Donna Minter, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Founder & Executive Director
Raised in a historic peace and social justice faith tradition, Donna has always had a passion to find practical ways to build peace within her spheres of influence when terrible things have happened. After taking the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) Training at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding in Harrisonburg, VA in October 2008, she realized that STAR's principles perfectly integrate her professional background and personal commitment to teach how to transform psychological trauma into nonviolent power with positive, productive alternatives to revenge. She envisioned teaching STAR and other peacebuilding trainings via grassroots community-based trainings that are accessible to laypersons as well as professionals for continuing education in Minnesota and beyond. This vision is Making Minnesota the Peacebuilding Power State for All.
She has degrees in social work, educational psychology, outdoor recreation, and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1995. She completed her postdoctoral training in neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1997. She sees the full spectrum of psychological trauma in her work as a neuropsychologist and when conducting court-ordered psychological evaluations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has taught university level individual and organizational assessment and evaluation and supervised law students and psychiatric residents and fellows.
Donna is the founder and executive director of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute (aka Peacebuilding). She is committed to its mission to instigate, train, and support racially, culturally, ethnically, religiously, and economically diverse individuals and organizations to become trauma-informed, resilience-oriented, and restorative justice-focused, empowering communities in Minnesota, the USA, and around the world. She is a Certified STAR Trainer with national and international experience, and a STAR-Lite, Resilience 101, and Restorative Justice 101 Trainer. She develops and facilitates custom trainings for corporation and organization staff development. She conducts organizational evaluations to assess their capacity to provide trauma-informed, resilience-oriented, and restorative justice-focused care to clients and staff.
Staff & Trainers
Claire Moran, MFA
With a background in creative writing and non-profit work, Claire comes to Peacebuilding with an excitement to tell its story. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a bachelor’s degree in English from McGill University. Her previous non-profit work focused on education, children and families, and HIV/AIDS prevention and support. Originally from Boston, Claire is honored to join the mission of Peacebuilding in Minnesota.
Crixell Shell, MS
Associate Peacebuilding Trainer
Crixell is a legal, technology and higher educational professional who holds a Master of Software Systems degree from the University of St. Thomas, a Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies from Southern Illinois University, and is a Rule 114 Community Mediator. She graduated from the STAR Training in 2010 and has been passionate about sharing STAR with others since then. In 2013 she attended the STAR Level II Training at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and the Restorative Justice 101 Training in 2014. She is a charter member of Peacebuilding's Community Advisory Board. In June 2013 she become a Peacebuilding Associate Trainer. She facilitates the free monthly Minnesota Peacebuilding Film Series and Coming to the Table program.
Judy Pilz, MSW, LICSW
Certified STAR Trainer, Associate Peacebuilding Trainer
Judy works in public health at Hennepin County and has expertise in social services and child welfare. She has a bachelor's degree in political science and German and Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota. She graduated from STAR in June 2012 and found it to be a paradigm shift from traditional social services perspectives. She graduated from the STAR Level II Training at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding in 2012 and the Restorative Justice 101 in 2014. She became an Associate Peacebuilding Trainer in 2014 and a certified STAR Trainer in 2017.
Michele Braley, MSW, LICSW
Restorative Justice 101 Trainer
Michele is the Program Director of the Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership in Minneapolis. She is a trained facilitator for restorative conferences with youth and victim offender dialogues in crimes of severe violence. She is an Adjunct Professor, School of Social Work, St. Catherine University and University of St. Thomas.
Board of Directors
Therese Genis, MPH
Therese coordinates a diabetes and obesity prevention program for Latinos and Native American youth and their families at the YWCA Minneapolis. She is passionate about the YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women. Therese has her master’s degree in Environmental Public Health and a graduate certificate in Complementary and Alternative Healing Practices. Before working at the YWCA she worked at the Minnesota Department of Health in the Health Risk Assessment unit and for the University of Minnesota School of Nursing on Latino and adolescent health research. She loves to travel in her free time and as part of her studies or work. She is a certified racial justice facilitator, certified yoga teacher, and big advocate of holistic health both personally and professionally. Therese joined the Peacebuilding board in January 2017 and assumed the role of Board Chair in 2018.
Bruce has worked for thirty years in US and international business with extensive financial, marking, production, and sales experience. He has held executive positions for several Fortune 500 companies, private owned companies and his own companies both in the US and in Hong Kong. He has experience with fair labor, fair trade, international business practices, and has been a board member and chairperson of numerous nonprofit organizations. His expertise is in leadership, administration, tax and real estate issues, accounting, and financial reporting. Bruce is President of Brunner Properties in Minneapolis, a real estate investor, and licensed general contractor. He holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bruce graduated from the STAR Training in June 2012. Since January 2011 he has served on the Community Advisory Committee and is a charter board director of Peacebuilding.
Emily Myers Hunt
Emily works for Ramsey County Elections and Property Tax Services. She is also a graduate student in Nonprofit Leadership through Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has a Master’s degree in English with an emphasis on technical communication practices in nonprofit and academic fields. She has extensive advocacy experience in the areas of disability rights, voting rights, women’s rights, and civil rights—along with many of the issues surrounding these areas—and strongly believes in the empowerment of education, especially as education relates to human rights. She hopes to work in nonprofit education to provide free, academic-quality one-on-one training, tutoring, education, professional development, and legal help to underrepresented communities. Emily joined the Peacebuilding board in January 2017.
Amanda has over 20 years of experience working with a variety of social service organizations throughout the Midwest, developing successful programs and strong financial foundations for each of them in times of transition, development, and growth. Her most recent nonprofit work was managing a national program that helps children build resiliency in response to natural disaster and other collective trauma in their communities. Amanda holds a BA in Sociology from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and a certificate in Financial Success for Nonprofits from Cornell University. She graduated from the STAR Training in November 2017. Amanda joined Peacebuilding's Board of Directors in February 2018.
Ernest works as a mediator and team builder for the State of Minnesota. He mediates disputes between labor and management, as well as conducts hearings. He has worked with parties to repair damaged relationships. He enthusiastically supports Peacebuilding's mission and joined the Board of Directors in January 2017.
Kirstin Burch serves as the Director of the local nonprofit ZOOM House, bringing invaluable experience in business, community organizing, and culturally inclusive relationship building. Her deep passion for providing holistic support and community-driven programming has yielded developments in the areas of resident relationships and mental wellness. Kirstin is experienced in working with clients to recognize problems and identify a solution. Kirstin holds an individualized studies B.A. from Metropolitan State University with a focus on Culturally Inclusive Approaches to Economic Advocacy and Leadership. She serves as a Community Board Member of the Blaisdell YMCA and the Governing Board of the MN Peacebuilding Leadership Institute. Additionally, she serves on the Anti-Bias Council and the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) at St. Paul’s Childhood Center in Saint Paul, MN, where she has contributed to fundraising efforts to maintain childcare for low-income families and creating an inclusive environment in the classroom. Kirstin is a native resident of St. Paul. In her free time, she enjoys sports activities, cooking, and traveling with her 3 kids.
Julia Davis, MS
Julia works for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee to manage their 52-week Legacy Fund campaign. The campaign consists of building a platform of awareness and investing in solutions for a healthier generation of Minnesota kids. She’s has supported Minnesota nonprofits and foundations as a program evaluator, grant writer, and community grant maker. Prior to her roles in non-profit, she worked extensively in the biotechnology industry in regulatory, research and development, and quality control. Julia holds a Master of Science and has completed doctorate coursework in the medical sciences. Minnesota is her second home. When she’s not practicing and teaching yoga, she enjoys running and biking the Twin Cities lakes and plotting her next hiking trip on the North Shore. She joined Peacebuilding's Board of Directors in January 2017.
Kechi Bisong Duffy
Kechi has an extensive background in corporate retail. She has worked at Target Corporation, Supervalu, and Kellogg. She is a Category Manager for Moscoe Group that supports Target Corporation. She holds B.A. in Political Science from Tuskegee University. Kechi loves volunteering and was a volunteer track coach for a number of years for Pearl Park. Kechi has two children and in her free time likes to perform amateur comedy. She is passionate about building peace and leading by example for her kids and being part of an organization that embodies that very principle. She joined Peacebuilding's board in 2016.
Since 2003, Genevieve has worked at Minneapolis Public Schools, Student Retention and Recovery : Check & Connect program working with students identified as homeless or highly mobile in 6 different K-8 Elementary schools in South Minneapolis to ensure implementation of the McKinney Vento Act. She provides one on one mentoring and social work services to students of diverse backgrounds in poverty while collaborating with school and shelter staff. She received her B.A. from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. She enjoys acrylic and watercolor painting, and running. Gevenieve joined the Peacebuilding board in January 2017.
Sarah King assists in the coordination of the Circles of Support and Accountability program within the Victim Assistance & Restorative Justice Unit at the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Sarah is a 2013 graduate of STAR; her experience with STAR inspired her to obtain her Master’s in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Sarah joined the Board of Directors in January 2018 and is excited to be part of an organization that thoughtfully creates positive, intersectional transformation at the personal, community, and systems levels. Sarah holds a B.A. in political science and justice & peace studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.
John Parker – Der Boghossian
John has served as the Equity and Inclusion Education Manager for Rainbow Health Initiative and the Chief Diversity Officer for Saint Paul College. He has presented on topics of LGBTQ health equity, Intersectionality, and intercultural competence at health and education conferences throughout Minnesota. He is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and is a 2016 STAR graduate. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota and is a commissioner on the St. Paul and Ramsey County Food and Nutrition Commission. He has a Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Minnesota.
Community Peacebuilding Ambassadors
Martha Anderson, MA
Community Peacebuilding Ambassador
Martha is the Health & Wellness Coordinator for Normandale Center for Healing & Wholeness, serving older adults in Edina and surrounding communities. Her professional background includes advising positions in international education and exchanges, student affairs and program planning at higher educational institutions. She served on the Strategic Planning Committee, the Community Education Advisory Council, and the Peace Site Committee of the Minnetonka School District. She holds a Masters in International Development Education from the University of Minnesota and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of St. Thomas. She is the mother of three adolescent boys. Martha is a 2013 STAR graduate, 2014 RJ 101 graduate, and has served on the Community Advisory Board and Scholarship Committee since 2011. She is a charter member of Peacebuilding's Board and become a Community Peacebuilding Ambassador in 2015.
Community Peacebuilding Ambassador
Donna is the Director, Nonprofit Digital Strategy at PMX Agency. She brings over ten years of experience developing and launching integrated, omni-channel marketing strategies involving social media, website, email, mobile, and SEO/SEM. Donna has developed and launched digital marketing strategies for national nonprofits, SMBs, and local organizations. She specializes in strategy, marketing technology and analytics. She joined Peacebuilding's board in April 2015.
Wokie Freeman, MBA
Community Peacebuilding Ambassador
Wokie is the Assistant City Manager for the City of Brooklyn Park. She holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree and is a 2013 STAR graduate and 2014 RJ 101 graduate. Wokie is passionate about spreading STAR and other peacebuilding trainings within her Liberian community and North Minneapolis where she works. She joined Peacebuilding's board in 2014.
Community Peacebuilding Ambassador
Sarah comes to Peacebuilding with a background in human rights work and community outreach. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently undertaking a Master of Science degree program at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where she is studying International Relations and Security. She is a 2017 STAR-Lite graduate who is passionate about what she describes as being the "intrinsically important and necessary work" that Peacebuilding does, and feels honored for the opportunity to play her part in building peace within her home-state of Minnesota and abroad. After serving as Peacebuilding's Communications Coordinator, she become a Community Peacebuilding Ambassador.
Community Peacebuilding Ambassador
Susan is Regional Director of Tickets for Kids Charities. She holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Minnesota/Duluth. Her professional experience includes working with adolescents in residential treatment centers, writing and implementing policy, budgeting, marketing, and strategic business planning. She enjoys helping individuals and organizations maximize their full potential. Susan is a STAR-Lite graduate. She joined the Peacebuilding Board of Directors in 2014, and served as the Board Chair from 2015-2017.
Maryam Beltran Shapland, MD
Community Peacebuilding Ambassador
Maryam is a board-certified Emergency Physician who is passionate about global health and who believes that health care is a human right. She is the Associate Medical Director at Securian Financial Group. She received her B.A. in American Racial and Multicultural Studies from St. Olaf College and her medical degree at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She trained in Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Global Health from the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester, England. She has volunteered for multiple medical and humanitarian missions in South and Central America and in Asia. After serving on the Community Advisory Board, she joined Peacebuilding's Board of Directors in 2015.
We are grateful for community-wide support to extend Peacebuilding's mission.
Oswald Family Foundation
Thrivent Financial-Stonebridge Group
Yoder Henley Development Resources
Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership
Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota
Minnesota Women's Press
Restorative Justice Community Action