Joo Hee Pomplun joined the Alliance staff in May 2017. Joo Hee was formerly the director of policy and advocacy at Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA) where they worked with Asian communities along the Central Corridor and the Bottineau Transitway to open greater opportunities for wealth building via entrepreneurship, individual financial capabilities development, social lending, and governmental policies and practices.
Joo Hee founded and organized the Health Equity Working Committee, a coalition of community-based organizations serving and led by Asian, African, African American, Latinx, American Indian, LGBTQ, and ally communities seeking accountability of government to advance health equity. They also served as the executive director of the Minnesota Asian/American Health Coalition. Joo Hee has a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies, a master’s degree in public health, and is a certified massage therapist. Their strengths and interests are in the intersection of community development, racial equity, and spiritual health.
Maura Brown joined the Alliance staff in May 2000. Maura ensures that each Alliance campaign emphasizes grassroots organizing, strong research support and strategic capacity-building that unites organizations in building an integrated approach to achieving regional equity. Her work to ensure that Alliance initiatives reflect the values of many people, particularly low-wealth people and people of color, has been nationally recognized.
Maura has a degree in political science from Swarthmore College. Before joining the Alliance, she served as the executive director of the Harrison Neighborhood Association in North Minneapolis, where she honed her skill at strategic organizing around divisive issues and building sustainable partnerships and collaborations. Prior to that she organized low-income tenants at Central Community Housing Trust (now Aeon).
Owen Duckworth joined the Alliance staff in May 2012 as a coalition organizer. He brings with him years of organizing experience, and a deep commitment to fighting racism in our region. At the Alliance, Owen organizes coalitions working to ensure that public investments in our region are made in partnership with the communities they affect and advance racial equity.
Growing up in a biracial family in the segregated city of Milwaukee, Owen desired to understand race and space, culture, and politics early in his life. His curiosity led him to pursue a degree in political science at Macalester College. Since then, Owen has worked on the successful campaign for the 2006 Minnesota transportation amendment and an electoral campaign with the Sierra Club. Most recently, he was a community organizer for Transit for Livable Communities, where he worked with community members to advance a common goal of increased transportation access.
Shruthi Kamisetty joined the Alliance staff in August 2022. She will be the coalition organizer for the Business Resource Collective.
Shruthi (she/her) grew up all over, but now calls Minneapolis home. She leads from her heart, working to amplify marginalized voices, create safer spaces and nurture relationships. She enjoys learning about food culture, trying new places to eat and strolling through the many parks in Minneapolis.
Finn McGarrity joined the Alliance staff in August 2022. They will be the coalition organizer for the Coalition for Clean Transportation.
Finn holds nearly a decade of community organizing experience. As a grassroots organizer, they helped develop national messaging models for deep canvassing and voter persuasion while also organizing for reproductive rights and environmental justice issues. Most recently, as a Senior Community Organizer at Move Minnesota, they worked to advance mobility solutions for community college students, expand bus rapid transit, and lead efforts to create alternatives to policing on Metro Transit.
Finn approaches movement building with an intersectional lens informed through their lived border identities as a multiracial and queer/genderqueer person. As a first-generation college student, they earned an AA with an emphasis in Philosophy from Minneapolis College and are currently finishing their BA in Gender Studies with an emphasis in Philosophy and Ethnic studies at Metropolitan State University.
Finn lives in the Elliot Park neighborhood with their cat Puck. Outside of work, they enjoy live music, food, and movies. A shameless cinephile, you can often find them at Trylon Cinema, nestled in the back row with a large bucket of popcorn.
Ricardo Perez joined the Alliance staff in July 2019. Ricardo was born and raised in Mexico and moved to the United States in 2004. Ricardo has more than 10 years of experience working in the non-profit sector alongside community on issues that disproportionately impact immigrants and people of color.
Most recently, Ricardo helped to lead the Suburban Hennepin Housing Coalition which, with the help of organized community, was able to pass ordinances in multiple cities to protect and produce unsubsidized housing; and create tenant protections.
Ricardo is an alumni of CURA’s Neighborhood Now program and the Wilder Foundation Community Equity Pipeline cohort. Ricardo loves his family, art and the resiliency and creativity of humanity.
Juan Luis Rivera-Reyes joined the Alliance staff in August 2022. He will be the coalition organizer for Equity in Place.
Juan Luis (he/him) grew up in many neighborhoods throughout St. Paul, and has had the opportunity to call Los Angeles and Phoenix home, as well. Having the opportunity to live and learn in so many diverse neighborhoods, he learned the importance of having a community and being committed to your community.
In his work he makes it a point to establish real relationships with individuals, amplify their stories, needs, and humanity. Life is complicated enough; low-weath, BIPOC, queer, immigrant, disabled, and working people should not have to constantly fight systems of exploitation and oppression in their daily lives.
Carolyn Szczepanski joined the Alliance staff in November 2018. She brings more than 15 years of diverse experience in advocacy and storytelling, starting her career as staff writer for alternative newsweeklies before transitioning to the nonprofit sector in 2010. As a director of communications for two national bicycle advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C., she co-created programs advancing gender and race equity in active transportation and, in 2016, co-founded The Untokening, a nationwide effort to create a multi-racial movement for mobility justice. After moving to St. Paul in 2016, she served as the Director of Research and Communications for the Minnesota Housing Partnership, managing reports and storytelling for the statewide affordable housing advocacy organization.
Carolyn has a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and, as the Alliance’s Communications and Programming Coordinator, she is committed to centering and elevating community voices, reframing harmful narratives, and making information about regional equity accessible to a wide variety of audiences.
Lynn Tanaka joined the Alliance staff in July 2022 as the Office and Events Coordinator. Lynn was formally the Program Manager of Avivo’s Community Support Program and has over 10 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, believing that the actions of one person can make a difference in people’s lives. Lynn lives an artistic life. Professionally she has worked over 20 years in illustration, hand-lettering and graphic design. Currently she is in her happy place designing hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind creations using organic materials. Or combining found and natural objects and drawing elements in her fine art assemblages. Her work is currently showcased in venues across the country.