Board Members

Mohamed Alsadig
Mohamed (Mo) has been in Mankato for the past 16 years and attended Mankato State University, where he majored in Management Information Systems. He started working for Midwest Wireless as a network assistant for Clearwave and currently works as a technician with Verizon Wireless. Mo has also hosted his own radio program on KMSU for the past 8 years (The Quiet Storm). A combination between Oprah and Dr. Phil was featured in The Mankato Magazine and also on Minnesota public radio in March, 2012. Cooking is Mo's second favorite hobby, as he likes to introduce friends’ taste buds to flavors that they might not have had the chance to previously experience. Mo’s goal as part of the council is to bring awareness to the community that we all care about, and in the words of Millard Fuller, "for a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people's love and concern for each other."
Thomas Flunker
Thomas returned to the Greater Mankato area in 2007 after 14 years in WI, where he first served as an elementary/middle school teacher, coach, and principal in Milwaukee, followed by teaching various levels of high school Spanish, in addition to coaching football and track in Appleton, WI. After returning to Southern MN, he spent 8+ years as the Intercultural Center Coordinator, Admissions Counselor, and Adjunct at Bethany Lutheran College, followed by a 1-year stint as the School Director at Kato Public Charter School. Thomas spent the majority of his childhood on the island of Puerto Rico, until returning to the states to attend high school in Nebraska. He obtained a Bachelor of Education from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN, and a Masters in Psychology of Culture from Walden University. He is the father of three rapidly growing boys, and husband to Sandi - amazing wife, mom, and educator. Throughout the 23 years employed within the field of education, Thomas has always included the mission of mentoring, advising, and guiding under-served and under-resourced students/families to better navigate the educational options and opportunities that are available.
Karen Foreman
Karen currently serves on the Mankato City Council, representing Ward 1 and represents the City Council on the GMDC Board of Directors.
Jean Haar
Jean is currently serving as the dean for the College of Education at MN State University, Mankato. She has also been a professor and chairperson in the Department of Educational Leadership. She began her education career as an English teacher and later served as a high school principal. The college is committed to meeting the needs of all students and is focused advancing teacher diversity to match the changing student demographics. The vision of the college is to inspire lifelong learning and professional engagement through racial consciousness, social justice, and inclusion within a global context.
Bukata Hayes
Executive Director
The most important thing about Bukata Hayes is that he is the son of Dia Damani Courtney and Karen Hayes, husband to Lisa and father to Damani, Jalen, Zavier, and Zuri. In addition to this, Bukata has served as the Executive Director of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council since September, 2006. Prior to this role, he served as the Coordinator of the Multi Ethnic Center at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, the first-ever position of its kind at the college. Bukata received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. He has membership and/or is on the board of numerous organizations such as the Mankato Chapter of the NAACP (President), Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Board (President), Latin American Multicultural Association for Networking and Opportunity –LA MANO (Board), and Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation Board.
Kingsley Iheasirim
Dr. Iheasirim is employed at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, specializing in the area of internal medicine.
Mitzi Kennedy
Mitzi is currently serving as the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of TRIO Student Support Services at South Central College in North Mankato and Faribault. She has been involved with violence prevention, disparities and social justice programming in communities for many years. Mitzi completed her bachelor’s degree in urban administration at the University of Cincinnati and her master’s degree and doctorate at the University Of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. She worked on the TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) evaluation with the State of Colorado in collaboration with the University of Denver and also taught there in the MSW program. Her research has included how we collaboratively implement evidence based programs with fidelity to the model in multiple community settings. She has also worked with community and school districts as a university evaluation partner to help bring quality interventions to those most in need.
Cindy McCabe
Past President
Cindy is a member of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council as an appointed representative for Nicollet County Human Services. She is a social services supervisor. The services she administers include: children’s mental health, daycare and child foster care licensing, PSOP ( Parent Support Outreach Program), general child welfare and SSIS ( Social Services Information System). Cindy is also the Coordinator for the Nicollet County Family Services Collaborative. She participates in a wide variety of local, regional and state meetings that are part of her job duties and responsibilities.
Pat McDermott
For over 20 years, Pat has served the people of Blue Earth County in the capacity of County Attorney and Assistant County Attorney, during which time he has prosecuted most of the serious cases in Blue Earth County. His community service engagement is grounded in public safety and public service projects. Pat was instrumental in establishing the BE County Adult Drug Court, which targets non-violent felony drug users and the 5th Judicial District Veterans Court. He has assisted with the local Blue Print for Safety and has assisted with many human services programs. Pat started the Truancy Intervention Program and works with local school officials to proactively prevent today’s truant from becoming tomorrow’s delinquent or chemically dependent. He has taught law enforcement officers, advocates and prosecutors throughout the state on behalf of numerous organizations, and has served as an adjunct professor with the Department of Government at MN State University, Mankato. He has been involved with many area youth athletics and activities, serving in the capacity of coach, board member, volunteer and teacher and currently serves as the Chair of the Loyola Catholic School, Board of Trustees.
Heather Mueller
Heather Mueller was born and raised in Yuma, AZ. After receiving her teaching degree she traveled with the "Up With People" organization for one year where she performed as a dancer and singer. She began teaching for the Mankato Area Public Schools in 1997 until she accepted the Staff Development Coordinator position in 2008. After being in that position for five years she accepted the Director of Teaching and Learning position and is now beginning her fifth year in that capacity.
Vance Stuehrenberg
A retired police officer for the city of Mankato, Vance was also a motorcycle instructor for the State of MN for 9 years and currently serves as a Blue Earth County Commissioner. He is a past facilitator for the GMDC, board member for MN Sex Crime Investigator Association, MN Juvenile Officer Association, and Mankato Area Healthy Youth. Vance is a current member of Mankato Airport Commission, Mankato/Blue Earth County Intergovernmental Commission, City of Mankato Charter Commission, Intergovernmental Ice Arena, MATAPS Policy Commission, MN Transportation Alliance, Mankato Anti-Violence Group, National Association of Counties Transportation Steering Committee, National Guard Community Committee, and Association of MN Counties Health & Human Services Committee. His hobbies include motorcycle riding, reading, and singing.
Kuma Takamura
Education Director
It was supposed to be a melting pot, but when Kuma came to the U.S. from Japan in the '80s, what he found was "Chunky Stew." Kuma, as a biologist, an electrical engineer, and an educator, worked in many areas including private sector and higher education system. Everywhere he went he strongly felt diversity was a strength but "we were not tapping into it." Humans are inquisitive and curious beings. Difference triggers fear, but he hopes, with our effort, the curiosity/inquisitiveness will eventally take over and people will start learning each others' differences and start recognizing the power of diversity! Kuma joined the Greater Mankato Diversity staff in the summer of 2011.
Wayne Terry