Behind every talented individual is a community of supporters poised to provide mentorship, advice, and encouragement. At Pollen we know no person succeeds alone, so we went in search of those who took up the call to help the next generation thrive. Who are the faces behind Twin Cities talent? We ask Chris Cloud to introduce us to the individuals who’ve helped shape him into the person he is today.
Fresh dough. Mozzarella. Assorted toppings. When it comes to pizza, Chris Cloud is a dreamer and a doer. Picture this: The scenic views of Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement in Maple Plain, Minnesota, offer a backdrop for a new kind of overnight camp—one where pizza-loving adults escape to the woods for a night of shooting arrows, snapping pictures, canoeing, and (of course) crafting the perfect pie. Welcome to Pizza Camp.
But just chalk this collaboration up as the newest on an ever-growing list of innovative ideas Chris Cloud has helped bring to life. Art exhibits with Negative Jam. More than 1,000 pages of digital content with MPLSzine. Hundreds of videos capturing Twin Cities culture with MPLS.TV. And don’t forget dance parties.
Chris has become a go-to expert of sorts when it comes to local culture. An extensive reading list and active social media presence helps him stay hip to the scene, but the best way to understand culture is to make it happen, he says. And that’s exactly what he has done.
Put Chris in his happy place listening to live music, and that’s when his most wild and outlandish ideas surface to the forefront. He prefers his collaborations to be trailblazing and his projects to be DIT—Do-It-Together. Here are six people who have inspired him on his quest in creativity.
Chris’ Six Can’t-Live-Without Mentors
Head of Production and Partner, Zeus Jones
Back in 2002, David and I worked at the Minnesota Daily. I was in the marketing department and he was in ad production. David published a funny piece of work I created with Microsoft Clipart that ran for years in the paper called, “Who Cares, Grandma?” He was a very early supporter of my work and ideas, and has encouraged me along the way.
Development and Alumni Relations Officer, University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts
Lynn is what I like to call an NBC—Natural Born Connector! She loves to connect like-minded people and has an eye for seeing things others don’t. Through Lynn, I’ve connected with people such as Andi McDaniel from Twin Cities Public Television and Peter Flint Fox, a former CEO and entrepreneur. I’ve also had the opportunity to share things I’ve learned with current students at the University of Minnesota. Mentorship is a virtuous cycle!
Label Manager, Stophouse Music Group
Mike is probably one of my earliest and strongest supporters. Our relationship goes back to the 1990s. He’s easily one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Whenever I have a major life decision looming, I look to him for guidance. Mike has a great business sense that is evident with the success of Prof and Stophouse.
Creative Director, Effect Partners
David and I crossed paths after I launched MPLS.TV. He has lived multiple lives and worn as many hats. From starting a music public relations firm to being a career advisor at McNally Smith, he treats his experience like a gift that should be shared. I’m grateful to have had many heart-to-heart conversations with him, and to have David as a very close supporter.
Gil is the MAN! He really encouraged me to put myself out there in a creative way. His exact words: “You’ve got something magnetic about you, bro. Just think if that personality came through in print/web/in-the-way-you-write. What would happen?” His rhetorical question has guided me throughout my creative career. He just had a child and I’m 100,000 percent confident Gil is going to be great father and mentor to her.
Lea Devon Sorrentino
Lea and I create work together as Negative Jam. She is constantly challenging me to BE BETTER—whether it’s through our conversations or the ideas we work on together. Outside our collaboration, her body of work is nothing short of amazing. Lea will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, and I’m honored she considers me her ally.
Good mentors make all the difference when you take the leap into professional life. Every so often it’s great to give them a shout out to let them know just how much they mean to you. From dishing out helpful advice to offering up a listening ear, who would make your list?