Robin Phillips, The Advocates’ executive director and an attorney, has written about human rights, including trafficking in women, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. She has also led delegations to Ghana and Liberia as part of The Advocates’ work with Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and she has conducted fact-finding missions to document human rights violations in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Nepal, and Mexico.
Deputy Director, Director of International Justice Program
Attorney Jennifer Prestholdt directs organizational operations at The Advocates and supervises the development and administration of The Advocates’ International Justice Program. She also practiced asylum law for The Advocates as the director of its Refugee and Immigrant Program. Before teaming with The Advocates, Jennifer worked on refugee and asylum issues for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Michele Garnett McKenzie
Deputy Director, Director of Advocacy
Michele Garnett McKenzie serves on the senior leadership team at The Advocates for Human Rights. She also leads the organization's research, education, and advocacy team and is responsible for advocacy on The Advocates' domestic priority issues including migration and human trafficking.
Susan Banovetz has led award-winning public relations for the University of Minnesota Duluth, the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, American Red Cross, and other organizations. In addition, she held elected office for 27 years, including 15 years as the mayor of the City of Vadnais Heights. She was recognized by the Minnesota Women in City Government with its Outstanding Leadership Award in 2011.
Staff Attorney, International Justice
Amy Bergquist coordinates advocacy at the UN and with regional human rights bodies. Focus areas include LGBTI rights, discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender identity, rights of minorities and non-citizens, and the death penalty. She collaborates with diaspora communities seeking to be more effective advocates for human rights in their countries of origin. She coordinates pro bono legal assistance to support non-governmental organizations based in Africa working on human rights and rule of law issues.
Director of Refugee & Immigrant Program
Sarah Brenes has experience working with nonprofit organizations and private immigration firms serving immigrant clients, including the Migrant Unit of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services in North Dakota and Minnesota, and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota through a clerkship sponsored by the Minnesota Justice Foundation. She also clerked at Centro Legal, Inc. as an Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Program Fellow.
Staff Attorney, Women’s Human Rights Program
Theresa Dykoschak has extensive experience in the implementation of domestic violence laws, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and specializes in the international and regional legal frameworks on violence against women. She regularly reports on and advocates to UN human rights mechanisms; co-authors reports on violence against women; conducts fact-finding missions; provides commentary on domestic violence laws; and develops curricula and trains professionals on best practices and responses to domestic violence. Learn more.
Education and Outreach Manager
Emily Farell develops resources, trainings, and curricula to empower practitioners to integrate human rights into formal and non-formal educational and organizational settings. She is also the lead designer and facilitator for The Advocates’ training, Discover Human Rights: A Human Rights Approach to Social Justice. Emily received her M.A. in International Politics with a concentration on human rights from American University in Washington, DC and a B.A. in International Development from the University of MN, Twin Cities.
Administrative & Development Assistant
An administrative and development associate at The Advocates, Patrick Finnegan supports general operations and works on special projects. Before joining The Advocates, he worked at the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center for more than a decade, serving as assistant director from 2012-2105. Patrick developed and edited content for human rights publications; supported fundraising activies and financial management; and coordinated events. He has particular knowledge of economic, social, and cultural rights; U.S. foreign policy; right to a fair trial; and diaspora communities in Minnesota. Patrick holds a masters of public policy from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Legal Fellow, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Courtnie Gore serves as the Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow in The Advocates' Refugee & Immigrant Program advocating for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the United States.
She is a native of Richmond, Virginia; an alumna of the College of William and Mary; and a graduate of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. While in law school, she worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Margaret M. Marrinan, Ramsey County District Court, Minnesota. She also worked in Equatorial Guinea as an associate for Centurion LLP, an international law firm and business advisory in West Africa that specializes in both corporate and legislative matters of law. Learn more.
Staff Attorney, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Before joining the Refugee & Immigrant Program as a staff attorney, Alison Griffith represented unaccompanied minors at Kids In Need of Defense, first as an Equal Justice Works fellow and then as a staff attorney. She has represented many unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U Visas, and other forms of humanitarian relief from deportation. All of Alison's unaccompanied minor clients have been Central American children. Prior to her work with KIND, she represented asylum seekers with complex claims at the UST Immigration Clinic and worked on humanitarian immigration cases as an intern at Catholic Charities of Washington D.C. and during law school at several Twin Cities area non-profit organizations, including the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota and Mid Minnesota Legal Aid Society.
Madeline Lohman is a Senior Researcher with The Advocates for Human Rights. She conducts research, community education and outreach, and legislative advocacy on immigrant rights in Minnesota. She also specializes in trainings and technical assistance on human rights advocacy for social justice organizations, as well as international monitoring and reporting, primarily on the death penalty. She recently published a report on labor trafficking and exploitation and is part of The Advocates’ team on combating human trafficking in Minnesota.
Program Assisant, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Megan McKinney is a program assistant with the Refugee and Immigrant Program. Her primary responsibility is overseeing the day-to-day intake process for the Central American Docket. She grew up in East Tennessee and graduated from Berea College in May 2016 with a B.A. in economics and a concentration in international politics and policy. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked four years with the Enterprise Development and Energy Efficient Enterprises teams at the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development in Berea, Kentucky. She previously conducted political research at Project Vote Smart in Montana, grassroots organizing at New Era Colorado in Denver, and social media and communications at CASA of the Tennessee Heartland. She also served two years on the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth statewide steering committee.
Program Assisant, Refugee & Immigrant Program
A program assistant with the Refugee & Immigrant Program and part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Grace Ogihara conducts client intakes, interviews, and presents cases at deliberations. She recently graduated from Santa Clara University with a dual degree in Communications and Studio Art. Prior to joining The Advocates, she was an editorial assistant at Santa Clara Magazine.
Director, Women's Human Rights Program
Rosalyn Park is the director of The Advocates’ Women’s Human Rights Program, and has participated in fact-finding missions throughout the world. Prior to becoming the interim director, Park worked as a staff attorney in the program and with special projects. In addition, she represents The Advocates on the World Coalition against the Death Penalty steering committee. She is an instructor at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches global gender violence.
Lexi Steinkraus assists both the development and administrative teams at The Advocates. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and minors in political science, German, and urban studies. Before joining The Advocates, Lexi worked for the United Nations Association of Minnesota and managed development and administrative operations at Freedom for North Korean Refugees Minnesota.
Program Assistant, Research, Education, & Advocacy
Jinath Tasnim is The Advocates' St. Joseph Worker for 2016-17. Jinath focuses on building The Advocates' volunteer effectiveness and capacity, serving as the volunteer and intern coordinator and cultivating community partnerships. A Texas native, she graduated from Macalester College with a B.A. in geography. She has experience with graphic design work and multicultural programming.