“Get to know your board members” series: Kenzie O’Keefe
Where do you work and what is your title?
I am the Head of Mobilization and Narrative Strategies at Pillsbury United Communities in Minneapolis.
Briefly summarize your background.
I was born and raised in the Twin Cities and moved back here in 2015 after a few stints in other places (California, Colorado, and New Zealand). My professional experience includes design thinking, education, innovation, and various forms of storytelling. I joined Pillsbury United Communities in 2016 to lead the launch of the agency’s first community media social enterprise, North News. For over four years I worked with North Minneapolis residents, many of them youth, to ready their truths for publication and change the negative narrative about the Northside. In 2020, I became PUC’s first policy and advocacy director and launched our first formal policy platform. In early 2021, I moved into my current role on the agency’s executive leadership team.
I am currently completing an executive certificate in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. I was a 2019-20 Humphrey Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota, and I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Journalism from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Describe what you do for Pillsbury United Communities
I lead public policy and advocacy, civic engagement, marketing, and communications for the agency and I manage our three social enterprise media projects: North News, KRSM Radio and the Minneapolis Documenters.
In my role, I oversee an ecosystem of community-based storytellers, organizers, and policy-engaged leaders who work across PUC to develop media and strategic messaging to shift the overall narrative of people, place, race, and poverty and galvanize action around policy issues crucial to equitable systems change.
What are your hopes for the future of the IFS and the Settlement Movement in general?
I am inspired by the idea of IFS and the Settlement Movement being an engine for moving powerful social justice ideas around the world. My hope is that we can all find the resources to strengthen our existing connections and bring more settlement houses and people affiliated with them together to learn from each other experience the collective power of our impact.