OUR TEAM

We love our jobs – and we bring unique skills and passions together to do them well.
Executive Team
Joe Cavanaugh

Founder and CEO

Joe is a nationally-renowned speaker promoting timeless values and personal character to audiences of all ages. He has been recognized by General Colin Powell of America’s Promise as being “a leader in our nation’s effort to rescue America’s young people.” Whether it is the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, a PTA luncheon, an educator conference or a room filled with 200 teenagers, Joe loves to be in front of a crowd (sometimes three’s a crowd!) to share his passion for raising a generation of young people with good character. Joe also speaks about the need for reflective leadership and the critical building blocks needed to create a healthy school.

 

With more than 30 years of experience working with young people, he is one of the foremost communicators to youth on the topics of respect, integrity, courage and compassion.

 

Joe has been featured in several local, regional and national media including a 90-minute PBS television special titled “Respectfully, Joe Cavanaugh.

 

Joe received his B.A. degree in Humanities from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. He recently gave the commencement address at his alma mater, where he was given an Honorary Doctorate. He was also awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year by St. John’s in 2012.

Joe and his wife, Jane, live in Edina, Minn. with their daughter. He currently serves on boards and committees for Saint John’s University and Employee Strategies.

Cheri Keepers

Director, External Relations

Cheri Keepers is the Director of External Relations for Youth Frontiers where she is responsible for leading strategy and overseeing all external relations. Prior to this role, she led the School Relations department at YF for six years. Cheri has demonstrated great leadership abilities during her tenure here and beforehand as an Executive Camp Director at the YMCA. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from St. Catherine University and has participated in Studio/E Leadership Cohort and Activate Talent Leadership Cohort. 

 

A fun fact about Cheri’s professional accomplishments: she was part of a team at St. Catherine University that developed a new minor program for undergraduates titled, Nonprofit Strategies and Operations Minor. During her studies, she also helped develop a social justice and service learning model for the graduate programs at St. Catherine University. The model was nationally recognized as an excellent industry standard to achieve. Cheri and her husband love watching their kids play soccer and ultimate frisbee, camping, swimming and enjoying Friday movie nights.

Julia Peacock

Executive Assistant

Julia serves as the Executive Assistant to the CEO at Youth Frontiers. She graduated from Hamline University with a degree in philosophy & legal studies and worked as a paralegal before beginning her career as an executive assistant. She previously worked at the Minnesota AIDS Project, the Hennepin County Bar Association and Sabathani Community Center. When she’s not working Julia enjoys reading, art museums, theatre, travel and playing countless games of Scrabble with her father.

Abby Zimmerman
Abby Zimmerman

Executive Assistant

Abby graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. She spent the next chapter of her career in Human Resources before landing at Youth Frontiers in 2019. If she is not at YF she enjoys spending time with her family and kids, anything that will get her outside or anything other than sitting still. Being a true Wisconsinite she also enjoys cheering on the Packers and the Brewers!

Sebastian Davin

Director, Innovation and Experiences

Sebastian came to Youth Frontiers in 2012 as a Retreat Staff Musician after spending 10 years on the road with his national touring band, Dropping Daylight.  He was immediately inspired by YF’s work in schools and continues to grow and be challenged by their mission.  Sebastian contributes strategic, technical and creative expertise to craft YF’s unforgettable experiences.

 

An alumni of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied Songwriting and Piano Performance, Sebastian still makes time to perform music with his party duo The White Keys, who provide entertainment for community celebrations, corporate events, weddings and for US troops serving overseas.

 

When not behind a desk or on a stage, Sebastian can be found hiking the North Woods of Minnesota, traveling, and cooking delicious meals in his St. Paul home for his wife, Lauryn, and their three daughters Hazel, Juniper and Magnolia.

Sarah Gavigan
Sarah Gavigan

Director, Marketing & Communications

As a journalism and global studies graduate, Sarah sought a career that encourages creativity and supports an important cause. In summer 2016, she found Youth Frontiers. Sarah loves that the organization teaches students to value themselves and others for the ultimate betterment of schools and the greater community. When she’s not communicating for Youth Frontiers, Sarah enjoys reading the words of others, stretching her limits in yoga and exploring the world through travel.

Program Staff
Dan Rodriguez
Students and Educators
Daniel 'Switch' Sederstrom
Students
Dan Schwartz
Educators and Communities
Erin Walsh Headshot
Erin Walsh
Educators
Jamaka Davis
Jamaka Davis
Students
Jane Leyden
Educators and Communities
Jim Becker Headshot
Jim Becker
Educators
Joe Cavanaugh
Students, Educators and Communities
Josh Cleveland
Educators
Joshua Johnson
Students and Educators
Kelvin
KJ Haywood
Students
Maddie Lenarz Hooyman
Students
Preston Gunderson
Students and Educators
Sean Donovan
Students
Sebastian Davin
Students and Educators
Sesay
Students
Stephanie Groves
Students
Stephanie Kahle
Students
Todd Maas
Students and Educators
External Relations Team
Brad Olson
Communications & Video Specialist
Carol Hagberg
Database Analyst
Jenny Hauser
Jenny Hauser
Community Relationships Manager
Kevin Lungay
Database Coordinator
Kim Boyll
Community Relationships Manager
Peggy Bell
Coordinator, External Relations
Operations Team
Bill Brandt
Finance Manager
Savannah McKinney
Programs Coordinator
Board of Directors

Joe Cavanaugh

Founder & CEO, Youth Frontiers, Inc.

Karen Hohertz-Jacobs

Senior Director, Procurement Operations and Cost Transformation, Best Buy

Jon Reissner*

President, Activar

*board chair