Our Leadership Team

Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota Board Members:

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Patrick Hirigoyen, Chair

Patrick Hirigoyen is Principal of The Hirigoyen Group LLC, a Saint Paul, Minn-based public relations and marketing communications consultancy. Prior to establishing his consulting practice in 2009, he was Vice President, Marketing and Communications at John B. Collins and Associates, Inc., a Minneapolis-based reinsurance broker. From 1986 until 2004, he worked in Corporate Communications at property-liability insurer The St. Paul Companies (now The Travelers), over time working with every part of the company in every aspect of corporate communications. He led a global marketing and communications program that included operations in the United States, Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Hirigoyen began his career in the Minnesota State Senate, and worked for a Minnesota state agency.

He holds a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s in English from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. He is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (APR).

Mr. Hirigoyen has served on the boards of directors of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and the Highland Park Block Nurse Program, and the communications committee of the Saint Paul Area Red Cross.

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Greg Gardner

Greg Gardner spend all but 15 months of his 40 year social work career working in the Child Protection system. He retired from Hennepin County, Minnesota in June, 2014, after having worked there for 37 years. Greg worked as a direct service worker in both the case management and the investigations areas of Child Protection. He was a unit supervisor for 30 years in foster care, Child Protection Case Management and for the last 24 years of his career in the areas of Child Protection Screeening, 24/7 Immediate Response and mostly in the area of CP Investigations. Greg served on several hospital and community based Child Abuse Teams, as well as on the Hennepin County Child Abuse Team. He also functioned as the Child Protection liaison for Hennepin County with the Minneapolis, Bloomington and Richfield Police Departments. For a number of years during the 1980’s and the early 1990’s Greg was also an adjunct faculty member of the University of Minnesota School of Social Work.

Greg received his BA in sociology from St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN) and his Master’s of Social Work from the University of Minnesota. During his working career he was a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers. He was also licensed as a “Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker” by the State of Minnesota Board Of Social Work.

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Judy Schumacher

Judy Schumacher has been privileged to work in the early childhood and parent education field, supporting the welfare of children and their families, for the past 25 years.

Judy was Director of Education and Community Partnerships for the Minnesota Children’s Museum, where she focused on stimulating creativity and imagination in well-designed, hands-on children’s exhibits. As the Senior Program Manager for Success By Six at Greater Twin Cities United Way, Judy developed grants to implement innovative early childhood and parent education programs through vital community partnerships. At Saint Paul Public Schools, Judy served as a Family Education Specialist and spear-headed the creation of a Parent Engagement Manual, convincing staff and parents alike of the critical importance of parent support and encouragement in their children’s social and academic lives.

Judy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts/Theatre from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Master of Arts degree in Family Education from the University of Minnesota. Judy served on the advisory board of the Working Family Resource Center and was an active member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

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Ghazi Akailvi

Ghazi Akailvi is an experienced nonprofit leader, with experience in finance, accounting and information technology (IT). He currently is a consultant for nonprofit organizations.

Most recently, he was chief financial officer for Living Well Disability Services, in Eagan, Minn. In that role, he led the financial and IT affairs of a $21 million nonprofit organization serving the needs of people with disabilities.  

From 2008 to 2012 he was director of Finance for the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), based in Minneapolis. Although the HPF itself received little public attention, it was formed in the wake of the mortgage crisis in 2007. With the backing and direction of the White House, it ran a phone hotline to help distressed homeowners.  Ghazi created financial processes for this $63 million agency’s work with major banks and counselors; the hotline eventually helped millions of homeowners restructure their mortgages and keep their homes.

Ghazi also served as director of Finance and Regulatory Services, Housing and Employment Services, for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, from 2005 to 2008. From 1990 to 2005, he was chief financial officer for Growing Home, a Saint Paul, Minn.-based, multi-state foster care organization with a $12 million annual budget.

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Nalee Vue

Nalee Vue is owner of Project Skywings: Healings, LLC, which provides spiritual and energy healing services and raises funds to donate to nonprofit organizations helping women and children around the world.  From 2008 through 2017 she was a senior paralegal at a Minneapolis law firm, after working for two years as a junior paralegal at another law firm.

Her involvement with Safe Passage began as a volunteer and donor in 2016, and is the most recent example of her varied community involvement. That involvement began in 2011 with Family Wise (formerly Children’s Safety Center), where she volunteered two weekends a month observing and ensuring the safety of children during visitation hours with their non-custodial parents. She is an advocate for Breaking Free, a nonprofit that helps women who have been the victims of sex trafficking. She serves on the executive committee of the Hmong Impact Giving Circle, which awards annual grants to selected nonprofit organizations in Minnesota’s Hmong community.  She is fluent in Hmong and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Hamline University and an ABA Paralegal Certificate.

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David Foster

David Foster is a vice-president at Merrill Lynch where he leads the financial planning efforts of the Broughton Group.  He joined the group in 2013 after working in retirement and financial planning specialist roles since joining Merrill Lynch in 1999.  Prior to that, David worked as a consultant at Ernst & Young, earned his Masters of Business Administration from Emory University, taught English in Japan, and graduated from Saint John’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in English.  In his free time, David spends time with his family and especially enjoys travelling to see and experience different cultures and coaching youth baseball.

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Tee McClenty

Theresa “Tee” McClenty is project manager to NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Inc. in North Minneapolis, where Tee’s responsibilities include project management to grants such as the African American Coalition on Child Protection.

In administering the programs, she describes her role as amazing because she gets to work with various team to accomplish the goals set out and that she get to work directly within the North Minneapolis community.

Prior to her current position, Tee was executive director of the Minnesota School Employees Association (MSEA). That experience reignited her interest in child protection and child advocacy. Tee also served as Executive Director to the Service Employees International Union, SEIU Healthcare MN and was a rank and file member and union steward for over 20 years with SEIU prior to her position as EVP working in the Emergency Room as a technician and cardiac monitoring technician.

Tee holds a mini-MBA and in Project Management and CPPM from the University of St. Thomas. Tee volunteers on several community boards including the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship program which awards educational scholarships to students of color attend MNSCU colleges.

 

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Kayla Richards

Kayla Richards is a correctional unit supervisor at Hennepin County Juvenile Probation where she oversees an out-of-home placement committee for the placement of juvenile justice-involved youth.

In addition to that position, she is also an assessment and referral clinician for Allina Health. She consults with patients in crises and psychiatric emergencies to assess each patient’s clinical condition and recommend the appropriate level of care.

Kayla is also a facilitator and consultant for The Hypatia Group. In that role she has trained and coached “inter-group dialogue” groups for a project in north Minneapolis that is targeting disparities in child care. The project, funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, involves community members and child protection social workers.

A native of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Kayla holds a Master’s in Social Work form the University of Saint Thomas and a Bachelor’s in psychology and sociology from Macalester College. In earning her Master’s degree, she presented a research paper entitled "Social work or Social Control: Power and the Values and Contradictions in Social Work Practice and the American Indian."

Also in her career, she has been a residential treatment unit manager at St. Joseph’s Home for Children, and a mental health case manager at Headway Emotional Health Services.

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Calvin McIntyre

Calvin McIntyre is an “ex-officio” member of the board of directors. In that capacity, he advises Safe Passage and participates in board discussions, sharing his firsthand knowledge of the system, how it can affect children and families, and how he helps them navigate that system.

Calvin was born in Arkansas, moving at a very young age to Wisconsin and, ultimately, Minnesota. From ages one to 12, he was in the foster care system. He began his career as a substitute teacher in Minneapolis public schools, and later held a managerial position with AT&T until becoming one of many managers to lose their positions as part of a corporate downsizing.

In the meantime, he became involved with the child protection system as a volunteer guardian ad litem with Hennepin County. That later led to a contract position as a guardian ad litem and, eventually, to working in that position full time. He has been a full-time guardian ad litem for seven years.

Calvin says that, in his role, he is responsible for making recommendations to the court as to what is in the child’s best interests. In fulfilling that role, he has no “agenda,” whether in favor of parents, the court or any other parties to a child protection case. He is an officer of the court, given the room needed to gather the facts about a case and bring those facts – and his recommendations – to the family court judge.

Calvin enjoys his current work because it gives him the opportunity to have a genuine impact on the lives of children who are subject to family courts and the child protection system. Guardians ad litem, he says, can help end the “downward spiral” that can trap victims of child abuse and neglect.

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Rich Gehrman, Executive Director

Rich Gehrman is the founder and Executive Director of Safe Passage for Children.  Mr. Gehrman developed expertise in child welfare metrics and Best Practices in his work for clients including the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Ramsey County ACE program, and Growing Home – a Minnesota foster care agency.  This background led him to develop the core strategy and resources for Safe Passage.

In his consulting work Mr. Gehrman is an experienced project manager who represents business owners in major Business Process Redesign projects and IT systems upgrades.  He has managed projects in federal, state, county and municipal governments in the areas of health, human services, state court administration, higher education, and juvenile justice.

Mr. Gehrman has served as the chief finance and administrative officer for the Westchester County New York Department of Social Services, the Maryland Department of Human Resources, and the City of Saint Paul Minnesota.

Mr. Gehrman is a graduate of Williams College, Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard Business School.

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Stephanie McCorkell, Operations Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

Stephanie McCorkell is the Operations Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for Safe Passage for Children. Mrs. McCorkell developed her skills in organizational management, communications, volunteers, media, and technology as a public school teacher who served hundreds of students, families, and staff in multiple school buildings and school districts in three different states. She also served students, families, and staff in three Minnesota school districts while earning her PK-12 Principal's License.

Stephanie holds a Masters Degree in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota's school of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), a Bachelors of Science Degree from Saint Cloud State University in K-12 Teaching, and is licensed as a Teacher and PK-12 Principal in Minnesota. Her interests in youth, families, policy, and governance are what led her to her work with Safe Passage for Children.

Besides her 14 years in education serving students and families in the public schools, Stephanie has also has served as a volunteer with Twin Cities area nonprofit organizations, including College Possible, a nonprofit AmeriCorps organization making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support, and the Payne-Phalen District Five Board of Directors in Saint Paul, whose mission is to improve Payne-Phalen neighborhoods by engaging, educating, and empowering all residents in their diverse community.

 

Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota Trusted Advisors:

A number of individuals have agreed to serve as Trusted Advisors to Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota . Their role is to lend their specific expertise to Safe Passage, advise us in our strategic initiatives, and help us connect to people in their field.

Paul Bauknight is President and CEO of Urban Design Lab in Minneapolis, a minority owned urban development, planning and architectural firm.  He is the founder of The Crib, a nonprofit working to engage students of color in careers in architecture and urban design. He is former Director of the African American Men Project at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center and has been a community activist on the Minneapolis North Side for 20 years. Paul is the first board chair of Safe Passage for Children.

Ellen Benavides – Health care consultant and former Assistant Commissioner Minnesota Department of Health.

Rob Etten, Vice President and Minneapolis Lead, North Highland Management Consulting.

Van Zandt Hawn 

Lisa Hollensteiner M.D., has cared for patients in the Fairview Southdale Emergency Department for the past 26 years. Prior to that, she worked in Family Practice for 3 years at North Memorial. She has served on the Pediatric Committee at Southdale working to best provide services to children, and has been chair of the Service Excellence Committee for the Emergency Department. Currently, she volunteers with Boy Scouts and middle-school church ministry. She is mother to 3 boys. Lisa attended Lawrence University, University of Exeter in England, and University of Pennsylvania Medical School. 

Mark Hudson, M.D. is a Board Certified Child Abuse Pediatrician. He is the Medical Director of Midwest Children’s Resource Center, a medically based Child Advocacy Center at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN, and is the Executive Director of the Midwest Regional Child Advocacy Center. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School, completed his Pediatrics residency there, and now has an adjunct faculty appointment there as well. Following residency he completed two years of fellowship training in Child Abuse Pediatrics.

Ross E. Kramer co-founder Messerli & Kramer law firm. Minnesota Government relations 30+ years. Boards: Minnesota Zoo, Volunteers of America, MSP Airport Foundation: Retired LTC USAFR, Retired Captain Northwest/Delta Airlines.

Vivian Nelsen is co-founder of the African American Work Group on Child Protection, and co-founder of INTER-RACE, a diversity think tank at Augsburg College.  Vivian is former Director of Administration at the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, has authored eleven books, and has served on numerous Minnesota nonprofit boards.

Todd Otis is Chief Advancement Officer and Senior Vice President of Think Small and was formerly President of Ready 4 K. Prior to that he worked as a public affairs consultant with a focus on energy and early childhood, was the Chair of the Minnesota DFL party (1990-1993); served as an elected Representative, Minnesota House of Representatives (1979-1990), and worked in corporate community relations and small business advocacy.

John Regal is the Director of Risk Management and Local Public Affairs for Securian Financial Group. In addition, he directs the Company’s business continuation planning efforts.  John is also part of Securian’s public affairs team. Prior to joining Securian in 1998, John spent over ten years in various capacities within the City of St. Paul Department of Finance.  He obtained his undergraduate degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.  He has also earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and the Associate in Risk Management designation from the Insurance Institute of America. John is the immediate past Chair of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors and a past Chair of the Chamber’s political action committee.   He is also past Chair and current board member of the St. Paul Port Authority.   He is a member of both the University of Minnesota’s Leadership Council and the Presidents Club.  John is a member of the Risk Management Committee advising the 2018 Super Bowl Host Committee.  He is past Chair and current board member of Sargasso Mutual Insurance Company, a Bermuda-domiciled group insurance captive. Previously, John was a past board member of both the St. Paul Police Foundation and the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation.  He was also a two-term President of the Minnesota Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS). John and his wife Barb reside in Oak Park Heights.

Melissa Middleton Stone, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, Gross Family Professor of Nonprofit Management.  Research, teaching, and professional development focus on cross-sector collaborations and strategic nonprofit management and governance. 

 

Special thanks to Patrick Clancy Photography for supporting Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota.