Mysti Babineau serves as MN350’s Climate Justice Organizer, leading the Climate Majority Project and coordinating the work of the Policy Action Team. As an enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation, Mysti was inspired by the events at Standing Rock and has since volunteered her time to support indigenous-led resistance to the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. She is eager to help MN350 build its political power and build an inclusive climate movement with the leadership of people of color, immigrants and indigenous people.
Nancy Beaulieu decided to set aside her LPN licensing and dedicate herself fully to the environment after visiting Standing Rock. Her experience working in retail & sales management, metalsmithing, and carpentry make Nancy a good fit as a community organizer in Northern Minnesota. Nancy’s an enrolled member of the Leech Lake reservation who lives just east of Bemidji. In her spare time, Nancy enjoys living simply, gardening, ice-fishing, crafting and spending time with her family.
Sophia Benrud is a Black multiracial queer community organizer, postpartum doula and chef currently residing in Minneapolis, MN, currently working at MN350. Sophia has been organizing with and for Black led Queer and Trans centering power while being committed to strengthening community and community led safety —building connections between BIPOC climate and environmental, food, and healing justice. Sophia is committed to transforming the current movement by centering communities directly impacted by these issues while building stronger movements to break down systemic violence; and a co-founder of Divine Natural Ancestry, a project of 2 seasons that supports community through tools, supplies and knowledge for growing food in BIPOC communities. Sophia is a board member of Spiral Collective an organization supporting people in reproduction, abortion and loss. Sophia is a board member at Community Power an organization creating community based solutions to energy systems.
Brett’s commitment to justice is rooted in his childhood in North Dakota, where he grew up partly in Fargo and partly on a farm near the tiny town of Nome. He is the son of a nurse and a farmer and teacher who led union negotiations and ran for the state Legislature. Responding to a call to advocate for the marginalized and vulnerable, he started his career as a journalist, earning a B.A. from the University of North Dakota and an M.A. from the University of Missouri. He worked as a reporter, designer and editor at newspapers in Grand Forks, N.D., and Rochester, Minn., and was a pioneer in online journalism at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He transitioned to digital marketing, working for Best Buy and running an in-house agency for Medtronic. He also has experience in IT and leading a 100-person contact center.
Brett left the corporate arena in 2015 determined to return to a career of service and advocacy. Before joining MN350 in March 2018, he worked as a long-term consultant for CaringBridge, a nonprofit website, and was Operations Director for Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light. He has been a longtime volunteer with the ManKind Project, an organization devoted to helping men develop emotional literacy and find purpose. He also serves as the Manager of the Minnesota State Climate Table, a coalition of 30-plus environmental groups.
Brett lives in St. Paul with his family, which includes two children, two stepchildren and two dogs.
Lisa Chou serves as staff lead for the Food Systems Team, and has been involved in MN350 since 2019. She has always been passionate about food and sustainability, but it wasn’t until joining the Food Systems Team that she connected those interests to climate justice and the power of community organizing. As an organizer, she supports volunteers in learning the impact of our food choices, connecting with other local food justice organizations, and growing campaigns to create a more just, local, and regenerative food system in Minnesota.
Lisa grew up in rural WI and has spent the past 10 years living across the Midwest, including Madison, Chicago, and St. Paul. She has degrees in Food Science from UW-Madison and University of Minnesota, where she also minored in Environmental Health. She also works as a Product Development Scientist at a food company in Chicago, IL. In her free time, Lisa enjoys running, painting, listening to podcasts, and cooking with her boyfriend Ben.
Nicole Ektnitphong is a facilitator, trainer, and community organizer rooted in building out liberation and dignity within ourselves and our communities. Raised in Southwest Minnesota with roots in Thailand and Laos, Nicole comes to MN350 with training, mentoring, and organizing experiences in organizations and community groups including: Divestment Student Network, Tamales y Bicicletas, 350.org, Asians for Black Lives, Voices for Racial Justice, and Training for Change. Nicole graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, where she organized for fossil fuel divestment and studied Political Science and Peace Studies.
As the first Deep Canvass Director at MN350, Nicole is eager to support more people to find their story and voice in the struggles and possibilities ahead of us. Outside of the work, Nicole enjoys rock climbing, pursuing creative endeavors, and learning all of her mama’s recipes.
Dr. Sam Grant has been organizing around the intersection of economic, cultural and environmental justice since working on his college campus for divestment from South Africa and working for passage of legislation ensuring that both workers and communities have the right to know about toxic chemicals in their workplaces and communities.
Sam brings decades of nonprofit leadership, transformative organizing, and love to the work of MN350. He looks forward to engaging all Minnesotans in a movement that delivers sufficient reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and brings all our creativity together in a just transition that promotes a healthier future for all of us on our beautiful earth home, which all of us come to respect and honor with the way we live our lives well together.
Sam lives in the metro area with his wife, Zea; their daugther, Sol; and her dog, Tiki. When not engaging his passions for teaching and mentoring emergent leaders, organizing with communities for environmental justice, or facilitating strategic change with organizations as a consultant, Sam most loves to chill and spend quality time with family and friends and spend abundant time in nature (when it is not cold).
Kate has been an advocate for sustainable agriculture, social justice, and resilient communities for the past 15 years. Her love for dirt, sunshine, all living species, and serving community has only strengthened as she joins her six-year-old daughter in discovering the world around us. Kate has a B.A. in Environmental Studies, operated an organic market farm in northeastern Iowa and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. In addition to being a full-time mama, she is Program Director for MN350 and is fortunate to be working together with Minnesotans committed to urgent climate action that is building a movement for a just and sustainable world.
“Similar to many of the most important things in our lives; relationships, careers, school – addressing climate change by transforming the way we live and interact with ourselves, each other and the world around us takes commitment of healing energy, resources and courage. We can be the change. We must be the change, together.”
Growing up in rural Minnesota, Madi never met a frog she didn’t pick up. While living in the country but going to school in the city, she became interested in how communities differ in their approach to environmental stewardship. After graduating college she became an AmeriCorps VISTA to help fight systemic issues of poverty and build self-reliant communities here in the Twin Cities.
As Office Manager of MN350, Madi supports staff and volunteers by coordinating administrative and data-related work.
Genna is a Pipeline Resistance Organizer with MN350, fighting Line 3. She started in January 2021 after two years as a volunteer on the Pipeline Resistance Team. Prior to MN350 she was the Community Outreach Coordinator at Great River Greening. She is an East Coast transplant to Minnesota and lives in South Minneapolis. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in Jewish community, doing yoga, and checking new Minnesota state parks off her list.
Gayatri chose to study plant biology because of its importance in traditional knowledge of communities around the world. Indigenous knowledge tells us that maple trees are the elders of the plant community, and biology tells us the same: They pull water up for plants with shallow roots.
Gayatri apprenticed with Ananya Dance Theatre and has 15 years of training in Bharatanatyam. She is committed to a career in community with relatives committed to environmental justice. She also is excited to pour her skills and energy into work that is loving today and generative for tomorrow.
Gayatri is a healing justice practitioner and works with MN350’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Solidarity Campaign.
Ulla has dedicated much of her life to the idea that a better world is possible. She grew up in MN, and returned in 2011, after spending 20 years living in California, Brazil, and Mexico. Since she became a mother and learned of climate change, Ulla has worked passionately to help solve the climate puzzle and uncover the connections between racial, economic, and climate justice. She has worked extensively with immigrant communities as a medical interpreter, documentary filmmaker, and union steward. As a volunteer with MN350 since 2012, Ulla coordinated the Corporate Accountability team and helped build ties with the Minnesotans for a Fair Economy coalition. As MN350’s Green Jobs Program Manager, Ulla is working to ensure that the rollout of a green economy is accessible to all communities.
Andy Pearson is a lifelong Minnesotan who has loved the climate and environmental movement for as long as he can remember. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with an individualized degree in environmental communication (and publishing a thesis on building a climate movement along with Julia Nerbonne), he worked with Clean Water Action, MPIRG, Fresh Energy, and Minnesota Waste Wise before coming to MN350.
He is currently MN350’s Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator, helping to support the growing movement against extreme energy extraction and transportation in the region. When he’s not organizing, you might find him playing guitar, cooking food with friends, or daydreaming about public transportation in Madrid.
Sarah Riedl first got connected to MN350 through the Food Systems Team in August of 2019. As the volunteer Team Lead, she helped it grow into a thriving community of volunteers dedicated to the just transition to a resilient, regenerative food system that can meet the challenges of climate change. She joined MN350 staff as a part-time Communications Manager in January 2021, bringing her background in communications as well as her passion for “making the world a better place.”
Sarah lives in South Minneapolis with her partner, two children (ages 5 and 3) and two dogs (ages 12 and 10). She loves teaching her kids to cook “planet-saving meals,” and has been an aspiring gardener for more than a decade. She dreams of either successfully producing her own food someday, or living in a society where regeneratively-produced food is the norm — whichever comes first.
Mayuri Utturkar came to MN350 as a volunteer looking for meaning and community, and is thrilled to join staff to advocate for and support all the people advocating for and supporting our planet and her stewards. She grew up at the foothills of the Western Ghat mountain range in India where she was observant of the synergetic relationship the indigenous communities shared with their land and the impact of large-scale development on this relationship and their livelihoods. Her journey in making the world listen to the voices of the marginalized brought her at the intersection of climate and justice, where she chose to situate herself and her career. Mayuri is pursuing her doctoral studies in collaborative environmental governance, conflict resolution and knowledge co-creation. Miles away from the place she was born, she now calls the Twin Cities her home where she lives with her daughter.