Meet the Open Arms team



Leah Hébert Welles, Chief Executive Officer

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 K Bogard, Senior Director of Programs, MPH, RS/REHS

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.




Danielle Brady, Senior 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.



Cristina Cintron Rolon, Senior Director of Human Resources, JD

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.




Lisa Lane, Senior Director of External Affairs

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.



Alex Locke, Director of Client Services

Alex comes to Open Arms with 20 years of nonprofit management experience. Most recently, he was the Director of Youth and Adult Services for 10 years at Bloomington Community Education. His previous work includes positions at both the St. Paul and Sabes Jewish Community Centers as well at the Roitenberg Assisted Living Residence. In addition, he has also served on the Board of Directors at three different organizations in the Twin Cities. Alex has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and is ready to put his passion of serving the community to work at Open Arms.



Noah Barton, Interim Food Services Director for Both Kitchens

Noah has over 25 years of experience working in kitchens around the country. Noah earned an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and has a Bachelor’s in Marketing from The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. He also carries certifications as an Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and as a Dietary Manager from the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP). Noah is passionate about the nutritional value of whole, fresh foods and the impact that eating well can have on health.



Brianna Tobritzhofer, Director of Nutrition Services, MS, RD, LD

Brianna is a registered dietitian who has been working in the field of nutrition for 7 years, with a variety of experience working in clinical, corporate wellness, and community settings. She is a graduate of The University of Wisconsin-Stout where she received her B.S. degree in Dietetics. Brianna completed her dietetic internship and M.S. in Nutrition & Dietetics from Mount Mary University, which had a focus on health promotion and disease prevention. Aside from her work at Open Arms, Brianna serves as the Communications Director on the Board of the MN Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and provides freelance writing services to a variety of publications.


Kathryn Southard, Director of Development

Kathryn has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than a decade. During this time, she held a variety of roles in program management and development for public health-focused organizations. Most recently, she served as the Director of Institutional Giving at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. With a passion for ensuring access to quality care, she came to Open Arms to help connect donors and supporters to its meaningful mission. Kathryn received her MPH from the Colorado School of Public Health.



Kevin Douglas, Director of Operations

Kevin has over 25 years of experience working in the human service field to include leadership positions at several mental health organizations. He served as a special education teacher, specializing in students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Kevin has also been the Director of Operations for other nonprofits and is passionate about serving clients in the community and providing them nutritious meals. Kevin has a B.A. in Sociology/Criminology and a Master’s in Special Education.



All full- and part-time staff:

Abbey Dibble, Logistics and Delivery Manager

Alana Jenkins, Volunteer Engagement Database Specialist

Amy Morton, Temporary Dishwasher

Andrea Weber, Interim Lead Chef & Volunteer Ambassador

Andrew Mendez, Client Services Manager

Angela Mrema, Client Services Associate

Anna Irmiter, Project Manager

Ashley N. Sain, Client Services Associate

Austin Lane, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

Austin Stahl, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador

Dayna Adams, Contract Manager & Reporting Specialist

Deandra Bieneman, Individual Giving Manager

Emily Szeliga, Delivery & Logistics Assistant

Gabby Keys, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

Harry Jensen, Volunteer Engagement & Delivery/Satellite Coordinator

Jake Christensen, Registered Dietitian

Jenny Burr, Bookkeeper & Administration Coordinator

Jaime Sierra, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador

Jian Smith, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador

Joann Cho Oudekerk, Interim Managing Chef

JoEllen Brenny, Kitchen Assistant

Jonathan K. Hoffmann, Delivery Driver and Logistics Associate

Juliette Lelchuk, Baker and Volunteer Ambassador

Kal Moftah, Logistics & Shipping Coordinator

Kalley Hakes, Registered Dietitian, RD, LD

Kari Goodwin, Interim Bakery Manager

Kelly Wilson, Farm Coordinator

Kevin Coughenour, Chef and Volunteer Ambassador

Kyle Kvamme, Communications Coordinator

LaKandis Neal, Lead Client Services Associate

Maggie Craig, Executive & HR Assistant

Maria Johnson, Catering Chef

Maristella Ramon, Client Services Associate

Marvin Lin, Communications Manager

Megan White, Institutional Relations Officer

Merit Thursday, Delivery Driver & Logistics Associate

Michael Marcotte, Events Manager

Michael McKay, Volunteer and Community Engagement Lead

Rachel Jambois, Registered Dietitian, RD, LD

Riley Egan, Donor Experience Coordinator

Russell D. Lowe, Chef and Volunteer Ambassador

Sam Ruiz-Zavala, Client Services Intake Associate

Sarah Cohen, Dietetic Technician

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

James Kennedy, On-Call Kitchen Assistant

Kenneth Thornton, Kitchen Assistant

Lucia Campoverde, Chef & Volunteer Ambassador

Nataniel Rayman, Interim Managing Chef

Walter Watkins, Kitchen Assistant

Would you like to support the work that our staff does nourishing people in our community?
Make a donation in their honor>>

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