Meet the Team

Damon Shoholmdamon-150.jpg

  Damon creates the conditions for effective reflection while serving to increase the capacity of individuals and organizations alike. With a background in Applied Leadership, Damon has more than 10 years’ experience in leadership development, civic engagement and facilitation training. Damon is trained in the Art of Hosting and Technology of Participation facilitation models.

Nou Yang

Nou is passionate about fostering opportunities for leadership and engaging community toward action. She has over 15 years’ experience using experiential learning strategies and strengths-based approaches with diverse populations. A Hmong refugee woman, Nou believes deeply that all people have value and growth happens through reflection, listening and dialogue.

Marika Pfefferkorn

Marika is a 2004 Neighborhood Leadership Program participant and former coach of the program. Marika is excited to re-engage with the NLP as program lead, bringing with her 15+ years of professional experience and personal commitment to working with, for, and on behalf of underrepresented communities through political education, civic engagement, policy and advocacy, leadership training and coaching, and coalition building. Marika believes that the necessary solutions and answers we seek to solve racial disparities exist within the individuals and communities most negatively impacted by them, and when these individuals and communities are centered as part of the solution, and as decision makers in the process, significant transformation is possible.

Administrative Team

Our amazing Admin Team includes: PattiJo Verdeja, business manager, who works with contracts for sites, logistics, calendars, billing and financial records and creating systems to help the administrative work be more efficient;  Coulette Columbus-Powers, administrative specialist, assists facilitators with session support, logistical needs and database management; and John Stelter, program developer, who helps support and sustain the Neighborhood Leadership Program through grantseeking, partnership development and other fundraising activities.


 Quick Links


 Our Partners


​We work closely with other organizations to provide and enhance our leadership programs.


The Minnesota Historical Society collaborates with us to provide the Leadership Cohort each year.


Other organizations and agencies partner with us to provide our community-specific leadership programs.