INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
As the founder of Youthprise, Wokie Weah provided executive leadership and vision, worked in partnership with the board of directors and brokered relationships to reduce disparities with and for Minnesota youth. In 2016, Wokie was recognized as one of the “(Real) Power 50” by Minnesota Business Magazine and was recently awarded the Annual Community Leadership Award from the Charities Review Council. A champion for young people, Wokie led Youthrpise to become nationally recognized for its leadership in youth engagement and youth philanthropy. She was a 2021 honoree in TPT Originals’ 15th Annual “Facing Race” Awards. In 2016, Youthprise piloted the international youth-giving model, YouthBank, with 8 sites in the state of Minnesota and plans to expand nationally. Throughout her career, Wokie has upheld and promoted values around youth leadership, racial equity and reducing disparities.
Prior to joining Youthprise, Wokie worked for 18 years at the National Youth Leadership Council; serving as Senior Vice President. In that capacity, she helped shape the organization’s strategic direction, cultivate partnerships, grow the funding base and managed NYLC’s youth and schools programs, professional development, annual conference, and special events.
For part of that time she also worked for UNICEF as an Education Project Officer in Liberia, where she coordinated the Support to War-Affected Youth Project, the Juvenile Justice Initiative, African Girl Education Initiative, and Child Friendly Spaces for internally displaced children.
Wokie received her Master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her Bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University in New York. She is an author and widely traveled speaker; she has addressed audiences throughout the United States and Africa and written extensively on service-learning and diversity. She is a native of Liberia, is married, and has five children and 10 grandchildren.
Board of Directors
FOUNDER & President, BOARD DIRECTOR
Rose McGee is Founder of the internationally recognized Sweet Potato Comfort Pie organization. She is a well-known facilitator, one of Minnesota’s 50 Over 50, a member of Women Who Really Cook, the Women’s Business Development Center, Golden Valley League of Women Voters, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and works as a Humanities Officer for Minnesota Humanities Center. She is the former president of the NAACP in Rochester, MN. Rose now resides in Golden Valley, Minnesota where she was named “Citizen of The Year,” was presented the “Bill Hobbs Human Rights Award,” and is a 2019 recipient of the prestigious Bush Fellowship. She is featured in the national PBS documentary, A Few Good Pie Places, author of the books, Story Circle Stories, Kumbayah The Juneteenth Story, and has a TEDx Talk on The Power of Pie. Other recognition includes: The Lorraine Hansberry Award for Outstanding Black Women in Minnesota, NAACP Outstanding Service Awards, Stairstep Foundation’s African Immersion to Ghana, West Africa, Jerome Foundation Travel Grant to Ghana, West Africa, and Minnesota Social Impact Center Change Maker Award.
In 2021 her children’s book, Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie like Our Mama, will be released by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. She earned degrees from Lane College Jackson, Tennessee and Lesley University Cambridge, Massachusetts.
BOARD MEMBER, TREASURER
Christy is a financial professional with experience in public and corporate accounting across a variety of industries. Her areas of professional practice include: Month-End Close, Auditing, Financial Statements, Management Reporting, Budget Preparation, Financial Analysis, Complex Account Reconciliations, Sarbanes-Oxley, Accounting Policy, Process Improvement, Audit Preparation, Due Diligence, Accounts Payable, Credit and Collections. She handles the books for SPCP, and is mom to two girls.
Megan Forgrave is passionate about building community and connections. She has worked in journalism, communications, nonprofits and philanthropy for more than 15 years, and has experience on a local, national and international level in strategic communications, public relations campaigns, and event planning. She currently works at the St. Paul Area Chamber as the Vice President of Programming and Member Experience. She got to know Rose McGee and Sweet Potato Comfort Pie through her past role with the Bush Foundation. Megan lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children, is active in her neighborhood and the schools, and can often be found outdoors, exploring new places, reading or cooking… sometimes pie.
“Rose McGee is someone who doesn’t just think about doing something – she makes it happen. She has a gift for bringing people together in an authentic, thoughtful and joy-filled way that really builds understanding. We need more of her kindness and enrichment in all our communities, and building Sweet Potato Comfort Pie into its own nonprofit organization will help spread the programming she’s developed.”
Board Secretary & Lead Facilitator
Roslyn is an enthusiastic young pastor, educator, mental health practitioner, entrepreneur, and artist. Specializing in Healing and Restorative Circles, her ministry Circle of Healing brings forth truth and accountability to the meaning of spirituality while breaking the stigmas of mental health systems that are so often miss-perceived by religious communities. Roslyn is “CreArtive” (a self-developed term that encompasses her wide range of artistic gifts). She uses her natural talents to help others tap into their own source of inner-self for renewed growth and healing via artistic expressions and creative thinking. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, owner of 3:16 BLING! Custom Designs & Apparel and is a Prepare-Enrich Couples Coach offering pre-marital/marital counseling. Pastor Roslyn resides in Brooklyn Park, MN.
Roslyn’s favorite SPCP quote comes from Kate Towle, SPCP’s Lead Media Specialist & Facilitator.
YOUTH BOARD MEMBER
Kai Miller lives in Plymouth MN, and at 17 years old she is currently serving as the SPCP Youth Board Member. Kai has been an active volunteer with SPCP since 2020, was part of the inaugural Rose Service Scholars program, and provided much of the poetry for the SPCP photo exhibit: Character Values, Upholding Beloved Community. Kai is looking forward to being a 2022 graduate of the Breck School. When not volunteering or busy with school work, she enjoys writing, traveling and spending time with her family.
Ms. Pearson-Ettinger is former teacher and accountant who currently owns both a bakery and home services business. Her bakery specializes in supplying product for fundraising and donations for nonprofit organizations. She is a former charter school board president, and participated in the development of the systems, staffing and curriculum for the new charter school. In addition to her work for Sweet Potato Comfort Pie board, she serves as a current board member of women’s culinary network and services group, and is a chef mentor.
Senator Putnam is an educator, community volunteer and public servant. He has been a professor of communication at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict since 2003 where he researches and teaches the history of public argument about democracy as well as social movement and civil rights theory. He has served on the board of directors of the Beautiful Mind Project, LION Community Services, the Local Education Activities Foundation, and the St. Cloud Educational Rights Advocacy Council. He also serves as Senator representing District 14, the Greater St. Cloud Area, in the Minnesota Senate. Aric lives in St. Cloud with his wife Laurie and children Eliza and Phineas.
Mr. Rooker is an Art Director/Graphic and Motion Designer/Illustrator with a career spanning over two decades in the design industry. He has partnered with Fortune 500 companies/agencies as well as smaller, locally owned businesses and nonprofits here in the Twin Cities and previously in New York. Former clients / companies that he has partnered with include Condé Nast Publications, Major League Baseball, M&M/Mars, Avon Products, the Star Tribune, Cine-O-Matic Inc., Zan Associates, and Juxtaposition Arts.
He is a passionate champion of youth development work, and loves to instill belief in those that struggle to find their path in life and meet their greatest potential. Social inequities such as food insecurity, defending a woman’s right to choose, and the escalating problem of gun violence are all areas of great concern that he is engaged in combating.
Ken loves traveling to unusual locations around the globe when able, and connecting with the local communities of those regions to develop a greater cultural understanding. We are one people.
Other interests include classic jazz, heroes with and without capes, global cinema and genre film.
Michelle Witte currently serves as Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, and is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive. Prior to the League, she was the founding Executive Director of Merrill Community Arts Center in Woodbury, with a mission to connect community through the arts. She also served as an elected School Board Member with South Washington County Schools, and received an outstanding leadership award for her longstanding service to the district, and raising millions of dollars to support schools and students through levy and bond referendums. Michelle’s additional experience in nonprofit management and fundraising includes working with health care organizations, churches, political campaigns and schools, and with issues such as domestic violence, long-term care and aging. Her lifelong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion grew out of her early college and post-college experiences, traveling to Central America as Secretary for International Concerns for the Lutheran Student Movement, and working in inner-city St. Louis, where she started a foundation to support the community hospital serving the African American community. Michelle is a graduate in psychology from the University of Minnesota and has a Public Affairs Fellowship from the Coro Foundation. She enjoys any time she can get with her husband Eric, and her adult daughters Libby and Kate, and her sweet Covid rescue dog, Kiwi!