Small Talks Recap:

High Quality Returns:
The Smart Venture of Targeting
Resources to Early Childhood Education

This event took place on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | 7:30am—9:00am

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Barbara Fabre

CEO, Indigenous Visioning and Consultant, Close Gaps by Five

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Barb Fabre has 30 years of working within tribal, state, national and federal levels on tribal and early childhood issues that promote healthy child development for all children. Ms. Fabre’s experience in program development, creating early childhood systems and promoting collaborations with tribal communities have helped bring new opportunities for Indian Country. Ms. Fabre holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and has received numerous awards for her work such as the 2015 Nancy Latimer Award, 2015 Early Education Four-Star Leader-Parent Aware for School Readiness, 2014 Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Service and the 2014 Becker County Recognition Award. Ms. Fabre testified at the 2014 United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Testimony on “Early Childhood Development & Education in Indian Country: Building a Foundation for Academic Success.”


Stacey Stout

Director, Education & Workforce Development Policy, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

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Stacey Stout serves as the Minnesota Chamber’s Education & Workforce Development, Elections Director.

Stacey brings a strong policy, legislative and legal background, having served as a legislative assistant and legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate from 2000-2005. She managed congressional oversight activities and served as attorney-adviser in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs from 2005-2010.

Her Minnesota public policy experience includes national and state regulatory policy development for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation and most recently as a research consultant and committee administrator for the Minnesota House of Representatives Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee.

Stacey holds a B.A. from Oklahoma City University and a J.D. from the University of Tulsa College of Law. She lives in Mahtomedi with her husband and two young boys, where she is active on the White Bear Area YMCA Board, the 916 Education Foundation Board, the Mahtomedi Finance Advisory Commission and St. Andrews Lutheran Church.



Charles Sutton

Senior Outreach Director, Office of U.S. Senator Tina Smith

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Charles Sutton serves as Senior Outreach Director for U.S. Senator Tina Smith where he covers the education, early childhood, business and labor portfolios. Prior to working for U.S. Senator Smith, he was on staff with Senator Al Franken. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and the University of Toronto where he received a B.S. in Psychology.

Senator Eric Pratt

Assistant Majority Leader, Minnesota Senate, District 55

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Eric R. Pratt is a Minnesota politician and member of the Minnesota Senate. A member of the Republican Party of Minnesota, he represents District 55 in the southwestern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Panel Moderator:

Jon Losness

Executive Director, Families First of Minnesota

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Jon Losness joined Families First of Minnesota in January 2016 as executive director. Families First oversees Head Start in Rochester and Albert Lea and Early Head Start in Olmsted, Freeborn, Rice and Winona counties. The agency also helps families in southern Minnesota find high-quality child care and early education programs, and provides Early Learning Scholarships in southeastern Minnesota, the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities and five counties north of the Twin Cities. Other agency programs include Crisis Nursery in Olmsted County and School Readiness in the area served by the Rochester Public School District.

He serves on the board for Cradle to Career, a community endeavor seeking to improve literacy and school readiness. He also serves on the executive committee of the Bridge Collaborative of Olmsted County.

Losness came to Families First from the Kenosha (Wis.) News, where he served as editor for six years. He previously was executive director of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research for 2 ½ years and also worked 24 years for the Post-Bulletin newspaper in Rochester, including four years as its editor and publisher.


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Presenting Sponsor:



Kaplan Early Learning Company, a leading international provider of products and services, enhances children’s learning. Click here to learn more.


Strategic Consulting & Coaching, LLC, professionals with a passion for bringing leadership, bring expertise and support to mission-driven organizations in the nonprofit, education and government sectors. Click here to learn more.



The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) programs promote business recruitment, expansion, and retention; international trade; workforce development; and community development. Click here to learn more.