Who’s Involved

Women’s Congress for Future Generations Staff

Ann Manning is known as a passionate advocate for justice. She leads SEHN’s project, the Women’s Congress for Future Generations, which will hold its third Congress November 2-5, 2017 in Minneapolis. Combining her longtime interest in economic justice with an awakening to the need for environmental justice, Ann volunteered after the initial 2012 Women’s Congress in Moab, UT to gather a group of women in Minnesota to create the highly successful 2014 Congress. She was awarded the Change Maker Award by the MN Women’s Press for her leadership in this second Women’s Congress event.

Ann has over 30 years of experience in executive and consulting roles, focusing on strategy, leadership and group facilitation. She was Interim Executive Director for United for a Fair Economy in Boston, MA, an economic justice organization, and consulted with Wealth for the Common Good, (now Patriotic Millionaires) working on economic reforms and creating the New Economy. Her professional experience also includes domestic and international assignments with Medtronic, Price Waterhouse Coopers, LLC and Wilson Learning. She has held board leadership roles with organizations including Headwaters Foundations for Justice, United Theological Seminary, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, the YWCA of Minneapolis, and Habitat for Humanity Minnesota.

Ann has a master’s in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a master’s in counseling psychology from Saint Mary’s University and a bachelor of science in business administration from Old Dominion University.

“I truly believe that events combined with big ideas can change history. My hope is that people will see that it’s not too late. We are the generation, right now, that can truly make a difference.” – Ann Manning

Carolyn Raffensperger was raised in the central Midwest and largely influenced by the tall grass prairie and the large river systems that define that landscape. Her education—indeed her life—is driven by questions posed by the circumstances of the day.

An archaeologist and anthropologist by training, Carolyn began her work in the desert Southwest. One of the themes of that training was a deep grounding in the scientific method and the philosophy of science. This training later proved valuable in exploring the decision-making tool of the precautionary principle. Another theme that runs through anthropology and archaeology is that cultures all have to solve some of the same environmental problems: How do you live in a place and not destroy it? How do you say no to things that threaten precious places? How do you evaluate the consequences to the future?

Understanding the ethical dimension of the precautionary principle took her on a journey to a deep understanding of the rights of future generations and our responsibilities to them. During the mid-2000s she saw a trend that women’s voices were excluded from policy arenas. As a response to this trend, Carolyn co-convened the first Women’s Congress for Future Generations that was held in 2012 in Moab, UT and the second Women’s Congress in 2014 in Minneapolis, MN.

Carolyn is executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. As an environmental lawyer, she has a knack for discovering and distilling game-changing principles in law and policy. Throughout her years at SEHN, as part of SEHN’s mission to equip grassroots groups with legal and scientific tools, Carolyn has provided legal analysis and legal ideas to struggles in various communities. Most recently she’s been a member of the Steering Team of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition actively resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“I do this work with the Future First Women’s Congress because I hope to look future generations in the eye and say ‘we did everything we could to give you a sporting chance. We did everything we could to tend the Tree of Life on your behalf.”
– Carolyn Raffensperger

Sherri Seidmon joined the Science and Environmental Health Network in January 2005 as Finance Director and has played an integral role in all of the Women’s Congress for Future Generations events. As a virtual organization and with staff residing in 4 different states, Sherri oversees payroll, bookkeeping, budgets, donations, websites, registration for events and charity registrations, planning staff and board retreats to name just a few of her responsibilities.

Sherri has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois. Her background includes working as a recreational therapist in an inpatient psychiatric ward, being an operations officer in a bank, school librarian, co-owning a family restaurant, and raising her family in Eugene, Oregon.

Karen Olson Johnson is an experienced educator who has worked on numerous national, state, and local science education projects that joins the Women’s Congress as the Resource Development Lead. The early focal points of her career were the advancement of effective science education and the training of stellar science educators. She is the author of two books, Common Sense for Common Good and From Where I See It. Both books address issues of sustainability and our collective willingness to make this world a better place for all who inhabit the planet. Her second book is the winner of the Midwest Book Awards.

She currently serves as the director of the Council of Contributors, an international nonprofit with roots in Minnesota that is working to save the rhino from extinction. You can listen to her as the co-host of a weekly morning talk show on AM950 radio called Food Freedom Radio.

Jacqueline Brooks joins the Women’s Congress For Future Generations team as the Communications and Operations Coordinator. Holding a B.A. in Anthropology from Grinnell College, she brings experience in non-profit management, programming, evaluation, and technology.

Chicago born and raised, Jacqueline’s interests have always centered around public health, ranging from reproductive justice to alternative community health systems. Centering health as the main apparatus through which she views and understands inequity, she hopes to use her time with WCFFG to gain a concrete understanding of how current environmental challenges affect the health of present and future generations and how to combat them.

Women’s Congress for Future Generations Team

Rose McGee is a pie philanthropist, storyteller, educator, author, and a Program Officer at the Minnesota Humanities Center. She is founder of the convening concept: “Sweet Potato Comfort Pie Approach: a catalyst for caring and building community,” author of the book Story Circle Stories and the play Kumbayah the Juneteenth Story. She is featured on the national PBS documentary A Few Good Pie Places and her TEDx Talk: The Power of Pie.

Sharon M. Day is enrolled in the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. She is one of the founders of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, formerly known as the Minnesota American Indian AIDS Task Force. IPTF began as a volunteer organization (1987) with all of the work performed by the Board of Directors. Ms. Day was hired as the Executive Director, May 1990 and has served in this capacity since then. IPTF has strived to ground its services in the culture of American Indian people. Sharon M. Day is 2nd degree M’dewiwin and follows the spiritual path of the Anishinabe people. She is an artist, musician, and writer.

She has led numerous Water Walks. The Missouri River Walk started August 1, 2017. You can participate by visiting http://www.nibiwalk.org/. Each walk is a ceremony to save the life-giving force of water.

Lisa Venable is a professional speaker, writer and spiritual activist focusing on collaborative dialogue and the “politics of possibilities.” She is a faculty member of the Adler Graduate School of Counseling, a former Public Policy Associate for the United Way and a Bi-Partisan Consultant to the MN Legislature. Her years of political experience led her to writing a spiritual novel, God for President: A Parable about the Power of Love. Lisa’s mission is to help people live from their heart instead of their limiting ego and create a world where love and wisdom prevail.

Trudy Dunham has stepped up to volunteer for the Women’s Congress in a very significant way, partnering with Ann on the Gratitude Dinner last October, the Guardian workshop in February, working with the Study Group on the WC Companion for Political Change, getting material ready for the website update and so much more! Trudy’s skill is really invaluable making her a key member of the coordinating team. Trudy attended the 2014 Women’s Congress for Future Generations as well as the September 2015 workshop to introduce the Companion and has become an indispensable team member ever since. She is enjoying extensive travel in her retirement and spending time with her 94 year-old mother in North Carolina.