Biftu works in Philanthropic Services at the Minneapolis Foundation. Previously, she served as the Executive Assistant for Healthy Building Network and as the Nonprofit Services Assistant for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. She graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. She also served 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 her 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.
Emily Pyle is the Donor Relations Manager 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).
Jillian is the Development and Executive Associate at Fresh Energy, an organization that shapes and drives clean energy policies that benefit all. Prior to working at Fresh Energy, Jillian interned at the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network. She graduated with a B.A in general business management and a minor in Spanish from the University of St. Thomas. When not at work, Jillian can be found biking around the twin cities, hanging out with her cat or learning a new song the saxophone or guitar.
Director of Twin Cities Program Management, Bolder Options
Xavier Vazquez has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus on pre-medicine. He studied mechanical engineering for 4 years at the University of Puerto Rico, but decided to pursue another career and moved to Minnesota in June 17 of 2017 after he obtained his biology degree at the Universidad del Turabo of Puerto Rico. He is always willing to try new things and definitely up for adventures and new challenges. He enjoys playing baseball/softball, running, biking, camping, fishing, drawing, spending time with his furry “daughter” (Cuba) and everything else that piques his adventurous spirit. As the Director of Program Management he motivates pairs to graduate their 1-year long 1:1 program and to stay engaged with the Bolder Options Alumni Program and goes the extra mile to ensure that the current and alumni pairs get exposed to the most fun and adventurous activities his creative mind can dream up!
Laura Reller 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
Hannah is a Project Manager at Reading & Math, Inc., a national nonprofit that develops and scales evidence-based national service programs to help solve complex social issues and meet urgent community needs. Hannah has a M.Ed in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota as well as a Certified Professional Project Management (CPPM) certificate from the University of St. Thomas. She is a qualified ADR neutral and volunteers as a civil mediator through the Conflict Resolution Center. Before her time at Reading & Math, Inc., she served in Minnesota Math Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Kate King helps transform and support nonprofits and communities through effective leadership and fund development. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, she had a winding career path that took her through professional photography, veterinary nursing, project management, and art history. After moving to the Twin Cities, she worked in fundraising for nonprofits focused on youth development and mental health before landing at CAIR-MN in 2020.
Kate is passionate about changing lives through the intersection of informal learning and social justice. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she holds a dual Masters degree in Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management with a focus on executive leadership. Her writing on the importance of strong nonprofit leaders has been featured in academic textbooks, fundraising blogs, and podcasts. She lives with her husband and son in St. Paul. In her free time, Kate enjoys scrapbooking and reading debut authors.
Arwen is a Senior Associate Producer for Twin Cities PBS, working in the National Productions department and with the SciGirls STEM team. Her passion lies in continually learning, strategic thinking, and the creative process of filmmaking, especially project ideation, development and on-set production. As a newer nonprofit employee, she has found the opportunity to engage with peers through YNPN-TC helpful for understanding nonprofits, career paths in public media, and ally-ship across the sector. Before joining TPT in 2018, Arwen worked for 6+ years in cable and commercial film and television production. Work accomplishments included directing digital web series, and producing broadcast television series for Travel Channel, Food Network, and HGTV. Between projects she has delighted in working on side video projects with friends, in particular comedy shorts. The short comedy film she produced in 2018, Networking Lunch will premiere at multiple comedy film festivals in 2020.
Arwen lives in Minneapolis and enjoys attending concerts, live theater, and whenever possible, traveling to see family and friends around the US. You can find her working and attending events at The Coven - St Paul or trying to start a rousing game of Would You Rather? with friends or colleagues.
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.
Audra Weigand holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she double majored in sociology and political science and minored in Spanish studies and management. She is also an alumna of the Community Engagement Scholars Program, an honors program that emphasizes community engagement within the Twin-Cities. As an undergraduate, Audra was the General Manager for a small brand communications agency in Minneapolis where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the organization, including leading recruitment efforts and acquiring additional clientele.
More recently, Audra interned at TakeAction Minnesota and was a part of the healthcare organizing team, where she worked on building power to pass progressive initiatives during the state legislative session. Audra has a love for non-profit organizations and has interned and volunteered with several organizations including The Arc Minnesota, MPIRG, and Alexandra House to name a few. She now works at HECUA, a non-profit organization that sends college students on off-campus study programs that are rooted in social justice and experiential learning pedagogy. Audra is passionate about community engagement, communications, social justice, equity, and organizational development. When she has free time, you likely can find Audra hiking a new trail, tending to her plant babies, flowing through vinyasa, or watching whatever new Netflix series has caught her attention.
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.
Kayla is the Advancement Coordinator at the Montessori Center of Minnesota in East St. Paul, where she makes up 1/2 of the development team and assists with a wide spectrum of organizational fundraising efforts. She holds Master’s degrees in Arts and Cultural Leadership and Museum Studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kayla is also involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) - MN Chapter and the growing regional Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF) group. She has spent time living, working, and traveling extensively abroad, and from these meaningful international experiences has become wholly appreciative of her homegrown Minnesotan roots. Kayla is most passionate about relationship building and improving outcomes through diverse, targeted, and innovative methods of engagement. Outside of work, you can find her on one of her favorite running trails, exploring new neighborhood spots, hanging with her fur children, and leaning into her best granny self with plenty of cross stitching and knitting projects.