Newly added trustees bring diverse experiences and perspectives

Welcoming fresh voices, recognizing contributions of former Trustees

The Northland Foundation’s Board of Trustees warmly welcomes three new members who begin their terms at the April 2024 board meeting.

They join a team hailing from communities across our region who have a wide range of backgrounds yet who share a common quality: passion for the places we call home. Find the full Board of Trustees on our website.

“We are thrilled be adding these three individuals to the dynamic group of leaders on our board.”

Tony Sertich, President

More about our new Trustees

Ben Benoit is the Deer River District Ranger with the USDA Forest Service Chippewa National Forest. Prior to becoming a ranger in early 2023, Ben worked in several key roles for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, of which he is a citizen.

He served as interim Executive Director working directly with the Tribal Council implementing policy and procedure. Previously, he worked within the Leech Lake Division of Resource Management as Environmental Director for Natural Resource Management. Among his past accomplishments was helping facilitate the government-to-government development of the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding relationship between Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the Chippewa National Forest. Ben holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota College of Biological Science.

Ben Benoit

Kenneth A. Reid currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minnesota. In this role, he supports student affairs/services departments, works collaboratively to increase student success, and evaluates policies and procedures impacting student retention, persistence, and completion.

Before his appointment at Lake Superior College, Kenneth served in several other functional areas, including residence life, student conduct, and diversity, equity, and inclusion for nearly eight years at various institutions. He holds a B.S. in communication with an emphasis in advertising and public relations from Grand Valley State University, and an M.A. in post-secondary education: student affairs from the University of Northern Iowa.

Kristen Vake is the Executive Director of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota (IMA). She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and a master’s degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. As a former TV news anchor and journalist, Kristen brings vast storytelling experience to her role at the IMA, sparking meaningful conversations about iron mining and its role in our future.

Kristen grew up in Chisholm, MN. A proud Iron Ranger, she is driven to influence positive growth and change across the region and beyond. She helped create a nonprofit called ReGen to make sure young people in the region have a seat at decision-making tables. She serves on the Minnesota Center for Mineral Resource Education board and volunteers for the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota as well as several chambers of commerce.

Kenneth A. Reid

Kristen Vake

Outgoing Board Members

We would also like to recognize former Trustees, Baabiitaw Boyd and Shaye Moris, both of whom stepped down from the Northland Foundation board in recent months. Thank you for serving our organization and, most importantly, the people and communities of our region!