As President of Youthprise, Wokie Weah provides executive leadership and vision, works in partnership with the board of directors and brokers relationships to accelerate leadership, innovation and systems in learning beyond the classroom.
Prior to joining Youthprise, Wokie worked for 18 years at the National Youth Leadership Council; serving as Senior Vice President. In that capacity, she helped shape the organization’s strategic direction, cultivate partnerships, grow the funding base and managed NYLC’s youth and schools programs, professional development, annual conference, and special events.
For part of that time she also worked for UNICEF as an Education Project Officer in Liberia, where she coordinated the Support to War-Affected Youth Project, the Juvenile Justice Initiative, African Girl Education Initiative, and Child Friendly Spaces for internally displaced children.
Wokie received her Master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her Bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University in New York. She is an author and widely traveled speaker; she has addressed audiences throughout the United States and Africa and written extensively on service-learning and diversity. She is a native of Liberia, is married and has five children.
Finance and Operations Director
Sheila Gothmann provides oversight on all aspects of finance and back office of the organization. She has 30 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, both in Minnesota and in Africa. Her background includes 12 years as finance and operations director/CFO for the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the Minnesota Teamsters Service Bureau, and more than a decade of experience in strategic planning and fund development. Sheila served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, and as training and information coordinator for CARE International in Mozambique. Sheila is a leader who is committed to the principles of community-based enterprises working to improve lives.
Rudy Guglielmo Jr.
Rudy Guglielmo Jr. manages grantmaking and relations with other funders, including the Youth Funders Forum. Rudy brings over 20 years of grantmaking and program development experience to Youthprise. Most recently, he worked as an independent consultant for a number of foundations in the upper Midwest. He moved from Arizona to Minnesota in 2006 to work as a Program Officer at the Bush Foundation. Prior to that, Rudy held Program Officer positions with the Arizona Community Foundation and the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the Arizona State University Foundation. He also managed grants and developed arts programs for twelve years as Expansion Arts Director at the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Rudy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University.
David Kim traces his roots back through Hawai’i to Okinawa City, Uchinaa and Pyongyang, Korea on his dad’s side, and Scotland on his mom’s. David oversees the Youthprise Research team, an entrepreneurial arm of Youthprise that provides training, facilitation, consulting, evaluation to organizations, schools and agencies. The team, composed entirely of young people, is grounded in Youth Participatory Action Research (yPAR), a critical epistemology that places participation and action at the center of research, and locates knowledge in communities, specifically youth. David graduated from Bethel University in May 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Reconciliation Studies. He is currently studying Classical Homeopathy at Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy, which has been an explosive, world- (universe-?) shifting healing journey.
Director of Public Policy and Communications
Karen Kingsley directs public policy and strategic communications for the organization and serves as the liaison to Ignite Afterschool, Minnesota’s Afterschool Network. She comes to Youthprise with 20 years of experience leading public policy efforts to advance the well-being of children, youth and families. Her experience includes work on welfare reform, workforce development, child care and affordable housing. Most recently, Karen led public policy and coalition-building efforts on early childhood education at Ready 4 K. She is committed to facilitating collective action that produces lasting change for families and communities. A native of Philadelphia, Karen moved to Minnesota in 1988 to attend the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where she received a Master’s degree in Public Policy. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Duke University.
Neese Parker was born Downtown Minneapolis, MN. In 10th grade she had a life-changing transfer to Augsburg Fairview Academy from Hopkins West Junior High. Here she met many new people but most of all she ran into many new opportunities. One of those opportunities was joining the Minnesota Youth Council (MYC). She saw this as a chance to make a positive change in her community and the rest of Minnesota. After fulfilling her commitment to MYC, she became a Youth Philanthropy Innovator and now serves as the Philanthropy (re)Designer. She hopes to make an impact for youth around the world and become an example for the next generations to come.
Director of Partnerships and External Relations
Marcus Pope builds cross-sector collaborations, oversees research and evaluation and leads the organization’s development efforts. Marcus comes to Youthprise with a rich background in nonprofit management, youth development and community outreach. He most recently served as Associate Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community at the University of Minnesota (U of M). Other experiences include serving as Director of Youth Programs for the Neighborhood Involvement Program in Minneapolis and as a Graduate Assistant/Academic Advisor for the Youth Studies Department at the U of M School of Social Work. Marcus holds an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in Sociology, Youth Studies and African American studies and a Masters degree from the U of M in Education – Youth Development Leadership, with an emphasis in Program Evaluation.
Director of Youth Engagement
Libby Rau develops a statewide infrastructure for youth engagement in public policy and philanthropy. She is responsible for providing strategic thinking and innovative strategies for engaging youth in all areas of the organization and identifying best practices in the out-of-school time field. She has 10 years of program management experience in the nonprofit sector – primarily working in youth leadership development and school-based educational programs. Libby comes to Youthprise from the National Youth Leadership Council, where she managed three national service-learning programs and provided professional development and trainings including online webinars and a graduate level online course in service-learning. She received her undergraduate degree in Leadership Communication from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa and graduate degree in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University in Indianapolis.
Jorge joins Youthprise with a heavy dose of experience with youth sports leagues in New Mexico where he lived for 8 years after leaving his native Golden Valley. A junior Economics major at Hamline University, Jorge plans on receiving his Bachelor’s degree in 2015. As a Youth Focus Group Facilitator, Jorge plans on using his analytical skills in his research to identify how best to introduce new teaching styles in and out of the classroom.
Storyteller & Online Community Builder
Lizzy Shramko works to share the many stories of Youthprise digitally, in person and in print. She supports communications efforts of staff and youth, and engages youth voice in all the work she does. Additionally Lizzy supports the growth of online communities using Youthprise’s social media and online presence as tools. She comes to Youthprise with communications experience in independent publishing and the movement to end gender-based violence. Originally from St. Paul, Lizzy received an interdisciplinary BA from New York University and an MA degree in Gender Studies with an emphasis on critical queer theory from Central European University in Budapest. She approaches communications with a media justice framework and a feminist perspective.
Youthprise Board of Directors
Tawanna Black, Chair
Executive Director, Northside Funders Group
Lisa Desotelle, CPA, Treasurer
Partner, WIPFLI CPAs and Consultants
Antonio Cardona, MPA, Secretrary
Director, Urban Institute, Pillsbury United Communities, Public Allies
CEO, Retrace Health
Hon. Tanya Bransford
District Court Judge, Hennepin County
Rev. Kelly Chatman
Senior Pastor & Executive Director, Redeemer Lutheran Church/Redeemer Center for Life
Student, Hopkins High School
Financial Advisor, UBS Financial Services
Director, Saint Paul Public Library
Associate Development Officer, University of Minnesota Athletics
Community Relations Facilitator, Minneapolis Public Schools
Student, Bethel University
Director of Sales, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Foundation Accountant, Children’s Foundation MN