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.
Danielle Brady, Director of Volunteer Engagement and Hospitality
Danielle brings over 20 years of experience working alongside volunteers and almost 15 years leading a volunteer engagement department. As a certified trainer for the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administration, she leads trainings throughout the metro area and state on volunteer engagement best practices, poverty, privilege and bridging gaps of understanding between differences. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion and is a Qualifying Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory®. As someone who is registered to teach integrative yoga therapy, she firmly believes in Open Arms’ mission to nurture mind, body and soul.
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.
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.
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:
Anna Befort, Farm Assistant
Angie Swanson, Senior Development Manager
Austin Lane, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Brianna Tobritzhofer, RD, LD, Senior Manager of Nutrition Services
Caitlin Brewer, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador
Deandra Bieneman, Annual Fund Development Officer
Emily Szeliga, Delivery & Logistics Assistant
Ericka Webb, Communications Manager
Gabby Keys, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Gerard Boissy, Building and Grounds Manager
Jade Bryngelson, Nutrition Specialist, RD
Jennifer Bliss, Donor Relations Coordinator
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
Kym Simmons, On-site and Off-site Events Manager
LaKandis Neal, Client Services Associate
Mai Joua Yang, Client Services Manager
Maria Johnson, Catering Chef
Michael McKay, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Noah Barton, Food Services Director for the Kitchen of Opportunities
Nora Vonnegut, Client Services Associate
Rachel Jambois, Nutrition Specialist, RD LD
Russell D. Lowe, Chef and Volunteer Ambassador
Shaquetta Kennedy, Kitchen Assistant
Sofia Kaut, Client Services Data Entry 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>>