• 2019 WIPS Speakers and Presenters

    Keynote Speaker

    Dr. Artika R. Tyner Tyner Artika

    Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a passionate educator, award-winning author, sought-after speaker, and advocate for justice. At the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Tyner serves as the founding director of the Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice. She is committed to training students to serve as social engineers who create new inroads to justice and freedom.

    Tyner received her BA from Hamline University (major: English; certificate: conflict studies). Due to her passion for advocating for social justice and educational policy reform, she pursued graduate studies at the University of St. Thomas. She began her law school journey to become well-versed in the law, which she recognized as a language of power.

    Tyner earned a Master of Public Policy and Leadership in to gain tools for effecting social change through policy reform efforts. Later, inspired by the legacy of W. E. B. Dubois, she obtained a Doctorate in Leadership. Her doctoral studies provided her with key tools for serving in her community and promoting social justice. 

    Dr. Tyner's booklist:
    The Leader's Journey by Artika Tyner
    The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
    The Sisters are alright by Tamara Winfrey Harris
    Your 5-Minute Personal Coach by Valorie Burton
    How Did I Get So Busy? by Valorie Burton 
    How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie



    Peggy Andrews Peggy Andrews

    Peggy Andrews, PhD, Senior Professional in Human Resources, is a senior lecturer in management and MBA leadership curriculum coordinator at the Hamline University School of Business. Prior to her academic career, Andrews worked in human resources and management consulting for 20-plus years. Her research interests include strategic hiring practices, white collar layoffs, and maternal employment. Andrews’ aim is to help individuals and organizations create environments, systems, and processes to advance their ability to flourish.

    Dawn E. Baker Dawn Baker

    Dawn E. Baker, MSW, Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional, is an award-winning learning and development leader with more than 25 years in the profession. She is currently the director of learning and development solutions for the city of Minneapolis. Baker’s experience includes crafting and implementing organization learning strategy, leadership and organization development, change management, employee engagement and succession planning. Before joining the city, Baker was director of learning and development for Medica from 1999 to 2017.

    Julie Burton Julie Burton

    Julie Burton has worked for the past two decades as a freelance writer, author, and self-care advocate while mothering her four children. She is the co-founder of the Twin Cities Writing Studio, author of The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother’s Guide to Health and Well-Being, and the founder of ModernWell — the first women-centered co-working, writing, and wellness space in Minneapolis. Burton writes and speaks about motherhood, self-care, and women’s entrepreneurship.

    Connie Caron Connie Caron

    Connie Caron is currently the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ (DHS) agency-wide employee engagement coordinator. She coordinates agency-wide employee engagement efforts (including the DHS Mentorship Program) and projects based upon employee engagement surveys, focus groups, and other employee feedback. Caron has 37 years of experience in direct practice and managing social services programs at DHS and Southwest Human Services Agency.

    Sebastiana Cervantes

    Sebastiana Cervantes is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College with a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies. She currently works for the Environmental Services Unit of the Minneapolis Health Department as an environmental health inspector. She conducts regulatory inspections of construction sites and investigates environmental issues along with working on pollinator initiative work in the city of Minneapolis.

    Stacie Christensen Stacie Christensen

    Stacie Christensen, JD is a Minnesota licensed attorney who received her JD from Hamline School of Law. She has been with the Minnesota Department of Administration for over a decade, currently serving as the data practices office director. She provides technical assistance on data practices, information policy, and open meetings to the public, government, media, and the legislature. She presents at seminars and training sessions and testifies at the Minnesota Legislature on data practices and open meetings issues.

    Lisa Crum Lisa Crum

    Lisa Crum is an attorney who has spent over 20 years in public practice, including service as an assistant attorney general with the Alaska Attorney General’s Office and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. She has also served on the legal staff for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. She attended William Mitchell College of Law and is currently completing her Doctorate in Public Administration at Hamline School of Business. Crum specializes in energy regulatory law and recently joined the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels, where she advises clients on energy issues. She serves on the Board of the Minnesota Justice Foundation and volunteers for the Hennepin County District Court Mediation Project. Crum is the co-founder of Minnesota Women in Energy Law and is also on the planning committee for Hamline’s Women in Public Service Conference.

    Katie Eichele Katie Eichele

    Katie Eichele is the director of The Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she has served 16 years. Eichele received her BS and MS in mass communications from North Dakota State University. She speaks and writes nationally and locally about gender-based campus violence. Aside from raising two sons (18, 11) and being married 19 years to her best friend, Eichele enjoys traveling, running, baking, and writing.

    Meredith Fox Meredith Fox

    Meredith Fox is the managing director of Portage Partners Consulting, a firm that supports Minnesota’s civic-sector leaders to envision and achieve a brighter future for those they serve through leadership coaching, strategic planning, and implementation support. Fox has held leadership positions in Minnesota state government, the University of Minnesota, and Minneapolis Public Schools, and her consulting clients include local family foundations, charter schools, public school districts, nonprofits, higher ed systems, and government agencies. She splits her time between Minneapolis and Lutsen with her husband, kindergarten son, and a large English Setter who is mildly Insta-famous (@sparkly.barclay). Fox is excited to be the co-founder of the newly launched Minnesota Women’s Leadership Project to support female-identifying/non-binary people in Minnesota’s civic sector in living their best lives. For more information, visit portagepartnersconsulting.com.

    Kristin Haugen Krisin Haugen

    Kristin Haugen is an attorney at KC Haugen Law and founder of Rock Solid Consultants. Haugen’s clients include entrepreneurs and emerging companies for whom she serves as outside general counsel. In addition to business law and counseling, Haugen frequently advises on trademarks and licensing. Through Rock Solid Consultants, Haugen provides group training and one-on-one coaching on leadership and culture, business development, and practice management. Haugen frequently speaks to organizations about implicit bias, diversity, and inclusion.

    Emily Paoli Johnson Emily Paoli Johnson

    Emily Paoli Johnson is an original “yooper” hailing from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (where there is more snow!). She made Minnesota her home in 1999 and loves living “down south.” During her time in Minnesota she has worked for three different state agencies. Johnson started with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education back in 1999, working in a college access program called Get Ready. Over her 15 years there, she led a team of around 30 individuals who provided college access and awareness services to over 7,000 students and families in the Twin Cities.

    Upon receiving her master’s degree in 2013, Johnson moved to Minnesota Management and Budget, where she became the enterprise workforce planner, offering facilitated services to other state agencies. Finally, in January 2019, Johnson joined the Department of Human Services as the director of workforce planning. In this role, she is creating strategic processes, tools, and resources for DHS leaders. Besides all of this “work stuff,” Emily enjoys spending time with her two children, Max (12) and Mila (10), who keep her and her husband, Joe, very busy. Johnson is a natural connector. She finds great value in bringing people together both professionally and personally. She is very honored to be with all of the amazing women attending this year’s conference.

    Kate Kahlert Kate Kahlert

    Kate Kahlert is a lawyer at the Public Utilities Commission, a state regulatory agency that regulates natural gas and electric utility companies and oversees the siting and routing of large energy facilities. As a quasi-judicial agency, the Commission makes decisions in individual cases based on the record developed during formal proceedings. In her role, Kate writes the Commission’s decisions, which involve resolution of complex factual, legal, and policy issues in dispute. She recently wrote a Commission order on electric vehicle pilot programs, the first-ever programs in the state aimed at transportation electrification. She is also an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where she teaches a course on government agencies and lawyer/client relationships.

    Mariah Levison Mariah Levison

    Mariah Levison runs the Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution. She has worked for dispute resolution centers in Chicago, New York, and Minneapolis. Her work in dispute resolution includes mediation, facilitation, assessment, collaborative processes, dialogue, restorative justice, and program design. Levison has been teaching conflict resolution education and social and emotional literacy skills for 15 years in settings ranging from community trainings to the mediation clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School. She has a master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

    Christine McDonald

    Christine McDonald is the city of Minneapolis’ American Indian community specialist. She has been employed with the city of Minneapolis since 1998. She has been with the neighborhood and community relations department since 2011 and was previously with the human resources department. Her work centers around upholding the American Indian Memorandum of Understanding between the community and the city of Minneapolis. This document formalizes the relationship between the American Indian community, the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors Group, and the city of Minneapolis. An enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, McDonald was raised on the south side of Minneapolis and has remained connected to the Native American community and her Ojibwe and Lakota heritage. Previous employment includes Workforce Rehabilitation Services at the Minneapolis American Indian Center for the state of Minnesota, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gaming Commission, and Little Six human resources.

    Rena Moran

    Representative Rena Moran is the chair of the Health and Human Services Policy Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives. She has represented the Saint Paul communities of Frogtown, Summit-University, Rondo, Thomas-Dale, and the North End since 2010. Her policy priorities include protecting child welfare, strengthening schools, and fighting for affordable housing. Representative Moran holds a BS in early childhood education from Southern Illinois University and is the proud mother of seven and grandmother of eight.

    Rebecca Olson Rebecca Olson

    Rebecca Olson started her career at the federal level working for a United States senator while still in college at the University of St. Thomas, where she majored in international studies, political science, and Spanish. After college she served as a legislative assistant for a Minnesota state senator before finally landing in local government. She received her Master of Public Administration from Hamline University in 2009. Her local government career spans nearly two decades and includes positions with the cities of Blaine and Shoreview. She is currently the assistant city manager with the city of Roseville, Minnesota.

    Gretchen Pederson Gretchen Pederson

    After 20 years in the insurance industry, Gretchen Pederson did a 180-degree turn and went back to school for carpentry and welding. This training secured her a job working on the US Bank Stadium and then led her to her current position with the city of Minneapolis. Pederson is an asphalt maker, sweeper, driver, and snowplow driver, and works with a crew of six.

    Stephanie Radtke Stephanie Radtke

    Stephanie Radtke serves as deputy director for the Community Services Division in Dakota County. The Community Services Division consists of Employment and Economic Assistance, Social Services, Public Health, Community Corrections, and Veteran Services. In her current role, Radtke has broad leadership responsibility for division-wide strategy, management, legislative policy, partner engagement, and service delivery integration efforts. In addition, she serves in various state and national leadership roles focused on whole family service delivery integration and technology modernization. Prior to joining Dakota County, Radtke served as director for Health Care Eligibility and Access at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She remains an active advocate for health care reform efforts and has served on multiple statewide task forces. Radtke received her JD from Hamline University School of Law, her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Human Services Leadership from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. When not focusing on healthy communities, Radtke enjoys family time at the lake, traveling, and keeping up with her teenage sons.

    Kristine Schaefer

    Kristine Schaefer is an executive coach who has centered her career in helping high-achievement experts in business, technical, academic, medical, and scientific fields become more effective as leaders, teammates, and communicators. In that capacity, Schaefer has worked with senior leaders at over 250 organizations in the US, Europe, and Asia.

    Mani Vang-Polacek Mani Vang Polacek

    Mani Vang-Polacek is the human resources director for the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota. CEHD is the third largest college at the university, with more than 4,600 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 1,000 faculty, staff, and student workers. In her role as human resources director, Vang-Polacek is responsible for driving a strategic and service-oriented HR team to meet the challenging needs of the college. She serves as an advisor to the dean on complex HR issues that cross academic and administrative areas. Vang-Polacek and her team of five HR professionals are responsible for employment law compliance, talent management, training and development, employee relations, and equity and diversity.

    Marcia Westbrook

    Marcia Westbrook has worked for the city of Minneapolis for a little over 34 years, working the entire time in the same department. She is now the administrative support for the office managers. She works with several city departments including the City Council, Mayor’s Office, Inspection, Community Crime and Prevention offices. Westbrook is heavily involved with and a member of the Minneapolis Black Employee Network. She is currently one of the board members of the MBEN executive committee. Outside of her work with the city, she is an ordained reverend on staff at a church in Minneapolis.