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Speaker Biographies

Kari AanestadKari 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.

Jake BlumbergJake Blumberg is the executive director of GiveMN. Jake believes that a successful strategy, campaign, and message can expand the impact of the nonprofits doing incredible work in our communities. Jake has a background that spans leadership roles in nonprofits, politics and higher education. As the senior director of development and community engagement at Open Arms of Minnesota, Jake launched giving campaigns that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. As co-finance director of Minnesotans United, he helped lead a multimillion dollar campaign to win the freedom to marry for same sex couples in Minnesota. And in Washington D.C., Jake concurrently attained a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University while working as a speech writer and associate director of development for The George Washington University Law School.

Cassie BreeggemannCassie Breeggemann, career clarity coach and president of Contagious Connections, has a passion to help purpose driven leaders unleash their power, potential and purpose. Cassie has an M.A. in human resources and change leadership and a B.A. in psychology. She specializes in adult learning principles and transformation for maximum impact. Cassie has been instrumental in designing and developing leadership development programs and internship programs at Cargill and has developed a specialized leadership curriculum featured at Loras College concentrating on developing first time managers in small businesses and nonprofits.

Amy BrughAmy Brugh is a nonprofit consultant specializing in planning, facilitation and project management. Previously, she was the director of external relations at the Minnesota AIDS Project, where she was charged with advancing the fundraising, communications, public policy and volunteer programs; and the public affairs director for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. Amy currently serves on the board of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. She recently completed her board service with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Nonprofit Insurance Advisors. She holds a master’s degree in community health education from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

John CapecciJohn Capecci is a communication consultant and coach who helps nonprofits nationwide define their brands, develop their key messages and mobilize their advocates. Co-author of Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference, he has helped hundreds of people from all walks of life use their personal stories and passions to make a difference in the lives of others and better the communities in which they live and work.


Elise ChambersElise 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.

Jesse ChangJesse Chang is the VISTA program coordinator at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. In this role, he bridges the national AmeriCorps VISTA program with local, culturally-based nonprofits to help empower marginalized communities and individuals in the Twin Cities break the cycle of poverty. Additionally, Jesse supports the professional and personal growth of VISTA members as they develop the foundational skills to become champions of equitable social change. Jesse holds a bachelor of arts in geography from Colgate University and served as a VISTA member with affordable housing nonprofits in Chicago and Columbus before coming to MCN.

Heidi ChristiansonHeidi 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.

Sarah CrumrineSarah Crumrine is the communications coordinator at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, where she coordinates print and electronic communications, media relations, and strategic communication implementation. Sarah has a B.A. in journalism with a minor in social justice from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and is on the board of directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities.


Molly GranzowMolly Granzow is a certified public accountant and a senior accountant at Abdo, Eick, & Meyers (AEM), a Minnesota accounting firm, specializing in nonprofit auditing and 990 preparation. She joined AEM’s nonprofit segment after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in accounting from North Dakota State University. Molly is a member of the Minnesota Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. Gaining a hands-on experience in all aspects of nonprofit operations, Molly has served on the board of directors of the Youth Dance Ensemble & School in Burnsville since 2014 and is an active participant in the Nonprofit Financial Group.

Stephanie JacobsStephanie Jacobs is director of the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC) at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a community that creates and nurtures excellence in public affairs management and leadership. Prior to joining the PNLC, Stephanie was program director at the Nonprofits Assistance Fund. Previously, she was director of member services at the Minnesota Council on Foundations and consulting associate with Fieldstone Alliance. Stephanie is a graduate of St. Olaf College and holds a master's degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She participated in the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Institute and is an active volunteer in the Minnesota nonprofit community.

Becky JohnsonBecky Johnson is the finance manager for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN). She joined MCN in 2009. Becky is responsible for the daily financial management of MCN as well as monthly, quarterly, and annual financial duties and assists with the financial management of Nonprofit Insurance Advisors. In addition to her financial management duties, Becky responds to accounting and tax inquiries from member organizations. Prior to her work at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Becky was an auditor at a public accounting firm in St. Paul. Becky has served on various boards and committees in the twin cities and enjoys volunteering with nonprofit organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Becky is a certified public accountant.

Kris KewitschAs executive director of Charities Review Council, Kris Kewitsch works to ensure the Council delivers on its mission to be an independent resource empowering people to make informed and thoughtful giving decisions and by helping charities advance their important work. Before joining the Council, Kris worked in corporate philanthropy with Target Corporation, U.S. Bank, and Piper Jaffray. During the past five years at Target, she helped direct more than $50 million in grantmaking support in the Twin Cities and 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).

Curtis KlotzCurtis Klotz is the finance director of Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF), Nonprofits are Curt’s passion and profession. He has taught in inner city D.C with the Higher Achievement Program, coordinated national communities of volunteers with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and supported persons living with HIV/AIDS at Seattle Shanti. At the Indian Law Resource Center in Helena, Montana, he discovered his calling to be a nonprofit C.F.O. A stint as the chairperson of the Montana Nonprofit Association deepened his commitment to the nonprofit sector as a whole. Joining NAF has given him the perfect opportunity to share his passion for nonprofit finance every day and use his 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector to make a positive, lasting difference in the world. Curt is a certified public accountant.

Jennifer KrammJennifer Kramm has a background in new business development and philanthropy. In Thrivent Financial's strategic development department Jennifer was part of a team that 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 InFaith Community Foundation her department awarded $10 million in annual grants to up to 5000 national charities. At MAP for Nonprofits Jennifer supports boards of directors and the work they do, including strategic planning, strategic alliances and restructuring, and board development. Jennifer 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. Jennifer graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in biology.

Jon PrattJon 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.

Rinal RayRinal Ray is the deputy public policy director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Rinal works with MCN’s public policy director to advance the organization’s policy agenda and train leaders on nonprofit advocacy. Prior to her role at MCN, Rinal served as a staff attorney for the Minnesota Justice Foundation at William Mitchell College of Law. As former project coordinator for MCN, she also worked on the Charitable Tax Exemption Campaign and the Nonprofit Legal Handbook. Additionally, Rinal served on MCN’s board of directors in 2013 and as a co-chair of the Principles and Practices Advisory Committee. Rinal is a former AmeriCorps member with College Possible. She has a B.A. in international studies and political science from Macalester College and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law.

Kelly RietowKelly 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.

Jesse RossJesse Ross’ heart is centered on community development and building authentic relationships, with 12 years of experience in nonprofit and community-based organizations throughout Minneapolis. Jesse works on both program development and direct community engagement, with the goal of empowering people to effectively impact their own communities. Jesse previously served as area director for Minneapolis Young Life and TreeHouse, where his areas of focus included policy and program development, organizational leadership, diversity and culture, youth and family development, fundraising, outreach, and other initiatives. Currently, he works at The Minneapolis Foundation serving multiple roles in the Community Impact Department, and is also a Roy Wilkins Public Policy Fellow Alumni and a current Ron McKinley philanthropy fellow. He authored the upcoming book Fathers Matter: Leadership lessons I’ve learned from my Father.

Vidhya ShankerVidhya Shanker is a doctoral student in evaluation studies at the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation research bridges systems thinking with theories of systemic oppression to examine the ways race is constructed through both the enterprise and the discourse of nonprofit evaluation. Recently, Vidhya provided evaluation assistance to organizations engaged in food systems work. Previously, she was director of research, innovation & program evaluation at Catholic Charities, where she led agency wide data-governance efforts to facilitate the organization’s measurement of client outcomes across program areas and throughout the case management process. Her experience addressing racial, economic and gender justice within the context of evaluation includes her role evaluating Ramsey County’s Employment Services for MFIP participants, work with the UMN’s Institute on Community Integration, and consultancies with organizations like CARE International.

Margie SiegelMargie Siegel is director of the Center for Nonprofit Management at the University of St. Thomas’ Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. She has devoted her career to increasing the effectiveness of Minnesota’s social sector leaders, and the communities they serve. Margie has worked at the University of St. Thomas since 1996, always in the field of developing and directing programming for nonprofit leaders to boost the impact of their work. She began her career in finance and market analysis, and honed her analytical skills providing securities analysis with Chicago’s William Blair & Company. At the Charities Review Council, she directed research and analysis, executing detailed summaries of a variety of nonprofit entities seeking charitable contributions. Margie has an M.B.A. from the Booth School, and a B.A. in mathematics from Pomona College.

Corinna TurbesCorinna Turbes is the federal policy campaign coordinator at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. She is primarily responsible for tracking policy issues as they progress through the federal process, as well as developing creative material for the campaign. Prior to work with the Federal Policy Campaign, Corinna has worked in informational programming at the United States State Department, and in the state office of Senator Al Franken. While receiving her masters of public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, Corinna worked as research assistant for the Gender Policy Report, and served as a senior editor at the Humphrey Public Affairs Review.

Katie WalshKatie Walsh has been on staff at HandsOn Twin Cities (HOTC) since 1998 when she joined The Volunteer Center in St. Paul as the community recruitment specialist. As program director, Katie manages the nonprofit affiliation program and delivery of services and programs to HOTC’s affiliate members. Katie oversees the website and database management and e-newsletter communications. She also supports HOTC’s skills-based volunteering and Service Enterprise initiatives. Katie’s experience in the nonprofit sector includes providing implementing successful membership recruitment and engagement strategies, managing strong, supportive relationships with nonprofits, organizing and managing events, delivering training and supervising staff. She earned her bachelor’s degree in family social science from the University of Minnesota.

Reid A. Zimmerman

Reid A. Zimmerman is a 30+ year veteran leader in the nonprofit sector of Minnesota, having worked as an executive director, board member and senior development officer for a number of organizations. Reid has served as a lecturer and professor at Hamline, St. Thomas, and Capella Universities in their Nonprofit and Public Administration programs. He still consults and teaches with nonprofit organizations across the region. He volunteered as member of the MCN Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence committee and the board of evaluators with the Performance Improvement Network. Reid holds a doctorate in organizational development, is credentialed as a certified fund raising executive, and is the author of The Seven Deadly Sayings of Nonprofit Leaders…And How to Avoid Them, (2014) published by Charity Channel Press.

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August 10, 2017
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
University of St. Thomas
1000 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis


Minnesota Council of Nonprofits