Executive Team 

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MayKao Y. Hang, President and CEO  

Dr. MayKao Y. Hang is the President and CEO of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. She has extensive experience in the public and nonprofit sectors serving low income and disadvantaged populations. Her former roles include distinguished service in Ramsey County Human Services as the Director of Adult Services and Resident Services Director with the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency. She is committed to achieving an equitable society where everyone can prosper.
Dr. Hang has a BA in Psychology from Brown University, an MA in Social Policy and Distributive Justice from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and a Doctorate in Public Administration from Hamline University. She is Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, a Trustee with the Saint Paul and Minnesota Community Foundations, National Advisory Board Chair for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program, a Board Member of the Minnesota Historical Society, and a founding member of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) in Minnesota.
Dr. Hang has been recognized with many awards including the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Award, the Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the Ann Bancroft Award, and was recently named a Most Admired CEO by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal in 2017.
MayKao can be reached at 651-280-2473 or maykao.hang@wilder.org.

Nona Ferguson 

Nona Ferguson, Vice President, Economic Stability and Aging Services

Nona Ferguson has been with the Wilder Foundation since 1995, providing a wealth of experience and expertise in health and human services work, program design, employment services and housing. She oversees Wilder’s housing support services, early childhood and parent education, aging services, and basic needs programs including Twin Cities Mobile Market. Nona holds a B.A. in Psychology from Tougaloo College, Mississippi, and a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from Minnesota State University-Mankato.
When she’s not working, Nona enjoys spending time with family and friends, and learning about the capacity of human beings to be resilient and rebound from life circumstances. Her favorite quote comes from author Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, and in summary says that once you commit and determine what you want, the whole universe conspires to support you in achieving that goal.
Nona can be reached at 651-280-2351 or nona.ferguson@wilder.org.

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Paul Mattessich, Executive Director, Wilder Research

Paul Mattessich (Ph.D) is Executive Director of Wilder Research, the nonprofit research arm of the Wilder Foundation (www.wilderresearch.org) which he joined in 1978. Through his leadership, Wilder Research provides valuable insight and information on critical social issues, producing research reports, evaluations, surveys and studies for nonprofits and other organizations.
Paul can be reached at 651-280-2710 or paul.mattessich@wilder.org.

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Polly Schrom, Executive Services Director

Polly oversees and manages the work of the Wilder Foundation Board of Directors and board committees. She works closely with the President and Board of Directors in developing and implementing strategy. 
Polly can be reached at 651-280-2444 or polly.schrom@wilder.org.

Dr. Pahoua Yang 

Pahoua Yang, Vice President, Community Mental Health and Wellness

Dr. Pahoua Yang has worked as a clinician with diverse client populations in multiple settings, including community mental health, higher education, and personnel and career evaluation. She has extensive experience serving children, adults, and families. In addition, she has served on a number of national and statewide committees and task forces aimed at advancing health equity.
Pahoua is a graduate of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-Health Resources Services Administration (SAMHSA-HRSA) joint initiative on Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program, serves on the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council, and was named 2014 Professional of the Year from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota.
Pahoua holds a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a doctorate in educational psychology (counseling) from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and her Kindle.
Pahoua can be reached at 651-280-2145 or pahoua.yang@wilder.org.
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Michelle Zwakman, Vice President of Advancement

Michelle Zwakman joined the Wilder Foundation in 2006 and leads the Office of Advancement, which integrates fundraising and development, communications and program development. Michelle has more than 20 years’ experience in human services in roles spanning direct services, management, program development and fundraising. 
Michelle is motivated to promote social equity and social justice by collaborating broadly in the community. She is inspired by exploring creative approaches to community concerns, particularly when participation meaningfully captures the strengths of community residents.
 
Michelle can be reached at 651-280-2447 or michelle.zwakman@wilder.org.
 
 
 

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