JOANNE REECK, M.A.
FOUNDER & LEAD TRAINER
Born and raised in the Midwest by two white women, I had the unique experience of growing up in an all-white community as a biracial child who was perceived by others as black. My journey navigating life in this complex world of race, culture, and ethnicity while working simultaneously through my own complicated racial identity development led to my passion of educating and training around issues of intercultural competency, social justice, and anti-oppression work. I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, hold a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and have over 15 years of facilitation experience. I believe that providing individuals and organizations with the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to work effectively across cultures leads to environments where all are affirmed in the entirety of their identities and able to reach their full potential. When I’m not training on behalf of United for Change Consulting, LLC. or serving as the Chief Inclusion Officer at Augsburg University in Minneapolis MN, I can be found with my 7-year-old son, camping, or playing in a softball league with friends.
After graduating from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, my career followed a few different paths, but all of them had one thing in common: my passion for creating equitable life-long educational opportunities for all members of the community. Currently, I serve as the Adult Program Coordinator for TriDistrict Community Education. My organization serves three major school districts across northern Dakota County in Minnesota. I also serve on advocacy committees for community education related specifically to programming for adults with disabilities and for legislative development/reform. My lived experiences as a multi-racial, queer, first-generation US citizen living with white-passing privilege have given me a distinct worldview that assists me in creating intersectional opportunities for the communities that I serve. This perspective also provides a foundation for how I facilitate trainings and workshops for United for Change. In my free time, I enjoy snuggling with my new baby girl, traveling with my partner, testing out recipes in my kitchen, and hiking MN State Parks with my dog.
AKEMI MECHTEL, m.P.P.
My goal is to serve as a tireless and lifelong advocate for accessibility in education. After graduating from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, I dedicated my career to supporting students from marginalized communities in their journey from high school to college through numerous higher education access organizations and programs. Additionally, my multi-cultural heritage provides me with an intersectional racial-identity and a unique perspective that lends itself to the work I do as a Trainer with United for Change. The years I have spent supporting students to further their education and my training of clients to reach their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals have only solidified my passion for working towards a socially-just future. I have recently completed a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and I hope to use it to affect positive change locally and nationally through educational policy reform. When I’m not working to change the world, I enjoy spending time with my partner and two dogs, traveling, and taking photographs.