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Village Staff


Mill City Commons' leaders are dedicated to connecting you with resources to enjoy a strong community of members and programs.
You can also Contact Us, or read more About Us and Our History.
 

Elise Linehan
Executive Director
Mary Texidor
Business and Member Services Administrator
Bethany Boom
Program and Events Manager
Elise Linehan is a proven business leader in product marketing, global sourcing and retail for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to entrepreneurial organizations. Elise believes in the power of meaningful connections and thrives on diverse collaboration to create extraordinary outcomes. She is thrilled to be using those skills along with her passion and energy to further Mill City Commons' future vision and growth.

Elise has been a volunteer with many Twin Cities non-profits including the Project Success board. In addition, she is a guide at Mia for student Art Adventure tours. Elise lives with her husband near Cedar Lake. She is always ready to travel, go to the theater or spend time with friends.
Mary Texidor joined Mill City Commons with a background in public health education and social work. Mary has worked in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors before moving to the Minneapolis area and joining MCC. Mary is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, former AmeriCorps Member, and actively volunteers for several local organizations, including as a host family with Together for Good. Mary has her Master's degrees in Public Health and Social Work from Tulane University. She lives in South Minneapolis with her husband and their two children.
Bethany Boom brings more than 15 years of experience in program management, marketing, communications and event planning to Mill City Commons. Her favorite career highlights include marketing lifelong learning opportunities for a top university and managing educational events for a large member-driven healthcare association. Bethany strongly believes in the power of community and is regularly inspired by individuals who choose to keep learning, growing and engaging at every stage of life. She enjoys yoga, gardening and spending time on Lake Minnetonka with her husband and two daughters.

Village Board of Directors


Mill City Commons board members provide strategic leadership to help us stay a thriving Village.


Nancy Reed
Chair

Nancy Reed has lived along the Minneapolis riverfront since 1998 when she and her late husband bought a townhome at the Landings. She has decided to continue living in the riverfront area because of the many opportunities - such as friends, walking paths, restaurants, and most of all, the sense of community.  She joined Mill City Commons in 2015, which has added many dimensions to her life.  She looks forward to continuing to stay active in MCC and participating in initiatives so that all members can age well in grace and in optimal health.  

 

Nancy practiced as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner before working in management positions in public health, home health care, and other health care companies the last 15 years of her professional career. She has served on several boards of non-profit health care organizations.  She currently spends her time with volunteer activities, family, friends, and enjoying her relationships with three young grandsons.



Michael Brennan

Vice Chair

Michael Brennan is native of Dublin, where he received his MD from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). He received residency and fellow training at Mayo Clinic before joining the consulting staff as an endocrinologist. He was a professor of medicine and served in several leadership positions including vice chair of the Department of Medicine, medical director of the Mayo Program in Professionalism and Values and as President of the Staff.

Following retirement in 2015, he and his wife Rebecca Bahn moved to Minneapolis and soon became members of Mill City Commons. They have four children and six grandchildren.

He serves on the board of the Washburn Center for Children and on the advisory board of the RCSI Medical School in Dublin.



Pam Berkwitz
Secretary
Pam Berkwitz and her husband Bob joined Mill City Commons when they moved downtown four years ago from St Louis Park. They live at Mill & Main West.

Pam retired as Clinical Social Worker/therapist from Jewish Family and Children’ Service. Her earlier career was in government relations and lobbying for Wells Fargo and others. She has been active in numerous community and political organizations for many years.

Pam loves the many activities of MCC, including Great Decisions, other presentations, Happy Hours, book clubs and Sunday Soirées. She notes that her favorite MCC time is meeting MCC friends while walking in the neighborhood.



Bill Van Essendelft

Treasurer
Bill Van Essendelft and his wife, Cheryl Grasmoen, moved from North Oaks to downtown in August, 2018.  He retired from the College of Continuing Education in 2008 where he was the Director of Degree and Credit Programs. His responsibilities included development of classes which met the needs of working adults as well as a number of applied degree programs, including the Bachelor’s of Construction Management, the Bachelor’s of Information Networking and the Master’s of Liberal Studies. He completed his Ph. D. in 1978. His doctoral thesis was "A History of the Association for Voluntary Sterilization: 1935-1964". Initially, he chose the topic because the papers of the association were available in the Social Welfare History Archives at the U of M. After reviewing the papers, it became apparent that the eugenic focus of the Association and the story of its founder, Marian Olden, made for an interesting and timely story.

Past volunteer work included serving as treasurer of the Minnesota Waldorf School, Chair of Family Tree, a non-profit neighborhood clinic in St. Paul, and on the Advisory Committee of St. Mary’s School of Nurse Anesthesia. Current volunteer activity includes serving on the Board of Shoulder to Shoulder, a 501C3 which supports a hospital in Illula, Tanzania and on the marketing committee of the Osher Life Long Learning program at the University of Minnesota where he regularly attends classes.

He has been a member of Mill City Commons since 2017.




Bob Callahan
Past Chair
Bob Callahan is a former HR professional with more than 30 years’ experience in a number of Honeywell divisions before retiring in 2000. And for the better part of the past 30 years, his avocation has been helping people navigate career transitions as a volunteer in a church job support group and after retiring, as a part-time career coach with Lee Hecht Harrison. In 2007 he and his wife, Carol Jordan, moved downtown from the suburbs and then joined MCC in 2010. Since moving downtown, Bob spends time volunteering as a Board member of the Friends of Minneapolis Central Library, and as a job change coach for HIRED and East Side Neighborhood Services. In addition to enjoying time with 4 grandchildren, membership in MCC has been an enriching part of his life.


Mary Bednarowski
Mary Bednarowski began her career teaching English at a junior high in Milwaukee where she encountered realities she hadn’t experienced at a Catholic girls’ school in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After moves to Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee again and back to Minneapolis in 1975, she spent 30 years on the faculty of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities teaching courses in American religious history and culture. Most of the board work she has done has focused on ecumenical and social justice organizations. She continues to be as intrigued by the mysteries of goodness as she is bewildered by the persistence of evil, a fact that no doubt explains her love of murder mysteries.

After buying a “practice” condominium in 2000, Mary and her husband moved downtown permanently in 2010. She rejoices at living long enough to hear her spouse Keith say, “You were right.” They love being near their daughter and her family and visiting their son and daughter-in-law in Washington, DC. Mary and Keith spend time in Florida and Wisconsin, alternating views of a little urban bayou with the waves of Lake Michigan. Because Mary inherited what her father called his “natural inability” at sports, her major form of exercise is walking, although this year—she says this every year—she's going to start yoga. Mary considers MCC one of the great benefits of living on the river. She recently came across a volume of essays on aging called Fierce with Reality, as good a way as she can think of to describe the individual stories, the inter-woven networks, and the larger community that make up our wonderful organization.


Chris Bray


Chris Bray grew up in North Minneapolis, moved out of the state and overseas for a time and returned to Minnesota to raise two daughters who now live in Asheville N.C and Denver CO.  After living in a semi-rural eastern suburb for many years and losing her husband, she decided to move back to Minneapolis and east downtown in particular because of Mill City Commons and the close proximity to trails for walking, biking, and skiing.  

 

Chris is a licensed psychologist by training and currently employed at UMN.  Prior to joining the U, she spent many years working in the juvenile and adult corrections system at the county and state level.  At the U, she works in children’s mental health, child trauma, and establishing a statewide system of care for children and youth with the most complex mental health issues.  




Sonia Cairns
Before and since her retirement, Sonia Cairns “advanced” into social activism and interests focused on the mindful life. She formerly founded two Minnesota-based consulting firms, Moss Cairns and Marecek & Cairns. Both firms facilitated high-stakes conferences, critical conversations, and governance issues for national corporations, professional service firms, colleges/universities and large non-profits. Sonia has extensive background in nonprofit board work.

Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master's degree in Design from the University of Minnesota. Sonia is a downhill skier, an avid mountain hiker, and along with her husband, a serious traveler and political activist. After decades of living in several homes, they saw the bright lights and the attraction of intentional aging with Mill City Commons and moved downtown. They have four adult children and their spouses and are proud grandparents of 11 “above average” grandchildren in Atlanta, Washington D.C., NYC, Palo Alto, Chicago, and Austin, Texas.



Cheryl Coughlan

Cheryl Coughlan's bio will be coming soon.



Bill Davnie

Bill Davnie and his wife Charlotte have lived in The Carlyle since 2007, when Bill retired from twenty-seven years with the U.S. Foreign Service. During his career, Bill served principally in Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union, as well as in Washington, and spent some time in Baghdad. They both have roots in Minnesota and Wisconsin, leading to the decision to move to Minneapolis. Since 2007, Bill has spoken frequently to community groups on foreign affairs topics through the Great Decisions program, managed the 2010 census office for the city of Minneapolis, and been involved in Presbyterian Church affairs. He currently works part-time for the Presbyterian church body in southeastern Minnesota. Charlotte and Bill have two daughters, one a nurse-educator in Florida and one with USAID in Sri Lanka. Twin granddaughters in Sri Lanka lead to frequent travel in that direction. Bill and Charlotte have found MCC to be a welcoming and stimulating community as they have built their new life in the Twin Cities.



Gustavo Gomez
Gustavo J Gomez was born in Havana, Cuba and left his country in 1961,17-years old, with his family as a result of the political upheaval of the Cuban Revolution. Gustavo has lived in many parts of the US: Miami, Birmingham, Auburn (college), Montclair, NJ (first job). He moved to Minnesota in 1973.

His career was as a Chemical Engineer at 3M, in Product Development R&D, as well as International Technical Service/Marketing for Latin America & Africa. Retired in 2003, he travelled and lived several winters in Spain, after retirement, including a 40-day Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. After his partner's retirement, they lived 7 years in Miami Beach, spending summers in Minnesota.

Gustavo lives with James R Schmit, his loving partner, since 1981. They raised one daughter, who lives in Columbus, Ohio with her family. They have 3 wonderful grandsons: Preston (12), Reese (10) and Gannon (6) and see them frequently. Gustavo served in the board of Claire Housing for many years, after retirement.

They now live in Minneapolis, by choice, as they feel it is a progressive city and a better fit. They came back to Minneapolis in 2018, to live downtown - Legacy Lofts - mainly to build community.
Gustavo has many interests and passions: community building, social justice issues, spending time with our three grandsons, wine, travel, competitive Masters swimming, photography and spending time with his partner at their cabin in the north woods of Minnesota (Finland, MN). We are very happy to be a part of Mill City Commons.


Keith Halperin

Keith Halperin is currently a Senior Partner for Korn Ferry Leadership Advisory business, thinking about retiring but not there yet.

Keith has been designing and conducting programs to enhance leadership skills in managers and executives worldwide for three decades. In addition, he designs leadership development systems for organizations as well as coaches individual executives and leadership teams. He has worked with senior leaders in a broad range of industries. Prior to Korn Ferry, Keith was the Senior Vice President of PDI Ninth House and the human resource planning and development manager for Honeywell.


He has served on the boards of directors for Instructional Systems Association, the Illusion Theater, Mill City Commons, and on the Governing Committee of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.


Keith has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas. He teaches a leadership and strategy to graduate students, and Industrial Organizational Psychology to undergraduates.


He enjoys running, biking, theater, orchestra, and travel He has successfully not run a marathon.




Jane Helsing
Jane Helsing moved downtown in 2017 from St. Louis Park. She owns a condo in Stuart, Florida, and after the death of her husband she decided to move downtown in part to make managing two homes simpler. She joined MCC to facilitate creation of a downtown life. Success!

Prior to retirement she most recently worked for PDI Ninth House (since acquired by Korn Ferry). While there she co-authored the book IMPACT Without Authority around which she designed workshops that she subsequently delivered to senior salespeople worldwide. When working she served for many years on the board of the Strategic Account Management Association, also serving as chair for one year.

Jane loves travel (including about four months a year as a snowbird), playing classical guitar, bike riding, reading and spending time with friends and extended family. She currently serves as a deacon at Peace Presbyterian Church, is on the board of the Treasure Coast (FL) Classical Guitar Society, and helps lead some condo activities.



David Plimpton

David Plimpton is a native Minnesotan, having been born in Rochester and growing up in the Wayzata/ Plymouth area. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Minnesota and he is a 1966 graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School. He and Susan married 41 years ago, having met after Susan moved to Minneapolis following graduate school to work in marketing at General Mills. They have two sons, one lives in London, UK, and one has recently moved back to Minneapolis.

He is a retired Internist/Gastroenterologist, having practiced at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital for 40 years. They joined Mill City Commons in December 2010, then moved into the Stone Arch Lofts one year ago, after many years of living in the Kenwood/Lowry Hill neighborhoods, to more fully share the enhanced socialization created by MCC.

His post-retirement interests focus on "stuffing the mind" and end of life issues, including choices.