Twin Cities Leadership
Rafael Alvarez - Founder, Genesys Works
Allison Barmann - Vice President, Strategy & Learning, Bush Foundation
Nick Hernandez -President and CEO, Aeritae Consulting
Michael Hedges- CIO, Medtronic
Michael Jones - CIO, National Marrow Donor Program
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - President, Minnesota High Tech Association
Marty Leestma - CEO, Forthright Solutions
Deb Morris - Manager, Community Relations, Best Buy
Mike Rusinko - Managing Director (Retired), Accenture Corporation
Jeff Tollefson - Executive Director, Genesys Works - Twin Cities
Prior to helping establish the Twin Cities program of Genesys Works in early 2008, Jeff was co-founder of Crescendo Ventures, a global venture capital investment management firm with more than $1.1 billion under management and offices in Palo Alto, Minneapolis and London. Before creating Crescendo Ventures in 1998, Jeff was a Vice President in the venture capital group of Investment Advisers, Inc. From 1990 to 1995, he managed the private equity investment portfolios of FBL Financial Group, a NYSE-listed insurance and financial services firm. His private equity career began in 1987 when he helped create and manage a $10 million venture fund for Allied Group Insurance. Upon graduating from the University of Iowa in 1984, his first job was with LaSalle Bank in Chicago. Jeff has served on the board of directors of more than 30 early-stage companies over the course of his business career and is currently a partner and board member of Social Venture Partners of Minnesota, a group dedicated to assisting non-profit organizations addressing the needs of at-risk youth in the Twin Cities.
Beth joined the Genesys Works Team in 2008. As Program Manager, she oversees student programming and recruitment as well as working with partner schools. Prior to coming to Genesys Works, Beth served as an AmeriCorps member for CollegeTracks, a college access program in Montgomery County, Maryland, where she helped first generation college students make their college dreams a reality. She has also served as Legislative Assistant for the Minnesota House of Representatives and taught abroad in South Korea. A graduate of Carleton College, Beth majored in History with a concentration in African Studies.
Before joining Genesys Works, Joel was a Project Coordinator with Comm-Works, a global technology integrator and one of the 50 fastest growing private companies in Minnesota. With Comm-Works, Joel helped the information technology staff at different companies in implementing and maintaining technology. Joel also served for four years as an associate pastor with North Minneapolis Christian Fellowship. He has a BA from North Central University and is currently pursuing his Masters of Divinity from Bethel Seminary.
Lucas spent two years as an Admission Possible coach with Arlington High School and Community of Peace Academy in Saint Paul prior to joining Genesys Works. There, he helped promising students navigate the college application process and secure the financial aid they needed to further their education. Lucas also interned with Coffeehouse Press and served as a Rhetoric Assistant with Carleton College's Summer Writing Program. He graduated summa cum laude from Carleton with a degree in English.
Blenda comes to Genesys Works as a Program Manager after two years as a Coach with Admission Possible at Central High School. There she successfully guided a group of 40 students through the college application and financial aid process and helped GW alumni Amanda Moua become a Gate's Millennium Scholar. Blenda has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also worked as a research assistant in the Psychology department.
Before joining Genesys Works, Jackie was a Recruiting Associate with Youthworks, a local non-profit that provides life-changing, missions experiences for students ages 12-19. Jackie has also volunteered with Youth Enterprise tutoring and mentoring at-risk high school students. She has a BS in Psychology from Indiana Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing her Masters in Education from Augsburg College.
Mai Youa Moua
Prior to joining Genesys Works, Mai Youa completed two terms of service with AmeriCorps as a high school coach at Central High School through Admission Possible. There she assisted 41 economically disadvantaged high school students through the college, financial aid, and transition to college processes. Mai Youa also worked as a research assistant for the Linguistics and Cognitive Science department at Dartmouth College and the Psychology department at Macalester College, from which she earned her B.A. in Psychology and Asian Studies with a focus on Chinese culture and language.
Krystal comes to Genesys Works after graduating from Carleton College with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Anthropology with a concentrating in Spanish and women's and gender studies. After graduation, she served two years as an AmeriCorps member with Admission Possible as a high school coach at Patrick Henry High School. There, she assisted 40 low income and promising students with the college application process resulting in 95 percent of her students gaining acceptance to college and winning scholarship dollars from the Wallin Foundation, the American Association of University Women - Minneapolis (AAUW), and the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF). Krystal has also worked with the John's Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth and the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience as a mentor to elementary and high school students.
Prior to joining Genesys Works, Joe spent two years as a Teach For America Corps Member. He was a middle school teacher in the low-income Kansas City school district. Joe also worked at a marketing firm in Omaha as an Account Coordinator. He graduated summa cum laude from Creighton University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations.
Lauren Nakamura joins Genesys Works as a program coordinator after working with students at Edison High School as a College Possible High School Coach. During her service with College Possible, Lauren provided guidance and support to high school students through the college application process and helped students troubleshoot financial, personal, and educational barriers standing in the way of their college aspirations. Lauren earned a BA in History with a concentration in Educational Studies from Carleton College. Lauren also enjoyed working as a research assistant for professors at Carleton College, the University of Maryland, and Michigan State University.
Prior to joining Genesys Works, Chris Snoddy worked with youth at Sanctuary Covenant Church. He has more than 10 years of experience working with high school students from various backgrounds. As a program director at Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation, he worked with urban youth to help them develop life skills and build a community of caring adults. Chris is a graduate of Tuskegee University, where he earned a BA in Elementary Education.
Katie joined the Genesys Works team in the summer of 2013 after five years at Carleton College, where she served first as an Assistant Dean of Admissions and later as an Associate Director in the Annual Fund. Prior to her time in higher education, she was a student teacher at Community High School in Ann Arbor, MI, a Peace Corps Volunteer working with low-income students in Belize City, Belize and an activity assistant at Normandale Hills Elementary in Bloomington, MN. She holds a B.A. with a major in English and minor in French from Carleton College (’04) and a M.A. with teaching certification in English and French from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor (’08).
Prior to joining Genesys Works, Abbey worked as an Account Specialist at GradStaff, a local recruiting firm specializing in placing recent college graduates in entry level positions. In this role, she was responsible for maintaining recruiting efforts, conducting interviews, placing candidates in positions, and managing client relationships. Prior to this experience, Abbey served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at College Possible where she was responsible for projects related to programming and expansion. Abbey graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned her degree in Political Science.
Nicole comes to Genesys Works as an Administrative Assistant after working as a PCA with Care Focus, where she specialized in caring for children with special needs. Prior to that she lived in Chicago where she successfully supported the Food and Beverage Department and Event Planning of the Angels and Kings nightclub located in the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. Nicole also spent five years as a Clinical Study Specialist Coordinator with Medtronic. There she coordinated four clinical trials with multiple sites located in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Nicole has a degree in Marketing and Management from the University of North Dakota, where she also worked as a teaching assistant in the Sociology department.
Mayfield is a seasoned computer technology teacher, having spent the last 10 years teaching entry-level computer skills at the East Metro OIC (Opportunities Industrialization Center) on the east side of St. Paul. He has served as a Cisco Networking Academy instructor at Inver Hills Community College and is well-versed in all aspects of network support. Mayfield received his B.S. in Applied Information Technology from Brown College. Born and raised in Ghana, Mayfield's story of how computers changed his life is both inspiring and motivating.
Andrea Perla joins Genesys Works as this year’s AmeriCorps Vista Alumni Coordinator. She graduated from St. Catherine University in 2013 with a degree in Social Work. Andrea strives to help students of color succeed and is always willing to encourage, mentor, and help them graduate from college.