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Michael-Fosberg

Michael Fosberg

Author and Activist

Michael Fosberg began his performing artist career as a young student at the prestigious intensive theater training program at Northwestern University, The National High School Institute where he has returned to serve as a faculty member the past seven years. He went on to study acting, directing, and writing in Minneapolis, graduating from the University…

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Michael Fosberg began his performing artist career as a young student at the prestigious intensive theater training program at Northwestern University, The National High School Institute where he has returned to serve as a faculty member the past seven years. He went on to study acting, directing, and writing in Minneapolis, graduating from the University of Minnesota.

While still attending school he founded the Small Change Original Theater; producing, writing, directing tours, and conducting workshops for kids of all ages throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, North & South Dakota. In Chicago during the ‘80’s he appeared in shows at Steppenwolf, Remains, Wisdom Bridge, and the Goodman Theatres, as well as co-founding the Huron Theater Ensemble and serving as the Artistic Director.

While in Los Angeles he dabbled in television and film while continuing his work with young students as the Director of Education for the Living Library Theatre and a teacher/director for South Coast Repertory’s Young Actor’s Conservatory program. He was a guest artist at the Sundance Institute’s summer residency program, teaching educators how to utilize drama in the classrooms. Back in Chicago in the late ‘90’s he wrote and directed much of the family entertainment at Navy Pier.

Michael has been touring his autobiographical solo-show Incognito since 2001, first at the celebrated Sundance Institute, and following to the California African American Museum, Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Illinois Theatre Center, Victory Gardens Theatre, Cape May Stage, Woodstock Fringe Festival, Black Academy of Arts & Letters, Beverly Arts Center, Monticello Opera House, Northlight Theatre, and the 16th Street Theatre. For the past seven years he has toured to hundreds of high schools, colleges, corporations, military bases, and governmental institutions through out the country presenting his show and conducting extensive workshops. In addition he has been asked to perform his show as the Keynote Presentation for a variety of organizations including Iowa Mosaic Diversity Conference, NASA Glen Research Center, The National Training Center for the US Army at Ft. Irwin, People of Color Conference for the National Association of Independent Schools, Midwest Regional Office of the Social Security Administration, Chester County Hospital, Quest Diagnostics, Penn St. Great Valley Annual Diversity Day, Ulster County BOCES Superintendent’s Day, Shreveport Dream Week at Centenary College, Sam Houston St. University 4th

Annual Diversity Leadership Conference, University of Chicago Martin Luther King Week, Florida International Diversity Conference, University of South Florida Annual Diversity Summit, Phillips Andover MLK Day Celebration, University of Kentucky Annual Diversity Day, and University of North Dakota Diversity Week.

Recently, Michael released his much anticipated memoir, “Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race & Self-Discovery” which delves more deeply into his amazing personal account of familial discovery upon which the original one-man play is based.

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Incognito, Inc. is an arts-based diversity educational & training company led by author/actor/activist Michael Fosberg. Through the use of an entertaining one-man play, unique hands-on workshop/training sessions and engagingly challenging keynote addresses, Incognito has proven to be a one of a kind program used by educational institutions, corporations, government agencies, military bases and not-for-profits.  Incognito is a dynamic & dramatic teaching/training tool that creates safe, non-threatening and meaningful dialogue on issues of unconscious bias, micro-inequities, cultural competency, diversity, identity and race.

Michael’s uniquely refreshing approach utilizes methods of interpersonal contact theory, storytelling and enjoyably engaging interactive methods in challenging people’s preconceived perceptions about difficult issues.  Whether it is issues of cultural competency, uncovering biases, defining the harmful effects of micro-inequities, or simply giving people the space to discover all the ways in which we have similarities, Incognito succeeds where others don’t.

If someone said to you, there’s a way to be more productive, make more money, get a better education, you’d want to learn more about what that was, wouldn’t you?  DIVERSITY is that answer and there are studies with PROOF!  Recent research by McKinsey makes clear that a more diverse workforce performs better financially.(1)  Another study of investment clubs discovered that groups of men & women outperformed single-sex groups.  A worldwide study of 4000+ R & D teams found that diverse teams were much better at driving radical innovation.(2)  And a study published recently in PLos One by a team of researchers from M.I.T. and Carnegie Mellon shows how teams with more women than men outperform their counterparts.  By contributing more equally, having a better sense of empathy through direct eye contact, and communicating a great deal, these teams proved to be smarter and more effective.(3)

The importance of this last study cannot be over-emphasized; equal contributions, better communication, and the ability to keep track of what people feel, know and believe make for the smartest, efficient and most productive teams.  “The snag,” as a recent New Yorker business column points out, “is that, while diverse groups perform well, they can be harder to manage and more challenging to work in than homogeneous ones, precisely because diverse perspectives lead to more disagreement and conflict.  So even when the results are better, people are less happy with the experience.  To fix this, you have to consciously reshape how people deal with one another, and that entails some cultural disruption.  But it’s a price worth paying.”(4)

(1) Why diversity matters, Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sam Prince, McKinsey Co., Jan 2015

(2) Gender diversity within R&D teams: Its impact on radicalness of innovation, Christina Diaz-Garcia, Angela Gonzalez-Moreno, Francisco Jose Saez-Martinez, Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, 2013 (3) Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others, Anita Woolley, Thomas W. Malone, Christopher F. Chabris, New York Times, Jan 16, 2015

(4) Valley Boys, James Surowiecki, The New Yorker Magazine, Nov. 24, 2014

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Michael Fosberg

Michael Fosberg on the advantages of being mixed race

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