Our support for community challenges

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Staff & Board

Visit our contact page for general contact information and directions to our offices. We are currently working remotely. Feel free to continue to contact staff by email or phone.

Jackie Statum Allen
Education Portfolio Director
Amy Anderson
Operations Manager
Stephanie Andrews
Talent Development Director
Shaylyn Bernhardt
Communications Program Manager
Ramla Bile
Community Innovation Program Manager
Eileen Briggs
Nation Building and Government Redesign Portfolio Director
Kevin Bruins
IT Administrator
Vivian Chow
Communications Program Director
Justin Christy
Strategy and Learning Manager
Erin Dirksen
Grants Administrator
Mandy Ellerton
Community Innovation Director
Tina Emerfoll
Senior Accountant
Megan Forgrave
Communications Program Manager
Katie Gleischman
Communications Program Coordinator
Rudy Guglielmo, Jr.
Community Innovation Program Manager
Elli Haerter
North Dakota and South Dakota Activities Manager
Yong Her
Strategy and Learning Coordinator
Greg Keane
Chief Financial Officer
Scott Labott
Community Network Program Coordinator
Gao Lee
Talent Development Coordinator
Kent Linder
Facilities Manager and Finance Coordinator
Molly Matheson Gruen
Program Operations Director
Beth Norris
Grants Administration Coordinator
Kallie O'Hara
Community Innovation Program Coordinator
Erica Orton
Learning and Evaluation Manager
John Otterlei
Chief Investment Officer
Anita Patel
Leadership Programs Director
Khamara Pettus
Strategy and Learning Coordinator
Emily Shaftel
Communications Program Manager
Alexandra Rachelle Siclait
Leadership Programs Manager
Nhia Vang
Leadership Programs Coordinator
Kia Vang
Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Directors
Beth Villaume
Kristina Ward
Leadership Programs Manager

Board Members

Senior Corporate Affairs Counsel, Thrivent Financial
Co-Founder and President, bswing
Kathy Annette
President, Blandin Foundation (retired)
Strategic Advisor
Paul Batcheller
Partner, PrairieGold Venture Partners
Mary Brainerd
President and CEO, HealthPartners (retired)
Armando Camacho
DeAnna Cummings
Program Director of Arts, McKnight Foundation
Kevin Goodno
Shareholder and Chair of the Board, Fredrikson & Byron P.A.
Tony Heredia
Senior Vice President, Compliance and Ethics, Target Corporation
Curt Johnson
Independent Consultant
President and CEO, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
President and CEO brightpeak financial; Senior Vice President Strategic Development, Thrivent Financial (retired)
Michael Solberg
President and CEO, Bell Bank
Tracey Zephier
Attorney General, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Non-Board Investment Committee Members

Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer, Minnesota State Board of Investment
Marie C. Pillai
Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, General Mills (retired)
Irv Weiser
CEO and Chairman, RBC Dain Rauscher (retired)

Advisors & Consultants

Minnesota Bush Prize Selection Committee

Thomas Adams is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Futures Minnesota, a social change enterprise that fuels and guides men's desire to turn their lives around and walk a new path toward better health and success. Additionally, Thomas serves as adjunct faculty for Metro State University and Greenville College in Greenville, IL. Thomas was born and raised in St. Paul, MN and currently resides in the Twin Cities.

Jen Alstad is the founder of bswing, a research design firm that partners with companies committed to transforming human health and unlocking human potential. Jen is also a Bush Foundation board member. Jen currently lives in Minneapolis, MN.

Connie Carlson is the Marketing Development Specialist for Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota and currently serves as the President of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. Connie currently lives in Buffalo, MN.

Sarah Curtiss is the Co-Executive Director for Men As Peacemakers. Sarah is also the Keeper of Traditional Ways (Board President) for the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition and is a founding member of the Native Sisters Society. Sarah currently lives in Cloquet, MN.

Matt Kramer is the Vice President for University Relations at the University of Minnesota. Matt currently lives in Shoreview, MN.

Amanda Mackie is the Executive Director at Minnesota Valley Action Council, a Community Action Agency serving South Central Minnesota. Amanda currently lives in Mankato, MN.

Sharon Kennedy Vickers is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Saint Paul. She is also the co-founder of Blacks in Technology - Twin Cities; co-organizer of Code Switch, a civic hackathon; and Open Twin Cities, a civic technology group and Code for America brigade. She is a 2018 Bush Fellow. Sharon currently lives in Inver Grove Heights, MN.

Jaime Villalaz is the Greater MN Business Development Specialist at the Latino Economic Development Center. Jaime moved to Minnesota in 1995 from San Diego, CA. Jaime currently lives in Sauk Rapids, MN.

Kayla Yang-Best is the founding CEO of Seasoned Specialty Food Market where she is helping local food producers (makers) bring their finest culinary creations to consumers through co-retailing - an arrangement that allows makers to get 100% of the retail sale of their products. Kayla currently lives in St. Paul, MN.

North Dakota Advisory Committee

Twyla Baker-Demaray is President of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in New Town. She is a citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. Twyla currently lives in New Town, ND. She is a Native Nation Rebuilder Cohort 2.

Kristi Hall-Jiran is the Executive Director of the Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) in Grand Forks, ND. She currently lives in Grand Forks, ND.

Chad Harrison is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and is the Tribal Planner for the Tribe. He is the Executive Director for the Standing Rock Housing Authority and an educator at Sitting Bull College. Chad currently lives in Fort Yates, ND. He is a Native Nation Rebuilder Cohort 6.

Marshall Johnson is the Vice-President/Executive Director for Audubon Dakota. Marshall was raised in California and Texas, before moving to the upper Midwest. Marshall currently lives in Fargo, ND.

Megan Laudenschlager is the Executive Director of Strengthen ND. Megan currently lives in is Minot, ND. She is a 2014 Bush Fellow.

Deb Nelson is founder and President of DLN Consulting Inc. Deb currently lives in Dickinson, ND.

Robert Pope is a business owner with a passionate drive to help great organizations become even greater by providing superior quality IT solutions. He and his wife, Lorie, co-founded Nexus Innovations, which specializes in custom software programming, analysis and design services. Robert currently lives in Bismarck, ND.

Thomas Shorma is CEO/President of WCCO Belting, Inc. in Wahpeton, ND, a privately owned manufacturer of agricultural and industrial rubber belting and conveyor products. He is also a frequent guest speaker at various North Dakota University System campuses. Tom currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota.

South Dakota Advisory Committee

Marc Benoist is the Director for the Office of Planning and Economic Development for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Marc currently lives in Eagle Butte, SD.

Taneeza Islam is an American Muslim community activist, civil rights lawyer and entrepreneur changing how we discuss access to lawyers’ services: as an integral component of holistic community health. Taneeza currently lives in Sioux Falls, SD. She is a 2013 Bush Fellow.

Lori Lea Pourier is a member of Oglala Lakota Tribe. She is the President/CEO of First People’s Fund. She currently lives in Hermosa, SD.

Ivan Sorbel is the Executive Director of the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce. Ivan currently lives in Kyle, SD.

Ross Tschetter is a fourth generation family farmer and cattle feeder from Bridgewater, South Dakota. Ross currently lives in Bridgewater, SD.

Melissa Waldner is the Executive Director of Webster Area Development Corporation. She currently lives in Webster, SD.