November 06, 2012

Alumni Spotlight: Feaman committed to diverse state workforce

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Ann Feaman, JD '08, was named Minnesota's Affirmative Action Officer and ADA Compliance Coordinator with the State Department of Management and Budget in May. She credits her law degree -- and Professor David Larson's seminar in employment discrimination law -- for moving her to the top of the candidate pool for this challenging position that she loves.

"I chose Hamline Law because of its public interest focus," Feaman said, "Once I was there, Hamline reinforced my passion for civil rights."

Now, Feaman is carrying out Governor Mark Dayton's goals of increasing diversity in state employment.

A Saint Paul native, Feaman enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served as a linguist in intelligence from 1993 to 2003. Her military service included providing support for Operations Desert Fox and Desert Thunder under President Bill Clinton. Feaman met and married her husband Gerõ, another linguist, while stationed in Georgia. After a stint in Boston while Gerõ attended Harvard University, Feaman was accepted at Hamline Law and the couple returned to her hometown.

In Feaman's final year of law school, she was selected to serve as a civil rights legal intern with the Department of Human Services (DHS), a job demanding 20 hours per week. It was not easy for Feaman to juggle her job with classes, her commitment as a member of the William McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court team, her role as editor-in-chief of the Hamline Public Law & Policy Journal, and life as a new mom (daughter Ella was born when Feaman was a 1L), but Feaman was rewarded by the internship becoming a job when she graduated.

Feaman was hired in August 2008 as chief investigator for the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access at DHS, where she investigated discrimination and harassment complaints related to DHS employment. In March 2012, she was named affirmative action officer at the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Her latest appointment came in May.

Feaman loves the range of challenges in her new position and the fact that she is working directly with Governor Dayton's initiatives to increase diversity within state employment through the Governor's "All Hands On Deck Report" issued in 2011. She is busy working on the governor's goals, including a renewed focus on increasing state employment for people with disabilities.

She also is a strong proponent for Hamline Law's weekend program.

"We were a family," Feaman said. "It felt like a community. Instead of cut-throat competition, we helped each other to be successful."

Like most weekenders, Feaman said that her weekend classmates remain dear friends.

Feaman currently lives in Saint Paul with her husband Gerõ, her daughter Ella, 6, and son Eli, 3.