2019 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference

nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference

Speakers Biographies

Keynote Speaker

Suraj Vadgama
Suraj Vadgama is a tech-for-good designer and developer. Suraj is the project lead for developing digital products at the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST). CAST works to accelerate the use of digital technology to meet social and charitable objectives, creating a digitally enabled and responsive sector in the UK. Suraj successfully founded Beehive, a funding suitability checking tool that uses a funder's guidelines, priorities, and open data to produce a report that helps grantwriters decide where to apply. With over a decade of experience of designing, developing, and growing digital and traditional services in the nonprofit sector, he brings a wealth of real world experience on what it takes to deliver value with digital.

Workshop Presenters

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.

Before joining the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Jackie Aman worked in service-learning and youth development with various nonprofit organizations. Most recently she was a research fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where she conducted research and facilitated trainings with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Community Action Partnership, and other public/nonprofit leaders. Jackie has a master’s degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnestoa and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and sociology from the University of Notre Dame. Jackie specializes in research and evaluation projects related to women’s and children’s services, adverse childhood experiences, trauma-informed care, and philanthropic initiatives. She is passionate about fostering the feedback loop between research and practice through community forums, online learning tools, and data visualization.

Joel Barker is chief strategy officer at Washburn Center for Children where he oversees development, marketing, and strategic initiatives. Washburn serves children with mental health conditions. Joel is also the co-founder of Brave North Technology, a Minnesota-based technology firm that has worked with over 200 nonprofits to develop technology systems that support their missions. Joel has over 10 years of nonprofit experience, including serving as a vice president/chief development officer for Fraser, a $72 million dollar health care organization, and as a nonprofit consultant where he provided strategic counsel to over 50 nonprofits throughout the Midwest. Joel serves on the board for Missions Inc. and grant review board for Shavlik Family Foundation, and is a frequent speaker at nonprofit events and conferences.

Sarah Berres believes we all thrive when we communicate in kindness through our words and actions. Communication requires practice and can help us build trust as we share our voice and vision. Having spent the last 10 years in private and nonprofit organizations managing programs and people, her voice is now thriving as an equity and inclusion specialist in the public sector. Sarah holds an M.A. in public and nonprofit administration and communication education.

Steve Boland is a nonprofit veteran with over 25 years of experience helping charities grow with new ideas in fundraising and communications. Steve has presented over 100 learning sessions on topics such as crowdfunding, engaging corporate philanthropy, and social communications strategy for nonprofits. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Steve holds a master of nonprofit management from Hamline University, is an alumnus of the Shannon Leadership Institute, and serves on the board of directors for Outfront Minnesota. Steve is the managing partner of Next in Nonprofits, a consulting firm based in St. Paul, is an adjunct instructor of Development and Fundraising for Hamline University, and is the host of the Next in Nonprofits podcast.

Abby Breyer leads engagement at Azul Seven, where she works closely with clients and project teams to understand business challenges, uncover user needs, guide strategy, and achieve strong, successful outcomes. She serves as a trusted advocate for her clients as well as a champion for the power of human-centered design to influence lasting change. A relationship builder, strategic problem solver, and experienced leader, Abby is passionate about people and understanding the situations and experiences that motivate their behavior. She brings a range of skills and expertise to her role, having spent her career leading client services, marketing, and communications for design and tech teams.

Tim Broeker has been building websites and content management systems since 1994, and helped launch large, high-profile web applications on more than 16 distinct content management systems. He has presented many times locally, including the 2018 Twin Cities Drupal Camp, and presented at the national DrupalCon North America in Nashville, 2018.

Natasha Brownlee is an international development and gender equality professional specializing in girls’ empowerment and youth leadership. As a 2018 global advocate fellow for Mama Hope, she has worked with global organizations to engage in ethical storytelling and asset-based communications techniques that align with their programmatic approach. Natasha currently consults for a range of local and international NGOs and serves as the board president for the Minnesota International NGO Network.

Neil Chudgar helps people talk about big ideas. As a communications strategist and consultant, he helps clients from giant manufacturers to tiny nonprofits express the ideas that matter most. His clients come from all fields, but he has special love for big ideas in nonprofit health care. An award-winning teacher, Neil spent over a decade helping students think about language and meaning as an English professor University of Chicago and Macalester College.

Andrea Cole is the resident graphic designer at AmplifyDMC, a development, communications, and marketing consulting company based in St. Paul. Andrea brings beauty and life to her nonprofit clients’ work. She lends an artistic eye to print and digital design projects, including annual reports, brochures, banners, newsletters, social media, and websites. She also takes a lead role in branding projects, ensuring visual elements of a brand are representing the organization, product, or service with personality and style.

Sarah Crumrine is the communications coordinator at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, where she coordinates and executes a broad range of communications projects, including working on print and electronic communications, working in media relations, and strategic communication implementation.  Sarah’s previous nonprofit experience includes working in events, communications, and community relations for organizations working with housing. Sarah has a B.A. in journalism with a minor in social justice from the University of Minnesota. For four years, she served on the board of directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities in various roles, including communications chair, vice chair, and most recently, board chair. She currently serves on the young professionals board of Gilda's Club Twin Cities.

Christy Dickinson contributes to the development of policies, guidelines, and efficient procedures for Arts Midwest grant programs, including oversight and direction for the Art Midwest Touring Fund and Shakespeare in American Communities. She also works closely with other programs to provide leadership and streamline grants management and serves as a member the Salesforce admin team. Data integrity is important to her and she has worked on maintaining the organization’s data throughout her 20 year history with Arts Midwest. She holds a master of arts in liberal studies from Hamline University and a bachelor of fine arts in painting. When she not in her role as an arts administrator, you can find her painting.

Kate Downing Khaled is on a mission to use her skills in community engagement to shape the future to be more fair and welcoming. In her work, Kate is the owner of an independent consulting firm, Imagine Deliver, where she facilitates creative design and equitable strategy processes for her clients. In her past work at Charities Review Council, she served the role of director of engagement & programs, where she led the Council’s creative design, business modeling and partnership development efforts – including the development of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Assessment Toolkit for nonprofits, philanthropies, coalitions, and municipalities.

Nancy Doyle Brown helps nonprofits thrive through strategic messaging and brand strategy. Her participatory branding process allows organizations to discover the essence of who they are and why they matter. She has been supporting nonprofits as a consultant for more than 10 years and previously worked in communications for Catholic Charities and for Aeon, an affordable housing provider. Nancy is also an expert in group facilitation and consensus-based decision-making. She has been a workshop presenter and keynote speaker for local and national audiences.

Lisa Dunnigan is a principal with Olsen Thielen & Co., Ltd., a Twin Cities based CPA firm. She has been with the firm for 28 years and serves as the chief information officer and principal-in-charge of Olsen Thielen's internal information systems. With a bachelor of science in accounting from St. Cloud State University, Lisa combines her education with over 33 years of experience in the information technology field. She is a Microsoft certified professional and has expertise in IT system design and implementation, IT security and disaster planning, project management, data analytics, system integration, and cloud technologies. Lisa works with both senior-level executives and staff to apply technology to gain efficiency, ensure the security and protection of business assets, and bring systems together to produce meaningful information and advance goals.

A lifelong art lover, collector, and patron, Christine Durandhas found the arts to be an essential part of what makes a vibrant community. She comes to Minnesota Museum of American Art from a variety of posts in nonprofits around the Twin Cities, working to create a healthy, more engaged community for us all to live, work, and play. She was most recently director of advancement for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, and held previous leadership positions within Planned Parenthood of MN, SD, ND, and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. She has a B.A. in journalism from Drake University and an M.P.A. in public and nonprofit leadership from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Lauren Edstrom joined Metro Meals on Wheels as the marketing director, and is currently the director of marketing and development. Using storytelling, traditional, and social media, Lauren has helped leverage the Meals on Wheels brand and increase community engagement. Working with both local and national media, she maintains that sometimes you need to take risks and put your brand out there, and be willing to fail. It’s her goal to help Meals on Wheels reach a new generation of meal recipients as well as volunteers, and those are two very diverse groups to market to. Prior to her role with Meals on Wheels, Lauren worked for KARE 11. She currently serves on the board for the Parkinson’s Foundation Minnesota, and is a volunteer advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association and AARP.

Joshua Feist started at Arts Midwest in 2008 as an administrative assistant and somehow managed to earn the trust of the organization to assume the responsibilities and title he currently holds. As program director for NEA Big Read, Josh works collaboratively with the National Endowment for the Arts as well as nonprofits and libraries around the nation to deliver engaging one-book, one-community programs. He is also one of three Salesforce administrators on staff. His primary responsibilities include running the monthly users group, automating business workflows, general support and configuration, and building web portals for Arts Midwest constituents. Josh holds a B.A. and M.A. in art history.

Kristen Felegy is the communications and marketing manager of People Incorporated, the largest community-based provider of mental health services in the Twin Cities. As People Incorporated approaches its 50th anniversary, Kristen has led efforts to reintroduce the nonprofit to external audiences, including donors, volunteers, and the general public through a variety of communications strategies and tactics. In addition to external communications, Kristen also oversees internal communications with People Incorporated’s 700+ employees at several locations in the Twin Cities metro area. Kristen holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications and Spanish, as well as a master of science degree in marketing. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Circle Lake Association, among other volunteer activities.

Eddie Glenn is a software engineer at Software for Good where he works with whatever technology is right for the problem at hand. Eddie started his career as a lawyer and worked for a few nonprofit organizations, largely in criminal justice and international law, before discovering his love for coding. He still has an instinct and eagerness for trying to better his community through law, public policy, and culture change that nonprofit organizations are creating. Eddie has found his engineering work to be most meaningful when he is helping experts from public service-oriented fields find new ways to solve problems.

Briana Gruenewald is a senior account executive at Bellmont Partners, a full-service public relations agency based in Edina. She has an exceptional track record in journalism, cause marketing, media and blogger relations, graphic design, and promotions. She has developed and implemented award-winning communications campaigns for clients such as Second Harvest Heartland, Public Art Saint Paul, Uptown Association, Explore Minnesota and Midwest Dairy. Her passion for telling the stories of cause-related organizations stems from her two years as an AmeriCorps member. Briana most recently presented about media relations strategy at the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference.

Ruth Hamberg is the founder and principal of Squaretree LLC, which equips organizations to build organic connections for strategic impact. Squaretree's clients invest in social change through digital engagement, event production, research, and strategic communications. Previously, Ruth managed stakeholder and digital engagement for Minnesota Compass, a project of Wilder Research. She is the communications chair for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities and identity-based leadership facilitator for the Minnesota Rising network. Her experience includes research and communications in Ecuador, India, Spain and greater Minnesota.

Jonathan Hatch is the founder and executive director of Saint Paul Media. Jonathan brings to the table more than 13 years of experience in information architecture, user experience design, and front-end development. He holds a B.F.A. and an M.A. in writing and literature with an emphasis on digital rhetoric and web content development. Jonathan got his start developing websites specifically designed to attract do-it-yourself audiences with creative content and search engine optimization. He has had the unique experience of founding and directing a nonprofit before starting his own design studio. Those experiences (and his inability to keep his opinions to himself) have made him a trusted web design and digital strategy consultant for several well-established nonprofits in the Twin Cities.

Kelly Heikkila of Accessible360 has been developing software since 1999, working as a coder, architect, product manager, and business owner. Some of the world’s largest organizations use software that he’s helped build in order to better run their businesses. Kelly has also founded and sold a web + mobile development agency, so he knows both the product and service sides of the world. Through these experiences, Kelly truly understands it takes both passionate people and great technology to do the incredible things that Accessible360 is doing.

Lisa Helminiak is the founder and CEO of Azul Seven, a human-centered design and innovation consultancy. Lisa started Azul Seven with the goal of improving people's lives by helping technologists, designers and business leaders work together to solve problems and improve outcomes for those they serve. Lisa works with clients to ensure their objectives are being met and with the Azul Seven team to help the organization evolve to meet the needs of clients and emerging industries. Her background as a strategist and experience designer, her interest in innovation, and her desire to help people keep her focused on technology's impact on human behavior and how it can improve lives. She has taught graduate level coursework at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota.

Amber Hiltunen is the digital marketing specialist at the YMCA Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. She is responsible for email and social media marketing communications for 25 YMCA branches and 18 Camps in the Twin Cities area. Previously, Amber graduated from DePaul University with a degree in marketing with a sales leadership concentration.

Chris Hintz is a writer, marketing professional, and storyteller who specializes in the craft of video. A journalist by training, Chris also simply fell in love with the process of creating great video stories. With the help of several incredible mentors along the way, he honed his video storytelling skills and started iSee Communications in 2016, with the goal of helping other nonprofits and business tell their stories through video.

Justin Hollis works as a research scientist at Wilder Research, specializing in policy research, program evaluation, and promoting the use of community indicators and performance measures by governmental and nonprofit organizations to better engage community and other key stakeholders in assessing the position and progress of communities’ quality of life. Before joining Wilder Research, he worked for Ramsey County supporting strategic planning and implementation, policy research and analysis, and performance management. Justin holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of New Mexico, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of St. Thomas.

Eleanor Hyde joined Firefly in 2016 as account manager. Prior to her time at Firefly she worked in nonprofit theaters large and small including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Hangar Theatre, and Emerald City Theatre. As a nonprofit professional she wore all kinds of hats including development, event planning, communications, business strategy, HR, and occasionally actual silly hats. She spent a stint working at NeonCRM helping organizations through the tool selection process. Eleanor has an M.F.A. in arts leadership and administration from DePaul University, a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and spent some formative time at the University of Cape Town. Eleanor is obsessed with local Chicago politics and designs live narrative games under the moniker Rabbit Hole.

Ellery July is technology specialist at Nacel Open Door. Aligning technology with reality so  people and organizations can succeed is Ellery’s work specialty. Technolust, traveling, and helping others keeps Ellery positive and excited. Nacel Open Door is dedicated to promoting international understanding and language education by bringing international high school students to the U.S. and sending U.S. students internationally.

Joanne Kosciolek is the vice president of development & external affairs for Project for Pride in Living (PPL). PPL has a dual focus of developing permanent affordable housing for lower-income families and individuals and providing job training and employment. She was previously the vice president of development & communications for Avivo, a multi-service organization providing chemical and mental health, employment services, and career training. Joanne has worked in the nonprofit arena for over 30 years, including staff positions at Aeon, HealthEast Foundation, Girl Scout Council of Minneapolis, and the United Way. She believes a strong brand contributes directly to an organization’s public visibility and fundraising success. Joanne has led two organizational rebranding initiatives as an executive leadership team member in the past 10 years.

Bryan Lloyd, IT applications manager, provides IT leadership and strategy for Wilder Research and its clients, with a focus on building and maintaining web sites and database applications. He also contributes hands-on as a technical developer for these and various other IT systems projects. Bryan’s research experience includes survey design, data collection, web and CATI programming, and statistical data analysis. He is currently responsible for the continual development and delivery of innovative, online solutions for data-focused research initiatives. Bryan has been with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation for over 20 years.

Valerie Lockhart is the executive director of the Minneapolis Telecommunications Network and the Minnesota Women in Tech. Through both of these organizations, she works to teach people to use accessible technology to easily manage their communications and outreach projects. With decades of experience working with both for-profit and nonprofit companies, Valerie brings real-world strategy and application to the parts of organizational management that can be both time-consuming and frustrating.

Leyla Mahabadi is an undergraduate student at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing, with a minor in Spanish language and culture. She is particularly interested in nonprofit marketing and currently focusing her research on social media data and analytics. She is eager to learn about the diverse ways that nonprofit organizations are improving communities in Minnesota.

Bridget Nelson Monroe is vice president of Bellmont Partners, a full-service public relations agency in Edina. Bridget takes an integrated approach, drawing on her experience in digital marketing, content strategy, and journalism to bring unique strategies and solutions to Bellmont Partners clients. She connects big ideas with pragmatic execution in thought leadership, content marketing, social media, media relations, and more. Bridget started her career on the editorial staffs of Better Homesand Gardens and Reader’s Digest. Since then, she’s specialized in integrated communications for organizations in several industries, including nonprofit clients such as People Incorporated, Second Harvest Heartland, Dakota Electric Association, Minnesota Fire Service Foundation, Uptown Association, and more. She is also an active volunteer, including serving a term on the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association board of directors.

Brandon Nohr leads SUCCESS Computer Consulting’s long-term technology vision and is responsible for the continuous development and evolution of SUCCESS products, services, and technical standards.  With an IT track record spanning almost 20 years and tenure at SUCCESS of over a decade, Brandon’s experience in the industry and leadership in the community has led to a reputation that is second to none. He began his consulting career by designing and supporting custom software solutions for the service industry, joined SUCCESS in 2007 as a project engineer, and evolved into a technical leadership role in which he was responsible for developing a business intelligence practice. Presently, Brandon recently achieved his certification as a certified ethical hacker and is key in developing solutions that protect the businesses SUCCESS serves.

Glyn Northington is the senior program director at Propel Nonprofits. Glyn’s career has been dedicated to working with and for nonprofit organizations. From his days as a college marketing professor, he went on to hold marketing management positions at nonprofits including the Guthrie Theater and Minnesota Opera. At Target, he worked to promote the company’s support of nonprofits in local communities across the country and managed its national arts and food philanthropic portfolios. At Propel Nonprofits, he uses his passion for relationship development, teaching and training to assist nonprofits in achieving their missions.

Josh Oswald started his career at The Nerdery in 2012. With his deep roots in customer service and building strong client relationships, Josh’s career progressed quickly going from inside to outside sales to now becoming a client partner. As a client partner, Josh spends time getting to know the goals of his clients so he can support the drive towards achieving said goals. Josh has successfully worked with a number of nonprofit organizations throughout his career. Beyond the day to day work, Josh is also involved in supporting a number of charitable events and clubs at The Nerdery. The most notable of them being Extra Life. Josh and his colleagues have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network (specifically Gillette Children’s).

Autumn Patterson provides strategic direction for IT infrastructure, ensuring that Northwest Area Foundation staff have the systems in place to reduce poverty and increase prosperity in communities across the upper Midwest and Northwest. She has been managing digital projects since 2006 and has experience in desktop support, website development, social media management, database implementation & administration, and mission-driven technology planning. Central to her technology philosophy is a love of DIY culture and open source software. Autumn enjoys helping others fully understand the technologies they use so that learning, innovation, and growth occur naturally. She manages IT projects with an eye toward user experience, business process improvement, and mission alignment. Autumn has a bachelor’s degree in American studies from University of Maryland – Baltimore County, where she studied communications and popular culture.

Ryan Peña is a social media strategist and innovator with nearly 10 years of experience in the field. He’s known for implementing highly innovative social media platforms and campaigns into rapidly changing environments. Key accomplishments are implementing an online community that grew to over 15,000 customers in just one year, growing leads generated from social media by over 1,500% year over year, launching employee advocacy programs, and currently working to elevate Be The Match’s social media strategy to help save the lives of patients battling blood cancers or blood diseases.

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.

Brian Roemen has 19 years of technical support experience and 13 years of IT consultation experience. Over the past eight years, as co-founder and the lead technician for Brave North Technology, he has worked in a broad range of environments: nonprofit, for-profit, educational, and residential. His expertise is in network administration, computer setup and repair, cloud computing, IT security, and a wide range of hardware and software support for both Mac and PC. With several years of undergraduate teaching in his background, he’s especially passionate about educating people to feel more comfortable with technology and make that technology feel more accessible.

Kallie Rollenhagen is the marketing manager at Propel Nonprofits, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that serves as a resource to other nonprofits for all things finance, strategy, and governance. Before joining the team at Propel, she worked at a range of community and economic development-focused nonprofits in rural Minnesota, Chicago, and Baltimore. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee where she studied architecture and psychology – both which help her as a communicator, in-house creative, and question-asker.

Kate Rose has 10 years’ experience telling the story of brands like Google, Nickelodeon, and YouTube. She started her communication practice to serve organizations that are making social impact in the world. Kate has been fortunate to work with nonprofits addressing issues in education, technology access, and social justice.

Erin Rufledt has spent 15 years helping companies design remarkable stories and engage audiences through words, images and experiences. As founder of Minneapolis-based Luminary Lab, she works with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to global humanitarian organizations and leading nonprofits. Erin loves bringing a design-led approach into both classrooms and businesses to inspire people to realize their creative potential. In 2015 she designed and embarked on the 12 Places Project, a wild global experiment in which she lived and worked in a different city each month for an entire year.

Ashley Schweitzer works as a business analyst at Hennepin County in the Hennepin Justice Integration Program, a team that focuses on data integrations and process improvement for criminal justice agencies. Previously she worked on outreach, communications, and other duties at the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, Nonprofits Assistance Fund (now Propel Nonprofits), and Grassroots Solutions.  Currently enrolled in the M.P.A. program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Ashley is studying the digital divide, the impact of delivering government services online, and policy implications of new technologies. Among her volunteer activities, she helped form NetSquared Twin Cities, participated in the Leaders of Today and Tomorrow mentoring program and is the co-chair of Hennepin County’s Women in STEM employee resource group. Ashley is a graduate of Macalester College, where she studied theater.

Alyssa Scott is a nonprofit communications professional with expertise in digital marketing, strategy, and fundraising. She is a collector and teller of stories, always on the quest for ways to share more authentic stories. Alyssa is the founder of 1,000 Words & More, a project that explores what happens when stories are visualized and shared directly by the people impacted by a program.

Rebecca Shavlik is a founder and the executive director of the Shavlik Family Foundation, which is focused on grantmaking to Minnesota-based nonprofits to increase their information and technology resources in order to remove barriers or build capacity for nonprofits and their clients. Over the course of her career, Rebecca has had the opportunity to work in such diverse environments as government, nonprofits, private sector, and franchising. She was part of the entrepreneurial team that founded Shavlik Technologies a security software company bought in 2011. Rebecca also serves on a number of nonprofit boards including MinnPost and Century College Foundation. Her range of experience gives her a unique perspective on budgeting and funding for the resources necessary to create strong operations that lead to impactful program development.

Yesenia Sotelo is a digital skills teacher and web developer. She elevates ambitious nonprofit professionals by teaching them how to use the technology tools of modern marketing. Yesenia can teach you how to use website analytics, optimize for conversions, and understand the basics of website technology. Her SmartCause Method for building websites is especially designed for the way nonprofits collaborate, make decisions, and grow. She won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nonprofit Technology Network for her work teaching digital skills to nonprofit professionals.

Erika Stenrick is the co-founder and creative director of Us Creative Works, a Minneapolis-based webfirm that helps nonprofits tell their story and realize their missions through digital. She has been a web designer, UX specialist and strategist for over 15 years and is passionate about user-centered design.

Christopher Stephan has been working to improve the lives of customers, participants, and audiences for over twenty years. As an experience design team manager and domain lead for research and testing at Nerdery, he builds the success of clients through person-served advocacy and setting and maintaining elevated standards for both service and design.

Emily Swanson is a communications specialist for the American Heart Association in Minnesota. The American Heart Association’s mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. In her current role, she leads social media strategy and advertising, creates comprehensive marketing campaigns involving local ambassadors, and develops programming for major fundraising events. Emily graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, earning a bachelor of arts degree in communications with minors in French and journalism. Her passion for multimedia communications became evident during one of her first jobs producing shows for a local public radio station. That passion for informing and educating others grew from there. With over a decade of nonprofit communications experience, Emily is fiercely passionate about health and serving her community.

Lisa Tabor is owner of CultureBrokers® LLC. Since 2005, her company has consulted on a variety of cultural diversity, inclusion, and equity projects for organizations as big as the nation's largest private provider of hospital and healthcare services, and small as a community council with two employees. CultureBrokers’ emphasis on measurable outcomes and its focus on leveraging the power of structural influence has resulted in client and community recognition for distinguished and outstanding performance in achieving remarkable qualitative and quantitative results. Prior to launching CultureBrokers, Lisa held management positions in business and tourism associations, retail, and media. She currently volunteers with the Performance Excellence Network as a Baldrige evaluator.

Peter Tatikian has been involved with nonprofit technology since 1993, when he programmed the fax machine on his first day as a college intern. He has worn many nonprofit hats, including director of communications and director of operations/IT at Heal the Bay, an environmental nonprofit organization. A California native, Peter recently moved to Minnesota and is currently the technology manager at Can Do Canines. Peter has managed the IT infrastructure at nonprofit organizations ranging from small grassroots startups to established organizations with multiple locations. He regularly leads his coworkers in hands-on trainings to help them get the most out of their technology tools and has presented at several user groups, including the Minnesota Apple Computer Users Group.

Over the last ten years, Dan Thiede has directed communications for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs throughout Minnesota. He is an energy communications leader with a master's degree in strategic communications and has received a “40 Under 40” award from Midwest Energy News.  He regularly speaks at conferences and events, including: National eXtension Technology Conference, National Extension Sustainability Summit, National Small Farm Conference, League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference, Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association Annual Conference (three years), Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair (four years), and Midwest Rural Youth Summit CERTs Conference (five years).

Peg Thomas, executive director, manages the Sundance Family Foundation’s operations, provides strategic program guidance to the board, mentors Sundance college interns, maintains initiatives, and provides both grants management and technical support to grantees. Peg holds an M.P.A. from Harvard Kennedy School, an M.S. in therapeutic recreation and administration from the University of Minnesota, an M.P.P. in business from the Carlson School of Business, and a B.S. in music therapy also from University of Minnesota (with coursework from UConn, Napa Jr. College and California State-San Diego).

Kaying Vang has over ten years of international development experience, primarily focused in the areas of evaluation, philanthropy, and youth development. She is passionate about creating communication products that are clear, concise, and accessible. Kaying currently conducts international research for the Collaborative Crop Research Program, volunteers as a board member for the Minnesota International NGO Network, and is working towards a doctorate in evaluation studies.

Jennifer Victor-Larsen, founder of HeroSearch.org, has spent over 20 years in the financial services field working on technology projects with big budgets. She is also a social venture leader who has successfully used available technology on a shoestring budget. She has her M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.

Abby Wellan joined the Charities Review Council team in 2012 and is currently serving as the Council’s nonprofit services & communications manager. In this role, Abby plans and executes the Council's communications plan, including blogs, social media, e-newsletters, brochures and more! Abby is also an integral member of the Nonprofit Services Team, providing one-on-one support and technical assistance to nonprofits as they complete their Accountability Wizard® nonprofit review process. Additional responsibilities include donor education, management of the Council's paid internship program, board and committee engagement, event planning and overall project management. Abby graduated with honors from St. Cloud State University, with a bachelor of arts in international relations, and three minors: intercultural communications, human relations, and political science.

Jay Wilkinson is an entrepreneur who has started and sold five companies, invested in 25 startups and founded, co-founded or helped start seven nonprofits. As a philanthropist, Jay has raised millions of dollars and spends half his time empowering nonprofits. Today, he focuses on his role as founder and C.E.O. of Firespring—a B Corporation in Lincoln, Nebraska and one of Inc. Magazine's Top 50 Places to Work in America. Jay has been a sought-after speaker for two decades, educating thousands of nonprofit professionals and inspiring business leaders to adopt a purpose-driven business model. Jay’s TEDx talk on company culture has more than 1 million views. A graduate of MIT, Jay has appeared on national news outlets discussing the impact of nonprofits on the economy.

Lynn Winter is a freelance digital strategist who has spent her career working with nonprofits to solve their digital challenges. She combines 18 years of project management experience with an expertise in user experience and content strategy to bring a holistic approach to her work. This past year Lynn founded and hosted the first annual Manage Digital conference for digital project managers in Minnesota.

Kristina Woodburn of Azul Seven has deep experience in service design, having spent a significant portion of her career in hospitality management and operations. She brings a unique human-centered and service-oriented perspective to every project. Not only does she deliver the Azul Seven experience our clients expect and want—she helps our clients do the same for their customers.

Cory Woosley is the professional development director at the Child Care Aware of Minnesota. She oversees professional development for the statewide early childhood workforce. In 2002 she pioneered Eager-to-Learn, an interactive, online learning program that is still going strong today. Cory has been a professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Dakota Community Technical College in Early Education since 1996. Her undergraduate work is in early childhood and in 2009 she received an online instructional graduate degree from Concordia University. In 2015 Cory was selected as an international Child Care Exchange Master Leader. Her passion is in raising the bar for the field of early childhood.

Edith Young has worked in the IT industry for 21 years. By day she serves in the role of IT supervisor in the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office. In addition to Edith’s day job she also has a few side hustles. In 2014 she became a volunteer at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone. Her love of cats (big and small) is what brought her to find out about the organization and get involved. Edith also serves as the secretary on the Wildcat Sanctuary board of directors. In 2014, Edith found her way to being accepted to serve on the SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities leadership team. She participates in the organization of the bi-annual event with six other Twin Cities SharePoint gurus.


Conference Sponsors

Comcast Business                       Just Some Apps                     Seven Corners Print and Promo