Climate and Clean Energy Organizer, Rochester
Kristoffer Acuña joined the Sierra Club in 2022 as the Climate and Clean Energy Organizer in Rochester, Minnesota. Prior to joining the North Star Chapter, Kris was on the communities team at the Great Plains Institute as part of the Metro Clean Energy Resource Team (Metro CERT), working with cities, small businesses, schools, and community groups to achieve their clean energy goals. Kris believes that those who have been historically left out need to be at the center of a just and clean energy transition and brings several years of experience trying to make that happen. He received a Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics from Yale University. In his free time, you can find Kris training for marathons, talking about walkable communities, or playing the newest Pokemon game. He lives with his partner Stephanie and their cat, Momo.
Email: Kris Acuña
Chapter Senior Engagement Manager
Mary joined the North Star Chapter as the Engagement Manager in 2017. Mary’s professional experience ranges from advocacy and nonprofit management in Texas to working as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service in Minnesota. In Texas, Mary served as Advocacy Director for BikeHouston and is proud to have lead the creation and adoption of Houston’s first bicycle master plan in over 20 years. In Minnesota, Mary managed a partnership program which annually brought over 10,000 urban youth onto the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities. Mary also brings volunteer leadership experience from the National Parks Conservation Association, the YMCA, and the Girls Empowerment Network. She holds a masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota - Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She is passionate about connecting people across different backgrounds to improve human and natural communities. In her role with the Sierra Club, she works to strengthen and empower Chapter volunteers and members.
Email: Mary Blitzer
Organizing Representative, Healthy Communities
Dominique Diaddigo-Cash is a lifelong community organizer and restorative practices circle-keeper. As a community educator, he has convened coalitions, led campaigns, supported the growth of young leaders within social justice efforts, and became an “anti-gatekeeper” of sorts — welcoming marginalized identities and experiences into various movements for social change. He has been at the center of various movements including those resisting US military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, fighting the implementation of a surveillance program of Black Muslims, and disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline by advocating for an end to punitive policies in public schools. He believes in reaching into the “heart and soul” of the issues, and humanizing the work of social change, and that we should be “organizing around solutions,” not around problems. When we frame our work this way, we are able to realize that the greatest resources are within us, not beyond us, and that our values are seen and felt, and not simply stated.
Email: Dominique Diaddigo-Cash
Senior Program Manager, Land Use and Transportation
Joshua began at the Sierra Club as a conservation organizer in 2005. He currently manages the Chapter’s work on sustainable development and clean transportation. For over a decade, Joshua served on the Minneapolis Capital Long-Range Improvement and Bicycle Advisory Committees, and on the board of The Alliance. He founded Minnesota Friends for Utah Wilderness and is a year-round bicycle commuter. Joshua is passionate about transit equity and ensuring that everyone has access to safe, convenient, and affordable clean transportation options and housing.
Email: Joshua Houdek
Outdoor Programs Coordinator
JR joined the North Star Chapter as the Outdoor Programs Coordinator in June 2022. His role is focused on supporting outdoor programming for military, veteran and BIPOC communities.
JR has spent his career serving communities, which began in the US Air Force as a Medic during Desert Shield / Desert Storm. He currently shares his time as an EMT with M Health Fairview Minnesota Immunization Network Initiative (MINI) providing no cost vaccination clinics to Twin Cities Metro underserved communities (homeless, BIPOC), as a Wilderness Search and Rescue Instructor / Evaluator with The National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR), an Outdoor School Instructor for REI, and volunteers as a Wilderness K-9 Search and Rescue Technician with K9 Search Midwest. JR is also a Board Member for the Diverse Media Institute.
When JR is not working he spends his time with his spouse, two teenage kids, his Yellow Lab (Honey) and his Bloodhound (Daisy).
Email: JR Hunte
Margaret is honored to have served as State Director of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter since 2008. She has 10 years of experience as a grassroots organizer, a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Missouri and has studied nonprofit management and administration. Margaret's passion is supporting people and communities in the fight for a clean, equitable and sustainable future. Each day the Sierra Club's volunteer leaders inspire her with their dedication to protecting Minnesota's air, water, lands, and climate.
Email: Margaret Levin
Vicki has served as chapter coordinator, performing bookkeeping and administrative work for the chapter, since 1987. She grew up on a small dairy farm in Goodhue County. She received a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Park Administration at Mankato State, and then spent a few years in the Peace Corps in the Eastern Caribbean. She enjoys working at the Sierra Club because it gives her an opportunity to protect the environment and to empower others to do the same.
Email: Vicki Munson
Senior Campaign Representative
Beyond Coal and Building Electrification Campaigns
Patty O'Keefe is a community organizer, from Minneapolis, with eleven years of experience organizing in the climate justice movement, both locally and nationally. Her work has focused on building powerful community-led campaigns to achieve legislative, regulatory, and corporate wins on climate, environmental justice, and energy democracy. In her free time she enjoys cooking, climbing, watching sci-fi movies, and snuggling with her cats, Bandit and Butter.
Email: Patty O'Keefe
Environmental Justice Organizer
Whitney Terrill joined the North Star Chapter as an Environmental Justice Organizer in 2022. In Minnesota, Whitney recently served as the Environmental Justice Program Manager at Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light where she designed, coordinated, and facilitated community-based programming and partnerships for MNIPL and individual faith communities. Her work focused on many topics in the EJ movement from just solar and clean energy, to fossil fuel resistance and clean water, to equitable planning and policy, and interfaith dialogue and racial justice. In her role with the Sierra Club, she works to strengthen and empower communities most impacted by environmental injustices. Whitney’s professional experience ranges from environmental justice advocacy and organizing in Minnesota to serving on leadership committees or board of directors of major environmental nonprofits, including Minnesota Environmental Partnership (Vice Chair, Board of Directors), Cooperative Energy Futures (Treasurer, Board of Directors), Women’s Environmental Institute (Board of Directors), Interfaith Power & Light (National Steering Committee, Midwest Representative); City of Hopkins Planning Commissioner, and Minnesota Multifaith Network Steering Committee. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she received her undergraduate degree from Hampton University (VA) and an executive certificate in conversation and environmental sustainability from Columbia University (NY). Influenced by childhood experiences at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, Whitney hopes to advocate and collaborate with communities to achieve inclusion of all people in the environmental justice movement in Minnesota.
Email: Whitney Terrill
Campaign Director, Building Electrification
Jessica Tritsch leads Sierra Club’s national Building Electrification Campaign, working to electrify our homes and buildings in a way that centers equity first. Before this role, Jessica was a Senior Campaign Representative with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Minnesota and the Dakotas where she led campaigns to secure retirement dates for Minnesota coal plants, fight and win against building new proposed gas plants, and build a movement for 100% clean & equitable energy. She has worked with the Sierra Club since 2009, when she joined as a Beyond Coal organizer in Minnesota. She got her start as a student activist and has previously worked as an organizer, campaign director, and fundraiser. When not campaigning for climate justice, she can be found enjoying the Minnesota outdoors with her family or playing the oboe in local music ensembles.
Email: Jessica Tritsch
Legislative and Political Director
Peter brings broad experience in public policy, political campaigns and community organizing. He served over a decade at the City of Minneapolis including as Policy Director. He played a lead role in major environmental and climate justice initiatives such as establishing the Clean Energy Partnership, closing the Upper Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam, stopping the burning of coal at the Riverside Power Plant, and championing critical transportation projects such as the 20-year plan for rebuilding parks and streets, Green Line LRT, Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along 35W, and the C-Line and D-Line arterial BRT projects. One sad assignment was to write a tribute to his favorite composer. Peter previously worked for the State Senate Democrats as a writer/researcher, specializing in housing, jobs, energy, community development and transportation. He has also managed political campaigns full time and volunteered for countless others. For two years, Peter worked at an educational theater company teaching social skills, including to children with behavioral challenges. He graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Political Science. Peter and his wife have two young daughters who love being chauffeured around town by their Dad on a longtail cargo bike.
Email: Peter Wagenius
Organizing Representative, Duluth (she/her)
Jenna Yeakle is an organizer with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Duluth, Minnesota. She applies her community organizing experience, public health expertise and passion for social justice to building the movement for a just transition to clean, equitable energy in the Northland. Jenna supports activists, volunteers and partners in showing up for climate justice at the legislature, within the regulatory system and in the community. Relational organizing and culture change are at the heart of Jenna’s movement building work, centering the collective capacity for doing things differently for the sake of our humanity and home.
Outside of work, Jenna is a community gardener and food justice activist; a bike commuter and avid reader. She lives with her partner Chris, their dog and backyard chickens.
Email: Jenna Yeakle