Minnesota Young American Leaders Program

The Minnesota Young American Leaders Program

Since 2015, the Itasca Project has sent cohorts of ten rising leaders to Harvard Business School for the Young American Leaders Program. In 2019, the Itasca Project partnered with the Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota to create the Minnesota Young American Leaders Program, which is inspired by the HBS Program. The two programs share themes, content, and some speakers. Both focus on the US and regional competitiveness, shared prosperity, and cross-sector collaborations; both programs seek to create relationships among civically focused rising leaders in our region.

MYALP  will hold its fifth annual conference from May 19 to 22, 2024 at the University of Minnesota. This year, MYALP will be welcoming cohorts from Greater Mankato, Greater Fargo-Moorhead, Greater Minnapolis-St. Paul, Greater Rochester, Greater St. Cloud, and Northeast MN. There is no cost to participants to attend this program; lodging and travel expenses are also covered.

Additional information on the program can be found on the Center for Integrative Leadership’s MYALP  website and the Itasca Project’s website.

Greater Mankato Growth is proud to announce nine outstanding individuals who will participate in this year’s program:

  • Kuldeep Agarwal, Professor at Minnesota State University
  • Collin Bennett, Project Manager at Knutson Construction
  • Sabri Fair, Environment and Sustainability Planner at Region Nine Development Commission
  • Amanda Hird, Mental Health Professional – Psychotherapy and Case Management Clinical Supervision at Blue Earth County
  • Tricia Lewis, Operations & Governance Director at Mankato Area Foundation
  • Garrett Lieffring, Associate Director of Employer Relations at Kivu Immigration Law PLLC
  • Adam Massmann, Program Director at VINE Faith in Action
  • Ryan Marti, Director of Supply Chain at Taylor Corporation
  • Sam Schirmers, Program Coordinator at Mankato Area Public Schools & Community Education

Program Information

The Minnesota Young American Leaders Program (MYALP) is an intensive, three-and-a-half day program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities convening approximately sixty rising leaders from across for-profit, government, and non-profit sectors who are committed to working across sectors to help their communities and our region prosper inclusively.

The program interweaves case studies, insights from national and Minnesota practitioners of cross-sector leadership, diverse perspectives on our current state economy, and research presentations from scholars to provide tools for cross-sector collaboration and to invest in rising leaders who impact the future of our region and state. Program themes include: The State and Trajectory of U.S. and Minnesota Economies: Insights and Examples; Cross Sector Leadership: Insights and Examples; Building Future collaborations for our Region; and Leadership Chats: The View from the Trenches.

Participants of MYALP have the opportunity to collaborate after the Program to develop and potentially launch an initiative for public good and to build a broader capacity in their region by deepening their practical knowledge of what it takes to make shared leadership initiatives happen

Nomination & Application Guidance

The nomination and application process has been modified this year. Interested applicants no longer require a nomination. Instead, nominations can be used to notify the MYALP program staff of a great applicant and they will reach out to that applicant with your name and an invitation to apply for the program.

Download Nominator Guide

Nomination Considerations:

Nominators can submit a nomination until October 31. 

  • A minimum of 7 years of professional experience and an interest in collaborating across sectors for the good of the Greater Mankato region.
  • Demonstrated experience working across differences such as race, ideology, and sector.
  • Interest in making time available on an ongoing basis to continue working on projects for the region.
  • Attendees do not need to be from the Mankato-North Mankato MSA if they work or are otherwise heavily involved in the MSA and are willing to work on projects impacting the MSA.

When deciding whether to nominate an individual, it is useful to consider:

  • Does this individual have a distinctive track record of civic engagement?
  • Does this individual have a combination of track record and runway?
  •  Do they bring expertise to the group?
Download Applicant Guide

Application Considerations:

Applications must be submitted by November 14 and will include the answer to 5 questions outlined in the Applicant Guide as well as a resume.

Applicants must be able to commit to attending the full program beginning Sunday evening May 19 and ending Wednesday Afternoon May 22. 

Applicants are expected to stay on campus for the duration of the program and all lodging, travel, and meal costs are covered by the program.

Application Progress cannot be saved, so applicants are encouraged to download the Greater MN application questions prior to beginning the application.


Greater Mankato MYALP Alumni
  • Chris Dalton – City Manager –  City of New Ulm
  • Ashley Eimer – Vice President of Philanthropy – Mankato Area Foundation
  • Laura Koch – Chief Human Resources Officer – Profinium
  • Courtney Kramlinger – Economic Development Coordinator – City of Mankato
  • Ayan Omar – EDA Member/Minority Populations Commissioner –  St. Peter Econ. Dev. Auth./Region Nine Development Commission
  • Claire Goettl – Industrial Engineer II – Taylor Corporation
  • Colin Scharf – Owner – Gold Mine Studios Audio/Visual and Event Production Studio
  • Christi Wilking – Community Relations Officer – Mayo Clinic Health System
  • Alejandra Bejarano – Economic Recovery Planner – Region 9 Development Commission
  • Dr. Cuong Huynh – Owner – Discover Chiropractic
  • Benya Kaus – Founder & Executive Director – Lead for Minnesota
  • Mark Konz – Associate Director – Planning and Development Services – City of Mankato
  • Nate Olsen – Vice President/Business Banker – United Prairie Bank
  • Ryan Vesey – Economic Development & Research Manager – Greater Mankato Growth
  • Kelcey Woods-Nord – Director of Strategic Partnerships & Employer Engagement – South Central College


  • Jennifer Bromeland – City Administrator – City of Eagle Lake
  • Laura Drager – Marketing Manager – ISG
  • Matt DuRose – Assistant Director Mankato Public Safety – City of Mankato
  • Edell Fiedler – Communications and Engagement Director – City of Mankato and Mankato Area Public Schools
  • Julie Fredrickson – Owner – J. Fre Consulting
  • Nicole Griensewic – Executive Director – Region 9 Development Commission
  • Kate Hansen – Owner – Blue Sun Designs & Cabin No. 4
  • Tonya Hobbie – Director of Talent Management – Bolton & Menk
  • Mohamed Ibrahim – Community Health Specialist – Mayo Clinic Health System
  • Diana Rojo-Garcia – Associate Editor, Reporter – Mankato Free Press
  • Katie Smentek – Pediatrician and Board Member – Mankato Clinic
  • Amanda Weister – Assistant Director, Career Development Center – Minnesota State University, Mankato