Robin Phillips is the executive director of The Advocates for Human Rights. She has written extensively about human rights, including human trafficking, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. She has taught courses on human rights at the University of Minnesota Law School and the University of Saint Thomas School of Law. Prior to becoming The Advocates' executive director, she served as the organization's deputy director and director of its Women's Human Rights Program. Prior to her time at The Advocates, Phillips practiced law with the firm of Briggs and Morgan in Minnesota.
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 The Advocates' domestic priority issues including migration and human trafficking.
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.
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.
Communications and Outreach Assistant
Jasmine Bradford serves as the Communications and Outreach Assistant. In this role, she oversees volunteers and interns by assisting with recruitment, tracking, communication, and recognition; produces print magazine and other promotional materials; monitors the social media accounts by tracking the performance of each account; and supports development and posting of content. Prior to joining The Advocates for Human Rights, Jasmine worked in the captioning industry facilitating captioning services program content for clients and participated in new employee training. In her downtime she loves producing on-air material for KFAI and working with the National Kidney Foundation Twin Cities as their media volunteer. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
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.
Stefani Conyers is the Administrative Director at The Advocates for Human Rights. Prior to this position, Stefani served in a variety of operations and organizational management roles, including most recently as the Finance Office & Payroll Manager at the University of Minnesota Law School. She has experience in for-profit, non-profit, educational and small business arenas giving her a well-rounded capacity for seeing the big picture while focusing on the details to get the job done. As a volunteer in a variety of organizations, including a crisis phone counselor to serving meals to tutoring, she has learned the value of making connections in the community to help support their missions. She holds a BA degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and is finishing up her M.Ed. in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota.
Pro Bono Counsel
Theresa Dykoschak is Pro Bono Counsel for The Advocates for Human Rights. She promotes volunteer engagement and increases our capacity to leverage contributions from hundreds of volunteers on an annual basis. She is also a member of The Advocates’ Human Trafficking team and has co-authored protocols on labor trafficking. Prior to Pro Bono Counsel, Theresa was a Staff Attorney in the Women’s Human Rights Program, reporting and advocating to UN human rights mechanisms; co-authoring reports on violence against women; conducting fact-finding missions; and training professionals on best practices and responses to domestic violence.
Staff Attorney, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Lindsey Greising is a Staff Attorney for The Advocates for Human Rights' Refugee & Immigrant Program (RIP). In that capacity, she is focused on anti-human trafficking efforts, particularly in focusing on labor trafficking. Lindsey provides direct client representation, trains and supports volunteer attorneys, and fields trafficking-related and other immigration questions. Lindsey also works on our outreach efforts to increase referrals and reporting for trafficking survivors.
Staff Attorney, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Alison is a Staff Attorney for The Advocates for Human Rights' Refugee & Immigrant Program. In that capacity, she mentors and supports pro bono attorneys handling asylum cases before the asylum office and the Immigration Court, as well as other humanitarian immigration matters. Alison also handles a caseload of asylum cases and other matters for The Advocates. Before joining The Advocates, she represented unaccompanied minors at Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), where she represented unaccompanied children seeking asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U Visas, and other forms of humanitarian relief from deportation. Prior to her work with KIND, she represented asylum seekers with complex claims during law school at the University of St. Thomas Legal Clinic.
Events and Individual Giving Coordinator
Liz Kelleher is a member of the Development team at The Advocates. Her main projects include coordinating events, planning and implementing individual giving fundraisers, and managing the donor database. She graduated summa cum laude from Macalester College with a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in history. While at Macalester, she was also captain of the varsity women’s water polo team. Before joining The Advocates as a staff member, she was an intern with the Women’s Human Rights program and has worked in legal services and as a web manager.
Program Assistant, Women's and International Justice
Elizabeth is the Program Assistant for International Justice and Women’s Human Rights Program, serving as a volunteer with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps for the year. Her main projects in that capacity include monitoring United Nations deadlines, coordinating intern projects, monitoring court cases, and helping facilitate UN reporting. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Olaf College with a BA in French and Philosophy. While at St. Olaf, she sang in four different choirs and travelled to France. She has experience in both academic and legal research.
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 and human trafficking in Minnesota. In 2019, she developed protocol guidelines on behalf of the MN Department of Health to improve the statewide response to youth victims of labor trafficking. 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.
Legal Fellow, Women's Human Rights Program
Elizabeth Montgomery is a legal fellow with The Advocates’ Women’s Human Rights Program. In this role, Elizabeth is mainly responsible for overseeing volunteers and interns involved with the WATCH Program, along with organizing the data collected. Elizabeth also assists with other domestic and international advocacy work. Elizabeth received a J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and graduated from Concordia College Moorhead with a BA in Political Science and Global Studies and a minor in German.
Executive Administrative Assistant
Emily Olinger works as the Executive Administrative Assistant with The Advocates for Human Rights. In this role, she supports general operations at The Advocates by providing administrative support and working on special projects. Emily graduated summa cum laude from the College of St. Benedict with a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Hispanic Studies. Prior to joining The Advocates, she worked for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc, where she managed a Head Start center for families of migrant and seasonal farm workers.
Program Assistant, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Kerim is the Program Assistant for the Refugee & Immigrant Program, serving as a volunteer with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps for the year. He assists our staff and volunteer attorneys with case handling procedures, and the coordination of our volunteer interpreters and translators, as well as the Refugee & Immigrant Program interns. His duties also include conducting intake interviews with our clients, which are then presented to our staff attorneys and the rest of Refugee & Immigrant Program. After completing the IB Program at UWC-USA in New Mexico, Kerim received his BA in Political Science from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. He has worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey on representation and outreach related projects, and gained research experiences in Ecuador and The Netherlands during his time at St. Olaf.
Staff Attorney, Women's Human Rights Program
Kaarin Long is a staff attorney in the Women’s Human Rights program. Before joining The Advocates, Kaarin worked as a prosecutor in Minnesota for many years, focusing on cases involving violence against women. She is a former assistant Ramsey County Attorney, and former staff attorney at The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She brings to The Advocates her experience investigating and prosecuting sexual- and domestic-violence cases.
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 being appointed director of The Advocates' Women's Human Rights Program, Rosalyn Park was a staff attorney in the Women’s Human Rights Program and on special projects addressing transitional justice and the death penalty.
Thekla Rura-Polley serves The Advocates for Human Rights as Development Director. When you meet her you may detect a slight accent. She grew up in Germany, received her Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and taught management classes at the University of Western Sydney Macathur and at the University of Technology, Sydney. Prior to joining The Advocates for Human Rights, Thekla worked as Associate Director of Development at Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul and as Development Director at St. Paul’s Monastery. Thekla is excited to advance the Advocates’ mission to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law by working with individuals, corporations, and foundations that support this crucial work.
Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Hanne is an Immigrant Justice Corps Legal Fellow with The Advocates for Human Rights' Refugee & Immigrant Program. Hanne’s work focuses on seeking justice for immigrants in ICE detention. In that capacity, she mentors and supports pro bono attorneys handling removal cases for detained immigrants while also handling a caseload of asylum and other detained removal cases.