Who We Are
About the Citizens League
The Citizens League is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that empowers people to engage in civic life and public policy, to make Minnesota a better place to live and work for everyone.
Since 1952, the Citizens League has been engaging citizens and solving problems by bringing diverse perspectives together to find common ground. The Citizens League has developed and implemented nonpartisan policies on critical issues facing Minnesota, such as education, governance, taxes, parks, and transportation.
Our approach to problem solving starts with a non-partisan look at the facts; involves people and communities directly affected by the problem; and makes sure diverse backgrounds, parties and ideologies are at the table. Over several decades, this proven method makes Minnesota a better place to live and work for everyone.
The Citizens League is directed by a volunteer board, guided by operating committees, and financially supported by individual members, foundations and businesses. In addition to policy projects, the League also hosts several events throughout the year – opportunities to convene and engage with people with different viewpoints on a variety of policy issues.
Mission & Vision
Mission: The Citizens League is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that empowers people to engage in civic life and public policy, to make Minnesota a better place to live and work for everyone.
Through our work:
• Minnesotans of all backgrounds, parties, and ideologies are engaged, inspired and empowered to take an active role in public policymaking, fueling Minnesota’s ability to implement innovative and effective policy solutions.
• The Citizens League is a relevant and respected policy resource and a trusted convener, focused on solving current and future problems, building civic capacity, and earning the ongoing support of our Minnesota community
Citizens League Board of Directors
The Rippel Foundation
Lindsey Alexander brings Citizens League experience, having worked on the League’s Common Cents and health reform initiatives. She currently directs a first-of-its-kind national initiative catalyzing 17 philanthropic organizations and over 8,000 community voices in a process to equitably envision and bring about a bold new future for health and well-being. In her role at the foundation, Lindsey has convened individuals from across the country to create future scenarios; recruited a diverse advisory board of Fortune 500 executives, non-profit leaders, and health advocates; and designed an engagement plan to hear from thousands of Americans through an innovative storytelling platform. Previously, she served as a an independent research consultant, a senior financial analyst for the City of Minneapolis, and a project manager for Springsted Incorporated. Lindsey received her Master of Public Policy in 2001 from the Humphrey Institute and her BA in journalism from Iowa State.
Global Language & Staffing
Khadija is a successful entrepreneur in the language services, staffing and cultural competence industries, and she has become a leader in creating opportunities for immigrant communities.
Born in Somalia, Khadija immigrated with her family to the United States in 1996, via the refugee camp in Kenya. After learning English in school, she began serving as an interpreter for her family. An experience within her family where language became a life-threatening barrier to health led her to pursue a career in health care.
During college she worked as a medical assistant, then as a medical interpreter, before founding her own interpreter agency, which grew to one of the largest in the state with more than 900 interpreters speaking more than 100 languages. In 2014, Khadija sold that business. In 2015, she founded a new business with focus beyond language services to include staffing and recruiting, and teaching cultural competence to corporations and other organizations.
She serves on the board of AEON, Affordable Housing, Minneapolis Regina Chamber of commerce, and the Final Four Impact Advisory Council. Khadija attended St. Paul Community College, University of Minnesota, and Harvard. In 2017, Khadija was as a member of Harvard Business School’s 2017 Young American Leaders Program.
Saint Paul Public Schools
Cedrick Baker is Chief of Staff for St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS). He currently works in the Office of the Superintendent and oversees the coordination of day-to-day operations and implementation of the strategic plan for the school district. In 2017, he worked as the Board Administrator for SPPS Board of Education and served as policy advisor and spokesperson for school board members. In 2016, Cedrick also served a short appointment as interim director of the Board due to a resignation.
Prior to joining SPPS in 2017, Cedrick worked for the Metropolitan Council for nearly five years: first in its Program Evaluation and Audit department and then leading equity implementation work throughout the organization.
Cedrick is a City of St. Paul Planning Commissioner and sits on the City’s Zoning Committee. In addition, he is a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities. He has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Florida and Master of Public Administration from Georgia State University.
Patrick Born is a former public administrator and financial advisor to state and local governments. He retired in 2015. From 2011 to 2015, Patrick was the Regional Administrator for the Metropolitan Council of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Regional Administrator is the principal executive officer for the Council.
Prior to joining the Council in 2011, Patrick was the chief financial officer for the city of Minneapolis from 2001 to 2011; a senior vice president and principal with Evensen Dodge (financial advisor to state and local governments) from 1981 to 2001; and held various positions with the state of Minnesota from 1974 to 1980.
Patrick is a former board member of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of the American Red Cross, Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery and currently serves as Moderator (top lay leader) at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. He has an AB from Miami University (Ohio) and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. Pat and his wife, Wendy, have three grown children and live in Minneapolis
As the Director of Emerging Business Inclusion for Ryan Companies, Elizabeth works to increase the number of minority and women-owned subcontractors and suppliers working on Ryan projects. She works closely with project managers to increase access to bid opportunities, provide cash flow mechanisms, and train, develop and mentor women and people of color interested in working in construction. Elizabeth excels at creating an environment where all parties can share different points-of-view with respect, resulting in clear expectations and successful results. She was named Advocate of the Year by the National Association of Minority Contractors in 2005, 2006 and 2008, and was recently recognized by the Saint Paul Foundation with a “Facing Race Award” for her life-long commitment to reducing racial disparities.
Aiesha Dempster currently serves as a Sourcing Director at General Mills, leading the North American External Supply Chain team. Prior to joining the Sourcing organization in 2018, Aiesha completed a three-year assignment in Melbourne, Australia. She was the plant managing director, responsible for leading the fresh pasta business. She was first promoted to the role of plant manager in 2013, making her the first African-American woman in General Mills to hold this position. Over her 19-year career, Aiesha has held many roles with increasing responsibility in the Supply Chain in various cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Hannibal and Milwaukee.
Aiesha served as the chairperson for the 2020 Twin Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast. She mentors local middle school students through Hope for Tomorrow and volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Outside of General Mills, Aiesha remains a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her spare time she enjoys travel, yoga and strength training. Prior to joining General Mills, Aiesha earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Miami. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Aiesha’s family immigrated to the US when she was a teenager. Her culture and her family remain a very important part of who she is.
Independent Consultant, Previously VP and Co-Owner, Integrity Medicolegal Enterprises
Born and raised in Minnesota, Mark Engdahl graduated from Wayzata High School and the University of Wisconsin River Falls. He began his career with State Farm Insurance handling a wide variety of property damage and personal injury claims. He was eventually able to leverage his claims background into an opportunity with a small Minneapolis, physician owned, medical legal consulting firm. Sensing a market opportunity, in 2002 along with three partners, Mark formed Integrity Medicolegal Enterprises. Over the subsequent 17 years, the start-up grew to a multimillion dollar operation with 50 employees, a national presence, and became the preferred provider for insurance companies, third party administrators, employers and law firms. After the company was sold in July 2018 to a strategic buyer, Mark retired in December of 2018, though he continues as an equity owner and consultant.
Lockridge Grindal Nauen, P.L.L.P.
Peter H. Glessing is a member of Lockridge Grindal Nauen’s state government relations team and is an associate of the firm. He leads communication and grassroots advocacy efforts for firm clients to raise their profile and legislative agenda with legislators, decision-makers, and media outlets across the state. His communications and grassroots advocacy work involves a variety of issue areas including business regulation, public safety, healthcare, workforce development, transportation, and environmental regulation.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Glessing served in a variety of key roles at the Minnesota House of Representatives. During his time at the legislature, Mr. Glessing served as Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the Minnesota House Republican Caucus. He oversaw the communication department’s implementation of caucus media strategy on a diverse legislative agenda, served as a communications consultant to over 70 state representatives, and was the communications advisor for the House majority leader.
Having worked in and around state government for nine years, Mr. Glessing has developed a deep understanding of the state’s political landscape, the policy issues facing the legislature, and public relations efforts required to succeed in the state’s political environment. His knowledge of the legislative process, key players, and media landscape is a tremendous asset to firm clients.
Outside of the firm, Mr. Glessing serves as a member of the Citizens League Board of Directors and sings in the Cathedral Choir at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
Mr. Glessing graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and earned his J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
Greg Halagan is currently a Principal and Senior Consultant at Pavilion, A Mercer Practice, the not-for-profit and insurance investment advisory business within Mercer Wealth. He is a senior member of the firm’s North American Insurance Practice, responsible for advising a broad range of insurance companies on their investment portfolios and industry best practices. Prior to his current role, he was a senior member of the firm’s Global Fixed Income research team, where he was responsible for capital markets research and manager due diligence for public and private fixed income strategies. During this period, Mr. Halagan was a member of the Responsible Investment Strategy Group, working to source investment strategies with a social impact and develop research. In this capacity, he served as a member of the Fixed Income Advisory Committee for the United Nations-backed Principles of Responsible Investment. Mr. Halagan currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Jefferson Center, including as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, and the Advisory Board of the Minnesota Committee on Foreign Relations. He received his B.A. in Finance and Accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and his MBA with honors from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Mr. Halagan is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst® designee and a CFA® charterholder, as well as a member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Minnesota.
Scott Hietpas is the CEO of Computype, a global organization that provides smart barcode and labeling service solutions to the diagnostics, research, tire, and rubber belt industries.
Prior to this position, Scott served as senior vice president and general manager of Healthcare North America for Ecolab Inc. Hietpas joined Ecolab in 1996 and has held several positions of increasing responsibility throughout his tenure with the company.He also served as senior vice president of Institutional Field Sales, overseeing the industry-leading U.S. Institutional Field Sales and Service Force. Previously, Hietpas held roles including vice president of Government Sales and vice president of Finance for Global Healthcare. Before joining Ecolab, Hietpas worked at Ernst & Young and Andersen Corporation.
Since 2012, Hietpas has served on the board of advisors for the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance.
Hietpas received his master’s in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota and has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
Apparatus Public Affairs
Laura Monn Ginsburg
Interested in the political machine since an early age, Laura’s original career goals included being a country singer and President of the United States of America. She participated enthusiastically in student government throughout her education, including spending most of her senior prom weekend as a delegate to the MN state convention.
A firm believer in the power of community and servant leadership, Laura works with several area nonprofits. She’s currently board chair of National Council of Jewish Women MN, and a past board chair of the Junior League of Minneapolis. She also serves on the board of Move Minneapolis and Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Laura is also co-owner and principal at Apparatus GBC, a public affairs firm specializing in strategic communications, government relations, and new ways to approach complicated problems.
Laura holds a BA in English from Carleton College and lives in Minneapolis with her husband, son, and dog.
Winthrop & Weinstine
John Knapp is Of Counsel to the Minneapolis law firm of Winthrop & Weinstine, where he has chaired the firm’s Legislative and Regulatory Practice Group. John has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2007, and in 2014 the Minnesota State Bar Association recognized John as a “North Star Lawyer” for his pro bono service. John currently serves on the Boards of Directors of The Guthrie Theater and The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota and the Dakotas where he Chairs the Board. From 2015 to 2016, John co-chaired the Citizens League Metropolitan Council Task Force which made recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on reform of the governance and structure of the Metropolitan Council.
Retired, Xcel Energy
Cynthia (Cyndi) Lesher is the retired president and CEO, Northern States Power Company-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company.
During her career at Xcel Energy she served as Xcel Energy’s vice president, chief administrative officer and chief human resources officer, president of NSP Gas, vice president of NSP human resources, and various other positions.
Lesher was appointed chair of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council in 2004 by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. In 2003 she was inducted into the Women’s Economic Roundtable, comprising of the top 100 women leaders in Minnesota.
CityBusiness magazine named her among the Twin Cities’ most innovative women. In 2007 she received the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal’s Lifetime Career Achievement Award. She was selected by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce as 2008 Woman of the Year.
She serves on the Board of Directors of: Anchor Bank, the Twin Cities Area Red Cross (former Board Chair), Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, Animal Humane Society, Children’s Hospital and Clinics, Opportunity Partners, Drake University Board of Trustees and the University of Minnesota Humphrey School Advisory Board. She is a Regent Emeritus of the University of Minnesota.
Lesher earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Drake University, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and psychology from St. Cloud State University, and completed the Master of Excellence Program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
In January 2007 Lesher was named President of the Host Committee for the 2008 Republican National Convention responsible for raising $58 million to fund the convention and to showcase Minneapolis, St. Paul and Minnesota to the world.
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Jake Loesch is the senior director of strategic communications for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In that role, Jake applies over a decade of communications experience. On a wide range of topics from education issues and elections policy to public safety and economic development, Jake is a well-known strategist and advocate.
Jake’s career has included time with the Republican Party of Minnesota and the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus, as well as serving as communications director for Minnesotans United, the historic grassroots campaign that defeated a constitutional amendment and won marriage for same-sex couples in Minnesota in 2013. Prior to joining MnDOT, Jake was an account manager with Goff Public, a Saint Paul-based public relations and government relations firm.
Jake graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was also a 2017-2018 Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He lives in Arden Hills with his wife and children.
City of Minneapolis
Fatima works on the City of Minneapolis’ Government Relations team. Previously, she was the Government Relations Director at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, the Director of Public Policy at the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, and worked as the Local and Regional Policy Coordinator at Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD). Social and racial justice is a core value of hers and is embedded into how she navigates systems. She sees community building as an integral component of advocacy.
Fatima found her passion for connecting communities with policies that positively impact them while participating in the Capitol Pathways Internship program, a program that connects students of color with professionals and lawmakers at the Minnesota Legislature. As a first-generation immigrant, she has learned to navigate many systems, which has afforded her the aptitude and experience need to bridge people, systems and lives. Fatima is well in tuned to the collaboration, support, empowerment, and advocacy that needs to happen in order to achieve good policy. She brings a social work and policy background to MCH and has a clear grasp of the systems perspective.
Fatima lives with her partner and two daughters on the East Side of Saint Paul. During her down time, Fatima teaches fitness classes, enjoys spending time with her family, neighbors, and friends and sneaking away for a good read.
Eusebio Perez currently serves as Securian’s Life and Annuity Business Intelligence Consultant since December 2018. He is responsible for providing in-depth marketplace intelligence to the organization. Mr. Perez currently sits as Education Chair on Securian’s diversity network board.
Prior, Mr. Perez was with Prudential Financial for 13 years, and most recently served as a Sales Operations Manager. He was responsible for key annuity accounts with sales over $2 billion annually. While at Prudential, Mr. Perez also worked with the Customer Experience organization and developed process improvement strategies. He was nominated for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s “Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever” award for his efforts leading Prudential’s Hispanic Employee Resource Group as President. In his spare time, Mr. Perez is an active member of LatinoLEAD and Prospanica, mentors young business professionals, and started a Video Production company to expand his marketing prowess. He earned his MBA in Marketing from Hamline University and holds dual BA degrees in Business from the University of St. Thomas.
Paula Prahl has held roles at publicly traded companies including Best Buy where she was Senior Vice President of Communications, Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility and at Honeywell, where she was Vice President of Public Affairs. Prior to those roles she led policy development for the Minnesota Business Partnership, and served as an associate dean of students at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
Paula holds an A.B. degree from Smith College, and an M.A. degree from the University of Minnesota’s H. H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where she serves on the advisory board. She has been an active volunteer serving on the boards of the Twin Cities United Way, The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation, the Minnesota Orchestra, Scholarship America, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, and as a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, along with a number of policy-related boards and coalitions at the state and federal level.
Andy Ryall currently serves as the Chief Risk Officer for strategy, HR and corporate affairs, as well as the Chief Reputation Risk Officer for the overall company. He has spent 17 years in risk leadership roles since relocating to Minneapolis in 2003. Andy previously served on the Hennepin County Mental Health Advisory Council and was the treasurer for the Small Business Financial Exchange, a non-profit organization operating a credit data exchange where member institutions partnered to support access of credit to small businesses independently from major credit reporting agencies. Andy also serves as management advisor for the U.S. Bank Twin Cities Development Network and is an active mentor within the firm’s MentorConnect program. Andy holds a BA from Syracuse University and an MBA from Indiana University. He currently resides in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities.
Breanna Schafer is Senior Director, Government Affairs at Target where she oversees the state and local government relations function responsible for advancing public policy initiatives at state and city governments across the country. Breanna also serves on a cross-functional team that manages risk and reputation for Target.
Prior to joining Target in 2012, Breanna was the senior manager of the Public Affairs Council’s political involvement practice in Washington, DC. Previously, Breanna was the national finance manager for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential primary campaign and served on Congressman Mark Kennedy’s press team for his 2006 U.S. Senate campaign. She began her career in Washington, DC working in education policy.
Breanna attended Johns Hopkins University for her Master of Arts in Government and is a recipient of the 2013 Bryce Harlow Fellowship. A native of Minnesota, Breanna graduated with a bachelor’s in political science from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and two sons, serves on the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter and is the current Board Chair of the Retail Council of New York State.
Former Mayor, Minnetonka
Mayor Terry Schneider was recently recognized as the 2017 recipient of the League of Minnesota Cities’ prestigious C.C. Ludwig Award, which recognizes vision, statesmanship and unwavering commitment to the public good. The award recognizes Mayor Schneider’s life of public service in Minnetonka, which began in 1977. In the past four decades, Mayor Schneider has served on Minnetonka’s Park Board (1977-81), Planning Commission (1981-89), City Council (1992-2008) and was Mayor from 2009 until 2018 when he decided not to run for re-election. He has also served on countless boards and committees, and has held other leadership positions throughout his distinguished career.
Ballinger Leafblad Executive Search
Damon has been a leader in the non-profit sector for over a decade developing a strong reputation in leadership development, civic engagement and facilitation training programs and services. Currently, he is a partner with the executive search firm, Ballinger-Leafblad while still doing facilitation and engagement work through his consulting practice, Socratic Consulting, LLC. Damon describes himself as a leadership facilitator and community engagement practitioner with a focus on assisting in the clarification of purpose and values and in support of the change makers among us. For over a decade he has worked in and across communities with neighborhood leaders, grassroots advocates as well as organizational leaders across the region. He has been partnering with LSP since 2013 and considers it to be one of the meaningful engagement opportunities he has the privilege to be a part of.
Public Relations and Public Affairs
Kurt Zellers is a public relations and public affairs executive and has worked in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market for 20+ years for several full-service public relations and advertising firms, as well as worked on several state-wide political campaigns. He specializes in media training, message development, crisis communications and media relations. He is a regular commentator on the ‘At Issue’ program on KSTP-TV. Previously, he was elected the 57th Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives for the 2011-12 Legislative Session. He had previously served as House Minority Leader. Kurt authored bi-partisan legislation on many key initiatives on public safety issues, mental health treatment for adolescents, and building a new hospital for his local community in Maple Grove. Kurt graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s in political science. He lives in Maple Grove, MN with his wife Kim and their three children, Reagan, Will and Ben.
Citizens League Staff
Kate joined the Citizens League as executive director in September 2020. Most recently, she worked at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs for thirteen years, serving since 2011 as the executive director of the Humphrey Policy Fellows program and assistant director of the school’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. In this role, she oversaw the Center’s portfolio of outreach programs, engaged in fundraising and donor relations, convened groups for learning experiences, and built collaborative partnerships with legislators and leaders from business, government, and nonprofit sectors.
Kate is currently chair of the board of directors at the MacPhail Center for Music, the largest community music center in the nation, where she has served on the board since 2013. She also served on the finance committee of the Citizens League from 2019-2020, and was a 2012 “40 Under Forty” honoree in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Kate now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son.
Operations and Database Administrator
Nancy is the Citizens League’s Operations and Database Administrator. Prior to joining the team at the Citizens League, she worked at Nonviolent Peaceforce as their Operations Manager and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities as their Donor Relations and Financial Assistant.
Following her early career as a medical assistant at the Dawson Clinic, and a clinic in downtown Saint Paul, Nancy has worked mostly with nonprofit organizations in accounting and fundraising. In addition, she has often worked part-time doing bookkeeping for churches and other small nonprofits in the evening and on weekends.
A graduate of 1999 Blackbaud University in Charleston, SC, Nancy brings a wealth of knowledge to managing our donor database.
What Nancy enjoys when she’s not working: spending time with her grandsons, getting together with family and friends especially for those summer barbecues on the deck, and taking unique bus trips with her husband around the country.
Director of Public Policy
Amanda is the Citizens League’s Director of Public Policy. In this role, she leads all efforts related to developing and advancing policy recommendations with the Citizens League’s members and partners.
Amanda previously served as the Director of No Wrong Door, Hennepin County’s anti-sex trafficking initiative. She oversaw the implementation of the county-wide six-point plan to end and prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth. She did this by leading efforts to educate the community and Hennepin County staff about the issue of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. She co-led the state-wide anti-sex trafficking committee for Super Bowl LII, advocated for funding from county leadership and the board to secure positions in multiple departments to address the issue, and managed multiple stakeholder groups to advance policy and programmatic changes.
Previously, Amanda worked as a Senior Planning Analyst at Hennepin County, a Program Coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Office for Business and Community Economic Development, a School Based Family Support Worker for 360 Communities (Partners for Success), and an Employment Counselor for Avivo (formerly known as Resource Inc.). Amanda has a bachelor’s degree in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s of Social Work from the U of M’s School of Social Work, and a Master’s of Public Policy from the U of M’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In 2018, she was a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 40 Under 40 Honoree.
Director of Development
Sarah Stout Miller
Sarah joined the Citizens League in March of 2018 to work in partnership with the executive director and program staff to lead fundraising efforts for the organization. Prior to joining Citizens League, Sarah worked at the University of Minnesota Foundation in Prospect Development, where she helped the Corporate Foundation Relations team reach their fundraising goals through prospect research and prospecting for companies and foundations. For much of her career, she worked in small for-profit and non-profit arts organizations in New York City. This experience included publishing, fine art gallery management, and more recently, coordinating a general operating campaign, and managing individual giving and development operations at the Queens Museum.
Sarah studied photography at the Art Institute of Boston and received her BFA in 2001, and later earned an MA in Visual Arts Administration with a nonprofit concentration from New York University in 2012.
What I enjoy when I’m not working: cooking with friends and family, keeping up with my toddler, going to museums, and gardening.
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Jacob Taintor joined the Citizens League staff in 2013 and currently overseas the organization’s communications and marketing initiatives. After beginning his career in information technology, Jacob made an early career change focusing on contributing to nonprofit organizations in Minnesota. In his role as communications and marketing specialist, he contributes to the League’s event planning and promotion, social media management, digital marketing, media relations, and communication on policy projects.
Jacob has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Minnesota, and lives with his wife, son, and exceptionally sweet dog in the Longfellow community of Minneapolis.
Capitol Pathways Program Manager
Kalia Xiong joined the Citizens League in November 2016 as the Capitol Pathways Program Manager. She will work alongside the Policy Director to oversee and perform day-to-day program operations to support both student interns and sponsoring host organizations. As a Capitol Pathways alumna, she is excited to return and serve a program that has not only encouraged her civic engagement, but fostered her drive to create positive social impact.
Kalia received her B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College in 2016, and has interned within the nonprofit sector for most of her undergrad career. She connected asylum seekers with free legal services at the Advocates for Human Rights and worked with Minneapolis public school students via the academic enrichment program, LearningWORKS. These experiences have truly solidified her passion for working with underrepresented demographics and her commitment to policy work that impact these groups. She lives in Columbia Heights with her family.