SEPTEMBER 26, 2023 put 200+ area business leaders in the same room, and 20 of them on stage, at The Pines Black in Davenport, ND, for a full day of candid, insightful, unfiltered conversations.

We want to thank everyone attended, sponsored, helped organize and contributed to Leadership Unfiltered 2023 – THANK YOU.

Watch for each of their talks to be posted here and also on our Executives’ Club Facebook + Executives’ Club LinkedIn pages in the coming weeks.

For centuries, our greatest thinkers, cutting-edge innovators, entrepreneurs and successful business leaders have shared a common trait

…they journal on a regular basis.

They document their successes, make note of their most-significant failures, lay out their strategies, and, keep a list of their next big ideas.

The Members of The Executives’ Club of Fargo-Moorhead invite you to join us for a candid conversation with 20 of our region’s top business leaders and decision-makers, as they share their real-life stories, professional experiences and personal insights.

We open up the journals.


Tom Stadum | Tree Rings

Tom Stadum, Founder and CEO, Fjell Capital

“Working to radically change the trajectory of entrepreneurs, their families, their businesses, and their teams. My aim is for every person to be happy with money. Because, at the end of the day, we all just want to be happy. ” Connect with Tom

Anthony Molzahn and Rob Burke | The Leadership Paradox: Owning Mistakes, Inspiring Success

Rob Burke, Founder, Yarn Media

“I have had the chance to raise up and lead high-caliber teams in cross-channel marketing and strategy to hit real-world numbers and goals as a part of company growth.”  Connect with Rob

Anthony Molzahn, Founder and CEO, Devii

Anthony, CEO of Devii.io, is a cheerful visionary who is quick to solutions. He leverages educational and career experiences in art, hospitality, leadership, and engineering to move good ideas forward, faster. Connect with Anthony

Shannon Full | GRIT

Shannon Full, President and CEO, Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber

“I am a life-longer learner that strives for continual improvement, transformation and excellence. I lead with insatiable energy, an open mind, and captivating courage. ” Connect with Shannon

Sandra Vigen | A Duck in a Pond

Sandra Vigen, Founder and CEO, Mama Ducks Cleaning Service

“As a business owner, I know the importance of productivity & trust.” Connect with Sandra

Deanna and Brad Ness | An Unfiltered Discussion on Being Business Partners with the Love of Your Life

Brad and Deanna Ness, Founders and Owners, S & S Promotional Group

“We live by one very important rule: We treat every client like our favorite client.” Connect with Brad Connect with Deanna

Sarah Koustrup

Sarah Koustrup, President, National Hospitality Services, LLC

The worst piece of advice she’s ever received…
“Smile pretty and nod.” Connect with Sarah

Tom Kading | Failing is Better Than Not Trying

Tom Kading, Attorney and Founder, Fargo Patent & Business Law

“I founded the law firm because I believe attorneys should have experience both in business and law. Especially attorneys who advise businesses on how to solve problems.” Connect with Tom

Jaymes O'Pheron | Cultivating Community: A Leader's Soil

Jaymes O’Pheron, Founder and Owner, Catalytic Conversations

“…I soon found myself succumbing to burnout. It was this personal struggle that led me to a mission that’s close to my heart: helping others navigate the complexities of modern life without losing themselves.” Connect with Jaymes


  • Q/A with John Machacek
  • “Be My Guest” with Dave Harmon
  • Q/A with DJ Colter

Q/A w/John Machacek + "Be Our Guest" w/Dave Harmon

Dave Harmon | Trust, but Verify

Dave Harmon, Founder and President, Harmon Entertainment

“WHAT I DO: I help business’s give back to employee’s by collaborating to create amazing events.” Connect with Dave

Matthew Chaussee | Virtually Indestructible: Developing a 7-Year 'Overnight Success'

Matthew Chaussee, Co-Founder and CEO, Be More Colorful

Their story underscores the power of belief in a shared vision, the importance of persistence when confronted with “impossible” challenges, and the crucial role community plays in helping entrepreneurs see things through.



Tim Meyer | High Reliability Organization – An Obsession with Failure

Tim Meyer, Senior Director, Sanford Ambulance/AirMed/Emergency Services

High Reliability Organization – An Obsession with Failure

“I’ve learned over the years to hire people that are likeable and to not hire a-holes just because they’re smart.  If they can’t get along with people it will be a bumpy ride until they’re gone.”


Marc Kuhn

Marc Kuhn | Founder and President, MAK Construction, MAK Capital

I’m Marc Kuhn and in 1994 I started my construction career with my Dad. I started at $1 per hour and got a $1 raise every year as I worked for my dads construction company. In 2010 I left that hourly job with $2,500 in my bank account. I started my entrepreneurial path and opened MAK Construction, my first business. I’ve grown the construction company to over $25 million a year. We develop commercial projects both 3rd party and investment projects for our investors.

Since 2018 we have added over 200 units in the Midwest. The benefits of real estate have given me the freedom of time. My goal is to help investors reach financial freedom through real estate. Today I own and operate three successful companies that do eight figures a year.”


Will Cromarty

Will Cromarty | Founder and President, Kirkwall

Title: You Could Always Rob a Bank

Description: The most successful startups often share a backstory of unconventional fundraising while in their bootstrapping stage, limited only by their own creativity. Some of these approaches are a mere means to an end, while others may grow to replace the original focus of the business. For startups seeking to raise venture capital, even a single dollar of revenue on the books often puts them in the top 10% of companies seeking funding- so what does it take as a founder to spot, assess, and pivot to unconventional funding sources without limiting the creative process?


Rachael Boyer

Rachael Boyer | Founder and CEO, The Authority Companies

Rachael Boyer, MBA is a results-oriented, transformational leader, and business executive with more than 25 years of experience in construction, healthcare, and numerous business industries.

Rachael’s entrepreneurial spirit has allowed her to develop several multi-million dollar businesses and brands from origination across a variety of industries and she is currently the President & CEO of The Home Authority, Inc. and the Authority Companies. Rachael’s passion for the construction industry has been built on the foundation of excellence with the customer at the center of the experience, and the framework of passion to transform vision to success.


Dr. James Carlson

Dr. James Carlson | Founder and CEO

James D. Carlson is from rural Iowa and completed a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Iowa (1971), a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Michigan (1976) and an Accredited Clinical Pharmacy Residency at Buffalo General Hospital, NY (1976). He completed his tour of duty as a pharmacist with the US Public Health Service, Indian Health Service Division in New Mexico and Oklahoma (1971-1974). His career continued as Associate Professor at North Dakota State University College of Pharmacy (1976-1986) before venturing into the business world.

Carlson is currently:

  • Scientific Advisor to Axis Clinicals, MN, a CRO (2017-present)
  • CEO/co-owner Paul Bunyan Tree Nurseries, a nursery and tree care service (2009-present)
  • founder/partner/investor in Linn Grove Ventures (2009-present)
  • CEO/owner Retain Pharmacy Solutions, LLC, a research pharmacy service (2005-present)
  • CEO/owner JDC Development (2004-present), a real estate development firm

Carlson’s business learning curve included: 

  • CEO/owner of PRACS Institute, Ltd., a full-service pharmaceutical contract research organization (aka CRO) in Fargo, ND, East Grand Forks, MN, and San Diego, CA (1990 to 2006)
  • VP/co-owner/co-founder Pharmacology Research and Clinical Studies Institute (dba PRACS), ND, a CRO (1983-1990)

His experience also includes: 

  • Exec VP Reven Pharmaceuticals, CO, a drug development start-up (2019-2022)
  • CEO for investor owned Cetero/PRACS 2.0-North America, a CRO (2011-2012)
  • CEO of Algorithme Pharma-USA, a CRO (2014-2017)
  • Partner in The Wilds RV Park and Golf Course (2008-2013)
  • CEO/founder JDC Management, consulting services (2009-2022)
  • Interim CEO Cetero Research USA – formerly PRACS (2006)
  • President/owner PRACS Dermatology LLC, CA, a clinical dermatology research operation (2004-2006)
  • President/owner/founder PRACS Bioanalytical Laboratory Ltd, a drug assay development company (1993-1996)
  • President/Co-founder/co- owner Clinical Development Associates, a marketing team representing small drug research service companies (1992-1993)
  • owner/founder PRACS Pharmacy, ND, a drug research pharmacy (1988-2005)

Carlson was major advisor for eight NDSU College of Pharmacy graduate students and has over seventy publications including book chapters and scientific posters. He has been active in regional, national, and international pharmacy and pharmaceutical industry associations.

Carlson’s honors from community and professional groups include: 2016 Bowl of Hygeia Award by the American Pharmaceutical Association, their highest professional recognition; 2013 Friends of ASP Award for support of NDSU Academy of Pharmacy students; 2009 Pathfinder Award from the Red River Research Corridor; 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award for contributions to the pharmacy profession from University of Iowa College of Pharmacy; 2007 Patriotic Employer from The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve; 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Midwest Region Life Sciences; and the 2005 North Dakota Business Innovator of the Year for entrepreneurial achievement from ND Economic Development. But, his most cherished award was 1998, The CEO Award presented by PRACS Staff for Vision, Success, Dedication and Commitment to PRACS Staff and PRACS Institute, Ltd.

Carlson’s favorite wall hanging and advice to staff and colleagues is simple. His parents instructed him to never use 4-letter words, CAN’T is a four-letter word.