Board and Leadership Team
Denice Escate has been working in the Retail and Technology industry for 30 + years. She has worked for Appriss Retail leading their Customer Success Project Management Office for over 10 years.
Denice currently resides in Southern Minneapolis. She comes from a large family that she loves spending time with. Besides spending time with her family and friends, she loves to cook, try new cuisine from local restaurants, entertain and travel across the globe.
Tami Hagen, Chair
Tami Hagen has served on the board since 2015. She has been a production and administration manager for over 30 years.
Tami has worked in the manufacturing, financial and medical worlds, and has been at Medtronic for over 13 years. Seeing the impact Achieve participants have at Medtronic, Tami is an advocate for community-based employment.
Tami resides in Stacy with her husband, John. They have been married for over 37 years, having two children and three grandchildren. Besides spending time with her family, Tami enjoys golfing, boating, and traveling.
Susan Holden is a former chair of Achieve Service’s Board of Directors and has served on the board since 2006.
Susan is a partner and shareholder in the law firm of SiebenCarey, PA. where she has spent her career representing clients in a variety of complex personal injury and wrongful death claims. She focuses her practice in cases involving trucking and automobile accidents, product defects, construction accidents, medical malpractice, and class action matters involving privacy and data breaches. She is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association, a distinction achieved by less than one percent of women lawyers in Minnesota.
In addition to her successful trial practice, in 2008 Susan was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice to chair the Special Master Panel in the specially created compensation process for survivors of the I-35W bridge collapse. She served as President of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2018, President of the Minnesota State Bar Association in 2005-2006, President of the Hennepin County Bar Association in 1999-2000, and has received numerous professional awards and distinctions. In addition to serving on Achieve Service’s board, Ms. Holden serves on various other boards including the Board of Governors and House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, Advisory Board of the Minnesota Women Lawyers, the Assembly of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and the Boards of Directors of the Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers of Minnesota and Lakeland Public Television.
Brenda Kratsch is a graduate of Centennial High School in 1983 and attended Anoka Ramsey Community College, receiving an AA degree in 1985. She worked the next year to save money to attend the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and graduated in December of 1988.
Brenda worked for Deluxe while in college and full-time from January 1989 until September of 2001 in customer service, management and online technology.
She married her high school sweetheart, Charlie, on October 12, 1991 and is the mother of two boys, Ian (27) and Sean (25).
Brenda has been a resident of Ham Lake for 25 years this coming September. Her older son currently lives with her and her husband, and their younger son lives in Phoenix with his fiancé Jessica and are getting married in December.
She spent many years as a volunteer at McKinley Elementary, Roosevelt Middle School and Blaine High School, and also served on the Mercy Foundation.
Brenda enjoys golf, books and travel. She recently visited Alaska and is super excited to be in Arizona more this winter!
Patty is currently the CEO, Co-Owner, and Visionary for Netrix Information Technology, Inc. (Netrix IT). Patty has over 25 years of personal IT industry experience, beginning with developing the Government/GSA Department for Northgate Computers in 1987 to providing complete IT solutions to current clients.
Patty started a National Peer Group in the Technology world 3 years ago to allow for peering at all levels of an organization. She is passionate about mentoring and coaching and this is a great tool to facilitate those actions.
In addition to her dedication to Netrix IT, Patty has been a passionate advocate and volunteer for the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota. Her involvement includes 24 years as a coach, supporter, and mentor in Special Olympics.
Additionally, she currently holds an executive board position at NAWBO (National Association for Women Business Owners- MN), an organization that advocates on behalf of women business owners and the issues that impact their companies.
Patty lives in Blaine, MN with her husband of 38 years. They have a blended family of four children and four grandchildren. She enjoys bowling, gardening and woodworking in her spare time.
John LeTourneau, father of a son with disabilities and executive leadership coach with CO2 Partners, brings a dual perspective to the Achieve board.
As a father, John sees this position as an opportunity to advocate for people with disabilities. In addition, his business acumen is a benefit as Achieve moves forward in strategic plans for the future. John has a BS degree in management and finance St. Cloud State University. John understands challenges and how to create opportunities from those challenges. He is married to wife, Patti. They have two sons, Miles and Mitchell.
Jim Steffen, Treasurer
Jim Steffen is a Certified Financial Planner™, as well as the CEO and Founder of Trott Brook Financial, a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Anoka, MN.
Jim has degrees in Business and Economics from the University of St. Thomas, and has been working in financial services for over three decades.
Jim is married to Lisa and they have two children, Lauren and Tommy. Jim enjoys spending time outdoors! Living on the Rum River in Ramsey he enjoys smallmouth bass fishing and frequently donates guided fishing trips to local non-profits. Jim and Lisa also enjoy spending time in Cave Creek, Arizona where they own and operate the Full Circle Ranch Bed & Breakfast.
Kathy Svanda, Vice Chair
Kathy Svanda worked for the State of Minnesota for over 30 years in the environmental field at the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Health.
She is retired and enjoys outdoor activities, especially fly fishing and skiing. Her daughter, Kristina, has participated in the Achieve program since 1979 and currently works at the Anoka County Government Center. Ms. Svanda has been on Achieve’s board since 2004.