About ConnextMSP

ConnextMSP is an inclusive talent network, united by an ambition to ensure that young professionals of color in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region are recruited, hired, and supported by local employers as they launch their careers.

This is a critical effort to ensure we are advancing inclusive economic growth and building a 21st century workforce in our region.

We Believe
Everyone who chooses to pursue a career deserves an equal chance to succeed. We know that current systems have been built for the benefit of some and to the exclusion of others. Together, we can create more inclusive workplaces and launch meaningful careers for thousands more young professionals of color.
Who We Serve
ConnextMSP serves young Black, Indigenous and People of Color from underrepresented communities and alumni of key career and college readiness programs in MSP. These young adults are currently pursuing post secondary education at a two or four-year institution, or are in the earliest stages of their careers.
How We Drive Change
We are powering this work through the ConnextMSP Talent Network, an online portal through which employers and young professionals of color in the region can connect, share job opportunities, offer mentorship and career guidance. By engaging leaders across organizations – recruiters, hiring managers, leaders and executives – we are ensuring this work will have a lasting impact both online and offline.

Together, we can create more inclusive workplaces and launch meaningful careers for thousands more professionals of color

Join the Network

Leadership Council

The ConnextMSP Leadership Council is assembled from MSP’s employers, career pathway programs, higher education institutions and young professionals. The Council steers and grows the coalition’s efforts to accomplish its ambitious goals.

Alexander Hines

Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion - MLK&PES Programs, College of Liberal Arts University of Minnesota

Allison Barmann

Executive Director, Genesys Works - Twin Cities

Anna Peterson

Head of People & Culture, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Frank Aruta

Brandon Ngo

DevOps Engineer, Medica

Jazmine Logan

corporate social responsibility specialist, Cargill foundation

R.T. Rybak

President & CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation

Solice Williams

HR Benefits Coordinator, TPT

Elizabeth Nelson


Jade Denson

Senior manager of tech talent programs, target

Geoff Willson

Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Wallin Education Partners

ConnextMSP Fellows

The ConnextMSP Future of Work Fellows joined GREATER MSP before the official launch and were instrumental in developing its strategies and solutions.

Abdifatah Abdi

Macalester College Bonner Scholar, Civic Engagement

Matthias Braun

Web Development

Armarie Williams

Environmental Health Specialist, City of Bloomington

Ole Trygvasson

Web & UX Experience

Gabriel Ijjo

Erika Omatesu

Web Design

Ciresi Walburn Scholarship Cohort 2019

Frank Aruta

Data Science

Husna Ibrahim

Urban Scholars Leadership Institute 2017

Isa Kibira

Virginia White

Visual Arts

Office of Black Student Achievement (MPS), School Success Programming Assistant

John Zheng

National Student of the Year - Business Professionals of America (BPA), 2019 Youngest Grad in UMD History, 2020

Matthias Braun

Web Development

Jolene Rotich

Outreach Coordinator, Tree Trust

Ole Trygvasson

Web & UX Experience

Maria Godinez

Erika Omatesu

Web Design

Data Solutions Analyst, Masonic Cancer Center

Nickolas Cody

Virginia White

Visual Arts

Sr. Specialist, Gift Card Operations, Target Corporation

Sia Xiong

Virginia White

Visual Arts

Policy Analyst, Ramsey County

Sumaiya Azeez

Virginia White

Visual Arts

Certified Direct Support Professional, Genesis Group Homes

Zoe Bourgerie

Virginia White

Visual Arts

Policy Associate to Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, City of Minneapolis
Learn More About the Fellowship

The ConnextMSP team

Managing Director, ConnextMSP

Ieesha McKinzie Collins

Ieesha McKinzie Collins is the Managing Director of ConnextMSP,  GREATER MSP’s newest strategic initiative focused on ensuring young BIPOC professionals are recruited, hired, and supported by local employers as they enter the workforce.

Prior to joining GREATER MSP, Ieesha served as Managing Director of External Relations for Breakthrough Collaborative, a national education nonprofit based in Oakland, CA. Other career highlights include leading strategic communications for a large charter school network in Texas and working in brand marketing & communications at General Mills. Ieesha also served as the education grants portfolio manager for the General Mills Foundation and has volunteered on several nonprofit boards which align with her deep commitment to educational equity.

Coalition of Employers & Partner Organizations

Augsburg University logo
Avenica logo
BlueCross BlueShield logo
The Brand Lab logo
Brooklynk logo
Cargill logo
College Possible logo
Deed Minnesota logo
University of St. Thomas logo
Ecolab logo
Genesys Works logo
McGough Construction logo
Medica logo
Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Minneapolis Foundation logo
Minnesota Tech Association logo
Minneapolis Regional Chamber
Reve Academy logo
Right Track logo
Saint Paul College logo
Step Up logo
Thomson Reuters logo
University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts logo
University of St. Thomas logo
Xcel Energy logo