Dr. Lawson Fatima
Board Chairwoman of Minnesota Africans United
Dr. Fatima Lawson, a community member, school administrator and adjunct professor, has had a long, winding journey to education. She was born and raised in northern Nigeria, in a community where (Western) education was often discouraged, particularly for young women and girls. However, driven by her curiosity and thirst for knowledge, she first completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Ife in Nigeria, and then continued to complete another master's and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A.
Today, as a Minnesota-based educator, in addition to teaching at other Twin-Cities institutions, Fatima keeps busy as a principal with the Saint Paul Public Schools. She draws on her lived experiences, bringing her international perspectives from around the world into the classroom and other educational settings, and finding ways to connect with her students, staff, and community members. She embraces the multiple experiences that co-exist within her adopted community. Apart from administration and teaching a variety of courses at the tertiary level, she finds whatever she brings to any educational space is quickly reflected on and absorbed through students who “match it with their interests, enthusiasm, and thirst for knowledge! She also devotes enormous amount of personal time and resources to contribute her own quota to improve the lives of immigrants in Minnesota and beyond.
When she takes off her professional mask, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, being with family and friends, eating with her fingers, traveling, and just being herself!
Mr. Klark Alomassor
Interim Chair of MAU Workfc Committee
Mr. Klark Alomassor is a financial representative for Foster Klima Inc. and is the Workforce and Housing Interim Committee Chair for MAU. Mr. Alomassor has 13+ years of experience in Accounting, Finance, Project Management, and Client Relations Management. He is a strategic leader known for exceptional team management skills and driving efficiency to exceed goals.
Mr. Hamse Warfa
Director, Deputy Commissioner, Workforce Development
Hamse Warfa is the Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development at the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Appointed in April 2019, Deputy Commissioner Warfa is the highest ranking African immigrant in Minnesota government. In his role at DEED, Hamse oversees Minnesota State’s Employment and Training programs, the Office of Economic Opportunity, Minnesota’s CareerForce locations (job centers) and the Governor’s Workforce Development Board.
Prior to joining Minnesota State Government, Hamse accumulated more than 20 years of experience in economic development, community building, philanthropy, public policy and entrepreneurship. He is the co-founder and the executive vice president at BanQu Inc., an economic identity software company selected for an Innovation Award by the Obama Administration and by MIT. Hamse also founded Tayo Consulting Group, which assists philanthropic clients refine their goals and identify program activities to fund. Hamse was a senior program officer at the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation leading the foundation’s domestic and international grantmaking programs.
Hamse holds a Masters in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College in Massachusetts, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego University. Hamse is a 2016 Bush Foundation Fellow, recipient of 2017 Minnesota Statewide Facing Race Award recipient and Ashoka Global Fellow for his social entrepreneurship work. Hamse is the author “America Here I Come: A Somali Refugee’s Quest for Hope."
IMinneapolis Regional Chamber
Grace joined the Minneapolis Regional Chamber in July 2020. Waltz came to the Chamber directly from working at the Minnesota Department of Health where she supported Commissioner Jan Malcolm in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to that she served on the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and as an advisor to U.S. Senator and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. Waltz is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas.
Teko Mikael Combey
Information Security Analyst at Target Corporation
Teko Mikael Combey, originally from Gabon and Togo, is an IT professional at Target Corporation working in cybersecurity. His primary experience comes from System Administration, computer networking and cybersecurity, improving supply chain process and giving wonderful customer service.
African Immigrants Professional Development Conference
Dr. S. Miata Getaweh is a Human Resources Manager at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and an Adjunct Professor in the Human Resources Program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Dr. Getaweh has worked in the human resources field for over a decade, providing strategic human resources planning and support to organizations. Prior to joining Lutheran Social Service, she worked as the Director of Human Resources at AccessAbility. Dr. Getaweh is passionate about changing the narrative of the African immigrant and event planning, which led her to transform her dissertation findings into the African Immigrant Professional Development Conference, combining both of her passions while making a difference.
Dr. Getaweh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Bethel University, St Paul, Minnesota; a Master of Arts in Human Resources; and a Doctor of Business Administration with Strategic Management concentration from St. Mary University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
We Network Now
Mamady Konneh is a cybersecurity leader and speaker with more than a decade of experience in the healthcare, finance, retail, and hospitality industries. In the last 4 years, he has managed and led the design and full deployment of a cybersecurity program from the ground up. He also researched and built a secure digital identification program for an entire West African country during his master’s program at the University of Minnesota - Twin-Cities.
Mr. Konneh is also the Founder and Executive Director of WeNetworkNow – a non-profit that connects people of African descent to opportunities via professional development and mentorship programs. Since its inception, WeNetworkNow has transformed many lives – and this work was recognized by the State of Minnesota – thus winning him the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Refugee and Immigrant awards. Mr. Konneh's passion for community service stems from his upbringing – from helping his parents do house chores – working with his grandparents at the farm during his vacation times – to caring for his siblings at a young age. For Mr. Konneh, serving his community is what gets him out of bed every morning, and it is what brings him a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
Lisa Perez is the Founder and CEO of Prosperity Ready. Prosperity Ready exists to develop the vast potential of immigrants, help overcome our talent shortage crisis, and to enable organizations to reflect the communities in which they operate. Prosperity Ready is proudly sponsored by The Social Good Fund, a 501(c)3 full service fiscal sponsor. Lisa is a visionary and innovative business leader who applies expertise in strategic planning, business and team development, process re-engineering and program management to drive business outcomes. She is a tenacious and conscientious influencer who excels at rallying teams towards achievement. Lisa is passionate about enabling organizations to reflect the communities they serve.
With over 25 years of experience in human resources and deep expertise in organizational development, Lisa is focused on bridging gaps and removing barriers to help solve human capital and social injustice issues. Her altruism, driven by her compassion and bias for action, is readily recognized in the community.
Lisa began her career with Accenture, a global consulting firm, in 1995. She was responsible for creating and implementing change management strategies to maximize work force performance. In 2003, Lisa joined GE Healthcare, where she led a biomedical engineering training department and had P&L and marketing responsibility. In 2004, she was recruited to Kohl’s Corporation where she led the build out of human resources infrastructure necessary to support rapid growth, including talent management for 136,000 employees. Lisa’s scope and responsibility grew to Vice President of Organization Development.
Lisa was recruited to Thrivent Financial in 2014 to lead Total Rewards, Employee Relations and Compliance, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and Organization Development. In 2015, Lisa accepted a position with CSM Corporation where she was responsible for enterprise wide human resources and corporate administrative functions.
Prior to founding Prosperity Ready, Lisa was the Vice President of Talent Management for Buffalo Wild Wings where she was responsible for building the capabilities and programs the organization needed to identify, acquire, develop and retain talent to drive business success.
Lisa is a graduate from the University of St. Thomas, where she graduated Magna cum Laude as an Aquinas Honors Scholar with a B.A. in Organization Communication. She attained a mini MBA in nonprofit management from the University of St. Thomas, as well as a certification from the Humphrey School of Public Policies Equity Works Leadership Institute, workforce development program.
Additionally, she focuses her community involvement on children, working with Feed my Starving Children, the Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest Charities and Simon Says Give. She is also a strong supporter of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) Wisconsin Chapter.
Ramsey County Workforce Solutions
Ling Becker is the Director of Workforce Solutions for Ramsey County. She oversees a department which delivers workforce services and programs to residents and businesses of Ramsey County in partnership with many community-based organizations. In her capacity with the county, she also serves the Executive Director of the Workforce Innovation Board (WIB) which is a legislatively mandated board bringing together business, government, economic development, education and the community to develop strategic solutions that address employer and job seeker needs.
Prior to joining the county, Ling was the Executive Director of the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation serving the NE metro business community. Ling is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Morris and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University where she was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. In 2018, Ling was a recipient of Minnesota Business Magazines REAL Power 50 Award.
Matt Lewis is Vice President, Strategic Initiatives. Matt works to advance the Regional Economic Development Strategy through the implementation of the GREATER MSP Partnership’s portfolio of cross-sector strategic initiatives, including: Make It. MSP., Forge North, MBold, ConnextMSP, Center Cities, and the Regional Air Services Partnership. He was named Young Economic Development Professional of the year by the International Economic Development Council for his work to build Make It. MSP., the region’s talent attraction and retention initiative. Matt earned his MBA from the Carlson School of Management and his Masters of Public Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He serves in leadership positions at a number of civic organizations including as Board President of Conservation Minnesota.
Dr. Bruce Corrie
Associate Vice President for Government & Community Relations Professor of Economics
Concordia University St Paul, MN
Dr. Bruce Corrie is a leading Twin Cities-based economist, business expert, cultural entrepreneur, and longtime member of the Concordia University, St. Paul faculty. With specific focus on minority businesses and the growing impact minority communities have on the broader economy, Dr. Corrie brings unique perspective and insight relating to the Minnesota business landscape.
Dr. Corrie’s work has garnered deep media coverage across local, ethinic, national, and international media. He has also published numerous academic articles and has written extensively for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Business Magazine.
As an innovative economist, Dr. Corrie has delved deeply into the economic impact of immigrants and minority communities, documenting their true, powerful impact on our communities. His research and his teaching as a professor has helped shape views and perspectives on critical policy issues, including alternative perspectives that drive greater cultural intelligence in academia and the general public. He pioneered a strategy of economic development in low-income neighborhoods focusing on the cultural assets of diverse populations reflected in Little Africa, Little Mekong and other cultural destinations. In response to the current pandemic and economic downturn he helped launch the ALANA Community Brain Trust to bring capital, build capacity and collaborate around building wealth in minority communities.
A member of the CSP faculty since 1987, he has developed the core economics curriculum at CSP. He also served as director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of St. Paul and continues to be a driving force for economic inclusion in the Capital City and beyond.
Dr. Corrie is also a noted business consultant as the Principal at The Innovative Edge, LLC. Through this venture, he helps individual businesses improve cultural competency, researches immigrant and minority economics, and delivers impactful keynote speeches at business conferences and events. He serves currently on the board of Opportunity and Growth Institute of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Midway Chamber of Commerce, Union Park District Council, Junior Achievement and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
Dr. Corrie received his PH.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and his M.A. in Economics from North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya, India.
His research, policy insights and strategies can be found at empoweringstrategies.org,
Key Areas of Expertise for Media:
Business/economic news (perspective on local, national, and international issues)
Minority economics and the broader contributions of minority communities on our society
Government/legislative policies relating to economic development
Business ethics, cultural competency, and workplace diversity
Business recovery following recession, pandemics, and unrest