Innovation Week: Meet the Keynotes

Innovate Marquette and SISU: The Innovation Institute at Northern Michigan University strongly believe that creativity, collaboration, and innovation are fundamental to building strong communities, that’s why bringing world-class keynote speakers as part of Innovation Week’s comprehensive event schedule is so important. By bringing keynote speakers we welcome new, diverse perspectives, learn more about topics that apply to a variety of unique industries, and provide networking opportunities for students, professionals, community members and more. 

We’re so excited to bring three keynote speakers for this year’s event. Their expertise ranges from sustainability and corporate innovation to scientific research in toxicology. 

Learn more about Jonathon Brown, Molly Kawahata and Scott Kuzdzal, Ph. D. below. 


Chief Sales Officer, Trend Hunter

In the last decade, Walmart, Coca-Cola, the Dubai Future Foundation, and others have called on Jonathon to maximize their innovation potential. With more than 75 keynotes under his belt, the through-line of his keynote work derives from his decade-long research project interviewing hundreds of innovation leaders globally to uncover methods for sparking systematic innovation.

In his day-to-day, Jonathon guides the vision of Trend Hunter, the world’s largest trend-spotting platform. Helping global Fortune 500s to build research and training programs, he’s driven his own “crash course” in corporate innovation and plucked the best practices for the benefit of the audiences he speaks to. As an event emcee and international business keynote speaker, Jonathon is renowned for his magnetic delivery, executive presence, and divergent storytelling style. His best-known keynotes include “How to Innovate like a Rap Star,” “Top Innovators in Business” and “Innovation Tactics from Fortune 500s.”


Founder, Systemic Impact Strategies
Former Climate Advisor to the Obama White Hous

Molly Kawahata is a strategist, public speaker, advocate, and former Climate Advisor to the Obama White House. She is the Founder of Systemic Impact Strategies, a consultancy specializing in organizational development, climate strategy, and communications.

Her life story, depicted in Patagonia’s film, THE SCALE OF HOPE (2022), intimately explores her pursuit of climbing steep ice faces in Alaska, her personal struggle with mental health, and her work to transform societal narratives by infusing them with hope and empowerment. The film has resonated with audiences worldwide, amassing over one million views on YouTube, streaming on Delta Airlines, and being inducted into the permanent collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Molly has been a speaker at institutions such as Google, Nike, Harvard, the U.S. Congress, global IMAX audiences, and the Kennedy Center presidential monument. She is an Advisory Board Member to the Environmental Voter Project and an Advisory Council Member to the AAPI Victory Fund. In her free time, Molly is an avid ice climber, with a particular passion for scaling technical ice routes in Montana and the Central Alaska Range. 

PH. D.

Executive Vice President of New Strategy Development, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments

Dr. Scott Kuzdzal received a Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside. Scott served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he co-founded the Center for Biomarker Discovery & Translation. In addition to extensive industrial research experience, Dr. Kuzdzal has a strong medicinal and clinical chemistry background and he has directed Toxicology and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Labs at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He has published protein and peptide biomarkers for pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and ovarian cancer.

Scott currently serves as the Vice President of New Strategy and the Lab Director of the Amyloid MS Service Lab at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments. Dr. Kuzdzal presents on clinical and quality control testing topics internationally. He has over 300 scientific manuscripts, book chapters and presentations. His passion is improving clinical laboratory testing, commercializing new technologies and developing emerging markets.

About Innovation Week

Innovation Week is a three-day professional development conference bringing together thought-leaders, innovators, and creative minds in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Featuring keynote speakers, carefully curated innovation quests, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities, Innovation Week will inspire, enlighten, and spark curiosity. Learn more.