the ADVANCE: A Cultural Competence Academy for Leaders

Meet the Team


Susan Dreyfus

President and CEO
Alliance for Children and Families, Milwaukee, WI

Susan N. Dreyfus is president and CEO of Families International, the parent organization of the Alliance for Children and Families, United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA), Ways to Work, and FEI Behavioral Health.

In addition, she is president and CEO of the Alliance; CEO of UNCA and Ways to Work; and a member of the FEI Behavioral Health Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Families International on Jan. 3, 2012, Dreyfus was Secretary for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. She was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in May 2009 and served as a member of the Governor's Executive Cabinet. She had responsibility for Medicaid, aging and long-term care, child welfare, behavioral health care, juvenile justice, economic assistance, and other human services.

Dreyfus has rejoined the Families International group of organizations. She served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for both Families International and the Alliance from 2003-2007.

In 1996 she was appointed by the Gov. Tommy G. Thompson Administration in Wisconsin to be the first administrator of the Division of Children and Family Services. Her responsibilities included child welfare, child care quality and licensing, youth development and an array of emergency assistance and other community programs.

Dreyfus is a member of Leadership 18, a coalition of CEOs from the largest and most respected nonprofit organizations in America. She is also a member of the American Public Human Services Association and Generations United Boards of Directors.

She is part of the 12-member National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, being appointed by John Boehner, speaker of the United States House of Representatives and U.S. Representative from Ohio's 8th congressional district.

Dreyfus enjoys reading the biographies of the United States presidents, being with her family—especially her two grandchildren—and she has completed four marathons.

Rudolph A. Johnson, III

President and CEO
Neighborhood House Association, San Diego, CA

Rudy Johnson is a highly accomplished senior executive with a career record of providing business insight, transformational leadership, and strategic vision leading to strengthened productivity, operational performance, and profitability. Throughout his career he has been sought out as a multifaceted leader able to successfully overcome toughest challenges and manage large-scale, highly complex, multimillion-dollar projects. In his current role as President and CEO of Neighborhood House Association in San Diego, CA, Rudy has been tasked with rebuilding this $80 million organization that has been a cornerstone of the San Diego community for nearly 100 years. Rudy assessed the operations, enhanced the infrastructure and decreased costs by automating systems, streamlining processes, and implementing a zero-based budget model. His focused on 12 core competencies and the delivery of outstanding programs in each of those areas, has led to recognition for excellence at city, state, and national levels, including recognition of the Head Start program by the First Lady of the United States. Most recently his efforts were recognized by Diversity MBA Magazine as one of the 2013 “Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive and Emerging Leaders.”

Prior to joining Neighborhood House Association, Rudy spent eight years with the Convention Center of San Diego. He began as Special Projects manager and was promoted 5 times, ultimately becoming the Convention Center’s General Manager. As General Manager, Rudy managed more than 300 employees and a $22 million P&L while overseeing all facets of the largest capital project the Convention Center had ever undertaken a $200 million expansion that doubled the size of exhibition space to 500,000 square feet and increased total space from 1.2 million to 2.3 million square feet.

From 1989 to 1998, Rudy served in several roles with the City of San Diego, beginning as a Field Engineer, and promoted to Assistant Engineer. He was then appointed by the City Manager to a 1-year “on-loan” position in the Mayor’s office as the Council Liaison to the City Manager.

Rudy holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Texas Southern University. He earned Certified Competent Toast Master from Toast Masters International. He has served on Boards of Directors including the Union Bank of California Customer Advisory Board, the United Neighborhood Centers of America Board, the Neighborhood House Association Board (as Chair and Vice Chair), the San Diego Urban League Board (Chair), and is a past President of the City of San Diego’s Black Employees Association. He has earned numerous awards civic and leadership awards, has been a guest lecturer for the Executive Leadership Institute for the Alliance of Families and Children, and is one of ten leaders asked to write a chapter for the book, “Inside the Minds of CEOs”.


Dr. Sheryl Gee

Training and Organization Development/InnoVisions
Neighborhood House Association, San Diego, CA

Dr. Sheryl Gee, a cultural psychologist and organization development consultant with over 25 years of experience, is Vice President of Training and Organization Development at Neighborhood House Association in San Diego, CA. She is also the founder of InnoVisions, a social enterprise of Neighborhood House Association that provides leadership, staff, and organization development services to public, nonprofit, and corporate organizations.

Following successful career experiences as a preschool teacher, site supervisor, rehabilitation counselor/consultant, and corporate area manager, in 1995 Gee commenced work as an internal organization effectiveness specialist with the City of San Diego. Gee went on to serve as an external organization development consultant and executive coach. She has worked with individuals and teams across several industries including education, nonprofit, faith-based, government, military services, health services, pharmaceuticals, biotech, consumer products, technology and finance. Examples include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alliant International University, San Diego Community College District, River Valley Charter School, City of Oakland, City of Berkeley, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Transportation, San Diego County Water Authority, Ford Motor Company, QUALCOMM, Pfizer, Booz Allen & Hamilton, Ernst & Young, Google, Energizer, Aerospace Corp, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Solar Turbines, ITW Space Bags, Volunteers of America, Alpert Jewish Family and Children Services, Bayview Baptist Church, Father Joe Villages, Future Generations Foundation, and Broad Foundation.

Gee is an expert at helping leaders develop self-awareness and emotional-regulating abilities, interpersonal skills, and cultural competencies necessary to successfully influence and lead others. She possesses very honed skills in leadership development, strategic planning, performance management, conflict resolution, culture change initiative, diversity/inclusion, personality dynamics, and team building. Since 1999, Gee has served as a Feedback and Leader/Executive Coach with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL); a core adjunct professor at National University; and regularly serves as a guest lecturer at other colleges and universities. She also serves as a consultant with the Alliance for Children and Families’ Executive Consultant Select Group.

Gee holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grambling State University, a master’s degree in counseling from Louisiana Tech University, and a master’s and Doctor of Psychology degree in culture and human behavior from Alliant International University. She is a qualified/trained mediator and provider of several organization, team, and individual assessment instruments.

Gee serves on the San Diego Delta Foundation Board; the Alliance for Children and Families/University of Michigan Executive Leadership Institute Alumni Connections Board, is an advisory board member for the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma at Alliant International University; and is a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Grambling State University Alumni Association. Throughout the years she has supported and served on numerous educational and nonprofit boards. Gee is passionate about helping people work better, and better together.

Undraye Howard

VP, Center on Leadership
Alliance for Children and Families, Milwaukee, WI

Undraye Howard is the Vice President, Center on Leadership for Children and Families with primary responsibility in creating, supporting, developing and delivering knowledge, products and services that moves the human services sector forward primarily for its membership. The Alliance is a national membership association of nonprofit child and family serving agencies across America. These agencies collectively provide services in thousands of communities and serve millions of people. The Alliance, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, supports nonprofit agencies through direct services to members and policy leadership through its office in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Undraye served as the Executive Director for a nonprofit human service organization. Major responsibilities included organizing board governance, strategic planning and implementation, program design and development of various child and family welfare programming as well as the development and implementation of a broad range of community programs for adults. Undraye also operated his own business as a leadership consultant to a number of non profit human service organizations, providing leadership development consultation, coaching, training and organizational development as well as race and diversity training and awareness. Undraye also serves as an on-call adjunct professor at several local universities teaching in the areas of diversity and race, youth work, ethics and boundaries, human services skills and techniques, and many communication based courses. Undraye Howard is most known and admired for his belief in driving for positive change and making a difference in the lives of humanity.

Undraye has a bachelor's degree in business and marketing; a master's degree in communication with special interest in training and development; and currently is pursuing his doctoral degree in urban studies, with a focus on human services, race and social systems from the University of Wisconsin. Undraye also serves on several boards to include Strengthening Wisconsin Families and Children, Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative as well as several other human service organizations.

Undraye is passionate about children and families and believes strongly in the engagement of addressing racial disparity and socioeconomic issues through strong advocacy, prudent organizational delivery and the development of public policy in dealing with these issues that plague families and communities.


Chanda Smith Baker

President and CEO
Pillsbury United Communities, Minneapolis, MN

Ms. Smith Baker is a results-driven nonprofit leader with fifteen years of nonprofit and community experience in urban, low-income communities. She is also a proactive and visionary leader with vast experience in strategy, crisis management, training and development, program development, fundraising, nonprofit, and education reform. Ms. Smith Baker brings her passion for social justice, her penchant for innovation and her reputation for top performance to her role of President and CEO. Ms. Baker is responsible for the executive leadership for all Pillsbury United Communities programs, including five neighborhood centers, a professional theater, the urban institute for service and learning, and charter school authorization of 13 schools.

Ms. Baker sits on the board of directors for the International Federation of Settlements, MACC Commonwealth, MACC Alliance for Connected Communities, co-chair of the African American Leadership Forum, and Minnesota Campus Compact.

Prior to assuming her new role, Ms. Smith Baker provided dynamic and thoughtful leadership at PUC for ten years in a variety of demanding positions, including Chief Learning Officer, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Director of Government and Community Relations, and Oak Park Center Director. She has a Master’s degree from Concordia University and is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Executive Leadership Institute.


Stedman Graham

Best Selling Author, Educator, Entrepreneur
CEO, S. Graham & Associates

Stedman Graham is chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a management and marketing consulting firm that specializes in the corporate and educational markets.

Graham delivers his leadership message throughout the country and globally to corporations, professional associations, government and civic organizations, colleges and universities, and community groups. His message is driven by the Nine-Step Success Process®, a learning management system designed to organize your life around your identity.

Graham’s mission is to transform people from followers to leaders and change the way they think and learn. He says that “many of us spend years trying to find out who we are and, sadly, too many of us never do. If we fail to define ourselves, we risk letting others define us by our race, gender, and background. We buy into the labels that keep us in a box and, as a result of those limitations, never reach or realize our greatest potential.”

Stedman Graham has authored eleven books, including two New York Times bestsellers, You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success and Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success. His latest release, Identity: Your Passport to Success, was on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list. Graham has also launched an online course, in partnership with the University of Phoenix, based on the Nine Step Success Process® which supports Identity Leadership development.

Dr. Tony Byers

Global Diversity & Inclusion at Starbucks

An accomplished Diversity Inclusion / Change Management professional with 20 years demonstrated experience leading change in large, matrix, multinational organizations.

Has a proven record of quality performance and leadership in challenging and diverse environments -- corporate, manufacturing, and educational. Is a skilled communicator, presenter and rapport builder with all levels of organizational leadership.

Cindy Kent

VP and General Manager
Gastro/Urology Therapies, Medtronic, Inc.

Cindy Kent is the Vice President & General Manager of the Gastro/Urology Therapies business for the Neuromodulation Division of Medtronic, Inc.—the world’s leading medical technology company. She has P&L responsibility for the half-billion dollar global franchise including the development of the global strategic plan, the annual operating plan as well as setting cross-functional investment priorities that includes R&D and clinical. Cindy sits on the division’s senior leadership.

Cindy has been featured in various regional, national and international publications including Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Top Execs in Marketing and Advertising” (February 2011) and “Careers on the Move” (January 2010); Exame Magazine—Brazil’s premier business publication (October 2009); and Cindy has also been recognized by the local media as one of the Top 50 Cultural Leaders of Minnesota (November 2010). She is a member of the Women Business Leaders of the US Healthcare Industry as well as the Executive Leadership Council—a membership organization of the top African American corporate executives.

Cindy holds an MBA in Marketing as well as a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Leadership, both from Vanderbilt University. In addition, she has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University. Cindy is an ordained minister. She is married and has two step-children.


Ian Bautista

United Neighborhood Centers of America

A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Ian B. Bautista resides with his wife, Elsa, and his daughter Iana, in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Since April of 2006, Bautista has served as the President of the United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA,, the national non-profit membership network of settlement houses and neighborhood centers in the United States of America. UNCA is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

UNCA's membership comprises approximately 150 settlement houses, neighborhood centers, and similar community based nonprofits throughout the United States. In early 2006, UNCA affiliated with Families International, Inc., the nonprofit holding company for the Alliance for Children and Families (, FEI Behavioral Health (, and Ways to Work ( Combined, the organizations are the premiere network of child-, family-, and neighborhood-serving organizations in the country. Bautista is the first President of UNCA under this partnership.

Prior to UNCA, Bautista served as the President & CEO of El Centro, Inc. in Kansas City, Kansas ( El Centro creates and sustains educational, social and economic opportunities for families in the Kansas City area. As a unique hybrid nonprofit (Community Development Corporation (CDC) and human-service agency), El Centro hosts programs and services ranging from child care to senior activities and basic financial literacy to home ownership promotion.

Prior to his work at El Centro, Bautista served as a Management Consultant for NeighborWorks® America (, a congressionally chartered nonprofit community development intermediary. Before that, Bautista worked for the State of Kansas at the Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission (KHLAAC) and earlier still with Kansas State University.

Bautista serves on the board of directors of the National Human Services Assembly ( and the board of directors of Select Milwaukee (

Bautista holds a Master of Business Administration from the Rockhurst University Executive Fellows Program, a Master of Regional and Community Planning from Kansas State University, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Spanish from Kansas State University. In 2001, Bautista became a certified Community Planner credentialed by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), by passing their comprehensive professional exam.

In his spare time, Bautista has volunteered as a youth debate coach, a marriage preparation trainer and 2nd grade catechist for his church, a parent peer advisor at a children's hospital, a member of various nonprofit boards and committees, and as a volunteer for his International Fraternity, Sigma Lambda Beta ( He enjoys spending time with family and friends, working on issues of social justice, the arts (music and visual), following and playing team sports (especially Kansas State University and Kansas City teams), intercultural exploration, leadership development, and cooking.

Antonio Cardona

Urban Institute for Service and Learning Director

As the Director of Pillsbury United Communities’ Urban Institute for Service and Learning, Mr. Cardona taps into his extensive administrative, community relations and organizing experience to drive tangible change with positive outcomes.

He holds a BA in Global Studies and International Relations and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. He was awarded a National Urban Fellowship from Baruch College in New York City and completed a nine-month, full time mentorship at the New York State Health Foundation. Mr. Cardona has worked with a wide range of nonprofit organizations and specializes in program development, public health and leadership development programs.

Tawanna Black

President & Consultant
Innovations by Design

Tawanna Black is the President & Consultant for Innovations by Design, a consulting firm where she provides organizational development, capacity building, and diversity and inclusion services to non-profit, philanthropic and for-profit organizations. Tawanna’s diverse career destinations have had one common theme… she’s been the chosen leader to build consensus among individuals, organizations and companies with varied backgrounds, experiences and motivations, toward one common vision with extraordinary results. Her work has transformed organizations and communities in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota.

She is the former and first Director of Diversity for Cox Communications, where she served as an advisor to the senior management team, assisting in setting the highest standards for business growth, innovation and stakeholder return by ensuring that the company understood and acted upon the needs of diverse communities. In this role she transformed the organizations largely programmatic diversity and inclusion strategy to one built on a commitment to inclusivity and empowering leaders to leverage the diversity of the workforce to create organizational and financial success for the business. She engaged the entire leadership team and employee base in leading a comprehensive plan across four pillars; People, Community, Suppliers and Products, Marketing & Services.

Tawanna and her husband Eric have two children, Eric Jr. and Traviata

Keesha Gaskins

Senior Counsel
Brennan Center for Justice

Keesha Gaskins is Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center's Democracy Program. Ms. Gaskins is a long-time organizer, lobbyist and an experienced trial attorney. Ms. Gaskins is the Director of the Redistricting and Representation Program at Brennan Center. Her portfolio also includes Voting Rights and Elections with a particular focus on voter suppression issues. Ms. Gaskins is a frequent lecturer and writer on issues related to women and politics, movement building and democratic reform – with an emphasis on redistricting reform.

Prior to joining the Brennan Center for Justice, Ms. Gaskins was Executive Director for the League of Women Voters Minnesota where she worked on a wide range of voting rights and civil rights issues. Ms. Gaskins holds a joint degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice from St. Cloud State University and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law. Following law school, Ms. Gaskins served as a shared judicial clerk for the Honorable Alan Page and Honorable Joan Ericksen for the Minnesota Supreme Court. She worked for a number of years as a trial attorney, most notably with the firm Bowman and Brooke, LLC. Ms. Gaskins was a 2008 Feminist Leadership Fellow with the University of Minnesota, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs - Center on Women and Public Policy. She is a frequent commentator on voting rights and redistricting reform and regularly appears on numerous news and public affairs programming including past appearances on PBS's NewsHour, MSNBC and Bill Moyers.

Laura Pinsoneault

Director of Evaluation and Research for the Alliance for Children and Families

Laura Pinsoneault is the Director of Evaluation and Research for the Alliance for Children and Families. Ms. Pinsoneault conducts research around national initiatives and programs that seek to strengthen the evaluation and leadership capacity of high performing community-based organizations in reaching their impact goals in the areas of poverty, education, health and economic security.

Laura has been conducting research inside the human services sector for 18 years. Her approach to evaluation and research prioritizes assets and engagement as drivers of knowledge. Since 2005, Laura has worked alongside the Alliance civic engagement efforts and the United Neighborhood Centers of America to research and disseminate practices that support engagement at all levels of community and care.

Her professional experience includes the coordination of a family-centered care program with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW). This family-centered care initiative was funded through the Title IV Ryan White Care Act in collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to enhance the coordination of care for women, children, and their caregivers and to improve overall health outcomes related to HIV. She has also implemented strength-based family prevention programs and trained others in a national model.

Ms. Pinsoneault earned a Master’s of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from University of Wisconsin Madison and is currently completing her dissertation on race socialization within white households. She currently resides in Milwaukee, WI. Laura is a member of the National Council on Family Relationships (NCFR), American Evaluation Association (AEA) and founding member of the Wisconsin AEA Affiliate and Collaborative, Empowerment, Participatory, and Multicultural evaluation group.

Chris Stewart

African American Leadership Forum

Chris Stewart is the Executive Director of the African American Leadership Forum, where he is dedicated to researching and implementing social justice models to empower youth, families, and communities,. As a former member of the Minneapolis Board of Education he helped create the first comprehensive strategic plan in 25 years, created a community covenant between the district that the African American community, and a nationally recognized GLBTQ Policy.

Chris currently sits on the board for Charter School Partners, and is a former board member with KIPP: Stand Academy and the Northside Achievement Zone. He has a background in health and human services, as well as in the business and government sectors.

Laura McCarten

Regional Vice President of Northern States Power, Minnesota

Laura McCarten is Regional Vice President of Northern States Power, Minnesota, which encompasses the company's service areas in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Laura is responsible for state government, community and media relations, and stakeholder outreach in all 3 states, and the regulatory interface in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Laura graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a nuclear engineering degree and began working at Northern States Power in 1979. In the energy business for more than 30 years, Laura has extensive experience in utility operations, customer and community relations, and energy policy issues. NSP-MN is an operating company of Xcel Energy, an electric and gas utility with service territory in eight Western and Midwestern states, serving 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers.

David Nicholson

Program Director
Headwaters Foundation

David is driven by the possibility of creating justice by bringing together coalitions that will transform the current climate of hate, fear and inequity. Before joining Headwaters in 2004, he worked for the State Department of Education as director of the Children's Trust Fund, which partners with local communities to prevent child abuse.

He is actively involved in the Native American community and has served on various local and national boards of directors, advisory committees and task forces that align with his passion for philanthropy, racial justice, environmental justice and the well-being of Native American families.

Caroline A. Wanga

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Caroline Wanga is the first born child of Drs. Lucas and Pamela Wanga and sister to James, Victor, and Vincent. She and her family arrived in the United States from Kenya in August 1988. After graduating from high school in 1995, her plans to pursue her post-secondary education were suspended with the birth of her daughter Cadence. Determined to achieve both her personal and academic goals, in January of 2003, she was blessed with the Single Parent Support System Program (SPSS) at Texas College. Through this program Caroline was able to fully concentrate on the pursuit of a quality post-secondary education, while nurturing and guiding the physical, mental and emotional health of her daughter. In December of 2005, Caroline graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas College in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.

Caroline is currently employed with the Target Corporation, where she began as an intern in its Distribution group, subsequently serving in a variety of roles in their distribution centers; and supporting the design, development, implementation and evaluation of operational systems and training curricula for a series of Target’s Dedicated Food Distribution Centers throughout the United States. In 2009, she moved into Human Resources and served in a variety of individual contributor and leadership roles supporting Property Development and Business Intelligence & Analytics; and currently leads the HR team that supports & Mobile and Enterprise Strategy, which are at the epicenter of Target’s Multi-Channel transformation.

In addition to her day to day responsibilities, Caroline served a two-year term as Co-Chair of Target’s African American Business Council, an employee resource group, and continues to champion the holistic diversity and inclusion agenda inside and outside of Target, as both an ally and advocate. She also serves as a mentor to many team members within Target.

Prior to returning to school, Caroline served as a Youth Development Specialist and non-profit professional in a variety of organizations, including the YMCA, Camp Fire Boys and Girls, Lutheran Social Services, Turning Point Inc. and The Boys and Girls Club.

She is a member of Kwanzaa Community Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has served on the board of the UNCF National Alumni Council, been a member of the NAACP, BAEO and is a member of the Texas College National Alumni Association. She has also participated in numerous panels and keynote addresses on a variety of subjects.

In her spare time Caroline enjoys watching her daughter play Volleyball, traveling, watching tv & movies, and shoe shopping!

Chad Schwitters

Urban Homeworks Executive Director

Chad joined Urban Homeworks in 1999 as the only full-time employee. Since then he has grown up with the organization and the potently talented team of people that comprise it. Under Chad’s leadership, Urban Homeworks has completed hundreds of development projects, including acquisition and rehab, and new construction. Housing strategies are central to the organization’s mission and are a tool to stabilizing not just physical structures, but families, communities and economies. Chad is instrumental in challenging staff to find news ways of infusing economic opportunities for residents throughout the UHW housing development processes.

Chad grew up on a farm near Clara City, MN. He graduated from Bethel University with degree in Finance and Human Resources Management. He proceeded to marry his high-school sweetheart and move to Mendenhall, MS to work with The Mendenhall Ministries on rural economic development projects. Upon moving back to Minnesota and a short time at Lutheran Social Services as a Consumer Credit Counselor, he returned to the family farm and worked as the “accounting and finance guy” when not in the tractor with his head in the row. Chad holds a commercial driver’s license, of which he is quite proud.

Alfonso Wenker

Alfonso Wenker has been working in philanthropy as a fundraiser or grantmaker since 2007. Alfonso has a broad range of experience spanning program development, training and facilitation, fundraising and event planning. Prior to joining the Bush Foundation in January 2013, he served as the deputy finance director at Minnesotans United for All Families where he oversaw online and grassroots donor engagement as well as the campaign’s statewide fundraising events. From 2007 to 2012 Alfonso held various staff roles at PFund Foundation, the only community foundation serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities across the Upper Midwest. During his time at PFund, he served as the foundation’s first full-time program staff person, integrating racial equity frameworks across the organization, increasing volunteer participation and engaging new institutional funding partners.

Alfonso currently serves on the board of directors of Community Shares of Minnesota, a workplace giving organization committed to creating fair and equitable communities. His story is featured in the book, “Become a Nonprofit Rockstar: 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career” and he was named a MinnPost/Pollen “under the radar” community leader to know. Alfonso is a St. Paul boy through and through, born on the West Side, attended high school at Cretin-Derham Hall and holds a BA in communications and journalism from the University of St. Thomas – Minnesota. Alfonso is a proud Gen Y-er and enjoys riding his bike, political conversations on patios, watching Downton Abbey and 30 Rock, trying to make Mexican food as well as his mom does, and going “up north” like any good Minnesotan should.

Tony LookingElk

Tony is son to Helen and Phillip LookingElk and is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and his father is Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Tony’s professional experience include government (county and federal level), non-profit and community based organizations addressing disparities in wealth, health and well-being. His philanthropic experience includes working with the Northwest Area Foundation where he served as a Community Liaison and currently with the Otto Bremer Foundation serving as a Program Officer. While Tony has a variety of formal education experiences, he credits his informal education through elders, community, family and culture that have provided him the skills, abilities and knowledge to serve communities well.

Alfred W. Coleman

Al Coleman is a highly-awarded lawyer, professor and writer living near St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife and three children. He is a Partner in the Corporate Group at the law firm of Gray Plant Mooty, one of the leading corporate law firms in the region, and specializes in advising domestic and multinational entities on a broad range of business and legal issues.

Mr. Coleman is also the author of the highly-acclaimed and best-selling career development guide, “Secrets to Success.” The book debuted in August 2011 and spent nearly 6 months in the top-10 on Amazon in its category, including several #1 rankings. A frequent lecturer to students and young professionals, he has shared his success principles with over 30,000 readers on, and thousands of students and young professionals.

Al is a financial management graduate of the University of St. Thomas, and a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where he currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Law School’s Corporate Institute.

Mala Thao

Partner Relations Officer
Minnesota Philanthropy Partner

Mala helps our donors become smarter philanthropists. She works to provide each donor with informational resources in his or her areas of interest, helping to connect donors with experts in mental health, environment and countless other subjects. She also helps donors find nonprofit organizations that share their values and goals.

Mala joined Minnesota Philanthropy Partners in 2011. With 10 years of prior development experience, she brings a passion for donors and communities. Mala serves on the board of TeenWise and recently served on Governor Pawlenty’s Council on Faith and Community Services Initiatives. She is also a cofounder of the Hmong Women’s Giving Circle.

Karen Evans

Chief Operating Officer
Five Acres Boys' & Girls' Aid Society of Los Angeles

Karen Evans lives, works, and serves in the city of Pasadena, CA and has done so for over 25 years. Her work and service has consistently been in support of children, youth and families. Currently, Karen is the Chief Operating Officer at Five Acres. In her previous role as Director of Program Development, Karen lead the agency’s strategic planning, social enterprise, advocacy, emerging strategic partnerships, program development and capacity building efforts.

Ms. Evans is also an appointed Northwest Commissioner for the City of Pasadena, representing District 1 – an advisory board to the City Council providing insight and recommendations that result in improvements to the quality of life and positive outcomes in the lives of residents in Northwest Pasadena; a board member for Pasadena Child Health Foundation; a core group member in the City of Pasadena’s Vision 20/20 Initiative; Pasadena Team Member of the Breakthrough Collaborative Series; chair of Greater Pasadena’s Neighborhoods of Promise Governance Council.

Recently, Ms. Evans was selected to be a member of the PUSD Strategic Planning Steering Committee where she participated in the creation of PUSD’s new strategic plan. She is a California native; a Southern California public school success story, as she holds a BA in Communications and a Masters in Public Administration from California Universities (CSUDH; CSUN respectively). She is the parent of two college attending young adults, both former PUSD students and graduates.

Karen continues to be an active member of the greater Pasadena Community and beyond.

October 18-20, 2013 | Minneapolis, MN
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