The purpose of the volunteer board of directors is to support the mission of Lupus Link Minnesota. Board members are charged with the responsibility to hold Lupus Link Minnesota in trust with the public interest and to ensure that the organization functions in accordance with its mission statement. Board members are the primary stewards, and strongest advocates, for Lupus Link Minnesota both within and outside of the organization.
Meet Lupus Link Minnesota’s board of directors:
Barbara Schillo, Ph.D.
Vice President, ClearWay Minnesota
Dr. Barbara Schillo has over 20 years of experience in conducting applied research, managing research and public health programs, and organizational management and leadership. As Vice President of ClearWay Minnesota, she leads research and cessation programs, coordinates efforts to translate knowledge into initiatives that reduce tobacco use, and provides the organization strategic and administrative leadership. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the North American Quitline Consortium and has served as a community faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Metropolitan State University. Dr. Schillo received her doctorate in community psychology from Michigan State University and a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota. She grew up in rural Minnesota, currently resides in Maplewood, and spends as much of her free time as she can on the south shore of Lake Superior.
Director, Treasury & Payment Solutions, BMO Harris Bank
Ryan Carlson is a Director in BMO Harris Bank's Treasury and Payment Solutions business where he advises middle market companies and mid-corporates on cash management best practices. Prior to joining BMO in 2016, Carlson spent 13 years with Wells Fargo in various lines of business, including Treasury Management, Business Banking, Community Banking and Home Mortgage. He is a graduate of Bethel University in St. Paul where he studied Communication and Business. Ryan has been personally impacted by lupus as a close family friend has courageously fought the disease for over a decade. Consequently, Ryan has seen firsthand the critical role Lupus Link Minnesota plays in raising awareness and mobilizing resources to help overcome the challenges lupus presents to those affected. A native of Wadena, he lives with his wife, Amy, and their two children in the Twin Cities.
Philanthropic Advisor, The Minneapolis Foundation
Russell Betts, who joined The Minneapolis Foundation in 2016, is a Philanthropic Advisor with more than 20 years of experience in fundraising and alumni relations at major research universities. At the Foundation, he focuses on serving the charitable needs of corporate executives, their families, and the companies they lead. Betts comes to the Foundation from the University of Minnesota Foundation, where he served from 2013 to 2016 as a development officer for the university's Department of Medicine. Prior to that, Betts spent a decade at the University of Wisconsin Foundation, where he served as Director of Development covering the Southern United States, then Athletics, and eventually the Law School. He began his career as the Director of Diversity and Assistant Field Representative for the Wisconsin Alumni Association. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
RN Referral Coordinator, Community Care Service Line, Minneapolis VA Medical Center
Cindy Chang has over 20 years of registered nursing experience spanning multiple specialties. Currently, she is with the Minneapolis VA Medical Center as an RN Referral Coordinator with their Community Care Service Line. Working previously as a Medical Services Coordinator and Registered Nurse for Hennepin Health Plan/Hennepin County in Minneapolis with a primary focus on utilization review for managed care insurance, and as an RN Care Coordinator at the University of Minnesota Rheumatology Clinic, she coordinated all clinical aspects of patient care for individuals with autoimmune diseases, helping to promote wellness and prevent potential complications from therapies. Chang received her B.S. degree in Nursing from Eastern Michigan University. She and her husband, Ismael, have been married for 26 years and have two college-aged daughters.
Client Account Executive, National Accounts Division, ADP
Christopher Dunn serves as a Client Account Executive in ADP’s National Accounts Division where he provides operational governance for large enterprise and multinational clients. Prior to joining ADP, Dunn served as Vice President, Premier Banker for SunTrust Bank, partnering with a team to develop and execute financial plans for families. Through previous leadership roles in the nonprofit sector -- serving on the Board of Directors for Nicholas House, Vice Chair for United Way Atlanta’s Young Professional Leaders, and Chair of a business resource group advocating for people with disabilities – he was responsible for organizational governance and strategic planning. With a B.A. degree in psychology, Dunn is pursuing a Masters in Management and has obtained the Human Capital Strategist designation and a certificate in Operational Risk Management. Recently, Dunn relocated to Minneapolis from Atlanta with his wife, Kejal.
Attorney at Law, Galowitz Olson Law, PLLC
Tracey Galowitz is an attorney at Galowitz Olson Law, PLLC in the St. Croix Valley area, leading the firm’s practice areas of estate planning, trust and probate settlement. Galowitz has served in a leadership capacity on many professional and community boards, most recently with the Lake Elmo Bank, Stillwater Noon Rotary Club, and the Tozer Foundation, Inc. Serving Lupus Link Minnesota is of personal interest to her because one of her daughters was diagnosed with lupus during her senior year of college. She holds a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and a B.A. from Cornell College. As a life-long Stillwater resident, she loves to travel, relax at the cabin, and enjoy a glass of wine with friends. She and her husband, Scott, have three daughters and sons-in-law.
Emily Gillespie, Ph.D.
Principal Clinical Evidence Specialist, Medtronic
With 15 years of experience in biomedical research, Dr. Emily Gillespie has a proven track record of driving clinical research and promoting scientific understanding. She joined Medtronic in 2016 as a Clinical Evidence Specialist, supporting the Restorative Therapies Group. Prior to joining Medtronic, she directed a lupus research lab at the University of Minnesota where she joined the faculty in the Department of Medicine in 2006. Dr. Gillespie received a Ph.D. in microbiology, immunology, and cancer biology from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame. She is a native Minnesotan, currently living with her husband and two children in a Twin Cities suburb.
Element Fleet Management
Tom Peterson has 10 years of progressive financial roles at Bank of America, United Healthcare and Carlson Marketing Group. He has worked at Element Fleet (formerly GE Capital Fleet Services) since 2003. In his current role, he oversees a large sales team as well as the national strategic consulting group. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Plymouth and have two daughters. His interest in Lupus Link Minnesota began when his youngest daughter was diagnosed with lupus when she was 10 years old. She is now in high school, while her older sister is in college, and their family continues to be active participants in lupus fundraising efforts. Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Marquette University and a master’s degree in finance from the University of St. Thomas.
Executive Vice President and Founder, Venture Bank
Gwen Stanley serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Venture Bank. Stanley is one of three founders of this commercial bank that opened in 2001 and has grown to $725 million in assets. Prior to starting Venture Bank, Stanley served as Senior Vice President and CFO for Riverside Bank. She has served the nonprofit sector through her previous Board role at Cedar Riverside People’s Center, which included Treasurer and Board Chair appointments. She also has served as a judge for the Minnesota Cup. Stanley has a B.S. degree in Management, with an emphasis in Finance, from the University of Minnesota. Her personal lupus diagnosis in her early 20s led to a kidney transplant in 1997. Fortunately, anti-rejection drugs have kept her lupus symptoms under control so she can enjoy spectator sports, bowling and gardening. She and her significant other, dog and cat live in Northeast Minneapolis.
President and Executive Director
Tharan Leopold, M.A.
President and Executive Director, Lupus Link Minnesota
Tharan Leopold has over 25 years of combined experience in nonprofit administration, fundraising, and broadcast media. Prior to being hired as President and Executive Director of Lupus Link Minnesota, he served in a similar role as President of the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota (LFM). Additionally, Leopold has championed education initiatives as Executive Director of the Dakota County Technical College Foundation in Rosemount and as Assistant Director of Advancement at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault. His earlier career included sales as an Account Executive at CBS and ABC television affiliates in Minnesota. Leopold earned his B.S. degree from Southwest Minnesota State University and his Master of Arts degree in Speech Communication from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Growing up in rural southwest Minnesota, he currently resides in Faribault, and spends much of his time outside of work with three active boys and volunteer opportunities with his church and local community groups.