Hamse Warfa is the Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development at the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Appointed in April 2019, Deputy Commissioner Warfa iss the highest ranking African immigrant in Minnesota government. In his role at DEED, Deputy Commissioner Warfa oversees Minnesota State’s Employment and Training programs, the Office ofEconomic Opportunity, Minnesota’s CareerForce resources and the Governor’s Workforce DevelopmentBoard. Deputy Commissioner Warfa is Minnesota’s Authorized Representative with the U.S. Department of Labor for all Employment and Training Programs. Warfa comes to DEED with more than 20 years of experience in economic development, community building, philanthropy, public policy and entrepreneurship. He is the co-founder and the executive vice president at BanQu Inc., an economic identity software company selected for an Innovation Award by the Obama Administration and MIT. Warfa also founded Tayo Consulting Group, which assists philanthropic clients refine their goals and identify program activities to fund. He also was a senior program officer at the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation leading the foundation’s domestic and international Childaren & Families grantmaking programs. Warfa holds a Masters in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College in Massachusetts, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego University. Hamse is a 2016 Bush Foundation Fellow, recipient of 2017 Minnesota Statewide Facing Race Award winner andAshoka Global Fellow for social entrepreneur work. Hamse is the author “America Here I Come: A SomaliRefugee’s Quest for Hope.”
Wokie Freeman-Gbogba was hired in April 2016 as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Brooklyn Park. In her current role, Wokie assists the City Manager with overall administration and general management of city operations. Her responsibilities include: collaborating with colleagues to develop, implement and monitor progress on community and department strategic plans; as well as leading efforts, in coordination with senior city leaders, to implement practices and develop a culture focused on organizational excellence, continuous improvement and results. She also oversees the Administration Department comprising: Human Resources, Information Technology, Communications, Community Engagement, and the City Clerk’s office. Prior to joining the City of Brooklyn Park, Ms. Freeman-Gbogba served as the Assistant Executive Director and Director of Operations and Programs for the University of Minnesota's Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), where she worked with the research and outreach programs to address their needs and make connections between those programs and community partners. Wokie joined UROC in August 2010 after working for six years in University Relations at the University of Minnesota. She holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Strategic Management and Marketing and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. She has also held several positions in the hospitality and insurance industries.
Emilia Smith a Data Governance Manager at US BankCorp where she manages a team of contractors and support several business lines to ensure compliance with the requirements for High Risk Reports’ data flow documentation. Prior to joining US Bank, Emilia held various roles within Target, Affinity Plus, and Wells Fargo. Emilia is passionate about building communities and is currently the Secretary for the nonprofit umbrella organization for the Sierra Leonean Community in MN (SLCM)and a Board and Development Committee Member for OneVillage Partners, an NGO in MN that does work in Sierra Leone. Emilia is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she majored in Retail Merchandising with a Minor in Business and Marketing. She currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two daughters.
Jote Taddese is a connector of individual strengths to make dreams come true. He approaches every interaction as an opportunity to inspire others and look for what is possible. Jote has over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology Management field, leading major initiatives in government and corporate sectors that include fortune 100 companies like Target and Medtronic. Jote is currently a Senior IT Strategist within Medtronic Global IT organization for the Digital Transformation strategy. Jote also serves as a Strategic Advisor in the extended leadership team for the office of the CIO at Medtronic. Jote is from Oromia, Ethiopia, a thought leader and a strong member of Minnesota’s African diaspora community and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for Books for Africa. Jote holds a Bachelors degree in Management Information Systems, from Luther College, and a Masters degree in Software Engineering from the University of St. Thomas. Jote is the winner of the 2019 Voices Magazine Award for Non-Profit Leadership.
Joining ADC in 2006, Nasibu Sareva has held positions from Business Lender to Chief Financial Officer. As a long-time member of the ADC management team, he displayed substantial insight and direction regarding the operations of ADC. He takes a vision and makes it reality through sound strategy development. He intuitively continues the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others extend their thinking and drives material business advantage. As the Executive Director, Nasibu is responsible for the strategic, tactical and operational management of the organization. Charged with leading, developing and sustaining the programs that serve African immigrants and refugees in the state. Previously, Nasibu worked for Volunteers of America, Cathedral Rock of Jefferson City, Missouri, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, and Soft-Tech Consulting Ltd in Tanzania. He has been awarded a certificate of completion for the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program, August 2016 – January 2018, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Executive Education. He holds a BA in Accounting from the IIU in Malaysia and an MBA in accounting from Lincoln University in Missouri. The National Development Council certified him in 2008 as an Economic Development Finance Professional.
Nancy Omondi is a Director at the State Department of Employment and Economic Development, where she oversees multiple programs which provide services to remove barriers to employment for job seekers and support the attainment of family sustaining wages. She is a culturally competent health care leader with more than 12 years of Management, Health Care Operations, Program Development, Clinic Research, and Leading Multi-Disciplinary Teams. She is passionate about Community Service and has served on the Board of Directors of various non-profit organizations including the African Food Distribution Center, ClearWay Minnesota. She is currently a Budget Advisory Commissioner for the City of Brooklyn Park, and was recently selected as a Trustee, Ebenezer Community Church. She has a lot interest in reducing health disparities and has published multiple peer reviewed articles on blood cancers, patient satisfaction, healthcare economics. Ms. Omondi is a graduate of the Centers for Disease Control funded National Public Health Leadership Institute, and holds two Master’s degrees (Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Health Services Research).
Charles Dennis is from Liberia, West Africa, and has been in the Twin Cities for 25yrs. He currently hosts the African Roots Connection Talk Show on KMOJ FM 89.9 on Saturday mornings, Charles also works at Ameriprise Financial as a Manager for Risk in Technology Infrastructure. In 2009, Charles participated in the MN Collegiate Cyber Defense competition which had the goal to defend complex business network infrastructures from hackers. He holds a Masters of Science in Security Technologies from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelors in Information Assurance from the Metropolitan State University. Charles is currently a Community Faculty at the Metropolitan State University and has also been a guest lecturer at St. Olaf College and Globe University speaking on African and African American History and ITT Technical Institute on Information Risk Management. He enjoys reading, golfing and music.
Rosemary Ugboajah is the founder and president of Neka Creative, a brand development agency committed to bringing the power of inclusion to organizations through their proprietary process, Inclusivity Marketing™. In addition to over nine years of brand agency ownership, Rosemary gained her breath of experience from various advertising agencies where she worked on numerous brands such as 3M, Frango, Xcel Energy, Cargill, Johnson and Johnson Vision Care and Youth Performance Company. She also gained corporate experience as a marketer for Target Corporation, where she handled marketing planning for essential products, new stores and the first Target Pharmacy marketing campaign. More recently, she has led several strategic and creative projects building inclusive brands for clients such as: Merwin LTC Pharmacy, Penumbra Theatre, Swanson Flo, The Commons and branding the workforce system for the state of Minnesota. A testament to her zeal for excellence, her agency has won multiple communication and design awards, including ten Graphic Design USA awards.Rosemary studied art and design at West Kensington College of Arts in London and has a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from the University of Minnesota. Rosemary currently serves on the board of Art Buddies, is a co-founder of ArtWest, and volunteers for a number of community organizations that focus on equity and inclusion strategies.
Milpha Blamo brings over a decade of experience in all aspects of Nonprofit Management and Organizational Development. Currently, she serves as the Director of Talent and Organizational Culture at The Minneapolis Foundation. Milpha’s previous work in nonprofit management includes her role as Human Resources Director at The Link, the Interim Director of Finance and Operations for Bright Water Montessori Schools, and several other executive leadership roles, including Director of Finance and Development and Business Manager with Partnership Academy Charter School. Milpha serves on several nonprofit boards and was the Co-founder of The Leadership Club Toastmasters in Brooklyn Park where she helped build the capacity of residents in communication and leadership development. Milpha is a member of the Normandale Community College's Business Advisory Committee as well as the Headwaters Foundation for Justice's Board Finance Committee. Milpha holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota, a Mini-MBA for Nonprofits from the University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Hamline University and is currently pursuing her Ed.D in Leadership at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.
Judy Akosua Osei started her career as a Broadcast Journalist in the mid 90's. Her journalism career began at Multimedia Broadcasting Company, the first official privately-owned radio station in her home country of Ghana in West Africa. Judy migrated to the United States from Ghana about two decades ago; initially her goal was to follow her passion in broadcast journalism but realized the cultural barriers between the US and Ghana would make it impossible for her to pursue those dreams in the media. However, her strong communications background led her into corporate communications. Judy has been an Organizational Change Management Consultant for the last ten years - cultivating partnerships with senior leaders to drive cultural and people behavioral changes in many enterprise strategic initiatives. She currently works at Best Buy as a Sr. Change Manager. Prior to Best Buy, Judy worked at Target for 13 years in various communications, knowledge management and change management roles. She holds a degree in Journalism from the Ghana Institute of Journalism and Professional Communication from the Metropolitan State University in St, Paul. Of all the titles Judy has held throughout her lifetime, she considers her most important title as “Mom” to her boy/girl twins whom she calls her “heart and soul”.
Cindy N. Kaigama is the Health Systems Director for the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota and Dakotas. She is the founder of Healing Virtue, LLC (2000-2018); a social enterprise focused on improving health outcomes and reducing chronic disease. She was the Multicultural Initiatives Director at the American Heart Association for the state of Minnesota where she partnered with people and organizations to provide effective strategies that increased heart and brain health outcomes of statistically marginalized communities. Cindy brings over 20 years of experience as a solutions-driven leader, educator and health and human services professional. She is an experienced diabetes prevention lifestyle coach with the YMCA, and Live Empowered Instructor for the American Diabetes Association. Cindy is a champion of health equity and executes policy and system change to offer everyone a fair chance to attain their highest level of health. Cindy was awarded Wellness Advocate winner of the Minnesota Business Magazine in 2017. She led as volunteer Diversity Chair for the Board of American College of Healthcare Executives, Minnesota Chapter, 2016-2017. She served as Adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Graduate School of Health and Human Services, 2012-2015. Cindy is pursuing a Master of Health and Human Services Administration at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. She completed her first Master of Art in Human Development at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and Bachelor of Science in Family Studies at Western Michigan University.
Ann Taylor is Director of Talent Acquisition at Land O’Lakes, and in this role, leads recruitment for the organization as well as oversight for College Relations recruitment services for our member owners. She contributes to the broader talent management initiatives for the Land O’Lakes enterprise, including as a member of the Talent Management Steering team at Land O’Lakes, as well as an active member of the Diversity Enrichment Council and part of the Recruitment Advisory Board for Minorities in Agriculture, National Resources, and Related Sciences. Prior to her current position, she held the role of Human Resources Director for Dairy Foods, Purina Business to Business, and the Corporate Centers for Land O’Lakes, Inc. In addition to spending more than 18 years in her career at Land O’Lakes and through various roles within the HR organization, she previously held roles as Division Director for Robert Half, International and in Human Resources for Merrill Corporation. Ann holds a College of Liberal Arts degree from the University of Minnesota.
Edward Yamba is a Logistics Planner at Land O Lakes Inc. Before Land O Lakes, He worked as an accountant for Wells Fargo and Park Dental. Edward also worked Minnesota United FC in 2016 to organize events and programs to Market & engage the City of Minneapolis/ St. Paul to the game of soccer. Edward currently serves as the Retention and Engagement pillar lead at Land O Lakes for the African Ancestry Employee Resource Group. As an ERG Pillar lead, he works diligently to ensure all Black/African employees feel engaged and connected throughout the company to improve retention. Edward is passionate about diversity and inclusion, which drives him to engage with the Black/ African employees to understand and address challenges and concerns. Furthermore, he is an active member of the MANRRS program at Land O Lakes, which focuses on increasing the minority representation in the Agricultural industry. Edward holds a Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a Masters in Project Management from the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Lisa Perez is the Founder and CEO of Prosperity Ready. Prosperity Ready exists to develop the vast potential of immigrants to help overcome our talent shortage crisis, and to enable organizations to reflect the communities in which they serve. Prosperity Ready is proudly sponsored by The Social Good Fund, a 501(c)3 full service fiscal sponsor. With over 25 years of experience in human resources and deep expertise in organizational development, Lisa is focused on bridging gaps and removing barriers to help solve human capital and social issues. Her intrinsic altruism drives her compassion and bias for action and is readily recognized in the community.Prior to founding Prosperity Ready, Lisa was the Vice President of Talent Management for Buffalo Wild Wings where she was responsible for building the capabilities and programs the organization needed to identify, acquire, develop and retain talent to drive business success. Lisa is a graduate from the University of St. Thomas, where she graduated Magna cum Laude as an Aquinas Honors Scholar with a B.A. in Organization Communication.
Mahoussi Lidvine Aitcheme is currently working at Land O’ Lakes as an Accounts Payable Coordinator. She has a very diverse background either in education or in professional field. She was a former Accounts Payable Specialist at Tolomatic Company, former Accounts Receivable and Payable Specialist at Tennant Company, Former tutor in Accounting & Business Computer System at North Hennepin Community College, and former Accountant & Commercial Specialist at Benin Telecoms SA (Government Telephone and Internet Company). She holds three master’s degrees from three different countries. A master’s degree in accountancy from Saint Mary’s University (USA), a master’s degree in Business Law from Universite d’Abomey-Calavi (Benin, West-Africa), and an MBA with Focus in Management of Human Resources from Universite Catholique de Lille (France). Also, she holds three bachelor’s degrees, a bachelor degree in Accounting & Finance from Metropolitan State University (USA), and a bachelor degree in Business Law from Universite d’Abomey-Calavi (Benin, West Africa). Mahoussi is a dynamic and smart woman that spent most of her life in education field while working professionally. She speaks different languages including French and English. She enjoys sharing her experiences with others. Her long-term goal is to become a CFO.
Courtney Anderson-Ewald is a Senior Human Resources Consultant at the City of Saint Paul Department of Public Works. Courtney performs labor relations, workplace conduct investigations, manages leave and accommodations, works to facilitate hiring, on and off boarding, policy development and administration, and provides sound employment advice and data to drive organizational results and performance. Courtney is passionate about diversity and inclusion, has worked to deliver racial equity training, is a member of the American Public Works Association MN Chapter Diversity Committee and will be a racial justice facilitator at the YWCA It’s Time to Talk in October 2019. Courtney has been with the City of Saint Paul for the past 10 years and has 18 years of experience in Human Resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of MInnesota and holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources and Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources designations from HRCI and the Society for Human Resource Management. She enjoys reading, biking and spending time with her family.