Steering Committee

Nicole Ruhoff

Nicole is a Public Health Manager with Sherburne County Health and Human Services. They have experience in being a Registered Nurse with long term care and local public health. In Nicole’s free time they spend time with their husband, three sons, and extended family. They love to be on the lake, attend the boys’ activities and garden. Nicole is passionate about Granite Table because of the great people, common mission, and the Baldrige Framework.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Almond Joy

Amy Trombley

Amy is the Executive Director of Partner for Student Success at United Way of Central Minnesota. They are a former teacher and district administrator from Central Minnesota. In their free time they enjoy spending time with family, exercise, games, and volunteering. Amy is passionate about Granite Table becasue they have seen the power of alignment and collective impact making a difference in the world of education.  They are excited to see what can happen through collective impact across the entire community.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Talenti Dairy-Free Chocolate Sorbetto

Portrait of King Banaian

King Banaian

King is the Dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University. 

He has been a Professor of Economics since 1984 and the co-author of the St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report since 2004. 

King spends his free time golfing… badly. He also hosts a radio program on economics and finance in the Twin Cities.

When asked about his passion, King says that telling our story is not something Central Minnesotans particularly like to do, but enjoys that Granite Table is taking a different approach. We can share our strengths to build greater opportunities for earned success for all our communities.

Favorite Ice Cream flavor? As a diabetic, ice cream is not allowed. But when he can find it,  sugar-free French vanilla.

Jason Woods

Jason is the Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management at St. Cloud State University. They have over 21 years of experience in Higher Education. Their focus is on recruitment, retention and leadership development of post-secondary students, faculty and staff. In their free time they have four children ages 6 to 17 and a wonderful partner. Free time is spent with their wife and watching their kids grow and develop. They are passionate about Granite Table because they want to start bringing groups from multiple spaces and places together to uplift the granite community

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Pistachio or something with a lot of peanut butter

Portrait of Clare Richards

Clare Richards

Clare Richards is the co-founder and Vice President of a socially-focused startup called Impacks. Based out of Saint Cloud, Impacks provides a simple, convenient way for families to purchase school supplies online, while also partnering with schools to help them fundraise. Clare is a creative by trade with a strong love for building vibrancy through action and storytelling. Her experience in starting organizations also includes a non-profit she co-founded in 2015 called the Saint Cloud Rotaract. The volunteer organization brings together young professionals to develop leadership skills and make a difference in the community. Clare is passionate about creating a vibrant Central MN region that attracts and engages young leaders. When she isn’t volunteering or working, she can be found reading a good book or playing her ukulele.

Dan Edelbrock

Dan is the Vice President for Commercial Banking. They are proud to be a St. Cloud State University grad, with a bachelors in Finance.  Working with U.S. Bank ever since, they’ve been fortune to hold various roles before developing into business/commercial banking over the past several years. In their free time they enjoy family time with their wife and three girls, as well as outdoor activities via hunting and fishing. They are passionate about Granite Table because Gathering diverse perspectives, and creating positive change is a powerful thing.  They are excited to see how our collective ideas/thoughts throughout Central MN can provide positive and exciting changes throughout our communities.  This giving us all a better sense of community and trust among each other.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Cookie Dough

Portrait of Shanda Davis

Greta Stark-Kraker

Greta Stark-Kraker is the Executive Director of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. In addition to her executive position, she is an active partner in the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership, a Local Education Activities Foundation Board Member, and previously served on the LEAF Grants Committee and Policies and Procedures Committee. Community members may also know her from her work as a past board member, event planner, and panelist for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In addition to her role as Executive Director, Greta serves on the Forum of Executive Women, the Sherburne County EDA Board, the Partners for Student Success Board, and is a former member of the Society for Human Resources Management.

She is incredibly proud of her work with the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. Greta led the Working with Professional Advisors and Asset Development Networking sessions at the Empower Community Foundations Conference. During her leadership, Greta also helped the foundation achieve the National Standards accreditation – a critical accreditation for community foundations. Finally, she played a key role in growing the Women’s Fund Endowment to over $1.46 million since its inception. 

Greta attended the University of St. Thomas Fundraising School’s Fundraising Certificate Series and studied at the Anoka Hennepin Technical School and Central Lakes College. She is entrepreneurial at heart–with a passion for building community by engaging with people and connecting resources.

For more than twenty years, Greta has been working with community foundations. She loves to help organizations meet their philanthropic goals. When asked why she is passionate about Granite Table, Greta says that it is because the organization provides an outlet to help our community come together and build a better place for everyone to live. Greta enjoys spending hours with her family on long walks, quiet road trips, and snowshoeing adventures in her spare time.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip or Cookies and Cream

Gary Floss

Gary Floss has held quality executive positions with Control Data (now Ceridian), Medtronic, and Marvin Windows and Doors and recently retired after 21 years teaching Strategic Quality Management in the School of Engineering graduate program as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. He is serving in his 31st year on the Baldrige Board of Examiners, and is a past chair of the Panel of Judges for the Board. He serves as a trainer, judge, and examiner for the Baldrige-based American Health Care Association (long-term care) quality awards and has served as a judge for the Performance Excellence Network, the Army Communities of Excellence program, and as an examiner for the Asia-Pacific Quality Award program. He also served as a facilitator/assessor with the Veritas Institute (affiliated with the University of St. Thomas School of Business), which uses the Baldrige model to assess catholic hospitals against the six principles of the Catholic Identity Matrix. He serves as a mentor for the Central Minnesota Community of Excellence, a Baldrige-based community improvement initiative. Trained as an electrical engineer, he held technical, consultant, and management positions in multiple functional areas in his professional career with Control Data.

Lacey Schirmers

Lacey Schirmers is the Managing Director for GREAT Theatre, a local non-profit community theatre known for its professional broadway quality musicals, summer theatre camps for youth, and community partnerships that bring people together through shared theatre experiences. She is also a freelance graphic designer and photographer working primarily with small businesses and start ups. Graduating from St. Cloud State University in 2005 with a bachelor of science in management and marketing, Lacey has experience working in a variety of industries – from restaurant and hospitality, to healthcare, and currently in the arts and nonprofit. In addition to Granite Table, Lacey is also actively involved as an executive volunteer with Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. She previously served as a board member on the American Advertising Federation of Central Minnesota, was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Minnesota Young American Leaders Program with the University of Minnesota and Harvard Business School, and in 2017 was a recipient of the St. Cloud Times 5 under 40 Award recognized for innovation, involvement and influence. Lacey’s desire to connect with people and add value to their life extends far beyond her full time gig, volunteer work, and side hustle; she also takes her social life with friends and family pretty seriously. She enjoys spending as many weekends at the cabin as possible, playing board games and cards, traveling, and being with people that bring joy and laughter to life.

Molly Weyrens

Molly is a Pastoral Associate at Christ Our Light Cathlic Church in Princeton and Zimmerman. They get to cover the areas of pastoral care and social justice. They have been doing ministry in some way for the last 25 years.  They have worked as a high school theology teacher, college Campus Minister and now in my current position. They have also been involved with outreach to those on the margins through work with the Central MN Catholic Worker.  A passion of theirs is affordable housing.  In their free time, Molly loves to be outside. Bike, canoe, run, x-c ski and roam the trails. They also enjoy a good book and eating delicious meals with friends while enjoying meaningful conversations.  They are a big fan of their niece and nephew who are 6 and 9.  Molly is passionate about Granite Table because they grew up in St. Cloud and loved living here. They want others to feel the same devotion. They also want others outside of the area to see that though we have challenges, we also have great and beautiful things happening.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate with peppermint bon bon

Portrait of Ryan Fitzhum

Ryan Fitzthum

Ryan is the Director of Strategic Accounts at CH Robinson. In his role, he is responsible for providing effective leadership to their commercial teams, supporting client growth and retention through positive and proactive engagements. He is accountable for creating and sustaining long-term relationships by implementing supply chain programs with high R.O.I. for their largest and most complex global clients. He also serves as the Mayor of Sartell, a Captain on the Sartell Fire Dept, and many other local nonprofit and community-focused boards. In 2020, Ryan’s community vision, leadership, and innovation were recognized through his Central MN 5 Under 40 award recognition.

In Ryan’s limited free time, he is focused on his family. He has a wife and three beautiful young daughters. They enjoy time together skiing, golfing, and traveling.

His passion for Granite Table is driven by his natural desire to bring people together. He believes that diverse perspectives, engagement of our next generation of leaders, and driving a collective community vision are essential to the future success of our region.

Favorite Ice Cream flavor: Cake Batter Ice Cream from Cold Stone Creamery.

Janet Tilstra

Janet is a professor at St Cloud State University and consults with community organizations to facilitate strategic planning, mentor teams in applied research, and structure important conversations. They have worked clinically as a speech-language pathologist early in my career, then returned to school to complete a PhD in Educational Psychology in 2007 at the University of Minnesota. They have taught in higher education full time since 2009 at the College of St Benedict | St John’s University (psychology and education) and SCSU (communication sciences & disorders).  In recent years, they’ve completed training with the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and Meadowlark Institute Art of Hosting. In Janet’s free time they are chronically curious and love reading, podcasts, nuanced conversations, and being around people who energize me. They enjoy theatre, modern art, travel, and making salads. They are a board member of the Paramount Center for the Arts and volunteer with my church, Salem Lutheran. In summer you can find them kayaking on the Mississippi River or bicycling on a trail. Janet is passionate about Granite Table because they believe in the power of conversations and partnerships between unexpected people to change our community and our world.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Pistachio with dark chocolate chips

Portrait of Larry Hosch

Larry Hosch

Larry works as the manager of the Licensing Division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Prior to serving at DHS, Larry was the Business Development Director at the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. Larry had the honor to serve Central Minnesota in the Minnesota House of Representatives for 8 years where he was Vice-Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance committee, Assistant Majority Leader, and Minority Whip. While serving in the Legislature Larry owned his own construction company and was a licensed contractor for 8 years. Before serving in the Legislature, Larry at the age of 22 was elected Mayor of St. Joseph, serving two terms. Larry also has a background in social work with an undergraduate social work degree from St. John’s University and a Master’s of Social Work degree from Augsburg College.

Larry has lived in Central Minnesota for 25 years and lives in St. Joseph with his wife Holly, 3 boys Garrett (14), Gavin (11), and Griffin (6). Larry enjoys coaching multiple baseball teams and cross country and enjoys spending any remaining free time he can be seen running or biking and spending any time he can up north at his cabin doing anything outdoors. Larry also served on the St. Joseph Economic Development Authority, Waite Park Babe Ruth Association and the MN Twins Community Foundation (This isn’t official, will know in Dec. for sure).

Larry is passionate about the work of Granite Table because he has seen first hand how a space and medium for honest, constructive conversations can make changing impacts for individuals and communities. Central Minnesota is full of talented, dedicated, good people. Leveraging our best assets, our people, will help shape our community today and for generations to come.

There’s no question what the best ice cream is, Jupiter Moon of course or anything with chocolate and peanut butter.

David Tilstra

Dr. Tilstra is Community Transformation Officer of CentraCare, an integrated healthcare system based in St. Cloud, MN, since January of 2019. His current role focuses on working in the community to change the local infrastructures to build a healthy environment. Dr. Tilstra served as the President of CentraCare Clinic from 2012 to 2019. He was active in managing physician engagement, strategic thinking, system thinking, recruitment, quality improvement, patient satisfaction and safety, and physician relationship activities. Before that, he was the Medical Director of CentraCare Clinic from 2003 to 2012, emphasizing ambulatory clinical improvement, patient experience, and community engagement. Dr Tilstra practices part-time as a Medical Geneticist for CentraCare Clinic since 1995. He obtained an B.A. in chemistry from Northwestern College of Orange City in 1983, followed by a year in a biochemistry graduate program at Iowa State University. He attended medical school at the University of Iowa College of Medicine completed in 1998, followed by a pediatric residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics completed in 1991. Dr. Tilstra completed a Fellowship in Medical Genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1994. He is board certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics. He completed an MBA with an emphasis in healthcare administration from the University of Colorado – Denver in 2016. In his free time he likes to read, watch movies, and 3D printing. He is passionate about Granite Table because it is really about coming together to make the future of Central Minnesota what we as residents of the region want it to be and not just what happens to us.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Anything with chocolate

Jodi Gertken

Jodi started her career with CentraCare in 2004 as the coordinator for Smoke-Free Communities, a community coalition working to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke. In 2007, she joined the CCH Foundation team as coordinator of BLEND, a childhood obesity prevention initiative. Jodi was promoted to director of wellness in 2015 leading prevention initiatives throughout the region with a focus on equitable policy, system and environmental changes. In July, 2021, Jodi transitioned to the Director of State Government Affairs and Community Relations

Jodi has 23 years of experience in the public health sector having served as:

  • Community Wellness Program Director – CentraCare
  • BLEND Coordinator- CentraCare Health Foundation
  • Project Coordinator- Central Minnesota Heart Center
  • Public Health Coordinator- Stearns County Human Services
  • Health Systems Manager- American Cancer Society
  • Public Health Specialist – Morrison County Public Health
  • Jodi received her B.S degree in Community Health from St. Cloud State University. Presently she sits on the following committees:
    • American Heart Association Statewide Advocacy Board
    • St. Cloud Area Chamber Government Affairs Committee
    • Steans County Public Health Task Force
    • MN Healthy Kids Coalition Steering Committee
    • MN Public Health Association Governing Board

Dawn Ellison

Dawn Ellison MD, CPC draws from her 25 years of Emergency Medicine practice leading teams in critical situations and finessing outstanding care for patients in a complex medical climate to help healthcare providers and executives lead thoughtfully, transparently and deliberately.

As a former medical director herself, she is familiar with the tensions held as a nimble leader. Dawn served as a Crucial Conversations instructor with Mayo Health Systems, holds a CPC certificate from the College of Executive Coaching and is a Certified Resilience Trainer. She spent her 2006-2007 Bush Medical Fellowship learning to build collaborative medical cultures.

From 2016-2020 she led physician and APP engagement and well-being for a large healthcare organization. She worked with individuals and teams to build the agency necessary to improve the work environment. She and a team of caring individuals responded to the needs of healthcare workers during the pandemic with skill and patience; designing resources for teams that were stretched thin and too proud to ask for help.

Her consulting business, Influencing Healthcare, LLC has coached emerging leaders, physicians and APPs that are struggling with work-life balance, a quickly changing healthcare climate, communication, and teamwork in the workplace since 2008.

  • Dawn is dedicated to improving communications and leadership with the goal of building healthy collaborations.

  • She helps providers connect with their patients and partner with them for improved health.

  • She builds teams of healthcare workers that can make decisions to which they are committed and for which they are accountable.

  • Dawn helps providers build capacity in others, enhance collaborative skills and become the leaders that will influence the future.

Dawn connects community members, health and wellness professionals; improving the resilience, health and well-being of communities.

Portrait of Janet Goligowski

Janet Goligowski

Janet is a Human Services Public Health Director through Stearns County. Janet has been with Human Services for 14 years.  She earned a BA in Liberal Studies from CSB/SJU and holds a Masters Degree in Psychology from SCSU.  She has served as a Commissioner, a Non-Profit Director and a therapist throughout her career. In her free time she enjoys hunting, fishing, and being at the cabin.  Janet is passionate about Granite Table because to be a part of building inclusive communities that are safe and strong and support everyone.  Paul Wellstone said it best- #we all do better when we all do better;  Maya Angelou puts the icing on the cake with #when we know better, we need to do better. 

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Black Licorice

Portrait of Lieutenant Kelly R. Mager

Lieutenant Kelly R. Mager

Kelly is a State Patrol Lieutenant with the Minnesota State Patrol and is currently assigned out of the Saint Cloud Office. In his role with the State Patrol he has experience in Special Operations, Incident Planning, responsive patrol programs, and community engagement. In addition, Kelly serves as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Sartell’s Planning Commission. Kelly has a Master’s Degree from Saint Cloud State University in Public Safety Executive Leadership and also holds a Bachelor’s Degree is Criminal Justice from the American Military University. Further, Kelly has completed several leadership programs, to include the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development seminar. Kelly is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps; he served for 8 years and has experienced extensive travel abroad while working on assignments with the U.S. State Department. In his free time Kelly enjoys volunteering with the Sartell Baseball Association, volunteering at the Waters Church in Sartell, supporting Saint Cloud State Husky athletics, attending theatre at the Paramount Center for the Arts, exercising, and traveling with his family. Kelly is passionate about Granite Table because of the diversity that Central Minnesota and the Saint Cloud area offers. Granite Table is an opportunity to leverage our relationships to bridge the gaps in our communities and being proactive to navigate positive change.

Favorite Ice Cream: whatever my friends at Jupiter Moon or Mr. Twisty’s recommend to me

Portrait of Shanda Davis

Board Member Name

Job – Dean of Business, IT, Online Learning at Saint Cloud Technical & Community College

Background/experience – first half of my career was in business/industry, mainly manufacturing management in aerospace and food processing. Have served as both a business professor and business dean for two other institutions. Was also the Director of Strategic Planning for Basin Electric Power Cooperative in Bismarck, ND. I am a Certified Management Accountant, a trained facilitator, and have experience with continuous improvement, strategic planning using a balanced scorecard approach. Originally a farm kid from North Dakota. BA from University of Jamestown; MBA from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and PhD in Institutional Analysis from North Dakota State University. My husband Bill – an Alabama native, and I have five grown children (his 3, my 2), with a combined total of 5 grandchildren (his 4, my 1).

Free time – love to travel, both in the U.S. and Internationally. My husband and I have a goal of visiting every national park together. Also enjoy gardening, reading and entertaining.

Passionate about Granite Table – I believe we truly have an obligation to help make our communities better by our being engaged and active within them. This is a great opportunity to do so.

Jaclyn Litfin

Jaclyn is a Community Health Services Administrator who oversees public and community health in Benton County. She holds a Master of Public Health in Global Health from St. Catherine University. Jaclyn enjoys spending time in her garden or with her family at the cabin. She is passionate about Granite Table because it provides a space to collaborate and engage with her peers on a common mission.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Cake Batter with Brownie

 

 

 

Portrait of Shanda Davis

Brian Voerding

Brian serves as the Vice President for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at the Initiative Foundation, where he directs programs and services for entrepreneurs. Brian is a lifelong Minnesotan who has always been driven to contribute to building equitable, thriving communities that work for all. His first career was in journalism, where he served as the editor for the Winona Daily News for several years. He then launched and built a startup nonprofit called Engage Winona, dedicated to community engagement and change-making. Brian enjoys the outdoors with family and friends, reading, and music. Brian also loves deeply knowing the place he lives, so you can find him frequently out exploring, volunteering, and experiencing new things. Brian is passionate about Granite Table because it offers deep collaboration and a committed effort from a community-wide coalition of partners. He believes this is the best way to create lasting change and build the kinds of places where everyone can find opportunity, belonging, and connection.

 

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Anything vegan, but especially vanilla

Pull up a Seat

Sharing Perspectives. Engaging Dialogue. Addressing Inequities. Transforming Community. 

Our Mission:

Enriching lives in Central Minnesota through intentional, collaborative, and equitable action.