTS to Help with Your Event

    1. Renowned Event Planning Organization

    With a 40-year history of serving the public and civic sectors, GTS has proven to be a leader in educational event planning, promotion, management and implementation. We will capitalize on our experience to provide you with a worry-free, successful event.

    2. Resourceful

    As a nonprofit organization, GTS needs to be smart and effective with what we do and what we spend. We pride ourselves on our ability to look for ways to help save time, effort and dollars without sacrificing quality-not only for our own organization, but for the events that we manage.

    3. Impeccable Reputation

    Whether it’s planning an event from beginning to end, handling online registration only, or managing sponsors and exhibitors, our clients as well as our event participants continually rate GTS high for service. We work hard for our good reputation and value the positive and constructive feedback we receive from our clients. We will use this input to foster a positive partnership with you and for your event.

    4. Exceptional Service Delivery

    Service is one of our core values; it is the key to how we work together as a team and how we work for our clients. With a streamlined and proven approach, we ensure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed so that you and your team can relax and enjoy a smooth, successful event.

    5. Staff Expertise

    We are well versed in event planning, management, marketing and implementation. Not only do we have deep knowledge and experience of our own roles, but the entire process needed for a successful event. Our team members draw on each other’s experience, skills, expertise and assistance and support to provide nothing short of excellence for you and your event.

    6. Team Approach

    GTS is an effective event management team of professionals who work together to achieve success. You will have a key contact person who will handle your needs, questions and concerns, and will manage an internal team to keep your project moving forward.

    7. Turnkey System

    We are a full-service organization ready to handle all your educational event needs from theme to thank you. No need to juggle multiple vendors. We will help you find the best speakers, manage your registration needs, provide additional funding for your event through sponsorship and exhibitor sales, negotiate with facilities to secure your venue, oversee all your onsite setup and equipment needs and even handle special events. We can provide all the pieces to make your event go smoothly for you, your attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

    8. Community Connections

    GTS has relationships with key public, private and community leaders across sectors and disciplines that we can leverage as we help you plan your speakers, learning sessions and event programs. We have also worked with hundreds of companies and organizations who seek opportunities to exhibit and/or sponsor at events like yours. Our goal is to create a mutually beneficial relationship for our clients and our connections and we are happy to facilitate these partnerships to that end.

    9. Kindred Spirit

    As a nonprofit, we understand your specific needs and are philosophically aligned with your mission to support the people you serve. Our mission is to create educational opportunities for the public and civic sectors that engage stakeholders, inspire change and inform action.

    10. Long-term Perspective

    We focus on the short-and long-term goals of your event. We help identify, assess and develop solutions to meet your immediate educational needs, while offering a plan for continuous learning for your attendees and quality improvement and for your program for years to come. Your goal is a long-term educational program for your attendees and members; our goal is a long-standing partnership with our clients – you!


    40 Years of Engaging, Inspiring and Informing

    How do local policymakers, staff, and appointed officials in diverse settings and from diverse backgrounds gain the knowledge to make informed decisions and the skills to work effectively with other stakeholder groups? This is the question from which Government Training Services (GTS) was born.

    In 1976, as a result of work started by the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Minnesota, GTS was established as a public joint powers association. The intent was to bring together the providers and consumers of education and training, to develop quality programs available to all local governments so that each local entity did not have to “reinvent the wheel,” and to consider economies of scale. What emerged was a vehicle ideally suited for addressing intergovernmental and multi-sector educational needs.

    In 2003, due to cuts in state appropriated funds, GTS transitioned to an independent, nonprofit corporation, with a new board of directors and expanded mission to serve both the public and civic sector. On April 1, 2004, staff came to work for the organization known today as GTS Educational Events.

    Over the years, GTS has formed meaningful relationships with dozens of public, civic and private sector partners. Our clients include those who have worked with GTS for decades, as well as new partners and clients who are just beginning to reap the benefits of working with an organization that shares similar goals and values around the power of convening and connecting people.

    In addition to providing support services for our clients’’’ events and programs, we also host our own events – events for the public and civic sectors that engage stakeholders, inspire change and inform action. These include the Land Use Training & Education Program, the Government IT Symposium, and the new A+ Education Conference.

    Building on the strength of our 40+ year history, we are moving into the future as an organization that is focused on playing an important role in our society – perhaps now more than ever – to be a catalyst for organization and community transformation. We do this in a spirit of partnership and co-creation, working with our partners, clients and stakeholders to bring people together to learn, solve problems and create positive social change.

    Ready to get started?

    Get in touch with us!!