New board members named

Three new board members have been named to the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL). The new members join the […]

Three new board members have been named to the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL). The new members join the current eight-member board in providing oversight and strategic guidance to the non-profit organization. 

“We are thrilled to have and welcome this extraordinary group of professionals join our Board of Directors,” said Beth Fondell, MCIL board chair. “They each bring a demonstrated record of advocacy and action in addressing concerns within the disability community. Their diverse experiences and expertise are unified in a shared commitment to creating a more inclusive world where all people can thrive. We look forward to all they will contribute to our mission and continued service.” 

“It is an honor to have this accomplished group of individuals contribute their time and expertise as members of the MCIL Board of Directors,” said Jesse Bethke Gomez, MCIL executive director. “Their knowledge and insights ideally complement our dedicated board of directors and will further strengthen our work. I look forward to the journey ahead and what we can accomplish with their guidance as we continue to advance our mission and independent living with the disability communities MCIL assists.” 

Barbara A. Kleist is program director for entrepreneurial and development programs at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration. She is a person-centered thinking trainer and trained in ToP participatory facilitation methods. 

Kleist is a member of the Minnesota Disability Law Center Advisory Committee, WINGS MN, and the Learning Community for Person-Centered Practices. She chairs the Legal Process and Advocacy Network of the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. As a Minnesota-licensed attorney with 30 years of experience, her commitment to the civil and human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is grounded in her relationship with her sibling. 

Attorney Ann E. Motl is a product liability associate with Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Ms. Motl leverages her mechanical engineering background in her products liability practice, concentrating on the defense of complex medical devices. She advances her profession through leadership and pro bono service, including representing clients in Social Security disability appeals. 

Motl founded the Minnesota Disability Bar Association, which serves an array of disabled legal professionals and their allies. She has received numerous awards, including being a Minnesota Lawyer 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Honoree. She was recognized as one of the Minnesota Lawyer Up & Coming Attorneys in 2021. 

Rachel A. Wobschall has successfully managed high-performing teams across multiple sectors and is consistently chosen to lead governing boards in nonprofit and public sectors. She brings a proven record of effective executive leadership to her position as the planned and major gift officer at True Friends. 

Founded in 2013 as a successor to Camp Courage, True Friends provides life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities. True Friends programs serve more than 25,000 individuals annually. 

 Wobschall’s academic accomplishments include an Ed.D. in Organization Development and Leadership, a Master of International Management, and a B.A. in Political Science, all from the University of St. Thomas. She holds a Certificate of Higher Education Management from Harvard University, is a certified fundraising executive, and is a policy fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She also has expertise in alternative dispute resolution training. 

MCIL has a mission of “Removing Barriers, Promoting Choices” in assisting people with disabilities in the Twin Cities seven-county metro area. MCIL is among the largest centers for independent living in Minnesota, with more than 240 employees and personal care attendants. 

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