Kevin Bruins is an IT Administrator at Bush Foundation, a foundation investing in our communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Kevin graduated from the Hamline University in 2009 with a B.A. in Sociology. In his free time Kevin enjoys biking around the Twin Cities, painting and playing miniature war games, gardening, and being a general nerd.
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.
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.
Kelsey Parsons is a Senior High School Program Coordinator with College Possible. Previously, she was Curriculum & Instruction Director at LearningWorks at Blake: A Breakthrough Program. She got her B.A. in History from Carleton College in 2013. Outside of work, Kelsey loves to camp, bike, and run (her goal is to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon!). You can count on her to cheer for the Vikings and hate on the Packers.
Ruth leads Squaretree, a consulting firm providing communications, event and collaboration support for changemakers. Squaretree supports nonprofits, small business and artists to build organic connections and drive toward strategic impact.
Ruth's work ranges from designing digital dashboards, creating content, writing research reports on collaboration and delivering workshops on asset-based frameworks. She also loves to talk about the business ownership and consulting journey, so don't hesitate to get in touch! Along with YNPN-TC, Ruth is a leader in the Minnesota Rising network.
Prior to creating Squaretree 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. Ruth 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.
Matt Boston is the Development Director at CornerHouse, a nonprofit working with children and teens who have experienced abuse and trauma. Prior to this, Matt was doing development work at Genesys Works – Twin Cities and Minnesota AIDS Project. Matt also volunteers his development skills at several social justice nonprofits in the Twin Cities. Matt holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Communication Arts and History. When Matt isn’t fundraising, he’s cooking up new recipes in the kitchen, playing or watching or thinking deeply about soccer, getting happy hour, or volunteering at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center.
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.
Abrianna Thao is the Assistant Manager of Program Activities for Opportunity Partners in Minnetonka where they offer services to adults with disabilities. She supports her team on providing engaging activities for the clients to learn soft skills and job skills to lead more independent lives and be involved in their community. She received her B.S. in Apparel Design and Development with a minor in Business Administration at University of Wisconsin Stout. Her passion to help others and her community led her to pursue a change of careers which has brought her into the non-profit world.
Abrianna has spent several years volunteering with different organizations and causes like Feed my Starving Children, Loaves and Fishes, and Second Harvest Heartland. Abrianna also volunteers as a Kindergarten Sunday School Teacher at Crossroads Church in Woodbury and has served on missions trips to The Wind River Reservation in Wyoming supporting Native Americans recovering from abuse and also helped out an orphanage in Reynosa Mexico. Even though she left the fashion industry, Abrianna continues to find different ways to be creative which include sketching, weaving wall art, pressing flowers, and any arts and crafts that you can find on Pinterest.
Emily Pyle is the Donor Relations Associate for The Arc Minnesota. Previously, she worked for The Saint Paul & Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project and Tubman. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies and Communications. In college, she was a Certified Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor and volunteered with The Aurora Center. In her free time, you can find Emily playing with her cat, Billie, binge watching episodes of 30 Rock, and acting as an avid karaoke supporter (she doesn't sing, but will support anyone who does).
Cate McKay is a Lead Agency Review Evaluator at the Minnesota Department of Human Services where she evaluates the implementation of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers in Minnesota counties and tribes. She specializes in research and evaluation of social safety-net policy, practice, and systems, and is passionate about service integration and community development. A born and bred Midwesterner, Cate grew up in the Twin Cities and took a decade long sabbatical from the northern winters before returning to her homeland.
Cate earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Arizona State University. She received her BA from University of Colorado – Boulder in psychology and integrative physiology. Cate lives in Saint Paul and enjoys travel, food, and nature. She when she is not traveling for work, she can often be found with her husband, Cole, and her geriatric Corgi, Dr. Finndiana Bones (AKA Finn) hiking at one of the lovely Minnesota State Parks or enjoying appetizers on a patio.
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.
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).
Paul has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 5 years and has been involved with YNPN-TC for about the same. He recently completed the Master's in Leadership at Augsburg University and his current role is Manager of Training and Engagement at College Possible. He is passionate about developing leadership skills in millennials so they can be prepared to lead with confidence, authenticity and empathy. In his free time, he loves playing basketball, reading, fishing and being at home with his partner, Bailey, and pets Curry (dog) and Pita (cat).
Nicole is the Membership & Donor Development Manager for the Membership team at Minnesota Public Radio. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in Justice and Peace Studies and a Minor of Renaissance Studies. She’s passionate about community building, providing equal access to education, and leadership development. Outside of work Nicole enjoys cooking, playing board games, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Tess Montgomery is a young communicator and visionary living in Minneapolis. She is Communications and Outreach Coordinator for Appetite for Change and Marketing and Communications Coordinator for More Than a Single Story. She is a 2018 Fellow with the Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy, a 2017 Fellow with New Sector Academy and a past Digital Production intern with On Being. Tess is passionate about the power of grassroots, community-led organizing.
Tess believes in the principles of Ubuntu (I am because you are) and Ujima (collective work and responsibility) to build and maintain a community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems to solve together. She holds a degree in Journalism & Mass Communications from Drake University.
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. She also served as YNPN-TC's Membership/Communications Chair in 2017, and Programming Chair in 2018.
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.
Erica Connell is a Development Manager at Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, leading the private foundation and evaluation strategies. She has a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Public Policy in Nonprofit Management from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Although a daughter of the Lone Star state, Erica has immersed herself in the North Star state's sector and worked in various community relations and foundation roles. When not working, you can find Erica spouting out Texas-isms, exercising, reading, and watching TV about baking, British people, and/or British people baking.