Andi Cheney, Director of Finance and Operations

Director of Finance and Operations acheney@hecua.org 651-287-3306

Andi brings over a decade of nonprofit management experience to HECUA, with roles ranging from Managing Director to Production Manager, specializing in community based arts organizations. Previously the Associate Director of Patrick’s Cabaret, Andi has extensive experience as a freelance bookkeeper, grantwriter, and program consultant with a variety of local humanities and performing arts organizations and artists. Previous positions have included Interim Managing Director at Bedlam Theatre and Emerging Performing Arts Leader Fellow for the Performing Arts Human Resources Toolkit Series by the Minnesota Theatre Alliance.

Since graduating from Macalester College with a Theater degree in 2009, Andi has worked and trained in Theatre of the Oppressed, clowning, mask, burlesque, spreadsheets, producing, directing, and production management, leaping from performing to administrating in a single bound or juggling both simultaneously. As a stage and production manager, they have worked with Dangerous Productions, Sandbox Theatre, the zAmya Theatre Project, Bedlam Theatre, and Bricklayers Theatre, and they have performed locally with Wild Conspiracy, Raw Sugar, The Playwrights Center, Mixed Blood Theatre, The Tempest at Franconia, the Haunted Basement, Bedlam Theatre, Off Leash Area Theatre and Dance, Box Wine Theatre, and the Wheel Sexy Cabaret. They have also produced original work with the Minnesota Fringe Festival (#ItsRainingInsideAgain: An Arts Administrator Show, wherein they played Mr. Rogers) and a new translation of F. X. Kroetz’s Housework with Barnacle Theatre Collective.

pronouns: they/them/theirs

Anna Olson, Accountant


Anna works with HECUA as consultant from All In One Accounting. She brings a very bright perspective when it comes to the day to day numbers of business. Anything from payroll to reconciliations, and even data entry, she will have you covered. She has a diverse skillset and is quick on her feet when it comes to problem solving. If you’re in need of an accountant that works outside of the box and can assist in just about any project, Anna is your go to fit.

Anna is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Metropolitan State University.

She currently lives in Prior Lake with her husband and three children.

Ariella Tilsen, Interim Executive Director


Interim Executive Director

Ariella Tilsen is pleased and honored to serve as Interim Executive Director. As the founder and president of Vital Edge Consulting, Ariella has nearly 25 years of experience as an executive and leadership coach, strategic change consultant and facilitator, and conflict resolver who works across sectors, cultures, and generations. Much of her work (and life) are shaped by post-modern thinking, critical race theory, and social construction practices and ideas, all of which inform her core values of justice and equity.

Ariella has worked extensively with organizations of all sizes, including state and local governments, international NGOs, and organizations in health care, renewable energy, philanthropy, equity and inclusion, social services, social justice, refugee and immigrant resettlement, and the arts. With Spiwo Xapile, Ariella co-founded Stories Move Mountains, through which they have worked with South African organizations, and community and organizational leaders, to create positive, sustainable change.

Ariella has held several interim CEO and executive leadership positions in organizations that focus on health care, mental health, and education. In these roles and others, she has supported many critical leadership transitions. She has also served as Associate Director of International Programs for the American Refugee Committee (now Alight), where she was responsible for international recruitment and field placement orientation, including cross- cultural understanding and safety and security. She was also Associate Director for the British-American Arts Association in London, where she headed up public relations and

Ariella received her B.A. in liberal arts studies from the University of Minnesota with a concentration in history and literature. She holds a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University. She has also been adjunct faculty in the MAOL program, teaching courses in the US and South Africa on the cultural context of leadership, relational and ethical leading, and leading strategic change.

Ariella helped to create an interfaith and intercultural program for high school students. She has served as a board member for Shir Tikvah Congregation and a steering committee member for Tergar Meditation Center. She is an active member and volunteer with Jewish Community Action and is active in political campaigns.

Ariella loves great conversation with smart, caring people over great food (whether she cooks it or not), hiking, Prince, movies, theater, art, animals, reading fiction, travel, working out, and meditation retreats.

pronouns: she/her/hers


Dori McMurphy, Student Advisor

Student Advisor

Dori is currently an undergraduate student in the Environmental Justice program. They are majoring in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management through the People, Policy, Law and Society track. Along with minoring in Social Justice. They are the student advisor for students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities who are interested in joining the Environmental Justice program. It is their first year being a student advisor and they are enthused to get students excited to start their experience with HECUA!

Dori is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and started to get involved with community organizing during their high school education. During that time they worked to build an ACLU chapter for their school to engage student activists. They also worked with the Sojourner Truth Peace Center to help fundraise items for victims of domestic abuse. Throughout their time in college, they have been involved with many different groups like the Policy Engagement Program through CFANS, Minorities in Natural Resource Related Sciences, and UMN Students Against Line 3.

Their passion for building community and ensuring a healthy and equitable environment is what led them to joining the Environmental Justice program. The experiences they have been able to share with HECUA encouraged them to work as the student advisor as they are aware of the many great opportunities that HECUA has to offer.

When Dori is not working or studying, they are probably either painting, foraging for mushrooms, knitting, or watching movies with friends. They are a great resource to use for UMN students who are curious about HECUA and are not sure where to begin.

pronouns: they/them/theirs 

Julie Rossate, Student Services Manager

Student Services Manager 651-287-3312 jrossate@hecua.org

Julie has spent most of her professional life either sending people overseas or receiving them here in the United States. While a student at Macalester College, she studied abroad at the American University in Cairo which kindled a lifelong love of the Arabic language. Julie served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and then spent 5 years preparing Peace Corps volunteers headed to North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

While studying at Harvard Divinity School for a Master’s in Theological Studies, Julie began working in Adult Education. She taught and tutored folks from the Blue Hill neighborhood of Boston, which included refugees, immigrants and lifelong residents. Julie learned as much in this job as she did in graduate school about immigration, racism and being white.

In 2011, Julie and her husband, Jeff, moved to Jerusalem/West Bank for 5 years to work with a young adult service learning program. Julie, her husband and the volunteers developed close relationships in their adopted communities, learned the conflicted history of the region and delighted young and old alike with their astounding language mistakes.

Julie likes to watch nerdy documentaries, read good books, canoe, kayak and practice yoga. She continues to study the Arabic language. This study keeps her humble. Very humble.

pronouns: she/her/hers

Liza Gorman-Baer, Admissions Advisor

Admissions Advisor

Liza is delighted to bring their experience and enthusiasm to the role of Admissions Advisor for students attending the University of Minnesota. If you are a U of M student interested in a HECUA program, Liza is your primary contact.

Liza graduated from the U of M in 2018 with a double BA in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and Art, with a particular interest in how feminist artists understand human relationships to nature, technology, and ancestry. During their time in college, Liza took HECUA’s Art for Social Change program and was energized and inspired by the unique mix of scholarship, direct action, community-focused art, and personal growth and reflection. Their semester with HECUA and the corresponding internship with Kulture Klub Collaborative encouraged them to always ask who has a seat at the table and find creative ways to invite more people in.

Liza is a Wisconsin native (but not a Packers fan) who has grown up in a strong activist community, attending anti-war and pro-union protest marches since they were too young to remember. Their family raised them to value the revolutionary impact of folk art and song, a value that they have used to anchor themselves in the Twin Cities since they first arrived for college in 2014. Since then, they have found their place in the Jewish community, attending services and completing an arts organizing internship with Shir Tikvah Synagogue and participating in social action with organizations including J-Pride and Never Again Action. They are also an embroidery artist under the name Selkie Stitches. They have shown their work in multiple gallery shows, as well as selling embroidery to raise money for nonprofits like Planned Parenthood, Bunny Besties, and the National Network of Abortion Funds. Liza is excited to start working with Transfabulous, an initiative of the Hennepin Central Library that organizes transgender artists to lead workshops and exhibit their work.

Liza loves networking and having deep conversations with interesting people, both at HECUA and in their personal life. When they aren’t at work, they can often be found biking around the beautiful Chain of Lakes, embroidering, singing with friends, watching horror movies, or asking to pet strangers’ dogs.

pronouns: they/them/theirs

Maddy Rudkin, Admissions Advisor

Admissions Advisor

Maddy works with HECUA as an Admissions Advisor. If you are a student attending a college/university in Minnesota (other than the University of Minnesota) she is your primary contact!

Maddy’s interest in creating equitable systems through community organizing and public policy initially brought her to HECUA’s Inequality in America program in 2017. After this exposure to a wide variety of issues and systemic flaws, she continued investigating these themes through her Justice and Peace Studies major at the University of St. Thomas. Her time spent in this major was filled with fantastic professors, who encouraged her interests in conflict resolution, active nonviolence, and liberation theology.

During undergrad, Maddy was a student leader for an organization called Students for Justice and Peace, a group dedicated to facilitating conversations around topics of inequality and injustice.

She is grateful to have had the opportunity to study-away in both Hawaii and Italy during her undergraduate experience at St. Thomas and hopes to bring these experiences into her role as an Admissions Advisor.

Her admissions experience began when she became an Admissions Representative for St. Thomas in 2016. Since graduating from the University of St. Thomas in 2019, Maddy worked at the University of Minnesota Law School in their Admissions Department. There, she built on her earlier admissions experience from St. Thomas and learned valuable skills regarding relationship building and admissions advising.

Maddy is elated to be working with HECUA and continually feels encouraged by HECUA’s mission and vision. She is originally from Wisconsin and has a deep love for the Green Bay Packers. Additional interests include true crime documentaries, fiction books, faith, and a love for the outdoors.

pronouns: she/her/hers

Mohamed Sallam, Director of Programs

Director of Programs

Mohamed Sallam is a Middle East and gender studies specialist in the areas of international and comparative education, international development, and the history of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) during the modern period. His family moved to the United States from Egypt, and while he spent most of his childhood in Minnesota, he has lived and traveled extensively throughout the MENA. For more than a decade Mohamed served as the Director of the Pan-Afrikan Center (PAC) and Instructor in the Department of History at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. As the Director of the PAC, he provided academic and social support to students of African descent, promoted African and African-American scholarship, and engaged local communities of African descent. As a critically oriented student-centered educator, Mohamed also developed and lead numerous domestic travel seminars on African American history and culture, and academic programs to Egypt focusing on education and development. More recently, Mohamed served as the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis overseeing the assessment of grant funded arts education curriculum and community programs. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Education and International Development from the University of Minnesota. His primary area of research examines how gender and geography mediate the relationship between policy and practice in international development and girls’ education across the MENA. Mohamed has also served as a lead and/or senior consultant on several international and US-based projects with wide-ranging foci, including girls’ education, social connectedness, poverty alleviation, and social and cultural issues within schools. He has dedicated himself as an educator, researcher, and practitioner to addressing issues related to structural power and inequity in the fields of comparative education and international development by providing high-level research, analysis, and administrative management with the goal of large-scale and lasting impact. Mohamed enjoys spending time with his partner Amina and his children Muhammad and Salma, playing soccer and basketball, and hopelessly supporting the Minnesota Timberwolves.

pronouns: he/him/his

Naomi Clayton, Communications & Marketing Manager

Photo of HECUA staff member and alumni Naomi ClaytonCommunications & Marketing Manager

Naomi has been the Communications and Marketing Manager for HECUA since November 2021. However, this is not the first time Naomi has crossed paths with HECUA. She is an alum of the Culture and Environment: A Shared Future Program in New Zealand. After having such positive and formative experiences on this program, Naomi was thrilled when the opportunity arose to formally work with HECUA.

Naomi graduated from Grinnell College in December 2020 with a B.A. in Anthropology (Hons) and a concentration in Science, Medicine, and Society. She brings administrative experience from her time working as a Student Office Worker, Support Assistant, and Reunion Assistant at Grinnell’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

Not only was Naomi the student blogger for her New Zealand cohort, but she also brings valuable experience as the Marketing and Communications Manager for her family’s farm in Idaho. HECUA’s mission for social justice, peace, and environmental sustainability resonates strongly with Naomi, particularly from her background in the natural resources field at both the private and government levels.

Naomi is delighted to be working with HECUA again. She lives in Boise, Idaho and spends her free time balancing many passions and responsibilities including managing her own photography business and family’s farm.

pronouns: she/her/hers

Pam Loudy, Bookkeeper

Pam works with HECUA as consultant from All In One Accounting. She is a seasoned accountant with over 10 years of experience. Pam’s commitment to client satisfaction paired with her communication and analytical skills are strengths that she brings to HECUA. She has experience putting new processes into place quickly and effectively. Pam earned her Associates degree in Applied Science from the Minneapolis Business College with a focus in accounting. She recently taught herself how to sail by just reading books and watching YouTube videos. She recommends sailing to all.

pronouns: she/ her /hers

Rachel Svanoe Moynihan, Program Manager

Program Manager

Rachel Svanoe Moynihan has spent most of her life living, studying and working in South Minneapolis, enjoying many a familiar face whenever she’s there. Throughout college Augsburg, Rachel was a grateful recipient of many rich and challenging opportunities for experiential learning, pushing her to test and deepen what she was learning in her Sociology classes against what she was learning in community, on and off campus. Those experiences were formative and cultivated a passion for facilitating critical reflection, experiential education and leadership development that continues to drive her.

Rachel has spent six years working at Augsburg University and in the surrounding Cedar Riverside neighborhood. Her focus has been to help higher education fulfill its public purpose – first working to connect on-campus with off-campus community around common goals through Cedar Commons, a collaborative, Augsburg-supported space that she founded and managed. Her other primary role was as director of the LEAD Fellows program, an internship/leadership program through which undergraduate students learn with and contribute to community-based organizations while also earning income. Rachel has been learning and working to build community and anti-racist culture among white-bodied people, beginning with attention to the patterns of white supremacy held in our bodies. Rachel has been a big fan of HECUA’s from afar for many years and is thrilled for the opportunity to learn alongside new colleagues there, working to support transformative learning experiences for students, in service of movements towards justice. At HECUA, Rachel supports both the U.S. and international programs, with a particular focus on building relationships with community partners.

In her downtime, Rachel loves a good long conversation with friends or her husband over tea, loves to ask juicy questions, sing with friends and family, she loves a good rain storm and she goes to Powderhorn Park whenever she can.

Pronouns: she/ her/ hers

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