Skip to main content

YWCA Minneapolis Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

By YWCA Minneapolis
October 2, 2023
Social Share


Oct. 2, 2023

YWCA Minneapolis Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

First time in 132 years board cohort includes men

Minneapolis: YWCA Minneapolis today announced its incoming slate of board members, and for the first time in the organization’s 132-year history men are among the new leaders. YWCA USA initially allowed men to join its affiliates’ boards of directors in 2006.

“For 17 years, YWCA Minneapolis board leadership remained all women, even after our national board approved the inclusion of men,” said Shelley Carthen Watson, president and chief executive officer, YWCA Minneapolis. “While we understand the historic value of an all-women board, we recognize that if our mission is to eliminate racism and empower women and girls — and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all — adding passionate and committed allies to our efforts regardless of how they identify benefits our organization. Only together can we tackle systemic barriers to an inclusive society.”

Among the first men invited to join YWCA Minneapolis is Art Berman, whose late wife Kate Berman was the YWCA Minneapolis Board Chair and a beloved member of the Twin Cities community. At the organization’s 2023 annual fundraiser, Empower Possible, YWCA Minneapolis gave the inaugural Kate Berman Leadership Award to former YWCA Minneapolis Board Chair Pamela Stegora Axberg, now the CEO of Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities. A long-time and active community leader, Berman is a retired financial services industry executive and former CEO of Twin Cities Rise, an anti-poverty program. Berman published his first book, “Art in the Middle Ages,” a personal memoir about mid-life transformation, in 2023. Berman has completed more than 40 marathons, and competed in three National Senior Games’ three-on-three basketball tournaments.

Michael Keller, who is the president and CEO of Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, joins Berman among the first men to be included in the board of YWCA Minneapolis. Prior to his current role, Keller was the CEO/president of a fast-growing, private equity-owned consumer packaged goods company and of Pearson Candy Company, among other leadership positions. In 2021, Keller published his first children’s book, “The Legend of Jet the Gerbil,” which won five industry awards. Keller and his wife Gina have a blended family of five kids, two rescue dogs, and a new gerbil named Gunny.

The remaining four new YWCA Minneapolis board members are listed below:

  • Arianna Orcutt is a vice president and relationships strategist for PNC Private Bank, who helps her clients and their families achieve their financial and personal goals and aspirations as a trusted advisor. Orcutt graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business of Finance from Metropolitan State University. She is a volunteer youth soccer coach and is on the board of directors and the advisory committee for The Link.
  • Crystal Manik is a senior program administrator overseeing energy efficiency programs for CenterPoint Energy. Prior to her current role, Manik developed company-wide customer engagement and marketing strategies for Xcel Energy and volunteered with the company’s SAGE Business Group (a supportive association for LGBTQ+ individuals). Manik holds a Bachelor of Science degree in speech from South Dakota State University and currently lives in NE Minneapolis with her husband and an associate.
  • Kim Skanson is the leader of Cencora Business Services, a business function partnering across Cencora to build regionally diverse hubs for shared service. A champion for STEM education and opportunities for women and children, Skanson has served as a board member and advisor for Women Leading in Technology and Code Savvy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management and a Master of Business Administration. Skanson and her husband Cisco have three sons, and she enjoys yoga, playing ice hockey, and coaching baseball.
  • May Vang is the vice president of treasury and chief investment officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBS MN). Throughout her career, Vang has gained extensive experience in leading and optimizing treasury, investments, and shared services teams as strategic value partners at companies such as American Family Insurance, Lawson Software, G&K Services, and Ecolab. Vang has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

This cohort will serve on the Board of Directors of YWCA Minneapolis through June 2026. If they choose to do so, members may serve a second consecutive three-year term. Nominations to the board may be made to Chief Development Officer, Chandler Milam.

See complete list of YWCA Board of Directors. Photos available upon request.

Kristen Spargo | 612-816-7916

About YWCA Minneapolis
YWCA Minneapolis is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women and girls. For more than 130 years, we have worked to create opportunities to overcome social injustice, particularly in matters of race and gender. Annually, YWCA Minneapolis serves more than 30,000 people in our community through high-quality programs and advocacy focused on racial justice, early learning, youth development and wellness. To learn more, visit or join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.