A transparent cohort of distinguished peers


These community leaders emulate the qualities we’re looking for in our "50 Over 50" honorees. They inspire others with their work, they challenge outdated beliefs, and they’ve made an impact on their community and the people who live there. We are grateful for the time and energy these distinguished leaders are investing to help us celebrate and recognize the achievements and contributions of 50+ Minnesotans.


Terri Barreiro


Terri Barreiro is adjunct professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of MN and a consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations. She is co-author of Social Entrepreneurship: the Journey from Issue to Viable Venture and co-founder at Impact Hub Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Her career includes a decade as founder of the McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Central Minnesota, 20 years as Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Minneapolis Area, and five years as Program Officer and Co-Director of the national Dayton Hudson Foundation, a corporate foundation that is now Target Foundation. She earned a BA and MBA at the University of Minnesota. She is an avid volunteer, recently completing nine years on the Cargill (corporate) Foundation, has just joined the Board of Community Giving, which is dedicated to building and supporting community foundations across Central Minnesota, and continues her board role with Close Gaps by 5.

Carolyn Holbrook


Carolyn Holbrook was a 2015 recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant and was named a 2015 Change Maker by the MN Women’s Press. Her personal essays have been published widely, most recently in A Good Time For The Truth: Race in Minnesota (MHS Press) and Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (MHS Press). She is also the author of Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys: How the St. Paul Companies Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods Program Changed Lives and Communities. Carolyn founded SASE: The Write Place in 1993 and served as its executive/artistic director until 2006, when she spearheaded its merger with Intermedia Arts. Carolyn teaches creative writing at Hamline University where she won the Exemplary Teacher award in 2013, and at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. She was a 2015-16 mentor for the Loft Mentor Series and the 2010 recipient of the MN Book Awards Kay Sexton Award. 


Don Ness


Don Ness is Executive Director of the Ordean Foundation. Established in 1933, the Ordean Foundation has a long, proud heritage of addressing issues of poverty in Duluth. Don has served 16 years in elected leadership, culminating with a 91 percent job approval rating in his role as Mayor of Duluth. During this time, he was honored with the titles of both Twin Cities Business Person of the Year and the Labovitz School of Business and Economics Business Person of the Year. Prior to his tenure as mayor, he was the campaign manager for Congressman Jim Oberstar for nearly 10 years. Don’s core values include a deep dedication to his family, and an ongoing spirit of service to his community. He and his wife Laura continue to live in Duluth with their three children: Ella, James, and Owen.



Kate Schaefers, Ph.D., LP


Kate is a psychologist, educator, and coach. She is Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Advanced Careers (UMAC) initiative, bringing people back to campus as they transition into meaningful work in the second half of life. She is also a leadership coach at The Bailey Group and has taught graduate level classes at University of MN and University of St. Thomas. Kate is the Volunteer State President for AARP-MN, and a founding board member of SHIFT, a Twin Cities nonprofit facilitating career change after age 50 and helping people connect with greater life meaning and balance. She is also the founder of Encore Life Planning, a consulting and coaching firm providing services to individuals and organizations.




Sandy Vargas


A champion of bringing people, charitable resources, and ideas together to spark positive community change, Sandra has served as President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation since 2007. She has recently retired from that position and has been appointed as a Senior Executive Leadership Fellow with the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. In this position she will make the issues of racial, social and economic equity major themes in initiatives and projects. Sandy is active in several Twin Cities organizations and serves on the local boards of St. Catherine University, Minnesota Comeback, and Wallin Education Partnership. She also is an active member of the national boards of Independent Sector, 50CAN, and Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Lorena Cook


As a former administrator at Bemidji State University (BSU) in Bemidji, MN, Lorena worked as Assistant to the President/Affirmative Action Officer for 18 years and also as Assistant Director of Financial Aid for one year. She has also worked as an Human Resources Administrator and taught business education at the secondary and post-secondary level in her professional career. Having retired from BSU in 2007, she currently serves on the board of trustees for the Red Lake Nation College in Red Lake, MN, is the current chair for the Regional Development Advisory Council of Minnesota Public Radio, and is a member of the Constitution Reform Initiative Committee for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in Red Lake, MN, where she is an enrolled tribal member.



Jimmy Longoria


Jimmy Longoria is the only Chicano/Latino/Hispanic to be awarded an Archibald Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship in Fine Art, and he is the only Minnesotan to have art in the permanent collection of Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art, the largest collection of Mexican Art outside Mexico. Even though he is recognized internationally as a fine artist, he continues to practice giving back to the community by producing murals that deter gang graffiti in communities suffering gang presence. His commitment to giving back to our community led Target Corporation to label him as “Someone We’d Like You to Meet,” in a national campaign.  The McKnight Foundation has honored him with a Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Service, and he received Ordway’s “Sally Award” for his artistic vision of giving back to the community through art. Jimmy is the only Latino artist to receive the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” Award from the City of Minneapolis. 

Philomena Morrissey Satre


Philomena is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic External Relationships at Land O'Lakes. She currently co-chairs the Twin Cities D&I Roundtable and was recently named to the Minneapolis Workforce Council. She is past board chair for SHIFT, a nonprofit focused on people in midlife; Executive Leadership Council member of Honoring Women Worldwide; and past board member of Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES), Lifeworks, HIRED, and Resource Inc.

Philomena has been recognized by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal as a Woman Change Maker and Minority Advocate. She was also named as one of the Minnesota Business "Real Power 50" and received The Lifetrack Shining Star award for her efforts championing work life and wellness education at Wells Fargo.


Eric Schnell


Eric easily pivots across stereotypical dichotomies: techie and humanist, big picture thinker and get-in-the-trenches doer, savvy business mind, and warm nonprofit heart. He is just as comfortable analyzing data as he is lending an ear to those in need. And as a 2016 50 Over 50 honoree in the Disruption category, he courageously takes on new roles and challenges, embracing opportunities to reinvent not only himself, but also our society—especially when it comes to keeping people independent. Driven by a desire to help his oldest son, a young man with an amazing array of talents and unlimited potential whose autism prevents him from getting a driver’s license, Eric is working to expand access and inclusion by bringing accessible, affordable, and reliable transportation freedom to people with disabilities. He is also engaged in finding ways for virtual reality to provide relief for older adults experiencing social isolation.

Marty Weintraub


Marty is a world-renowned marketer in an industry most commonly viewed as a Millennial’s game. Whether driving exceptional marketing results for clients or challenging employees half his age to realize their potential, Marty’s passion inspires everyone he comes in contact with. Marty started in the 1980s as a professional musician who dreamt of playing his songs in stadiums. That same big dreaming continued as his career morphed from music to marketing in the 1990s, and as Marty embraced digital marketing nearly two decades before others recognized its importance. At age 45, a cancer diagnosis gave Marty the drive to found Aimclear, a St. Paul- and Duluth-based marketing agency that has grown from a one-person start-up to a global leader named to Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies six years in a row.