Joanne served Minnesota as its Lieutenant Governor from 1995-1999, during the Gov. Arne Carlson administration. A former state senator, she has also served as the chief education officer of the Minnesota Business Academy, providing fundraising support to the school. Born in Le Seur, Minnesota, she is married Robert R. Benson and has two children and six grandchildren.
Recruitment Coordinator at Iowa State University
Performance Improvement Consultant Fairview Health Services
Karen is a Senior Improvement Advisor at Fairview Heath Services with a focus in Lean transformation, patient flow, and process improvement. She works to coach and train leaders and front line staff to improve the organization’s systems and standard procedures to increase patient safety, satisfaction, and clinical outcomes. Karen has received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth and her Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, with a concentration in Organizational Behavior Management, from Western Michigan University. Karen enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time exploring new hiking trails throughout Minnesota.
University of St. Thomas student and former Minnesota Youth Council member
Tiaryn is a student at the University of St Thomas. She served on the Minnesota Youth Council for five years on the education committee and loved every minute of it. She loves being a young person and working with both people younger and older than herself. Tiaryn loves learning about combinations of culture, government, language, business, and people in general.
High School Teacher at Northfield Public Schools
Kevin has been a HS teacher for the last 34 years, currently teaching Civic education in Northfield Public Schools where he serves as President of the Northfield Education Association. He received his BA from the University of Northern Iowa and his MA in education from St. Mary's University. Kevin served 7 years in the Minnesota State Senate, serving on the education finance and policy committees. He was the chief author of the bill that recognized the Minnesota Youth Council as an official legislative committee. IN 2016 he received the MN Alliance with Youth Star Partner Award for leadership. Kevin was a part of the U.S. State Department's Partners in Education program where he traveled to Ukraine to teach civic education. He and his wife Beth have 3 school age children and reside in Northfield.
Brooks Deibele, Board Co-Chair
Brooks Deibele currently serves as Regional Market Leader for Holmes Murphy. Prior to joining Holmes Murphy, he was with Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN and UnitedHealthcare. Prior to that, he worked for TCF Bank in Minneapolis and held sales and leadership positions in the Consumer Lending Division. Brooks received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Management from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN. He also completed the Wharton Executive Education Program in 2013. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Excelsior, MN.
Student at Edina High School
Mythili is a junior at Edina High School. She is an active member and leader on her school’s debate, Model UN, and WorldQuest teams. Outside of school, she is a volunteer at Fairview Southdale Hospital. She is passionate about women’s rights and issues and looks forward to bringing more attention to this issue through her role as a youth representative on the Board of Directors. When she is not binge-watching Netflix, she enjoys reading and writing.
Associate, Bowman and Brooke, LLP
Ryan is an Associate with Bowman and Brooke LLP. During his career, he has worked with the Dakota County Attorney's Office, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the United State's Attorney's Office and Target Corporation. Ryan has a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law, and is a graduate from Hamline University.
Minnesota Youth Council alumnus
Angelo serves on many boards and committees both local, including several councils at Northfield High School, and state wide. He is very passionate about government and history and joined the Minnesota Youth Council because he is passionate about immigration, equity, justice and education. He admires John F. Kennedy because he was a natural born leader and a national hero who served our country proudly, and lead our country during perhaps one of the darkest times in our history.”
Student at The Blake School
Jack has attended Blake since he was in Pre-K. Next year, he looks forward to writing in the school newspaper and being on the robotics team. While serving on the Minnesota Youth Council this past year, he has represented youth on the Education Committee. Jack’s other interests include playing competitive tennis, studying Latin and singing in the school choir.
Student at The Blake School
James is currently an 8th grader at The Blake School in Minneapolis. At school, he participates in many theatrical performances and school sports. Outside of school, he worked on the campaigns for two different Minnesota elected officials this past election cycle. He has spent a couple years fundraising and doing sales for a nonprofit historical organization. His particular passion centers around youth wellness, a growing issue at his school and in his community.
Ram’s strengths are collaborative partnerships, visionary thinking and strategic alignment. Ram has a MBA at U of M’s Carlson School of Management, focused on Strategy and HealthCare. He has received a Master of Science in Graphic Communications from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Engineering from Anna University, India. Ram has served on Student Boards and has led student run social welfare organizations and technical groups but gravitates most to children and youth causes. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Southwest Minneapolis.
Target Corporate Social Responsibility
Jody Warden is a Manager on Target’s Corporate Social Responsibility team where she oversees a wide range of partnerships and initiatives. At Target for 15 years, Jody has held various positions within the CSR/Community Relations team, but she also spent several years managing the Corporate GiftCard product team within Target’s Financial Services group. A three year CSR stint in Washington D.C. was focused on developing education partnerships in NYC, Boston, DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and allowed her to work closely with America’s Promise Alliance and the US Department of Education. She has served on several youth-focused boards in both a governance and grantmaking role. Prior to Target, Jody spent 8 years working full-time with youth, serving as the Director of Youth Ministries in a United Methodist Church. Jody is a graduate of Dartmouth College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Education.
Elizabeth Zalanga, Board Co-Chair
Student at Saint Paul College
Elizabeth is completing an Associate in Arts Degree with an Emphasis in Social Science/Public Affairs at Saint Paul College. She was elected to serve on the Student Senate as the Senate Diversity Officer, in which she will serve on the Programming Board and lead efforts to develop programming with The Office of Student
Life and Student Associations that focuses on diversity. Elizabeth also works for the City of Minneapolis – City Clerk’s Office in the Elections and Voter Services Division, assisting in coordinating with Minneapolis public, private, and charter high-schools and youth-serving organizations in recruiting and managing high-school students from diverse backgrounds to work in polling places on
In September 2016 she was appointed by the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners to
serve and represent her district on the Food and Nutrition Commission. After completing her Associate’s degree, she plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) to pursue a
Bachelor’s in Global Studies and a minor in economics. She hopes to work for a government agency or nonprofit organization that works domestically and/or internationally to address the global issues of advancing women’s rights, environmental pollution, or hunger and malnutrition.