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Emerging Leaders in Community Development Program

Gain knowledge and expand your professional network.

Purpose and Goals

The Emerging Leaders in Community Development Program (ELCD) equips early-career and mid-career community development professionals with the knowledge and relationships needed to effectively work with people and places to build a more equitable future. The program focuses on three key areas to support community development professionals as they navigate their careers: networking, professional development, and mentorship. 

Mentors share their knowledge and networks throughout the six-month program. The working relationship allows mentees to learn about different specialties and skills within the field.

Program Overview
  • The application process includes an online form and a follow-up interview
  • The program runs from March – September 2023
  • ELCD hosts networking opportunities and events
  • Cohort members are required to schedule additional meetings and activities throughout the program 
  • Mentees receive a $300 professional development stipend
ELCD Mentees

Applicants are early-career and mid-career community development professionals with a desire to kickstart positive change in their community. 

Applicants should have a demonstrated interest and experience in the community development field.

ELCD Mentors

Our mentors are leaders within the community development field who specialize in various areas, including affordable and accessible housing development, housing and economic development policy, small business training and development, micro-lending, technical assistance, nonprofit management, collaboration, and relationship building. 

2023 Mentees

Noah Bauer

Minneapolis-born Latinx and Swedish artist and activist. Noah plays 15 instruments and uses music as a tool for connection, medicine, political organization, and education. During the pandemic, he served the Governor's Office helping provide health and educational resources to communities. Also, served in the MN Secretary of State's Office to connect the public to essential voting infrastructure.

Julie Bui

Julie joined the City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) as Education Manager, leading our homebuyer program. Working with buyers, realtors, lenders, and partners, guiding through education and outreach. Previously, Julie taught elementary special education, specializing in emotional behavioral disorders. She engages in diverse roles within public education, including union representation, equity team founding, and Teachers of Color Coalition membership. I'm currently affiliated with the American Alpine Club and Access Fund, championing outdoor accessibility, particularly in rock climbing.

Charise Canales

Charise, Manager of Placemaking and Activation at Lake Street Council, spearheads innovative placemaking initiatives. Her role forges bonds among Lake Street businesses, the community, and shared spaces. With a foundation in community development and public art, she collaborates with the creative sector to amplify Lake Street's vibrancy. A Longfellow native, Charise now resides in Lyndale with her dog, Cooper. Off-duty, she indulges in rock climbing, kickball, and relishing water-bound moments.

Liz Isaac-Herzog

Combining her expertise in geography, writing, and early childhood education, Liz guides Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity program clients from inquiries to home closings. Her role processes applications, homebuyer education, and tailoring property letters for mortgage-ready clients. Liz strikes a balance between meticulous organization and empathetic client interactions, nurturing relationships. In her second year of the ELCD mentorship program, she eagerly expands her skillset and leadership. Based in St. Paul with her partner and dog, Liz finds joy in reading, outdoor pursuits, and creative endeavors during her free time.

Talia King

Talia is currently serving in dual capacities simultaneously as a Realtor, Educator, Financial Coach, Legacy Enthusiast and Commercial Business Loan Officer. Passionate about supporting her clients from underserved and underrepresented communities in their endeavors and goals towards both home and property ownership as well as business startup and expansion. Here To Help You Get There!

Amber Larsen

Experienced in Branch Management with a demonstrated history of working in financial services industry. Skilled in Risk Management, Operational Banking, Leadership, Team building and engagement as well as in service. professional with strong analytical and sales skills.

Giselle Mercado

Giselle supports the Lending Program Director at LEDC, managing credit software, case oversight, and internal reporting. With an Economics background and 8 years in finance, she secured multilateral funding via loan agreements for micro and small businesses. Giselle also facilitated bond issuance in Lima's Capital Market. A recent Nonprofit Management Masters graduate from Hamline University, she empathetically understands the Latino Community's nuances and advocates for financial inclusion passionately.

Micah Norman-Pace

Micah serves as Program Associate at Family Housing Fund, contributing to projects spanning program areas for housing system enhancement. Drawing from diverse housing and prevention roles, Micah drives systemic transformation. Formerly, he aided the Stable Homes Stable Schools initiative at Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and managed RentHelpMN rental assistance at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Micah is a Hardin-Simmons University music graduate with a Boston University School of Theology master's in divinity.

Jake Soper

In February 2021, Jake joined City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) as Property Development Manager, overseeing acquisition, rehab of CLCLT-owned properties, aiding homeowners with maintenance. Formerly, he presided over a real estate consultancy, specialized in telecom infrastructure. With 20 years' experience in multi-site development, he managed due diligence, negotiations, zoning, permitting, and architectural aspects. Dedicated, he volunteered in Thailand for Northern Hill Tribe children. Jake holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, played Badgers ice hockey, and earned an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.

Christine Wattermann

Christine graduated from Luther College in 2019, with degrees in Sociology and History. After graduation she completed a year of service with College Possible, serving as their first Workforce Development VISTA