The Alumni Association Board of Directors represents all alumni who are degree or certificate graduates of Metropolitan State University programs. Your Board now represents over 40,000 graduates. We welcome your suggestions for improving and enhancing our service and communications with you.
Alumni Association Board of Directors
First row: Tene Wells, Allison Cole Second row: Linda McCann, Jessie Watson, Sandy Best
Third row: Isaac Muhammad, Michael O'Connor Not pictured: Akmed Khalifa, Carmen Shields, Irene Wright
President, Tené Wells ('92) has been a consultant specializing in community organizing, strategic planning, branding, and business and nonprofit leadership development since 2006. In 2012 she was selected as a Bush Fellow. She is the former president of WomenVenture and led that organization for seven years. Prior to joining WomenVenture, she served as executive director of the City of Minneapolis' Youth Coordinating Board and of the Minneapolis Way to Grow services. Well's corporate experience includes Honeywell and Medtronic.
Vice President, Irene Wright ('92) is vice president of corporate services with Edina Realty. She establishes and nurtures business partnerships and relationships with corporations, 3rd party companies, brokers around the world and agents. She manages all corporate-owned properties and works to provide seamless and smooth moves on all of their real estate transactions. In addition, she manages the Exceptional Properties department working with properties priced over $500K. She and her team create new promotional materials, as well as update current ones, and puts out an insert section of the Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine four times a year. Wright continually evaluates efficiencies, looking for ways to reduce costs. She is a graduate of individualized studies with coursework in advertising and marketing.
Treasurer, Sandra Best ('88) graduated with a B.A. in individualized studies emphasizing human resource management. Her post-graduate education includes an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas, as well as advanced education in leadership, public affairs and military operations. Her career has included both public sector and military service, and in February 2016, Best became the first female brigadier general in the Minnesota National Guard. She will continue to promote the benefits of lifelong learning and specifically the unique non-traditional environment geared for diverse working adults at Metropolitan State. Best and her husband of 27 years have four daughters and reside in rural Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys socializing with family and friends in the St. Croix River Valley.
Secretary, Michael O'Connor ('92, '04) is the director strategy and project management with Medtronic, Plc. He has over 26 years of professional experience in the medical device industry around the Minnesota, Twin Cities area. O'Connor received his B.A. and minor in project management from Metropolitan State. He holds graduate degrees in project management, technology management and business administration. O'Connor earned his Ph.D. in civil engineering, majoring in project management, from the University of Maryland, College Park, A. James School of Engineering. In 2012, he was selected as an American Society for Quality (ASQ), Quality Fellow and in 2014 selected as a Medtronic, Technical Fellow. He is a former director at large for the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) and has volunteered his time with many professional societies and universities/colleges over the past 15 years. He is also an adjunct faculty member that is teaching graduate level Project Management, Project Capstone and Culture and Organizational course(s). O'Connor has been recognized in the past by various universities and colleges for his community and educational work. In addition to Medtronic, his corporate experience also includes 3M and Pfizer.
Allison Cole ('16) was named the Outstanding Students for the College of Management in fall 2016 and spoke at graduation. She received her Bachelor's in Accounting with a minor in Statistics and began working for the Office of the State Auditor as a local government auditor in 2017.
Akmed Khalifa ('08, '10) has worked with young people in educational settings for many years. He has received two national awards from Junior Achievement for his work with young people, and they also selected him for middle school teacher of the year for 2009-2010. He was recognized with a proclamation from the city of Pittsburgh for his work to increase inclusiveness in business for minority-owned firms throughout Pittsburgh and the United States. He has written several plays and two books, is a published poet and occasionally writes commentary for Minnesota Public Radio. He studied as an artist-in-residence at the Minneapolis Playwright's Center and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Hamline University. He was recently honored for his civic and community work by the African American Student's Association at Metropolitan State.
Linda McCann ('06, '15) received her M.B.A. and D.B.A. from Metropolitan State and was named one of the Outstanding Students in the 2006 graduating class. McCann has been an assistant professor in the College of Management accounting program, and she has also served on the Finance Committee of the Metropolitan State Foundation Board (2013-present). She has also held a teaching position at Hamline University and has been the lead auditor for Wilkerson Guthmann. McCann also holds an undergraduate degree from St. Catherine's University.
Isaac Muhammad (‘12) received his Bachelors in Accounting from Metropolitan State and his M.B.A. from Hamline University (2014) and was the cohort representative during his M.B.A. program 2013-2014 where he was the voice of the cohort and acted as the liaison between the cohort and the university. Isaac has worked both in the private and public industries including: US Bank, Wells Fargo, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Minnesota Department of Revenue where he currently services as an auditor. Isaac is also the founder of the Legacy Center for Peace and Transparency an organization that promotes transparency, peace, and good governance.
Carmen Shields ('15) received her M.B.A. from Metropolitan State and has more than 20 years of progressive experience in marketing, communications and development - including 15 years in higher education. Currently, she serves as chief marketing officer at Bethel University in Arden Hills, MN. Previously, she held leadership roles at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities - working with all 37 colleges and universities in the system and at North Hennepin Community College. Shields is married with five children and is in the process of planting a new church in Blaine called The Door Covenant Church. She earned a B.A. in advertising from the School of Communication and a B.B.A. in marketing from the School of Business at the University of North Dakota.
Jessie Watson ('08, '15) received her MPNA from Metropolitan State. She has spent 13 years at U.S. Bank, currently as an operations manager in the Wire Transfer Department. She is the treasurer for, and regular volunteer with the Maplewood Area Historical Society. Watson also holds a B.A. in writing from Metropolitan State. Watson lives in Woodbury with her husband and their two cats.
Kristine Hansen ('07), Director of alumni relations and engagement