CreativeMornings/Great Lakes

October 23, 9:00am - 10:30am EDT. Hosted at Virtual Event

part of a series on Transit

About the speaker

As an urban planner, Jennifer Keesmaat is passionate about creating places where people flourish. Named one of the “most powerful people in Canada” by Macleans, one of the “most influential” by Toronto Life, and one of the top Women of Influence in Canada, she spent five years as Toronto’s Chief City Planner, where she was celebrated for her forward thinking and collaborative approach to city-building.

Over the past fifteen years, as a founding partner of the Office for Urbanism and subsequently Dialog, Keesmaat worked in municipalities across Canada and around the world on urban design guidelines, official plan reviews and strategies for creating dense, walkable cities. Her planning practice is characterized by an emphasis on collaborations across sectors, and broad engagement with municipal staff, councils, developers, business leaders, NGO’s, and residents associations. Keesmaat has been recognized for her expertise in transit planning, heritage preservation, strategy development, communications, sustainable economic development and the creation of walkable, complete communities.

Chris Bobko, Ph.D., Head of Engineering Integration, oversees research, development, and engineering teams at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. After completing his doctorate at MIT, Chris was a professor at North Carolina State University, where he gained significant experimental and analytical experience in mechanics of materials for civil engineering applications. As a professor, he joined HyperloopTT as a contributor before shifting his focus full-time to bring life to this new mode of transportation. Today, Chris brings together teams and partners to develop, prototype, and implement infrastructure systems, power systems, capsule systems, propulsion and levitation systems, and systems control.

Drummer Ernie Adams has been in “transit” to 48 different countries for over three decades. He is on tour six- to eight-months of the year with legendary, Grammy-winning music artists and also helps students transition into being professional musicians themselves. He has always found a creative way to keep his passion for music moving ahead as a career while helping students come together and transition onto their own paths as well.

Ernie Adams has had the honor of playing jazz with Dizzy Gillespie, Ahmad Jamal, Slide Hampton and many others. He has performed Afro Latin music with Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Poncho Sanchez and others. He has played jazz fusion with Al DiMeola, Joe Zawinul, and Mike Stern, among prominent others. He has shared the stage with contemporary jazz artists Ramsey Lewis, Al Jarreau and Nick Colionne and many more. He has also performed with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and Ruse Philharmonic (Bulgaria), among others. He is on over 200 recordings along with music for TV and radio, including performing music for and on the TV show Empire and many movie scores, some in which he has appeared as well.

Though he still plays here and abroad, he has been transitioning, in his own mind and heart, to a more meaningful role as teacher and mentor to young up and coming musicians both here and abroad.

Guillermo Sotelo aka “ASMA SPEEKS” is a Grand Rapids native who has spent the last decade and change turning his passion for graffiti and art into elements of vibrant self expression and community. A founding member of Element 7, the team that developed and executed the #WindowsGR project, Guillermo found a higher purpose for his art aside from just writing his name everywhere. With this newly formed powerhouse of creatives he’s learned that his form of art, his form of SPEEKING, can impact and catalyze change. Guillermo has also worked on the AfterDark project, pioneered a legal graffiti wall and is a participating artist on the up and coming skate park downtown!

Jan & Greg Thompson of The Human-Kind Quest adventure through sight and sound, people and culture, art and nature, music and noise, food and nutrition, vistas and emotions. Together, they are on a quest to break down old patterns and learn new things, seeking to sharpen the mind and spirit while inspiring their community.

Julio Montalvo Valentin is the author of three chapbooks, with the latest being Those Who Pray to Rice (NightBallet Press, 2019). Julio was a guest editor for Mutata Re, Plurality Press, Portrait, Coffin Bell Journal, and co-founder of the late Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective. Their work has been published in Thimble Literary Magazine, Cavity, Bangor Literary Journal, and Aisthesis: The Interdisciplinary Honors Journal and more. Their work has been anthologized in Boricua en la Luna: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Voices, A Flash of Dark, Mansion, My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry, and the forthcoming Silkworm Anthology Volume 13. Aside from being a member of Los Artistas del Barrio Buffalo (LADB) and a Poetry Editor for Variety Pack, Julio is also a Teaching Artist at Just Buffalo Literary Center. While pausing on their next project, a poetry caravan, they can be found working to finish their Master’s degree in English Literature and finally setting up their artist website.

Local partners

Additional details

REGISTER here on Monday October 19th at 10am.

Together with our fellow CreativeMornings chapters across the Great Lakes, we host a collaborative event, an exploration of creativity as it relates to October’s global theme of Transit.

Please register in advance via your home chapter or nearest city’s event page:

Grand Rapids

We will all gather together on Zoom to hear inspirational talks by our remarkable speakers, plus an incredible load of fun activities such as:

• Music performance by The Human-Kind Quest

• Live Illustration by Kiyomi Negi-Tran

• Spoken Poetry by Julio Montalvo Valentin

• Interactive Mural Activity by Guillermo Sotelo aka “ASMA SPEEKS”

And the chance to participate in:

• The best virtual background contest!!!! Get 1 bag of coffee straight to your door!

• An Instagram photo contest (visit our IG @toronto_cm for the info on how to participate) there will be 3 winners for $100 & 2 $50usd Gift Cards from KEH.

• A fun raffle to win 2 Digital Illustration Class Passes by Ink Factory Studio.

And the best part is that we will have an ASL interpreter!!!

Thanks to Deaf Access Services and CM/buf for this!

9:00 AM Virtual Room Opens
Contest + Networking Activities + 30 sec Pitches + Music & Art Performances
9:20 AM 1st Speaker talk + Q&A
Fun Raffle
2nd Speaker talk + Q&A
Contest giveaway
3rd Speaker talk + Q&A

Join us Online

We will be emailing you the ZOOM link the night before.

Grab a cup of coffee and see you early morning!