Wokie Weah provides executive leadership and vision, works in partnership with the board of directors and brokers relationships for the betterment of the field. She comes to Youthprise with comprehensive experience in education and youth development. Wokie worked for 18 years at the National Youth Leadership Council; serving most recently as Senior Vice President. In that capacity, she helped shape the organization’s strategic direction, cultivate partnerships, grow the funding base, and develop and manage 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.
Maya Beecham provides executive support and structure in the office. She comes to Youthprise with professional experience ranging from work in the public and private sectors. She is originally from the historic Rondo Community of St. Paul, Minnesota and is a spoken word artist. Maya graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall and received a BA in Communication Studies from Hamline University. She is passionate about providing all youth opportunities to develop their passions for the good of society.
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.
Youth Media Researcher and Community Builder
David Kim researches and analyzes the relationship between youth identity formation and mass media. Drawing on a wide range of perspectives, David works to build strategies for fostering a critical relationship to mass media, and to create spaces for youth self-definition and expression. He develops curriculum and facilitates capacity-building training on the subject for organizations, schools and community groups. He is a practitioner of Circle, a sacred way of authentic listening and being, which he leads with the Youthprise Youth Innovator Collective. David is a poet and gains his strength from his Circle community. He graduated from Bethel University in May 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Reconciliation Studies, and Third World Studies.
Director of Public Policy and Communications
Karen Kingsley directs public policy and strategic communications for the organization, including supporting and mobilizing the Minnesota 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 Institute, where she received a Master’s degree in Public Affairs. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Duke University.
Director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach
Marcus Pope builds cross-sector collaborations, oversees evaluation and facilitates youth leadership and engagement within the organization. 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.
Lead Youth Engagement Specialist
Alexandria is an undergraduate student at Hamline University. Alexandria has grown up in the Twin Cities, engaging in many service learning projects, as well as programs outside of school. As a member of the Baha’i Faith, Alexandria values service to humanity as a main focus of life, and building community is a key element of this service. She has been involved in teaching and mentoring programs for both children and junior youth (ages 12 to 15) throughout her years in middle school and high school, in an effort to empower these young people to take action in their own communities. Alexandria coordinates youth engagement at Youthprise, insuring that youth play integral roles at all levels and in all aspects of the organization’s work.
Communications and Development Associate
Lizzy Shramko implements communications and development activities for the organization, including coordinating social media accounts and website maintenance. 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 interdisciplinaryBA 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.
Youth Innovator Collective
In the summer of 2012, Youthprise added eight summer interns who form the Youth Innovator Collective.
Youthprise Board of Directors
Kit Hadley, Chair
Saint Paul Public Library
Innovations by Design, LLC
Hon. Tanya Bransford
Hennepin County District Court
Antonio Cardona, MPA
Pillsbury United Communities, Public Allies
Rev. Kelly Chatman
Redeemer Lutheran Church, Redeemer Center for Life
Student, Hopkins North Junior High
Lisa Desotelle, CPA, Treasurer
WIPFLI CPAs and Consultants
Irene Fernando, Secretary
Students Today, Leaders Forever
UBS Financial Services
Office of Governor Mark Dayton
University of Minnesota
RBC Wealth Management (retired)
Student, Highland Park Senior High
Student, Park Center Senior High
Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Minneapolis Community Education
Invitation Health & Wellness, Inc. and
Heritage Strategic Group, LLC