I was born into a working class family in South Minneapolis. My Dad was in sales, which meant that he was frequently away from home. My Mom was an ER nurse, frequently working the second shift. I helped out at home with my two younger brothers, Charley and Phillip “Pip”. When I was just thirteen, my parents divorced, giving me even more responsibility.
After high school graduation, I worked my way through college at the University of Minnesota as a waitress. In fact, while waitressing, I met my future husband, Tom.
Tom and I moved to California while I completed my Master’s in Psychology at Pepperdine University. Minnesota called to us, and we came home to live in St Paul. We have two children, Leo and Anna who respectively attend Highland Junior High and the Spanish immersion program at Adams Elementary.
After completing my Master’s, I began a career in human resources. I have been with Minnesota Gastroenterology, P.A. since 1999 where I currently serve as the Chief Performance Officer with responsibility for Human Resources, Education, Quality and Risk Management. My greatest strength is creating the environment where success happens naturally. My ability to connect the right resources with the strategy at hand has allowed me to achieve great results for my employer, the non-profit organizations I serve, and my community.
Why Community Matters
The first time I walked into my home 15 years ago, I fell in love – with the house, the neighborhood, the community. I could see raising our children here (who were yet to be born!), playing with my grandchildren, and building a lifetime of memories.
Then a bad landlord threatened that dream. I wasn’t going to allow this to happen in my neighborhood. I stood up and rallied my neighbors. I learned the tools of building power and organizing by attending Camp Wellstone, and we gave our community a voice and an identity in the form of the Little Bohemia Neighborhood Association where local residents, landlords, and business owners are dedicated to developing a safe, clean, pedestrian-friendly urban residential neighborhood. Together, we’ve rehabilitated several foreclosed properties, improved the bike/walking trail along 35E, assisted neighbors with funding for home improvement projects, and established partnerships with organizations such as Community Neighborhood Housing Services to provide ongoing resources for members of the community. Today, the Little Bohemia Neighborhood continues to grow and thrive.
My work at the Fort Road Federation as the immediate past President lead to other impactful projects like developing commercial design guidelines for West 7th, residential and commercial zoning projects to make sure that the city investment in our area was protected and sustainable. I was also involved with the Schmidt Brewery development including the sale of the Keg House.
So you see, I don’t come from the world of downtown politics. Like our current Mayor, I got my start in neighborhood activism. The past few years I have moved from a “regular life” of career and family into a world of community action and involvement. In addition to my work with Little Bohemia and Fort Road Federation, I am the Secretary for SD 65 and active in Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and We are West 7th. Both professionally and personally, I am committed to bringing people together to build a future where our communities continue to thrive by working together to build better neighborhoods.