In 2015 Becky joined NENA as an experienced executive director specializing in sustainable organizational development through an asset-based approach. Becky is passionate about increasing citizen involvement and has dedicated her career to building strong neighborhood organizations to ensure that community voices are heard. She is skilled at helping organizations and groups move their ideas to reality.
Her prior work experiences include serving as the executive director at the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA). During her time, she helped reestablish a struggling neighborhood association into a sector leading nonprofit with a methodical plan connecting mission, governance, finances, fundraising, programs and organizational leaders and staff. She also served as a Community Builder for the East Side Neighborhood Development Company; Peace Corps Volunteer for three years, including serving as a Small Business Development and NGO Advisor in Togo, West Africa and the Philippines; and also worked as a Government Affairs Specialist at ACA International, a national trade association.
With a long history of proactive leadership and community involvement, Becky helps to further NENA’s goals to promote neighborhood improvement and revitalization and to encourage citizen participation in civic affairs.
Joining NENA in 2017, Lauren is a lifelong lover of nonprofits and the Twin Cities community. She has over 7 years of experience in volunteer, program, and communications management, serving at a variety of Midwestern organizations, including Community Thread and Be The Match. Part of her past work has included community and school garden development, change management, service learning programs, disaster recovery, and large community volunteer events
Hired in 2016, Karla is a first-generation graduate of Augsburg University with a double major in Sociology and Metro Urban Studies. Living in North Minneapolis has shaped a large portion of who she is as a person, her beliefs and the career avenues she pursues.
Alongside residents, Karla has enacted positive changes in the Bossen area such as a new multi-use field at Bossen Field for neighbors to play soccer; the LatinX Youth Soccer League; new Metro Transit shelters at neighborhood bus stops; the very popular Bossen Renters Block Party; and direct conversations with elected officials and Minneapolis Police.
Karla believes that all people can make a difference in their community. To Karla, community organizing is not a one size fits all approach, but rather a learning and experimental process. She enjoys the challenge of getting to know communities and how she can assist with achieving their goals. She works to identify and support leaders in the Bossen area. As a place-based community organizer, Karla has the privilege of seeing the fulfillment of community-led changes and the satisfaction of being a part of the solution.
Asha Ahmed joined NENA in 2019 as our second Community Organizer. She works on NENA’s community building initiatives in the Bossen Terrace area, including renters rights, access to Bossen Field and park programming, and active living and access to healthy food projects with the Minneapolis Health Department. As a fluent Somali speaker, Asha leads NENA’s outreach efforts to begin work with East African families in the community.
Asha earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in sociology and global studies. She went on to the University of St Thomas Graduate School for Public Policy Leadership International. Her many work and volunteer experiences add to her knowledge and expertise in community building. Most recently, Asha served as an AmeriCorps member at HOME Line – a south Minneapolis nonprofit which provides free and low-cost legal, organizing, education, and advocacy services so that tenants throughout Minnesota can solve their own rental housing problems.
When asked about her thoughts on community organizing, Asha said, “While grassroots and community organizers endeavor to end issues of racism towards communities of color, yet many of these communities continue to struggle finding solutions to end such issues. Cultural difference and a language barrier can be an issue for many low-income families. It is important for a community organizer to establish trust with community members and gain their support to find a resolution.”