The Convening Committee and staff of the Minnesota Council on Foundations have recruited a list of “A-bench” speakers for this year’s convening. Read through the bios listed below for more information.

Lee Aase

Lee Aase

Lee Aase

Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

By day, Lee Aase is director of Mayo Clinic’s new Center for Social Media.  By night, he is chancellor of Social Media University, Global (SMUG), a free online higher education institution that provides practical, hands-on training in social media for lifelong learners.

The mission of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media is to “lead the social media revolution in health care, contributing to health and well being for people everywhere.”

Aase also has experience as a media relations specialist in government at local, state and national levels.  He is a widely sought after speaker on the use of social media to meet professional goals.

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Terri Barreiro

Terri Barriero

Terri Barreiro

Director, The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship; Adjunct Instructor, American Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship, Humphrey Institute, Univ. of MN; Board of Directors, Vice President, Cargill Foundation

Terri Barreiro is the first director of the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. The center, which opened in 2004, provides services to students, faculty, alumni and local community leaders with entrepreneurial interests. She coaches entrepreneurial students and alumni, teaches, and manages all major events of the center.

Barreiro has more than 30 years of experience working in the nonprofit and philanthropic communities in the Twin Cities, including leadership of the Minneapolis and Greater Twin Cities United Ways and the Dayton Hudson Corporation Foundation. In addition to her work at the McNeely Center, Barreiro sits on the board of the Cargill Foundation. She also serves as a consultant with a long list of past clients, including: United Ways in Canada, Minnesota Council on Foundations, national associations of nonprofits and educators, and local nonprofits, helping with strategic planning and organizational improvement projects. Barreiro received her B.A. in psychology, a B.A. cum laude in Spanish, and an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota.

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Tawanna Black

Tawanna Black

Tawanna Black

MCF Diversity Fellow and President, Innovations By Design, LLC

Tawanna Black is president of consulting firm Innovations By Design, LLC, where she provides strategic planning, capacity building and diversity and inclusion services for nonprofit, government and for-profit organizations. Known for her game-changing abilities, she is a visionary leader who enjoys facilitating change, building consensus and mobilizing organizations for outcome-driven action. Black’s diverse career began in the nonprofit sector where she held several roles in child advocacy and community outreach for organizations in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, ultimately serving as the Executive Director for Destination Midtown, a public-private, partnership-driven community economic development organization where her vision, fortitude and leadership attracted over $400 million in reinvestment in less than three years Most recently, Black served as director of diversity for Cox Communications.

As an advisor to senior management, she assisted in setting the highest standards for business growth, innovation and stakeholder return by ensuring that the company understood and acted upon the needs and market patterns of diverse communities. While at Cox she led a strategic transformation of the organization’s charitable giving in diverse communities, garnering improved brand appeal and awards for the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts With a passion for community, Black has served on numerous nonprofit and foundation boards. She has been recognized for her service as one of Omaha’s 40 Under 40 and one of Ten Outstanding Young Omahan’s.

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Kerrie Blevins

Kerrie Blevins

Kerrie Blevins

Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation

Kerrie Blevins is a skilled foundation professional who has worked in the philanthropic environment for more than 20 years. She currently serves as foundation director for the Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation, located in St. Paul, Minn. She has worked for the foundation for 13 years and is responsible for all aspects of planning, program and grantmaking, and board development. Blevins is also vice president with the firm Private Philanthropy Services, providing foundation management and board planning services to several private foundations, including the Beim Foundation, The Laura Jane Musser Fund, and the James R. Thorpe Foundation.

She is a frequent trainer for the Association of Small Foundations and the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Prior to her work with philanthropic organizations, Blevins worked in fund development, program development and senior management in nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities and served on a number of nonprofit governing boards. She is a master of public affairs candidate at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

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Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Chairman and Former CEO of Carlson

Marilyn Carlson Nelson Marilyn Carlson Nelson is chairman and former CEO of Carlson, which includes brands such as Radisson Hotels, Country Inns & Suites, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and T.G.I. Friday’s. More than 150,000 people work under the Carlson brands in 150 countries.

Carlson Nelson served as co-chair of the World Economic Forum and chair of the National Women’s Business Council and the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

Forbes named her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” U.S. News and World Report called her one of “America’s Best Leaders.”

She serves on the boards of ExxonMobil, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and is chair of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees. She is also a trustee on the board of her company’s foundation – the Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation.

She is teaching a class for executive M.B.A. students at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management on the topic of corporate responsibility. She is the author of the bestselling book How We Lead Matters: Reflections on a Life of Leadership.

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Margaret Coady

Margaret Coady

Margaret Coady

Director, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy

As director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), Margaret Coady leads the organization’s long-range strategic and operational planning, authors quantitative and qualitative research reports, runs the annual Corporate Philanthropy Summit and Excellence Awards in Corporate Philanthropy selection process, and manages CECP’s growing team of program managers.

Coady also directs the CECP’s partnership initiatives, such as the development of Principles of Social Investment with the United Nations Global Compact, the release of a dollar valuation for corporate pro bono service in collaboration with the Taproot Foundation, and the forward-looking research report “Shaping the Future: Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy” with McKinsey & Company.

Since joining CECP in 2005, Coady’s close work with member companies, oversight of the Corporate Giving Standard online benchmarking system, and her authorship of four editions of the annual “Giving in Numbers” report have established her as a leading authority on emerging trends in the field of corporate giving.

Prior to joining CECP, Coady worked as a senior IT consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and played a key technical role in several global custom software implementation projects for Fortune 500 clients. Coady graduated with magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors from Williams College and was valedictorian of her class at Columbia Business School.

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C. Scott Cooper

Director of Engagement and Communication, Bush Foundation

C. Scott Cooper has two decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, public affairs advocacy and political and community organizing. He served on Paul Wellstone’s U.S. Senate staff from 1991 to 1996 and recently returned to the Senate to serve as senior advisor to Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Prior to that, he was the outreach director for President Obama’s campaign in Minnesota, with responsibility for designing and managing outreach programs for key constituency groups and elected officials, and overseeing major media events.

In 2006, Cooper co-founded TakeAction Minnesota, the product of the merger of Progressive Minnesota and the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action, where he served as executive director from 2000 to 2006. He has also served as adjunct faculty at both the Humphrey Institute and the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s master’s in advocacy and political leadership program, teaching classes in negotiation and leadership. He serves on the boards of directors of GiveMN and the Center for Victims of Torture.

Cooper has a B.A. from Macalester College and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition to being a 2007 Bush Leadership Fellow, he also completed a Humphrey Policy Fellowship in 2005-2006.

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David Etzwiler

David Etzwiler

David Etzwiler

President of Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Medtronic Foundation

David Etzwiler is vice president of community affairs at Medtronic and executive director of the Medtronic Foundation.  In his role, he leads the development and implementation of Medtronic’s worldwide philanthropy strategies, with primary responsibility for the development of major partnerships and strategic relationships with local, national and international organizations.

Etzwiler previously served as senior director of government affairs and the foundation at Medtronic, where he received Medtronic’s Extreme Award for developing partnerships with the state of Minnesota and local governments in the development of Medtronic’s largest facility in the world.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in public policy from The Claremont Graduate School, and a juris doctor degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.   He serves on the board of the national Council on Foundations and chairs the council’s Corporate Committee.

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Brad Fisher

Bradley G. Fisher

Bradley G. Fisher

CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Springcreek Advisors, LLC

Brad Fisher is CEO of Springcreek Advisors, LLC, a consortium of family offices and foundations based in Marin County, California. Prior to joining Springcreek, Fisher was a vice president of Bernstein Global Wealth Management in New York, and he served as a general partner and Chief Operating Officer for Pemigewasset Capital, LLC, a Connecticut-based family office and hedge fund.

Early in his career, Fisher founded multiple ventures, including Aim 21, Inc., a software company that built enterprise multimedia database systems for advertising agencies and their clients. After selling Aim21 to Reuters in 1996, he founded Tailwind, Inc., an online resource center for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Mr. Fisher received an M.B.A. from Stanford University and a B.S. in Economics from the University of Minnesota.

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Lisa A. Gray

Foundation Consultant

Lisa A. Gray has her own consulting practice, specializing in public policy development, government relations, advocacy, strategic planning, and project management with an emphasis on public education.  Clients have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Achieve, Inc., Ohio Grantmakers Forum, Battelle for Kids, and the Office of Governor Taft, among others.Gray is currently serving as the Ohio advocacy consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she has responsibility for working with the foundation to identify and support Gates education initiatives in Ohio.  Gray also serves as the Project Director for the Ohio Grantmakers Forum’s education initiative.  The initiative is designed to help Ohio’s philanthropic community better address the issues of public education reform and identify ways to more effectively align grantmaking to support higher student achievement in the state.  In this role, Gray has worked with over 45 Ohio philanthropic organizations.

Gray graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  Prior to relocating to Columbus with her husband in 1989, she served as a teacher in Indiana.  She and her husband have four sons, ages 18, 14, 13 and 12.

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Aretha Green-Rupert

Program Officer, Otto Bremer Foundation

Aretha Green-Rupert is a program officer with the Otto Bremer Foundation. She has over 15 years of youth development and nonprofit employment and board experience. Aretha worked most recently in fund development for the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys and the Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis.

She has also served as director of youth development for the YWCA of St. Paul, director of partnership development for Achieve! Minneapolis, and campaign division director for the Greater Twin Cities United Way. Aretha is also the president of The Ripley Memorial Foundation Fund of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. She is a graduate of Tougaloo College and has a Master’s in horticulture from Mississippi State University.

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Trista Harris

Trista Harris

Trista Harris

Executive Director, Headwaters Foundation For Justice

Trista Harris is executive director of Headwaters Foundation for Justice. She oversees the foundation’s grantmaking, fundraising, communications and investment management strategies. Harris came to Headwaters Foundation from The Saint Paul Foundation, where she was a program officer and provided leadership on the foundation’s initiatives related to civic engagement and philanthropy.

Prior to her work at The Saint Paul Foundation, she was the advancement director for Portico Healthnet, an innovative nonprofit that provides health coverage and education to uninsured Minnesotans. Harris is nationally known as a passionate advocate for new leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. She writes about generational change in the foundation field in her blog, New Voices of Philanthropy, and is an international speaker on working across generations to create social change. Harris is co-author of the book How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar: 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career, available at www.tristaharris.org.

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Cathy Hartle

hs_chartle

Cathy Hartle

Senior Program Manager for Organizational Effectiveness, Initiative Foundation

Cathy Hartle, senior program manager for organizational effectiveness at the Initiative Foundation, oversees the foundation’s organizational effectiveness programs to help strengthen not-for-profit organizations. She also participates in program and training development, grant review for the foundation, external partnerships and contracts, and serves as lead staff for organizational and program evaluation. Her background includes 10 years in nonprofit management, training and program development, 15 years in tax and general accounting, and extensive experience serving and consulting with a variety of nonprofit boards.

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Jeneen Hartley Sago

Jeneen Hartley-Sago

Jeneen Hartley Sago

Program Officer, Family Philanthropy Advisors

Jeneen Hartley Sago has more than 15 years of progressively responsible experience in leading nonprofits focused on education, education reform, community development, grantmaking and public policy. She has strong grassroots experience in organizational development and community communications and is highly skilled in developing strategic partnerships to build efficacy and capacity in organizations.

Since 2005, Hartley Sago has served as the sole program officer for a philanthropic advisory firm, where she brings her experience to help develop and guide social change grantmaking for clients throughout the United States. Prior to her current position, she reformed and rebuilt the auxiliary education programs at an independent college preparatory school in Minneapolis and led the start-up and operations of a rural multi-age public charter school in Florida and an urban youth center serving immigrant teens in Seattle. She was active in the 1996 national welfare reform debate in Washington, D.C., researching and reporting on legislative action for a consortium of national human needs organizations.

Hartley Sago has served as chair for the Minnesota chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy since 2008, a national organization for professionals in the field, and is a member of the Ohio Grantmakers Forum Family Foundations Committee and the Annual Conference Committee for 2009 and 2010. She was an advisor to the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Council, dedicated to guiding the redevelopment of the Mississippi River, and currently is a volunteer for local political campaigns and an advocate for the Twin Cities arts community.

Hartley Sago also gives presentations on best practices in grantmaking with a focus on social change, grassroots philanthropy and governance.

A graduate of Harvard University, she holds a master’s degree in education with a focus on arts in education and community education. She also holds a B.A. in American racial and multicultural studies and studio art from St. Olaf College.

Hartley Sago is a passionate equestrian and riding instructor with a penchant for organic cooking and sustainable urban gardening. She enjoys traveling throughout the United States and abroad with her husband.

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Chip Heath

Chip Heath

Chip Heath

Co-Author of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University

Chip Heath is a Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He co-authored with his brother, Dan, two New York Times bestsellers, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (2010) and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (2007).

For Made to Stick, his research examined why certain “naturally sticky” ideas survive and prosper in the social marketplace of ideas without external marketing or attention from leaders. Heath’s Stanford elective, “How to Make Ideas Stick,” has been taught to hundreds of managers, teachers, doctors, journalists, venture capitalists, product designers, and others who seek to use the principles of naturally sticky ideas to design more effective messages.

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Shary Kempainen

Employee and Community Engagement Specialist, Travelers

Shary Kempainen has been with Travelers since 2003. She was employed in the company’s Human Resources’ department before joining the Community Relations team in 2005 as a grants manager. After Travelers merged their two foundations and underwent a strategic review, Shary moved into the newly-created role of Employee and Community Engagement Specialist. In her role, she manages volunteer programs, oversees the employee matching gifts program, coordinates nonprofit events planning and directs the employee giving campaign for St. Paul and field locations. Shary is a published author and holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Minnesota.

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Gabriel Kasper

Gabriel Kasper

Gabriel Kasper

Consultant, Monitor Institute

Gabriel Kasper is a consultant at the Monitor Institute, a San Francisco, New York, and Cambridge-based think tank and consultancy that focuses on philanthropy and social change. At the Institute, Gabriel helps funders understand emerging patterns of innovation and adapt to changing contexts. Before joining Monitor in 2004, Kasper was program officer for philanthropy at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where he developed the foundation’s strategy and managed grantmaking for increasing effectiveness of the field of philanthropy. He has more than a dozen years of experience as a consultant, providing applied research, program design, and strategic advising services to foundations and nonprofits, and working with corporations and international agencies.

Kasper is co-author of the Monitor publications On the Brink of New Promise: The Future of U.S. Community Foundations (pdf), Intentional Innovation (pdf), and Working Wikily: Social Change with a Network Mindset (pdf). He has also written numerous articles on other aspects of philanthropy, including diversity, emerging technology trends, social investing, foundation collaboration, community development, and the growth of philanthropy in communities of color.

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Jay Kiedrowski

Jay Kiedrowski

Jay Kiedrowski

Senior Fellow and Co-Director for the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Jay Kiedrowski is a senior fellow and co-director for the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He teaches courses on public and nonprofit financial analysis and budgeting, organizational performance and change, strategic human resources management, and integrative leadership.

Before joining the University of Minnesota in 2004, Kiedrowski was executive vice president for Wells Fargo, leading institutional trust, institutional brokerage, and trust operations for the merged Northwest / Wells Fargo organization.

Kiedrowski served as Minnesota Commissioner of Finance from 1983 to 1987 and budget director for the City of Minneapolis from 1978 to1982. He also served as researcher and committee administrator with the Minnesota State Senate between 1973 and 1977, specializing in tax and urban policy analysis.

Kiedrowski’s board service includes the Minnesota State Budget Trends Study Commission, State of Minnesota Investment Advisory Council, UCare Minnesota, Wisconsin Health Care Insurance Board, Project for Pride in Living, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Carlson School of Management, Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, Guthrie Theater, and Minneapolis Schools Referendum Oversight Committee.

Kiedrowski earned a B.S.M.E. in industrial engineering from the University of Minnesota and a master of arts from the University’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He also holds an Ed.D.

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Jan Malcolm

Jan K. Malcolm

Chair of the Board, Bush Foundation; President and CEO, Courage Center

Jan Malcolm is chief executive officer of Courage Center, a Minnesota-based rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. Founded in 1928, Courage Center is a nonprofit organization offering advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. Courage Center’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to reach for their full potential in every aspect of life. Malcolm is proud to bring her history of progressive leadership in health policy to this vital community resource with its deep legacy of service and innovation.

Prior to joining Courage Center, she was a senior program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., where she helped develop funding initiatives to strengthen the nation’s public health system.
She served as commissioner of health for the State of Minnesota from 1999-2003. Highlights of her term as head of the state’s lead public health agency included passage of major budget initiatives in tobacco prevention and elimination of health disparities and implementation of cutting-edge strategies in those areas.

Previously, Malcolm was vice president of public affairs at Allina Health System and a senior vice president of government programs and public policy at HealthPartners. She has been active in state and national health care and public health associations and government commissions on health care access and quality. She currently serves as a board member of Hennepin Healthcare System Inc. (the county subsidiary corporation that operates the Hennepin County Medical Center), the Bush Foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, and Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North and South Dakota.

Malcolm received her B.A. in philosophy and psychology from Dartmouth College.

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Emma Mogendorff

Senior Community Relations Specialist, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Emma Mogendorff joined Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in 2007. In addition to her work as grants manager for the Foundation she leads the employee board placement and education program. Her role also includes support for employee giving programs, volunteerism and sponsorships. Prior to entering corporate Community Relations, she worked in nonprofit development and volunteer management. A qualified educator, she taught High School in the United Kingdom before moving to Minnesota in 2000. She currently serves on the board of the Corporate Volunteerism Council – Twin Cities and was previously a Director of the Wells Memorial Foundation. She holds a Master of Theology from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and her M.A. in Organizational Leadership at St. Catherine University.

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Anna Love-Mickelson

Anna Love-Mickelson

Anna Love-Mickelson

Senior Manager and Business Solutions Design Consultant at Ameriprise Financial

Anna Love-Mickelson is a senior manager and business solutions design consultant at Ameriprise Financial, where she is responsible for leading cross-functional teams to tackle big issues and discover resolutions. Her mission is to act as a catalyst for innovative thinking that brings new substance to our world and creates large-scale change.

Love-Mickelson is board president of The Sheltering Arms Foundation, a 125-year-old organization aimed at helping Minnesota’s children reach their full potential.

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Alyce Myatt

Alyce Myatt

Alyce Myat

Executive Director of Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media (GFEM)

Alyce Myatt is executive director of Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media (GFEM). She previously consulted with independent media organizations and the philanthropic community, providing analysis and strategic planning services.  Her client base included the Center for Digital Democracy, the Council on Foundations, Free Speech TV, MediaWorks, the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC), OneWorld TV, Emerson College, TVE Brasil, the Heinz Endowments, the Women Donors Network, and the Annie E. Casey and Skillman Foundations.

Previously, Myatt was Vice President of Programming for the Public Broadcasting Service, overseeing independent film, PBS Kids, and the Ready To Learn initiative.  She has been a program officer for media at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and president of her own consulting firm that provided program development services, strategic planning, and brand management to clients in television, radio, and the Internet.  Her production credits include the Smithsonian Institution, Nickelodeon, “3-2-1 Contact!” and the ABC News magazine “20/20.”

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Dana Nelson

Dana Nelson

Dana Nelson

Executive Director, GiveMN

As executive director of GiveMN, Dana Nelson helps Minnesota nonprofits reach new and different audiences and enables donors to find, learn about, and contribute to local and national causes.

Before joining GiveMN.org, Nelson led Target Corporation’s team member engagement strategy and national service initiatives, collaborating with the Corporation for National and Community Service, Hands on Network and the Heart of America Foundation, among others.  Nelson also worked in the Minneapolis Public Schools, served as a program officer and led development efforts for a start-up nonprofit.

Dana has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Washington University. She is an active community volunteer with Emerson Spanish Immersion Learning Center, Pillsbury House, Powderhorn Neighborhood Association and Centro Cultural Chicano.

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Mike Newman

Vice President, Travelers Foundation

Michael Newman

Michael Newman

As vice president of the Travelers Foundation, Mike Newman gives direction to the charitable contributions arm of the company and its foundation. Previously, he was manager of North American field operation, where he developed the capacity of field offices to implement the company’s community affairs strategy. He joined The St. Paul (now Travelers) in February 1997, after spending the early part of his career in the nonprofit and government arena.

At the state Department of Human Services, Newman directed community affairs and human resource, management and organizational development for a department of 8,000 employees and 15,000 volunteers. Prior to that, he served as chief of volunteer services for the department, providing training and consultation in volunteer management to local agencies. He previously directed two local volunteer programs and did development work with the United Way of Minneapolis.

He served from 1995-1999 as president of the international Association for Volunteer Administration. He has served in numerous board capacities with the Minnesota College Access Network, Page Education Foundation, Minnesota Association of Volunteer Directors, Dakota Woodlands, Minneapolis Red Cross, Minnesota Social Service Association, Minnesota Children’s Trust Fund, the Arts and Culture Partnership and other organizations. He continues to volunteer with a variety of nonprofits.

Newman has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Bemidji State University. His graduate work was in community development at the University of Minnesota.

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Gayle Ober

Executive Director, George Family Foundation

Gayle Ober is responsible for managing all aspects of the George Family Foundation’s grantmaking process, advising and assisting the trustees in meeting their grantmaking goals and serving as the foundation’s first point of contact to the community.

Most recently, Ober was the director of classical music programming for American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio (APM/MPR). APM/MPR is the largest producer of classical music broadcast content and brings award-winning programs to more than 4.2 million people each week. Prior to joining APM/MPR, she served as the director of arts, culture and entertainment for the City of Saint Paul in Mayor Randy Kelly’s administration and was the executive director of the Dale Warland Singers from 2000 to 2005.

Ober serves the nonprofit community through her present and past service on a variety of boards and committees for several organizations, including the Mardag Foundation, Chorus America, Children’s Home Society and Family Services, The Saint Paul Foundation, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and others.

Gayle Ober holds a master’s of non-profit management degree from Hamline University and a bachelor of music degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Mendota Heights, Minnesota with her husband Tim and daughter, Analise.

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Sue Piva

Corporate Responsibility Manager, Cummins, Inc.

Sue Piva has worked at Cummins since 1998, serving in a variety of Safety and Quality roles, including obtaining her Six Sigma Black Belt certification. For the past five years, Sue has managed the Power Generation Business Unit’s volunteer engagement and corporate giving programs. During this time she has aligned the company’s corporate responsibility initiatives to achieve strategic, long-term and sustainable impacts in the community. This was accomplished by increasing leadership and employee engagement, developing global processes and strengthening community partnerships.

Prior to joining Cummins, Sue worked for a nonprofit, serving as their case manager, community liaison and volunteer trainer. Sue has presented Conflict Resolution and Mediation training to schools and business in the Twin Cities and mediated cases for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Hennepin County Court system.

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Carolyn Roby

Vice President, Wells Fargo Foundation

Carolyn Roby

Carolyn Roby

Carolyn Roby, vice president, is responsible for managing Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota and serves in an advisory role for Wells Fargo charitable giving programs, as well as on the company’s national environmental grantmaking committee. She manages Minnesota’s $10.1 million contributions budget and numerous community involvement programs that engage 21,000 Wells Fargo team members in Minnesota, 18,000 of whom are in the Twin Cities.

A 30-year veteran of Wells Fargo, Roby began her career with Norwest in 1980 and became a program officer with Norwest Foundation in 1982. In the time that Roby has been with Wells Fargo, corporate-wide giving has grown from $9.9 million in 1980 to $202 million in 2009, and the number of corporate-wide team members as grown from 13,200 in 1980 to 280,000 in 2010.

Roby has a B.A. from Hanover College in Indiana and an M.A. from Oklahoma State University, and is a native of Joliet, Ill. She is currently chair of the Minneapolis Workforce Council, serves on the Twin Cities Compass Governance Committee and the board of the Minnesota Council on Foundations. She has also served on the boards of the Children’s Theatre Company and The Loft.

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Randi Ilyse Roth

Randi Ilyse Roth

Randi Ilyse Roth

Executive Director, Otto Bremer Foundation

In 1984, Randi Ilyse Roth began work as legal aid attorney on Chicago’s south side at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. In that job, she represented low-income clients in a range of matters, including disputes about federal benefits (Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid) and disputes about housing issues (evictions, entitlement to public and subsidized housing, safety conditions in public housing).

In 1986, Roth moved to Minnesota to join the start-up staff of Farmers’ Legal Action Group Inc. (FLAG), a national nonprofit law firm that provides legal services to low-income family farmers. In her work at FLAG, Roth represented organizations of farmers and ranchers in Minnesota and throughout the nation. Her work at FLAG included litigation and community legal education regarding disputes about agricultural credit, bank failures (issues between farmers and the FDIC), contract poultry labor arrangements, and civil rights issues in federal lending programs.  Roth served as a staff attorney at FLAG from 1986 to 1992 and as FLAG’s executive director from 1993 to 2003.

In 2000, while still serving as executive director at FLAG, Roth was appointed by the Hon. Paul L. Friedman of the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., to serve as the independent court-appointed monitor in the Pigford v. Glickman settlement. In the Pigford case, a class of approximately 22,000 African American farmers sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), alleging race discrimination in the administration of federal agricultural credit programs.  The settlement provided that each of the 22,000 class members would receive an individual decision about his or her race discrimination claim based on the facts of his or her case. As monitor, Roth works as an agent and officer of the court, issuing decisions regarding appeals of claims determinations, helping the class members and the parties solve problems regarding implementation of the settlement, overseeing operation of a toll-free phone line that class members and the public can call for information about the settlement, and reporting to the court about the good-faith implementation of the settlement.   Roth is still serving as monitor as she oversees the final stages of the settlement’s implementation.

In May 2008, Roth joined the Otto Bremer Foundation as its executive director. The foundation’s purpose is to help create and support healthy communities in the Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin regions that are homes to Bremer Banks. The foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of those communities.

Roth attended college at Yale University (1975-79) and law school at Northwestern University (1981-84). She was born and raised in Chicago.

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Wendy Roy

Executive Director, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation

Wendy Roy

Wendy Roy

Wendy Roy has been working in the nonprofit sector for over 22 years, 15 of those as the first full-time executive director of the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. The foundation has grown to over $12 million in assets in a county with a population of 42,000 people. In directing a rural, small foundation, Roy has been responsible for all aspects of policy, management and donor development.

Roy graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with a degree in management.

She served for six years on the board of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, is a member of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, and has served on several boards in the Grand Rapids area.  She also has done consulting work for the Endowment Development Institute.

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Jonathan Sage-Martinson

Jonathan Sage-Martinson

Jonathan Sage-Martinson

Director, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative

Jonathan Sage-Martinson is director of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. This 12-member collaborative comprises local and national funders dedicated to working with others to create and implement corridor-wide strategies aimed at ensuring the adjoining neighborhoods, residents and businesses broadly share in the benefits of public and private investment in the Central Corridor Light Rail Line in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minn. Sage-Martinson coordinates learning opportunities for members and other Central Corridor stakeholders, initiates and participates in issue-based working groups, and reviews grant proposals. He has led the collaborative since its inception in 2008.

Prior to his work with the collaborative, he served as executive director of Sparc, a neighborhood-based community development corporation, and as associate director of the Green Institute, a neighborhood-based environmental enterprise. He also served as a community development volunteer with the Peace Corps and was part of the first Crisis Corps (now Peace Corps Response) mission.

Sage-Martinson has a B.A. in political science and German from the University of Minnesota and a master’s of public affairs in nonprofit management and community economic development from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

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Jodi Sandfort

Jodi Sandfort

Jodi Sandfort

Associate Professor, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Jodi Sandfort is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, where she also serves as chair of the Management and Leadership Area and as co-academic director of the Center for Integrative Leadership. Her research, teaching and practice focus on improving the implementation of social policy, particularly those policies designed to support low-income children and their families.

Sandfort strives to help students learn more about how organizations and networks work and what can be done to make them work better. She has particular expertise in government and nonprofits that focus on helping our most disadvantaged citizens.

Sandfort has spent her career moving back and forth between professional practice and academia. She has been a senior fellow at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and directed the human service program at The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, where she managed a portfolio of $20 million in annual giving directed to the human service system in Minnesota. Recently, she worked as senior strategy consultant with the Bush Foundation and special assistant to University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks. She believes that much can be learned from crossing boundaries and tries to do so daily.

Her research focuses on organizations and fields involved in social policy delivery such as human services, early childhood and welfare. She also researches the growing role of technology in teaching and civic innovation.  Sandfort is the author of numerous reports for policymakers and practitioners in philanthropy, early childhood education, welfare reform and workforce development. Her dissertation was an in-depth examination of how front-line organizations in Michigan’s welfare system implemented public policy. This study was followed by research on the local implementation of welfare reform and, in another study, early childhood programs blending childcare, Head Start and state-sponsored preschool programs. Sandfort has published articles in several academic journals, including Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, Social Services Review, Journal of Marriage and the Family, and Administration & Society. She has contributed chapters to books on public management, service networks, systems redesign and research methodology.

Sandfort worked as a case manager for the AIDS Care Connection in Detroit, as a program assistant at the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., and as an assistant professor of public administration at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She has consulted with national and statewide foundations, think tanks and other nonprofit human service organizations. She has provided leadership coaching and organizational development services to nonprofit and public organizations. Sandfort also has experience training philanthropists, mid-level public managers, nonprofit leaders and master’s-level and doctoral-level students.

Sandfort received a Ph.D. in political science and social work in 1997 from the University of Michigan. She also holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Vassar College (magna cum laude). She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Originally from Menomonie, Wis., Sandfort lives with her husband and two sons in St. Paul, where she likes to garden and go rollerblading.

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Nancy Straw

Nancy Straw

Nancy Straw

President, West Central Initiative

Nancy Straw is president of West Central Initiative (WCI), a hybrid community foundation that serves nine counties in west central Minnesota.  A cross between a community foundation, a community development corporation, and a regional planning organization with $48 million in assets, WCI grants $1.5 million or more per year, makes economic development loans of nearly $2 million per year, and serves as one of just two nongovernmental organizations in the U.S. that is federally certified as an Economic Development District.

Straw joined WCI in 1996 as its business and economic development program lead and was promoted to president/CEO in 1999.  She previously worked as a business consultant, small business owner, and in a variety of management positions in nonprofit and private organizations.   She grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota, has dedicated her career to helping rural families, businesses and communities, and has served on numerous nonprofit and governmental boards and committees.

With an educational background in accounting, Straw also holds certifications as both an economic development finance professional and a housing development finance professional. She recently completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders.

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Kris Taylor


Kris Taylor

Vice President, Community Relations, Ecolab, Inc.

Kris Taylor is vice president of community relations at Ecolab Inc., the world’s leading provider of cleaning, food safety and health protection products and services.

In this role, Taylor is responsible for the development and execution of Ecolab’s civic and community-based programs and relationships and also is vice president of the Ecolab Foundation.

Previously, she was with the Minnesota Children’s Museum and Bentz Whaley Flessner, a national consulting firm for nonprofit organizations.

Taylor serves on the board of directors of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, United Hospital Foundation and the Culinary Advisory Board for Southwest Minnesota State University.

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Christa Velasquez

Christa Velasquez

Christa Velasquez

Director of Social Investments, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Christa Velasquez is director of social investments at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization whose principal mission is to help build better futures for disadvantaged children and families. She is responsible for managing the foundation’s $125 million social investment fund. Her work encompasses all aspects of social investing, including program design, developing investment strategies, underwriting and structuring investments and portfolio management. She is a leader in the social investing field and helped found the More for Mission Campaign and the PRI Makers Network.

Prior to joining the foundation, Velasquez spent six years at the consulting firm Brody-Weiser-Burns, specializing in social investing, community development financing and business planning for social ventures. Her current and former board experience includes: The National Writing Project, TRF Urban Growth Partners, the American Visionary Art Museum, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, and the Yale University School of Management Internship Fund. She received a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Chicago and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management.

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Vernetta Walker, J.D.

Vernetta Walker, J.D.

Vernetta Walker, J.D.

Director of Consulting and Senior Governance Consultant, BoardSource

Vernetta Walker, J.D. is director of consulting and a senior governance consultant for BoardSource. She frequently provides training and consulting services to a variety of nonprofit organizations and works with newly formed to complex organizations in addressing governance issues. Her clients include Habitat for Humanity, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, YMCA-USA, Independent Sector, NeighborWorks America and Concordia University System, among others. As director of consulting for BoardSource, Walker engages in systems work designed to impact multifaceted organizations and regions, as well as customized training and consulting on emerging governance trends, leading practices, effective governance and developments in the nonprofit sector.

Walker brings a broad depth of knowledge to BoardSource, having served as associate general counsel and director of consulting and contract training for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations. In that capacity, she worked with many of Maryland Nonprofit’s 1,400 member organizations, providing technical assistance, counsel and nonprofit expertise in the areas of board governance, legal compliance, organizational structure and advocacy.

Prior to joining Maryland Nonprofits, Walker was foundation advocacy counsel for the Alliance for Justice and trained boards of directors and staff from foundations and public charities across the country on federal tax laws pertaining to lobbying, election-related activities and advocacy. She also was a contributing author for Investing in Change: A Funder’s Guide to Supporting Advocacy, an Alliance for Justice publication (2004).

Walker practiced law in Orlando, Fla., for several years and served as a grant program director for five years at the Florida Bar Foundation. She also has served on several boards, including Planned Parenthood and Lynx (Orlando’s regional transportation authority). She also served on the Ninth Judicial Circuit Ethics Grievance Committee and Valencia Community College Advisory Board. Walker received her J.D. from Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Mo., and her bachelor of arts from the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. She is admitted to the Florida and Maryland state bars.

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Pamela Wheelock

Pamela Wheelock

Pamela Wheelock

Vice President, Bush Foundation

Pamela Wheelock joined the Bush Foundation as vice president in January 2009. She leads the team that focuses on developing courageous leadership and engaging others to solve tough public problems under the foundation’s Goals for a Decade.

Prior to her work at the Bush Foundation, Wheelock served from 2002 to 2008 as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the parent company of the Minnesota Wild. She was responsible for overseeing all financial, facility, administrative and human resource matters for the enterprise and financial analysis to support the strategic initiatives and company operations. Wheelock was also involved with the analysis and negotiation of business acquisitions for the organization.

Wheelock also served as commissioner of the Department of Finance for the State of Minnesota, appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura in 1999.  As commissioner, Wheelock oversaw the development of the state’s $43 billion biennial operating and capital budgets and was responsible for the economic forecasting, debt and accounting functions of state government.

Prior to her role as commissioner, Wheelock served as deputy mayor and then director of planning and economic development for the City of St. Paul from 1994 to 1999. Appointed by Mayor Norm Coleman, she was responsible for key economic development initiatives. For example, she led the lease negotiations with the Minnesota Wild. The return of NHL hockey to Minnesota also allowed the City of St. Paul, with Wheelock playing a lead staff role, to replace the aging St. Paul Civic Center with the new, state-of-the-art Xcel Energy Center. Wheelock also formulated the partnership between the city and the Science Museum of Minnesota, which resulted in the construction of the new facility in downtown St. Paul.

Wheelock holds a master of arts in applied economics from Marquette University in Milwaukee and a bachelor of arts in history from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. She chairs the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota board and the Minnesota Wild Foundation board. In addition, Wheelock serves on the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Advisory Council, the board of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable and the Itasca Project. She resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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