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Keynote Sessions

H. Adam Harris (he/him) is an artist, teacher, and cultural equity consultant. He works at the intersection of theatre, education, social justice, and community engagement. From keynotes to facilitation, H. Adam specializes in bringing people together around discussions of identity, art, and community. H. Adam spent several years as the lead facilitator for Penumbra Theatre Company’s RACE Workshop (designed by artistic director Sarah Bellamy); in this position he led conversations around issues of diversity and inclusion for various corporations and organizations including Ecolab, Kare11, University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Science Museum, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He is a dynamic speaker covering topics from the race in America, the power of storytelling, or the connections between fantasy and social justice. H. Adam offers consulting on anti-racist practices, curriculum development, diversity, equity, inclusion, and community outreach. Select clients include the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Children’s Theatre Company (ACT One Programming), Ten Thousand Things Theatre (board member), University of Minnesota Theater & Dance Department, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Guthrie Theater (Accessibility committee), Minnesota State Family Support and Recovery Council, Ramsey County Child Support Services, Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, and Citizen’s League (Capitol Pathways).

Gabrielle (Gaby) Strong (she/her) is the managing director of the NDN Collective – Foundation and is an enrolled citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate. Her work includes serving as program officer with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies for nine years in Arts & Cultures. Her roles have included serving as technical assistance specialist with Education Development Center; as Tribal administrator for the Lower Sioux Indian Community; and as program officer with the Grotto Foundation, where she administered key initiatives, including the Native Language Revitalization Initiative and American Indian Family Empowerment Program, now known as the Tiwahe Foundation. She is an honorary board member of Ain Dah Yung (Our Home) Center, a Native human service agency she helped found in 1983 and served for 16 years as executive director. Gaby has held a variety of elected and appointed positions, served on several organizational boards, including Dakota Wicohan. She has held adjunct faculty positions at Hamline University and Metro State University, and has managed her own family business and consulting practice. She earned her bachelor of arts in sociology, with a minor in education, from Macalester College, and a master’s degree in social work, with a human service management concentration, from the University of Minnesota.


Breakout Sessions

Rachel Albertson is the development and communications manager for Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota (LASNEM). Rachel has a passion for public interest and poverty law with specific interest in innovative and efficient ways of providing equal access to justice in greater Minnesota. Rachel began working at LASNEM in 2005 as a paralegal and transitioned into her new role in 2020. Rachel is currently the Reach Justice Minnesota coordinator for LASNEM, she is a Minnesota certified paralegal, and a participant in the Minnesota Legal Paraprofessional Pilot Project.

Luna Allen-Bakerian (she/her) is the race equity and public policy strategist for YWCA Minneapolis. In this role, she builds and maintains community partnerships and coalition relationships and leads the development of our state and local legislative agenda and surrounding advocacy. YWCA’s policy strategy centers the mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and girls, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Originally from Los Angeles, Luna holds a master of public policy degree with a focus on political engagement from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor of arts degree in political science with a minor in gender, women, and sexuality studies from the University of Minnesota. She brings city, state, and federal government experience, as well as experience in gender equity and inclusion programming in higher education.

Scott Artley (he/him) is the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s first accessibility program director, a role designed to develop and oversee accessibility grant programs for arts organizations in the Twin Cities, and to develop resources targeted to artists with disabilities and organizations serving artists/audiences with disabilities. Scott has over a decade of leadership experience in the arts, with a special focus on community-based initiatives and disability justice, emerging (in part) from his own experience as a queer person with disabilities. He holds a certification in accessibility core competencies from the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.

Kate Barr (she/her) is president and CEO of Propel Nonprofits, whose mission is to fuel the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise, and capital. She provides strategic leadership in partnership with the board of directors and oversees strategic and business planning and external relations. She led the merger of Nonprofits Assistance Fund and MAP for Nonprofits in 2017 to create a premier resource for nonprofits in the region. She is a national leader, speaker, and writer on nonprofit strategy and finance and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School. Before joining the organization in 2000, Kate was a bank executive and an arts administrator. She has served on numerous boards of directors, currently as board chair at the Jerome Foundation

Jennyffer Barrientos is the Growing Up Healthy director at Healthy Community Initiative. She has done a great deal of community organizing work in Northfield, facilitating trainings for Latinx parents/caregivers and hosting meetings with decision-makers, so that caregivers can voice their concerns, opinions, and questions. Jennyffer is passionate about this work because she believes in equitable results and opportunities and has personally found great benefit from participating in the Northfield Growing Local pilot program. Since the pilot concluded, Jennyffer has been part of a workforce team and is now a Northfield Retirement Community board member.

Darrell Beauford recently returned to the Twin Cities from Austin, Texas. He brings significant accounting experience to the Propel Nonprofits accounting and finance team from his prior work with the Neighborhood Development Center in Minneapolis.

Tiffany Beitler is the founder/principal of Cooks Bay Marketing, a branding and marketing agency that works with a variety of businesses and nonprofits. She and her husband co-founded Minnesota My Home, an innovative real estate company that uses professional marketing campaigns by Cooks Bay Marketing to sell homes. She is also the author of Lake Minnetonka Eats, a lifestyle book featuring recipes from 25 Lake Minnetonka restaurants and Independent Publisher Book Award Bronze Winner for Best Midwest - Nonfiction.

Jake Blumberg was named executive director of GiveMN in 2015 and 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 multiple online giving campaigns that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. As co-finance director of Minnesotans United, he helped lead a multimillion-dollar campaign in Minnesota to win the freedom to marry for same sex couples. 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. Jake is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota, University of St. Thomas, and Hamline University.

Kristy Brackett (she/her) was a crime victim advocate for five years and is currently director of advocacy for Someplace Safe, where she oversees 10 sites in West Central Minnesota. Kristy is also a part-time peace officer and a new businessowner. She previously served as vice chair for More than Shelter, as a member of United Communities Advocating Non-Violence, and facilitated the local sexual assault task force.

Alysha Carlisle is multiracial and originally from Oakland, California. She is a single mom who has been involved with Project Legacy for seven years, since she was 19 years old and working as a personal care assistant and certified nursing assistant. She has been on staff for two years and is the coordinator of the Legacy Scholars program, a multicampus initiative for first generation students of color. Alysha will be graduating with her BS.W. in December, the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Yixiu Chen (she/her) is the co-manager of the Open Doors Learning Centers program at Literacy Minnesota, a nonprofit leader in literacy education operating in five sites throughout Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Open Door Learning Center is a program of Literacy Minnesota (formerly Minnesota Literacy Council). Literacy Minnesota is a statewide organization supporting the field of adult education through volunteer and staff training, development of resources, Northstar digital literacy certifications, and more. They also manage National Service programs through our VISTA and Summer Reads programs. Yixiu has a background in educational program management and community outreach with diverse communities. She is passionate about social justice education, delivering DEI training, advocating for the rights of refugees, and working with at-promise youth. She holds a master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.

As Studio501 founder and CEO, Mary Cleary’s (she/her) lifelong pursuit is to apply an entrepreneurial approach to the financial management of mission-driven nonprofits. For the past two decades, she has led an incredible team of contractors who help clients tell their financial stories and further the good work they are doing. The list of nonprofits who have benefited from Mary’s nonprofit accounting and fiscal management leadership are extensive. Prior to founding Studio501, Mary worked as an auditor at KPMG in their San Francisco practice and then found her home in nonprofit organizations as a director of finance for Chrysalis, a Center for Women, and as the accounting manager for the National Marrow Donor Program/Be the Match. Mary received a BA in accounting from the University of San Francisco.

Prior to joining MIGIZI in 2018, Kelly Drummer served as founding president and CEO of the Tiwahe Foundation for seven years. Tiwahe is an American Indian community foundation which focuses on providing micro grants to American Indian communities, strengthening leadership initiatives, and network building. During her 20 years of philanthropy and nonprofit work, Kelly has worked with the Jewish Community Foundation, The Family Partnership, Headwaters Foundation for Justice, and New Foundations – a Project for Pride in Living program. Kelly currently serves on the Saint Paul Foundation Community Impact Grants committee, The Family Partnership board of directors, and other projects that benefit American Indian Woman and youth. She holds a M.A. degree in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University and a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

Craig Dunn was the executive director of VSA Minnesota from 1992 until September of 2019 when the organization closed its doors after 33 years. Prior to that, he served four years on the organization’s board of directors, with three of those years as its president. He has provided accessibility assistance to over 60 arts organizations throughout Minnesota and presented at Arts Midwest’s Regional ADA Conference. He has worked extensively with the Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to ensure people with disabilities have full access to the wealth of arts experiences provided by the state’s performing, exhibiting, and presenting arts organizations. His training is as a music educator and music therapist, and he served in that capacity for 14 years in schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Karen Edmonds (she/her) has worked in education and nonprofits for over 30 years. She has always been an advocate and mentor for disenfranchised and street-involved youth. In 2008, she and her husband founded Project Legacy, a program for youth of color who have faced multiple barriers and experienced complex trauma. Karen has a B.S. in special education.

Brett Grant (he/him) is the policy and research director at Voices for Racial Justice. Brett is a policy strategist and researcher whose work is focused on racial justice and social impact issues. With over 15 years of experience working with communities of color, government agencies, and stakeholders, Brett is recognized for his ability to listen and develop strategically impactful and innovative initiatives that are focused on the communities he represents. Brett’s expertise lies in understanding systemic and institutional racism as they pertain to education, policy, community-based research, and practice. An educator at heart, Brett believes some of his most important lessons have come from his experiences traveling the world. Brett is a native San Franciscan.

Dana Hagemann (she/her) is a PR professional for St. Paul-based CUREO Media. Prior to her work in public relations, she was a TV news reporter and anchor in Duluth and Springfield, Missouri. She also spent time with a research and consulting firm where she assisted newsrooms with making strategic content decisions. Dana’s current work focuses on helping nonprofits and mission-driven organizations expand their brand recognition through digitally focused PR efforts. She’s passionate about helping teams uncover and share their unique stories with new audiences, often through data-driven research and strategy.

Jocelyn Hernandez-Swanson is a leadership and civic engagement (LCE) educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. As an LCE educator she works with community members and partners as a resource in cultivating efficient and effective leadership and civic engagement practices. Specializing in working with the Latinx community and using racial equity frameworks, Jocelyn brings experience working at North Hennepin Community College, the City of Brooklyn Park, and the City of Minneapolis.

Lisa Hinz is an associate extension professor with the University of Minnesota Extension specializing in leadership and civic engagement. Lisa works with public and community-minded individuals and organizations across the state, providing workshops on leadership, facilitation, and public participation.  Helping people build their skills and insights for working together in the public realm more effectively is her focus.

Aaliyah Hodge (she/her), president at People for PSEO, is a Brooklyn native who grew up in Minnesota and now calls the NoMa neighborhood in Washington D.C. home. Her passions revolve around work rooted in expanding quality education options for students who have been systematically disadvantaged and marginalized. Before her current role as the director of Covid Recovery at the KIPP headquarters she worked as a charter school authorizer at the University of St. Thomas. She is also a member of the Coalition of Public Independent Charter School’s advisory council, Pillsbury United Community’s Charter advisory council, and the MCN board. As the founder and current president of People for PSEO, Aaliyah has met with hundreds of prospective students as well as current and former program participants.

Maren Hulden is a staff attorney at the Legal Services Advocacy Project, where she does legislative and policy advocacy on issues impacting Legal Aid’s clients across the state. As part of this work, Maren serves as one of the policy co-chairs of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. Maren previously worked as a staff attorney at the Minnesota Disability Law Center, which is a statewide project of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.

Tara Jebens-Singh is the president and CEO of Northeast Youth & Services, a community-based, trauma-informed, mental health and human service agency serving suburban Ramsey County. Prior to that she was the adult programs coordinator at White Bear Lake Area Schools. She has championed numerous community capacity building initiatives such as the Community Forum on Seniors, Many Faces of White Bear Lake and VHEDC’s Partners for Good. She has served as the president of the Consortium of Lake Area Senior Services, Metro Meals on Wheels board of directors and NAMI Ramsey County board of directors. Tara has worked in public policy, education, equity, senior services, and wellness programs for over 25 years and holds a master's in planning from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. 

Emily Johnston (she/her) serves as vice president of Impact and Engagement at United Way of Olmsted County in Rochester. She is passionate about building inclusive communities where all people can thrive. Emily holds a Ph.D. degree.

HR thought leader Stacy Johnston (she/her) provides innovative HR solutions with a mission to support organizations in understanding and engaging their biggest competitive advantage…their employees. As the founder and business partner at Audacity HR, she is a licensed attorney in the State of Minnesota and holds the Society for Human Resource Management – certified professional and professional in human resources credentials. Stacy is an experienced talent management and solutions specialist, with a diverse HR and legal background. Her skill sets include recruiting and hiring mission driven leaders, building equity and inclusion, and creating agile HR solutions that strategically align with values and goals. Stacy is actively involved in the community and serves as a board member at the Ordean Foundation, the Duluth Playhouse, NSA-MN Chapter, and the Lake Superior Chapter ADT.

Beth Kallestad is a program coordinator with the City of Northfield. She provides project management support for the City’s Climate Action Plan and diversity, equity and inclusion work. She is the staff lead for the Growing Local: Northfield Emerging Leaders Program. Beth has prior experience in community leadership as an executive director of the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and extension educator in Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Annie Krapek (she/her) is the CEO for Twin Cities Medical Society, where she works to engage physician, medical students, and other health care professionals in community-driven advocacy work. She received her undergraduate degree in child psychology and master’s of public health from the University of Minnesota. Annie has worked and volunteered with several health, policy and nonprofit organizations throughout her career, and enjoys working with health professional to build their capacity to create change.

Matt Ladhoff (he/him) considers himself an eternal optimist and lifelong student. Matt currently serves as the managing partner at Access Philanthropy as well as an adjunct faculty member teaching social entrepreneurship at University of Minnesota. Matt loves connecting with others and efforts to apply business acumen toward impact-oriented solutions. He earned his MBA from the University of Minnesota and is a part of the current Humphrey Policy Fellows 2021-2022 cohort.

Anne LaFrinier-Ritchie is an Anishinaabe woman, born and raised on the Fond Du Lac reservation, and whose family is from the White Earth Reservation. She currently works as a regional navigator with Someplace Safe in west central Minnesota. Anne is also a board member for the Sacred Hoop Coalition, as well as for the Indigenous Association of Fargo-Moorhead. Further community work includes participation in the Cass Clay YWCA Racial Justice committee. Anne is a strong proponent for social justice causes and bringing awareness to historical trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and their lifelong effects. Anne holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts for the human services from the University of Minnesota – Morris, with a focus on Native American issues.

Greg Lais is a social entrepreneur who excels at building organizations and generating connections to the philanthropic community. As the founder and long-time executive director of Wilderness Inquiry, Greg pioneered many nonprofit systems and practices widely in use today—including earned revenues for nonprofits. He received his MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School and has brought a business discipline to the nonprofit sector ever since. Greg currently serves on the Metropolitan State University Foundation board as well as the Friends of the Falls. At Access Philanthropy he serves as a senior advisor helping nonprofits of all sizes along the path to sustainability.

Christie Larson (she/her) is the executive director of Southern Valley Alliance, a domestic violence agency serving Scott and Carver Counties. She is also the owner of On Fire Fundraising, which specializes in fundraising strategy for small to mid-size nonprofits. Christie has her masters’ of public policy and is a certified fund raising executive and enjoys working with community-based agencies and seeing them through periods of development and growth.

Jackie Larson is a communications professional with years of experience in nonprofit, government, and small business settings. She specializes in content development and editing, marketing, research, event planning, fundraising, and presentation design. Most recently, she joined as the public relations & development coordinator for The Phoenix Residence, a small nonprofit that provides support for adults with disabilities in the Twin Cities. In her current role, she manages all the communications and marketing for the organization, as well as managing fundraising efforts and event planning. Prior to this role, she’d held communication roles at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (the native tribe that owns Mystic Lake), the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, and EnergyPrint, a small energy management company.

Nadia Linoo (she/her) is research manager at Youthprise. Nadia manages the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) network, grants, and programs. Her passion for research, specifically YPAR, was ignited after experiencing traditional research models all too often not centering nor respecting young and/or marginalized folks. Nadia’s background includes a B.S. in child psychology from the University of Minnesota and past work involving mental health, youth program coordinating, refugee/immigrant support, organizing on the University of Minnesota campus, and photography.

Kelly McDonough (she/her) received her B.S.W. from St. Cloud State University and has been a licensed as an LSW through the Minnesota Board of Social work since 1989. Her employment experiences include program director in an adolescent residential treatment program, Nursing Home Social Work and County Waiver case management/managed care for the elderly and disabled. Her current position as a program developer with Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging allows her the opportunity to have a greater impact on the design, implementation, and expansion of new or existing initiatives that target older adults and/or caregivers. Focus areas include the development of community-based services; redesign or expansion of services and programs; and dissemination and implementation of evidence-based health promotion; caregiver, and related programs.

Richard McLemore II (he/him) is the executive director of McLemore Holdings. McLemore Holdings, is an African-American culturally inclusive organization, focused on providing rental assistance, holistic professional development workshops, renters and home buyers educational courses, wealth building courses, and healing circles. He is a three-time college graduate, most recently graduating from Metropolitan State University - with a focus in psychology. Prior to his current position, Richard was the housing director for Ujamaa Place; while simultaneously, acting as program manager for Alternatives to Violence Project-Minnesota. He dedicates his time facilitating psychosocial workshops on mental and emotional healing for practitioners at state and federal prisons, juvenile facilities, and county jails across the nation. Richard is also a circle keeper with the city of St. Paul’s “ETHOS” diversion program.

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

Jodie Miller (she/her) has been the executive director at Town Square Television and Northern Dakota County Cable Communications Commission since 1993, after starting out as education coordinator there in 1989. She hopes someday to be one of the last remaining dinosaurs to retire from her first job out of college. Jodie has served on leadership boards for local, state, and national trade associations, including President of NATOA and its MN state chapter MACTA, providing her with ample opportunities to speak on panels and as keynote speaker at conferences and ceremonies across the country. She was thrilled to participate in a Broadband Roundtable at the White House under President Obama’s Administration. Jodie was honored to be added to the prestigious list of NATOA life members in 2020.

Alicia Munson (she/her) (she/her) has been working alongside and on behalf of Minnesotans who have disabilities for more than a decade. In starting her career as a direct support professional, Alicia’s work and allyship was informed by her personal experience as the family member of a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During her time as public policy director for The Arc Minnesota, Alicia earned the respect and trust of community members statewide through her grassroots and lobbying efforts. Now as chief program officer for The Arc Minnesota, Alicia’s work focuses on shifting programs and services internally, as well as systems and society externally, to align with the disability justice movement. She serves as board co-chair for the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.

Jillian Nelson is an autistic adult and the community resource and policy advocate for the Autism Society of Minnesota. Jillian has a degree in human services and a diverse background in disability service work, including direct support, special education, housing, employment supports, support groups, and more. Jillian routinely connects with the community through the information and resource hotline and is ingrained in the disability public policy field as a registered lobbyist, co-chair of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities’ Anti-Discrimination & Intersectionality work group. She has been appointed by the Governor’s office to the Council on Developmental Disabilities and State Rehabilitation Council and serves on many workgroups and committees.

Sara Nevison began her career managing programs in nonprofits committed to advancing justice through education and workforce development. She noticed that nonprofit finances and capital had a powerful impact on programming, client services, and ultimately justice. However, despite their power, clear financial data seemed elusive. As a fervent learner, she jumped into accounting where she found a natural fit for her skills and interests. As Propel Nonprofits’ accountant, Sara takes pride in providing accurate, timely, and clear financial information to empower nonprofit leaders to do good and do well at the same time.  

Loice Oduol is a Black African immigrant who moved to the U.S. in 2014 to pursue higher education. She has a B.A in psychology and a minor in communication. Loice has worked as a MNsure-certified navigator at Health Access MN since graduating college in 2017. She lives in Winona.

Ashley Oolman (she/her), founder & inclusion consultant of Allied Folk, guides partners through evidence-based best practices, organizational development, and progressive thought leadership. From large corporations to individual allies, she transforms strategic business initiatives and advances equitable community spaces. With more than a decade of leadership experience in advocacy, employment, and workplace culture, she understands how to navigate complex environments and provide actionable insights for growth. Ashley strives to advance community equity through her contributions on a collective impact task force, and serves on a coalition of providers supporting transracially adopted youth to reinforce their development of positive Black identity. In her free time, she enjoys creating space to coach local parents on inclusive parenting, including children in critical conversations. Ashley earned an MBA with a concentration on human resource management.

Neese Parker (she/her) coordinates youth engagement at Youthprise. This includes providing support to the young people partnering with Youthprise and facilitating programmatic initiatives such as YouthBank and the YPAR network. Neese previously served a term with the Minnesota Youth Council and is trained in Design Thinking facilitation. Contact Neese to learn more about how to infuse youth voice in design thinking.

Robin Phinney is the founder and president of Rise Research, a Twin Cities-based research and evaluation firm. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy and political science from the University of Michigan and most recently was a research director at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Robin has expertise in systems change, cash assistance and housing programs, juvenile justice, and strategies to create livable communities. She has written extensively for both academic, policy, and community audiences and her book, Strange Bedfellows (Cambridge University Press) examines how advocates collaborate to influence policy choices. Robin also supervises capstone projects at the Humphrey School and works as an affiliated researcher at the Future Services Institute and a master contractor for the State of Minnesota.

Sondra Reis (she/her), director of e-learning at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, is an experienced nonprofit executive with over 20 years in leadership and governance roles for nationally recognized organizations. Sondra brings a depth of knowledge to her role in diverse aspects of nonprofit management, including financial management, human resources, and strategic alliances. Drawing on her years of program and leadership experience, Sondra has taken the lead in identifying the strategies necessary to launch a successful e-learning program at MCN. In developing the plan, she’s consulted with membership organizations across the nation, delved into e-learning industry reports, and gathered info at several national e-learning conferences. An avid lifelong learner, she has also been drawing upon recent pedagogical research to design MCN’s initial e-learning offerings.

Deqa Sayid is YWCA’s racial justice training coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for the recruitment, planning, implementation, and development of the Racial Justice Facilitator program and community education. Prior to joining YWCA Minneapolis, Deqa worked with Minneapolis Public Schools as a family and school advocate where she oversaw efforts to address and overcome incoming community complaints relating to school operations. She brings over 12 years of community service experience and a wealth of relevant education to YWCA Minneapolis. Deqa holds a mastery certificate from Harvard Medical School in global mental health and refugee trauma. She also holds a master’s in education with a concentration on multi-cultural counseling from San Diego State University, and a B.A. in psychology from California State University – San Marcos.

Allison Shurilla (she/they/ella) is the founder and lead consultant of AS Community Consulting. Allison has over 11 years of experience consulting nonprofits, schools, and public agencies on their evaluation and research goals. In addition to her consulting experience, she has 17 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector as a staff member, volunteer, educator, and board member. She has backgrounds in education, youth work, public health, community engagement, and the arts in a local, national, and international capacity. Her approach to evaluation uses a combination of traditional evaluation consulting, social justice-based research methodologies, community organizing principles, and coaching techniques.

John Skillings (he/him) is a seasoned professional who enjoys helping nonprofit organizations with their finance and accounting needs and understand the relationship between good accounting systems/practices and mission success.

Rebecca Slaby (she/her), executive director of AMAZEworks, leads AMAZEworks in working with schools, communities, and organizations to create equity and belonging for children and adults. With a ME.d. from DePaul University, she has 15 years of experience teaching middle school humanities/social studies. She has been a racial justice facilitator for the YWCA Minneapolis and is a trained cultural competency facilitator for the Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board for the state of Minnesota. She has presented at the Overcoming Racism, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Forum on Workplace Inclusion, and local, regional, and national education conferences. She holds a certificate of executive leadership from the University of St. Thomas and teaches courses on equity-based pedagogy at the University of Minnesota.

Dori Streit (she/her) is the executive director of Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota (LASNEM). Dori strives to build effective and sustainable legal service programs to increase access to justice for all Minnesotans. She began her career as a staff attorney at Indian Legal Assistance Program, a busy nonprofit in Duluth that provides civil and criminal law services to the indigent and Native American communities. In 2011, Dori was hired as the executive director of the Volunteer Attorney Program, where she worked to revitalize the pro bono commitment of the private bar in the Northeastern region, eventually leaving in 2017 to join the team at LASNEM. Dori began her role at LASNEM in 2017. During her time at LASNEM, Dori has focused on leveraging technological innovations to improve LASNEM’s operations.

Alli Strong-Martin (she/her) is a disability inclusion consultant at Lifeworks. She develops product and service offerings that educate and train employers, disability organizations, and community members on disability rights and disability inclusion in the workplace and in the community at-large. Alli holds a M.A. in human rights and a B.A. in nonprofit leadership. She is dedicated to continuously educating herself and others about the intersectionality of disability rights issues, while working towards a more inclusive and equitable future in which every person is able to enjoy their right to participate fully and authentically in their community.

Wendy Vang-Roberts (she/her) is the training manager at the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA). Prior to joining the MAVA staff, Wendy served on MAVA's Inclusive Volunteerism task gorce and provided training on inclusive volunteer recruitment. She previously worked at Literacy Minnesota in a variety of student, volunteer, and national service (AmeriCorps VISTA) outreach and recruitment roles. She most recently managed volunteer and adult learner outreach, coordinated support and professional development for volunteer coordinators, and facilitated racial justice trainings for staff and volunteers at adult basic education programs statewide. Wendy holds a master of public and nonprofit administration from Metropolitan State University, and serves on the Antiracism Study Dialogue Circles Metamorphosis board and marketing committee and Asian American Organizing Project board. She is a first-generation Hmong American.

In 2008, Shawn Vougeot began her role as a television/video producer, instructor, and facilitator at Town Square Television. In 2013, she added the role of sales/fundraising coordinator. Shawn enjoys all stages of producing effective videos, from brainstorming the vision, through production and editing, to adding the final impactful touches before delivery.

Aimee Vue (she/her) is the youth philanthropy manager at Youthprise. Aimee is the go-to person for all things YouthBank. Having several experiences in startups, she wants to channel her passion for building and scaling into YouthBank by making it a nationwide program. Her background includes a BA. from Brown University, working on designing kombucha popsicles, and navigating the commerce committee at the Minnesota legislature.

Tierre Webster is a strategic, bridge-building leader. He has both initiated and contributed to several initiatives. In his desire to see communities thrive, he does not lose focus on the most marginalized communities as he understands the impact of historical trauma, systemic racism, and the impact poverty has on victims specific to those living in urban communities. Tierre has used his love for ongoing learning and academic experience to support his work. He is a graduate of Crossroads College with a B.S. in Christian ministry and has earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from the University of Northwestern. He also is an alumni of the Collaborative Leadership Fellows and the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. 

Brittanie Wilson is a disability justice leader and self-advocate. As a Black and Brown, Queer, Disabled, woman, Brittanie is a firm believer that to make equitable systems change, those with the most marginalized identities must be leading these efforts. Brittanie works for the Minnesota Council on Disability as a communications officer and is engaged in several organizations including Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, the board for The Arc Minnesota, a council member for the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and is a community leader for SEIU Home Care Action Team.

Bradley Wolfe (he/him) is a communication instructor at Ridgewater College, and he has been teaching college communication courses since 2014. He currently serves on the board of MNAdopt. Bradley has previously served as executive director of a small nonprofit and as the Southwest Minnesota Regional Coordinator for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. In addition to his expertise in conflict management, his academic work includes publications and conference presentations on service-learning, equity in education, nonprofit leadership, queer studies, and video games. Bradley holds a Ph.D. degree.

Benjamin Yawakie (inini/ottsi/he) brings his experience advocating for Tribal issues related to education and environmental policy reform. He is co-chair on the Policy & Governance subcommittee of the We Are Still Here - Minnesota campaign working to advance Indigenous Education for All legislation. He also sits on Minnesota's Environmental Quality board advocating for the integration of tribal methodologies into the state's Environmental Review process. He has interwoven these experiences with training programs offered through the Wilder Foundation (Community Equity Program) and Nexus Community Partners (Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute) to strengthen his understanding of political processes to advance racial equity and the sovereignty of the 11 Tribal Nations in Minnesota. He is currently working on completing his master of public policy and master of public health at the University of Minnesota.

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