Lisa Mears, MPA, Executive Director
Lisa Mears joined The Bridge for Youth as Executive Director in May of 2020. In prior roles, she was the CEO at VEAP, a basic needs and social service organization focused on housing stability and healthy food access. VEAP serves southern suburban Hennepin County and operates an acclaimed integrated service model with Hennepin County Health and Human Services. From 2009 – 2015, Lisa was the startup Executive Director at a newly formed nonprofit in Dakota County called The Open Door. The organization – with the mission “a fresh approach to ending local hunger through access to healthy foods” – quickly emerged to lead the movement of access to healthy foods across the hunger relief sector in Minnesota.
Mears holds a BS in Public Health from St. Cloud State University and a Master’s in Public Affairs (Public Administration & Nonprofit Management) from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota (2010).
Angela Alvarez, MA, Human Resources & Administration Director
Angela Alvarez graduated with a BA in psychology from Minnesota State University at Mankato and an M.A. in counseling and psychological practices from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis. She started as a Youth & Family Counselor intern in the fall of 2011, before joining the staff full time in the Emergency Shelter Program. With a passion for organization, policies and supporting BFY staff, Angela made the transition from direct staff to administration staff when the HR Coordinator position opened up. Angela was promoted quickly to HR Manager and then to HR Director where she oversees the daily HR functions for staff, interns and volunteers.
La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin, Program Director
Born and raised in south Minneapolis, La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin has 20+ years of experience providing supportive services to youth and families in the Twin Cities metro. Most recently, La’Kisha was Program Coordinator for the Girls Resolution and Prevention (RAP) program at the YWCA. She has also been a foster parent in Hennepin County, worked for Minneapolis Public Schools, and has volunteered for several community service agencies. La’Kisha holds multiple professional certifications, including Youth Program Quality Assessor, Youth Intervention Certification, Sexual Health Adolescent Risk Prevention and Racial Justice Facilitator.
Tom Craig, Finance Director
Tom was most recently a non-profit financial controller for CliftonLarsonAllen where he advised more than 25 local non-profits with financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, forecasting, preparing accounting records, and operational efficiencies. He brings his enthusiasm and financial expertise to The Bridge for Youth as Finance Director. Thomas graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Accounting and Finance from Rasmussen College. In his free time, he volunteers as the board treasurer for the Red Shoe Society of the Upper Midwest, participates at Feed My Starving Children, and is a coach for youth sports in the northern metro.
Juli Gottschall, LICSW, Clinical Director
Juli has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for 5 years, primarily working with adolescents. Juli supports youth through a trauma informed lens and recognizes the importance of seeing certain behaviors as trauma symptoms. She values creating trusting relationships and often does so by bringing humor and play into her work. Most recently Juli was with Catholic Charities as a School Social Worker in their School-Based Counseling program. Prior to working at Catholic Charities, Juli worked at Behavior Therapy Solutions of Minnesota as a therapist.
Dr. Sheetal Kanse, MPH, Ph.D., Monitoring & Evaluation Director
Sheetal Kanse is originally from India where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery. To follow her passion for preventive and social medicine she pursued a master’s degree in public health from the University of Florida and a doctoral in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Utah. In the past, she has worked nationally and internationally in the field public health management and research focused on health program designing and implementation, program evaluation, inferential data analysis and data interpretation. Sheetal is the proud mom of twin daughters. When not analyzing data, she loves spending time with her family, visiting lakes in and around Minnesota, and gardening.
Board of Directors
- Geoffrey Jones, Board Chair, CommonBond Communities, Director of Marketing and Leasing
- Cheniqua Johnson, Board Vice-Chair, St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Relationship Manager
- Bob Striker, Board Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair, Stinson LLP, Of Counsel
- Dan DuHamel, Board Secretary and Governance Committee Chair, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Program Officer
- Amy Britt Jones, Development Committee Chair, ABJ Educational Consulting, Educational Consultant
- Jennifer Carter, Minnesota State Bar Association, Senior Director of Member Services
- Gretchen Gromatka, Fairview Health Services, Senior Employee/Labor Relations Consultant
- Jessica Simon-Koch, Hennepin Health, Principal Government Initiatives
- Robert Kraemer, Lifetime Work Minneapolis, Manager
- Matthew Netland, State of Minnesota (IT), Service Delivery Director
- Kristine Oberg, US Bank, Vice President Business Banking Strategy Team Leader
- Leanna Seiner-Chapman, Xcel Energy Manager, Planning & Technology Assessment – CS&I
- Tescia Bratcher, CommonBonds Communities, Director of Property Management
- Kimberly Spates, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Chief Operating Officer
- Kim A. Branson, Branson Transformation Group, Consultant