Donna Dunn, Executive Director
Donna Dunn became the Executive Director of MNCASA in July, 2006. Prior to this, Ms. Dunn served as the program manager of the Sexual Violence Justice Institute, the criminal justice arm of the coalition. An activist in the movement to end violence against women, Ms. Dunn has over 20 years of experience in community based private non-profits. She was the director of Victim Services of Dodge/Fillmore/Olmsted Community Corrections and served as the Sexual Assault Program Director for the state of Minnesota.
Ms. Dunn has lectured on team collaboration and sexual assault response across the U.S. She believes that multidisciplinary collaboration brings together the community forces that need to be working in tandem to stop violence against women. She is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Vanderbilt University.
Email: donna(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7441
Yvonne Cournoyer, Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator
Yvonne Cournoyer has over 25 years of experience in planning, designing, developing, managing and evaluating programs and projects serving children, families and underserved communities. Prior to joining the MNCASA staff, she was Program Director for Stop It Now!, where she developed and presented trainings including Creating Circles of Safety: How to Speak Up to Keep Children Safe, Creating Safe Environments through Policy and Practice
, and How Understanding and Responding to Sexual Behaviors in Children can Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
. From 2002-2008, she was the Program Director for Stop It Now! Minnesota where she developed the first ad campaign targeting adults concerned about their own sexualized thoughts and behaviors. She has written articles and tip sheets for parents on a variety of topics including Sexual Safety: How to Talk with Coaches who Show Inappropriate Interest in Children
. Her writing has been featured in Road Runner
magazine and in USA Gymnastics’ Technique
magazine. She is also a trained Stewards of Children facilitator and teaches on-line classes for child care providers.
Email: ycournoyer(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 x7444
Melia Garza, Sexual Violence Justice Institute Collaboration Specialist
Melia Garza began her work with Sexual Violence Justice Institute (SVJI) at the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) in February 2008. In her role as Collaboration Specialist, Melia provides leadership and in-depth support to local and national multi-disciplinary teams on issues ranging from team formation and sustainability, conducting community needs assessments, developing protocol, forensic compliance issues, and case conversations. Additionally, she coordinates the Expert Testimony Resources Project which aims at advancing the skill and confidence of prosecutors and expert witnesses through resource development and participation in mock testimony institutes. Melia is a current member of the CornerHouse Cultural Advisory Board and has worked on special projects including training to systems professionals as part of SVJI’s Law Enforcement and Medical project and to prison staff on institutional response teams as part of requirements set forth in the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Melia's prior experience includes working as a Sexual Assault Program Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator at a community based sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy organization, serving as a member of a local Sex Offender Task Force and SMART team, and working at a residential treatment center for juvenile sex offenders. Melia is a graduate of Carleton College and is working toward a Master's of Science in Criminal Justice from Metropolitan State University.
Email: melia(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext.7446
Lindsay Gullingsrud, Membership Services and Communications Coordinator
Lindsay Gullingsrud joined the staff of MCASA it July, 2007. Prior to this, Ms. Gullingsrud worked as the Sexual Violence Education Coordinator in the Women’s Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU-M). During her time at MSU-M, Ms. Gullingsrud established the Sexual Violence Education Program, the first point of care for students in crisis, as well as designed and implemented preventive programs addressing sexual violence on campus. Before starting her employment with MSU-M, Ms. Gullingsrud worked within Nicollet and Sibley Counties as the Sexual Assault Program Coordinator for Crime Victim Services, Inc.
Ms. Gullingsrud has worked closely at the community and university levels with regards to education, outreach, and creating a coordinated systematic approach to addressing sexual violence within our communities. Lindsay is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Email: lindsay(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7443
Sharon Haas, Sexual Violence Justice Institute Collaboration Specialist
Sharon Haas joined the Sexual Violence Justice Institute team of MNCASA in October 2009. Previously, in her work with the MACC Alliance of Connected Communities, she coordinated member agency teams in Evaluation Capacity Building and facilitated staff teams and affinity groups in efforts to improve outcomes for service recipients and community participants. Prior to her work with MACC, Ms. Haas coordinated a family violence prevention project with Merrick Community Services in East St. Paul. Her efforts to address domestic violence include work as an intern with the Battered Women’s Justice Project providing technical assistance for advocates and others around a coordinated systems response to domestic violence. In her work with the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, Ms. Haas conducted surveys and provided Spanish translation for a study on the intersection between domestic violence and child abuse. Prior to this, she served as a legal advocate for victim/survivors of domestic violence with the Minneapolis Intervention Project. Ms. Haas is graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University and the University of Minnesota School of Social Work.
Email: shaas(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7449
Leah Lutz, Sexual Violence Justice Institute Collaboration Specialist
Leah Lutz joined MNCASA in April, 2008. Leah has over twelve years experience in sexual/domestic violence-related work. From 2003-2008, Leah was Executive Director of HOPE Center in Rice County, MN. In this position, she lead a community-based advocacy organization that offers support to victim/survivors of sexual/domestic violence, provides educational support to the entire community, and collaborative support to other organizations that serve victims/survivors. Leah has been a frequent presenter at statewide and regional training/educational events. In 2004, Leah helped form the Rice County SMART Team and co-chaired the team for four years. Leah is happy to be working at MNCASA and hopes to use the lessons learned from the Rice County process to help other communities build a coordinated victim-centered response for victim/survivors of sexual violence.
Email: leah(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7447
Megan McKinnon, Office and Systems Manager
Megan McKinnon joined the staff of MNCASA in April 2007. Prior to that she worked as the East African language coordinator for an interpreting agency, and as an executive and editorial assistant at the St. Paul-based National Youth Leadership Council. Ms. McKinnon also worked for the Minnesota Senate and as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Minnesota Literacy Council. She is a graduate of the College of St. Catherine.
Email: megan(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7440
M. Kathleen Murphy, Communications Coordinator
M. Kathleen Murphy has over 20 years of communications experience ranging from advocacy on a variety of women’s issues, to marketing, development, visual communications and media relations for nonprofits, political candidates and small businesses. As Communications Coordinator, she will be responsible for the communication and development needs throughout our agency, including the work of the SVJI, our prevention program, public policy and membership services.
Prior to joining the MNCASA staff, she was the Director of Public Policy Advocacy at Midwest Health Center for Women, where she lobbied on behalf of reproductive rights and women’s health for 8 years. She also served as the marketing specialist for Children’s Home Society for 2 years and has had a successful communications consulting practice for over 12 years. She is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art & Design with extensive coursework in economics, political science and women’s studies at the University of Minnesota.
Email: kmurphy(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7452
Kari Ogrodowski, Sexual Violence Justice Institute Collaboration Specialist
Kari Ogrodowski joined the Sexual Violence Justice Institute at MNCASA in October 2013. As a Collaboration Specialist, Kari provides training and technical assistance for multidisciplinary sexual assault response teams in order to promote a victim-centered response to sexual violence.
Kari has previously worked as a Case Manager, hospital advocate, and Rape Crisis Center Volunteer Program Coordinator in Washington, DC. She has experience working with DC’s Sexual Assault Response Team and also conducted many trainings and presentations regarding sexual assault response. More specifically, Kari assisted in the creation and implementation of Washington, DC’s current hospital advocacy program. She was also one of the first advocates to provide services to an incarcerated survivor in DC under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Kari’s passion for social justice and women’s empowerment first began with a college volunteer opportunity as a Healthy Relationships Class Facilitator at a local Juvenile Detention Center.
Kari originally comes from Knoxville, TN and is a graduate of Grinnell College.
Email: kari(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7450
Ruth Olson, Accounting Support
Ruth Olson joined MNCASA in June 2012 as the part-time accounting assistant. Ruth comes with many years of office/accounting experience. She previously served for 7 years, as an accounting assistant at PATH Inc. (Professional Association of Treatment Homes), a Minnesota non-profit foster care agency that works with children in treatment foster care. She also worked for 15+ years as a credit assistant, then credit manager, in the wholesale building materials industry.
Email:rolson(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7442
Caroline Palmer, Staff Attorney
Caroline Palmer joined MNCASA in 2008. As staff attorney she works to develop MNCASA's policy agenda, provide technical assistance to member programs, organize trainings for criminal justice and social services professionals, and develop educational resources. Prior to her duties at MNCASA she was the Pro Bono Development Director at the Minnesota State Bar Association and a staff attorney at the Minnesota AIDS Project. Ms. Palmer is a graduate of Barnard College and Hamline University School of Law (where she is currently an adjunct professor). She also completed the Policy Fellows Program at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Email: caroline(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7445
Laura Williams, Sexual Violence Justice Institute Program Manager
Laura Williams joined the staff of MNCASA in December 2006. With over 15 years of experience in victim services, she has worked as an advocate, outreach worker, volunteer coordinator, trainer, analyst and a project coordinator, primarily in Dodge, Fillmore, and Olmsted County Victim Services. For five years, Laura served as a founding co-director of the Minnesota Model Protocol Project, the forerunner to the Sexual Violence Justice Institute. She is co-author of the Minnesota Model Sexual Assault Response Protocol.
More recently, Ms. Williams worked at the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services as a Terrorism Victim Assistance Analyst and in Olmsted County as the Coordinator of Children First, a community initiative focusing on healthy youth development.
Ms. Williams’ interest in working to end sexual violence began as a college student in the late 1980s at Carleton College where she organized to raise awareness about non-stranger rape, including the College’s first mock trial on sexual assault. She is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
Email: laura(at)mncasa(dot)org Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7448