Lisa Mears, MPA, Executive Director
Lisa Mears joined The Bridge for Youth as Executive Director in May of 2020. In prior roles, she was the CEO at VEAP, a basic needs and social service organization focused on housing stability and healthy food access. VEAP serves southern suburban Hennepin County and operates an acclaimed integrated service model with Hennepin County Health and Human Services. From 2009 – 2015, Lisa was the startup Executive Director at a newly formed nonprofit in Dakota County called The Open Door. The organization – with the mission “a fresh approach to ending local hunger through access to healthy foods” – quickly emerged to lead the movement of access to healthy foods across the hunger relief sector in Minnesota.
Mears holds a BS in Public Health from St. Cloud State University and a Master’s in Public Affairs (Public Administration & Nonprofit Management) from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota (2010).
Christina Heineken Woodlee, MPA, Senior Director of Strategy & Partnerships
Christina joined The Bridge as Program Director in January 2018; became the Associate Director in summer 2018 providing leadership to the program and development departments and in May 2020 was promoted to Senior Director of Strategy & Partnerships. Prior to The Bridge she spent nearly a decade with The United Way developing nationally recognized donor affinity groups, including Women United, Emerging Leaders and Arise Project. She began her career at Discovery Creek Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., as the Special Events and Board Relations Manager, in this capacity focusing on philanthropy advocacy and legislation. Christina graduated with honors from the University of New Mexico with a Master Degree in Public Administration, as well as an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Family Studies.
Angela Alvarez, MA, Human Resources & Administration Director
Angela Alvarez graduated with a BA in psychology from Minnesota State University at Mankato and an M.A. in counseling and psychological practices from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis. She started as a Youth & Family Counselor intern in the fall of 2011, before joining the staff full time in the Emergency Shelter Program. With a passion for organization, policies and supporting BFY staff, Angela made the transition from direct staff to administration staff when the HR Coordinator position opened up. Angela was promoted quickly to HR Manager and then to HR Director where she oversees the daily HR functions for staff, interns and volunteers.
La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin, Program Director
Born and raised in south Minneapolis, La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin has 20+ years of experience providing supportive services to youth and families in the Twin Cities metro. Most recently, La’Kisha was Program Coordinator for the Girls Resolution and Prevention (RAP) program at the YWCA. She has also been a foster parent in Hennepin County, worked for Minneapolis Public Schools, and has volunteered for several community service agencies. La’Kisha holds multiple professional certifications, including Youth Program Quality Assessor, Youth Intervention Certification, Sexual Health Adolescent Risk Prevention and Racial Justice Facilitator.
Tom Craig, Finance Director
Tom was most recently a non-profit financial controller for CliftonLarsonAllen where he advised more than 25 local non-profits with financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, forecasting, preparing accounting records, and operational efficiencies. He brings his enthusiasm and financial expertise to The Bridge for Youth as Finance Director. Thomas graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Accounting and Finance from Rasmussen College. In his free time, he volunteers as the board treasurer for the Red Shoe Society of the Upper Midwest, participates at Feed My Starving Children, and is a coach for youth sports in the northern metro.
Juli Gottschall, Lead Mental Health Therapist
Juli has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for 5 years, primarily working with adolescents. Juli supports youth through a trauma informed lens and recognizes the importance of seeing certain behaviors as trauma symptoms. She values creating trusting relationships and often does so by bringing humor and play into her work. Most recently Juli was with Catholic Charities as a School Social Worker in their School-Based Counseling program. Prior to working at Catholic Charities, Juli worked at Behavior Therapy Solutions of Minnesota as a therapist.
Board of Directors
- Geoffrey Jones, Board Chair, CommonBond Communities, Director of Marketing and Leasing
- Camille Bryant, Board Vice Chair, Hennepin County, Assistant Public Defender
- Bob Striker, Board Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair; Stinson LLP, Of Counsel
- Dan DuHamel, Board Secretary, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Program Officer
- James R. Denniston, Governance Committee Chair, Xcel Energy, Assistance General Counsel
- Gretchen Gromatka, Fairview Health Services, Senior Employee/Labor Relations Consultant
- Sharon Hughes, Ameriprise Financial, Senior Vice President Internal Communications
- Faith Jackson, City of Bloomington, Racial Equity Coordinator
- Cheniqua Johnson, St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Relationship Manager
- Amy Britt Jones, Development Committee Chair, Educational Consultant, ABJ Educational Consulting
- Michael Lehan, Osseo Area Schools, Assistant Superintendent of Equity & Achievement
- Kristine Oberg, US Bank, Vice President Business Banking Strategy Team Leader
- Gloria Stamps-Smith, Hennepin County, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney