Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Announces New Staff, Promotions

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Today, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota announced the addition of four new staff members, and the promotions of two existing staff members.

“We are thrilled to welcome such talented and experienced new staff to the Women’s Foundation team,” said Lee Roper-Batker, Foundation president and CEO. “Each will help elevate and expand our capacity to support our mission to drive gender equity and build pathways to economic security for girls and women experiencing the greatest disparities in our state, particularly women and girls of color.”

New Staff

Office Manager Jamara Cheek joined the Foundation in January 2017. She has an extensive career as a Government Contract consultant to Minnesota businesses. Previously, she worked at Metropolitan Economic Development Association for seven years within the Procurement
Technical Assistance Center program. During that time, she assisted business owners with pursuing and winning long-term federal contracts. Prior to that, she was an Equal Opportunity Consultant at the Metropolitan Council.

The Women’s Foundation named Jen Lowman Day as Director of Communications on April 19. She was previously the Communications Specialist for Institutional Advancement at Augsburg College, where she managed print and digital communications for the division. She has worked in communications for the American Library Association, managed web content at BettyCrocker.com, led marketing and membership for Natural Harvest Food Co-op in Virginia, Minn., and served as a lifestyle magazine editor. She graduated from Kalamazoo College and holds master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The Women’s Foundation has named Lulete Mola as Director of Community Impact. In this position, Mola will lead the implementation and management of the Foundation’s grantmaking, evaluation, leadership and field building programs that enable large scale
systems change. She joined the staff on June 19.

Mola first joined the Foundation in 2013 as the Wenda Weekes Moore Intern. In 2014, she became the Reatha Clark King Fellow and program coordinator. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the Policy and Community Engagement Manager with Greater Twin Cities United Way, where she began as a Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow. Mola leads political engagement and professional development initiatives in Minnesota’s East African community and is active in the Movement for Black Lives.

Mola is the recipient of the Humanity in Action Fellowship, Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project Fellowship, and the Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity Award. She is the founder of SHE, a young women’s leadership program that was active for 8 years in Minnesota high schools and at the University of Minnesota. In 2017, she was named Young Professional of the Year Finalist by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. Mola graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota.

The Women’s Foundation has named Carolyn Van Nelson as Finance Manager. In this position, Van Nelson will manage the accounting systems for the Foundation. Van Nelson has been working in nonprofit finance since 2007. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked for a preschool, law firm, an artist, real estate company, construction firm, theater, yoga studio, technical writer, and co-op. As a volunteer, she has done multiple grant panel reviews for MRAC (Metropolitan Regional Arts Council). In December 2013, she was first contracted to do bookkeeping for the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. She has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota.


Kalice Allen will become the Reatha Clark King Fellow on July 5. In 2016, she was named the Wenda Weekes Moore Intern at the Women’s Foundation. She previously worked as a Health Educator Intern at West Side Community Health Services, a Twin Cities nonprofit, which involved providing family planning and cancer prevention services to low-income individuals. She has studied social determinants of health in both the countries of Dominican Republic and Cuba. Allen graduated from St. Catherine University in 2017 with a major in Public Health, with concentrations in both Community Health Work and Public Policy. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health.

Erika Idrovo-Cuesta will become the Wenda Weekes Moore Intern on July 5. She has been working at the Foundation as an intern since December 2016. Idrovo-Cuesta is in her third year at Augsburg College as a Political Science major, with a minor in Leadership Studies. In addition to being a full-time student, Erika is a Resident Advisor and the public relations officer for Augsburg’s Latin American Student organization. Erika has worked for each department at the Foundation, and assists in grantmaking and development work. She plans to go to law school or pursue graduate work in public policy after graduation.

About the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota 

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota is a statewide community foundation investing in innovation to drive gender equity. The Foundation envisions a world of equal opportunity where women and girls – and all people – hold the power to create and lead safe, prosperous lives. Through grantmaking, research, and public policy, the Foundation is building pathways to prosperity for girls and women in Minnesota with the greatest disparities in outcome. Founded in 1983, it is the first and largest statewide women’s foundation in the country. More at WFMN.ORG.

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