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.

Picture of Maurice Harris

Ashley Youngdale, Treasurer

Ashley Youngdale is a former Finance Executive and Business Leader.  After graduating with honors with a B.S. in
Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and working for a few years, she realized that
Finance was a better fit.  She went back to school for a Finance MBA from the University of MN, and graduated in
2009.  She had a flourishing career in Finance that she has recently relinquished in order to focus on her roles as
mother and advocate.

Ashley has twin boys that were born in 2015.  One of her boys has a rare neurological syndrome, yielding him with
complex medical needs.  Ashley’s son was a victim of abuse by a trusted night nurse.   When this was discovered,
her family also learned that there were large gaps in our laws that did not provide a suitable punishment for the
crime.  Ashley advocated for a change in our laws and as of the fall of 2021, Child Torture became illegal in the state
of MN.

Ashley now acts as a nurse for her son when there are gaps in his home nursing coverage, and dedicates her free
time to helping children and giving back.  For Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota, Ashley serves as a member of the
Family Advisory Council, Families as Partners, and on the PICU Family Experience Team.  She also serves
on the Special Education Advisory Council for St Louis Park Public Schools.  Ashley believes that all children deserve
the best chance at life, and is extremely interested in breaking the cycles of abuse and poverty.

Ashley joined the Board in January 2023 and currently serves as Treasurer.

Ariana Guerra

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.

Picture of Ariana Guerra

Megan Johnson

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.

Photo Megan Johnson

Kayla Payeur

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.

Picture of Kayla Payeur

Mike Tikkanen

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.

Photo Mike Tikkanen

Emily Rogers

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

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.

CASA Minnesota
PO BOX 454
Minneapolis, MN 55343

Send us an email

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Minnesota is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (National CASA). A grant from National CASA supports this website and our efforts to encourage communication, development, and effective advocacy for CASA volunteers and Guardians ad Litem statewide.

Follow us on: