The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) welcomed three new staff members this summer, including the Reatha Clark King Fellow and the Wenda Weekes Moore Intern. The first-ever Wenda Weekes Moore Intern, Ruby Oluoch, rejoined the staff in a new position. Former intern and Reatha Clark King Fellow Lulete Mola was promoted to lead the Community Impact team as Vice President.
Through the Reatha Clark King Fellowship and the Wenda Weekes Moore Internship Program, WFMN has engaged 35 women of color in all aspects of its operations, including evaluation, fundraising, grantmaking, and administration. The program also provides rigorous training and professional development opportunities.
Lulete Mola was promoted to Vice President of Community Impact on June 18. Mola joined the staff as Director of Community Impact in June 2017. She leads the implementation and management of the Foundation’s grantmaking, evaluation, leadership, and field building programs that enable large-scale systems change.
Mola first joined the Foundation as an intern in 2013. In 2014, she became the Reatha Clark King Fellow and program coordinator. Prior to rejoining the Foundation, she was the Policy and Community Engagement Manager with Greater Twin Cities United Way through the Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship. Mola is engaged in community organizing, movement building, and work to advance women’s leadership. She was previously a Community Engagement Organizer with VoteRunLead. Mola leads political engagement and professional development initiatives in Minnesota’s East African community and is active in the movement for Black lives.
“The journey I have had at the Women’s Foundation has been nothing short of impactful,” said Mola. “From starting out as an intern in college to honing my skills as a Fellow to returning to lead our community impact work, the Foundation has always felt like a dream job. I am grateful to be at a place that is aligned with my purpose and to be doing the critical work of social change for gender and racial equity with colleagues and partners I deeply respect.”
Jamara Cheek joined the Foundation as Reatha Clark King Fellow | YWI MN Program Manager on June 7. In this role, Cheek is responsible for the coordination and management of the Women’s Foundation Young Women’s Initiative MN (YWI MN). She first joined the Foundation in January 2017 as office manager. She has had an extensive career as a government contract consultant to Minnesota businesses. Previously, she worked at Metropolitan Economic Development Association for seven years within the Procurement Technical Assistance Center program. During that time, she assisted business owners with pursuing and winning long-term federal contracts. Prior to that, she was an Equal Opportunity Consultant at the Metropolitan Council. Cheek enjoys Minnesota’s natural resources, especially walking near the Mississippi River.
“Timing is everything, and a phrase that I appreciate more as my life journey unfolds,” said Cheek. “The Reatha Clark King Fellowship is right on time for me! I’m excited to work at WFMN during a critical time in our nation’s history. Women are speaking up for themselves and charting the course for their lives in new ways. I want to be where the action is. WFMN is a place where I can contribute positively to communities I care about and develop as a leader.”
Ruby Oluoch joined the Women’s Foundation as Communications Project Manager on June 18. She develops, implements, and drives communications project management, and supports execution of the annual communications plan. Oluoch was the first Wenda Weekes Moore Intern at the Women’s Foundation. As part of her internship, she spent time at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, where she built her skills in research and evaluation. After completing her internship in 2016, Oluoch continued her research work in quantitative analysis and program improvement at the Great Plains Institute. She spent the following summer in New York as an intern at Brunswick Group, a critical communications advisory firm. Oluoch returns to the Foundation after graduating with honors from the University of Minnesota.
“I am thrilled to be returning to the Foundation in a full-time role,” Oluoch said. “I look forward to applying my past experiences at WFMN and beyond to strengthen our communications.”
WFMN Innovator Cynthia J. Zapata joined the Foundation as the Wenda Weekes Moore Intern on July 2. She primarily supports the Program and Advancement departments, and will spend four weeks at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 2016 as a double major in English and race and ethnic studies. Since graduating, Zapata has worked at Centro Tyrone Guzman in south Minneapolis, and helped manage Jovenes Latinas al Poder!, a group focused on advancing policy, advocacy, and healthy peer-to-peer relationships with young Latinas. In January 2018, she began working in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton as the Correspondence Coordinator. She is a 2016-2017 Amherst Wilder Community Equity Pipeline cohort member, 2017 finalist for the St. Paul Youth Poet Laureate, a WFMN Innovator, and Vice President and Communications Director of WePod. This fall, she will begin her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing at the University of St. Thomas.
Zapata shared: “I am at a pivotal point in my young career, and the Wenda Weekes Moore Internship will refine and add depth to the skills I have already acquired. I am excited about this year of growth and work with an organization I admire.”