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.

Headshot of Jessica Thompson
Jessica Thompson

Director of Finance & HR 

Jessica joined the YF team in 2016. She was first drawn to YF because of our strong commitment to creating an amazing culture for our employees (What HR professional would turn down an opportunity to be a part of that!?). She graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2005 with a B.S. in Theatre Arts – Production. After freelance stage managing for several years around the Twin Cities, she decided to attend Metropolitan State University to pursue Accounting and Human Resources. Jessica stayed connected to various nonprofits through volunteering and board service while she grew her professional skill set in finance and human resources in the for-profit world. In 2017, Jessica received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Hamline University. She is thrilled to be able to finally merge her love of nonprofits with her love of business here at YF. Outside of work, Jessica is a dedicated Trekkie, die-hard Vikings fan, armchair scientist, podcast lover and bibliophile.

Megan Solemsli-Chrysler

Director of Programs

Megan’s had a remarkable journey as a Youth Frontiers retreat facilitator for the past 10 years. With more than 900 retreats under her belt, she is still in awe of all of the good, kind and inspiring people she gets to interact with everyday through this amazing work. When not on retreat, you might find Megan singing with the professional chamber choir, Exultate, playing soccer, dining out for brunch with friends, walking her dog, Murray, spending time with her family, or taking up home improvement projects with her wife, Adelia.

Patty Beadle

COO

Patty was first moved by the mission of Youth Frontiers (YF) as a teacher and a parent of a student on a Kindness Retreat. She started volunteering for YF in 1999 and joined the team as a School Relations Representative in 2011. She loves the awesome team that she gets to lead and their passion for helping youth succeed. Patty graduated from college with a degree in Elementary Education and recently received her Masters in Divinity from the United Theological Seminary. Along with her experience teaching elementary students, Patty has held corporate business leadership roles and has been a leader as an entrepreneur launching several businesses. Her community involvement includes volunteering as a board member of Minnesota’s BAARC and Edina Give and Go and in other capacities. When Patty is not working, she enjoys skiing, yoga, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Retreat Staff
Andrew Zhao Headshot
Andrew Zhao
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Andrew grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, rooting for the local sports teams and eating cheese fries. He’s worked with students of all ages for the past decade. Andrew discovered Youth Frontiers online and was pleasantly surprised that such a job existed. In 2016, he cried uncontrollably when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

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Anna Ganter
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Anna first encountered Youth Frontiers as a sixth grader in Andover, Minnesota on a Courage Retreat. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin River Falls with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. Anna enjoys exploring new places and spending time with her family. She someday aspires to create the perfect s’more.

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Ben Nordquist
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Ben’s world first collided with Youth Frontiers as a high school senior on the Wisdom Retreat. After eight semesters at Luther College, three summers as a camp counselor, one summer working on Capitol Hill, and too much coffee, Ben started at Youth Frontiers in August of 2015 as an intern. His love of inspiring positive change has kept him at YF where he works in both the communications and retreat departments. Ben wants you to know that he thinks you’re awesome. Yes, YOU!

Conn McCartan
Lead Retreat Facilitator – Educator Retreats

After a 35-year career as a teacher, coach and administrator in the Osseo, Anoka-Hennepin and Eden Prairie School Districts, Conn is thrilled to join the Youth Frontiers staff as an Educator Retreat Facilitator. As a high school principal, Conn is aware of the impact that Youth Frontiers can have on building a community of character in a school. Conn and his wife Pam have two grown children, who are both living their dreams as professional actors in New York and Los Angeles.

Erin Walsh Headshot
Erin Walsh
Lead Retreat Facilitator – Educator Retreats

Erin worked at the National Institute on Media and the Family before launching Mind Positive Parenting™ with her dad, Dr. David Walsh. Youth Frontiers invited Erin and her dad to co-create a retreat that explores both the art and (brain) science of connection and achievement. Erin is also on the Search Institute speaking and training team and teaches at the University of Minnesota and the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. She lives in south Minneapolis with her partner and two sons.

Genevieve Kalland Headshot
Genevieve Kalland
Retreat Facilitator

Genevieve first experienced Youth Frontiers as a 9th grader on a Respect Retreat. After what turned out to be a very transformative day for her class, she distinctly remembers thinking, “Wait…people do this for their job?”. Now, it’s many years later and she is thrilled to be apart of the Programs Staff family! After graduating from high school, Genevieve went to Luther College where she majored in Religion with a focus in Women and Gender Studies. Genevieve’s favorite part of any retreat is watching the joy on the faces of the students as they sing and dance to the YMCA. For Genevieve, to have the opportunity to play, listen, and learn with and from young people every single day is quite the honor.

Jacob Niewinski
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Jacob first experienced Youth Frontiers when he attended a Courage Retreat as student at St Louis Park Middle School. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Religion degree and has been working with youth in various roles for 10 years. Jacob wakes up every day with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and record playing, grateful to work with such incredible people.

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Jake Esser
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Jake first experienced Youth Frontiers as a ninth grader in Edina, Minn. when he went with his class on a Respect Retreat. After graduating from Edina High School, Jake attended the University of Iowa to study Journalism and Spanish. He then interned with Youth Frontiers in 2015 before starting as a full-time staff member in 2016. If he’s not on Retreat, you can find him with his backpack somewhere else in the world. His journeys from New Zealand to Spain to Bolivia have inspired his goal of finding happiness in every minute.

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Jane Leyden
Lead Retreat Facilitator – Educator Retreats

Jane is a talented performer who spent 12 years studying and performing comedy before returning to Minnesota. She joined Youth Frontiers in 1999 as a retreat director and now focuses on educator retreats and is on the school relations team. Jane loves Youth Frontiers because it emphasizes her personal mission statement, “encouraging people through humor and heart.” In her free time, Jane loves to travel, play piano, salsa dance and spend time with her husband and daughter.

Jim Becker Headshot
Jim Becker
Lead Retreat Facilitator – Educator Retreats

Jim teaches Economics and Civics at Eagan High School (EHS) and witnessed what he calls the “magic of Youth Frontiers work” in the hallways and classrooms at EHS for many years. Jim joined Youth Frontiers in 2009 and feels lucky to be working alongside such amazing people. Jim also coaches golf and is the Link Crew coordinator at EHS. Jim is married to Brenda (a middle school administrator) and they have two children.

Joe Cavanaugh Headshot
Joe Cavanaugh
Lead Retreat Facilitator – Educator Retreats

Joe has been leading retreats for youth for more than 30 years. Joe also directs retreats for educators. A favorite recent memory was the opportunity to do a retreat in Seoul, Korea. Outside of Youth Frontiers, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, gardening and traveling around the world.

Josh Cleveland Headshot
Josh Cleveland
Lead Retreat Facilitator/Retreat Musician

Josh is a singer/songwriter and a seasoned youth worker who found his fit at Youth Frontiers in 2012. Working at YF is Josh’s dream job and he has felt right at home since his first day. When Josh is not playing music on retreat, he spends his time with his favorite three women: his daughters and his wife. You can listen to Josh on iTunes.

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Joshua Johnson
Lead Retreat Facilitator/YCorps Manager

Josh has been working with youth for more than 20 years. He attended his first Youth Frontiers retreat in high school and was excited to bring it full circle when he directed a Courage Retreat for his daughter’s class in 2013. He has since facilitated Kindness and Courage retreats for each of his three children. He is currently working on his Master’s in Transformational Leadership at Bethel Seminary. Josh is an avid geocacher with quite a YouTube following and enjoys spending time with his spunky family.

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Julia Lawler
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Julia was born in northern California and trained as an actor at SUNY Purchase College in New York. After holding many different jobs – actor, cook, waitress, tutor, camp counselor, social worker, yoga teacher and costumed character – she is continually grateful to be part of the Youth Frontiers crew. In addition to being inspired by school communities around the country on retreat, Julia spends time as an aerialist, party game player and breakfast eater. She dreams of one day winning tickets to something on the radio.

Katie Sweeney
Lead Retreat Facilitator – Educator Retreats

Katie grew up in Minnesota and graduated from the University of North Dakota. She has spent the last 17 years encouraging, educating and supporting fifth graders at Countryside Elementary in Edina, Minnesota. Through teaching, she discovered Youth Frontiers, and the similar shared passion of creating character, compassion and honor in students and educators. She enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends and being outside. Other hobbies include playing golf, walking the lakes, attending country music concerts and reading to discover the next fantastic novel to recommend to friends. She strives to be ‘the kindest person she knows.’

Laura Ricci
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Laura graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University with degrees in Communication and Theater. She is thrilled to be on the YF team impacting youth. When not on retreat, you can find Laura eating pizza or watching Netflix, preferably at the same time. 

Maddie Lenarz Hooyman Headshot
Maddie Lenarz Hooyman
Programs Quality and Development Coach

Maddie’s first Youth Frontiers retreat was as a fifth-grader at Highlands Elementary in Edina, Minn. Maddie studied Theatre and Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago where she also performed in many productions and studied improv at The Second City. She interned with Youth Frontiers and started as full-time staff in 2013. She enjoys running around the lakes, spending time with her family and feels grateful she is able to combine her passion for performance with YF’s meaningful mission.

Megan Solemsli-Chrysler Headshot
Megan Solemsli-Chrysler
Director of Programs

Megan’s had a remarkable journey as a Youth Frontiers retreat facilitator for the past 10 years. With more than 900 retreats under her belt, she is still in awe of all of the good, kind and inspiring people she gets to interact with everyday through this amazing work. When not on retreat, you might find Megan singing with the professional chamber choir, Exultate, playing soccer, dining out for brunch with friends, walking her dog, Murray, spending time with her family, or taking up home improvement projects with her wife, Adelia.

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Sally Koering
Lead Retreat Facilitator – Educator Retreats

Sally has a background in theater and communications (with an M.A. in public persuasion) and has shared her talents with Youth Frontiers since 2002. She has a passion for what YF does, and how YF does it – and she loves sharing that with others, whether through coaching speakers, leading retreats or creating their events. She and her husband Andy live in St. Paul, Minn., with their three kids and attention-starved dog. When not working for Youth Frontiers, Sally stays busy with her consulting company and podcast, This Moved Me.

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Sam Soule
Lead Retreat Facilitator/Manager

Sam, Retreat Director, first worked with the Youth Frontiers team as a high school small group leader on a Courage Retreat in Moorhead, Minn. However, it wasn’t until a few years later after college that Sam finally had the privilege to join YF. Now, Sam is always excited to hit the road to talk to students about kindness, courage and respect. When Sam is not on retreat, he can be found making good food and hanging out with friends.

Sam Kosel
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Sam first encountered Youth Frontiers after her world travels with a nonprofit organization called Up with People. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Sam loves to get to know other people and challenge herself to try new things. You can usually find Sam with her family, outside or planning her next adventure!

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Todd Maas
Lead Retreat Facilitator/Manager

Todd spent plenty of his life in schools where he eventually received his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Bethel University. Todd truly loves and appreciates his job at Youth Frontiers because it allows him to work with students, something he has done since graduating from high school. In no particular order, Todd’s other loves include his wife, two daughters, golf and Dove chocolate.

Tyson Coleman
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Bio to come.

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Vanessa Montalvo
Lead Retreat Facilitator

Vanessa grew up in Southwest Minnesota and eventually made it to the big city where she graduated from The University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. She found Youth Frontiers after a tarot card reader told her to stop applying for jobs because there was actually a really cool one out there for her and it would come at the right time!  (She was right.) Vanessa is passionate about youth empowerment and is super pumped to be a YFer!

Retreat Musicians
Abdul Sesay Headshot
Abdul Sesay
Retreat Musician

Abdul first experienced Youth Frontiers when he went on a Kindness Retreat in fourth grade. Years later, he participated in YF’s apprenticeship program before joining the organization full-time as a Retreat Musician. Abdul was born in Sierra Leone and moved to the United States when he was nine. Though he’s fluent in three languages, he’s always felt that he communicates best with others through his music. After high school, Abdul pursued his passion for songwriting at McNally Smith College of Music. His passion for music and youth work led him to YF, but it’s the value of the work that keeps him here.

Dahlia Jones Headshot
Dahlia Jones
Retreat Musician

Bio to come.

Daniel S
Retreat Musician

Bio to come.

Eric Fairchild Headshot
Eric Fairchild
Program Logistics Coordinater/Retreat Musician

Eric is a solo artist and a member of the Minneapolis rock band, Attention. He has toured the US, and the UK. Eric was a participant on a Youth Frontiers retreat as a ninth-grader at South View Middle School in Edina, Minn. and joined the staff in 2005. Eric is also a weekend DJ on Minneapolis radio station KQRS. Eric enjoys being able to share his music with students, and seeing the connection it can make. Eric lives in Minneapolis, loves the Minnesota Twins and hates tomatoes. You can listen to Eric on iTunes.

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Jon Herchert
Retreat Musician

Jon is a veteran at Youth Frontiers – facilitating close to 1500 retreats since he started in the late 1990s. He also has more than 20 years of performance experience as a front man/side man in many national touring acts. He is a husband and father of two boys. Jon’s passion for the creative side is lived out as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, sculptor and idea man. You can listen to Jonny on iTunes.

Josh Cleveland Headshot
Josh Cleveland
Lead Retreat Facilitator/Retreat Musician

Josh is a singer/songwriter and a seasoned youth worker who found his fit at Youth Frontiers in 2012. Working at YF is Josh’s dream job and he has felt right at home since his first day. When Josh is not playing music on retreat, he spends his time with his favorite three women: his daughters and his wife. You can listen to Josh on iTunes.

Mayyadda Major Headshot
Mayyadda Major
Retreat Musician

Mayyadda is a solo singer-songwriter born and raised in Minneapolis. Her first encounter with Youth Frontiers was at a Courage Retreat as a Breck middle schooler, which impacted her enough that she volunteered to be a small-group leader as a junior. She’s released two independent EPs and she feels blessed that her next music project will be sharing her songs and stories with students on retreats.

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Preston Gunderson
Retreat Musician

Preston is a singer-songwriter who hails from the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota. He has played his music in more than 10 states and four countries. He was a casting finalist on NBC’s show “The Voice” and also a contestant on “American Idol.” He was selected as the 2014 Bob Dylan Days singer-songwriter grand champion, and twice recognized as one of the “Five Artists You Should Hear” in 2014 by ReverbNation. Preston feels so honored to be surrounded by talented and passionate people at YF and loves making a positive impact through music! You can listen to Preston on iTunes.

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Sebastian Davin
Educator Programs and Experiences Manager/Retreat Musician

Sebastian is a professional musician from the band, Dropping Daylight. After spending six years recording albums and touring the country, Sebastian found a home with Youth Frontiers in 2012. He hopes to use his musical experience and the amazing messages of YF to help enrich the lives of youth around the country. Sebastian lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Lauryn, and their adorable daughters. You can listen to Sebastian on iTunes.

Tony Lehr Headshot
Tony Lehr
Retreat Musician

Tony is a singer/songwriter who loves playing in a local folk trio called Family Three. Tony is a Retreat Staff Musician as of 2015. He is excited to be a part of an organization and team that is so committed to engaging with young people and striving for positive change. Tony loves that he is able to combine his love of music and his passion for working with youth. You can listen to Tony on iTunes.

External Relations Team
Ali Sipkins Headshot
Ali Sipkins
Executive Assistant

Ali’s experience as a ninth-grader on the Respect Retreat at South View Middle School in Edina, Minn., was life-changing. After volunteering for YF throughout high school and college, she started working here in 2005. Ali graduated Phi Beta Kappa in International Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and received her Mini–MBA for Nonprofit Organizations from the University of St. Thomas. She has served on the YMCA Camp Warren Community Board and Tonka CARES Coalition. An avid yogi, Ali appreciates the Youth Frontiers retreat model as it gives the space and time for students to be reflective and mindful about their attitudes and behaviors toward themselves and others, and make a positive change to build a culture of respect at their schools.

Brad Olson Headshot
Brad Olson
Communications & Video Specialist

Brad joined Youth Frontiers in fall of 2017 after spending a year doing contract work with a variety of organizations. He was looking for a place where his passion for video and storytelling could make a positive impact in the world. That’s when he found Youth Frontiers. Loving YF’s message and mission, he couldn’t think of a better place to be. Always an avid learner, after getting a B.I.S. in Film Studies, Video Production & Management, he is back in school pursuing a second degree in Digital Marketing Technology. In his free time, you’ll find Brad working on his next film, studying, out for a run, or sharing laughs with good friends.

Cheri Keepers Headshot
Cheri Keepers
School Relations Department Manager

Cheri came to Youth Frontiers (YF) in 2014 from the Twin Cities YMCA where she was a Camp Director for Camps Warren and Icaghowan. She has a heart for youth and community development and loves that at YF, “We get to be inspired and we get to inspire!” She is most inspired when communities come together to create positive change and social justice. She and her husband love watching their kids play soccer and ultimate frisbee, camping, swimming and enjoying Friday movie nights.

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Christy Lund
Donor Relations Manager –  Minnesota

Christy came to Youth Frontiers in 2017 from another terrific nonprofit, The Firefly Sisterhood. Previous to that, she was a classroom teacher for 12 years where cultivating a positive classroom culture was always her first priority. Because Christy experienced firsthand how challenging it can be for students to learn when their social and emotional lives are compromised, she is honored to further YF’s mission to help build positive communities where students can thrive. Christy’s greatest teacher is her five-year-old daughter. In her free time, Christy loves to travel, be outdoors, and pursue various kid-centric opportunities around the Twin Cities.

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Ellory Roske
Retreat Coordinator

Ellory graduated from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. and worked with Young Americans and 3M before joining YF in 2016. She appreciates that her current role allows her to combine her passion for education and her customer service experience. She also enjoys serving our students and teachers by improving efficiency and building relationships. Ellory is furthermore thrilled to work with an intelligent, supportive team and looks forward to learning from them. In her free time, Ellory enjoys outdoor activities, year round Ultimate Frisbee and letting her husband win at board games.

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Erica Cantoni
Manager of Corporate and Major Gift Engagement

Erica happily came aboard Youth Frontiers in 2009. She feels incredibly fortunate to work with hundreds of generous, committed and kind supporters who care enough to be a force for good in the lives of young people they may never meet. Prior to joining YF, Erica worked in governmental communications and research, political campaign management and fundraising and most recently for Gillette Children’s Hospital Foundation. Erica and her husband Chris were thrilled to recently become first time parents to a beautiful twin son and daughter. Camping, hiking and international travel are Erica’s lifelong passions.

Jane Leyden Headshot
Jane Leyden
School Relations Representative

Jane is a talented performer who spent 12 years studying and performing comedy before returning to Minnesota. She joined Youth Frontiers in 1999 as a retreat director and now focuses on educator retreats and is on the school relations team. Jane loves Youth Frontiers because it emphasizes her personal mission statement, “encouraging people through humor and heart.” In her free time, Jane loves to travel, play piano, salsa dance and spend time with her husband and daughter.

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Jenny Hauser
Donor Relations Manager – Wisconsin

Jenny is the first Youth Frontiers team member based in Wisconsin! Her Master’s Degree in Social Work from UW-Milwaukee and her vast experience working for Milwaukee nonprofits are the perfect fit to help grow Youth Frontiers in Wisconsin. Jenny is the mom of two school-age daughters and understands first hand the importance of youth treating themselves and others with kindness and respect. She is honored and inspired to be able to work for the mission of Youth Frontiers.  In her free time, Jenny enjoys spending time in Wauwatosa with her husband and girls, Friday family dinners, cheering on the Packers and growing her GraceGirls program which is a local mother-daughter fitness program.

Karen Nelson Headshot
Karen Nelson
Donor Relations Department Manager

Karen was introduced to Youth Frontiers 12 years ago when she served as a parent volunteer on a Courage Retreat with her daughter. Karen was moved as she witnessed the kids come to realizations about themselves, apologize to teachers and classmates and commit to being better. Prior to joining YF, Karen spent time as a CPA with Peat Marwick and also served as the Executive Director of the Edina Education Fund. When she isn’t at work, the mother of three enjoys spending time with her husband and family, coffee or movie dates with friends, reading, barre class, tennis and golf.

Katie Sweeney
Educator Program Innovator/School Relations Representative

Katie grew up in Minnesota and graduated from the University of North Dakota. She has spent the last 17 years encouraging, educating and supporting fifth graders at Countryside Elementary in Edina, Minnesota. Through teaching, she discovered Youth Frontiers, and the similar shared passion of creating character, compassion and honor in students and educators. She enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends and being outside. Other hobbies include playing golf, walking the lakes, attending country music concerts and reading to discover the next fantastic novel to recommend to friends. She strives to be ‘the kindest person she knows.’

Kim Boyll
School Relations Representative — Nebraska

Kim joined Youth Frontiers in 2018. She has an extensive background in nonprofit work and is passionate about seeing the lives of individuals and families changed for the better. She loves that her role at YF helps schools build a community of support and positive relationships, as well as character skills that will be carried with students for the rest of their lives. Kim lives in Omaha with her husband and their four kids. In her free time, she enjoys time with her family, going on walks or hikes, socializing with friends and vacationing in the mountains of CO.

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Megan Deutschman
Teacher Frontiers Project Manager

Megan is a proud graduate of the College of Saint Benedict. She first used her B.A. in
English to secure a position working as an English teacher in Japan. From her first moment in the classroom, Megan realized she had a passion for education. Upon her return to the United States, she completed her Master’s in Education and received her Minnesota teaching license. After five years of teaching, Megan moved out of the classroom to accept the TF Project Manager position with YF. She is excited about the opportunity to expand YF’s work with educators and is currently pursuing her PhD in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Megan enjoys traveling with her husband, Jon, reading, golfing and relaxing at the lake.

Melissa Regan Headshot
Melissa Regan
Donor Relations Manager – Nebraska

Melissa joined Youth Frontiers (YF) in the summer of 2013, after teaching third grade in Westside Community Schools in Omaha for 10 years. She knew she wanted to try something new, but also knew her passion was helping kids. The YF mission resonated with everything she believed in. She believes that if there is one thing her education background has taught her, it’s that character is one of the most important things we can teach our kids. Melissa is a mom of two girls, a wife and a sports-lover. In her free time she enjoys attending her kids’ activities, cheering on the Creighton Bluejays and Nebraska Cornhuskers and traveling with her family.

Michael Langseth Headshot
Michael Langseth
School Relations Representative

Michael joined Youth Frontiers in late 2017 after spending four years in the finance industry; first as an Internal Retirement Consultant at Allianz Life and then as a Client Services Associate with Modus Advisors (an LPL affiliate). Michael left the finance industry in early 2017 to recenter his career around his vocational goals. Michael is a proud graduate of St. Olaf College (Um Ya Ya!) where he majored in political science and management studies. When he’s not working, he loves to travel with his wife and dog, cheer and jeer for the Timberwolves and search for new music.

Nicole Huber Briese
Nicole Huebner Briese
Grants Manager

Nicole joined Youth Frontiers (YF) in the spring of 2018, after 10 years in youth program, curriculum writing and fund development with the Girl Scouts. Nicole is thrilled to be a part of the YF donor relations team, where she puts her research, writing and storytelling skills to work to inspire corporate and foundation support of YF’s impactful programs.

Nicole loves to create, and is currently spending all of her free time launching her jewelry business, Token + Trifle. She also likes to read, explore the outdoors with her two crazy-but-loveable dogs, and set off on local and global adventures with her husband.

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Patty Beadle
COO

Patty was first introduced to Youth Frontiers (YF) as a teacher and a parent of a student on a Kindness Retreat. She started volunteering for YF in 1999 and joined the team as a School Relations Representative in 2011. She loves the YF mission, the awesome team that she gets to lead and their passion for helping youth succeed. She is truly inspired by the people she gets to work with every day. She loves skiing, yoga, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Peggy Bell Headshot
Peggy Bell
School Relations Assistant

In the summer of 2014, Peggy found her dream job here at Youth Frontiers. Her business background in sales and marketing as well as her personal background as a parent of three whom all experienced the Youth Frontiers Retreats has proved to make her position at YF a perfect match. Peggy believes that the company’s goal to provide each school with the highest quality retreat experience truly makes her job on the School Relations team rewarding. In her free time, she and her husband are enjoying their new life as empty nesters. Peggy also enjoys traveling, cooking, biking, yoga, skiing and her newest passion, paddle-boarding.

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Sarah Gavigan
Communications Specialist

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 and photography.

Sarah Kennedy
Raiser’s Edge Database Manager

Sarah Kennedy joined Youth Frontiers (YF) in the spring of 2018 after moving back home to Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she spent seven years in Washington, D.C. working in fundraising – most recently for The Arc of the United States – before pivoting to focus on data analysis. She is very happy she found Youth Frontiers and is excited to be a part of an organization with so much to offer an ever-changing world. In her spare time, she indulges her right brain as a certified yoga instructor, poet and by seeing the world through the eyes of her niblings.

Board of Directors

Kenneth M. Bird, Ed. D., President & CEO, Avenue Scholars Foundation

Joe Cavanaugh, Founder & CEO, Youth Frontiers, Inc.

John Dulin, Vice President, Corning

John Forliti, Retired Chaplain; Community Leader

Karen Hohertz-Jacobs, Senior Director, Procurement Operations and Cost Transformation, Best Buy

Dr. Bruce H. Jackson, Executive Director, The C. Charles Jackson Foundation; CEO, The Institute of Applied Human Excellence

Dwight Johnson, Retired Chrysler Corporation Executive, Community Leader

Tom Langseth, Senior Vice President, Distribution Relationship Management, Allianz Life of North America

Jim McCorkell, Founder & CEO, College Possible

Chuck Mooty, President & CEO, Jostens, Inc.

Jon Reissner, President, Activar

Fred Senn, Founding Partner, Fallon Worldwide

Heather Teskey*, Chief Marketing Officer, Financial Services, Deluxe

Ryan Vandewiele, Vice President, Associate General Counsel, Hubbard Broadcasting

Prince Wallace, CEO, West Central Environmental Consultants, Inc.

Dr. David Walsh, Founder & CEO, Mind Positive Parenting

Duke Zurek, Director of Retail Stores, Apple, Inc.

*Board Chair