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Board of Directors

Our committed, supportive board guides how DSAMn fulfills its mission, and participates in the decision making that ensures we’re here for generations to come.


Officers

Dr. Anastasia Ketko, Co-Chair

Anastasia is a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist with MN Neonatal Physicians and is the medical director of the MN Neonatal Physicians Follow-Up Program, which provides neurodevelopmental support for at-risk infants and toddlers. Dr. Ketko and her medical team are strong advocates for individuals with Down syndrome, and she strives to heighten awareness of needed medical care and optimization of neurodevelopmental services to support healthy living for all. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family.

Brandon Kanz, Treasurer

Brandon Kanz is a Senior Principal and the Portfolio Manager and Head of the Credit Sector Team at Galliard Capital Management. His youngest sibling, Michelle, has Down syndrome. While she spent much of her childhood following her three older siblings to their various sports games, he has fond memories of attending her Special Olympics events. Witnessing that has helped him appreciate all the work that organizations like DSAMn do and the benefits they bring to the community.

Kari Schmitz, Secretary

Kari has been an avid DSAMn volunteer for the last several years. In addition to her involvement with DSAMn, Kari is very involved with Special Olympics and is the Lakeville Baseball Association’s Miracle League Director. Dani retired in 2018 after a 30 year career with the Minneapolis Police Department. Kari is from Elko New Market and is the mother to Dani, a young woman with Down syndrome.


Teddy Spencer, Co-Chair

Teddy was born and raised in Minnesota and proudly graduated from Orono High School in 2009, where he was a manager for the football, hockey and baseball teams. He enjoys living in his own home with his roommate of six years in Wayzata along with his house parents, and his jobs at General Mills and Life Time Fitness. During his free time, Teddy is found singing and dancing to his favorite music, cheering for his favorite Minnesota sports teams, or playing flag football and basketball with Special Olympics, in addition to tennis and snowboarding.

Cora Holland-Koller, Vice Chair

Cora Holland-Koller recently relocated back to Minnesota after living in St. Louis, Missouri for almost eight years where she and her husband, Damien Holler, were active with the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. Cora is the Loan Agency Transaction Team Manager at SRS Acquiom, a financial services firm. She has two children; her youngest has Down syndrome.


Directors

John Estrem

John Estrem is the CEO of Hammer/NER, one of the largest disability services providers in Minnesota. Born and raised in Minneapolis, John has spent his 35+ year career in ministry and Human Services. In 2012, John was appointed CEO of Hammer Residences. In the past 12 years, Hammer has grown significantly, most recently with an acquisition of Northeast Residences (another non-profit provider in the east metro area). They now provide services at 68 locations in the east and west metro. 59 of these locations are homes and 9 are an innovative apartment program with 24 hour supports. Hammer & NER also provides Case Management Services, Care Coordination and operates Hammer Travel. Prior to his role at Hammer NER, John was the Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services and CEO of Catholic Charities. John has spoken as a housing expert at DSAMn’s Statewide Conference and he is the former Board Chair of ARRM, the association of disability and housing and support providers

Dr. Carrie Muench

Dr. Carrie Muench is a board certified pediatrician who has practiced outpatient pediatrics in the west metro area over the last two decades. She has volunteered at several organizations that support individuals with Down syndrome, including the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, Jack’s Basket, and Gigi’s Playhouse. She is currently on leave from outpatient medicine due to the needs of her family, but remains active in local volunteering and is currently participating in the MN Partners in Policymaking course to learn about more ways to support the disability community. Carrie has three children, her youngest has Down syndrome.

Dr. Michele Olson

Dr. Michele Olson is a board certified pediatric dentist and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Minnesota Dental Association, and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. She received her Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Chemistry at North Dakota State University and earned her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Minnesota and worked as a general dentist prior returning to the University of Minnesota where she earned a certificate in Pediatric Dentistry. She also completed a fellowship in Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disability through the University of Minnesota. She is a clinical director of Special Smiles for Special Olympics and the faculty advisor for the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry Student Chapter. Dr. Michele and her husband have two children including a teenage daughter with Down syndrome.

Tara Solem

Tara Solem is the District Manager and Water Planner for Lake County Minnesota. She is a resident of Two Harbors and long time volunteer with the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota - most recently has serving as DSAMn's Duluth & Northern Minnesota Parent Group Co-Facilitator. In addition, Tara is a recent graduate of Partners in Policymaking. Tara has three children, her youngest has Down syndrome.

Christine Hendrickson

Christine is the founder of On Track MN and Potty Train MN, specialty consulting firms that provide consultation and training to individuals of all ages and their families. Offering more than twenty year of experience in behavior intervention and disability services, Christine has extensive training in Behavior Analysis and has worked in a variety of settings with a wide range of individuals including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down syndrome. For the last six years, she and her husband have been live-in caretakers for two adults with Down Syndrome.

Gina Schmittdiel

Gina has a diverse background as an advocate, community leader, and personal trainer. She is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and is passionate about speaking to the opportunities and challenges that outdated laws present for individuals with disabilities. Gina is the mom to three; her middle child, Gunnar, has Down syndrome.

Heidi Berry Sturman

Heidi Berry Sturman is a mother of three active girls; her eldest is a young adult with Down syndrome. Employed in finance by a biomedical device company, she is a passionate fan of Wayzata‘s Lakers, Blues Top Soccer, the MN Vortex Fastpitch and Wayzata Fastpitch Softball teams.

Christopher Wolf

Christopher is a Logistics Manager with General Mills. He and his wife, Brittany, are parents to Weston, age 1, who has Down syndrome. In the summer, you'll find him and his family up at their cabin or on the lakes of Minnesota.

In Memory

We celebrate and remember Cathy Erickson, DSAMn Board Member who passed in 2021 while serving on the board. Cathy had a clinical doctorate in Nursing, specializing in serving children with special health care needs, with a focus on transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. She served in a number of healthcare roles throughout her career, including advocate, case manager, consultant and NICU leader. Maggie, her adult daughter with Down syndrome, shares her commitment in serving as a fierce advocate and community leader.