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.
Prior to leading Better Futures Minnesota, Thomas served most recently as CEO of African American Family Services, a community-based, culturally-specific behavioral health clinic serving the African American community of the Twin Cities.
Eunice Adjei is the Administrator for Create CommUNITY, a nonprofit with a mission to dismantle racism through systemic change and make St. Cloud a welcoming place for all.
In addition to her work with Create CommUNITY, Eunice is the Project and Grant Manager for CentraCare Health, St. Cloud, MN and also the President of Adom Consulting LLC. At Adom LLC she provides Cultural Competency training to non-profit boards and their staff. Eunice serves on a number of other boards, including St. Cloud State University’s Alumni Association, the St. Cloud Regional Human Rights Commission, and The Tri-County Action Program Inc. (TRICAP).
Bob Benes has served as a leader in Community Action for over 30 years. He currently serves as the board chair of the Minnesota Community Action Partnership and executive director of Lakes and Pines Community Action Council in Mora, MN.
Bob has dedicated his career to assuring all Minnesotans have a fair chance to prosper and working alongside those with the same goals in mind for the betterment of all Minnesota.
Cameron is the President/CEO of the Duluth Children's Museum. The museum serves 65,000 children, their families, caregivers, classrooms and community through interactive exhibits, educational programs, creative play, and opportunities to connect with a collection of historic and cultural artifacts.
Cameron is also the lead consultant for Horizon Nonprofit Solutions, an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Management for the University of Wisconsin Superior and Southern New Hampshire University, and has spent the past decade assisting nonprofits and grassroots causes build capacity and communicate effectively with the community.
Antonio Cardona serves on the leadership team of Pillsbury United Communities, an organization which works with underestimated populations across the Twin Cities and Rochester to foster the resilience and self-sufficiency of individuals, families and community as a whole.
As the Director of Pillsbury United Communities’ Urban Institute for Service and Learning, Mr. Cardona taps into his extensive administrative, community relations and organizing experience to drive tangible change with positive outcomes.
Sarah serves as the executive director of the Domestic Abuse Project. As an executive director, she has developed skills in finance, human resources, strategic planning and execution, program development and expansion, and fundraising strategies.
Prior to joining the Domestic Abuse Project, Sarah served as the executive director at Joyce Preschool and the executive director of English Language Learners at Minneapolis Public Schools
Susan Estee serves as executive director of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, which partners with over 145 hunger relief agencies in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, Koochiching, Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties in north central Minnesota. In this role, she is responsible for one of the five Feeding America food banks in the state, with $4.8 million in food volume per year.
Prior to coming to Second Harvest, Susan had a career in the private sector, with leadership roles in a number of different businesses in rural Minnesota. Susan has held a number of different volunteer leadership positions, including serving as a member of the Feeding America Strategic Plan Refresh National Task Force, the Itasca County Extension Committee (as vice-chair - a county appointment), the Centennial Rotary Club of Grand Rapids past president, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and the Personnel Committee of Zion Lutheran Church. Susan is also a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program.
Tracy Fischman joined Prepare + Prosper (formerly AccountAbility Minnesota) as executive director in July 2009. Prepare + Prosper (P+P) is a nonprofit organization that facilitates poverty alleviation and financial capability through the provision of free tax assistance, financial services, training/T.A., and advocacy.
Prior to working with Prepare +Prosper, Tracy served as a consultant to nonprofit, philanthropic and political organizations, providing strategic campaign, project management and organizational development services. She has an extensive background in policy and advocacy, as well as organizational planning and development.
Amel Gorani is a social justice, peace and community development specialist whose career has spanned work for governments, foundations, local and international NGOs, across four continents. She is the Director for the Center for Community and Civic Engagement at Carleton College.
Before joining Carleton, Amel worked as inclusion coordinator for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, a Swiss peace mediation organization, on projects in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Sue Grafstrom serves as the development coordinator at the LifeCare Medical Center in Roseau, MN. After growing up in Roseau and attending college in Moorhead, Sue worked for 8-10 years in the metro area before returning to the Roseau area.
Prior to her position at LifeCare, Sue worked in various nonprofit, for-profit and government organizations, including the Minnesota Dept of Employment, Fortis Financial Group, Gillette Children’s Hospital and Golden Harvest Foods.
Kenza Hadj-Moussa is the communications director at TakeAction Minnesota. Previously, she was the communications and development director at the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.
She has also worked for the Department of Human Services and St. Stephen’s Human Services. She serves on the board of Our Saviour’s Community Services and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Lynn Hunt is an entrepreneurial leader with over 25 years experience building businesses. She received her MBA from Carlson School of Management and currently serves as co-founder, chair, and CEO of Hunt Utilities Group,LLC (HUG), Chair of Happy Dancing Turtle (HDT). In addition, the campus is host to the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, along with numerous forums and events promoting local foods, local economy/entrepreneurship, and environmental stewardship.
Mary LaGarde is the executive director of the Minneapolis American Indian Center and has 25 years of nonprofit experience in program services, including management and development. In 1994, she established a therapeutic preschool for American Indian children at the Little Earth of United Tribes Housing Development in Minneapolis.
In 1999 she managed the opening of the Little Earth Neighborhood Early Learning Center, and has developed numerous programs for the American Indian community in Minneapolis.
Cathy Maes is the executive director of Loaves and Fishes MN, a hot, healthy meal program and serves over 1900 daily meals in six Minnesota counties. She manages a $2 million+ budget, a staff of 40, works for/with 5,000 volunteers and a 10 member board of directors. In 2013 the program served over 350,000 meals, with growth and innovation Loaves and Fishes projects 2015 to top over 500,000 meals. Prior to coming to Loaves and Fishes, Cathy was the director at ICA Food Shelf, a social service agency that offers food, financial assistance, job counseling and resources to residents in the western suburbs.
Molly joined the Bush Foundation in 2011 and co-directs the Foundation’s Community Innovation Programs. A firm believer that “we can do so much more together than any of us can do alone,” she enjoys meeting, supporting and connecting the inspiring people who are working together to solve problems in our communities.
Molly began her career working for a collaboration of three local HIV/AIDS service organizations. From there, she became the director of volunteer services at Open Arms of Minnesota and had the honor of engaging people in a meal delivery program for people living with chronic illness. During that time, she was also an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, co-teaching a class on “Community Action and Social Change.”
Since 2008, Angie Miller has served as executive director of Community Action Duluth, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower and engage the entire community to eliminate poverty and to create prosperity and equity in the lives of the people served. Prior to her role as executive director, Angie was the manager of asset building programs, and helped launch the organization’s free tax preparation sites and other asset building initiatives at the agency, taught financial education classes and worked with individual clients to help them increase their income and assets.
Susan Schmidt is the Minnesota State Office Director for the Trust for Public Land. In her current role, she is responsible for management and strategic planning with a special focus on government and community relations. She has 25 years of experience working with local, state and federal agencies and community groups on community development and environmental issues in Minnesota. Susan’s previous positions include Executive Director of the Legislative Water Commission, Minnesota Legislature. She worked as Water Policy Liaison with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Project Manager for the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board.
Sheila M. Smith has been Minnesota Citizens for the Art’s executive director since 1996 and serves as chair of Creative Minnesota (creativemn.org). She was a leader in the 2008 “Vote Yes” campaign, passing a Minnesota state constitutional amendment to create 25 years of dedicated funding for the arts and environment. She also served on the board of the Minnesota United campaign to defeat the constitutional amendment that would have denied the freedom to marry.
Jarell Skinner-Roy is the high school program manager for College Possible, a nationally growing nonprofit organization dedicated to making college admission and success possible for low-income students. At College Possible, Jarell supervises AmeriCorps members who directly serve students in three public high schools in the Twin Cities. He also oversees all financial aid and financial literacy curriculum, trainings and initiatives for high school juniors and seniors.
Prior to coming to College Possible, Jarell worked as a counselor and case manager for the Dane County District Attorney’s Office in Madison, Wisconsin, and then later served as an English Teacher in Benin through AIESEC, a global nonprofit organization impacting the world through leadership development experiences. Jarell has a B.A. in legal studies and French from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is also on the board of directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), Twin Cities.
Chris Taylor is director of inclusion and community engagement for the Minnesota Historical Society, the state’s premier presenter of history exhibitions and programs. Chris coordinates programs aimed at continuous and sustained engagement of diverse communities at the Society; cultivates and supports relationships with community organizations; and works to increase training and professional development for employees at MNHS related to cultural competence and inclusion.
Ernesto Velez over 12 years of experience on community organizing and activism. He led the Immigrant Empowerment Project initiatives and activities for the years 2004-2010. He has been doing development and grant work since 2008, successfully getting Centro Campesino up to $150,000 dollars in grants and contributions.
Ernesto has taken on the work of the justice program and is combining the project efforts into one program. His work has connected Centro Campesino with national groups working for fair immigration reform and worker’s justice. His academic and organizing skills are essential for the growth and success of our projects.
Melinda Wedzina is the chief operations officer of MRCI WorkSource, a nonprofit focused on creating innovative and genuine opportunities for people with disabilities or disadvantages to support their community participation. MRCI serves over 4,000 clients and families through its locations in Mankato, Kasota, New Ulm, Fairmont, Shakopee, Chaska, and Rosemount.
Prior to MRCI, Melinda was the founder and executive director of Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP), a community-based hunger relief nonprofit located in Mankato. Before entering the nonprofit sector, Melinda served as the marketing communications manager for a business systems software company. Melinda holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Ball State University and earned her M.B.A. and M.S. in strategic management at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.
Jonah Weinberg is the executive director of the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), an organization which works to enhance the lives of all those affected by autism across the lifespan, through education, advocacy, and outreach.
Jonah brings nearly two decades of nonprofit and public sector leadership experience with organizations across the United States and internationally, with a focus on education, advocacy and organizational excellence. He comes to Minneapolis from Cleveland, where he served as executive director for the Northeast Ohio Center for Economic Development and the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce—two nonprofit organizations serving the region’s Latino community. He also has worked with a broad range of organizations focused on serving people with physical, mental and behavioral challenges.