Meet our team
Leah Hébert Welles, Executive Director
Leah began leading Open Arms in 2013 after 20 years of leadership positions at several nonprofit health care organizations. Leah’s work attests to her deep commitment to community health and access to resources for underserved and vulnerable populations. Leah has served on a variety of boards of directors and community coalitions, and currently serves on the steering committees for both the Minnesota Cancer Alliance and the Minnesota Hunger Initiative.
April Bogard, Senior Director of Programs
April has 20 years of experience working in food safety and public health as a health inspector, epidemiologist, and food safety inspection program supervisor. She served as an epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Hawaii Department of Health, specializing in foodborne disease investigation, research and prevention. April is a registered Environmental Health Specialist/Sanitarian (REHS/RS) and holds an MPH from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Kateri Routh, Director of Finance and Administration
Kateri comes to Open Arms of Minnesota with nearly 15 years of nonprofit financial and administrative experience. After 10 years working at nonprofit organizations in Chicago, she most recently managed the finances, building, HR and technology for a local basic needs organization. Kateri has a Master’s degree in public services management from DePaul University and an undergraduate business degree from the University of Iowa.
Lisa Lane, Senior Director of Development & Community Engagement
Lisa Lane has worked in the nonprofit sector since 1997, primarily in social and human services. She has held a variety of roles including development, community relations, communications and program development. Lisa served as the Development Director & VP of Resource Development for the Jewish Community Relations Council, Neighborhood House and Hennepin Theatre Trust; as the Foundation Director for The Phillips Eye Institute; and as Director of Advancement for United Family Medicine. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa.
Sheila McClenton, Food Services Director & Executive Chef – Kitchen of Opportunities
Sheila McClenton has worked in the food service industry for more than 25 years. She has worked in the areas of healthcare, long-term and short-term care and independent and assisted living throughout her career in the culinary industry. Sheila is excited to be at Open Arms and to bring her passion for the culinary world and for providing beautiful and healthy meals to seniors.
Blake Wangelin, Food Services Director – Open Arms of Minnesota
Blake grew up in the food service industry and has held varying positions for the last 15 years. He has spent time working in large hotels, fine dining catering companies, television networks as a food stylist, and teaching independent vulnerable adults how to cook simple meals at home. Blake came to Open Arms to use his passion for people and food to make a positive impact in the lives of others, and further serve our community healthy and delicious meals.
Cristina Cintron Rolon, Human Resources Director
Cristina has a Bachelors in Philosophy and a Juris Doctor. Most of her career has been focused on risk management, reducing organizational liability, building processes to ensure efficient operations, and supporting leadership teams through creative problem solving. As a trained mediator, Cristina has been supporting leadership teams build stronger and healthier relationships with team members and reconcile interests to promote positivity and an effective performing environment. Cristina brings to the team a strategic and practical approach to organizational changes and the challenges that come with it.
All full- and part-time staff:
Andre Boone, Volunteer Coordinator & Database Specialist
Angie Swanson, Senior Development Manager
Annamarie Rigelman, Bakery Assistant
Austin Lane, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Brianna Elliott, RD, LD, Senior Manager of Nutrition and Client Services
Caitlin Brewer, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador
Christine Wilson, Lead Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Deandra Bieneman, Community Outreach Manager
Edward Jackson, Dishwasher
Emily Mauter, Events Manager
Emily Szeliga, Delivery & Logistics Assistant
Jennifer Bliss, Donor Relations Coordinator
Jennifer Lindblom, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador
Jenny Burr, Bookkeeper & Administration Coordinator
Joann Cho Oudekerk, Lead Chef & Volunteer Ambassador
Joe Seine, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador
JoEllen Brenny, Kitchen Assistant
Kelly Wilson, Farm Coordinator
LaKandis Neal, Client Services Associate
Mai Joua Yang, Client Services Manager
Manuel Alvarez, Kitchen Assistant
Margaret Chamberlain, Bakery Manager
Maria Johnson, Catering Chef
Michael Higgins, Building & Grounds Manager
Michael McKay, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Nora Vonnegut, Client Services Associate
Rachel Jambois, RD LD, Nutrition Specialist
West Foster, Logistics & Delivery Coordinator
Kitchen of Opportunities staff:
These Open Arms staff members work at an off-site commercial kitchen managed by OAM.
Antoine Simon, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador
Desiree Johnson, Lead Kitchen Assistant
Fiona Green, Kitchen Assistant
Kari Goodwin, Lead Chef
Kenneth Thornton, Kitchen Assistant
Lucia Campoverde, Kitchen Assistant
Nataniel Rayman, Chef
Would you like to support the work that our staff does nourishing people in our community?
Make a donation in their honor>>