Gregg Larson, Chair
Before retirement, Gregg Larson was responsible for the administrative and financial operations of a large infectious disease research network based at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The network conducted clinical trials at more than 200 locations in 35 countries, primarily focused on the treatment of HIV, Influenza and, more recently, Ebola. Prior to his work at the University, Gregg was Executive Director of an interstate compact commission and held environmental positions in Minnesota and North Dakota state governments and a private consulting firm. He has been a national officer in professional organizations, was a City Councilmember for nine years in Arden Hills, and has served on a variety of public and non-profit boards. He and his partner are long-time supporters of the Council, and Gregg was a member of the Council’s Development Committee for many years.
Brenda Starr, Vice Chair
Prior to retirement in 2018, Brenda served as the Senior HR Manager of Organizational Development & Learning for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Brenda has also served as the Vice President of Human Resources for U.S.Bancorp Piper Jaffray and as a Sr. HR Manager focused on Training and Development for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. She is a seasoned professional with 20 years of strategic HR and management experience, and a creative team leader with demonstrated strengths in building relationships and partnering with management to meet business goals. Brenda has expertise in the areas of OD, Employee Relations, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Workforce Reduction, Succession Planning, and training design and delivery. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State University with an emphasis on Human Resource Management and Training and Design. Brenda will graduate with a Master of Arts in Leadership degree from Augsburg College in April of 2018.
Mary Jo Schifsky, Secretary
Why Stop Working
Mary Jo has held several for- and non-profit positions, most recently as executive director of Store To Door and including leadership roles at Target, Hazelden and Pickle Product. She likes to build, lead and manage successful businesses. After ten years as a non-profit leader, Mary Jo left her role at Store To Door to explore another aspect of aging: Workforce development for mature workers. Mary Jo holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management and a BA from the University of Minnesota, as well as an Advocacy Leadership for Vital Aging Certificate from the University of Minnesota.
Carolyn Deters, Treasurer
Indelible Aging, Gifts for Seniors
Carolyn comes to the Council with extensive nonprofit administration, finance, and development experience. She is fiercely passionate about alleviating social isolation and leads the charity Gifts for Seniors as Executive Director. Through her consulting practice, Indelible Aging, she is striving to create innovative, inclusive social aging options. Carolyn earned her BBA from the University of St. Thomas, is a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP), and is currently CFRE pursuant having completed the Fundraising Certificate Series at the University of St. Thomas. She considers herself an avid smart giver and actively supports the community by serving in volunteer roles with SHIFT, Community Involvement Programs, the Nonprofit Financial Group, and Evolve Adoption & Family Services.
Stanton Adams Consulting LLC
Malissa Adams currently serves as COO for Stanton Adams Consulting LLC where she is a Senior Racial Equity Consultant. Malissa is a leader with over 15 years of experience working in the public, and private sector as well as the non-profit sector. She has worked with numerous organizations—within the Twin Cities and the broader US—to identify gaps in equity and access, and then to supply them with the tools needed to impact change. As a business consultant and professional development trainer, she brings robust and experienced guidance. Malissa received her B.A. in Business from Rasmussen College and is currently a Graduate student pursuing a Masters in Non-Profit and Public Administration from Metropolitan State University. Malissa has also served as an essential part working with other agencies in the Twin Cities to end homelessness. Malissa is most noted for her ability to motivate others, bridge gaps, and act as a conduit between organizations and underserved communities.
Anoka-Hennepin School District
Leonie Giles comes to the Council with an extensive background in Nonprofit Management. For the past 16 years, she has worked at Charity Navigator, a national organization that aims to make impactful philanthropy easier for all. Leonie started at the New Jersey-based organization a month after its website was initially launched, and has worn many hats, from analyst to the Senior Leadership Team. She has recently left the organization due to her relocation to the Minneapolis area and is currently considering her next career options. A native of the Netherlands, Leonie holds dual BA degrees in Psychology and International Relations from Boston University, where she is also a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame.
Nilan Johnson Lewis
Sukanya is an attorney at Nilan Johnson Lewis, specializing in corporate and employment law. Previous to starting at the firm, Sukanya was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Judge Louise Dovre Bjorkman on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Sukanya graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in the Order of the Coif and magna cum laude, and from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with summa cum laude honors. Sukanya is passionate about the law, but outside of work she enjoys reading, traveling, and finding a variety of ways to practice her Japanese.
Community Involvement Programs
Robert joined Community Involvement Programs in 2016 and has over 20 years of experience working with nonprofits including the American Red Cross and federally funded programs such as Head Start and Weatherization. Robert received his accounting degree from the University of Idaho, his Master of Business Administration degree from Metropolitan State University his Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Minnesota. Robert’s board service includes Community Dental Care and the Nonprofit Insurance Trust.
Courtney Poja is the Director of Advancement at Cornerstone, a nonprofit serving families and individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking. She received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. In addition to her current service on the Council’s Board and Advancement Committee, Courtney volunteers with the Twin Cities Chapter of Social Enterprise Alliance and assists with fundraising for LegalCORPS’s Inventor Assistance Program, the first pro bono patent program in the country.
Communications & Media Consultant
Ryan Stopera is a social worker, photographer, filmmaker, and educator. He has worked for over 10 years in human services including with individuals experiencing homelessness, children and families, and foster care youth, as well as in program development and affordable housing development. Ryan currently works at PRG, Inc. supporting their development and communications. He also teaches media workshops with youth and teaches in the social work department at Augsburg College. Ryan is driven by building a more just and equitable world by supporting individuals, organizations, and communities in their mission-driven work.
Megan Genest Tarnow
The Mobius Group
Megan Tarnow is founder and Principal of The Mobius Group, a QuickBooks-centric consulting practice focused on nonprofits since 2000. She is a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) and an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, with a BA in Theatre from Gustavus Adolphus College. Megan is a member of the Intuit Trainer/ Writer Network and an Account Manager with QuickBooks Made Easy. Megan coordinates the QuickBooks for Nonprofits meet-up, an affinity group of the Nonprofit Financial Group. She is crazy passionate about helping nonprofits capture and use their financial data, and is currently focused on the changes coming from the Cloud, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Advantus Capital Management, Inc.
Stephen Thompson is an investment officer with Advantus Capital Management, Inc., a company in the Securian Financial Group. Over a 33 year career with SFG, he has worked in consulting, technology, and investment positions. Stephen has an MBA and MS in software engineering. He has served in several volunteer positions with the YMCA Voyager parent-child program and with OTUG – a tech special interest group at St. Thomas University. He presently hosts two study groups on MeetUp.com: IdeaEcos for innovation and League of Extraordinary Algorithms for computational intelligence.