Twin Cities Leadership
Daniel Abdul - CIO, UCare
Rafael Alvarez - Founder & CEO, Genesys Works
Allison Barmann - Vice President, Strategy & Learning, Bush Foundation
Nick Hernandez - CEO, Aeritae Consulting
Michael Hedges - CIO, Medtronic
Michael Jones - CIO, Be the Match
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - President, Minnesota High Tech Association
Marty Leestma - Chairman of the Board, Forthright Solutions
Deb Morris - Manager, Community Relations, Best Buy
Mary Lynne Perushek - CIO, Donaldson Company
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 Director, 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.
College Success Manager
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.
Workplace Success Manager
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.
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).
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.
Lauren Nakamura serves as a Program Manager 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.
Joe has a passion for data, design, and mission-driven marketing. As a Marketing Coordinator, he is responsible for constructing communications plans, creating materials and implementing strategies to build brand identity, elevate awareness and maximize impact across Genesys Works and in the greater community. He manages projects and creates content across a range of mediums, including social media, our website, physical pieces and events. Prior to his time at Genesys Works, Joe served as a Teach For America Corps Member in Kansas City where he taught middle school math. He also worked in the Client Services department at a marketing agency in Omaha. He graduated summa cum laude from Creighton University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations
Prior to joining Genesys Works, Abby worked with youth of all ages as a childcare provider, tutor, and coach. She also completed a term of service with Lutheran Volunteer Corps. In addition, Abby has worked as a research assistant and teaching assistant for the Sociology department at the University of Minnesota, where she explored methods for developing youth efficacy, while earning a master's degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. Abby also holds a degree in Sociology and French from Grinnell College. In her free time, she serves on the board of directors of Minnesota Youth Ultimate.
Linnea joins the Genesys Works team after working for Feed My Starving Children, where she traveled around the country leading volunteers at meal packing events to help serve malnourished people worldwide and break cycles of poverty. She has worked with youth through various non-profits around the Twin Cities, including Wallin Education Partners, the Children’s Theatre Company, Youth Performance Company, and Ramsey County 4H. She has two undergraduate degrees from Wheaton College (IL): Communications with a Theater concentration and Business/Economics.
Jonelle comes to Genesys Works in the summer of 2014 to serve as a Program Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls in 2011 with a degree in Communication Studies. Jonelle taught English in Japan with the Guy Healy Japan – USA Summer Camp during the summer of 2011. She has also spent six summers and multiple winter weekends as a camp counselor for the Boy Scouts of America at Tomahawk Scout Reservation, teaching horsemanship, fishing, and basic camping and scouting skills. Previously, Jonelle worked at the University of Minnesota in Research Building Management Services, ensuring facility upkeep, safety, security, project management, and co-managing a student staff of 22 students.
May comes to Genesys Works after teaching English and managing instructors in South Korea for three years. She also taught English at public schools in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. May graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where she majored in Political Science and Psychology and minored in Asian American Studies. Finally, May is an active community volunteer and is the Director of Programming for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum - Twin Cities chapter, which serves and advocates for the rights of AAPI women and girls in the Twin Cities metro area.
Prior to joining the Genesys Works team, Jayden worked with the Northside Achievement Zone. There he worked directly with students to develop targeted achievement plans that supported school success and family engagement at Nellie Stone Johnson Community School in North Minneapolis. Originally from Louisiana, Jayden is a graduate of Hamline University where studied Sociology and Religion. Since earning his bachelor's degree., Jayden has worked with several non-profits focused on college access and independent living skills for underserved youth in Anoka and Hennepin Counties.
Program Coordinator II
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.
Before joining Genesys Works, Jenni was the Youth Engagement Coordinator at HandsOn Twin Cities. She guided the high school student members of the Youth Advisory Board through service learning projects and leadership development trainings, and worked with corporate partners to plan school-based volunteer projects. Jenni also worked for two years as the program coordinator of an afterschool literacy program, serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the first year. Jenni has a degree from Macalester College in Political Science, with concentrations in Spanish and Human Rights.
Program Coordinator II
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.
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.
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.