Eunice Adjei is the administrator for Create CommUNITY, who’s mission is to dismantle racism through systemic change and make St. Cloud a welcoming place for all. In addition to her work with Create CommUNITY, Eunice is the president of Adom Consulting LLC. Eunice serves on a number of boards including St. Cloud State University’s Alumni Association, and chairs the St. Cloud Regional Human Rights Commission and The Tri-County Action Program. Eunice holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.S in social responsibility. In 2012 Eunice was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans by the Mayor of St. Cloud. In 2015 Eunice was the first African to receive an Alumni Service Award from St. Cloud State University and to be recognized as St. Cloud’s Top 5 under 40.
Jennifer Baker, communications coordinator for Scott Carver Dakota Community Action Partnership (CAP), has a passion for communicating the mission of nonprofits to the public. In her seven years in the nonprofit sector, Jennifer has pursued new resources and tools to make it easier for organizations to clearly share their messages. In her current role, Jennifer has been responsible for the CAP Agency’s annual reports and has taken them from traditional booklets full of long-winded financial information to vibrant and essential vehicles for spreading the Agency’s goals and mission. Jennifer is also experienced in coordinating social media and online messaging and using these tools to enhance fundraising efforts. Jennifer holds an M.B.A. from Capella University
Kate Barr is president and C.E.O. of Propel Nonprofits, whose mission is to fuel the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise and capital. She oversees strategic and business planning, development and external relations. She led the merger of Nonprofits Assistance Fund and MAP for Nonprofits in 2017 to create a premier resource for nonprofits. She is a national leader, speaker and writer on nonprofit strategy and finance. Before joining the organization in 2000, Kate was a bank executive and an arts administrator. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards, currently for Borealis Philanthropy, and the Jerome and Camargo Foundations.
Kara Beckman is a senior evaluator at the University of Minnesota's Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center. She has nearly 15 years of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence and practice-based programs. Her position includes providing evaluation contract and evaluation capacity building services to schools, community-based organizations, research studies, and health departments as they implement positive youth development programs. Kara's program evaluation practice prioritizes using data to improve practice, tailoring methods based on the developmental needs of children and adolescents, and incorporating an equity lens at all stages of the evaluation.
Karla Benson Rutten is the founder and C.E.O. of Benson Rutten Innovations, a coaching, consulting and training firm focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a facilitator, trainer, consultant, and advocate, Karla works proactively and collaboratively with people, organizations, and communities to ensure their working and living environments are inclusive, equitable, safe, and welcoming for all people. Karla has 19 years of experience in higher education, diversity, social justice, and sexual violence prevention program development; intercultural communication; facilitation and training; building community partnerships; and creating strong, diverse and equitable communities. In August 2018, Karla began a new role as the vice president of Community Engagement at Girl Scouts River Valleys.
Tim Benz is president of the Minnesota Independent School Forum, the largest statewide organization serving nonpublic schools in Minnesota. Tim has served in fundraising and marketing roles at College of Saint Benedict, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Cretin-Derham Hall and the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls. During his 20+ year career, Tim believes there is no shortcut around implementing best practices in any size nonprofit. Tim was recognized as the Outstanding Professional Fundraiser in 2016 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter and has held the certified fundraising executive designation since 2005.
Jesse Bethke Gomez is the executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living, which serves the seven county Metropolitan area. He has spent 22 successive years as a chief executive officer. Jesse is a National Kellogg fellow, and a contributing author to Forbes.com and Missionbox.com. He one of Minnesota Physician Publishing’s “100 Influential Healthcare Leaders in Minnesota” and a Freedom Bell Award recipient. Jesse is also a current at-large commission member of the Minnesota Judicial Selection Commission. He has a master of management and administration degree Metropolitan State University and a certificate from the Minnesota Executive Program for Advanced Strategic Leadership at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.
Kara Bixby is co-owner and evaluation director at WithInsight, bringing expertise in program evaluation, data analytics and research. She is passionate about evaluation capacity building - helping others leverage the power of data and processes to learn and improve their work. Kara has trained hundreds of nonprofit organizations to strategically use data for continuous improvement. Her unique approach to evaluation brings life and new perspectives to traditional evaluation tools like logic models and evaluation plans. Kara believes that when done well, evaluation can give voice to students and families, empower staff to learn and develop their skills, and change systems to become equitable and effective.
Misty Blue is a research associate at Rainbow Research, At Rainbow, she is committed to transforming disjointed data into a meaningful synthesis that can be owned and useful to communities. She works on a portfolio of evaluation, evaluation capacity-building, and technical assistance projects in Minnesota and the Midwest. Some of her projects include the first comprehensive evaluation of Tiwahe Foundation’s micro-granting program, evaluating Greater Twin Cities United Way’s food system investments in North Minneapolis, and supporting grantees that are a part of Northwest Area Foundation’s Reservation-Based Work Opportunity Initiative. Misty graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health with a concentration in maternal and child health and a minor in evaluation studies.
Karmit Bulman is the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration’s (MAVA) executive director. 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. She is a service enterprise trainer and consultant and author of Promoting Job Equity for Volunteer Engagement Professionals.
Philip C. Bushnell began his career with Gallagher in 1980, working as a benefits consultant based in Gallagher’s corporate headquarters. Over the years Philip began concentrating more on serving clients in the religious and nonprofit sector, ultimately taking on the responsibility of bringing focus and best practices to Gallagher employee benefit consultants working in the religious and nonprofit space. In 2002 he was named the managing director of the Religious and Nonprofit Practice. Philip has been on the board of the St. Louis Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, is a member of the American Management Association, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, the Society for Human Resource Management, and several insurance company broker advisory boards. He holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Northern Illinois University.
Laurie Casey has been a Women’s Health Center staff member since it was established in 1981 and became the executive director in 2008. She has worked for over 30 years to reduce barriers and keep access open for reproductive health care services for populations in Northeastern Minnesota. Laurie graduated from the University of Minnesota – Duluth with a degree in community health education. Laurie oversees the clinic operations, finances, fundraising, planning, and community relations, in addition to co-managing the Building for Women as a general partner. Laurie has been an active participating member of the National Abortion Federation, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, NARAL, Feminist Abortion Network, Abortion Care Network, and Reproductive Health Alliance.
Elise Chambers is the program director of the Conflict Resolution Center, an attorney and a qualified neutral under Rule 114. Beginning with her experiences as a youth volunteer trainer, Elise has developed, presented and evaluated training curriculum for a variety of audiences and topics. Through her work as a criminal defense lawyer representing adults and juveniles at the Minnesota Law Collective, a nonprofit she founded, Elise trained and mentored certified student attorneys to represent low-income criminal defense clients in court. Elise also ran the nonpartisan national Election Protection voters' rights coalition in Minnesota in collaboration with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Elise has also co-authored and presented published research regarding youth brain development and the mutual impacts of the juvenile justice system and adolescent mental illness on each other.
Sarah Cohn is a principal consultant at Aurora Consulting. She helps her clients discern their audience’s needs; think about their roles and opportunities as departments, organizations and within broader networks; and build their internal capacity to measure the impact of their organizations and programs. In her experience, complex collaborations with diverse partners succeed when they build in time for listening and honest reflection. She sees her clients as the content experts and herself as the facilitator of nuanced conversations.
Amanda Colegrove is the Safe Harbor Expansion Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health. She is managing the process of integrating a response for labor trafficked youth up to age 24 into Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Program. Previously, she was the organizer for the Coalition Against Trafficking & Exploitation in St. Louis, Missouri. Along with coordinating the coalition’s work of raising public awareness, she trained law enforcement, social service providers, and healthcare professionals to recognize human trafficking in their professional setting. For her master’s degree she developed a model for assessing the risk of human trafficking in Missouri using qualitative characteristics known to increase the likelihood of trafficking in persons, which is being used in the St. Louis/Southern Illinoin region to target new geographies for prevention and awareness.
Melinda Conness is the director of finance & administration at Minnesota Zoo Foundation. The Minnesota Zoo Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help realize the mission of the Minnesota Zoo by raising contributed income from individuals, corporations, and foundations; securing planned gifts; hosting special events; and advocating on behalf of the Zoo. Melinda has a B.S. in psychology from Lewis and Clark College and a mini M.B.A. in non-profit management from the University of St. Thomas.
Carlo M. Cuesta is the founding principal and managing partner of Creation In Common. Carlo brings 25 years’ experience working for and consulting with nonprofit organizations. Carlo has worked on engagements with Greater Twin Cities United Way, Scholarship America, Minnesota Children’s Museum, Minnesota Housing Partnership, Youthprise, South Dakota State University, The Family Pathways, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Saint Paul Foundation, Arc Greater Twin Cities, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Care Providers of Minnesota, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, Opportunity Partners, Phillips Family Foundation, Sidney Health Center, National Council on Family Relations, Pillsbury United Communities, Minnesota State Arts Board and Walker Art Center. Carlo is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota. He serves as vice chairman of the board of directors for the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. In addition, he is a contributing writer to the Nonprofit Quarterly. He received his M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.
Donte Curtis is the owner of Catch Your Dream Consulting/Coaching where he mentors, inspires, and trains individuals and teams nationwide on leadership development, racial equity, entrepreneurship, and making effective change. Donte supports his clients to excel in their dreams and discover new alternatives. With over eight years of facilitation experience, Donte is adapt to fostering the collective wisdom in the room and creates space to make sure everyone voice is heard. Probably one of the most energetic people you will ever meet, Donte lives a life that is dedicated to leadership, social justice, and liberation.
Nicki Donlon, partner in the not-for-profit services group, joined Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP in 2010. Prior to joining Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, Nicki spent over 10 years at an international firm serving audit clients in many different industries including nonprofits, healthcare providers, public sector and financial services. She has a bachelor of science in accounting with a finance minor from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Her awards and achievements include: 40 Under 40 Award (2014), Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; Top Women in Finance Award (2012), Finance & Commerce; and Distinguished Achievement Award (2000), Minnesota Society of CPAs.
As a consultant with Gallagher, Jack Duffy focuses primarily on partnering with nonprofits. He utilizes employee benefits when partnering with nonprofits to attract, retain, and engage their employees. He believes that benchmarking, communication, and education are essential to improving healthcare. Jack has been with Gallagher since 2012. He began in Gallagher’s Summer Sales Internship Program and has since been an associate consultant, small group team leader, large group team leader and now consultant. Jack enjoys coaching and scouting hockey and formed Competitive Edge Goaltending, LLC in 2008 while attending the University of St. Thomas.
Victoria Ford manages the Itasca Executive Diversity Cohorts and supports the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute at the Wilder Foundation. She has over a decade of experience in developing programming for civic engagement and leadership development. Prior to joining the Shannon Leadership Institute team, Victoria served as director of leadership development and design for Leadership for Educational Equity and policy manager of the Citizens League.
Maryan Gaafaa, research & evaluation intern, is working towards her undergraduate degree in psychology and research at Metropolitan State University. Maryan spent a significant amount of time in high school working with children and developed a deep interest in learning from people. She was introduced to the world of research and evaluation through her internship at Rainbow Research and has fallen in love with it. One of her greatest strengths is working on qualitative research projects. Maryan is a very detail oriented person, and she finds herself utilizing this skill frequently in her work. Maryan has been at Rainbow Research for over a year and continues to grow from her work. Maryan’s main goal is discovering ways to break false stigmas that come with being a Muslim immigrant woman.
Rachel Garaghty is the development manager for ServeMinnesota. ServeMinnesota works with AmeriCorps members and community partners to meet critical needs throughout Minnesota. At ServeMinnesota, Rachel manages annual development planning to sustain $1-3 million in private fundraising from institutional, corporate and individual funders. Previously she was a development officer at the Perkins School for the Blind and a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Navy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and a master's degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Dan Gardeen is the founder, creative visionary, and digital marketing powerhouse behind Adnomadic, a Minnesota-based paid search and social ad company. With four years spent in the nonprofit senior living space and seven years of marketing experience, he’s done everything from lead generation, creative production, and psychographic targeting to brand revitalization, campaign execution, and performance analysis. After managing Facebook ad accounts with $3M+ in annual media spend and implementing advanced digital tactics across an array of industries, in 2017, Dan packaged his unique skill set into a digital marketing solution committed to restless, relentless boundary pushing. With a love for strategically crafted holistic vision, full-funnel user experience, data-focused optimization, and brand acceleration, Dan brings a variety of perspective and passion to his work.
Brian Garshelis is the executive director of New Sector Alliance, Inc. A recognized national leader in social impact and leadership development, Brian became New Sector’s executive director in 2017. He joined the New Sector team in 2011 in San Francisco as chief of staff and special assistant to the founder and C.E.O. He has served the organization in various capacities since that time, including San Francisco Bay Area site director and founding Twin Cities site director. His previous professional experience includes working for Jumpstart, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Barnes & Conti Associates, and Spotlight Consulting, a professional training and coaching firm. Brian holds a B.A. in political science from the University of St. Thomas.
Donald Gault is the founder of Building Peaceful Community, a consulting practice dedicated to reconnecting humanity with humane which provides training, consultation and planning facilitation in the Twin Cities and nationwide. He worked at Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health from 1987-2016, managing the department's Healthy Communities Section and co-founding The Initiative for Peaceful Families and Communities in Ramsey County. Primary areas of focus with Building Peaceful Community include promoting healthy, productive workplaces, peaceful and healthy lives for men and boys, and building respectful, nurturing communities for children and youth to grow and thrive. Donald has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Northeastern Illinois University and a master of arts degree from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Kitty Gogins, principal, Kitty Gogins Strategic Planning Services, is a strategic planning consultant helping organizations envision and plan their future with an equity lens. She has twenty years of experience serving on the boards of social service and education related nonprofit organizations, including eight years as president of the International Institute of Minnesota. Prior to consulting, she served as executive director of a workforce investment board and in leadership roles at General Mills, Pillsbury, and CHS.
Madeline Graham is co-founder of Significant Digits, a web development firm based in Minneapolis. In this role, she works with small businesses, foundations, and nonprofits to launch new websites, rebrand websites, and add features to existing sites. She has worked with Urban Gateways, Sheltering Arms Foundation, Emerge Community Development, Studio/E, and Recycling Association of Minnesota, among others. Prior to her current role, Madeline spent nearly five years in nonprofit communications for the Social Enterprise Alliance and Emerge Community Development. She currently serves on the board of Xperitas and is a former board member and big fan of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network – Twin Cities. She is a graduate of Macalester College.
Melissa Harrison is founder and C.E.O. of Allee Creative, a marketing and events agency. As a marketing professional with 15+ years of experience in marketing strategy and content management, branding and business development, Melissa specializes in nonprofit, association, and B2B marketing. Named a “Top Young Entrepreneur” by Minnesota Business Magazine, Melissa is a national speaker on content marketing, business strategy, and entrepreneurship. She was named one of 100 women to watch in the U.S. as part of The Inspirational Women Project and in 2017, was selected as an SBA Emerging Leader as well as inducted into the DeForest Area High School’s Alumni Hall of Fame for her outstanding achievements in her industry. She is a four-time recipient of the Hermes Creative Award and serves on the advisory board for BARNCO.
Katie Hessen, STEM content & outreach specialist, works with teams from SciGirls and Twin Cities PBS’ National Productions to create and disseminate content and educational resources. Katie writes educational materials, and contributes to media production projects. She also supports partner organization nationwide who are implementing SciGirls programs through monthly webinars, in-person and online trainings, supplying materials, and helping curate online tools. Katie has worked in STEM education for 10 years, including teaching college physics and astronomy, teaching in science museums, participating in NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s education team, and coaching high school robotics. She holds a master of science degree in geophysics.
Kim Hunwardsen is a tax partner at Eide Bailly LLP and oversees the firm’s Exempt Organization Tax Practice. During her over 24 years serving nonprofit organizations, Kim has developed an extensive understanding of the tax and compliance issues affecting tax-exempt organizations. As part of her role, she works with boards of her clients to address potential challenges facing these organizations and best practices in board governance. Kim serves as president of the board of directors at a nonprofit organization and uses this experience to provide perspective on issues of importance to boards. Kim speaks regularly to nonprofit and health care groups throughout the country on issues related to their tax-exempt status and board governance issues.
Maria Isley is the network regional manager for Minnesota Public Radio, based in Duluth. Previously Maria was the Northeast Minnesota regional coordinator for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, where she provided local trainings, initiatives, and connections to the resources MCN provides in the northeast region. Prior to working with MCN, Maria worked and volunteered with a variety of nonprofits in the Duluth region, including Benedictine Health Systems, Duluth Art Institute, and served on League of Women Voters Minnesota board, YWCA Duluth, and as board chair for League of Women Voters Duluth. She currently is on the boards of Ordean Foundation, Whole Foods Co-op, and is board chair of the Women's Health Center. Maria holds a marketing degree from the College of St. Scholastica and served two years of AmeriCorps VISTA.
Veena Iyer is a shareholder at Nilan Johnson Lewis PA. She counsels and represents employers in all areas of employment law. She specializes in counseling and representing nonprofits in a range of employment law matters and regularly advises clients and writes articles on religious accommodations in the employment setting. She has served as a law clerk for judges at the state and federal levels, and she previously worked for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago representing low-income individuals in family, immigration and housing matters. She is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and an honors graduate of the University of Chicago.
Sangeeta Jha is originally from India. She came to the U.S. as a graduate student in 1986. Sangeeta is a faculty member at St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC). She joined SCTCC in 2011 after nearly 10 years of teaching sociology and anthropology at St. Cloud State University. She currently teaches sociology, anthropology, gerontology, and women’s studies. Besides teaching, she serves on several committees, associations, and organizations, both on and off campus. Sangeeta holds dual bachelor of arts (honors) in sociology and education; dual master’s degrees in sociology and anthropology and Ph.D. in sociology.
Kirsten M. Johnson is the director of Community Engagement and Systems Change at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation where she manages a portfolio of community-driven projects aimed at creating equity. Kirsten’s work focuses on engagement, collaboration, and systems change addressing complex challenges impacting the communities that Wilder serves. She brings the lenses of emotional intelligence, intercultural competence, and network weaving to all of her work. Kirsten studied political science and women’s studies at the University of Minnesota and has worked in the nonprofit sector on collaboration and community development for over 15 years. Prior to coming to the Wilder Foundation, Kirsten’s work supported a variety of nonprofit organizations including the StreetWorks Collaborative, VEAP, and Arc Greater Twin Cities.
Vina Kay is the executive director at Voices for Racial Justice. The daughter of immigrant parents from Thailand, she was raised in Omaha and is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Minnesota Law School. She worked for several years with john powell at the Institute on Race and Poverty, first as legal fellow and then as senior researcher and director of the Racial Justice and Regional Equity Project. Vina is a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, as well as a documentary filmmaker. Her current project, Building the Pink Tower, reimagines schools and learning through the lens of Montessori education.
Curtis Klotz, vice president of finance & chief financial officer, oversees the finance, IT and operations activities of Propel Nonprofits. He is also a member of Propel Nonprofits’ training and consulting team. Curt has worked in nonprofits for over 30 years, both in program and financial management. Prior to joining Propel Nonprofits, he served as vice president, finance and administration, for Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio and as director of finance & administration at the Indian Law Resource Center in Montana. He was the past chairperson of the Montana Nonprofit Association. Curt has provided management consulting and accounting for a variety of nonprofits and was an adjunct faculty member in the Business Department at Carroll College. Curt is a licensed certified public accountant and a graduate of St. Olaf College.
Sarah Koschinska, senior director of Resident Services, has worked at Project for Pride (PPL) in Living for 20 years and has supported the organization and our communities in several capacities. In her current role, Sarah oversees services for youth and adult residents living in PPL affordable and supportive housing throughout the Twin Cities. She leads a team of program directors and staff, and oversees program design, service delivery, and outcome evaluation. Sarah’s skill base includes strategic planning, developing community partnerships, resident engagement strategies, creating new programs, and data-driven decision making. Sarah came to PPL with direct service experience working with youth and families at the Bridge for Runaway Youth and Liberty Plaza. She received a B.A. in justice and peace studies from the University of St. Thomas.
Rachel Kraemer is the owner of Change Group International, focusing on organizational change, development and process improvement. Rachel’s doctorate is in organization development from the University of St. Thomas. Rachel is certified in PMI Agile project management and Prosci Change Management. She is involved in Toastmasters and is most passionate about working with organizations in change, while enhancing performance and increasing the effectiveness of leadership in the workplace. Rachel is a published author on topics such as stress management, workforce planning, leadership, and leading change. She has participated in many projects that have helped teams reach their goals successfully.
Josh LaBau has spent most of his career in nonprofit social enterprises, focusing primarily on digital marketing and growth strategy. After hitting technological walls too many times, he made a career switch to software engineering, and later co-founded Significant Digits in part to help social purpose organizations provably further their missions with technology. He is also lead developer at Local Crate, a venture-backed Minnesota startup that aims to flip the food system back to its local roots nationwide.
Madeline Lohman is a senior researcher with The Advocates for Human Rights. She conducts research, community education and outreach, and legislative advocacy on immigrant rights in Minnesota. She also specializes in trainings and technical assistance on human rights advocacy for social justice organizations, as well as international monitoring and reporting, primarily on the death penalty. She recently published a report on labor trafficking and exploitation in Minnesota and is part of The Advocates’ team on combating human trafficking in Minnesota. As part of The Advocates’ work against labor trafficking, she also convened a working group of government experts to design a self-assessment card for labor trafficking victims as well as trainings and materials to accompany the card.
Jean Lubke is the executive director of the East Metro Integration District/Equity Alliance MN in the Twin Cities. Jean has also held district curriculum and instruction director’s positions in Eden Prairie, St. Paul, and Rochester districts. She created and led the corporate training and development department for Imation after it was spun off from 3M. She holds a B.S. in elementary education from Moorhead State University, an M.A. in curriculum from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in curriculum systems and adult learning from the University of Minnesota.
Rebecca Lucero, public policy director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s advocacy agenda locally and nationally, and lobbying on behalf of Minnesota’s nonprofit sector. Prior to joining MCN, Rebecca served as policy and advocacy manager for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, where she helped pass $100 million bonding in the Homes for All campaign. Rebecca has also worked as senior community representative in the Minnesota office of Representative Keith Ellison, an unemployment law judge with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and an attorney in private practice with a small firm and with Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis. She has a law degree from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in political science from Grinnell College.
Joel Luedtke is the program director at The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota. Joel serves as the point person for the Foundation’s Student-Centered Learning grantmaking strategy, and has primary responsibly for the Foundation’s overall impact and evaluation efforts. Joel also has experience in adult workforce development. He managed the Phillips Sectoral Employment Initiative, and currently serves on the board of the Minneapolis St. Paul Workforce Innovation Network. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2007, Joel served as the director of the Minnesota Council of Churches’ Refugee Services program. He supervised a staff of 14 that provided a range of services to new refugee arrivals. Joel earned a master of public administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor of arts degree from Gustavus Adolphus College.
Paul W. Mattessich is executive director of Wilder Research, which dedicates itself to improving the lives of individuals, families, and communities through applied research. Paul has assisted local, national, and international organizations with strategic planning, organizational improvement, and evaluation. He travels regularly to Northern Ireland, where he assists organizations addressing youth development, community development, and the promotion of peace among groups from divided communities. Paul has been involved in applied social research since 1973 and is the author or coauthor of more than three hundred publications and reports. He has also served on a variety of task forces in government and the nonprofit sectors. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Minnesota, where he currently serves as an adjunct faculty in the School of Social Work.
Amee McDonald is vice president for marketing at United Theological Seminary. In 2011, Amee co-founded jabber logic: a branding and ad agency for nonprofits. After two years serving as the agency of record for United, she joined the executive team in February 2018. Amee has been honored as one of AdFed’s 2014 32 Under 32, Minnesota Business Magazine’s 2015 35 Entrepreneurs under 35, and Minnesota Business Magazine's 2016 The (Real) Power 50. In the community, Amee teaches brand management, buying behavior, and principles of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.
Repa Mekha serves as president and C.E.O. of Nexus Community Partners, a community building intermediary that works at the intersection of community building and community development, engaging communities of color to achieve equitable, sustainable neighborhood revitalization in the Twin Cities region. Repa has 30+ years of experience in community-based leadership, community capacity building, asset and wealth building strategies, organizational leadership and development, and systems change work, particularly in urban settings. He has been recognized locally and nationally as an innovative and visionary leader.
Driven by a commitment to equity and wholeness, Sindy Morales Garcia works with Wilder’s Community Initiatives team to catalyze the cultural shifts needed to co-create transformational and sustainable change. Her work is informed by a rich tapestry of experiences in higher-education advocacy, community collaborations, and faith-based activism. As a facilitator, Sindy enjoys cultivating spaces of meaningful reflection and dialogue that enable participants to strategically advance new thinking and action in their lives and work. Originally from Guatemala, Sindy comes from a family of community organizers. She has a degree in reconciliation studies at Bethel University, community organizing and public policy at the Silberman School of Social Work, and liberation theology and social ethics at Union Theological Seminary.
Daniel Moshe is the founder of Tech Guru, the premier source for cloud and technology services in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Dan and Tech Guru service B2B businesses and nonprofit organizations with 10-100 users. Tech Guru was built on the ground of Dan’s core values: caring, accountable, responsive, and empathy. Though the company has grown, it continues to focus on exceptional computer support. Clients look to Tech Guru for services like cloud computing or comprehensive outsourced business technology support. When he’s not running Tech Guru, Dan serves on the Accelerator subcommittee and Central Regional Council of Entrepreneurs Organization, where he’s the Central Regional Accelerator director and engages entrepreneurs to learn and grow.
Heidi Neff Christianson is a shareholder at Nilan Johnson Lewis PA and chair of the firm's corporate practice group. Heidi counsels nonprofits, associations, and health care providers on compliance, governance, tax and corporate matters. Heidi has worked with nonprofits in private practice since 2004. Before that, Heidi regulated nonprofits as an attorney in the Charities Division of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Heidi is co-chair of the Nonprofit Corporations committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association, former chair of the Charities Review Council of Minnesota board of directors, and a current member of the board of Propel Nonprofits.
Suzanne Oh is the fearless director at The BrandLab; an organization dedicated to creating a bias-free and inclusive marketing industry that thrives on the insights and creativity of people with diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Before The BrandLab, Suzanne moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Macalester College and she has been in the Twin Cities ever since. Suzanne has worked at several education nonprofits. She recently graduated from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a master’s in public policy, a nonprofit management certificate, and a concentration in education equity and social policy analysis.
Paula O’Loughlin is grateful to be with Equity Alliance MN where she has worked for the past seven years. In her current role as program manager, Paula oversees the Classroom Partnership Programming and facilitates professional learning and development to expand cultural responsiveness, intercultural competency, and racial consciousness. Paula is in her forth year on the school board for Stillwater Area Public Schools where she is committed to delivering student-centered, equitable outcomes for each and every student. Paula graduated from St. Catherine’s University with a degree in elementary education with a middle school mathematics specialty and is a licensed educator.
Karen Olson is the founder of The Courage Agency, which offers neuroscience-based coaching and retreats for mission-driven professionals. She’s also a guide and trainer for Museum Sage, which provides leadership and team building experiences in art museums. Since 2008, Karen has edited Public Art Review, a magazine about international public art and transformational placemaking published by Forecast Public Art, a nonprofit in St. Paul. She recently served on the board of Rain Taxi, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that publishes a national book review and hosts the Twin Cities Book Festival. Karen has interviewed and written about thought leaders and creatives at the cutting edge of consciousness for nearly 20 years as a freelance writer, and formerly as editor-in-chief of Utne Reader.
Brandi Olson is the founder and principal at The Olson Group, a collective of leaders and practitioners who build the capacity of mission-driven organizations to deepen their impact through strategy development, practical evaluation, and agile coaching. Brandi combines her expertise in education and human-centered design along with a decade of experience in organizational learning and change to partner with nonprofit leaders in using agile practices to solve complex social challenges with more efficiency and greater team engagement every step of the way.
Renae Oswald Anderson, partner of Strategic Consulting & Coaching, LLC brings knowledge from over 30 years of leadership and management in health and human service organizations. She has worked with many boards of directors regarding strategic planning, resource development, mergers and realignments, and governance issues. Since joining Strategic Consulting & Coaching in 2014, Renae has provided an array of leadership transition services for area nonprofits including executive search, candidate recruitment, and onboarding the new leader. Renae earned a master’s degree in nonprofit and public administration from Metropolitan State University and has a bachelor of science degree in community health with a minor in business administration. In addition, she is a 2008 graduate of the Shannon Leadership Institute and has participated in ToPs facilitation training.
For over seventeen years, Kristin Pederson’s work with Twin Cities PBS has had an emphasis on science, health, gender equity, and cultural competency. She has crafted and led educational engagement and communications initiatives for multiple award-winning projects, including SciGirls, DragonflyTV, The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s, FAT: What No One Is Telling You, Depression: Out of the Shadows, and Slavery by Another Name. Kristin works with stakeholders, including content experts, researchers, educators, foundation and corporate sponsors, policymakers, and other leaders to share STEM with children, families, and educators nationwide. Prior to her work in public media, Kristin directed communications and community engagement for the Minnesota Department of Health and taught writing at Colorado State University. Her degrees include an M.A. in communication development and a B.A. in English and communications.
Jon Pratt is the executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. He has worked at Minnesota Public Interest Research Group as an attorney and lobbyist, as regional director at the Youth Project, and as director for the Philanthropy Project. In 1982 he was campaign manager for Paul Wellstone candidacy for Minnesota State Auditor. In 1987 he became director of MCN, an association of 2,000 organizations that sponsors research, training, lobbying and negotiated discounts to strengthen Minnesota's nonprofit sector. Jon has consulted with nongovernmental organizations on the development of NGO associations and services in Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Turkey. Jon has a law degree from Antioch School of Law, and a M.P.A. from Harvard University.
Gina Reis is a producer at Twin Cities PBS. Gina works on story design, planning, editing, and field production for SciGirls episodes and role model videos, and produces additional video content for STEM-based grants. She has worked in production for over six years as a video editor, production assistant, camera operator, and producer. Gina is also a professional photographer, shooting musical acts around the Twin Cities metro area.
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. A two-time recipient of the Employers Association Best Practices Award, Kelly earned her M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and the professional in human resources certification through the Society for Human Resource Management.
Felicia Ring is the director of finance & HR at Nexus Community Partners and has been at the organization since 2012. Her professional experience has included 15 years working in the nonprofit and for-profit fields. She has held various positions including executive director of Kaleidoscope, a nonprofit in the Phillips neighborhood. She has also been a program manager for Pillsbury United Communities and worked in the accounting department of a local family business.
Polly Roach is the Volunteer Generation Fund program manager for the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA). In this role, she provides support for the Service Enterprise Initiative, a holistic change management approach helping organizations gain a greater return on volunteer investment and better achieve their social mission. Before joining the MAVA staff in 2018, Polly served on the MAVA board of directors. She received MAVA’s Mary Wiser Award for Leadership in the Field of Volunteer Resources in 2011. Previously, Polly worked at the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (now MENTOR Minnesota) as the senior director of Program Services. She also directed a one-to-one mentoring program for girls at the YWCA of St. Paul for over 16 years. Polly holds a master of social work degree from the University of Minnesota.
Kyle Roberts is V.P. of Academic Affairs and dean and holds the Schilling chair as Professor of Public Theology and the Church and Economic Life at United Theological Seminary. Roberts has published A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why it Matters (Fortress, 2017), the co-authored Matthew: A Two Horizons Commentary (Eerdmans, 2018), and Emerging Prophet: Kierkegaard and the Postmodern People of God (Cascade, 2013). At United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Kyle teaches Introduction to Theological and Religious Interpretation, Christian Ethics, Historical Theology (modern period), Senior Capstone Seminar, and various electives. He holds a Ph.D.
Paul Robinson is a senior program consultant with the Wilder Center for Communities at Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Paul’s combined experience in ministry, business, nonprofit management, and leadership development spans 20 years. Prior to joining the Wilder staff, he served as the spiritual care director for Catholic Charities for six years, tending to the spiritual needs of the poor in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Paul optimizes the intersection of ideas, difference, passion, and effective action. He enjoys using his skills in meeting design, facilitation, and convening to catalyze meaningful connections and collective action. Paul holds a master of divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, and a B.S. degree in finance from Eastern Illinois University.
Phil Romine began as director of admissions at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in 2017. He completed his master of divinity at United in 2016, and is seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Prior to United Theological Seminary, he worked for over six years serving undergraduate students at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. A lover of religion, theology, the German language, and helping things grow, Phil divides his time between United Theological Seminary and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Nonoko Sato is the associate director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. In her role, Nonoko partners with MCN executive director Jon Pratt to chart MCN’s strategic response to organizational and sector challenges. She also plays a role in shaping and implementing the organization’s strategy, including oversight of member services and programs, operations and financial management, as well as leading the annual planning and budgeting process and guiding strategic initiatives. She serves as the chair of trustees for BenefitsMN, an Association Health Plan that combines the insurance purchasing power of nonprofits across Minnesota. Prior to joining MCN, Nonoko served for nine years as executive director of SMART, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides low-income students access to exceptional education and college success. Originally from Chicago, Nonoko graduated from Carleton College.
Jo Schaeffer is a senior consultant at the Arbinger Institute. Jo has a background in leadership and organizational development, with nearly 15 years of experience in consulting, training, and systems development for corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations. She has taught business and management classes as well as technical topics to audiences as diverse as c-suite executive teams to inner-city youth. Her professional background also includes senior leadership roles within the manufacturing and technology services industries. Jo has wide-ranging speaking experience with large organizations, as well as nonprofit events with FrontSteps Homeless Shelter and New Sector Alliance. Jo earned a B.A. from Southern Virginia University and an M.A. from the University of Utah. She has served on various nonprofit and education-oriented boards and advisory groups.
Regina Seabrook is the program manager for professional development at Equity Alliance MN. She plans, coordinates, and provides both professional learning and organizational learning in collaborative partnership with community stakeholders and for a network of schools and school districts focused on improved educational outcomes for all students. Regina is a 20 year veteran educator with PreK-12 teaching and administrative experience. 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 St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Vidhya Shanker has a bachelor of fine arts and B.A. in art history from the University of Michigan and a master’s of public affairs in nonprofit management, with a secondary concentration in race, class & gender in global perspective from the Humphrey School. She is currently completing her doctorate in evaluation studies at the University of Minnesota, where her dissertation research examines the ways race is constructed in and through evaluation. Domestically and internationally, independently and with organizations like Rainbow Research, Catholic Charities, and Ramsey County, Vidhya has evaluated government and nonprofit programs focused on poverty. Seeing justice as a process rather than a product and systematic inquiry and critical reflection as part of contemplative, spiritual practice, she offers her insights and skills to constituent-led movements enacting collective self-determination.
Damon Shoholm is the director of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. In this role since 2014, Damon has been creating the conditions for effective reflection while serving to increase the capacity of individuals and organizations alike. With a background in applied leadership, Damon has more than 10 years’ experience in leadership development, civic engagement and facilitation training. Damon is trained in the Art of Hosting and Technology of Participation facilitation models. Damon has been a member of the Wilder Foundation team since 2007 where he previously worked as community leadership manager. Damon has board experience with Saint Paul Second Shift Commission and Minnesota Alliance with Youth.
Margie Siegel is the team lead for MCN’s Association Health Plan. In this role, she’s working closely with MCN staff to design and build a pooled health care benefit option for members. Margie was most recently the director of the Center for Nonprofit Management at the University of St. Thomas. During her 22-year tenure at the University, she managed a variety of capacity building services and executive education programs for nonprofits, including co-sponsoring the Nonprofit Essentials Conference with MCN, held each year at St. Thomas. Prior to that, Margie led the Marcy Arts Partnership and the Japan America Society of Minnesota, and also served as associate director of the Charities Review Council. She has an M.B.A. from the Chicago Booth School of Business.
Jon Slock is the director of finance and accounting at Appetite For Change (AFC). Jon is responsible for financial planning, reporting, and auditing for the organization and each of its social enterprises. Prior to joining the AFC team, Jon taught accounting and finance at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. He enjoys volunteering with Habitat For Humanity both locally and abroad. He has also been involved in his neighborhood community garden.
Becky Stewart has been with The Improve Group for over 10 years, providing leadership for scores of projects. A consummate generalist, she has led projects domestically and internationally, in diverse topic areas such as youth leadership, higher education, corrections, and housing. As chief practice officer, she oversees the work of our research teams, integrating strong practices, and lessons learned from our own work and the field. Becky’s previous experience includes positions at the University of Minnesota Extension Service and Project for Pride in Living. She has a bachelor of arts degree from Macalester College, a mini-MBA in nonprofit management from the University of St. Thomas, and a master of public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
As a senior consultant at the Improve Group, Claire Stoscheck exercises her diverse research, project management, and community engagement skillsets to help organizations do their social mission work more effectively. Claire served as a leader in multiple nonprofits and managed several programs prior to her work as a researcher and evaluator. She has worked on a diversity of social and environmental issues in the U.S. and in Ecuador, including transportation justice, health equity, and sustainable community food systems. Claire previously served as a board member for the Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization. She has a bachelor of arts from Macalester College and a master of public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Tina Thompson works in the higher education community working with learners, leaders, and organizations to maximize persistence and operational effectiveness. She has 20 years of experience as a business leader, OD professional, educator, and coach. Her areas of specialty include leadership, business management, organization development, strategy, and innovation. In addition, she is a collaborator and consultant using research, experience, and knowledge to produce client specific results. Her consulting practice concentrates on leadership, coaching, research, data collection, and data analysis. Her research interests are in authentic leadership, organization development, employee retention, organizational commitment, and profitability. Tina has earned a doctorate of business administration in leadership from Capella University and an M.A. in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University. She has received her B.S. in family social science from the University of Minnesota.
Stefan Van Voorst is the founder/executive director of One2One, a Twin Cities nonprofit that builds and strengthens the relational world of young people while simultaneously increasing the capacity and effectiveness of schools. Stefan founded One2One in 2011 with a passion for empowering young people, strengthening families, and supporting schools. Since its inception, One2One has matched over 700 youth with one-on-one mentors and developed programs inside elementary, middle, and high schools. In 2018, One2One also began implementing, Policing One2One, an innovative law enforcement program that combines youth development, community engagement, and law enforcement training. The program was designed in partnership with the community of Brooklyn Park and Metropolitan State University’s School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.
Arlene Vernon is a human resource strategist with over 25 years of experience as a trusted resource for a diverse group of small and medium-sized organizations. She’s seen first-hand what nonprofit leaders face every day, and her results-oriented consulting and training successfully addresses those realities. In her work with 500+ organizations since starting her consulting firm HRx in 1992, she develops and implements do-able strategies to address the short-term challenges and long-term success of each organization. With an M.B.A. and a master of education in counseling, as well as a professional of human resources certification, Arlene is both a studied and practiced authority in human resources and human relations.
In his role as gifts officer at Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, Paul Vliem connects and builds deeper relationships between donors and Beacon’s mission of creating homes and advancing equitable housing. Before joining the organization, Paul supported the missions and fundraising efforts of Tasks Unlimited and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. In addition to Beacon, Paul also serves on the board of Frogtown Farm in St. Paul and the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter. Paul holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Calvin College.
Erica Waasdorp is president of A Direct Solution, located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She works with nonprofit clients all over the country as well as internationally, helping them with their appeals, monthly giving, grant writing and public relations. She is also the U.S. Ambassador for the International Fundraising Congress. Erica published one of the very few books on monthly giving, called Monthly Giving - The Sleeping Giant. She recently created the Monthly Donor Road Map and the e-book Top 7 Questions about Monthly Giving. She co-authored the DonorPerfect Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kits and she regularly blogs and presents in person and via webinars on appeals, direct mail, and monthly giving. She is an Association of Fundraising Professionals master trainer and currently is working on her next book.
Teri Walker McLaughlin, executive director of Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA), draws upon a rich and diverse background of executive leadership in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Starting her career in banking and investment real estate, she moved into the realms of government, nonprofit leadership and consultancy. Prior to joining MNCASA, Teri served as vice president of training and development with Dardis Communications, providing executive development and coaching in all forms of leadership communication. Teri previously served as executive director at Children’s Safety Centers (CSC). Stepping into her role at CSC in 1997, she took the organization from near bankruptcy to operating 10 successful centers serving over 900 families each year. Teri also has served in leadership roles for the Supervised Visitation Network board of directors.
Ellen Walthour serves as C.E.O. of The BrandLab, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that envisions a marketing industry that thrives with the insights and creativity of people with diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Ellen has served The BrandLab since 2009, and took on the executive director role in 2011 and recently stepped into the C.E.O. role in 2018. When she started her career at The BrandLab, the organization was engaged with four agencies throughout the Twin Cities. Under her leadership, the number of organizations The BrandLab works alongside has increased to more than 90 and is now operating in two markets with a goal of expanding across the country. Ellen received a masters of arts in education from the University of London and National Louis University.
Laurie Whipple is the operations director at Conflict Resolution Center (CRC). A trained mediator, she is also trained in the Art of Hosting Practices of Open Space Technology, World Café and ProAction Café. Laurie also received training from the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution in Constructive Problem Solving. She brings her 25 years of experience in project coordination and design to her work both at CRC and with CRC’s organizational clients. Laurie has also been a certified Feng Shui practitioner for over a decade. She is a passionate believer in the positive effects resolving disputes through mediation and facilitated dialogue can produce. Laurie assists organizational clients at CRC through conflict coaching, strategic planning, infrastructure organization, and conflict assessments.
Lori-Anne Williams is a major and planned giving officer at Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. She has been working in the nonprofit sector since 1983, with organizations such as the Playwrights’ Center, Prepare + Prosper, Ordway, University of Minnesota, and more. Lori-Anne is also an experienced teacher and presenter. As a grant writer, Lori-Anne has secured funding from agencies including 3M Foundation, Bush Foundation, Hennepin County, The McKnight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, National Endowment for the Arts, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Target Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education.