Meet Our Staff
Jeanne Ronayne, Executive Director
Jeanne Ronayne became the Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault in December 2014. Jeanne began her career at Olmsted County in 1984 as a social worker, moving to DFO Community Corrections 1986, and in 1998 she was appointed Program Manager of Victim Services. During the next 16 years, Jeanne worked to further justice for victims by engaging the many other systems professionals that interface with victims of crime. In 2010, Jeanne served as an expert witness in a matter that lead to the reversal of case law barring expert testimony in adult sexual cases. In 2012, Jeanne was a part of developing a primary prevention curriculum for school age children. Jeanne has been a champion of human rights and was a part of a community initiative to develop a county-wide hate/bias crime incident response plan.
In addition to her commitment to the work of ending sexual violence, Jeanne is committed to her family. Jeanne is married to Jim Pittenger, and together they enjoy a rich and busy family life that includes their six grown children, their partners, and six grandchildren.
Email Jeanne Ronayne Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7441
Yvonne Cournoyer, Prevention Program Manager
Yvonne Cournoyer has over 25 years of experience in planning, designing, developing, managing and evaluating programs and projects serving children, families and underserved communities. Prior to joining the MNCASA staff, she was Program Director for Stop It Now!, where she developed and presented trainings including Creating Circles of Safety: How to Speak Up to Keep Children Safe, Creating Safe Environments through Policy and Practice, and How Understanding and Responding to Sexual Behaviors in Children can Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. From 2002-2008, she was the Program Director for Stop It Now! Minnesota where she developed the first ad campaign targeting adults concerned about their own sexualized thoughts and behaviors. She has written articles and tip sheets for parents on a variety of topics including Sexual Safety: How to Talk with Coaches who Show Inappropriate Interest in Children. Her writing has been featured in Road Runner magazine and in USA Gymnastics' Technique magazine. She is also a trained Stewards of Children facilitator and teaches on-line classes for child care providers.
Email Yvonne Cournoyer. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7444
Lindsay Gullingsrud, Membership and Advocacy Services Coordinator
Lindsay Gullingsrud joined the staff of MNCASA it July, 2007. Prior to this, Ms. Gullingsrud worked as the Sexual Violence Education Coordinator in the Women's Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU-M). During her time at MSU-M, Ms. Gullingsrud established the Sexual Violence Education Program, the first point of care for students in crisis, as well as designed and implemented preventive programs addressing sexual violence on campus. Before starting her employment with MSU-M, Ms. Gullingsrud worked within Nicollet and Sibley Counties as the Sexual Assault Program Coordinator for Crime Victim Services, Inc. Ms. Gullingsrud has worked closely at the community and university levels with regards to education, outreach, and creating a coordinated systematic approach to addressing sexual violence within our communities. Lindsay is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Email Lindsay Gullingsrud. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7443
Jessica Jerney, SVJI Collaboration Specialist/Evaluation and Resarch Coordinator
Jessica brings her passion for social justice, organizational capacity building, and data-driven decision-making to MNCASA. For the last ten years she has worked with a numerous youth organizations, locally and internationally, to build, evaluate, and improve programs. Jessica holds a masters of education and graduate certificate in program evaluation from the University of Minnesota.
Since 1999, Jessica has worked with community-based organizations in urban and rural Minnesota as an organizer, educator, and evaluator. Previously, she worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota leading statewide research and education efforts with community partners, such as MNCASA members, to ensure survivors of sexual assault access to emergency contraception.
Email Jessica Jerney. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7458
Pa Yiar Khang, Sexual Violence Prevention Specialist
Pa Yiar Khang joined MNCASA as the Sexual Violence Prevention Specialist in October 2014. Pa brings a strong background in public health prevention, health promotion, and community engagement with a considerable passion for preventing sexual violence. She began her work in prevention addressing women’s health. Pa has also worked in tobacco prevention and control, implementing the first smoke-free multi-unit housing initiative to create healthier, saver environments in Dane County, WI. She has worked for and in partnership with public health departments and coalitions utilizing skills in prevention science, public health theories, and evidence based strategies to plan, develop, and implement programs in a variety of public health prevention areas such as obesity, tobacco, alcohol, and mental health. As the Sexual Violence Prevention Specialist for MNCASA, Pa works on MNCASA prevention programs such as the Community Primary Prevention Partnership program and with organizations interested in developing their primary prevention capacity. Pa holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Email Pa Yiar Khang. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7446
Leah Lutz, SVJI Collaboration Specialist/Teaching and Connections Coordinator
Leah Lutz joined MNCASA in April, 2008. Leah has over twelve years' experience in sexual/domestic violence-related work. From 2003-2008, Leah was Executive Director of HOPE Center in Rice County, MN. In this position, she lead a community-based advocacy organization that offers support to victim/survivors of sexual/domestic violence, provides educational support to the entire community, and collaborative support to other organizations that serve victims/survivors. Leah has been a frequent presenter at statewide and regional training/educational events. In 2004, Leah helped form the Rice County SMART Team and co-chaired the team for four years. Leah is happy to be working at MNCASA and hopes to use the lessons learned from the Rice County process to help other communities build a coordinated victim-centered response for victim/survivors of sexual violence.
Email Leah Lutz. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7447
Megan McKinnon, Office and Systems Manager
Megan McKinnon joined the staff of MNCASA in 2007. Prior to that, she worked as the East African language coordinator for an interpreting agency, and as an executive and editorial assistant at the St. Paul-based National Youth Leadership Council. Ms. McKinnon also worked for the Minnesota Senate and as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Minnesota Literacy Council. She is a graduate of the College of St. Catherine.
Email Megan McKinnon. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7440
Kari Ogrodowski, Sexual Violence Justice Institute Collaboration Specialist/Medical Forensic Exam Access Project Coordinator
Kari Ogrodowski joined the Sexual Violence Justice Institute at MNCASA in October 2013. As a Collaboration Specialist, Kari provides training and technical assistance for multidisciplinary sexual assault response teams in order to promote a victim-centered response to sexual violence. Kari also coordinates the Medical Forensic Exam Access (MFEA) Project which aims to improve consistency regarding medical forensic exam access, quality, and payment processes for sexual assault victims across the state of Minnesota. Kari has previously worked as a Case Manager, hospital advocate, and Rape Crisis Center Volunteer Program Coordinator in Washington, DC. She has experience working with DC’s Sexual Assault Response Team and also conducted many trainings and presentations regarding sexual assault response. More specifically, Kari assisted in the creation and implementation of Washington, DC’s current hospital advocacy program. She was also one of the first advocates to provide services to an incarcerated survivor in DC under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Kari’s passion for social justice and women’s empowerment first began with a college volunteer opportunity as a Healthy Relationships Class Facilitator at a local Juvenile Detention Center.
Kari originally comes from Knoxville, TN, and is a graduate of Grinnell College. She is currently working towards a master of arts in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development with a program track in higher education at the University of Minnesota.
Email Kari Ogrodowski. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7450
Caroline Palmer, Law and Policy Manager
Caroline Palmer joined MNCASA in 2008. As law and policy manager she works to develop MNCASA's policy agenda, provide technical assistance to member programs, organize trainings for criminal justice and social services professionals, and develop educational resources. Prior to her duties at MNCASA she was the Pro Bono Development Director at the Minnesota State Bar Association and a staff attorney at the Minnesota AIDS Project. Ms. Palmer is a graduate of Barnard College and Hamline University School of Law (where she is currently an adjunct professor). She also completed the Policy Fellows Program at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Email Caroline Palmer. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7445
Shereen Reda, SVJI Collaboration Specialist/Minnesota Point of Contact
Shereen joined the SVJI@MNCASA staff in January 2015, and brings her passion for community engagement, training and education, and organizational dynamics to her role. She has been involved in social service work for over seven years, and began in the field of gender-based violence as the sole volunteer advocate in the West Suburban office of the Sexual Violence Center (SVC). She later joined the SVC staff; first in direct services, providing counseling, co-facilitating support groups at a women’s prison, and serving on the Sexual Assault Interagency Council (SAIC) of Carver County; then, as the Prevention Program Coordinator, where she helped SVC become the first agency to launch the Green Dot Strategy in the state of Minnesota.
Shereen completed her Master of Social Work degree at Augsburg College in 2014. She also presented the results of her study on the juvenile justice system’s response to teen dating violence at the 2014 International Social Work Conference, and served as the MSW liaison for the 2014 Social Work Day at the Capitol. Shereen is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker, and an active member of the Association of Macro Practice Social Workers. Seeing herself as a life-long learner, she uses her sense of humor and positive approach to engage others in difficult dialogues. She is tri-lingual, a citizen of three countries, and loves cooking, yoga, zumba, and the “Harry Potter” series.
Email Shereen Reda. Phone: 651.209.9993 x7452
Emily Tofte Nestaval, Financial Manager
Emily joined the MNCASA staff as the Financial Manager in July 2014. She has over 13 years experience in the anti-violence field. She began working in the field and as a hotline volunteer on a domestic violence hotline. After attending graduate school, Emily was able to meld her passion for serving survivors of violence and non-profit management when she became the Executive Director of the Network Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (now H.A.V.E.N.) in Bozeman, Montana. In 2008, she moved to Colorado where she was the Assistant Director of Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA) and later the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center. She also had the privilege to serve as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) between 2009-2013 when her term ended. Emily is a graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington and holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan.
Email Emily Tofte Nestaval. Phone:651.209.9993 Ext. 7449
Jess Van Iperen, SVJI Collaboration Specialist/Project Coordinator for the Case Review Resources Project
Jessica Van Iperen joined the SVJI@MNCASA staff in January 2015. She began working in the sexual violence field in 2009 as the coordinator for the Lyon County SMART. While coordinating the SMART team, Jessica worked directly with victims of sexual assault, provided ongoing support groups for survivors, directed and presented a relationship series program for ninth grade health classes, and co-facilitated a girlsBEST group. Before joining the sexual violence movement Jessica worked in the medical field and received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from South Dakota State University.
Email Jess Van Iperen. Phone: 651.209.9993 x7455
Noelle Volin, SVJI Collaboration Specialist/Special Projects Coordinator
Noelle Volin joined the SVJI@MNCASA staff in January 2015. She is also a trainer and consultant with Do Justice Consulting, LLC, working to increase awareness about sex trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation and build the capacity of advocates, criminal justice professionals, and communities to assist victims and end sexual exploitation. Prior to founding Do Justice Consulting, Noelle worked as the Staff Attorney and Director of Policy and Education at a Minnesota-based non-profit serving sexually exploited women and girls. After identifying a crucial gap in the legal services available to victims, Noelle created the Criminal Justice Advocacy Program and implemented the pro-bono legal clinic. Noelle also developed and conducted specialized trainings about sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, and represented the voices of survivors and advocates on state and federal policy initiatives.
Noelle is a graduate of Hamline University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in the state of Minnesota. Before attending law school, Noelle lived and worked in Japan for over 5 years, and during that time, obtained a Masters of Public Administration with Certificate in International Peace and Conflict Studies from the International Christian University in Tokyo.
Email Noelle Volin. Phone: 651.209.9993 x7457
Laura Williams, Sexual Violence Justice Institute Program Manager
Laura Williams leads the staff at SVJI in providing analysis, training, and technical assistance on the multidisciplinary collaborative response to sexual violence. She joined the staff at MNCASA in 2006. Ms. Williams has 20 years of experience working to improve response to sexual assault victim/survivors. She has answered hotlines, accompanied victim/survivors to hospitals, law enforcement centers, courtrooms, and policy hearings, and trained volunteers and professionals to improve their response. For five years, Laura served as a founding co-director of the Minnesota Model Protocol Project, the forerunner to the Sexual Violence Justice Institute. Laura has an MPA in public and nonprofit leadership and management from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs and BA from Carleton College. Laura is an Associate in Human Systems Dynamics which provides methods and models to see, understand and influence complex human systems.
Email Laura Williams. Phone: 651.209.9993 Ext. 7448