Minnesota Alliance With Youth leaders strive to be: Visionary, Strategic, Positive, Humble, People Centered, and Accepting of Ambiguity. We aim to have Integrity and Conviction and be Learners, Empowerers and Problem–Solvers.
Learn more about the Alliance’s team of leaders below!
SARAH DIXON – CEO & PRESIDENT
firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.528.8570
Sarah has over 30 years of experience working across all areas of adolescent health and development, including intervention and treatment, counseling, education, and community-wide youth development. She has worked with thousands of young people in developing leadership, public service, advocacy, and positive social change efforts at local, state, and national levels.
A co-founder of Faribault’s Community of Promise Collaborative, she was appointed chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee by the Governor, and has served two four-year terms. She also serves on a number of local and statewide boards dedicated to the health and well-being of young people.
As one who loves her work, she quotes Margaret Wheatley: “What brings us together is our compassion – our dream of how to make a difference for the good.” She also loves spending time with her family at Leech Lake and traveling.
SALENA ACOX- DIRECTOR OF TRAINING AND RECRUITMENT
email@example.com or 612.599.6020
Salena is the Director of Training and Recruitment at the Alliance, supporting current AmeriCorps members and spreading the word to future Promise Fellows! Salena comes with a wealth of AmeriCorps knowledge, bringing five years of management experience with AmeriCorps State and VISTA programs, and is herself a proud AmeriCorps alumna, serving as a VISTA with both Volunteers of America in Pennsylvania and United Cerebral Palsy of Texas, and as an AmeriCorps State member with Partners in School Innovation in San Jose, CA. Previously, she was the VISTA Program Manager for the PSEI VISTA Program at the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota and a Program Associate at Playworks Minnesota. Salena has a BA in Religious Studies and a BS in Sociology, both from Santa Clara University, and a Masters in Sociology from San Jose State University. Originally from California, Salena and her dog Effie have made Minnesota with all of it’s wonderful seasons their home. In her free time Salena enjoys cooking, spending time with Effie and exploring different craft activities.
SHAKUR ALI- YOUTH ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.528.9399
Shakur is originally from Somalia, and when he moved to Minnesota, home to the largest Somali population in the United States, he saw early on a huge disconnect between Somali youth and their parents. Through Augsburg College, where he received his B.A. in Political Science, Shakur interned with Ka Joog in order to support young Somalis reconcile two different cultures in a progressive manner. Upon graduating from Augsburg College, Shakur traveled to Qatar and worked for the Doha Centre for Media Freedom. There, he assisted the organization with emergency requests from journalists and wrote investigative articles for their website. After being at the Centre for a year, Shakur moved to London to complete an M.A. in International Politics & Human Rights at the City University London. He returned to Minnesota after being away for over two years and hopes to invest the knowledge he has gained from around the world in his home state.
JOEL BARTLETT- EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATOR TO THE PRESIDENT & CEO
email@example.com or 651.528.8589
Joel is an administrative professional with a wide array of experiences and industries including Healthcare, Corporate and Non-profit. As the son, brother, and grandson of a teacher, Joel acknowledges the challenges and values the importance of education in our society. At Minnesota Alliance with Youth he is focused on supporting and augmenting the work of the President, senior leadership team and Board of Directors. Joel graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a focus in drawing, painting and illustration from the College of Visual Arts, St. Paul. Joel co-founded Artists in Residence, an arts program creating pop-up galleries in homes for sale as a driver to positively impact the local artists, neighborhood connections and economic potential. Joel has too many hobbies, and whenever he can tries to squeeze in gardening, cooking, home improvement, homebrewing, playing with his dogs, maintaining and arts practice, and growing his followers on Pinterest.
BETTE BENSON – ALLIANCE AMERICORPS VISTA LEADER
Bette is a second year AmeriCorps member, having served as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow in 2015/16. She is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison having earned her B.A. in Political Science, International Studies and Latin American Studies. Her interest in working in the non-profit sector was sparked through her studies which focused predominantly on economic development and its ties to public policy. In her free time, Bette likes to eat Thai food, train for her next half marathon, and binge on How I Met Your Mother and Friends on Netflix.
BAILEY BOELTER – YOUTH POLICY COORDINATOR
Bailey joined Minnesota Alliance With Youth in August 2016 with a position in collaboration with our friends across the hall, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership. As Youth Policy Coordinator, she will focus on the Solutions Not Suspensions Committee and building student voice at the state legislature through the Minnesota Youth Council’s Policy Committee. Bailey served 2 years as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow, with Children’s Defense Fund-MN and the Minnesota Youth Council. Originally planning to be a history and geography teacher, Bailey’s plans changed while studying at UW-Eau Claire and going on the school’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Bailey hopes to attend graduate school at Humphrey School of Public Affairs someday and is the slowest coffee drinker you’ll ever meet.
ELISABETH CALDWELL – MINNESOTA YOUTH COUNCIL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROMISE FELLOW
Elisabeth works with the youth on the Community Development committee of the Minnesota Youth Council. She grew up in Madison, WI and graduated last May from UW-Eau Claire. Her degree is in Economics with a minor in Psychology and Advertising. Elisabeth enjoyed several peer-to-peer jobs while studying at UWEC. She loves to travel and spent six month studying abroad in Perth, Australia.
GRAYSON CARR – MINNESOTA YOUTH COUNCIL EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS PROMISE FELLOW
As a third-year AmeriCorps Promise Fellow, Grayson continues to support the Education Committee of the Minnesota Youth Council and build partnerships with the Alliance and the Minnesota Department of Education. He is also a 2016 Wilkins Community Fellow and a 2016 NorthStar Youth Worker Fellow. Prior to joining the Alliance team after serving at the National Youth Leadership Council, Grayson studied anthropology and economics of education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. When not thinking or writing about civic cultures in Minnesota education systems, Grayson is usually playing music on a 6-string bass, reading, or exploring Minnesota with his partner.
EMILY KAY – GRADMINNESOTA AMERICORPS VISTA
This is Emily’s first year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, supporting the GradMinnesota Initiative. She has spent several years working with youth and children, however, this will be her first “hands off” experience in youth work, and she is excited to try her hand at something new. Prior to joining the Alliance team, she was a student at Augsburg College, and graduated in April 2016 with a B.S. in Social Work. Emily has always had an inherent desire to “give back” to her community, and she feels that her service with the Alliance will help her achieve that goal. In her free time, she enjoys exercising at the YMCA, traveling, reading, playing with her dog and cats, and watching way too much Netflix.
CAMMY LEHR, PH.D. – GRADMINNESOTA PROJECT MANAGER
Prior to working with the Alliance, Cammy worked as an Education Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education for nine years. She led a project focused on building statewide capacity for effective implementation of educational practices in partnership with staff from the National Center on State Implementation and Scaling up of Evidence Practice (SISEP). She directed a federal grant focused on dropout prevention and played a key role in developing and disseminating a statewide early warning data system that identifies youth in grades 6 and 9 who may need additional supports to graduate from high school. Cammy has over 25 years of experience in education including work as a school psychologist, researcher and university instructor. Outside of work, Cammy enjoys gardening, trips to her cottage near Lake Superior, planning for retirement in Ely and being with family and friends.
DANIEL MARTINSON – GRADMINNESOTA AMERICORPS VISTA
This year is Daniel’s first time serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College, having earned a B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology and Studio Art. His interest in the charitable non-profit sector began with his experiences with direct-service in youth development and counseling, and in adult employment and housing navigation. When he’s not working, Daniel enjoys cooking with friends, hiking and camping, caring for his collection of plants, and attempting to be a painter and ceramicist.
MADDIE MCCONKEY – MINNESOTA YOUTH COUNCIL INTERN
As a Minnesota Youth Council alumna, Maddie is thrilled to be back interning at the Alliance for the summer. She just successfully completed her freshman year at Stanford University, after graduating from The Blake School in June 2016. At Stanford, she is actively engaged in bringing political speakers to campus, mentoring and partnering with other women interested in politics, and spends a significant amount of time working as the chief of staff for Stanford Politics, the on-campus political news magazine. This summer, she’ll be helping the Minnesota Youth Council team with the recruitment and interview process as well as helping create a Minnesota Youth Council Alumni Association. Outside the office, she’s excited to hang out with her dogs and her family.
JULIE MUKLEBUST – VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE & OPERATIONS
firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.528.8589
Julie oversees all the financial and human resource functions of the Alliance. She works directly with the CEO/President and Board of Directors to ensure all systems run efficiently and effectively while complying with operational requirements. She also works closely with staff and Promise Fellows to assist them with benefits and payroll related items. Julie has more than 15 years of experience managing offices and providing financial and human resource support in both the public and private sectors, with emphasis on nonprofits. When not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two boys.
KORI REDEPENNING – CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER
email@example.com or 651.724.7221
Kori oversees the integration of the three major initiatives of the Alliance: AmeriCorps Promise Fellows, the Minnesota Youth Council, and GradMinnesota. She focuses her work on program leadership and management, external relationships, and knowledge management. Before coming to the Alliance in September of 2012, she spent nine years with the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship, most recently serving as the Director. She has a long history of national service work and is a proud AmeriCorps alumnus. Born and raised in Minnesota, Kori studied in Thailand, England, and Ghana, and graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in entrepreneurship. She also holds an M.B.A from Northeastern University, with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship. Kori enjoys spending time with her family, including her 13 nieces and nephews, and embracing the interesting seasons that Minnesota has to offer.
KATE SUCHOMEL – DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.587.1085
Kate spearheads the development and communications activities at the Alliance, securing funding from a wide base of donors and aligning communications, media and advocacy to actively engage supporters. Before joining the Alliance team, Kate managed the development and community outreach programs at Women’s Advocates, Inc., the first domestic violence shelter in the nation. Kate serves on the board of Kulture Klub Collaborative and enjoys gardening, playing soccer and exploring her Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood with her husband and two sons.
SARAH FRANCE ULLMER – AMERICORPS TRAINING DIRECTOR
email@example.com or 612.554.6019
Sarah is a 2000 graduate of Macalester College, and has worked for the past decade in youth and community development at local, statewide, and national levels. Having begun her career at YouthCARE/Camp Sunrise, her paths have since included working with youth and adults to organize community gardens with GardenWorks, teaching environmental education at Wolf Ridge Environmental Center, and facilitating trainings on service-learning and youth engagement from Minnesota to Qatar. She also has studied and practiced massage therapy and is currently pursuing certification as a life coach. She believes deeply in the power of people to create change for good in the world, and looks forward to fresh tomatoes and basil in the summer and sliding on frozen lake ice in the winter. She is proud to call Minnesota home, but sometimes — as a Colorado native — gets lost looking for the mountains.
Noam joins the Alliance team after spending the last five years supporting youth in the Twin Cities. After graduating the University of Minnesota, he taught math for Minneapolis Public Schools. That path brought him to Breakthough, an educational nonprofit that provides academic enrichment programming to under resourced students. After serving as the Curriculum and Instruction Director for two Breakthrough nonprofits, Noam completed his Masters in Math Education. In his spare time, he is an avid cyclist and enjoys the year-round outdoor adventures that Minnesota has to offer. He also enjoys spending time exploring the Twin Cities with his wife and pug.
KATHY YOUNG – DIRECTOR OF TRAINING & MEMBER SUPPORT
firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.272.7959
Kathy joined the Alliance staff in September and brings a wealth of past experience, including STEP-UP Work Readiness Trainer at AchieveMpls, Research Assistant at American University and Program Coordinator at Washington State Employment Security Department. At the Washington State Employment Security Department, Kathy managed a statewide AmeriCorps program that provided youth employment and training. Kathy is a proud alumna of both AmeriCorps Washington Service Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from American University School of Public Affairs and a Certificate in Nonprofit and National Service Management from the University of Washington, Evans School of Public Affairs. Kathy enjoys exploring the great outdoors, especially the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
HANNAH ZELMER – COMPLIANCE & FINANCE ASSOCIATE
email@example.com or 651.528.8584
Hannah, a graduate of St. Olaf College, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Dance, and participated in the Great Conversation program, studying the evolution of literacy and artistic expression, philosophic thought, religious belief, and the sciences of human behavior from the ancient into the modern world. At the Alliance she manages grant compliance, assists the finance department, and supports the Promise Fellow initiative. When not organizing or cataloging, she is often romping through nature, exploring the cities for new treasures, or spending time reading favorite books.