Speakers

 
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Julie Ace has been a primary elementary teacher with the Rochester Public Schools for the last 25 years. Julie did her undergraduate work at Bemidji State University and has a master’s in education from Winona State University and a master’s in educational leadership from Concordia University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an International honorary sorority of women educators. In 2012 she became one of the founding members of the nonprofit organization Justice and Opportunities for Youth (JOY), an advocating and mentoring program for underrepresented middle-school and high-school girls with un-tapped potential in the Rochester area. Currently Julie serves a co- facilitator for the JOY high school group and is the president of the board of directors.

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Jackie Aman is a research scientist for Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Wilder Research. At Wilder Research, Jackie partners with organizations and communities to learn about what families need to thrive – especially through evaluation and applied research related to substance use disorders, ACEs, trauma, and homelessness. While a data geek at heart, she values art-based methodologies and exploring different ways to visualize data. Jackie has a master’s degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.

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Patrice Bailey was appointed to the position of assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) in June 2019. He oversees Outreach, Agricultural Marketing and Development, Dairy and Meat Inspection, and Food and Feed Safety for the MDA. He has served the Twin Cities in several positions focused on bridging underrepresented communities of color to various available resources and advocating for them legislatively at the Capitol. Bailey, a native of Harlem, New York, holds a B.S. in agriculture education from Prairie View A&M University and has a master’s degree in agriculture from Iowa State University.

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Steve Boland is a nonprofit veteran with over 25 years of experience helping charities grow with new ideas in fundraising and communications. Steve has presented over 100 learning sessions on topics such as crowdfunding, fundraising infrastructure, and social media strategy for nonprofits. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Steve holds a master of nonprofit management from Hamline University, is an alumnus of the Shannon Leadership Institute, and serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Steve is the managing partner of Next in Nonprofits, a consulting and services firm focused on building engagement for charities.

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Melanie Brennan is founder and CEO at Exercisabilities, a nonprofit outpatient rehabilitation and medical fitness center in Rochester. She founded Exercisabilities in 2011 to provide opportunities for people with neurologic injuries and medical disorders to access expert care in the community. Melanie is a graduate of the doctor of physical therapy program at The College of St. Scholastica. Her 20+ years of experience includes 11 years as a spinal cord injury team member at Mayo Clinic Rochester. In her current role as a clinic administrator, she strives to inspire her staff of therapists and exercise specialists to create a long-term road map to recovery and wellness for each client to support their life long journey toward optimal health.

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Betsy Brock is the director of research at the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota. In this role, Betsy pursues research opportunities and partnerships for the organization. Her work has resulted in many published articles in peer-reviewed journals, including in Tobacco Control and the American Journal of Public Health. Her research on direct tobacco marketing research has earned national recognition. Betsy also participates in statewide policy efforts and leads advocacy campaigns at the local level. Betsy co-led a coalition composed of more than 50 organizations that successfully advocated for a ground-breaking restriction on the sale of menthol tobacco in Minneapolis. 

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Stephanie Brown is an urban planner, community advocate, and systems thinker. She blends a passion for meaningful and inclusive revitalization in cities with the pragmatism borne from years grappling with political and economic constraints. Before beginning Yellow House Ideas, Stephanie spent four years with McKinsey & Company, focused on infrastructure development and public sector transformations. Stephanie holds a B.A. in government and history from Georgetown University where she was a John Carroll Scholar and Lisa J. Raines Fellow. She has a master of urban planning from the Graduate School of Design and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School where she was a Dubin Fellow and a Gramlich Fellow. She serves on the alumni advisory council of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership and is an elder at Calvary Church.   

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Robyn Browning is the grants manager at Mary’s Pence where she focuses on building relationships with their grassroots, feminist grantees who are deeply engaged in social justice work. She has been working at nonprofits in the Twin Cities area for over 10 years in roles in public health, advocacy, disability services, and social services. Robyn’s dedication to social justice work started when she joined AmeriCorps after college and served in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas working with migrant communities. She believes in community service and has served on nonprofit boards, including her current role on the board of myHealth for Teens & Young Adults. Robyn has a master’s of public health degree and has experience both as a grantmaker and a grantee.

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Karmit Bulman is executive director of the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA). She has extensive experience running nonprofit organizations and has a strong background of leadership in international, national, and statewide coalition building. In the past, Karmit has served as an attorney and as executive director for nonprofits. Her roles have involved financial management, program development, public and community relations, fundraising, and oversight of organizational operations. She has a particular passion for facilitation of collaborative processes, coalition building, coaching and consulting, capacity building, volunteer engagement, and revenue expansion. Karmit oversees strategic planning, board development, financial management, fundraising, program development, and day to day programming at MAVA, and is a service enterprise trainer and consultant and author of Promoting Job Equity for Volunteer Engagement Professionals.

Chad Campbell has spent his career working in nonprofit management, much of that work with youth development organizations. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for children and youth, with special attention to serving those children most in need. In previous roles with Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Florida, Good Earth Village, and United Way of Olmsted County, he has connected to an array of youth and family-serving organizations, and developed community building strategies. Since 2018, he has served as CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Rochester, helping kids build great futures. Boys & Girls Club operated an ice cream shop in the summer of 2018, as a social entrepreneurship project – offering significant learning opportunities for the organization and its leadership, and propelling several new program offerings.

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Michelle Chang is the policy and equity coordinator at MCN. Her primary focus is building power around Census 2020 in partnership with MCN's many nonprofit members. She also works internally to ensure policies and procedures center around ending disparities in power, money, access, and more. Prior to her current position at MCN, Michelle served as MCN's AmeriCorps VISTA and spent a year working as a foreign English teacher in Yunnan, China, while receiving her master of international affairs degree in international development at Concordia University - Irvine. She has her B.A. in Asian studies from the College of Saint Benedict.

Courtney Clingan is a senior consultant at The Improve Group, a St. Paul-based, international firm focused on evaluation, research, and strategic planning. Courtney loves seeing people’s excitement for evaluation grow with their capacity and witnessing the lightbulb moments when they’re really onto something. Plus, Courtney finds evaluation capacity building is a two-way street: She is always learning during her trainings and capacity-building projects. She enjoys collaborating with people, sorting through different considerations or nuances, and partnering on problem-solving. Courtney’s training skills are bolstered by her empathy and her ability to listen; she loves the rich, thoughtful conversations that come out of building a shared understanding of evaluation and how it can be used in organizations.

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Marcellus Davis is the new program manager for professional development and student programs at Equity Alliance MN. Marcellus comes to the organization from St. Cloud State University, where he served as an adjunct professor. In addition to his faculty experience, he is a program developer with emphasis on racial equity having a background in curriculum development, program evaluation, and racial equity facilitation. His experience includes African American education empowerment coordinator for Minneapolis Community & Technical College, as well as executive director of Sankofa Underground North Academy, and program director of achievement and integration and American Indian education for Robbinsdale Area Schools. Marcellus has spent a combined 20 plus years in K-12 and higher education. He holds a doctor of education in higher education/higher education administration.

Adrienne Diercks is the founder and executive director of Project Success, a youth development organization that motivates and inspires young people to dream about the future, helps them take steps to get there, and gives them the tools they need to achieve their goals. Adrienne’s leadership has been acknowledged through a Woman of Distinction Award by the Girl Scouts River Valleys, Ann Bancroft Foundation’s Dream Maker Award, a “Women to Watch” accolade from Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, and has been honored with the Minneapolis Award for outstanding contributions to the City. Adrienne is the president of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable and member of the Women Presidents’ Organization. Adrienne has a B.A. in English from Whittier College, and is a graduate of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute.

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Pearl Dobbins is director of equity and human development at Washburn Center for Children. Pearl, who is human and heart-centered, is a sensitive introspective jewel who is committed to the pursuit of human development. She continuously explores and engages her personal journey of developing intercultural capacity, and the ability to communicate along lines of similarity and difference to accomplish a mutual purpose. Pearl was born and raised in Minnesota. She has a graduate degree in mental health counseling and gets to do intercultural and human development work in the mental health field. Why does she choose to do this? To uplift, encourage, and grow.

Nate Dorr is a senior program officer at Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) in Bemidji, where he leads the foundation’s Communities Thrive program. He serves as an advisor with the Minnesota Compass steering committee, the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership Resilient Communities workgroup, the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program, and the Minnesota Council on Foundation’s program committee. Prior to working with NMF, he was a regional labor market analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, a grantwriting instructor at Bemidji State University, a grantwriter for Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and a statistician for the USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Service in Montana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in public policy and nonprofit management from the Humphrey Institute.

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Jenna Egan is the membership and fund development manager at Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA). In this role she builds relationships with new and current members, recruits volunteers, and cultivates financial donors and sponsors. Jenna has worked in higher education recruitment, program development, volunteer engagement, and communications for over 14 years. She has a master’s in educational leadership from the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Before joining the MAVA staff, Jenna served as the recruitment and enrollment manager for the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and currently serves on the American Heart Association gala auction committee.

Marie Ellis serves the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits as public policy director. Marie has been working in public policy since her first job, lobbying in Washington, D.C. with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Since then she has worked at the Minnesota Senate as leadership assistant, Catholic Charities as public policy manager, and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce as director of public policy and legal counsel. Marie has a B.A. in religion from Concordia College in Moorhead and a law degree from the University of Saint Thomas School of Law. With volunteer, intern, and work experience at dozens of Minnesota nonprofits, Marie brings an understanding of the challenges nonprofits face in advocacy work and loves helping MCN’s members discover and harness their advocacy power.

Max P. Erickson has been in the events industry for over a decade, with experience in a wide variety of events: nonprofit, corporate, hotel and catering, weddings, and special focus on fundraising and cultivation events. At Park Nicollet Foundation, Max is responsible for producing and managing a suite of fundraising and donor cultivation events, leading with a creative and mission-driven edge. He has a passion for bringing people together for a common cause.

Joan Grathwol Olson is vice president of Creative Fundraising Advisors. Joan is an experienced nonprofit leader with strengths in advancement strategy, campaign planning, and execution. Joan’s background spans 30+ years in the Minnesota nonprofit development arena, including leading Minnesota’s largest arts fundraising campaign – the $103 million campaign for the Minneapolis Institute of Art (2003-2006). Joan also designed and launched the first-ever capital campaign by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (2009-2014). Prior development work included roles at Minnesota Public Radio, Twin Cities Public Television, and WomenVenture. As a fundraising consultant, Joan has worked with organizations as diverse as Project Success (program expansion campaign) to the Minnesota Museum of American Art (museum construction and launch), and Lundstrum Performing Arts (fundraising growth and campaign planning).

Rebecca Haddad has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector including roles in both project management and fund development. She is currently at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where she has worked for five years as a senior gift officer developing strategic partnerships. She began her career at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and has since consulted and worked at nonprofits with missions related to education, science, and youth development. She earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Montana – Missoula and her bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work at Miami University. Her skills include management, leadership, development, communications, and community development. She currently serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter and the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access committee.  

Jennifer Halcrow founded Corvus North in 2015 to support fundraising for organizations that are in periods of growth and transition. She provides strategic advice, builds capital campaigns, refreshes annual fundraising efforts, and helps her clients build systems to manage information, recruit leaders, and on-board fundraising staff. Her experience leading nonprofit marketing and fundraising teams has resulted in more than $135 million in charitable giving for important causes in the upper Midwest. After years of working closely with high net worth individuals committed to philanthropy, Jennifer created the Corvus North Values Indicator ™. This confidential, online survey tool helps donors focus on the meaning of their gifts and derive more satisfaction from their giving. She maintains certified fundraising executive status and required registration and bonding in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Brighid Hansen is chief executive officer of Hansen Henley Yoder & Lamb. Brighid is a development professional with 35 years of experience in national and senior level positions. She has conducted major annual, capital, and endowment campaigns for organizations such as: The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The National Park Foundation, Great Lakes Aquarium, Minnesota Diversified Industries, The Nature Conservancy, and Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Brighid has worked with nonprofits helping to raise over $200M throughout her career. A former chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter, she has broad experience in relationship building and public relations and has worked with major philanthropists across the country. Brighid is a certified fundraising executive.

JoAnn Hawkins is an HR Professional with over eight years of experience working on strategic planning and organizational development. She has SHRM-CP certification, an M.A. from the University of St. Thomas, and an HR Compliance certificate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. JoAnn joined the leadership team at Women’s Advocates, where she is the director of operations & HR, and oversees all three: facilities, technology, and human resources. Prior to this, JoAnn worked in operations at Twin Cities PBS for over 11 years, where she led a major building remodel project, managed internal events, worked on strategic planning, and was a leader in operations where she implemented innovative ways to manage different systems in facilities and production operations.

Mario Hernandez, strategic services director, joined Propel in the late spring of 2017 and comes with several years of experience leading local nonprofits and serving on nonprofit boards. He has led organizations through growth periods and periods of change. Mario recently managed the for-profit business ventures of a local nonprofit and used his creative, entrepreneurial, and analytical skills to lead those ventures to profitability. Mario’s experience includes improving the operations of organizations and increasing board effectiveness. Prior to joining Propel, Mario worked as an independent consultant with organizations such as the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council and Electric Machete Studios. At Propel, Mario works with nonprofits to connect their strategic goals with day-to-day business operations. Mario currently serves on four board of directors for local Twin Cities organizations.

Daniel Hilliker is a pediatric psychologist and chair of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He has worked in children’s hospitals and pediatric specialty clinics for 23 years, with a focus on promoting adjustment to chronic and/or life-limiting illness in children and families. He has also worked with other health care providers and learners on developing approaches to self-care and coping with vicarious traumatization. Dan has a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

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Jaylani Hussein is currently the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Jaylani previously worked as the community liaison officer at Metro State University and as a planner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. In 2013, he created Zeila Consultants to develop and offer cross-cultural training workshops on East African cultures. Hussein has presented on the Somali Culture to diverse public and private organizations across the US. He specializes in the areas of urban planning, community development, youth development, legal and civil rights. Jaylani's family emigrated from Somalia to Minnesota in 1993 and he is trilingual (English, Somali, Arabic). He holds degrees in community development and city planning from St. Cloud State University and political science from North Dakota State University.

Sarah Jackson is a loan officer and financial specialist at Propel Nonprofits. She has more than a decade of experience working with and for nonprofit organizations in Minnesota including roles as executive director of the Minnesota News Council and program director for the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Sarah enjoys helping nonprofit leaders decipher and understand the often exclusionary language of finance. As a lender, trainer, and partner, Sarah works closely with nonprofits in the upper Midwest supporting their important mission-driven work. She has degrees in journalism and philosophy from the University of Minnesota.

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Sherry Johnson, Cultivate Strategy, LLC, understands the power of a clear, compelling, and shared purpose as a baseline for community and organizational development. She believes that when people examine implicit assumptions—from multiple perspectives, alongside accessible data—groups are primed for trust and triumph. Sherry engages intuition, promotes mindfulness, and inspires shifts in long-held beliefs that hold groups back. After a 10-year career in high school classrooms, Sherry transitioned into community engagement work with nonprofits and small businesses across the Twin Cities and Seattle. She is a certified ToP© facilitator, a qualified ToP© trainer, and a certified facilitator of the Diamond Inclusiveness Assessment™. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and a master of education from the University of St. Catherine.

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Allison Johnson Heist is senior program officer for Leadership and Learning at Headwaters Foundation for Justice. At the foundation, she manages the Giving Project, a cross-class and multiracial participatory funding process that resources movements for social change. As someone who was raised middle-class, Allison sees philanthropy as a tool for social change and sees her role in philanthropy as a donor organizer and resource mobilizer. Allison is pursuing a master’s degree in leadership for social transformation at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She is a former Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow, serves on the Resource Generation board, and is a founding board member of Exodus Lending, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending predatory lending practices in Minnesota.

Jonathan C. W. Jones is an award-winning educator, founder, and CEO of SJC Consulting, LLC. He works with educators, schools, districts, nonprofit professionals and under-resourced communities through proposal workshops, coaching, consulting, and innovation. His passion lies across the intersections of education, business, and philanthropy. Jonathan believes in the power of ideas and helping others realize they have the power to make their ideas into reality, ideation. Jonathan has landed several local and national grants and awards from the Bush Foundation to NASA, and collaborated with several organizations such as AdoptAclassroom.org, Awesome Foundation, and Saint Paul Public Schools. His company was recently nominated by Social Enterprise Alliance - Twin Cities Impact List. Jonathan holds a bachelor degree in special education from Xavier University, a master's degree in special education, and K-12 principal license from University of Minnesota. 

Savita Katarya is a lifelong learner and has passion for equity, education, and developing people and processes. She serves as senior organizational equity strategist at the Diversity Council. Savita holds a master’s in organizational leadership and a B.S. in human resource management and finance. In addition, she is qualified administrator for Intercultural Development Inventory, certified Global Career Development facilitator, and financial health counselor. Savita has extensive experience in diversity facilitation, curriculum/program development, and financial/career counseling. She is an alumni of Collaborative Leadership Fellows, Art of Participatory Leadership and Equity Works leadership institute, and has served on various education, equity, and intercultural focused collaborative workgroups. Originally from India, she lived in Colorado and Illinois and has lived in Rochester for over 20 years.

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Jason Karpf is donor relations director for The Salvation Army Northern Division and served previously as a fundraising director for the American Red Cross. He teaches marketing, fundraising, and communication. Jason received an Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America’s Los Angeles chapter for co-managing media relations for the Santa Barbara district attorney during the Michael Jackson trial. Jason holds a master’s in communication from the University of Denver and a certificate in nonprofit management from Purchase College. He has published numerous articles and posts on marketing and is the author of Anatomy of a Massacre, a true-crime book detailing one of America’s worst mass shootings. His latest book is Developing a Christian Marketing Plan. 

Kris Kewitsch is the executive director of Charities Review Council, helping to ensure the Council delivers on its mission to be an independent resource so people are empowered to make informed and thoughtful giving decisions so they can be more effective in helping charities advance their important work. Prior to joining the Council, Kris worked in corporate philanthropy with Target Corporation, U.S. Bank, and Piper Jaffray, directing resources—both human and financial—to nonprofits across the country. Kris attended Gustavus Adolphus College, receiving a B.A. in sociology and anthropology. She has served on numerous boards, including the Corporate Volunteerism Council, National Council on Workplace Volunteerism, and the Volunteer Resource Center (now HandsOn Twin Cities). Kris was named to Twin Cities Business List of 100 to Know in 2017.

Andre Koen is an energetic presenter, powerful communicator, and a dynamic teacher, integrating his abilities as improvisational comedian, large group facilitator, keynote speaker, and teacher to educate his audience. Andre, currently serves as a program director for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester in the area of Diversity and Inclusion. As the program director, he works to educate the enterprise-wide community on best practices that exhibit Mayo Clinics’ values. Previously Andre worked as the Affirmative Action Officer at Anoka County. As an agent for change, group facilitator, and youth advocate, he believes that everyone has the capacity for leadership. With this understanding Andre has learned the skills needed to engage people from organizations to analyze their own bias, take cognitive control, and build on common values to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

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Joayne Larson is a certified coach who focuses on intercultural competence to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity goals. She recently returned to Minnesota bringing management experience from a variety of multicultural settings spanning three continents. Domestically, Joayne has worked in nonprofits and universities to train, coach, and facilitate transformational learning for professional and interpersonal growth. As Peace Corps staff she worked in Nicaragua and in Washington D.C. designing and facilitating training for overseas staff. She holds a B.A. in international relations from Tufts University and an M.A. in international training and education. Currently, Joayne is an adjunct professor in the Leadership Minor at the University of Minnesota and leads Sparks of Change LLC. She helps leaders who struggle with diversity by providing coaching and customized professional development for teams.  

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DeeDee LeMier serves as the engagement & outreach manager at Charities Review Council. She manages business development for the Accountability Standards® and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Toolkit® at the Council, serving Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and national accounts. She is a passionate community developer and organizer, with outreach experience across sectors. In her free time, she serves on the Pine City Planning Commission, volunteers around housing and food access issues, and hosts community events in her barn. Originally from Tenstrike, her career has included working with young people in rural communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, and Colorado. She resides near Pine City. DeeDee holds an MBA and a B.A. in communications from Hamline University.

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With over 20 years of extensive total rewards consulting and human resource leadership expertise across multiple industries, Robert Lemke brings a complementary perspective as both an advisor and practitioner to Gallagher clients. Bob’s strategic and analytic work helps clients create practical solutions through the use of internal and external data, workforce planning, stakeholder engagement, and supporting communication and infrastructure assessments. He specializes in leadership and staff compensation, incentive plan design, strategic workforce planning and analytics, and other practical total rewards consulting services that enable a client’s workforce strategies. Bob earned his master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Illinois State University, and has completed advanced studies in strategic decision and risk management from Stanford University. Bob is certified as a senior professional in human resources and a certified compensation professional.

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Jessica Mathias is the executive director at Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless (OYH). OYH believes that all Minnesotans should be free from hunger and homelessness. They fulfill their mission by providing financial support to over 200 homeless shelters, food shelves, and domestic violence shelters each year. Jessica has over a decade of diverse experience in the nonprofit sector. She is dedicated to ensuring OYH remains progressive and prepared in response to the needs/challenges facing the hungry and homeless community. Jessica has her M.A. in organizational leadership from St. Catherine’s University and her B.A. in international relations from St. Cloud State. 

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Ileana Mejia is the public policy advocate at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and is working to increase individual nonprofits' advocacy capacity through trainings, materials, and conversations, and advocating on behalf of the nonprofit sector as a whole to advance MCN’s mission. She most recently worked at a nonprofit as a community organizer where she focused on coalition building around equitable development and parks and green spaces. Ileana has a passion for inclusion and racial equity work, particularly in lifting up voices who have been historically left out of policy decisions that directly influence them. In addition, she has a master’s degree in public policy from Humphrey School of Public Affairs and completed a term of service with Public Allies AmeriCorps program.

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Shellie Metzler is a grants and marketing coordinator who works with Community Connection Allies to strengthen northern Pine County communities through partnerships and resource coordination that enrich the lives of residents with a focus on children, the disabled, families, low income persons, seniors, and veterans. Shellie believes working with and bringing together various businesses, groups, and organizations is rewarding and key to the success in developing and maintaining community support and services that would otherwise be unavailable or difficult to find. Being active on various community committees, fundraising, and outreach are the main areas Shellie uses in generating community awareness and supporters. Shellie has 15 years working in nonprofit corporations. 

Molly Moilanen is a vice president at ClearWay Minnesota (CWM), an independent nonprofit organization that improves the health of all Minnesotans by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Molly oversees CWM’s marking, communications, and public policy efforts and serves on the organization’s executive management team. For the past six years, Molly has co-chaired the Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation coalition. In 2013, the coalition helped pass the largest tobacco tax in Minnesota history which is projected to prevent nearly 50,000 youth from becoming addicted to tobacco. Since joining CWM in 2004, Molly has managed cessation programs, developed CWM’s local policy grant program, served on the strategic planning team, and helped pass the statewide smoking ban. 

Kia Moua is a racial equity and intercultural collaboration consultant and trainer, a social justice advocate, and a contracted facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference and Managing Implicit Bias for Law Enforcement anti-bias trainings. She is a co-developer of the Diamond Inclusiveness Assessment™ and a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory. She was a founder of the Hmong Women’s Oral History Project in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and has served on the boards of several community-based enterprises (West Side Safe Neighborhood Council, Hmong Women Achieving Together, West Side Community Organization). She holds a B.S from Viterbo University and master of human development from Saint Mary’s University. She currently works as a Child Welfare Foundations trainer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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Kelly Rietow helps leaders and organizations create simple and sustainable solutions to people and process challenges. She excels in aligning human resource and performance management systems with organizational strategies. With broad-based expertise in human resources, organizational development, facilitation and leadership, Kelly helps leaders and organizations be accountable and effective. Kelly has a particular passion for optimizing the performance of nonprofits and organizations experiencing growing pains. She founded Roo Solutions, LLC in 2009. A two-time recipient of the Employers Association Best Practices Award, Kelly earned her MBA from the University of St. Thomas and the professional in human resources certification through the Society for Human Resource Management.

Brigid Riley, B. E. Riley Consulting, LLC, supports nonprofits and government agencies in forwarding their important work. Using an array of tools and techniques, she is their guide in discerning individual, workgroup, and organizational next steps. Her practice is enhanced by years of experience in nonprofit executive leadership, nonprofit board service, and city and county community-focused public health programs. Brigid is a certified ToP© facilitator and a qualified ToP© trainer. She holds a B.A. from the University of St. Catherine, and a master of public health from the University of Minnesota. She is an alumna of the Policy Fellows program at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs, and the Emerging Leaders Network, a leadership development program of Minnesota public health associations. 

Kate Rykhus is the founder of CoCreated Consulting LLC, a firm committed to helping organizations do change better by focusing on leadership resilience, team health, and culture building. Before dedicating herself full-time to CoCreated, Kate spent 15 years in corporate human resources working in industries ranging from heavy equipment manufacturing to academic healthcare. Her sweet spot is working through individual and organizational transformations. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from North Dakota State University and a master’s degree in human resources and industrial relations from the University of Minnesota. She’s a certified professional coach, Energy Leadership Index™ master practitioner, and Situational Leadership II® facilitator. Kate is privileged to serve on the board of directors of Women’s Advocates, a nonprofit serving women and children escaping domestic abuse.

Dee Sabol is executive director of the Diversity Council, an organization that has spent 30 years ensuring the people of Minnesota embrace diversity as a foundation for building a healthy, inclusive, and prosperous communities. Dee brings experience in cross-cultural communication and change management, and most recently she spent 15 years managing public affairs, strategic partnerships, and community and cultural engagement in El Paso County, Colorado. She has been deeply engaged in the areas of public-private collaboration, social equity, and sustainable growth. Dee received a bachelor’s degree in communications/sociology from the University of Colorado and a master’s in public administration/nonprofit management from Regis University. She’s taught courses in collaboration, governance, and marketing, and her entire career has aligned with equity and inclusion efforts in the U.S. 

Jennifer Scholl is a fundraising and engagement professional with over 15 years of experience. She is currently the mission advancement and legacy planning officer at the Science Museum of Minnesota. She has broad, deep, and proven skills in nonprofit leadership, donor relations, communications, and program management. Additionally, she has extensive experience in strategic planning, leadership, budgets, and management of board of trustees. She has also worked as a senior alumni relations and gift officer at the University of Minnesota and a community relations fundraiser at the United Way. She currently serves as vice chair of Doing Good Together, and holds a master’s from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, a bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a certificate in equity and diversity from the University of Minnesota.  

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Jamie Schumacher is the executive director of the West Bank Business Association, and works as a consultant for nonprofits and community organizations statewide. Also a visual artist and a writer, Jamie’s creative work has been featured in Pollen, the Star Tribune, and the Minnesota Women’s Press. Her book It’s Never Going To Work was released in 2018. Jamie graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master’s degree in innovation in nonprofit management, and she is the founder of Altered Esthetics, a community art space and arts advocacy organization. With abundant energy and passion for serving the community, Jamie has developed a specialty for helping organizations going through transition.

Regina Seabrook is the program manager for professional development at Equity Alliance MN.  She plans, coordinates, and provides educational equity focused professional and organizational learning in collaborative partnership with school leaders and for a network of schools and districts focused on improved educational outcomes for all students. Regina is a 20 year veteran educator. She earned bachelor degrees in sociology from Hamline University and social studies education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, a master’s degree in education from Hamline University, and her principal and superintendent credentials from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.  

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Samantha Sencer-Mura grew up in Minneapolis and became passionate about working to close educational opportunity gaps after her time as a student in the Minneapolis Public Schools, where she witnessed deep inequities within the system. She earned her B.A. in critical theory and social justice from Occidental College, and her master’s in school leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Since 2017, she has been the executive director at Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute, a youth writing center that serves over 2,000 Twin Cities students in grades K-12 annually. Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute is a chapter in development of 826 National, a network of creative writing centers with chapters in eight major cities. 

Sara Spiess brings more than 15 years of nonprofit fundraising and development experience to her current role as director of grants & foundation relations at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. Sara specializes in securing grants and gifts from corporate, foundation, and government agency partners to support mission-driven work. She works to develop and steward a broad base of strategic partnerships among key stakeholders. Sara holds a B.A. from New York University, a St. Thomas fundraising certificate, and is a 2016 graduate of the Leadership Saint Paul program of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. Sara has served on the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter. She is an active community volunteer.

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Julie Strand is a poet, teaching writer, and the COMPAS arts program director. Her poems have been published in the Western Humanities Review and the Heavy Feather Review. Julie has taught poetry at various spots around the U.S., including the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Surel’s Place in Boise, Idaho, and the Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Boise State University, and has worked at arts nonprofits for more than 10 years with a special interest in literary centers, teaching artist programs, program design, and evaluation.

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For over two decades Cassidy Titcomb has worked in the nonprofit arena as a strategist, communicator, and fundraiser. Currently, she serves as the senior director of strategic initiatives at Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington County, whose work is to partner with nearly 60,000 people annually to overcome poverty through service, education, and transformation. In this role, in addition to leading marketing, communication, and fundraising efforts, Cassidy also coordinated both the agency’s most recent Community Needs Assessment and the development of its current strategic plan. She has a master's degree in counseling from the University of Iowa and her B.A. from Colgate University where she studied philosophy.

Timothy J. Torgerson, president of Hansen Henley Yoder & Lamb (HHYL), is a development professional with extensive knowledge of capital campaigns and leadership giving. He has 37 years of experience in fundraising. Prior to joining HHYL, Tim served for 18 years with the American Cancer Society and successfully led campaigns totaling over $225 million. Tim’s responsibilities included acting as an internal campaign consultant to campaign projects across the country. He personally closed several large gifts including the largest gifts in the 105-year history of the American Cancer Society. Tim’s career also includes leadership positions with the YMCA, Salvation Army, Opportunity Partners and St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. Tim currently serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter.

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Arlene Vernon is a human resource strategist with over 30 years of experience as a consultant and trusted resource for a diverse group of small and medium-sized organizations. She’s seen first-hand what leaders face every day, and her results-oriented consulting and training successfully fills that gap. Having worked with over 500 for-profit and nonprofit organizations since starting her firm HRx in 1992, she partners with leaders to develop and implement do-able strategies to address the short-term challenges and long-term success of your organization. With an MBA and a master’s of education in counseling, Arlene is both a studied and practiced authority in human resources and human relations. She offers practical, real solutions through her consulting, advising, and training.

LaTrisha Vetaw is the health policy and advocacy manager at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in North Minneapolis. First elected in 2017, LaTrisha also serves as an at-large commissioner on the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. She is an experienced leader and community organizer. LaTrisha has worked in Minneapolis for more than a decade to help advocate for policies and programs that make Minneapolis a healthier place to live, work, and play. LaTrisha has created, led, and participated in numerous equity and advocacy coalitions. She served as the chair of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and facilitates Breathe Free North, a coalition of primarily African American, at-risk youth from North Minneapolis that works to reduce the harms of commercial tobacco.

Marcie Wagner is a veteran of the nonprofit industry. Her expertise is in the successful development, implementation, and sustainable growth of newly incorporated nonprofit organizations. Marcie is the founder and principal of ML Wagner Fundraising Group and Midwest Mindfulness Meditation Centre. She has a B.A. from the University of South Dakota and received certification in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through The University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has her certified fundraising executive credentials and is registered with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Minnesota Secretary of State. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Marcie’s Strengths, based on Gallup’s “Strengths Finder” are: Strategic, Restorative, Connectedness, Ideation, and Positivity.

Kerry Walsh is senior communication specialist at Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Kerry works with research teams and partner organizations to present clear and useful research results. As a non-researcher among social science experts, Kerry can be heard asking, “Why does that matter?” or “How can we say that in plain language?” When she’s not editing research reports or promoting the latest research, she loves to share that perfect resource to make your life easier. She has worked in nonprofit communications, fundraising, and information management for 20 years.

Jules Wilkins joined the Montessori Center of Minnesota (MCM) staff in 2019. As chief advancement officer, she oversees the fundraising efforts that support MCM’s programming, and coordinates the strategy for all MCM communications. An expert on donor communications and board development, Jules brings more than a decade of fundraising and donor communications experience to her role at MCM. Jules has presented on donor communications and board development at the Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference, the Nonprofit Innovation Conference, the MCN Nonprofit Leadership Conference, and many other local and national conferences. She writes and consults on donor communications at JulesWrites.com. She holds a B.A. from Drake University, and is a certified fundraising executive. Jules serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter.

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Katherine Wojtan is executive director of Mary’s Pence, a nonprofit working in the U.S. to provide funding to women’s groups working on social change, and funding and accompanying women’s groups in Central America and Mexico working on economic autonomy and empowerment. She came to Mary’s Pence with a background in strategic planning, project management, and training/facilitation, mostly in corporate settings. She has facilitated retreats on nonviolence and served as a core team member founding the Minnesota Peace Team which was created to provide a nonpartisan presence during the Republic National Convention in 2008. She currently serves on the board of Ignatian Volunteer Corps. She has experience with both grant writing and grant giving during her 11 years with Mary’s Pence.

Preeti Yonjon Feist is a first-generation immigrant of South Asian Diaspora from Nepal. Currently she is the program coordinator at The Written Gift, a nonprofit in Alexandria. Preeti has a master’s degree in gerontology from St. Cloud State University and is almost done with her master’s degree in social responsibility. She received her bachelor’s in psychology and sociology from Eastern New Mexico State University. Her yoga and meditation training includes the Theory and Practice of Teaching Ashtanga & Hatha Asanas, Pranayama, anatomy, ethics & yoga philosophy. In 2014, Preeti was chosen to represent St. Cloud State University as national Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow. She is the recipient of the Welter World Citizen Award for her anti-racism work in the St. Cloud Area. Preeti is a 2017 Blandin Leadership Training alumni.

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AsaleSol Young came into the Giving Project with a desire to understand how to better fund community-led initiatives, as well to understand her power as a Black fundraiser. With 10 years of experience as an educator, AsaleSol became the visionary and founder of a small charter school and learned intimately the challenges of funding Black-led, systems-change movements. Currently the marketing and development director for a small affordable housing nonprofit in North Minneapolis, leveraging hir background as an educator and a student of African-American history, AsaleSol continues to ideate ways to make fundraising more BIPOC-centric. In her current work, AsaleSol calls us to recognize the white supremacist history that created socio-economic gaps and disparities and now result in underfunded solutions.  

Amanda Ziebell Mawanda is a strategic services consultant at Propel Nonprofits. Amanda has a background in organizational leadership and development, including change management, strategic planning, and board development. She was formerly responsible for providing strategic network development in the areas education equity and faith-based action at the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership and the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, respectively. She has over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector as a consultant and is focused on building common vision, igniting creativity, and unleashing energy for positive change. Amanda holds a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in organizational leadership.