Staff

 

Ashwat Narayanan, Executive Director
Pronouns: he/him
[email protected] 

Ash Narayanan is the executive director of Our Streets Minneapolis. He is a nationally recognized expert on building more just, sustainable and resilient transportation infrastructure.

He represents Minneapolis on Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB). He was appointed to Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Sustainable Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC) and co-chairs its VMT reduction workgroup.

Ash has authored or co-authored numerous reports, including The Road to Clean Transportation: A Bold, Broad, Strategy to Cut Pollution and Reduce Carbon Emissions in the Midwest, and Arrive Together: Transportation Access and Equity in Wisconsin. He authored the transportation section of the City of St. Paul’s Climate Action Plan.


Haley Foydel, Operations and Development Director
Pronouns: she/her
[email protected]

Haley comes to Our Streets Minneapolis after working, walking, and biking in multiple cities across the East Coast and mid-Atlantic. Her past work has focused on creating sustainable solutions to existing products and infrastructure, from Maine lobster to cleaning supplies. Haley's favorite pastime is taking advantage of every sidewalk, bike path, bus, and train available to get to her destination. 


José Antonio Zayas Cabán, Advocacy Director
Pronouns: he/him
[email protected]smpls.org

José joined us in May 2021 as the Advocacy Coordinator. José has worked as manager, political director, organizer and canvasser for presidential, congressional, state and local races. As a classically trained musician, José develops music collaboration projects that focus on social issues. 


Luis Mendoza, Communications Specialist
Pronouns: he/they
[email protected]

Luis is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota and has previously worked in marketing, design, and activism for community organizations in the Twin Cities. In his free time, Luis enjoys creating art, enjoying the outdoors, and hanging with his cat, Tapioca.


Ember Rasmussen, Community Development and Events Manager
Pronouns: they/them
[email protected]

Ember is a creative event manager and theatre artist. They have previous experience in non-profit development and community events, restaurant management, and theatre direction. When not bringing folx together at live events, Ember loves to garden, explore Minnesota's beautiful outdoor spaces, whip up tasty vegan food, and create or experience art.


Alex Burns, Transportation Policy Coordinator
Pronouns: he/him
[email protected]

Alex joins the team bringing his experience as a climate and environmental justice organizer and activist. He’s worked as a national park ranger, on local and state campaigns, and as an outreach specialist at a sustainable transportation nonprofit. In his free time, Alex enjoys hiking, biking, and feeding earthworms to his pet salamander, Smoky.


Michelle Hansman, Program Assistant
Pronouns: she/her
[email protected]

Michelle joins the team bringing her experience from working in legislative offices of city and state elected officials and on state campaigns. Passionate about public policy and community organizing, Michelle is excited to help make Open Streets Minneapolis a success! Originally from Minnesota, Michelle and her partner recently returned to Minneapolis after spending the past several years living in the Pacific Northwest. In her free time, Michelle loves to read, hike, explore state parks, experience local restaurants, and engage in meaningful conversation.


Raquel Sidie-Wagner, Community Engagement Specialist
Pronouns: she/her
[email protected]

Raquel is a disability services regional manager, political and community organizer, and musician based in Minneapolis. She has spent thousands of hours doing field work for various political campaigns in multiple states, and has used those organizing skills to build networks of mutual aid and support for her community. She is passionate about work that betters the lives of her neighbors in real and meaningful ways.


Elijah Henderson, Lead Organizer for Bring Back 6th

Pronouns: he/him

Elijah is a recent graduate of Saint Johns University. Throughout his experience at Saint Johns he was allowed the opportunity to grow and learn in ways than he ever could have imagined. As a graduate, he is motivated to work towards building a more equitable and inclusive community for all.


Eric Forste, Lead Organizer for Twin Cities Boulevard
Pronouns: he/him

Eric has been working as a canvasser since Working America (community affiliate of the AFL-CIO) first hired him in 2019. Before then he has worked as a software engineer and a substitute teacher. Since then he volunteered extensively for various campaigns in the Minneapolis city election, and was hired by worker's cooperative The People's Canvass for the final month of the election. He canvassed extensively for Jeremiah Ellison and Robin Wonsley Worlobah, both of whom won the election by very slim margins. He hails from Cincinnati, but has spent his adult life moving back and forth between the Bay Area and Minneapolis, returning here most recently (for good, he says) in 2009. After spending some years in Harrison and Longfellow, he is delighted to have recently moved back to Minneapolis's Central neighborhood, a few blocks from Powderhorn Park.


Ali Sawler, Organizer
Pronouns: she/her

Ali is a longtime Minneapolis resident who loves data! She is thrilled at the opportunity to use her skill set built in her 20 year career in data and retail management to advocate for and implement projects that improve the community around her. She can typically be found in her home on the northside with more cats than seems feasible.

 


Board of Directors

 

Joe Mitchell, President
Pronouns: he/him

Joe loves getting around Minneapolis by bicycle, foot, or transit. He spends a lot of time thinking about government power, and how that power is used and misused in the name of making our communities safer. Joe wants our community to build power for better infrastructure for people, for mitigating climate collapse, and against ineffective, punitive, discriminatory enforcement strategies. Joe lives on the West Bank and works downtown.


Nina_Clark.jpgNina Clark, Vice President
Pronouns: she/her

Nina Clark has worked for over twenty-five years in cultural organizations, which has led her to her position today as a program officer making grants to arts and cultural organizations. Her professional interests lie in artist collaboration, community engagement, organizational development, and dynamic public offerings. She is passionate about the possibilities around marrying community needs, broad social issues, and cultural offerings.

Nina has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Macalester College, and her masters of professional studies in arts and cultural leadership at the University of Minnesota. She was a founding board member of the Cycling Museum of Minnesota and has volunteered with several other Minnesota nonprofits. During her free time, the weather usually decides for her whether she’ll be on her bike or at her sewing machine.


Elissa Y. Schufman, TreasurerElissa-Schufman.jpg Pronouns: she/her

Elissa is a multimodal commuter and Midtown Phillips resident who loves exploring her community on foot, bike, bus, and train. When Elissa shifted the way she got around, it changed the way she related to her body and her community. As an abolitionist, year-round bicyclist, and person who has been injured by a driver while on her bike, she cares deeply about making Minneapolis a better place for people walking, rolling, and bicycling.

Elissa brings a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector to her service on the board, and also serves on the City of Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee. Outside of transportation work, she loves to ferment, play tabletop RPGs, and write speculative fiction. Elissa reads about 100 books each year and is always looking for recommendations!


Saumya_Jain.jpgSaumya Jain
Pronouns: she/her

Saumya has been an advocate for active transportation and VMT reduction for a while now. At her day job at State Smart Transportation Initiative, she helps state DOTs and local governments make greener mobility investments. Saumya holds a degree in Master of Urban Planning from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and comes to Our Streets Minneapolis with a diverse background in transportation planning and community engagement.

Two years back, Saumya made the decision of selling her car and relying completely on non-auto modes of travel. In her six years of stay in the US, she has lived in four different Midwestern cities and loves to explore them on foot and through their transit network. She finally moved to Minneapolis in early 2020 and hopes to call it home for the foreseeable future. She believes that being able to work towards improving active traveling in Minneapolis, isn’t just part of her professional goals, but would be extremely fulfilling personally.


Clara Jung
Pronouns: she/her

Clara is a Whittier resident who can frequently be found walking or rollerblading around her neighborhood on the hunt for good food. After many years commuting in the Twin Cities and Seoul without a car, Clara adopted the belief that cities that encourage active transportation and safe streets for pedestrians are achievable, more equitable for our neighbors, and better for the climate.

Professionally, Clara works in philanthropy and has experience raising money for higher education institutions, social services, public health, and homelessness prevention. Outside of work, she enjoys playing clarinet, helping folks get out the vote, and delivering cookies to her neighbors.


Elise Chao
Pronouns: she/her

Elise is a recent graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis and has previously worked as the finance director of a student-run nonprofit organization in Saint Louis. The intersection between sustainability and equity is something that she is very passionate about. In her free time, Elise loves to run around the lakes and get outdoors as much as possible.


Kelly Goldthorpe 
Pronouns: she/her

Kelly grew up playing in the streets with her neighborhood friends from an early age. These formative experiences shaped her views and as an adult she enthusiastically embraces the idea that streets are for people - not just cars. She hopes to bring her passion for safe, walkable neighborhoods to the Our Streets board. 

An avid biker, Kelly has made cycling a big part of her life for the past decade -- previously working in bike share in Chicago, teaching Learn to Ride classes across New York City and now riding around the Twin Cities.


The Board meets on the first Tuesday of every other month at 6:00pm. If you are interested in more information about the Board, contact us at [email protected]

 

 

 


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