Meet Our Team

Strategic Direction

 
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Katy Armendariz

Position: CEO
Email: Karmendariz@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Strategic Direction
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Katy began her social work career by working in post-adoption services, reuniting birth parents and their adopted children. This work was personal and incredibly rewarding due to her own separation from her birth mother and trans-racial adoption.

Katy obtained her B.A. in Sociology at Northern Illinois University in 2006 and completed her MSW as a Title IV-E Child Welfare Scholar from the University of Minnesota in 2009. Her professional experience has been in ARMHS services, Case Management, therapist in private practice, Program Director of CTSS and ARMHS, and later as founder and CEO of Minnesota CarePartner in 2013.

Her life commitment is centered around advocacy for racial justice and the liberation of Black and Brown people, and actively working to dismantle systems of oppression through collective protest.

Maria Hipkins

Clinical Director
 

Maria Hipkins

Position: Clinical Director
Email: Mhipkins@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Strategic Direction
Credentials: MSW, LICSW

Maria Hipkins, MSW, LICSW I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at The College of St. Scholastic in 2010. Following my undergraduate degree, I entered the Graduate Social Work program through the University of Minnesota, where I graduated and earned my Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2012.

I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Board Approved Supervisor in the State of Minnesota. I am also approved to provide clinical supervision to those under the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy. I have been working in the Mental Health field for over 20 years with both adults and youth.

I am a 1st generation college graduate and I hold a strong value in inclusive and fairly represented educational opportunities. I am a Child Welfare Scholar and I practice with a trauma-informed lens. I believe in the power of connection and providing a safe space to be curious and explore what healing looks like for each client. I strive to work through an anti-racist and social justice model.

Janie Yang

Human Resources Manager
 

Janie Yang

Position: Human Resources Manager
Email: Jyang@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Strategic Direction

Janie is originally from central Wisconsin. She has a (BBA) Bachelor’s in Business Administration from The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has been in the human resource field for over two years. Janie is passionate about equity within the workplace and community. She uses her compassion for people to create a positive and efficient HR department to better serve employees. Janie continues to further her knowledge of social justice advocacy and racial disparities in income and other outcomes.

In Janie’s free time, she enjoys trying new foods, traveling, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

Supervisory

Stephanie Delacruz

Office, Intake & Administrative Manager
 
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Stephanie Delacruz

Position: Office, Intake & Administrative Manager
Email: Sdelacruz@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Supervisory

Stephanie is originally from Wisconsin and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

She is passionate about helping others and loves working in an environment that fosters equality and understanding.

In her free time, Stephanie enjoys traveling, salsa dancing, and spending summer days on the lake.

Liz Jacobson

Treatment Supervisor
 
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Liz Jacobson

Position: Treatment Supervisor
Email: Ejacobson@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Supervisory
Credentials: LADC

Liz identifies as an Indian woman and was raised in Minneapolis, MN. She worked in group homes, daycares, and many odd jobs until she got her degree at 30yrs old. She has served the twin cities for 2 years through her work in social services and SUD education. She has a AA degree from Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and (BSW) Bachelors of Social Work from Bemidji State University and wants to pursue her Masters degree in social work to become dual licensed with an LGSW or LMSW.

Liz is passionate about substance abuse and mental health stigma among marginalized communities. She enjoys working in challenging jobs where she can learn and grow the most. She began and interned at her first counseling job consisted of inpatient and outpatient clients where had severe mental health, criminal pasts, dually diagnosed and had multiple barriers. She strives to help find healing, and wellness through their recovery journey through human connection with the willingness to evolve.

She is a lover of of animals and has volunteered at many animal shelter throughout her life for over 10 years. She has two rescued dogs, loves to explore new places with friends and go to concerts.

Ileana Ortiz de Leon

CTSS Supervisor
 
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Ileana Ortiz de Leon

Position: CTSS Supervisor
Email: iortizdeleon@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Supervisory
Credentials: MA

Hablo español, trabajo con niños y adultos. Guatemalan native with 13 years of experience working with all ages. My work is always centered on the person’s needs and personal goals, I’m trained in Stand Tray Therapy, and my therapeutic orientation is more experiential with existential influences.

I have a special interest in working with immigrant communities from around the world, helping them with cultural shock adaptation, and understanding the role their mental health plays in their life.

Carlos Armendariz

Digital Navigator Supervisor
 
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Carlos Armendariz

Position: Digital Navigator Supervisor
Email: Carmendariz@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Supervisory

I was born in Guadalajara Mexico and immigrated to the US in the 90s and have lived in Minneapolis since 1997. My Professional background is in technology sales and project management.

I really enjoy making new relationships and working towards closing gaps in everyday life with the technology we have available.

Carrie Eback

Community Program Supervisor
 

Carrie Eback

Position: Community Program Supervisor
Email: Ceback@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Supervisory

Bio coming soon!

Administrative

Stephanie Howes

Billing Specialist
 

Stephanie Howes

Position: Billing Specialist
Email: Showes@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Administrative

Stephanie is a native of the Twin Cities and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She has worked in a supportive role for organizations providing mental health and substance use disorder services for over 15 years and is committed to working with underserved communities.

In her free time Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, camping and traveling. She is a Master Gardener and loves building community through gardening. 

 

Justin Lo

IT Support
 

Justin Lo

Position: IT Support
Email: Jlo@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Administrative

Hello, I am an Act Six Scholar and I recently graduated Bethany Lutheran College. I am a recent graduate, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in Computer Science. During my 4 years at Bethany, I have invested my time in making meaningful relationships and learning new transferable skills such leadership, being adaptable, and being dependable. I was born and raised in California. Growing up as a Hmong America, I want to give back to my Hmong community and serve others outside of that. I understand that there is a significant disparity between the elders and the youth. I want to build something that will bridge the gap between the two while inspiring the youth to pursue higher education, showing them, they too have an opportunity. And so, as an Act Six Scholar, and a recent graduate at Bethany Lutheran College, I aspire to motivate others by setting an example, to be a role model by being a lifelong learner and being a good communicator so that I can build more and better meaningful relationships, while being accountable and committed.

Samantha Kamal

Clinical Scheduler
 

Samantha Kamal

Position: Clinical Scheduler
Email: SKamal@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Administrative

Bio coming soon!

Mental Health Practitioners

Nicole Kjoberg

Mental Health Practitioner
 
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Nicole Kjoberg

Position: Mental Health Practitioner
Email: NicoleKjoberg@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Mental Health Practitioners

Nicole is a native of Minnesota. Nicole has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years.

Nicole works with adults and provides supportive services focused on increasing independence and self-confidence for all.

Benjamin Knutson

Mental Health Practitioner
 

Benjamin Knutson

Position: Mental Health Practitioner
Phone: 8186144566
Email: BenjaminKnutson@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Mental Health Practitioners

Benjamin is a native of Brooklyn Park, MN. He currently resides in rural Pine City where he provides both individual/family CTSS services to surrounding communities within a 50-mile radius for the last 12yrs.

During this time he’s established himself within the tri County area (Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec ) as the preferred Practitioner. Benjamin also contributes his time, resources, and energy to developing social skills groups within the communities he serves.

Courtney Pokela

Mental Health Practitioner
 
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Courtney Pokela

Position: Mental Health Practitioner
Email: CourtneyPokela@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Mental Health Practitioners
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Courtney has been working with Roots Wellness Center for six years as a Mental Health Practitioner providing home- and community-based services to clients with mental illness. Along with this experience, she has an extensive background in delivering quality care to clients in the home health/group home setting as a Direct Support Professional. The types of clientele that would receive her care had a wide variety of health issues which include both mental and physical needs.

Courtney continues to find reward in assisting her clients at RWC. She will continue to gain knowledge in the field of mental health and offer her professional services throughout the north metro/metro areas. Language or Cultural Specialty: English

Daniel Okeefe

Mental Health Practitioner
 

Daniel Okeefe

Position: Mental Health Practitioner
Email: Dokeefe@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Mental Health Practitioners

Bio coming soon!

Therapists

Kahmiyah Anderson

Clinical Trainee Therapist
 
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Kahmiyah Anderson

Position: Clinical Trainee Therapist
Email: KahmiyahAnderson@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Therapists

Kahmiyah is currently working towards receiving her MA from Saint Marys University and is expected to graduate in Spring 2021. She utilizes a humanistic approach that includes aspects of CBT, strengths-based, and person-centered approaches.

Kahmiyah believes it is important for clients to feel empowered in their therapeutic journey and toward reaching their full potential. Kahmiyah is passionate about working with children and families in underserved communities. As well as actively working towards closing the accessibility gap in mental health services and the disparity gap in education in these communities.

Kahmiyah enjoys collecting and growing house plants, as well as learning more about plant/nature-based therapy. She is striving towards being able to merge her passion for children and mental health with plants/nature.

Ahmisa Baysudee

Mental Health Professional
 
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Ahmisa Baysudee

Position: Mental Health Professional
Email: Abaysudee@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Therapists
Credentials: MSW, LGSW

Ahmisa is a proud first-generation college graduate, holding a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Social Work. Throughout her academic and professional experiences, she has notably valued working with young folx, diverse communities, women’s mental health, sexual health, justice-involved folx, recovery health, and grief and loss. She has over a decade of DEI and advocacy experience, which informs her profound appreciation for learning about the unique and intersectional events that have shaped each person’s life.

Although continually building her repertoire, Ahmisa has a multifaceted, client-centered, trauma-informed, and strengths-based approach — pulling from several modalities depending on an individual’s needs. Her goal is to collaborate with and empower each individual she works with to make life-long, sustainable, and fulfilling adjustments in their lives.

When Ahmisa is not working, she enjoys arts- and culturally-based events, watching teen dramas with her daughter, spinning cotton candy, and being out in nature with her pups and family.

McKenzie Heim

Clinical Intern
 

McKenzie Heim

Position: Clinical Intern
Email: Mheim@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Therapists

Bio coming soon!

Sara Ho

Clinical Intern
 

Sara Ho

Position: Clinical Intern
Email: sho@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Therapists

Sara has been living in the Twin Cities area her whole life. She has experience with children and families through relationship-based and cross-cultural work. Her educational background is in Developmental Psychology and Spanish Studies and is a current Master of Social Work Student at Augsburg University in her final and clinical year. She is multilingual in Vietnamese and Spanish and passionate about learning new words from different languages and learning about other cultural practices and trying new foods! Sara wants to continue her career to provide culturally responsive care and advocacy work that focuses on social justice and anti-oppressive practices to holistically support others.

In-Home Recovery Program

Mureithi Gakuo

Family Based Recovery Therapist
 
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Mureithi Gakuo

Position: Family Based Recovery Therapist
Email: Mgakuo@rwc-mn.com
Categories: In-Home Recovery Program

Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Mureithi has been living in Minnesota since 2002. He has worked for more than 15 years in social services and education. He is accomplished in areas of research, program design and evaluation. Mureithi takes a person-centered approach- trying to understand clients within their family, community, and cultural contexts- with a particular interest on how intersectional identities influence a person’s self-identity.

Mureithi has a Master’s degree in Community Psychology from Metropolitan State University, and an MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of Saint Thomas.

George Miller

Family Based Recovery Therapist
 
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George Miller

Position: Family Based Recovery Therapist
Email: Gmiller@rwc-mn.com
Categories: In-Home Recovery Program
Credentials: LGSW (MN), LICSW-A (WA)
Pronouns: They/Them

Throughout their career, George (they/them) has worked and advocated alongside folks from historically oppressed and marginalized communities, including folks navigating the US immigration system, survivors of torture, folks with disabilities, and folks experiencing a wide range of mental health and socio-economic and political barriers. George is particularly passionate about the intersection of immigration law, disability rights, and mental health.

George also really likes goats. George earned a BA in Francophone Studies and Global Development from Seattle Pacific University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington. George is also certified in TESOL and holds a post-graduate certificate in Global Mental Health from Harvard University (HPRT).

George tries to speak French, but only sometimes succeeds. When not at work, George can be found at home with their one cat, one husband, two dogs, and MANY plants. Cheese is their favorite food group.

Mariah Mirbel Nelson

Family Support Specialist
 
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Mariah Mirbel Nelson

Position: Family Support Specialist
Email: Mnelson@rwc-mn.com
Categories: In-Home Recovery Program

Mariah Mirbel Nelson is a Family Support Specialist in the Family Based Recovery program. Mariah received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Social Justice from the University of Northwestern St. Paul. During her time at Northwestern, Mariah received the 2020 President’s Student Leadership award from Minnesota Campus Compact, led student organizations, and advocated for racial justice.

Mariah has served on the board of St. Louis Park Family Services Collaborative and was inducted into the Governor and Lt. Governor’s Young Women’s Initiative in 2022. Mariah has been working with children and families for over 4 years from childcare teacher to family services case management. Due to her personal story, Mariah is passionate about family preservation and pursuing social justice and reform within the child welfare system. Mariah brings her values of dignity, excellence, and justice to her culturally responsive work with families.

On the weekends, you will find Mariah spending time with her dog, Nala Obama, exploring the cities trying to find something sweet to eat, or reading a good book. A fun fact about Mariah is that she and her fraternal twin were born in Haiti.

Betty Yang

Family Support Specialist
 

Betty Yang

Position: Family Support Specialist
Email: Byang@rwc-mn.com
Categories: In-Home Recovery Program

Betty is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in Frogtown. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota, majoring in sociology. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in clinical social work at St. Kate’s to serve her community more efficiently as a future social worker.

She hopes to work with families and children and help them improve their social skills in their community. Betty has had various jobs that helped mold her and her expertise around working with the BIPOC and Asian American community. She hopes to bring her experiences to better use as a family support specialist and Minnesota CarePartner.

Asha Boggs

Family Based Recovery Therapist
 

Asha Boggs

Position: Family Based Recovery Therapist
Email: Aboggs@rwc-mn.com
Categories: In-Home Recovery Program

Bio coming soon!

Treatment

Cindy Vue

Yoga Instructor
 
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Cindy Vue

Position: Yoga Instructor
Email: CindyVue@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Treatment

I started my spiritual Yoga path seven years ago, but my healing journey began with my mother. My mother, like my ancestors, was rooted in holistic healing and energy from the earth and its most natural form. I want to share and reclaim ancestral knowledge and remember the way of healing that has existed for thousands of years. Through Yoga, I created a space to heal and with it, I want to provide others with that space to heal.

I have certification for RYT-200 and will be receiving my RYT-500 certification at the end of June. I have Yoga certification specialties in anxiety, depression, eating disorders, body image, trauma, and chemical dependency. Currently, I’m in my graduate program for Marriage and Family Therapy at UW-Stout. In creating balance in my life, I enjoy doing yoga, meditation, biking, swimming, paddle boarding, and walking with nature.

A fun fact about me, I’ve been biking year-round for nine years now!

 

Rochelle Chrsitine

Position: Reiki
Email: RochelleChrsitine@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Treatment

Bio coming soon!

Bertie Sellers

Treatment Intern
 

Bertie Sellers

Position: Treatment Intern
Email: Bsellers@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Treatment

Hello! My name is Bertie. I am Dakota, native of Minnesota. I am pursuing my bachelor’s in social work with a minor in Chemical Dependency Counseling at St. Catherine’s University, and I plan to continue education for my master’s degree. I am currently licensed through the Board of Hypnotherapy, in the Krasner method. I value Social Justice and diversity. I emphasize use of harm-reduction and trauma-informed practice. My career objective is to listen, empathize, and assist in community resources, as well as holistic healing. A fun fact is I love outdoors and golf!

Community Support

Trista Miest

Digital Navigation Coordinator
 

Trista Miest

Position: Digital Navigation Coordinator
Email: Tmiest@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Community Support

My name is Trista Miest and I was born in Mason City, Iowa. I moved quite a bit as a child, but I mostly grew up in Minnesota. I completed college in Mankato, MN where I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services.

I am passionate about human services and I have worked in the field for over 10 years. My most recent experience has been in case management in the Twin Cities.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family/friends, hiking, and photography.  

 
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Koya Siebie

Position: Doula
Email: Ksiebie@rwc-mn.com
Categories: Community Support

Koya Siebie is a biologist from Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her degree from Georgia State University and relocated to Minnesota in 2019 to further her healthcare career. Her transition into birth work began in 2019 with the birth of her goddaughter and she has since completed training with Enlightened Mama.

She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health at Saint Mary’s University, and Evidence Based Childbirth education certification with Holistic Continuum. Koya’s passion for birth work and accessibility for all led to the creation of Birthin’ Black LLC; a collective of birth workers who emphasize fighting disparities in minority groups.

Birthin’ Black services persons of all races, abilities, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I aim to provide my clients with adequate education, advocacy, and preparation for their birthing experience.

Minnesota CarePartner/Roots Recovery is now Roots Wellness Center