By Laura Zilverberg
Writer, editor, and volunteer with MN350's Communications Team


Photo: Jaida Grey Eagle.

In February, MN350 welcomed Theresa “Tee” McClenty as its executive director. Tee brings a wealth of experience in executive leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, and team development. Previously, she worked at NorthPoint Health and Wellness and served as executive director of the Minnesota School Employees Association and executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

Tee manages the day-to-day operations and leads staff and volunteers to fight for environmental, cultural, and economic justice. She took some time with us to share her vision for MN350 in 2022 and beyond.

Tee was inspired to join MN350 after seeing the impacts of climate and environmental justice in her personal life as a mother and in her work in healthcare. “I can relate to the impact that climate has. I have a son who was impacted by some of the effects of climate with his asthma, and working in an emergency room for over 18 years, I’ve seen the impact of climate on health.”

Tee wants to see MN350 and Minnesota lead in the movement for climate justice while keeping the needs of historically marginalized communities at the center. “I see Minnesotans leading. Minnesotans, we are bold; we don’t mind leading this work and we already have a lot of great initiatives on the ground right now. I see much of the great work that MN350 is doing and I want to rise up to see more communities of color involved, and BIPOC community-led organizations be involved as well, in this climate justice fight.”

When asked about Minnesotans coming together, Tee believes we can do it. “We know people care about this; we know that people care about climate. Our policies aren’t matching up to what people care about, but we have the people. If we can get people engaged, we can come together on these issues.”

Tee continued, “It’s about all of us coming together regardless of our political differences, regardless of our race differences, our age differences. It’s time for us to come together. I’ve seen us come across the aisle and work together.”

Engaging Black communities and communities of color is of particular importance to Tee, and she doesn’t want to see anyone left behind in this fight. She also emphasized that there can be no climate justice without racial justice, with the impacts of climate change being felt most heavily by low-income communities and communities of color.

At the end of the day, Tee remains hopeful. “I’m inspired by my community, and the work that’s being done now keeps me hopeful. I’ve seen disadvantaged communities come together, and they give me hope. My family gives me hope because my family is what encourages me to keep in this fight, and to keep in this work.”

Welcome, Tee! We look forward to working with you!