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Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA Executive Board and Board of Trustees


The MCDA Board of Trustees is a group of elected volunteers who provide leadership for the association.

Trustees serve for a two-year term, during which they attend monthly two-hour Board meetings and participate in working groups.

The MCDA Executive Committee 2018-2019


Gordon Helle

Gordon is a Data Analyst at Capella University and a private Career Coach. His expertise is in higher education, particularly with graduate and doctoral students looking to advance in their career. He also creates self-service resources on topics such as career exploration, job search, and networking. Gordon has a passion for using technology and data to identify and share effective career development.

Gordon lives in Fridley with his wife Hannah, son Teddy, and dog Mateo.

President Elect

Donna Bennet

Donna Bennett is a Psychologist and Personal and Professional Development Coach who combines her training in psychology, and her specialty in career and professional development with her experience in corporate, small business, academic (higher education), nonprofit, and professional organizations, to train groups in team-building, leadership development, and career transition, and to coach individuals through the key transitional phases of their careers, including career advancement, job and career transition, and leadership and business skills and development.


Denise Felder

Denise Felder (@DeniseMpls) is a career adviser who encourages individuals and challenges systems to close opportunity gaps in education and employment. She has a unique background in career coaching, web development, and communications. Denise is the proprietor of DeniseMpls Career Services and the Director of Professional Development for Minnesota Career & Technical Education. She presents and facilitates trainings about the effects of poverty on education and career development for educators and advisors in high schools, colleges, workforce agencies and community organizations. Denise also leads professional development activities on how to prepare teens and adults from underrepresented populations to choose and advance in career pathways.

Treasurer: Tom Colosimo

Tom Colosimo is the current Treasurer for the MCDA.

Tom currently is career strategist with Wedl Placement Services as well as a Career Architect with Human Capital Partners.  Tom has helped many levels of professionals with resume, social media presence and career strategies over the past 15 years.

Prior to working at in his current positions, Tom has done consulting in the corporate recruiting area with companies such as Alorica, Wells Fargo and Indecomm. Tom was a graduate level career coach at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN from 2009-2016. Focus was on resume writing, career training sessions, networking strategies and job placement of MBA students and alums.  Tom also has worked within the 3rd party agency recruiting industry for 6 years prior to his work at UST. He has a solid corporate foundation with over 20 years of experience in various finance and accounting professional roles within manufacturing, retail and banking industries.

Other volunteer activities Tom is involved with includes leading the Career Transition Connection job support group at Woodbury Lutheran Church bringing in local and national speakers on the various career topics which he has done since 2002.  Tom currently serves on two boards; the Washington County Development Board since 2010 (served as Chair from 2014-2016) and the Minnesota Career Development Association (MCDA – Treasurer 2014-present).

Tom and his wife Barb reside in Oakdale, MN. They have two daughters; Anna and Emily.

Secretary: Wendy Griak

Wendy has worked in career services since 2013. Her career started at Capella University providing career support to adult students pursing advanced degrees. During her five years at Capella she was promoted to Senior Career Counselor and received recognition for her encouraging work with students. She also utilized her collaboration and problem solving skills on multiple projects including authoring a resume builder tool and producing videos for the Career Center’s YouTube channel. In 2018 she became a Career Counselor at the University of Minnesota Law School. She now works with law students in all aspects career planning. Through individualized career counseling, students learn how to strengthen application documents, hone networking skills, develop interview responses, and create a proactive job search strategy.   Wendy’s previous work history includes graphic design, marketing, and film production. Additionally, she has co-produced two Independent feature films, both filmed in Minnesota, with the second scheduled to release in 2019. Wendy earned her B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College and her M.A. in counseling and psychological services from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

The MCDA Board of Trustees 2018-2019

Cheryl Dornfeld, board member

Cheryl is an experienced well-rounded Advising, Education and Coaching professional certifying in SE™ (trauma and stress informed people development) with strong skills in brain-based coaching, adult education, public speaking, and project management. With professional experience ranging from: supervisory, coaching, recruitment, healthcare, financial, small business owner, plus recent GCDF course completion, she brings a unique perspective and rich toolbox of key skills.

Cheryl’s passion is holistic support and compassionate service to others, through excellence in guiding, supporting, and connecting individuals with coverage, resources and tools that free, fuel, and inspire their overcoming barriers, building resiliency, developing their strengths, and accomplishing their goals. As an avid traveler and life-long learner she values the benefits that life-long learning and diversity of culture and experience afford.

Esther Hollander Felsen, board member

Esther launches individuals toward their “next” as a Certified Gallup Strengthsfinder Coach. She worked for 11 years in Corporate Relocation. For the past 5 years, she has been fortunate to work at the Minneapolis North and South Minneapolis WorkForce Centers as a workshop facilitator/instructor and one-on-one career counselor/coach. Esther is passionate about being a career counselor. As an Adlerian, she knows that having a job that reflects ones’ strengths and passions makes a difference to individuals and families and the greater community. Her Bachelor Degree is from Mills College in Oakland, California in Anthropology and Sociology. Her Master’s degree is from Adler Graduate School in Adlerian Psychology and Psychotherapy with an emphasis on Management Consulting and Organizational Leadership. Esther is excited to be on the MCDA to increase membership and focus on learning and sharing.

Nancy Fraasch, board member

Nancy has over 20 years experience coaching and supporting individuals and groups in career-related areas including assessment/direction, resume development, LinkedIn, job search strategies, and interviewing & negotiation skills.  Nancy has taught Career Development classes at The University of Minnesota for 7 years and been a Career Coach in the Carlson School of Management, Graduate Career Center.  She also has extensive experience as a Senior Career Coach with a global career transition firm.

Nancy holds a Masters of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Education.  She has attained the status of Career Management Practitioner (CMP) from the Institute of Career Certification International and is a certified MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) assessment administrator.

Nancy is a current board member and past president of MCDA.  She has been an MCDA member for over 15 years and during that time has been co-chair of the MN Careers Conference 3 times.  Nancy enjoys serving as a board member to be able to give back to the organization since it is a great source of professional development, growth and connections in the career development field.

Jodi Holden, board member

Jodi believes deeply in the power of career counseling and coaching and the profound change it can bring about. With over three years career coaching and counseling experience, she has helped many individuals in the corporate world to identify and pursue satisfying careers, manage successful career transitions and take advantage of new opportunities. In an academic setting, Jodi has over a year and a half experience counseling international and domestic undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota.

As a first generation college student, Jodi earned her M.B.A. in International Management from the University of Dallas, and in 2015 completed a Master’s degree in Counseling from Saint Mary’s University.

Shelley Jensen-Decker, board member

Shelley Jensen-Decker has over 20 years of leadership experience as a Career Strategist in the field of career development. Her personable and approachable style, along with creativity and strategic thinking, has allowed her to work effectively with diverse clients spanning all backgrounds, levels and professions. Additionally, she has worked across multiple sectors, including private industry, non-profits, higher education and government. Her areas of expertise include guiding clients through job loss, assessments and career direction, program development/leadership and learning and development. Prior to working in career development, Shelley worked in marketing and advertising roles for a CPG company and an international advertising agency. Her education includes graduate coursework in career counseling, a MBA in Marketing, Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and advanced coaching courses through the Coaches Training Institute. She is also certified for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the BarOn EQ-I assessments. Shelley has been actively involved with MCDA for 13+ years. Her past roles on the MCDA board include President, Member at Large, and member of the Conference Committee. During 2017 – 2018 she coordinated and implemented the monthly MCDA Round Tables and is a Conference Co-Chair for the 2019 Conference.

Annie Montemayor, board member

Annie Montemayor is an associate career counselor at Capella University where she helps graduate students navigate career transitions and advancements. Prior to Capella, she worked as a graduate intern for Career Services at the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts. A former reporter and higher education communications professional, she transitioned into career counseling after earning her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in Higher Education from the University of Minnesota. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas. She is a new career professional who was awarded the MCDA Sunny Hansen Graduate Student Award in spring 2018 and is excited to serve MCDA members.

John Puchtel, board member

John Puchtel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Metropolitan State University.  He started his HR career as a generalist but quickly learned the recruiting was his passion and has been In similar roles for the last 20 years.  His recruiting experience covers healthcare, engineering, agriculture and manufacturing environments. While working with candidates, John often coaches them on how to build a stronger resume to present to the hiring manager. He coaches them on interview skills and techniques as well.

John is well networked in the recruiting community. He is a member of Minnesota Recruiters, MN Technical Recruiters and MNACE – Minnesota Association of Colleges and Employers. He works closely with these groups to understand which positions are open in the community.

John has worked in higher education since 2014 as a Career Advisor at ITT Technical Institute and Zenith Education. He has worked with students in person and virtually (online students) in the areas of IT, Electronics Technology, Drafting and Design, Business and Paralegal. He is a volunteered with many community career events including Step Up, Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and with his high school.

Bushra Rizvi, board member

Bushra Rizvi holds a Master’s degree in Genetics and is a Global Career Development Faciliator (GCDF) certified career advisor. She lived in Pakistan, Belgium and Germany before immigrating to Minnesota more than twenty years ago.

Bushra has piloted three successful career counseling programs in Minnesota. She is currently working as a Pathway Advisor at Saint Paul College, providing academic and career supports to students.

Bushra is a past Board Member and served as Chair, Communications Committee in which she served as co-editor and editor of MCDA’s Newsletter and has been a member of MCDA’s Conference Planning Committee for the last five years. In this capacity, she has served three times as Chair of the Marketing Committee.

Darlene Roy-Johnson, board member

Darlene Roy-Johnson, President, Kalina Quest Coaching & Development, is a global learning and development professional with over 25 years of experience in leadership and team development.

Her extensive corporate experience includes working with hundreds of teams and leaders across the globe to expand their impact and substantially improve their team’s performance.

She creates both core and advanced team development programs, incorporates the most innovative tools and techniques, and includes a measurable return on your investment, either tangible or intangible.

Paul Sears, board member

Paul Sears has been Senior Employment Counselor at Minnesota WorkForce Center the past 25 years. In that capacity Paul has been lead to the office’s Dislocated Worker Program, editor of the Career Connection job hunter newsletter, developed and taught job search and career classes, and has performed individual career counseling. Previously Paul did vocational rehabilitation counseling and developed career text materials for Interpretive Scoring Systems. Paul has a Masters degree in Education.

Heidi Stardig Stay, board member

Heidi Stardig Stay is a passionate career counselor, academic advisor, and LinkedIn Instructor for the State of Minnesota Workforce Center in the Dislocated Worker program for 9 years. She has a Master’s Degree from St. Mary’s University with specialization in Career Development, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology specializing in decision making. Heidi has individually coached hundreds of individuals successfully to employment, and degree completion. Heidi’s team has been awarded both: “Team of the Year by the State of Minnesota,” and “Outstanding Performance.”

Heidi is a past recipient of a Marketing Scholarship, and a Global Graduate International Internship Scholarship, where she worked abroad in London England. Heidi is GCDF Instructor certified, and taught GCDF for Normandale Community College. In her spare time, you will find Heidi bicycling, cross country skiing, swing dancing, or singing.

Alice Young, board member

Alice Young is a relatively new member of MCDA, having joined in 2016. She came into the group seeking her own career development in the field and, unsurprisingly, found a very welcoming community of professionals willing to help her find her path. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Human Development at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Professionally, she has spent much of her career in higher education. Her experience includes advising, recruiting for and coordinating graduate programs, as well as working in a career center context. She is a pre-health advisor, also belonging to the NAAHP (National Association for Advisors to the Healthcare Professions) and has a private consulting firm, Ask Alice Young, providing application and career pathway assistance to students who are headed for medical school, dental school and other competitive healthcare education programs. Alice lives in Eden Prairie with her husband Maurice, cat Sienna and two boisterous Schnauzers.