Executive Team 



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 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.

Bryan Ebensteiner 

Bryan Ebensteiner, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, Finance and Administration

Bryan Ebensteiner is Wilder's Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Administration. He oversees the Foundation’s strategies related to finance, operations, and long-term stewardship activities.
Bryan has 30 years of experience in finance, human resources, information technology and change management. He serves on the Board of Directors of Great River Greening and Rayebird and has actively volunteered for and supported several human service organizations including Free Arts Minnesota, Breaking Free and Desert Aids. ​Bryan has a B.S. in Finance and Administration from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, and an M.B.A. in Finance from North Dakota State University. He lives in Eden Prairie with his wife Jo-Anne and enjoys traveling and spending time with his family.
Bryan can be reached at 651-280-2450 or bryan.ebensteiner@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.

Sean Kershaw 

Sean Kershaw, Vice President, Wilder Center for Communities

Sean Kershaw joined the Wilder Foundation in 2017 as the Vice President of Wilder Center for Communities. Prior to joining Wilder, Sean was Executive Director of the Citizens League 14 years where he led initiatives that looked at higher education and workforce reform, mental health reform, aging, and most recently, policy questions related to tax exempt parcels in Saint Paul. Sean has served as Project Manager and Deputy Director for the City of Saint Paul’s Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED). In this role, Sean chaired then-Mayor Norm Coleman’s e-government initiative and coordinated the Mayor’s information technology, charter school, and education initiatives.
Before coming to Minnesota, Sean was Planning Coordinator for the Public Housing Authority in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Sean has a BA in Sociology from Haverford College. He lives in Saint Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood with his husband, Tim, their children, Aidan and Grace, and their two English Bull Terriers, Pearl and Patrick.
Sean can be reached at 651-280-2494 or sean.kershaw@wilder.org.


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.

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.

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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