MINN Leadership

Nicholas Hayen, President

Nicholas is currently a Global Program Manager for United Language Group, a language translation company. He has an academic background in the modern Middle East, International Relations, and American Foreign Policy. He brings a passion for educating Americans about global affairs and his blog and podcast series, The Orientalist Express, simplifies current events to make foreign policy easier to understand for the everyday person.

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Kyla Rathjen, Vice-President

Kyla is a local and international nonprofit professional, passionate about challenging broken aid systems and championing community-led development. She was most recently the Management and Inclusion Lead for Mama Hope’s Global Advocate Program, which trains a generation of social change workers globally to become ambassadors for and practitioners of community-led development and ethical media. Kyla has a BA in Sociology/Anthropology and Race and Ethnic Studies at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

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Karissa Neupert, Membership Manager

Karissa started with MINN by volunteering on the Program Committee, and has returned as the Membership Manager after consulting abroad for a few years.  Karissa's background is primarily in refugee protection- both domestically and internationally. She currently works in HR and lives in Saint Paul.  She loves connecting with folks interested in international work and loves supporting MINN.

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Grace Ogihara, Communications Manager

Grace has a background in nonprofit communications, photography, and graphic design. Her role includes producing the biweekly newsletter and social media content, updating the website, and whatever else is needed to tell MINN's story. She works as a Graphic Designer at the Center for Victims of Torture and currently volunteers with the International Association for Refugees at their Twin Cities project. 

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Dr. Brita Midness, Volunteer Manager

Brita enjoys building community through meaningful volunteerism. She has a background in nonprofit capacity building, community engagement and international relations. After living, working and studying internationally for many years, she is thrilled to be back in Minnesota to help build a community of global NGO practitioners. She holds a BA from Colby College (USA), a M.Litt in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of St Andrews (Scotland) and a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews.

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Nancy Silva, Summit Co-Chair

Nancy is an analyst with MMCAP Infuse, her focus is in data reporting and website development. She attended St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN and has a background in public health. Most of Nancy's experience is in addressing and understanding socioeconomic inequalities and pushing efforts to reduce gaps in socioeconomic status.





Laura Skubic, Events Co-Chair

Laura has 11+ years of nonprofit experience throughout many different sectors, including hunger relief, housing insecurity, workforce development, and more.  Meeting new people and connecting people to one another are some of her favorite things, and she's looking forward to expanding her INGO network through MINN.




Lauren Eimers, Events Co-Chair

Lauren Eimers has a background in government affairs, strategic partnerships, and program management. She currently works in destination marketing with Travel Leaders Group, where she manages relationships with tourism agencies worldwide to drive visitation to partner destinations. After volunteering with Fellows and Summit, Lauren is excited to work with MINN's Program Committee as a Co-Chair.




Brian McNamara, Events Co-Chair

Brian is a current Master of Public Policy student at the Humphrey School of Public affairs focusing on advanced policy analysis methods. His goal is to pursue a career in international development and program evaluation. He's interested in policy research as a way to improve development outcomes for the people most affected by these programs. He also has considerable experience working with several non-profits in Latin-America around these themes. Brian enjoys travel, community-based work, and looking for answers to complicated research questions.




Jennifer Bubke, Fellows Co-Chair

Jennifer Bubke is a Grants Analyst with Alight. She has over eight years of experience in international development, including migration development and grants management. After living and working in Pakistan for two years, she returned to Minnesota and now lives in St. Paul. Jennifer has a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies and a M.A. in International Relations with a focus on International Organizations and International Development.