OUR TEAM

Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy

JULIE MURPHY – Principal

Julie Murphy is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, School of Journalism with minors in French Art History and English. She has more than 20 years experience functioning as an Advancement and Development Director for various agencies including Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA), the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) and Tubman Family Alliance. Through these roles as well as positions with the National Retiree Volunteer Council and Twin Cities Public Television, Julie has honed her expertise in strategic marketing and communications planning, event management and fundraising. Her various experiences have also given her a strong background in Volunteer Leadership and Board Development. Professional achievements include launching the MVNA’s Flu Shot Program with the Health Fair 11 and UCARE to produce one of the nation’s most successful public flu shot campaigns to date, raising more than $500,000 annually from 2002-2005 for “An Evening Among Stars,” MEDA’s annual gala which became a “Business Journal Top 25,” and in 2005 launching her own business, J. Murphy & Associates. On her days off, Julie likes to… “Rest, throw dinner parties, cook and be with my family.” Her favorite food is… Lobster

Brita Blesi

Brita Blesi

BRITA BLESI – Grant Writer

Brita has worked and volunteered for a variety of nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities, including Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Planned Parenthood, and Hennepin County Medical Center. Her masters degree in clinical psychology has provided her with research and technical writing experience. Brita has been writing and researching both public and private grants for the past year. On her days off, Brita likes to… “Spend time with my family, run, visit local taprooms, and attend local festivities.” Her favorite food is… Tortilla chips

Emma Bohmann

Emma Bohmann

EMMA BOHMANN – Development Office Coordinator

On her days off, Emma likes to… “I’m training for a marathon, so I generally go for a long run.” Her favorite food is… Ted Cook’s Barbeque and strawberry-rhubarb pie

Becky Boland

Becky Boland

BECKY BOLAND – Development Manager

Becky brings over 15 years of experience creating and maintaining public-private partnerships with outstanding results and impacts throughout Minneapolis in areas around safety, economic vitality, housing and transportation while working in both the public and private sectors. Her grant writing experience includes successful funding and development applications through the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Metropolitan Council, State of Minnesota Departments of Housing and also Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and the United States Federal Government; in addition to many private and corporate foundations. Becky’s passion is bringing together and then working with public and private organizations and communities around common goals; then achieving those intended results through outside of the box thinking, funding and new collaborations. On her days off, Becky likes to… “Cycle through our amazing city, bake chocolate chip cookies (don’t tell my grandma I modified her recipe!), immerse myself in a book, watch the Twins at the incomparable Target Field (go Twins!) enjoy a leisurely meal with my lovely husband, or have a cuddle with my best girl.” Her favorite food is… Homemade chocolate chip cookies

Nancy Driessen

Nancy Driessen

NANCY DRIESSEN – Development Manager

Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in Journalism/Public Relations and French from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies/Writing from Hamline University. She has extensive writing and public relations experience as Director of Public Relations at Metropolitan State University and the consulting firm, Weber Shandwick, where she served such clients as Northwest Airlines, Mall of America and other corporate and nonprofit accounts. She also taught in the journalism department at the University of St. Thomas. On her days off, Nancy likes to… “Spend time with my family and travel.” Her favorite food is… Seafood

Mary Sue Godfrey

Mary Sue Godfrey

MARY SUE GODFREY – Advancement Director

Mary Sue Godfrey holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and Promotional Communication from the College of St. Catherine. She has developed expertise in marketing communications and event coordination through her work in both the private sector and with nonprofits. She began her career in print advertising sales working with a variety of publications, including Corporate Report Minnesota and the St. Paul Pioneer Press contract publishing division. Through her work in the publishing industry she gained experience in writing, editing and print production. A long-time volunteer with The Junior League of Saint Paul and other community nonprofit organizations, Mary Sue transitioned her career to work for nonprofits, serving as director of a community youth hockey organization for four years. Mary Sue has coordinated numerous events including training sessions, volunteer appreciation events, sports tournaments and gala fundraisers. At JMA, Mary Sue serves as a writer and editor and maintains external and internal communications for development, marketing and communications projects. On her days off, Mary Sue likes to… “Spend time outdoors – cycling or gardening in the summer, skiing in the winter.” Her favorite food is… Sushi

Keely Hendrickson

Keely Hendrickson

KEELY HENDRICKSON – Project Manager, Grant Writer

Keely is a graduate of the College of Saint Benedict with degrees in Communication and Nutrition Science. She brings more than five years of experience in grant writing, donor relations, event planning, social media and volunteer management to the JMA team. Since spending 2007-2008 volunteering at El Centro del Muchacho Trabjador in Quito, Ecuador, Keely has put her detail-oriented project management skills to good use by coordinating fundraising events and silent auctions to support the South American school. Most recently, at the Charities Review Council, Keely further developed her marketing and fundraising skills, along with a passion for working with Minnesota’s thriving nonprofit sector. On her days off, Keely likes to… “Spend time with my 10 month old and my husband – most likely jogging along the river, cooking/eating delicious food, riding our bikes, listening to live music, and planning our next big (or little) adventure.” Her favorite food is… Ice cream

Kathleen Lohmar Exel

Kathleen Lohmar Exel

KATHLEEN LOHMAR EXEL – Advancement Director

Kathleen brings 14 years of experience in the nonprofit, academic and philanthropy sectors to her work at JMA. Kathleen holds a B.A. in History from Carleton College and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas; she is also a licensed attorney. Between Carleton and law school she worked in development for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, and after holding staff attorney and visiting professor positions at the St. Thomas Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services she worked in development for Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota for five years. Both development positions required proficiency in project management and annual fund, programmatic, capital campaign and public sector grants. She has a passion for managing events and enjoys everything from small scale special events, such as receptions for special house builds or donor receptions, to large scale signature/annual events. Additionally, since 2000, Kathleen has served on the board of directors of the all-volunteer led Westonka District #277 Foundation, where she participates in the grant making process, helps with the annual solicitations, manages the website and consults on governance issues. On her days off, Kathleen likes to… “Head to Lake Harriet to take a run, play at the park, walk the dog, and enjoy a concert.” Her favorite food is… A good pastry with a hot or iced chai tea

Beverly Ordahl

Beverly Ordahl

BEVERLY ORDAHL – HR & Events Manager

Bev earned her BS from Minnesota State University-Mankato bringing 10 plus years of retail merchandising/design and management experience to our Marketing and Design team. In recent years, Bev has been active in her community as the tournament director and age-group director with the Valley Athletic Association. Her volunteer experience also includes coordinating and planning school annual fundraising events and auctions. Bev’s eye and talent for merchandising and design have proven to be a great asset to the JMA team by creating well-coordinated and successful silent and live auctions for our clients. On her days off, Bev likes to… “Do yoga!” Her favorite food is… Crab legs

Drew Sherman

Drew Sherman

DREW SHERMAN – Web Developer/IT

Drew attended St. Olaf College and studied music. In 2009, he was deployed to Iraq with the US Army where he served as a Supply Sergeant and bass player for one year. After returning home, he formed a successful country band and music promotion business. His innate creativity and technical skills led him into the world of web development, and Drew acquired a passion for building efficient, user-friendly and visually appealing sites. On his days off, Drew likes to… “Relax, grill, make music and hang out with my family.” His favorite food is… Cow

Nancy Swanholm

Nancy Swanholm

NANCY SWANHOLM – Senior Grant Writer

Nancy’s career has been focused in communications for both businesses and nonprofit organizations. Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in English from the University of Minnesota and has seven years grant writing and development experience. She has written requests to and successfully secured funds from State, County and City sources, as well as from corporate, private and family foundations. Nancy is an active volunteer with the HealthEast Foundation and Girl Scouts of River Valleys. On her days off, Nancy likes to… “Read, walk, cook, and hang out with my family.” Her favorite food is… All things Mexican

Michon True Smith

Michon True Smith

MICHON TRUE SMITH – Senior Grant Writer

Michon has more than nine years of experience writing grants for Twin Cities based non-profits, most recently serving as Grants Coordinator for Courage Center. She has written grants for a variety of programs including health care, recreation, arts and social services, and brings expertise in prospect research, project management, fundraising, writing and editing to JMA. Michon has a B.A. in English with a minor in Chemistry from Augsburg College. On her days off, Michon likes to… “Spend time with my family, catch up with friends, or try a new recipe.” Her favorite food is… Chocolate? Pizza? Wine? Cheese?

Barb Westgard

Barb Westgard

BARB WESTGARD – Senior Grant Writer

Barb Westgard holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in Speech-Communication, and has fifteen years of nonprofit volunteer leadership experience. Barb has served on the board of Wayside House, Junior League of St. Paul (including role of president), Home of the Good Shepherd and MN Quilters. She recently obtained a Fundraising Certificate through the University of St. Thomas. Barb has previously worked in the mortgage banking industry and has served as a Corporate Auditor for a division of Ford Motor Company. On her days off, Barb likes to… “Have lunch with friends.” Her favorite food is… Roasted beets with arugula, a dab of goat cheese, balsamic vinegar dressing – garnished with pistachios.

Mary Rozwadowski

Mary Rozwadowski

MARY ROZWADOWSKI – Grant Writer

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. Norbert College, Mary brings more than nine years of marketing and communications experience to our team. Her writing capabilities span from creative to technical, having worked on feature articles for print and electronic media, online marketing content, retail advertising copy, corporate newsletters and product manuals. Mary is also knowledgeable in web marketing and social media development, as well as media and public relations. On her days off, Mary likes to… “Do anything outside (if it’s warm), and spend time with my pups.” Her favorite food is… Ice Cream

Sarah Sheldon

Sarah Sheldon

SARAH SHELDON – Grant Writer

Sarah brings more the eight years of writing experience — six in the nonprofit sector — to JMA. She began her working life as a daily newspaper and quarterly magazine journalist/editor in Southern Minnesota, but soon found a passion for development communications and fundraising. Her nonprofit expertise includes donor relations, annual fund, development communications and writing, and event planning/management. She views fundraising as a puzzle, connecting those who have and want to give with those who need. Sarah has worked and volunteered at a handful of nonprofits in the Twin Cities. She holds a B.A. in political science and journalism from Hamline University, and has completed graduate coursework in nonprofit administration and creative writing. On her days off, she can be found spending time with her husband, step-son, and pup, traveling anywhere and everywhere, or writing. Her favorite food is… “Right now? Indian.”

Jessica Plagens

Jessica Plagens

JESSICA PLAGENS – Graphic-Web Designer

With a background in fine arts, creative writing and graphic design, Jessica brings a unique creative perspective to her role as Graphic-Web Designer at JMA. Jessica has contributed her artistic communication skills to a wide variety of industries, from civil engineering to advertising, and has also worked abroad in the UK. She holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys reading modern fiction, hanging out with her cat Vince, and drinking an obscene amount of coffee. Her favorite food is sushi.

Libby Porter

Libby Porter

LIBBY PORTER – Development/Events Assistant

Libby recently graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Theater. When not at JMA, she works as a freelance costume designer around the Twin Cities. Her experience in local nonprofit theater gives her personal insight into the tangible good that fundraising does. She has a passion for the arts, food, and creative problem solving. Her favorite food is Tex-Mex.

Katie Thrasher

Katie Thrasher

KATIE THRASHER – Development Coordinator

Katie Thrasher received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. Her degree focused on community practice and nonprofit management, with specific interest in international development. She has interned and volunteered with a variety of nonprofits in the Twin Cities. On her days off you can usually find her outdoors, painting, or spending time with family and friends. Her favorite food is anything Mexican and her favorite sport to watch is MN WILD hockey.