Sarah Crumrine is the Communications Coordinator at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Previously, she was the Special Events Associate at Bridging. She got her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Social Justice from the University of Minnesota in 2012 and studied global social policy for a semester at the University of Edinburgh. Sarah also volunteers with Make-A-Wish Minnesota and Gilda's Club Twin Cities. Outside of work, you can find Sarah watching old SNL sketches, attempting to rock at trivia nights, and tearing up at videos of soldiers surprising their kids and/or dogs. She's also a huge Harry Potter geek (and proud Hufflepuff), so pretend to be impressed if she ever tells you about her replica Neville Longbottom wand, time turner necklace, or Triwizard Cup lamp.
Cole St. Arnold
Cole St. Arnold is the Operations and Projects Manager for the Native American Community Development Institute. He is an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and is also a relation of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Lake Superior Chippewa. A native to the Southwest, Cole is doing his best in acclimating to the ways of L’etoile du Nord(no, this is not his first winter). Cole has previously worked for the American Indian College Fund, Make-A-Wish America, Community Services for the Town of Gilbert, Arizona, and Maricopa County, Arizona. He holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Administration from the Arizona State University School of Public Affairs. Cole enjoys the outdoors, regularly hiking with his wife, Cate, and their corgi, Dr. Finndiana Bones.
Biftu Takele serves as the Executive Assistant at Healthy Building Network, and was previously Nonprofit Services Assistant with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. She graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies and currently also serves on the board of Friends of Africa Education, a Minnesota-based nonprofit providing HIV/AIDS orphans and at-risk children in east Africa with primary, secondary, and vocational education. With her college experience in campus engagement and programming, development, and student government, she wants to bring a passion for serving nonprofits to the YNPN-TC decision making table and strive towards the goal of helping other young nonprofit professionals develop and maximize their skills to serve their communities.
Ken Lawrence is the Connect Director at The BrandLab. Ken focuses on professional development opportunities for under-served populations, and is driven to break the poverty cycle and create economic self-sufficiency for all. Prior to The BrandLab, Ken served as a Community Economic Development volunteer with the Peace Corps in Guinea, West Africa for 27 months. He also was the co-founder and vice-chair of the nonprofit Dare to Innovate, a West African social entrepreneurship incubator. Ken holds degrees in Entrepreneurship and French from the University of St. Thomas. He enjoys traveling, photography, rooting for the Wild, playing hockey, watching hockey, reading about hockey, and fantasy hockey... pretty much anything to do with hockey.
Sara Parcero-Leites is a Research Associate at HACER (Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research). Sara primarily works with the Latino population in Minnesota through different research and evaluation projects. She loves fitness and is currently working towards becoming a fitness coach! Sara spends most of her time outside the office trying new recipes and writing on her fitness blog.
Sara has been working for different non-profit organizations since she graduated and worked at the Minnesota Senate as a Legislative Assistant, where she fell in love with public policy. Sara is originally from Spain and holds a degree on Political Science and International Studies from Macalester College.
Dan Frankenfeld is a Board Recruiter & Loan Fund Associate with Propel Nonprofits. He graduated from St. Olaf College and served as a New Sector Alliance RISE Fellow placed at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities.
Kevin Bruins is a College Partnerships Manager at College Possible, a college access and success program for low-income students. Kevin graduated from the Hamline University in 2009 with a B.A. in Sociology and is working on completing a Masters of Science in Sociology: Human Services Planning and Administration from Minnesota State University-Mankato. In his free time Kevin enjoys biking around the Twin Cities, painting and playing miniature war games, gardening, and being a general nerd.
Kristin Skaar is the Development and Communications Director at Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota, an organization whose mission is to build capacity at the 30 Habitat for Humanity affiliates across Minnesota. Kristin moved to the Twin Cities in 2009 to serve for two years with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and has been active in the Twin Cities nonprofit community since that time. Kristin holds a B.A. in business management and Spanish from Luther College, where her passion for affordable housing was initially ignited. In both her personal and professional lives, Kristin enjoys finding ways to forge connections between people and loves any excuse to host gatherings, from fundraising events to dinner parties.
Ruth is a communications and organizational development consultant. Her work ranges from designing digital dashboards, creating content, writing research reports on collaboration and delivering workshops on asset-based frameworks.
Her most recent role was research associate and curriculum designer with the Community Indicators Consortium. Before joining CIC, Ruth spent five years with Minnesota Compass, an indicators project based in Saint Paul at Wilder Research. Ruth also worked in media and community relations for Greater Twin Cities United Way.
After work, she contributes to Minnesota Rising and a local faith community, uniting people in conversation, service and shared vision. She received her bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Minnesota, Morris, where she studied Spanish, Biology and Management, including research through the Minnesota Studies in International Development program and a tour with Students Today Leaders Forever. Her top travel memories are crossing India on a train, Ecuador in a bus, the Ecuador-Colombia border on foot and the trails of central Minnesota on horseback. Find her salsa dancing, taking photos or exploring the joy of hygge.
Laura Daugherty is the Marketing Manager for content initiatives at Minnesota Public Radio. Laura has an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, a Certificate in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Wisconsin - Superior, and a BBA majoring in Marketing with a minor in Studio Art from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. In her spare time Laura enjoys re-watching Harry Potter movies, reading the creepiest Stephen King novels, and is a tried and true supporter of the oxford comma.
Leadership Institute Liaison
Laura Sherar is the Operations Director at the Minnesota Farmers Union. She graduated from the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance. She studied abroad at the Arabic Language Institute in Fes, Morocco and interned abroad in the House of the Oireachtas (Parliament) in Dublin, Ireland. Laura also interned in the Minnesota Senate, which inspired her passion for community policy work. She participated in the 2017 EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute and volunteers at the Center for Victims of Torture. In her free time, Laura enjoys learning new languages, cooking with local foods, discovering new Minnesota State Parks, and reading with her cat.
LaCora Bradford Kesti
Representing the South Side of Minneapolis, LaCora has over 18 years of experience living and working in the Twin Cities metro area. She is a Food Justice Leader and Community member in the Philips and Elliot Park neighborhoods. LaCora graduated from the College of St. Scholastica and completed two years of AmeriCorps. Completing over 3400 service hours for her community. Currently she works for Public Allies, a program affiliated with Pillsbury United Communities. As the Senior Programs Manager she designs, facilitate and evaluate a leadership based curriculum for young adults. She personally mentors the participants in the program, research and collaborates with community experts on culturally specific and relevant topics.
Beyond her education and personal experience; LaCora has a passion for serving all people and helping them discover their endless possibilities, as well as a belief that everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed and share their talents. This passion has been the driving factor behind her education and community organizing. LaCora intends for her life’s work to focus on community empowerment, community change and finding and promoting holistic social justice solutions to the inequities that exist today.
Kayla Farhang is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota and the Senior Lead Organizer at Students For Education Reform (SFER). SFER is a national non-profit that mobilizes college students to push for education justice in the K-12 system. Kayla organizes students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, MCTC, Hamline University, and Augsburg. She has a strong passion for education reform and has worked with SFER for the past 2 years, she has also worked with the Minnesota School Boards Association and in a St. Paul Public School as a teacher's assistant. Outside of education-focused work, Kayla served in the inaugural fellow cohort with IGNITE, a national non-profit focused on encouraging young women to run for political office. In her future, Kayla hopes to continue to work in the non-profit sector, particularly with national organizations, and has ambitions to pursue an advanced degree (Master's or Law).