Your Constellation of Support

Christa Otteson
Katrina Pierson
Sara Fromm
Communications Collaborator
Amy Nord
The Grenwoods
Design Collaborators
  • Christa Otteson

    [ Before Vela ] Christa has been supporting nonprofits for more than 17 years, most recently in roles with Wilder Research and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. She is a skilled and experienced researcher, facilitator and trainer, and has worked with a variety of nonprofits throughout Minnesota as an independent consultant. Her academic work has focused on issues related to diversity, immigration, and community development in rural contexts, and her contributions in the field include influential studies of immigration, families affected by incarceration, and asset-based child welfare interventions.

    Christa holds a Master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota with a methodological focus on qualitative research methods, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Western Washington University. Christa is a founding board member of the New London Arts Alliance and is currently participating in New London’s RiverSpace redevelopment project through ArtPlace America.

    [ Loves ] Collaborating, capturing stories, drawing people out, connecting ideas, asking questions, finding a better way.

    [ Wants To ] Foster inclusive and empowering environments so everyone can bring their very best to bear on the task of making the world a just and beautiful place for everyone, everyone, everyone. Also: travel the world with her girls, Clara and Mhina, and her better half, Josh.

  • Katrina Pierson


    [ Before Vela ] Katrina has been supporting nonprofits for the past decade with five of those as an associate and partner at HBH Consultants. She has served as a board chair, communications specialist and development director for organizations in healthcare, the arts, social justice and the environment. She is a skilled fundraiser, leadership coach, and creative communications strategist and focuses her practice on helping leaders articulate their story to activate support for their cause.

    Katrina has presented a number of trainings and workshops throughout Minnesota, including Storytelling for Nonprofits, Grant Writing Essentials, Branding Your Social Enterprise, and Grassroots Fundraising Strategies. In 2013, she was recognized for innovation, influence, and involvement in the community by Times Media in St. Cloud as a recipient of their 2012 “5 Under 40” award.

    Katrina is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is also currently a Hubert Project fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

    [ Loves ] Listening, weaving story strands into rich organizational tapestries, activating board members to realize their potential and inspiring people to share of their gifts to make our world a better place.

    [ Wants To ] Create new models for organizational development, empower leaders to serve from a place of authenticity, and connect organizations to resources that power their mission forward. Also: Become an avid sailor and explore the waters of the world with her son Jack, daughter Norah and husband John.

  • Sara Fromm

    Communications Collaborator

    [ Before Vela ] Sara has spent the last sixteen years growing her communications skills within a variety of professional environments, including grant writing and editing at St. Lawrence University in Upstate New York and facilitating connections to resources at Arc Midstate in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Most recently Sara has worked as a writer and researcher with HBH Consultants and with Wellspring Services as a Support Planner and advocate.

    Sara is a thoughtful, engaged listener and facilitator who is enthusiastic about supporting individuals and organizations. She has an eye for what is missing and employs a courageous and compassionate approach to helping her clients identify their missions and get to where they want to be. She is a member of the Association for Women in Communications and is part of the Center for Creative Leadership. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Psychology with an emphasis in group process and facilitation.

    Sara lives with her family in St. Cloud in a house overlooking the river where the sunsets are particularly fantastic.

    [ Loves ] Photography, dry humor, podcasts, and storytelling. Exploring concepts through contemplative writing and active listening; acting as a sounding board and mirror for those grappling with issues.

    [ Wants To ] Be willing to unassumingly meet others where they stand, in whatever their state, ready to offer a safe space for vulnerability. Also: Take that one great road trip out west with her family.

  • Amy Nord


    [ Before Vela ] Amy’s experience with nonprofits began with her first two positions out of college: the first with The State Historical Society of Missouri and then as the Assistant Director of the Downtown Columbia Association, where she learned the value of collaboration between people who share a common vision. Amy holds a BA in English and joined HBH Consultants in 2013 as an assistant to founder and principal Bob Bunger. Now as Vela’s project coordinator, she keeps the Vela team on track and provides support to both the internal team and clients in a multitude of ways. Amy is also a DiSC® certified trainer and enjoys working with staffs and boards to foster self-awareness, team building, and alignment using this powerful tool.

    [ Loves ] Editing with her red pen, bringing order from chaos, providing the harmonies to leaders’ melodies, and learning and sharing about the links between personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Also, music and dogs make her heart sing.

    [ Wants To ] Support her Vela colleagues and clients in a variety of capacities, from client and administrative services to interviewing, research, writing, and editing. Amy also hopes to, in collaboration with the Vela team, grow a DiSC-based leadership coaching and team building service for Vela clients.

  • The Grenwoods

    Design Collaborators

    [ Before Vela ] The Grenwoods are a husband and wife design team who recently moved from Duluth, MN to Bellingham, WA. They each hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota Duluth. After graduating, they spent two years working for WestmorelandFlint, the top marketing and communications firm in Duluth, MN and have been successfully on their own since their departure. As artists, they have an incredible ability to see the beauty that surrounds us, and translate it into fresh, purposeful and functional designs. They are extremely responsive, intuitive, and patient and invite their clients to play an active role in the creative process.

    [ Loves ] Finding art in the most unexpected places. Also: Exploring, being outside, having their own adventures and reading about adventures others have had before them.

    Gathering fresh food from the bountiful Pacific Northwest and preparing nourishing meals together in their dream home in the woods.

    Living a full, intentional, but simple life.

    [ Wants To ] Show how technology can connect people rather than isolate them while bringing beauty and functionality to the evolving online community.

“Go where there is no path and leave a trail.”Ralph Waldo Emerson