Our Team

At Empower, we have a strong team of professionals who make workplace inclusion a priority. Take a look at each bio to learn more!

Owner and Director of Inclusive Employment


Alex is passionate about eliminating the employment disparity between people with and without disabilities by helping her clients find customized jobs in their interest areas. She also believes employer training and workplace consultation are essential parts of developing an inclusive work environment. Alex loves when she can go back to visit her clients at work and see them working successfully as part of a team!

Director of Operations


Originally trained as a Biomedical Engineer in Mexico, Carey has professional experience in business, medical devices, and customer care. With a switch to Empower Inclusion, she seeks to transition to a career that centers on helping people in another way. Specifically, Carey focuses on the strategic and administrative facets of Empower Inclusion, striving to provide clients with a comprehensive, professional experience. Carey is currently attending Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota for her Master in Business Administration; In her free time, Carey enjoys hiking, traveling, dancing, working out, and spending time with her family and her dog Bruce.

Team Lead


Hello, my name is Shelby and I am honored to join the Empower Inclusion team as a Pre-Employment Transition Service Specialist. I graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education along with two years of experience teaching at an international school in Minneapolis. I care deeply about creating safe and inclusive spaces where all people are seen, heard, and valued. 

Outside of work, I enjoy playing soccer, taking language classes, drinking bubble tea, biking around the lakes, traveling the world, and creating playlists. In this new role, I am excited to come alongside others in discovering their gifts and talents, interests and passions, and growth and employment opportunities.

Pre-ETS Specialist


Hi, I’m Ashley!  Minnesota born and raised but spend 7 years serving others abroad as an English Language Teacher & Job Coach.  My teaching career took me to China, Australia, England, France, Ireland, and even online.  I was able to serve over 500 students from over 26 different countries build confidence in their communications skills for work.  Now, as I have returned back to Minnesota I seek to continue helping others build confidence in the workplace as the new Pre-ETS Specialist. 

Some fun facts about me: I once skydived and bungee jumped on the same day, I lived in the Republic of Ireland during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic, I come from a small town of less than 4,000 people.

Job Exploration Counselor and Job Coach


Greetings all! My name is Emma and I am a graduate of St. Olaf. My background is in Spanish, tutoring, mentoring, and nonprofit work. In my free time, you’ll find me reading (a lot!), playing board and card games, and learning Portuguese and Vietnamese.

In the fifth grade, I saw a bumper sticker with a quote that read: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” As I grew up, those words shaped my sense of responsibility for social change. In addition to social justice, I am passionate about education and language learning. At the heart of my passions lies my calling for language pedagogy, and my dream is to become a professor of Spanish.

Job Exploration Counselor and Job Coach


My name is Hyunuk Jae [Hyeon Uk, Jaeh], a dedicated professional with an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota. With 2 years of experience in elementary education and 6 years of youth work, I’ve joined Empower Inclusion to make a significant impact. 

I wholeheartedly embrace diversity and thrive on collaborating with individuals from various backgrounds. My strategic mindset, strong leadership skills, and passion for empowering others drive me to create a harmonious environment where everyone’s potential is valued and celebrated. 

I’m genuinely excited to contribute my expertise to our clients and the team at Empower Inclusion, working together to create positive change.

Waiver Compliance Specialist 


Jessie is excited to be part of Empower Inclusion and its mission to promote inclusive communities and support individuals to realize their strengths. She believes people thrive where they feel valued – in school, work, and social settings – which empowers them to be their best.

Jessie enjoys reading, hiking, camping, playing video games, and discovering exciting new recipes in her free time.

Job Coach


Hi! My name is Lida, and I am very excited to be part of Empower Inclusion as a part-time Job Coach/Job Exploration Counselor. In 2019 I graduated from the University of North Dakota with my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in special education. I am currently attending Saint Mary’s University in Winona (online) for my master’s degree in Special Education. My full-time job is as a special education resource teacher at the middle school level. 

In my free time, I coach girls’ lacrosse, read, attend workout classes, and spend time at my cabin on Lake Vermilion, MN. I am so happy to be a part of this team and look forward to growing and gaining experience in helping people find confidence in who they are!

Team Lead


Hello everyone, my name is Paola, I am so excited to be part of the Empower Inclusion team. I graduated from Aviation School in 2007 as a Flight Attendant. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but now I am living in Minnesota. I speak Spanish.

I enjoy being outdoors and taking walks with my husband and my dog. I am so happy to join this team and looking forward to gaining additional experience and helping people to be successful and confident.

Job Exploration Counselor and Job Coach


Paul is a licensed educator with professional experience in providing individualized skill development for learners of all ages. He specializes in providing inclusive and individualized support through employment exploration, job placement, and job coaching.

Paul enjoys spending time with his family and friends and has recently taken up woodworking as a hobby, he likes the challenge of coming up with new projects and creating furniture.  In his free time, he also enjoys reading and playing video games.

HR Generalist


Hello! My name is Phoebe, and I am excited to join Empower Inclusion as the Human Resources Generalist. My first job out of college was as a DSP, but recently obtained my master’s degree in human resource management. I look forward to intertwining my experience and skills into this new role. I hope to continue to foster a positive workplace environment for everyone here. 

In the summer you’ll find me cheering on the Minnesota Loons at Allianz field, spending time outside, or traveling and visiting friends. Once winter rolls around I can often be found at home watching movies with my family and dog, Sophie

Benefits Specialist & Job Exploration Counselor


Hello! My name is Sandra. I’m so happy to be part of the Empower Inclusion team. I was born and raised in Mexico. I studied English Teaching in my home country and graduated in 2019.

In my free time, I like to keep my mind and body busy, so I take kickboxing and strength classes. I enjoy going for walks and spending time with my husband, friends, and family. I’m a true believer that empathy and kindness will make this world better. So, I really enjoy giving to others and putting myself in other people’s shoes.

Employer Partnership Specialist


Hello! My name is Ted and I am so happy to join the Empower Inclusion team. I have worked in the disability field since 2007 and have focused on supporting employment for the past 6 years. Over that span, I have assisted nearly 100 job-seekers attain employment! Advocacy and creativity are very important in this field and, in my opinion, are my largest strengths.

Aside from work, my time is spent with my wife and our 2 boys. Other hobbies include Strength & Conditioning training, home gym/garage, personal development, fandom for Minnesota sports teams, and time spent with the larger parts of our families.

Self-Advocacy Specialist & Job Exploration Counselor


Hi! I’m Valeria. I’m excited to join the Empower Inclusion team as an Employer Relations Specialist/ Job exploration Counselor & Job coach. I am from Cali, Colombia, and living in Minnesota. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali. I speak Spanish.

In my free time, I like to do yoga, brunch with my friends, go to the movies, cook, and watch all kinds of films and documentaries about human and behavioral sciences. I can’t wait to grow in my career and help clients reach their personal and work goals with satisfaction and success.              

Interested in joining our team? Visit our LinkedIn page to learn more about open positions.