Sandra Agustin holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance Therapy from the University of Wisconsin and is a content expert for the Minnesota Center for Professional Development (MCNPD) in the areas of Promoting Creativity and the Arts and Professional Development and Leadership. Her artistic career includes teaching, performing, curating, presenting and mentoring over a span of 30 years that geographically spans throughout the Midwest and includes Mexico City. During her sixteen-year tenure as Artistic and Interim Executive Director at Intermedia Arts she helped found the Institute for Community Cultural Development (now known as Creative Cultural Leadership) and Beyond the Studio, a program aimed at assisting artists in partnering with classroom teachers in the public schools. Sandy is a master teacher with the Tony-award winning Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis through their Neighborhood Bridges program and travels nationally to facilitate the expansion of this critical literacy program. She has worked in a variety of public schools, grades pre-k through 5th, both implementing and developing critical literacy through theater.
Since 1995, Sandy has facilitated numerous Open Space convenings and served as a co-facilitator through Animating Democracy to assist US cities in creating impactful partnerships between artists and city stakeholders around the United States. She was the first Artistic Director for the Neighborhood House, a 100+ year old human service organization located on the Westside of St. Paul, MN. She has worked as Program Officer at the Minnesota State Arts Board where she managed funding through the Legacy Amendment. She has served on numerous non-profit boards and has a vast portfolio of consulting client-partnerships. She is the recipient of a Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods (LIN) fellowship that allowed her to explore intergenerational creativity in families and cultures throughout the United States. Sandy has also worked directly with the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) to recruit 18 participants and co- facilitated multi-modal- curriculum over a three-month period. With SWMHP, she helped to coach it through a Roster Artist selection criteria and selection process. She has a vast knowledge, understanding and involvement with individuals, educational institutions and non-profits throughout the region as a result of 30 year career in arts and social change communities.
Sandy will participate in Strong & Starlike engagements involving nonprofits, arts-based community engagement, focus group design and facilitation.
Maggie McKenna has been weaving arts and social justice into her community engagement and group facilitation work for over ten years. With a Master’s degree in Human Development, Maggie has built her expertise in designing and facilitating transformational experiences and training programs for communities across the region. She has worked with nonprofits and organizations to address issues of oppression, build skills in community action, and develop leadership for social change. As the founder of her own consulting business, Maggie works with individuals, organizations, and institutions to lead community engagement initiatives that advance social justice in our region in order to build trust across difference and collective action in the face of polarization.
Skilled in facilitation, project management, curriculum and training design, and leadership development, Maggie shows deep commitment to creating warm and welcoming environments for individuals and groups to learn, grow, and envision the future. Her dedicated approach to centering marginalized voices through arts-based community engagement creates and sustains transformational opportunities for people of all ages. Over the course of her career she has helped to launch over 30 businesses, mentored over 50 educators, and led trainings for over 500 individuals. As a lifelong musician and activist, Maggie deeply appreciates the power of music to bring people together and believes in the power of people embracing and organizing for change.
Maggie will participate in Strong & Starlike Consulting engagements involving nonprofits, arts-based community engagement, focus group design and facilitation.
Traci Emerson is a dedicated researcher who loves to focus on both global and local social issues, and is passionate about finding practical application of law and research to their solutions. She grew up on the West Coast, earned her B.A. in French Language & Literature from Portland State University in 2006, and later graduated with her J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
Traci has a strong background in legal research, management, customer service, teaching, and non-profit work. She has been honored to work with small and large communities world-wide in a wide variety of projects, both privately and publicly.
Recently, her research supported the roll-out of a new extension of a small, minority-owned, and women-owned business inclusion program in a local government entity. Traci is strongly committed to the real-life benefits of sound research and good law as a basis for building infrastructure that meets the needs of communities small and large. Traci is also passionate about the outdoors, constantly learning, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Traci will participate in Strong & Starlike engagements involving government entities and vendor inclusion programs.
Brian devotes significant time to working with startup companies, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses while developing best practices and legal safeguards in employment and related areas. He enjoys working with managers and human resources professionals to draft and revise policies and contracts that meet cultural and HR trends, while keeping the business legally compliant. He has also developed and presented numerous training programs on a variety of workplace issues such as managing employee leaves, I-9 and E-Verify compliance, flexible work arrangements, and avoiding harassment and discrimination claims.
Brian has built a reputation as a trusted advisor to his clients, providing rapid-response day-to-day advice on general employment-related matters, including risk management and preventative practices. In private practice litigation, he has represented clients with wage and hour matters, whistleblower claims, the spectrum of employment discrimination and retaliation claims.
Alongside his private practice, Brian maintains a strong focus on fostering community and cross-cultural relationships. He is a member of the Minnesota Harvest Initiative, an organization of African-American men that advocates for programs that close the education gap, and partners with community leaders and government to promote economic participation for people of color. As a volunteer lawyer, Brian commits substantial time to working on behalf of individuals seeking asylum protection and a lawful immigration status in the United States.
Brian will participate in Strong & Starlike engagements involving drafting of policies, procedures and handbooks.
Brian Cunningham partners closely with businesses to provide practical and cost-effective business solutions to employment law and immigration compliance issues. Brian’s practice centers around the belief that thoughtful policy design and proactive risk management are the keys to keeping employees in sync and working towards common goals.
Prior to opening his boutique law firm, Brian served as in-house legal counsel for a Fortune 100 company and a startup that was recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange. So, he knows it can be a challenge to run a business in an ever-changing landscape of laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels.
Barbara Hall is a Strategic Thought Partner, Program Development and Evaluation, Market Research, and Grant Writing Consultant who has over 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit community development sector. She currently works with the Asian Economic Development Association in St. Paul, Minnesota; the Oakland Lacrosse Club youth development organization; the Mary Babcock Reynolds Foundation; and the Institute for Local Innovations, Inc., a New Orleans-based group that provides an array of technical assistance to Southeastern nonprofits.
Ms. Hall earned two BAs Degrees in Anthropology and History from San Francisco State University and a MA in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley. She is a graduate of the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California’s Fellowship for People of Color in Affordable Housing Development program.
She worked as the Technical Assistance Coordinator and later Human Capital Development Initiative (HCDI) Program Manager for the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc. (ANDP). Through the HCDI, she was trained by the Rensselaerville Institute in Outcome-based approaches to program design, planning, development and evaluation with a focus on logic modeling. She relocated to New York City to serve as the National Director for Training and Technical Assistance for Asian Americans for Equality where she managed nearly $3 million in HUD contracts and coordinated 5 staff and over a dozen consultants to provide support to nonprofits across the country.
Ms. Hall transitioned to full-time consulting in 2008. She deploys her knowledge, skills and experience to support groups engaged in public policy research and advocacy, community organizing, dual-language charter school education, youth development, small business and local economic development, veteran transition and employment, housing, workforce development, food security, urban farming, and creative placemaking. She has helped secure over $40 million in grant funding from public agencies and foundations to implement their wide array of programs and services.
Barbara will participate in Strong & Starlike engagements involving program design and grantwriting.
Reggie Evans provides digital communications and contract compliance consulting services through his company, Uncommon Media and Consulting. Reggie graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing emphasis. After college, he worked for the City of Saint Paul striving to increase the participation of small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses on all City contracts. In his role, he reestablished and cultivated partnerships with integral community partners; helped resolve inconsistent and incorrect entries in project and payment tracking system; trained individuals and companies on contract compliance systems; and more.
After working for the City of Saint Paul, Reggie worked as a youth worker before moving into the digital communications field. Eventually, he landed a role as the Social Media Manager for Hennepin County.
At Hennepin County, Reggie used his writing, photography, and videography skills to create content that connected residents to vital services and initiatives; highlighted the employees who make the work of the County possible; and told the story of Minnesota’s most populous county. He grew Hennepin County’s social media following, as well as helped bolster the County’s PR and media relations strategy. Aside from day-to-day social media management, he also organized and led the County’s cohort of social media users from various departments. In his role as Hennepin County Social Media Manager, Reggie gave social media consultation to various officials, cities, counties, and other public entities.
Reggie has experience creating social media, digital strategy and content; providing digital communications consultation; monitoring and enforcing contract compliance and working with community partners to improve diversity hiring and career supports.
Reggie will participate in Strong & Starlike engagements involving social media, digital communication strategies, and contract compliance.
Zaylore Stout is an employment law and litigation attorney practicing in Minnesota. Zaylore came to the legal profession with 12 years of experience as an outsource human resource consultant to over 350 company’s nationally. Once an attorney he leveraged that experience to keep employers out of court through the implementation of proactive measures.
Throughout his legal career, Zaylore has worked the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office as well as the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office. He’s represented small and mid-sized companies in a variety of fields while also conducting workplace investigations for municipalities. Throughout his 19 years in the employment law arena, Zaylore has developed a focus on identifying and addressing the client’s needs, while educating them on ways to prevent issues from arising in the future.
Zaylore’s practice focuses on sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage & hour litigation matters. He’s also experienced in alternative dispute resolution measured though mediation and arbitration.
Zaylore and the Firm serve as counsel to small and medium size companies where he advises them on a variety of issues ranging from workplace investigations, exempt vs. nonexempt classification, manager/supervisor training seminars, independent contractor vs. employee classification, severance package negotiations, employee handbook review/development, and responses to demand letters.
Zaylore received his J.D. in in 2010 from St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s also internationally published and sought after national guest speaker.
Zaylore will participate in Strong & Starlike engagements involving drafting policies, procedures and other employment law related documentation.