Each year, TeamWomen recognizes and celebrates women who make giving back to the community and/or youth a top priority in ways that promote the development of others, either through their work or through volunteer efforts. Get to know this year’s Community Impact Honorees below, and join us on October 12th at Metropolitan Ballroom & Club to celebrate this exceptional group of women at our 2023 WaveMaker Awards!
Tina Altman, affectionately known as Santa Tina, is a beacon of hope and generosity in her community. As a wife, mother, and passionate volunteer, her dedication shines brightest during the holiday season. Fifteen years ago, Tina founded A Place of Hope, a 501c3 nonprofit operated entirely by volunteers. After years of partnership with the Marines, her commitment to local influence inspired the inception of her own Local Toy Drive, serving children up to 18 years old in four counties.
Her tireless efforts and multifaceted role have fuelled a movement centered on local donations, giving, spending, and impactful results. Every dollar raised is channeled directly to the children, ensuring transparency and personal connection with every contribution. Beyond toys, families receive a plethora of gifts, grocery cards, local resources, and a renewed sense of hope during the holiday season.
Tina’s unwavering commitment to volunteering and fundraising dates back to her early years. From swim-a-thons to greeting card sales, her involvement in diverse fundraising activities is extensive. She has notably assisted in raising over $550,000 for United Way campaigns and personally contributed over $35,000 to The Heart Association in a heartfelt homage to her mother. This spirit of continual community giving forms an integral part of her enduring legacy.
A testament to her innovative fundraising approaches is her interaction with Sunstaches, a company she discovered on Shark Tank. A humble Facebook message seeking donations for teenage stocking stuffers blossomed into a generous contribution of 600 pairs of sunglasses and a lasting partnership and friendship with the owner, a former beneficiary of Toys for Tots. Tina Altman’s persistent and loving efforts continue to spread warmth, joy, and hope, ensuring a festive holiday season for every child in her community.
In 2017, Pam Bjerke was welcomed by Stearns Bank to lead the organization’s human resources efforts. With 22 years of experience in HR and customer service, Pam has developed a rich understanding to lead the Company’s compensation philosophy, benefit strategy, organizational structure, talent acquisition, employee relations, and employee retention and engagement. Pam builds strategies to achieve corporate goals, provides oversight to increase efficiency and drives cost saving initiatives that enables the Stearns Bank team to provide a best-in-class experience to internal customers.
In 2021, Pam had the privilege of beginning her service on the board of directors at Anna Marie’s Alliance, and diligently supports their invaluable work for survivors of domestic violence. Currently, she is the Chair for Anna Marie’s Alliance’s Creating Hope Capital Campaign, which within 7 months has exceeded its initial $2.5 million goal and is now aspiring towards a stretch goal of $3.25M.
Pam’s dedication to public service extends to her involvement with the West Stearns County Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (WSCEO) program, where she was a board member from 2019 – 2022 and served as Board Chair in 2021. Moreover, Pam’s influence has been pivotal in furthering Stearns Bank’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). She has fostered partnerships with several DE&I-centric non-profit and community organizations, spearheading efforts to cultivate an atmosphere of inclusion, equity, and opportunity for members of the Stearns Bank team and within the community. Pam is a graduate of Bemidji State University with psychology & education degrees, holds a Senior Professional Human Resources Certification through the Human Resource Certification Institute, and is currently attending graduate school to obtain her master’s degree in human resources.
With 18 years of experience, Timitra (Timi) Kelly has built a reputation for excellence in the medical device industry and has lived out her passion for philanthropy through her roles at Medtronic. As a Clinical Data Manager, Timi brings the Medtronic mission to life through her leadership, talent development, and patient-first focus. Her special dedication to inclusion, diversity, and equity has made a meaningful business impact as her employees tout her engagement, support, and leadership contribute to their success as clinical research professionals. As chair of the Medtronic Women’s Network Philanthropy and Community Outreach Committee, she has the unique opportunity to promote partnerships, lead programs that increase volunteerism at Medtronic, and develop women to rise to leadership positions. Some of the relationships Timi has cultivated in her role on the Philanthropy Committee include those with TeamWomen through the Empower Leadership Academy and Empower Gala committee, Success Beyond the Classroom’s STEMLink, Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts of the USA, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, and Avery’s Blanket of Love Ministry.
Outside of her roles at Medtronic, Timi is passionate about her 10+ year volunteerism with people experiencing homelessness in St. Paul, her pioneering work with Fernbrook Elementary School Fun Run, and organization of 10 book fairs, 6-year management of OMGHA and Maplebrook sports teams, Girl Scout leadership for 8 years, mission trip work, Neighborhood Watch leadership for 10 years, and numerous other family and individual events in her community.
Timi graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Speech Communication/Technical Communication degree and a Respiratory Therapy degree from St. Paul Technical College. She began her career in Respiratory Therapy as a staff RT, Flight RT, Emergency Response team member, and eventually supervisor, manager, and interim director of the Unity Hospital department before joining Medtronic to pursue her passions in people leadership. Her current role combines her love of impacting the community through improving health and helping others reach their goals.
Maggie (Pabaksawiŋ) Lorenz is Dakota and Anishinaabe, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, and descends from Spirit Lake Dakota Nation. She has spent her career in the fields of education, cultural resiliency and healing, and environmental justice.
She is currently serving as the Executive Director for Wakaŋ Tipi Awaŋyaŋkapi, a Native-led environmental conservation nonprofit whose mission is to engage people to honor and care for our natural places and the sacred sites and cultural value within them. Maggie also serves on the board of directors for Friends of the Falls, F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Tiwahe Foundation. By serving on these boards, she not only amplifies the voices of marginalized communities but also works towards building a more inclusive and equitable society.
Maggie’s work not only serves as a testament to her commitment to environmental justice but also showcases her ability to bring people together to create meaningful impact.
Over a decade ago, Chaz Sandifer began her transformative journey, evolving from a budding bodybuilder to a certified group fitness instructor and Lifestyle Coach, specializing in diabetes and arthritis prevention and trauma healing. The foundation of her passion led to the birth of theNEWmpls, a thriving company that echoes her commitment to promoting holistic wellness and racial health equity through robust community and organizational partnerships.
Chaz’s initiatives include hosting the weekly podcast Fitness Revolution with Chaz and leading the expansive Lakeview Terrace Farmers Market, one of the Twin Cities’ largest, amplifying access to fresh, local ingredients and free fitness classes. Her unique culinary event, Stories Behind the Menu, hosted at ModernWell, spotlights diverse chefs, bridging community gaps through shared stories and food experiences from various diaspora cultures.
Spearheading numerous impactful programs, Chaz’s influence ripples through communities, touching lives with her nutrition and fitness classes and fostering healing and wellness around racial inequality through her Let Go Let Flow program. Alongside her children, who actively contribute to her visionary business as CFO and CMO, Chaz stands tall as a celebrated public speaker, advisor, and award-winning community leader. Her unwavering dedication not only reshapes the health and wellness landscape but also diligently works towards dismantling racial disparities, making her a cherished and respected change agent in the Twin Cities and beyond.
Chaz was honored as a 2023 TRUST Award Recipient in the Health & Wellbeing Category and was a 2023 Mpls/St Paul Women in Business Award Recipient.
The TeamWomen annual WaveMaker Awards celebrates and recognizes women nominated by their peers across five categories: Under 40 Phenom, Uncharted Territory, Community Impact, Outstanding Mentor, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Empower Rising Star. Learn more about this event and our 2023 honorees here.