Alex was born and raised in the Twin Cities and received his Master of Public Health degree in Environmental Health from the University of Minnesota in 2016. He has been active in the pursuit of a more sustainable present and future by working with Abbott Northwestern Hospital to develop more environmentally-friendly practices. He is currently an Environmental Health Specialist for the City of Brooklyn Park and enjoys actively engaging with the community and promoting various sustainable practices within the city. He also helps his fellow staff members live and work in a more Earth-centric manner by spearheading the Green Team. Alex enjoys working on his house and is actively making it as sustainable as possible through the implementation of renewable energy, pollinator friendly native plant gardening, and growing food onsite.
Carol is a professor emerita at the School of Social Work at St. Kate’s – St. Thomas and a lifelong gardener who began her affiliation with Metro Blooms as an early attendee of raingarden workshops. As a graduate of the inaugural class of Master Water Stewards in 2013, she was further drawn to the work of Metro Blooms as a volunteer alley captain for the Blooming Alleys initiative to capture stormwater runoff before it gets to Minnehaha Creek and nearby lakes. A member of the Hale neighborhood, Carol received the Best Environmental Stewardship and Nate Siegel Award from Metro Blooms in 2016.
Carol’s experiences as a teacher, project director, researcher, administrator and board member of an international professional organization provide a solid basis for her work with the Metro Blooms Board. She is passionate about Metro Blooms’ growing work toward environmental justice through engaging all community members in shaping sustainable landscapes for our businesses, schools and neighborhoods and is particularly proud of our programs to educate young people for work in the green infrastructure. Carol is committed to the resilience focus of Metro Blooms and values its mission-based commitment to sustainability through partnering with organizations and communities for environmental justice and stewardship that integrates beauty, healing and protection into our landscapes.
Catherine is a Texas-born, Illinois-raised Minnesotan who came to this state for college and never left. She majored in Linguistics at the University of Minnesota and returned for another round to obtain a Master’s in Public Policy with a concentration on Public and Nonprofit Leadership and Management with emphasis on Financial Management and Budgeting. She puts her education to use at Propel Nonprofits as a loan officer & financial specialist, working with nonprofit organizations to manage and/or obtain the capital to fulfill their many valuable missions. In her spare time, she also volunteers with Prepare + Prosper as a tax preparer, visits our many great regional parks for hiking, and enjoys fiber crafts like embroidery and knitting.
Catherine is drawn to Metro Blooms as a lover of nature and our relationship with it. She discovered camping later in life and since then has become passionate about connecting folks with their natural environment, and learning best practices for maintaining its health. She also believes firmly that nature is for all, and is passionate about nurturing relationships in the greater community. She believes everyone is able to forge an identity as a steward of the natural world.
Jeanette has spent most of her career working in the government sector. Currently she does investment and debt issuance for Ramsey County as the Debt and Investment Manager. Before going to Ramsey County, she served as the Assistant Finance Director at the City of Brooklyn Park. Jeanette holds an MBA from La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. Born and raised in Kenya, she loves to connect and engage with her cultural community and has served in leadership positions in community organizations. Jeanette and her family enjoy the outdoors, traveling, playing soccer, and entertaining friends and family.
John Kinara works for the City of Brooklyn Park in the Community Development Department, where he serves as the housing expert, policy liaison, and primary contact in several areas of housing policy, programs, and redevelopment, including the City’s role in addressing homelessness, promoting affordable housing, environmental sustainability, and economic development.
John is passionate in multiple areas of housing policy, such as landlord-tenant relations, fair housing, redevelopment, land use, housing finance, federal and state housing programs, foreclosures and low-income homeowner issues, homelessness, health, and safety, building codes and enforcement, and the intersection of these issue areas with environmental justice as well as racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.
John holds a master’s degree from Hamline University in Public Administration and Non-Profit Management as well as an MBA in Business Administration from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. John and his family enjoy gardening, traveling, playing tennis, and entertaining friends.
Megan, a native of Illinois, first came to the Twin Cities as a U of M undergraduate. After graduating, she lived for several years in the Mississippi Delta and Chicago, then returned to Minneapolis in 2019 as Associate Director of Annual Giving at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Megan first connected with Metro Blooms as a participant of a Resilient Yards workshop with the hope of understanding how to create a native pollinator-friendly perennial garden in her south Minneapolis home, and took part in the 2020 Lawns to Legumes program. Megan and her husband are avid gardeners and are deeply committed to environmental and social justice causes. They established the Little Longfellow Farm Giving Garden in their backyard with neighbors to support the greater Longfellow area. Megan loves baking, practicing yoga and barre, backcountry backpacking, canoeing, and snowshoeing, and has the goal of visiting all the US national parks. Megan is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She has a master’s degree in Non-Profit Administration and Fundraising from Louisiana State University Shreveport and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of Minnesota.
Norman is a recently retired corporate scientist that helped to develop nutrition support products for hospital patients. He developed a strong interest in how to grow his own vegetables due to his training in food science and nutrition. Once he had his own yard to dig in, Norman set up both edible and flower gardens. More recently, Norman has been working with a local cemetery to develop a green burial section where a one-acre prairie restoration is underway to allow patrons to participate in environmentally responsible memorialization. Norman enjoys silent sports, especially bicycling and cross-country skiing.
Norman joined the board of Metro Blooms in 2018 with the goal of helping the local community learn about gardening that incorporates improvement of the environment.
Randy is employed as the groundskeeper gardener at the Minneapolis Community & Technical College in downtown Minneapolis where he plants, tends and weeds the extensive gardens, including several raingardens. He has won several awards from the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District and the American Society of Landscape Architects. Randy’s experience comes from previous work at Gertens and Bachman’s and from his own garden where he has developed a love of perennials, shrubs and native plants. Randy and his wife Bridget share a love for gardening and plants. Randy is a Hennepin County Master Gardener; he won an award his first year for his work on a group project for children. Randy is a 20+ year veteran of the US Navy and Air Force and currently a reservist in the US Air Force. He works to build community through his service on Metro Blooms’ board of directors.
Steph is the founder of Trailblazer Leadership, a professional coaching and consulting firm that works with people and organizations interested in a different way of being. She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and has a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Throughout her career, Steph has created and facilitated programs on equity and inclusion, systems change, and leadership development in state and local government and in nonprofit organizations. She brings her knowledge and expertise in organizational development, emotional intelligence, governance, and living systems to her work. She is a certified professional coach through iPEC and an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. She also serves on the board of directors for the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.
Steph has always loved the outdoors and is an advocate for environmental justice. After attending a Resilient Yards workshop through Metro Blooms, she immediately sheet mulched her backyard, removing the turf grass to make way for vegetable gardens, a raingarden, and even more native pollinators. Steph is excited to be a part of the organization’s vision for a just and equitable future for people and the planet.
Susan combines feng shui and personalized coaching to guide her clients to create positive and profound shifts in their lives. She is a former realtor and professional photographer and has published two fine art photography books. Susan has been a proud member of the Metro Blooms Board for over 20 years. She and her husband, Gregg Kubera, enjoy music, laughter, travel and spending time with friends.
Travis is a Kansas City native with a background in finance. His decision to go back for a full-time MBA and subsequent move to Target brought him up to Minneapolis. He is now working in digital fulfillment strategy for their store operations organization. A long leash allows him a creative outlet for testing and measuring future capabilities for delivering more product, faster, for Target.com.
From a young age, he has had a deep passion for wildlife and the environment. His summer in graduate school was spent working in San Francisco for a residential solar installer. Travis has more recently found his love of native plants and gardening with the onset of quarantine, unwittingly becoming familiar with Metro Blooms in his own neighborhood with our “I am a Raingarden” signs in nearby boulevards in Northeast Minneapolis. He is in the process of transforming his previously lackluster yard into a multi-season pollinator landscape.