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Speaker Bios

Keynote speaker, Akaya Windwood, is the president of Rockwood Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest provider of transformative leadership trainings for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Akaya leads trainings nationally and internationally, and has been a featured speaker at the Stanford Social Innovation Institute, the Independent Sector Conference, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. She is recognized for elevating the effectiveness of leadership and collaboration in the nonprofit and social benefit sectors, and is the recipient of an Ella Award from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and a Transformative Leadership Award from the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation. Akaya’s vision for our global community includes infusing a sense of purpose, delight and wonder into everything we do. She has a life-long commitment to working for a fair and equitable society, and believes that Rockwood’s network of over 5,000 powerful, collaborative, and interconnected leaders will help lead the way. 


Breakout Session Presenter Bios

Kari Aanestad is the development manager at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. In this role, Kari secures and stewards grant and individual donor support for MCN. She also supports the development of other fundraising professionals throughout Minnesota through various channels including in-person and online trainings, the Minnesota Grants Alert, and the Minnesota Grants Directory. Kari holds a bachelor of arts in English and political science from Augsburg College and a master of divinity from Luther Seminary. Most recently she served as grant writer and outcomes manager for St. David’s Center. Kari brings a holistic wealth of experience to her role including international travel to over 20 countries, hospital chaplaincy in England, and teaching and tutoring positions ranging from elementary to post-graduate levels in writing and compassionate communication.

Gaye Adams Massey is chief executive officer of the YWCA St. Paul. Prior to her role with the YWCA St. Paul, she served as senior deputy general counsel for UnitedHealth Group. She oversaw legal teams advising on a range of issues, and served as chief of staff and chief administrative officer for the legal and compliance organization. She also served as general counsel of Ovations, the UnitedHealth Group business dedicated to serving the health and well-being needs of individuals age 50 and older. Before joining UnitedHealth Group, Gaye served as vice president & general counsel for QualChoice Health Plan. Before embarking on her legal career, she served as a special assistant to the president of the Children’s Defense Fund. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Law School.

Steve Anseth, certified public accountant, is a partner at Abdo Eick & Meyers (AEM), a top accounting firm located in Minnesota. In his role at AEM, Steve leads the firm's nonprofit segment. Steve and his team work with over 100 nonprofit organizations from the metro area and outstate Minnesota. He helps nonprofits succeed by improving their operations and internal controls. Prior to becoming a public accountant, he spent 12 years with a large national nonprofit organization. This experience gave him an in-depth understanding of how—and why—nonprofits operate. He has more than 25 years of experience working in and for nonprofit organizations. Steve holds a B.S. in accounting from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. in theological studies from Bethel Seminary.

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.

Benjamin Bio is director of government contracts and A/R at Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC). In this role Benjamin manages the accounts receivable team and all functions of bringing in revenue and tracking it for MACC members, excluding mental health billing. He also manages MACC's support of member government contracting and serves as a government funding/contract expert and consultant to members. Benjamin has a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in finance and accounting. He brings four years of experience in managing accounts receivable and budget preparation to MACC.

A respected and accomplished leader within the Twin Cities nonprofit community, Dawne Brown White has a passion for building relationships and growing programs to meet community needs, especially those that strengthen children and families. Since moving to the Twin Cities from Canada, she held positions with the Girl Scouts, the University of Minnesota and the Ronald McDonald House before starting her own nonprofit. She now serves as the C.E.O. for COMPAS, Inc., a state-wide arts organization and is a Saint Paul Lean In Circle facilitator. She also serves on a community foundation and an organization that prevents and mitigates the effects of domestic violence. Dawne has a B.A. in psychology and a B.S. and graduate level work in human resource development.

Robert Cedergren is the leader of Wipfli’s risk advisory services practice. In this role, he oversees and coordinates the strategic direction of the practice and develops or enhances existing services. Bob provides consulting services to clients in the areas of risk management, cybersecurity and SOC audits, leveraging his 20-plus years of experience. Bob is also a frequent speaker and author on risk management-related topics including risk assessments, business continuity planning, and management of internal controls. He is a certified public accountant, chartered global management accountant, and certified information technology professional. Bob’s memberships include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants, and Information Systems Audit and Control Association.

Mary Cleary, president of Cleary Consulting Group, serves as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the areas of accounting and fiscal management. For the past 16 years Mary and her associates have provided outsourced accounting services and fiscal management consulting to several nonprofit organizations. Mary’s life-long pursuit is to apply an entrepreneurial approach to the fiscal management of mission-driven nonprofits. Mary started her career in public accounting at KPMG and later wrote several business plans as part of her M.B.A degree, including one for a social enterprise she hopes to launch one day. Mary has served on the boards of the Minnesota Conservation Corps and Carondelet School, participated in several nonprofit finance committees, and has been involved in professional development opportunities, one of which was the Leaders Circle for women. 

Sarah Clyne is the executive director for Domestic Abuse Project (DAP). Sarah holds a master’s degree in education and a B.A. in sociology and Spanish, both from the University of Minnesota. Prior to DAP, she was the executive director for Joyce Preschool, which won the Nonprofit Excellence Award in 2013. She serves on the board of directors for Propel Nonprofits, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, and WATCH. She additionally served on Mayor Hodges’ Cradle-to-K Cabinet and the Governor's Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations. She is a founding advisory board member for Educators for Excellence-Minnesota. She brings leadership experience in the nonprofit sector and K-12 education. Sarah is passionate about education, social justice, ending gender-based violence and building cross-sector relationships to dismantle the disparities our communities are facing.

For eighteen years, Melissa DeLay has helped executives at companies like Carlson, Maytag, 3M, Best Buy, Ameriprise Financial and the State of Minnesota communicate effectively and boost productivity. She can show anyone how to present themselves in the best light and communicate with power and ease. Melissa has an M.A. in organizational communication from the University of Arkansas, as well as a mini-master of business communication from the University of St. Thomas. Originally from Iowa, where everyone tells it like it is, Melissa is now based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

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.

Megan Genest Tarnow is the founder and principal of The Mobius Group, a QuickBooks-centric consulting firm ferociously committed to helping nonprofits tell their stories and advance their missions through rock-solid, actionable financials, and to supporting the individuals in those organizations who have financial responsibilities. Megan also works with Gregg Bossen of QuickBooks Made Easy, providing QuickBooks technical support to nonprofits around the country.

Adam Hennen is an audit principal with the C.P.A. firm Olsen Thielen and has over 13 years of experience working in the nonprofit industry. In addition to audit, accounting and general consulting services, Adam works closely with nonprofit organization executives and boards to better understand their financial reporting and internal control processes contributing to the growth and success of the organization. Adam has made presentations for the Minnesota Society of CPA’s annual Not-for Profit Conferences, the Minnesota Society of CPA’s Construction Conference, the Minnesota Planned Giving Council’s Annual Conference, and has presented workshops for members of the Northwestern Lumber Association and the Construction Financial Management Association. Adam currently serves on two boards as treasurer for the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce and the Stillwater Area Lacrosse Association.

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.

Becky Johnson, finance manager with WomenVenture, has worked in nonprofit finance for 13 years. She started as an auditor, working primarily with nonprofit clients. In 2009 she moved over to the nonprofit sector, joining the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Becky was at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for eight years, first as the accountant, then as finance manager. She recently joined the team at WomenVenture, a nonprofit organization that helps women create and grow profitable and sustainable businesses. Becky also serves as a board member of Nonprofit Financial Group and a finance committee member of VEAP.

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.

Peggy Korsmo-Kennon has been chief operating officer at the American Swedish Institute (ASI) since 2009 and was part of the leadership team that transformed the organization’s campus. This was a pivotal time for ASI that culminated with the construction of the Nelson Cultural Center, re-envisioned programmatic and business direction, and audience growth. Prior to joining ASI, Peggy held leadership positions with local cultural institutions, including the executive director for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts; head of public programs for the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota; and head of public programs for the Minnesota Historical Society. She holds a master of arts, American folk culture from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University New York, Oneonta; her undergraduate work was at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer Kramm, strategic services consultant, has a background in new business development and philanthropy. In Thrivent Financial's strategic development department Jennifer developed social enterprises resulting in two successful ventures, helping her gain an enterprise-perspective on what organizations need from leadership. As a grants associate at the In Faith Community Foundation she awarded over $10 million in grants to up to 5,000 charities helping her bring a funder eye to governance. At Propel Nonprofits, Jennifer supports boards of directors development with nonprofits as well as corporate volunteers from General Mills. Jennifer currently serves as the co-chair of the Twin Cities Social Enterprise Alliance and is leading strategy for The Corporate Volunteers Council of the Twin Cities as a board member. She graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in biology.

Michele Krolczyk is an EOS/Traction coach at Vivid360, helping organizations bring strategy, accountability and process together for achieving success. As vice president and owner of Mint Roofing, Michele has been a practitioner of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and now uses her varied business background to help organizations of all shapes and sizes to curb the chaos of running their organizations. Michele enjoys sharing her expertise and perspective with nonprofits.

Mary Larson is the finance director at Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners. After 12 years working in finance departments in small corporations in the Twin Cities, she found a part-time controller job with the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. What was meant to be a bridge position while her children were young led to the discovery of the joy (and challenges!) associated with working in nonprofits. Now with 14 years in nonprofit financial leadership, Mary enjoys sharing financial expertise with leaders in her organization, and has expanded her role to include human resources management. Currently she is a board member of the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. Mary is an inactive certified public accountant and received her bachelor of arts in accounting from the College of St. Teresa.

Lars Leafblad has spent his career doing what he loves best—connecting people with one another and with new opportunities to develop their careers and connections. Lars has experience across the board: he worked in a leadership development program at General Electric; a high tech start-up; helped launch young alumni programs for his alma mater, St. Olaf College; served as chief development officer for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota; co-chaired the civic practice at KeyStone Search; and led the Bush Fellowship leadership programs for the Bush Foundation. Along the way Lars has founded several different networking groups and nonprofit community networks, including the St. Olaf Alumni Partnership, Left Lane, Common Grounds, St. Olaf MBA Association, “40 under 40” Global Alumni Society and Pollen.

Andrea Martinson is a manager, financial reporting & compliance at Be the Match, whose mission is to save lives through cellular therapy. In this role, Andrea oversees the accounting, financial reporting and accounts receivable teams working closely on our Oracle financial applications as well as with our various internal and external committees and board of directors for the six companies that make up Be the Match. Prior to joining Be the Match nine years ago, she spent three and a half years at Larson Allen as an auditor in the health care senior living group. She has a bachelor of arts in accounting and organizational communication from Concordia College – Moorhead. She is a certified public accountant (inactive).

Adair Mosley currently serves as the president and C.E.O. of Pillsbury United Communities, where he stewards five neighborhood centers, eight social enterprises, and the authorization of 21 charter schools. He is a proactive and visionary leader with vast experience in strategy, economic development and innovation. Prior to this, he served as Pillsbury United Communities’ chief innovation officer and chief of staff. He attended the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan's Executive Leadership Institute. In 2014, he was an American Express Leadership Fellow, and he recently completed a certificate in human centered design at Stanford’s prestigious Institute of Design. In 2017, Adair was awarded the respected Local Legend Award from the General Mills Foundation for the embodiment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision and legacy.

Monica Murdo, human resource business consultant at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, is responsible for providing human resource services to a variety of clients advising business leaders on human resource matters and providing guidance on compliance and regulatory issues. With more than 18 years of generalist experience, she has served as HR director and HR manager in nonprofit and commercial industries where she has developed handbooks, recruitment strategies, compensation plans and performance management systems while contributing to overall organizational strategy. She has a master’s degree in human resources from Carlson School of Management and is a certified member of Society for Human Resource Management.

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 MAP for Nonprofits.

Kelli Nelson is a nonprofit leader and social entrepreneur with extensive experience at the intersection of workforce development and social enterprise. She has her master’s in nonprofit management with a concentration in social enterprise, and has participated in Stanford University’s Executive Program on Social Entrepreneurship. She currently works as senior manager of hiring and recruiting with Two Bettys Green Cleaning Company, a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to environmental and worker justice. Her previous professional experience was at Bright Endeavors, a social enterprise candle company that provides paid employment training for young, pregnant and parenting women in Chicago.

Janet Ogden-Brackett, vice president of lending, directs Propel Nonprofits’ nonprofit loan program. As a loan officer, she assists individual nonprofits during the loan application, review process, and throughout the lifecycle of the loan. Janet also delivers training workshops and provides technical assistance on financial management topics to nonprofits throughout Minnesota. She has collaborated on 10 cohorts for nonprofits exploring the launch of a social enterprise. Prior to joining Propel Nonprofits, she was director of operations and financial manager at Minnesota Environmental Initiative. Janet has a B.A. in business management from the University of St. Thomas. A graduate of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Institute, she serves on the board of directors for Family Tree Clinic, Danish American Center, and Twin Cities Film Festival.

Peter Olsen, certified public accountant, is the chief financial officer of the YWCA St. Paul and has worked in nonprofit accounting for 17 years, the first 12 as an auditor. He earned his bachelors of business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. In addition, he stays active in the community by serving as the president of the Nonprofit Financial Group, a 28 year-old networking and educational organization for Minnesota nonprofit financial leaders and as the vice-chair of Ideal Credit Union.  

Beth Palm has worked in the nonprofit sector in Minnesota for the last 15 years, 10+ of those years in social enterprises. Starting at Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota in 2006, Beth became obsessed with the idea of using business to solve social issues. While getting her M.B.A., Beth wrote feasibility studies and business plans for new social enterprise ideas and launched the Social Enterprise Alliance - Twin Cities chapter. Beth led a social enterprise called CityKid Java for 3 years as director of operations/general manager and in 2015, founded a new social enterprise: BAM Essentials. Beth has worked as a consultant with clients to create strategic plans, presentation documents, full business plans and feasibility studies.

Stan Ponkin is a senior tax accountant with CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) and provides tax compliance and consulting services to exempt organizations. His public accounting career includes providing services to a variety of tax-exempt organizations, including charities, foundations, colleges and universities, health care providers, religious organizations, and others. As part of his role at CLA, he strives to add value for his clients by being proactive, professional and passionate about his work. Stan speaks and trains on various  tax issues impacting exempt organization tax issues for many organizations. He is a member of the AICPA Minnesota Society of CPAs. Stan is a graduate of Metropolitan State University.  

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.

Sarah Reichling is an audit principal in the CliftonLarsonAllen Public Sector Group, specializing in nonprofit audits. She has 11 years of public accounting experience, serving foundations, private schools, social service organizations, associations and other nonprofit entities. Sarah has lead large multi-entity engagements with over 10 combined entities and has experience with nonprofit audits with over $1 billion in asssets. Sarah also has significant experience with nonprofits that have large endowment portfolios and complex investment structures. She has a bachelor of science in accounting from the University of St. Thomas, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Tim Savaloja is vice president of financial services at Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC), where Tim leads the Financial Services team in providing accounting services to MACC members. Tim began his career in public accounting with a focus on nonprofit organizations. He later served as chief financial officer of Crown College, and most recently was chief financial officer/chief operating officer of Keystone Community Services. Tim has served on a number of nonprofit boards and audit committees. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration degree from the University of North Dakota.

Chad Schwitters has been the executive director of Urban Homeworks, Inc. since 1999. In his 18 years at Urban Homeworks, he leads with vision and inspiration. He provides direction to the leadership team, imagines new approaches to fund development strategies, cultivates new organizational relationships, and lays the foundation for the mission. Chad is actively involved in community leadership efforts that support and inform missions that include the Northside Achievement Zone, the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers, the Local Initiatives Support Corp oration, and the Home Prosperity Fund. Chad has a B.A. in finance from Bethel University.

Chris Vanecek is an accounting & finance consultant and Propel Nonprofits. Chris has been working in nonprofits in various capacities since moving to the Twin Cities in 2007, including everything from wielding chainsaws to crawling around in attics to being an interim controller. He’s been doing nonprofit accounting and finance since graduating with an M.B.A. in sustainable business from Presidio University. Currently he enjoys helping nonprofits connect sound accounting practices with larger questions about finance and strategy. Chris believes that having solid accounting footing gives organizations the ability to plan for their future. Chris also volunteers on the board of the Social Enterprise Alliance. 

Most recently Craig Warren was the chief operating officer for Greater Twin Cities United Way. As a member of the executive team, Craig led multiple organizational functions and also served as the chief of staff. He possesses over 20 years of global leadership experience with expertise in executing large-scale change initiatives, implementing shared services delivery models, and partnering with organizational leaders to unleash the potential of their employees. Craig was previously a senior director at Best Buy. He is also a military veteran having served as a tanker in the United States Army. Craig holds a M.A. in public policy from The University of Chicago and a B.A. in political science and anthropology from The Johns Hopkins University.

Elaine Wyatt, executive director, joined WomenVenture in 2013 shortly after the organization narrowed its mission to focus on entrepreneurship. Elaine is a high integrity energetic leader known for her ability to envision and implement successful outcomes in complex environments and demonstrates functional expertise with a tenacious commitment to driving revenue and mission goals. Elaine’s experience includes working at Deloitte and nonprofits including the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.

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Nonprofit Finance and
Sustainability Conference

April 19, 2018
7:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Earle Brown Heritage Center
6155 Earle Brown Dr. 
Brooklyn Center, MN 



Minnesota Council of Nonprofits



Thank You to Our Sponsors