President & Founder, Board Director
Rose McGee is Founder of the 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 and now resides in Golden Valley, Minnesota where she was named “Citizen of The Year,” and was presented the “Bill Hobbs Human Rights Award” twice. She was a 2019 recipient of the prestigious Bush Fellowship, and has been featured in the national PBS documentary, “A Few Good Pie Places.” Rose is the author of the book, Story Circle Stories, as well as a children’s book, Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like Our Mama, which was published in 2021 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. She is also the author of a play, Kumbayah The Juneteenth Story, which tells the story and history behind Juneteenth, and has been performed in multiple venues in the MN metro area as well as Duluth, MN. Rose also delivered a TEDx Talk, 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.
Rose earned degrees from Lane College Jackson, Tennessee and Lesley University Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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. Megan’s former role with the Bush Foundation led her to cross paths with Rose McGee and the work of Sweet Potato Comfort Pie. 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.
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 while breaking the stigmas of mental health issues that are so often misunderstood by religious communities. Roslyn calls herself a “CreArtive” (a word she feels 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, owner of 3:16 BLING! Custom Designs & Apparel and is a Prepare-Enrich Couples Coach offering premarital/marital counseling. She is currently the Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Center in St. Paul, the oldest community mediation service in Minnesota. Pastor Roslyn resides in Brooklyn Park, MN.
Board Member, Treasurer
Niila Hebert is a passionate and energetic community engagement professional who has worked with nonprofit organizations for more than 15 years. She is the current VP of Network Alignment with the African American Leadership Forum. Niila carries a zest for developing collective strategies to increase community access, wealth, and opportunities. Niila is highly skilled in creating partnerships and connections through innovative and equitable practices. Niila is a skilled DEI Trainer and values centering equity and justice and being a catalyst for transformative change. She is also a certified volunteer administrator (CVA), and currently serves on the boards of, The MN Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA) and Until We All Are Free (UWAAF). Niila is a graduate of California State University of Long Beach, majoring in communications and black studies.
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 original artistic production/photo exhibit: Character Values, Upholding Beloved Community. Kai is currently studying at Loyola Marymount University. When not volunteering or busy with school work, she enjoys writing, traveling and spending time with her family.
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 MN State Senator representing District 14, the Greater St. Cloud Area. 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.
Ken 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 focus.
Ken loves traveling to unusual locations around the globe and connecting with the local communities of those regions to develop a greater cultural understanding. Other interests include classic jazz, heroes with and without capes, global cinema and genre film.
Maya Sullivan currently serves as Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator at Metropolitan State University (Minnesota). Her role includes strategic leadership and management of several supportive student services focused on student success, retention, and completion. Maya also serves as student conduct officer and investigates protected class discrimination claims.
Prior to her full-time higher education experience, Maya practiced law and worked in other legal and policy roles practicing in a variety of areas including civil rights, employment, family law, small business representation and criminal law. She also served as an adjunct faculty member for undergraduate and law school courses.
Maya has a strong interest in collaborating with colleagues and community members. Some of her community work include co-leading the organization of a local HBCU College Fair and Alumni Panel, serving as guest facilitator for church youth groups, co-coaching youth basketball team and supporting youth track and field team. She works to engage in an equitable and anti-racist manner whether with students, employees or others. Her lived experiences give her some knowledge, but she is a student of life and learns something new every day.
Maya received her B.S. in Political Science from HBCU Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her J.D. from Hamline University School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline) in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has completed coursework for Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Sean holds a social media certificate from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. He handles all aspects of social media, including streaming live events and content creation. His interests include natural pathways to healing, independent film, and exploring his heritage as Colombian American.
Christine Belfrey Johnson
Rose Service Scholar Lead Program Coordinator
Christine is an artist, author, educator and pastor. She is currently part of a team that hosts a community open mic event in North Minneapolis called H-Cubed (Hope, Healing, Harmony). She is the owner of Belfrey Books Publishing LLC, as well as a published author and a recording artist. Most recently, Christine served as an evangelical Lutheran pastor and worship vocalist, which gave her the opportunity to travel throughout the world. She spent over 15 years as a K–8 teacher, coordinator, advisor and administrator in both Minneapolis and Anoka-Hennepin schools.
Ashlee Martinez Deleon
Ashlee has been with Sweet Potato Comfort Pie since 2020, and her organizational and tech skills have been instrumental in creating the organization’s infrastructure. Ashlee is a certified professional project manager (CPPM), holds a Master of Science degree in human resource management, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in business management and a certificate of entrepreneurship. She completed the program to become a Certified Six Sigma Green Belt, which she uses to improve processes and data and information flow.
Assistant Program Coordinator / Rose Service Scholar
Rabi joined the organization in 2022 after completing the organization’s Rose Service Scholar mentorship program. Rabi studies at Macalester College, where she plans on majoring in creative writing. She assists Rose McGee and Ashlee with program planning and implementation.
Barb volunteered with Sweet Potato Comfort Pie before joining in 2022. She is responsible for development, as well as marketing and PR. She has worked in communications for more than 20 years, cutting her teeth in large corporations before starting her own communications firm. She is a graduate of Carleton College with a degree in creative writing, and has advanced training in digital marketing.
Administrative / Volunteer Coordinator
Jen provides both administrative and volunteer coordination support. She has been a longtime volunteer with the organization. Jen comes from the nonprofit world, where she managed volunteers and planning for a church and other organizations.
Saima has advanced certification in QuickBooks and provides expert bookkeeping and accounting services to Sweet Potato Comfort Pie. Saima volunteers at her local community school as a teacher and also works as a volunteer organizing interfaith events at the community center.