Speaker bios | Harmony

LeAnn Littlewolf and Vern Northrup, AICHO
Portrait of LeAnn Littlewolf
LeAnn Littlewolf (Anishinaabe/Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag Band of Ojibwe) is currently the Advocate Training Specialist at AICHO and assists with program/initiative development. She has worked a long time in the policy advocacy and nonprofit sectors and carries a deep commitment to community leadership. She has over 25 years of nonprofit experience, which includes direct services, development and executive director roles. As a young organizer, she developed a start-up nonprofit organization focused on American Indian youth leadership. She is on a leadership team at AICHO for a Food Sovereignty initiative and development of Indigenous social enterprises. She holds a B.A. and ME.d. from St. Scholastica, and an M.A. in Advocacy and Political Leadership from University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Portrait of Vern NorthrupVern Northrup is a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He is a retired Fire Operations Specialist with the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry, a United States Marine Corps Veteran (1970-1973), and now a photographer. He was born in Minneapolis and grew up on the Fond du Lac Reservation. He has a vast knowledge of Anishinaabe culture, traditions, and the environment. As an artist, his photography reflects our natural landscape. He is a member of AICHO’s climate and culture resiliency program advisory council and also the AICHO Artists Collective.

Tony Cuneo and Salaam Witherspoon, Health in All Policies
Portrait of Tony Cuneo
Tony Cuneo lives in Duluth with his wife Erin and his four kids, Esmae, Elsa, and Twin A and Twin B (yet to be named). He serves as the Executive Director of the Zeitgeist Center for Arts and Community, an arts and community development organization practicing the art of building a connected, creative, thriving community. Zeitgeist is the Health in All Policies coordinating agency and one of the lead staff agencies. His past work includes community and issue based organizing, a term on the Duluth City Council, and terms with the Duluth Economic Development Authority and the Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority. He's a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Portrait of Salaam WitherspoonSalaam Witherspoon was born and raised in Duluth, the youngest child of 11. Her father was a minister so she considers herself a “PK” (preacher’s kid). She has a seven-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter whom she says are her “constant push for our sustainable future.” She is a person of faith led by the Holy Spirit. Her main goals in life are to “over-represent the underrepresented and to learn, teach, and grow in all levels of harmony.” Witherspoon is the CHUM organizer for HiAP. She sits on the Heading Home St. Louis County Governance Board and YMCA Advisory Council. She is co-chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. planning committee, and co-author of a research study on the role of women in prostate cancer prevention for African American men with Dr. Olihe Okoro of the College of Pharmacy at UMD.

Muhammad Jiwa and Bret Pence, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light
Portrait of Muhammad Jiwa
Muhammad Jiwa works with MNIPL as an organizer in the Muslim community. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with his bachelor’s degree in Wildlife, Whole System Healing, and Sustainability Studies. He is active in his community working to end discrimination against Muslims all over the world. When not working at MNIPL, he works for Greater Midwest Realty as an Eco-Real Estate Agent. He hopes to continue his work in helping mosques in Minnesota become some of the greenest in the nation.

Portrait of Bret PenceBret Pence's work focuses on supporting the lively volunteer network in MNIPL's Arrowhead Region, where he has been a member since its inception in 2014. He is a resource for energy efficiency and solar project consultation, as he also works for the nonprofit Ecolibrium3 in the field of community energy. He obtained an M.A. in Management with a focus on sustainability and organizational development from The College of St. Scholastica in 2010, and a B.A. from Colorado State University. In between, he was a guide in the Rocky Mountain West, and has been compared to Sasquatch a few times in his life, hopefully only because of his love of the outdoors. He lives with his wife, Laura, two sons Colin and Davey, and a rather largish cat named Goliath that is sometimes mistaken for a woodchuck.

Aimee Foster and Ron Gurno, Seeds of Success, Community Action Duluth
Portrait of Aimee Foster
Aimee Foster grew up near Duluth in Twig, MN where her family had a hobby farm with many animals and a large garden. In college she worked at several food co-ops in Duluth and the Twin Cities where she developed an interest in organic and sustainable foods. After a B.A. in English, she went on to earn an M.S. in Applied Plant Sciences at the University of Minnesota, focusing on pest management in organic broccoli production. She now manages Seeds of Success, a food access program that grows veggies, operates a farmers market, and makes fruit leathers. She likes to run long distances and do yoga, read, and spend time outside with her dog, Nova.

Portrait of Ron GurnoRon Gurno is 26 years old and has lived in Duluth for the last 20 years. His interest in farming keeps growing. He has worked for Seeds of Success at Community Action Duluth for the past year. He has been working really hard in Lincoln Park and “enjoying what we have been able to do for our neighborhood.”

Alicia Kozlowski Cyr and Janet Kennedy, Imagine Duluth 2035 Vision Committee
Portrait of Alicia Kozlowski Cyr
Alicia Kozlowski Cyr is an Anishinaabe businesswoman and community organizer from the Grand Portage Reservation in Minnesota. She holds an MBA with a concentration in Leadership and Change from The College of St. Scholastica. Currently, she is a Registrar Generalist at CSS and is their 2017 Excellence Award recipient for Service to Community. Passionate about healthy and equitable communities, She serves as a Vision Committee Member for Imagine Duluth 2035, helping to shape how we live, work, play, and connect in the City of Duluth. She is a proud member of the KwePack (Kwe means “woman” in Ojibwe), an Indigenous women’s running group that demonstrates healthy and active community living.

Portrait of Janet KennedyJanet Kennedy is currently completing an interdisciplinary Studies degree in communications, psychology, health promotions, and social work, earning a B.S. in Health and Human Services. She was a physical therapy assistant for 24 years and now serves as Parish Nurse/Community Health Coordinator for St. Mark AME Church and the Central Hillside Community. She is owner and operator and Healthy Alliances Matter Consulting, working with organizations to build resiliency and sustainability, Health Committee Chair for the Duluth Branch NAACP, and a steering committee member for Health in All Policies. She serves on the board of the League of Women Voters and is the co-chair of its Cross-Cultural Committee, dedicated to including all voices. She is also a member of the Bridging Health Duluth Committee, the Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee, the City of Duluth Planning Commission and the Imagine Duluth 2035 Vision Committee. She is a mother of two children and grandmother of six plus three bonus kiddos. She credits her success to her mother who has instilled strong values for education, justice and humanity.

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