Sarah Schaefer – Interim Executive Director
Sarah (pronouns: she/her) comes to MENTOR Minnesota after four and a half years as the Program Director at Bolder Options. She is deeply committed to the mentoring world and to MENTOR Minnesota. For the past year, she served as the chair of the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity committee for the MENTOR Minnesota Board of Directors and participated in the Program Services Council for the past four. In December 2019, the US Department of State recruited her to represent the field of mentoring in a professional exchange program to Northern Ireland.
Sarah is originally from Maine. She has a BA in Religion and Gender Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a Masters of Special Education from George Mason University. She taught high school Special Education and English inclusion for three years before moving to Minneapolis to canoe the entire Mississippi River.
She lives in South Minneapolis with her fiancée and their dog.
Sha’Daesha Beeks – MSW Intern
Sha’Daesha Beeks (pronouns: she/her) is the newest graduate level intern at MENTOR MN and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work (MSW) at Augsburg University. Sha’Daesha graduated Cum Laude from Hamline University in the Spring of 2017 with her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Sha’Daesha received the University’s departmental award for her research on the link between father absenteeism and juvenile delinquency, with a solution-based focus on mentoring. As a Minneapolis native, Sha’Daesha has 18 years of experience in community engagement. Her activities include HIV/AIDS peer education, “Free Hug” campaign, 911 community outreach, and mentorship for at-risk youth. Sha’Daesha is passionate about advocacy, activism, and community organizing around social justice issues.
MENTOR Minnesota Consultants
Carolyn Scherer, MSW – Technical Assistance Consultant
Having spent nearly 20 years working in the youth development and mentoring fields, Carolyn is known for her knowledge, skills, expertise, and commitment to mentoring best practices. Carolyn works one-on-one with Minnesota youth mentoring programs to help ensure they have the resources needed to provide high quality, long-lasting, and effective mentoring experiences for youth and volunteers.
April Riordan – Technical Assistance Consultant
April Riordan is an expert connector, innovator and strategist. She is an inclusive leader, who excels at maximizing and celebrating the talents of others. As Vice President Strategy and Innovation for Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities, she oversaw the development and implementation of the agency’s strategic plan, lead research, evaluation, and continuous improvement efforts, and provided leadership
for new strategic initiatives. Prior to joining BBBS, April spent 10+ years in capacity building roles with statewide support organizations, Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota and MENTOR MN. In her role at MENTOR Minnesota, Riordan created the collaborative mentoring webinar series now led by the National Mentoring Resource Center. She was also instrumental in the development of Minnesota’s quality mentoring assessment tool, the model for the national quality mentoring system (NQMS). She also created a mentor training on social identities and implicit bias and directed a professional development cohort aimed at increasing the diversity of quality mentoring programs available in Minneapolis. Having worked in youth development, housing, community development and social justice, April has a broad view of the nonprofit and public service field, and is passionate about tackling complex system-level problems with a holistic approach and bold vision. Her personal mission is to end work every day knowing she has contributed to creating a more just, equitable world.
Jenni Geiser – Graphic Design and Branding Consultant
Jenni is a freelance Graphic Designer with 20+ years in the design field. She started her own business, jennigdesign, in 2014. Prior to that, she was the Creative Manager at Archiver’s, a retail scrapbooking store for 15 years. Her areas of expertise are branding, direct mail, newsletters, print collateral, signage, and logo design. She also works on children’s books layouts, packaging, email design, and websites. Jenni is located in the Twin Cities and has a wonderful family that inspires her more and more every day.
Nicki Patnaude, MSW – NQMS Director at MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
Nicki Patnaude, most recently the Director of Quality for MENTOR Minnesota, joined MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership as the NQMS Director in January. Nicki spent several years at MENTOR Minnesota working on QMAP and then the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS) prior to moving to MENTOR National as the NQMS Director. In her new role she will continue to train, develop, support, and expand the use of NQMS for the quality assessment of mentoring programs across the country. Congratulations to Nicki.
Any questions related to NQMS in Minnesota should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.