Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced 23 appointments to the Young Women’s Cabinet. Comprised of 32 young women, the initiative is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor and the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota to improve outcomes for young women in Minnesota. The initiative brings together nonprofits, businesses, government, philanthropies, and young women to achieve equity in opportunities and to improve the lives of young women of color, Indigenous young women, young women from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ+ youth, and young women with disabilities. The Cabinet ensures that the efforts of the Young Women’s Initiative stay grounded in the lived experiences of the young women and youth from all backgrounds, the community-specific challenges and solutions they identified, and guided by their leadership.

“It’s my honor to elevate the leadership of these extraordinary young women from communities across Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “Every young woman in Minnesota deserves a bright future, and the best way we can achieve that is by asking them directly what we can do to improve opportunity in their community. “

“I am encouraged by the overwhelming response we received to our call for young women to apply to the Young Women’s Cabinet,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “This initiative is a demonstration of our commitment to not only giving young women a seat at the table but centering them in our decisions to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. Thank you to the over 140 young women who applied and shared their powerful voices, ideas, and stories with us. We are so grateful.”

“There is more to Minnesota when every young woman has what she needs to thrive — with economic opportunity, access to leadership, and safety at home, school, and work. Since 2016, the Young Women’s Cabinet has guided Minnesota’s leading research on the well-being of young women of color, invested more than one million dollars in grants to nonprofits and individuals, testified as experts and advocates at the Capitol for policies to create opportunities, safety, and leadership for women and girls, and worked with a Council of powerful leaders to advance equity across sectors,” said Saanii Hernandez, vice president of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. “Representation matters. When we center the voices and leadership of young women facing the greatest barriers, their families and communities do better. Through the Young Women’s Initiative, we are building a stronger Minnesota.”

Over 140 young women applied to serve on the Young Women’s Cabinet. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan made the following appointments:

Zaynab Abdi – St. Paul, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Jennifer Adams – White Bear Lake, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Janaan Ahmed – Minneapolis, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Maria Arreola – St. Paul, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019 

Natalie Bebeau – Deer River, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Elizabeth Burnett – Waubun, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Yameha Burnett-Hollins – Edina, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Calonna Carlisle – Lakeville, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Mariana Cervantes – Lake Elmo, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Britney Chino – Inver Grove Heights, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Athena Cloud – Minneapolis, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Briana Fongvongsa – Brooklyn Park, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Flora Fouladi – St. Paul, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Gabrielle Hawkinson – Shakopee, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Evelyn Humphrey – Wanamingo, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Benya Kraus – Waseca, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Izzy Laderman – Duluth, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Rayanna Lennes – Hastings, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Nayzeth Muniz – Worthington, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Janet Nguyen – Minneapolis, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Amerees TeJohn – Waubun, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Ponny White – Moorhead, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

Bla Yang – Mankato, MN
Member
Effective: November 23, 2019

About the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota is a statewide community foundation investing in innovation to drive gender and racial equity. The Foundation envisions a world of equal opportunity where women, girls, and all people hold the power to create and lead safe, prosperous lives. Founded in 1983, it is the first and largest statewide women’s foundation in the country. More at WFMN.ORG.  

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