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Staff and Board at our Traction Team Building Event ~ April 2017

Nicole Deters, Chief Executive Officer, MPA

Nicole has over 22 years’ experience in the nonprofit and public sector. She has served as Executive Director of several Minnesota- and Colorado-based nonprofits that promote healthy communities, including: No Barriers USA, Vinland National Center, and FamilyWise. She currently serves on the Foster Care Task Force through National Council for Adoption and is the Board Vice-Chair of We Can Ride. Nicole holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin.

Jackie Craig, Chief Operating OfficerMSEd

Jackie brings experience in nonprofit management, community relationship building and communications to her role as Chief Operating Officer at EVOLVE. Her background ranges from volunteer leader to non-profit director and she has an excellent reputation for building relationships with community partners. Jackie holds BS degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice from UW-Platteville and earned her MSEd in Counseling from Western Illinois University. She places high value on the strengths and contributions of all members of society.

Laura Abrass, Mental Health Therapist, MSW, LGSW

Laura is a mental health practitioner working in EVOLVE’s Therapeutic Supervised Parenting Program.  She is a recent MSW graduate from St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas. She attained her Bachelor’s degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She completed her Master’s research project assessing the gaps within child maltreatment prevention services. She has previous experience in medical social work and inpatient therapeutic services working with children having trauma histories, emotional and behavioral difficulties and facing other adversities.  Laura is passionate about working with children and families to help them reach their goals and vision for their life. Outside of work, Laura enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking and traveling.

Melanie Adams, Family Worker, BA

Melanie is a Family Worker at EVOLVE. She graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2014 and has had previous experience working with youth, families and diverse communities. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of Minnesota and is passionate about service and youth development. She lives in Minneapolis with her lovable cat Bliss and in her free time enjoys music, cooking, exercising and hanging out with friends.


Susannah Barnes, Senior Programs Manager, BSW, LSW, CSW

Susannah has been with the agency since 2006. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, and is a licensed Social Worker in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She is experienced in all areas of adoption, and is passionate about pregnancy services and domestic infant adoption. She loves being a part of helping children through her work with birth, foster and adoptive families. Outside of work, she enjoys spending her time with her husband, family and two mischievous Boston Terriers.

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Kelli Duket, Social Worker, BSW, LSW, CSW

Kelli earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, honing her social work skills during an internship working with at risk youth in the Eau Claire area. She first pursued social work with the goal of working as an Adoption Social Worker and is excited that her professional social worker journey begins at EVOLVE! Kelli enjoys being outdoors, pretending to be crafty/creative, and drinking coffee. She used to work at Caribou Coffee and has a bad habit of buying “fancy” coffee drinks, like many of her coworkers.

Maria Fell, Social WorkerMSW, LGSW

Maria developed her social work skills during her graduate school internship at the University of Michigan Health System. During her undergraduate studies, she completed a project at a local foster home and has worked abroad in orphanages. Her personal experience with adoption led her to participate on a transracial adoption panel and brought her to serve our community through EVOLVE. Maria and her husband moved to Minnesota recently and look forward to their first year getting to know their new community.

Holly Gabby, Foster Care Services ManagerMSW, LGSW

Holly is a recent MSW graduate from St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas. She attained her Bachelor’s degree in child, adult and family services from Iowa State University. She has previous experience working with families involved in the child protection system and is passionate about helping families. Outside of work, Holly enjoys spending time with family and friends, being on the lake and traveling.

Christine Gurney, Marketing & Client Process Coordinator

Christine is excited to be a part of the EVOLVE team and earned her Bachelors degree in Marketing. Christine has two children, enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being active outdoors, baking and being creative.

Katie Haberkorn, Family & Youth Services Manager, MSW, PACC, LCSW, LICSW

Katie is a Family and Youth Services Manager at EVOLVE. She has many years of experience as a foster care/adoption social worker and as a school-based therapist. She earned her Bachelors in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota-Morris and her Masters in Social Work from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In 2014, she earned her LICSW. In 2015, she received her Permanency and Adoption Competency Certification and SAFE Home Study certification. Katie enjoys traveling, reading, needlepoint, watching the Vikings and playing with her sweet Siamese cat, Jasmine.

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Tori Hensley, Foster Care Family Worker, BSW

Tori is a Foster Care Family Worker at EVOLVE. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and has had previous experience working with children, families and seniors in diverse communities and is passionate about empowering families through life’s challenges. Tori is pursuing her Masters in Social Work at Saint Thomas University-University of Saint Catherine and will graduate in 2020. In her free time, she enjoys playing with Nestle, her boxer/shepherd mix, exercising, cooking and spending time with friends and family.

Nancy Lyner, Development & Communications Director

Nancy is the EVOLVE Development and Communications Director. She helped found HOPE Adoption & Family Services with friends in the 70’s with a “plate of cookies and jar of jam” to neighbors hoping to begin adoptions from Guatemala. Nancy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, was a Division Leader with Young Life Amicus, has twice served on the HOPE Board of Directors, and severed as the Development Director and Volunteer Coordinator with the agency since 2009.  She loves biking, skiing, hiking and any time possible with her husband and family.

Alisa Matheson, Youth & Family Engagement Specialist

Alisa is a Youth and Family Engagement Specialist with EVOLVE. Prior to working at EVOLVE, Alisa worked in adoption, as a professional, a foster parent and now as an adoptive parent. She attended the University of Northwestern Minnesota for psychology, with an emphasis on marriage and family counseling. Alisa is an amateur photographer and loves cooking, coffee and a wide variety of music. She lives in Minnesota with her daughter.

Ansley McAllister, Social WorkerLSW

Ansley is a Social Worker at EVOLVE serving our adoption programs. She has experience as a teacher, childcare provider, client advocate and international community and family needs evaluator. Working in adoption services has long been her dream and she is excited to learn and grow in this role. Ansley lives in St. Paul and, in her free time, enjoys writing and playing folk music as well as staying connected with her 10 siblings who are now spread out all across the globe!

Kimberley Morgan, Adoption Process Coordinator

Kim has worked in the adoption field since 1991. She is one of EVOLVE’s Adoption Process Coordinators, helping you through the initial steps of adoption. She is extremely detail-oriented and this continues to benefit our families and agency. Kim has been married for over 34 years and has two biological daughters. What she enjoys most is seeing the world through the eyes of her two granddaughters!

Lyla Omernik, Adoption Process Coordinator

Lyla is an Adoption Process Coordinator at EVOLVE. She has been working in the adoption field for over fourteen years. She is the proud mom of two children who were both adopted from Guatemala. Lyla is passionate about adoption and enjoys working with families throughout their adoption process.  In her free time, Lyla enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading and scrapbooking.

Whitney Ryan, Social Worker, BSW, LSW, CSW

Whitney has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Whitney’s experience includes working with adoptive families as they go through the adoption process. She also has internship experience working in the Special Needs Adoption Program for the state of Wisconsin. She has always had a passion for working in adoption and loves helping families grow through adoption. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, play volleyball and read.

Colleen Stewart, Adoption Process Coordinator

Colleen is one of EVOLVE’s Adoption Process Coordinators, helping families through the initial steps of adoption and foster care. She comes to the agency with previous experience in Nonprofit Program Coordination in the field of mental health and as an On Call Mental Health Counselor for Residential Support Services. Outside of work, Colleen continues her studies in Social Work and also loves to spend time listening to music, gardening and participating in community events with her husband and two children.

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Cathy Tholkes, Finance Director

Cathy joined our EVOLVE administrative team to support our mission through the important fiscal and human resources role and was promoted to Finance Director. She has served in financial leadership roles for nonprofits and government agencies and contributes both knowledge and a commitment to serving community. Cathy enjoys spending time with family and friends actively engaged in the outdoors. She also likes cooking and sharing memorable experiences with loved ones.