Vesterheim Welcomes New Trustees

Vesterheim is pleased to announce nine new members to its board of trustees—Jill Johnson, Jill Nokleby Kaiser, Kirk Mies, Heather Miller, Suzanne Mineck, Bradley Nichols, Ruth Ann Schultz, Ruth Sorenson, and Craig Trygstad. We have a national board with 23 members from 10 states and the District of Columbia.

Jill Johnson lives in McFarland, Wisconsin, where she is currently an attorney specializing in planned giving. Johnson has degrees in economics and international business and previous experience working in economic development, reporting, editing, and marketing. She completed law school in December 2017 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and she received high honors for pro bono service.

As Director of Housing at Ebenezer Management Services, Jill Nokleby Kaiser is the operational lead for development projects and part of the design team. She graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with a B.A. in English, Psychology, and Scandinavian Studies. She has an M.A. from Cardinal Stritch University in Health Administration. Kaiser currently lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Kirk Mies is a direct descendant of Daniel and Brithe Rossadal who traveled to America in 1825 aboard the ship Restauration, the first organized emigration from Norway to America. Rossadal’s pocket watch and anvil are on display at Vesterheim. He lives in Lindenhurst, Illinois, and is a professional pilot and the Director of Aviation for AbbVie where he oversees flight operations.

Heather Miller is CEO and Chairman of the Board for Freedom Financial Bank in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Chairman of the Board of Vision Bank in Ames, Iowa. A graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, cum laude, she has a B.A. in economics with a concentration in finance.

With 20 years of experience in the field of philanthropy, Suzanne Mineck has extensive knowledge in nonprofit leadership, fund development, grant making, board management, collective impact strategy, project facilitation, and strategic planning. She is president and CEO of Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, a position she has held since 2010. Mid-Iowa Health Foundation is a private grant-making foundation dedicated to improving the health of vulnerable people in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area. A graduate of Luther College, Mineck is a Decorah native.

Bradley Nichols is a partner in Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services (FIDS) practice in Washington, DC. He joined the firm in 2004 after receiving his M.B.A. from Babson College, summa cum laude. Nichols has prior work experience as a financial analyst and assistant controller. Originally from Decorah, Iowa, he holds a B.A. from Luther College, cum laude, and is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF).

An attorney with RSR Consulting Services, LLC, in Overland Park, Kansas, Ruth Ann Schultz analyzes research and compliance products and services in the tax, accounting, human resources, employment, and healthcare fields. Schultz, of Loch Lloyd, Missouri, received her law degree from University of Iowa School of Law and a B.A. in economics from Luther College.

Ruth Sorenson, from Chevy Chase, Maryland, returns to board service after being on Vesterheim’s board from 2001-2010. Sorenson considers Decorah, Iowa, her hometown, and she is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Sorenson and her husband Arne Sorenson sponsored Vesterheim magazine in 2007, the issue Honoring Women’s Work. They also supported the Vesterheim exhibition Sacred Symbols and were instrumental in helping the museum obtain funding from Walmart for the traveling version of this exhibition.

Craig Trygstad is the Site Visitor for Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges in Burlingame, California. As a site visitor, Trygstad regularly travels to Thailand, China, South Africa, Sweden, Spain, and Italy. He collects and analyzes data, visits classes, and meets with teachers and administrators to help determine a school’s eligibility for formal accreditation. Trygstad grew up in Mabel, Minnesota, and now resides in Lewiston, Idaho. He attended the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he received a B.S. in history and M.A. in journalism and mass communication.

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