CASA MN Board of Directors
The CASA MN Board of Directors meet monthly to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization. We always have numerous initiatives underway— from strategic planning, fundraising, marketing and legislative activities to public speaking in the community. If you are interested in joining the board or learning more about its activities, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us to learn more.
Gerard Bodell, President
Gerard is an experienced business leader recognized for developing customer focused marketing strategies, connecting operating plans and ensuring successful execution. He has a broad and diverse set of business experiences including a senior controllership in a start-up business, leading large operations, and transformational change leadership. His corporate experiences include Target, Ernst & Young and Novus Media.
Gerard initially became involved with CASA MN when he volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem and he continues to volunteer in that capacity today. Gerard grew up in Minnesota and enjoys our great outdoors by getting out on our lakes, hiking, cycling, and playing as much pickleball as possible!
Gerard joined the CASA MN Board in June of 2021 and currently serves as President.
Kristin McKittrick, Vice President
Kristen is a Principal Associate in the Leadership Development Rotation Program at Medtronic. Prior to joining Medtronic, she was the Director of Development at Great MN Schools and previously worked at Children’s Hospitals Foundation and Citizen Schools. She received her M.B.A from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in Marketing from Seton Hall University.
Kristen joined the CASA MN Board in 2019 and serves as Chair of the Development Committee.
Maurice Harris, Secretary
Maurice Harris is the Research Manager at the GREATER MSP Partnership. Before moving to Minneapolis – Saint Paul, he was a board member for Heart of Missouri CASA in Columbia, MO. Originally from St. Louis, MO, he obtained his Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri in Public Affairs, specializing in Public Policy Analysis and Regional Development. His earned his Bachelors Degree from Knox College majoring in Political Science and History. Maurice also serves as a City Councilmember on the Golden Valley City Council.
Laurel is a Family Court-appointed neutral who helps estranged parents through a variety of roles. As a Custody Evaluator she conducts pre-decree investigations and issues reports concerning custodial and parenting plan arrangements. In the role of Parenting Consultant she resolves post-decree custody-related disagreements through a combination of education, mediation, and authority to make a binding decision. She holds a Master of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
She was born in Minnesota and, with lengthy detours through Seattle, Iowa, London, and Chicago, has resided here since 1987. Her enthusiasms include the culinary arts, gardening, dog walking, and bird feeding. Her lovely adult son lives in the UK with his bride.
Since 2011 Laurel has volunteered in Hennepin County Juvenile Court as a guardian ad litem and now joins the CASA MN Board in September of 2023.
Ariana Guerra currently works for the Hennepin County, Ramsey County, and MN State Bar Associations. Ariana is a foster care alum and began as a volunteer GAL in 2016. She then transitioned to working as a full-time GAL for 3 years in Ramsey County before moving on to her current role. Ariana continues to volunteer and is passionate about ongoing advocacy for children and youth in the foster care system.
Megan Johnson is a Finance Director at Ecolab. She holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University, an MS In Environmental Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin. Megan has served on the CASA Minnesota board since 2015.
Kayla Payeur is an Associate Director, Human Capital with UnitedHealthcare. Kayla started her career in Human Resources almost 15 years ago at Lawson Software and has been with UnitedHealth Group for the past 8 years. Kayla completed both her Bachelor of Science degree (2007) and Master of Arts degree (2009) at Saint Mary’s University. Kayla also passed two different HR credentialing exams; Professional in Human Resources (PHR) through Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) in 2010 and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) through the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in 2019.
Kayla values relationships, compassion, and integrity in all she does and finds ways to give back to the community as often as possible. Even as a teenager, Kayla enjoyed spending time volunteering in the classroom at a homeless shelter. Providing stability, educational assistance, and compassion Kayla was able to not only help the children academically but to also help build their self-esteem. For nearly 15 years, Kayla has been a volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of MN bringing hope, strength, and joy to children with critical illnesses as a Wish Granter. In her free time, Kayla loves spending time with her family and all the adventures that come with a large family. Kayla’s family enjoys spending time together outdoors: camping, boating, hiking, and rock climbing; playing games; attending kids sporting and arts events; and traveling.
Mike Tikkanen is the author of INVISIBLE CHILDREN, a national speaker, CASA volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem, founding board member of Friends of Children Foundation, CASAMN and founder of the nonprofit KARA, Kids At Risk Action. Mike’s mission is to speak for abused and neglected children and bring attention to their profound Impact on our schools and communities.
Emily Rogers is the Senior Marketing Manager for Koch Separation Solutions where she manages and oversees the global marketing and brand strategy with over 12 years of experience in the marketing space. Emily holds a BBA from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire with a concentration in marketing and business communications. Emily is passionate about a variety of causes and currently serves 2 additional organizations in the Twin Cities where she bakes birthday cakes for foster children and cooks meals for survivors of sex-trafficking and prostitution. In her free time, Emily spends time with family & friends, plays a lot of tennis, and travels.
Polly Parrent is a Director of Implementation Services at Nordic Global Consulting. Polly is originally from Iowa and served on the Iowa Friends of Iowa CASA & FCRB for 5 years and served as an Iowa CASA volunteer for 2 years before moving to Minnesota. Polly joined the CASA MN Board in March of 2023. Polly graduated from University of Iowa with a BS in Psychology and BBA in Business Management and later received her MBA from University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. She enjoys spending time with her husband and children camping, attending sporting events and reading.
Ms. Sarah Washington is the parent of four children and grandmother of six, and has been an advocate for her own family as well as many others throughout her career; specializing in special education and mental health supports. She is experienced with crisis services and has served on the metro Children’s Crisis Response (MetrCCS) Leadership Team since 2013. She has also served on the Hennepin county Parent Catalyst Leadership Group. Ms Washington has served in many roles over the years within Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), including the District Mental Health Team, the Special-Education Early Childhood SLT, Co-Chair of the Special Education Advisory Council / Chair for ECFE, and as a Parent Evaluator. She is currently on the board for watercourse counseling service as Vice Chair. Ms Washington is still very active in her work, and is currently on the State Suicide Task Force, and is also part of the Child Protection coalition for African-American children’s well being and safety. Ms Washington is currently running her own parent group, and is serving on the Children’s Hospital Advisory Council.