Keynote Bios

 

Ilhan Omar is an experienced policy analyst, community educator and advocate. She currently serves as the Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, where she empowers East African women to take civic leadership roles in their community. Born in Somalia, Ilhan and her family fled the country’s civil war when she was eight. The family spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the United States, eventually settling in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 1997.

Ilhan’s interest in politics began at the age of 14 when she was as an interpreter for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses. Watching neighbors unite to advocate for change at the grassroots level made Ilhan fall in love with the democratic process. After advocating as a student organizer at Edison High School, Ilhan worked as a community health educator at the University of Minnesota, Best Buy, at Minnesota Department of Education and was most recently a senior Policy Aide for Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson. Through her work as a policy analyst and community advocate, Ilhan has advanced support for working families, educational access, environmental protection, and racial equity. (adapted from: http://www.ilhanomar.com/bio/)

Susan-Brower-headshot-1_tcm36-219911

Susan Brower is the Minnesota State Demographer and directs the MN State Demographic Center. Susan became the State Demographer in February 2012. In that capacity, she travels the state talking with Minnesotans about the new social and economic realities that are brought about by recent demographic shifts. Susan’s work applies an understanding of demographic trends to changes in a range of areas including the state’s economy and workforce, education, health, immigration and rural population changes.

Susan joined the State Demographic Center after working as a researcher on the Minnesota Compass project at Wilder Research in St. Paul. Prior to that, she worked at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.

Susan earned her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan, specializing in demography and family sociology. She also holds a master’s degree in public policy from Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. (source:http://mn.gov/admin/demography/about/our-staff/susan-brower/)