Advocacy Conference | Professional Presenters

written by | Taylor Eck


We have some profound presenters on the lineup for the Advocacy Conference. We’ve introduced our incredible keynote speakers, and our amazing student presenters, and now we are excited to announce our professional presenters. Our professional presenters include experts in their field and some Students United alumni, who we are excited to have back with us for this event. Meet Rebekah Bailey, Beth Berila, Jonathan Bohn, Lexi Byler, Dr. Keith Edwards, Brent Glass, Kathy Hanon, Andy MacCracken, Britton Mikkelson, Matt Musel, Cara Luebke and Lindsey Templeton.

Rebekah Bailey | Women’s March Minnesota

Boots-On-The-Ground Activism


Bekah Bailey; Women's March Minnesota, Board of Directors - Bekah is an accomplished graduate, with a strong history of achievement in Theatre Arts and Stage Management. She is a local and national (Washington D.C.) organizer on social issues that intersect with government, including Civil Disobedience. Bekah is currently a graduate student in Advocacy and Political Leadership with a concentration on Labor Organizing.


Beth Berila | St. Cloud State University

Self-care and Activism


Beth Berila, Ph.D. is the Director of the Gender & Women’s Studies Program, and Professor in the Ethnic, Gender, & Women’s Studies Department at St. Cloud State University where she teaches various courses, such as Feminist Theory, Gender and the Body and Gender and Popular Culture. On top of her advocacy work, Berila is also a registered yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist. Berila has written one book, entitled, Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education, which was published in 2016 by Routledge. Berila also co-edited a book with Melanie Klein and Chelsea Jackson Roberts, Ph.D. entitled, Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis. Some of Berila’s current projects merge both her love for yoga and meditation practices as well as feminism and mindful education.


Jonathan Bohn | Inter Faculty Organization

Becoming Aware of Legislators Position on Issues

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Jonathan draws on eight years of experience in government relations, media relations, and organization management to develop sound public relations and public affairs strategies. In the halls of the Capitol, Jonathan is regarded as a well-connected, smart strategist who has worked to raise public awareness of issues, leading directly to legislative victories. He has extensive experience with variety of legislative issues, including higher education, gaming, local government, the environment, and natural resources. Before joining the IFO, Jonathan served as director of government and system relations for the Minnesota State University Student Association. In addition to his role with the student association, Jonathan has worked as a public affairs consultant for nonprofits and trade associations, focusing efforts on both government and public relations. Jonathan has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University.


Lexi Byler | Office of U.S. Senator Tina Smith

Advocacy from an Insider’s Perspective


Lexi Byler graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead in May 2017 with a B.S. in integrated advertising and public relations, with a minor in sports communication. She went on to pursue an online certificate in project management while representing all of the students at the seven Minnesota State Universities as the Vice Chair of Students United (2017-2018). On campus, she was a student leader who worked passionately to create a more equitable university. She served as the diversity chair of student senate, the diversity specialist for Students United's campus committee, the president of the Black Student Union, and the captain of the women's rugby team, as well as serving on the a number of university committees. She is now working full-time for Senator Tina Smith as a Staff Assistant/Intern Coordinator in her St. Paul office. There, she works to maintain communication between Minnesotans and the senator, while also recruiting and overseeing the St. Paul office interns.


Dr. Keith Edwards | Author, Speaker, and Coach

College Men’s Identity

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Dr. Keith Edwards helps individuals and organizations to unleash their fullest potential. For the last 18 years, Edwards has spoken at more than 200 colleges and universities, has presented at more than 200 programs and national conferences and has written more than 15 articles and book chapters on prevention for sexual violence, men’s identity, social justice education, student learning, and leadership. His writing, speaking, and scholarship have received national awards and recognition. His TEDx Talk on Ending Rape has been viewed around the world. Keith is also a certified executive and leadership coaching. His clients include college presidents, senior financial officers at non-profits, CEOs of companies, and independent scholars and activists. His coaching approach is grounded in positive psychology research on what works, mindful leadership practices and approaches to help you get out of your own way, and a social justice lens.


Brent Glass & Kathy Hanon | Minnesota State

Understanding University Budgets & Working with Campus Administration

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Brent Glass is currently serving as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Brent has over 20 years of professional experience in higher education. Along with over 12 years in statewide leadership roles focused on academic and student affairs issues, he has over 8 years of campus experience supervising a number of student affairs operations including student employment, career development, gender/sexuality support office, first year experience, orientation, student life, recreation sports, student conduct, health services, and student center operations planning. He holds an A.A. from Northland Community College, a B.S. in criminal justice from Bemidji State University, and an M.S. in higher education administration from St. Cloud State University. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the higher education administration program at St. Cloud State University.


Kathy Hanon brings to the table a wide range of education experience, from teaching in an alternative high school in eastern Kentucky, to tutoring GED and adult basic education students, to working with university students advocating for their peers.  Kathy currently serves as Budget Officer for the Minnesota State’s system office, where she works with the members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet to ensure solid budget development and management. Additionally, she advises colleges and universities in the interpretation of tuition and fee policy and procedure for the system.  Prior to joining the staff at the system office, Kathy proudly served for 13 years as Office Manager for the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA), now known as Students United.


Andy MacCracken | National Campus Leadership Council

Key Issues Shaping National Higher Education Policy

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Andy MacCracken is executive director of National Campus Leadership Council (NCLC), which he co-founded in 2012 to cultivate, strengthen, and advance student leadership in higher education. Since its launch, NCLC has extended its reach to student body presidents at more than 500 campuses nationwide. Andy is a leading advocate for student voice in public policy, helping major stakeholders in the public and private sectors engage campuses on key issues. He helped the Obama White House launch several policy initiatives, including introducing President Obama when the President took action to support student loan borrowers and speaking at the It’s On Us campaign launch. He has previously led the DC Student Alliance and served as president of the American University Student Government. Andy grew up in Colorado and earned his B.A. in political science and masters in public administration at American University.


Britton Mikkelson | TakeAction Minnesota

What is Narrative & How Does It Impact the Way We View Those Around Us

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Britton Mikkelsen joined TakeAction as an Organizer in January 2018. She is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska and moved to St. Cloud for school where she attended St Cloud State University and studied Political Science with a minor in International Relations. While in St Cloud Britton worked for the DFL and helped local and state candidates in their elections. She then moved to chair the SCSU College Democrats where she worked towards creating a more extensive political culture centered around education and outreach. She was also the Legislative Affairs Chair for Student Government at SCSU spending time advocating for student voices in politics and working to create more conversations around class, race, gender, and community. Being a queer woman who’s active in the DFL and local organizations has helped her create a passion for those often left out of the conversation when it comes to power and politics. As an organizer with TakeAction Minnesota, Britton hopes to empower the St. Cloud area around political engagement and work on celebrating political education and power in Central Minnesota.


Matt Musel | Metropolitan State University


Advocating for Students Rights - Voting, Renters, International Student Health Care
This workshop will help you explore the unique power of students as advocates. You are encouraged to bring your own ideas, and this workshop will include examples of student voting rights, students as renters and access to health care for international students. The workshop will be facilitated by Matt Musel, co-leader of the Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) at Metropolitan State University and a former student body president.


Cara Luebke | Achieve Minneapolis

On Urgency in Advocacy

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Cara Luebke is a recent graduate of the Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership program at Metropolitan State University. There she refined her advocacy skills that had been growing as a result of her undergraduate work at Winona State University. Student issues are dear to Cara's heart as she was the former State Chair of Students United, a first generation college student, and proponent of public and higher education. Currently she works for AchieveMpls with young people in Minneapolis Public Schools. Cara prefers She/Her/Hers pronouns.


Lindsey Templeton | National Campus Leadership Council

The Student Voice Index: Understanding and Using Voice for Advocacy

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Lindsey Templeton is the Director of Research and Training at National Campus Leadership Council. She oversees the Student Voice Index research project and leads curriculum development for NCLC’s training and programming efforts. Prior to joining the NCLC team, Lindsey served as an instructor for courses on student leadership and worked with various higher education associations and research groups. She has mentored student leaders through professional and volunteer roles in fraternity and sorority life for the last five years. Lindsey received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Richmond and a M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Maryland, College Park where she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education.

The Students United Advocacy Conference '19 will consist of multiple breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and trainings. Students will have an opportunity to hear from elected officials, higher education experts from Washington D.C., speakers who are experts in their field and student leaders who are doing amazing advocacy work. The sessions will focus on key aspects of advocacy including — leadership, higher education policy issue, effective advocacy, and developing advocacy skills.