Board of Directors

SparkPath is a small organization with a mighty purpose! We treasure our board members’ creativity, problem-solving abilities, and diverse life experiences. New members bring fresh perspectives, unique skills, and positive energy.

purple font "nancy diekmann"
black font "Xcel energy compensation consultant board chair"

What motivated you to become a SparkPath Board member?

“As part of the community, I play a role in building and supporting our community for the future. Talent abounds in youth today but not all have access to needed opportunities to develop their talent and align to a future career. Helping to ensure all have a chance to channel curiosity into a career path is a powerful way to keep our community flourishing.” 

Holly Fistler name in purple font. Thrivent, Senior Counsel, Director in black font.

What makes SparkPath’s mission important to you?

SparkPath’s mission is important to me because of the organization’s passionate commitment to providing educational experiences and opportunities to students to help them develop confidence and foundational skills, learn new passions, and grow as individuals as they follow their educational path.

purple font "anes muratovic"
black font "thirty madison financial planning and analysis manager board vice chair"

What motivated you to become a SparkPath Board member?

“The ability to interact with like-minded individuals who are passionate about giving back and supporting communities. I typically have volunteered my time in the past with different organizations, so I enjoy being more involved in the backend process.”

purple font "loan ngo"
black font "mortenson senior director of quality board treasurer"

What motivated you to become a SparkPath Board member?

I have been fortunate to have received guidance when I was young from people in different professional fields. That exposure was valuable for me because it gave me more confidence in choosing my field of study, which kick-started a wonderful career. I was reflecting on how wonderful the last 25 years of work had been and that was due in part to people who gave me an expanded view of what was out there. So I asked myself, “How could I offer the same support to others?” I am happy to be part of a support system for SparkPath because its mission and vision and my desired outcomes are alignedto help students expand curiosity, confidence, and creativity.” 

purple font "marilyn porter"
black font "metro transit director of engineering and facilities, cpe board clark"

What motivated you to become a SparkPath Board member?

“For me, it is about taking a step towards making a change in someone’s life. Joining SparkPath is an opportunity to bring awareness to the endless possibilities SparkPath has to offer.” 

purple font "denise ratzlaff"
black font "wells fargo instructional design senior consultant"

What motivated you to become a SparkPath Board member?

“Education is the bedrock of being able to make informed choices and to live one’s best life. This belief is why I embrace how SparkPath creates programs to engage young learners, opening up the world to imagine their potential, while encouraging them to envision the vast opportunities to be successful beyond the classroom. It’s why I accepted the call to join SparkPath’s board.” 

purple font "maija sedzielarz"
black font "science museum of MN program developer retiree"

What makes SparkPath’s mission and vision important to you?

School experiences can be very narrow for many students. SparkPath’s programs provide opportunities that truly go beyond the classroom and allow students to view themselves from new perspectives. I love watching students discover that they are part of a broader community and a bigger world.” 

purple font "mary spychalla"
black font "gifted education coordinator rosemount apple valley eagan district"

Do you have a favorite memory relating to one of the SparkPath student programs?

For many years I have volunteered at the MN Regional Future City Competition. In the morning I am at the registration table and check in the teams. If it is a team’s first year at the competition, often the members are nervous and wonder about the procedure. I go over the details and try to help students be calm. In the afternoon, I supervise the finalist teams who are hidden away before they present to the final judges. Some practice their presentation; others try to relax by visiting or playing cards. I remind them that they are all winners, no matter what ranking the judges decide. It is a fun experience each year.” 

purple font "jonathan wiese"
black font "3,2,1, Inc. partner"

What motivated you to become a SparkPath Board member?

“I was a brand consultant with SparkPath in 2019 before I presented at Creativity Festival, CreativeCon, and YAC, so I interviewed all staff and got a close look at the operation. Even having worked with so many organizations over two decades, I was struck by how incredibly well SparkPath worked. I so admire the iterative approach SparkPath takes toward every event to improve the outcome. The team is nimble and flexible in the face of challenges, where instead of “Not my job,” the team’s approach is, “How do we solve this together?”

© 2023 SparkPath, Inc.

SparkPath is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that presents its programs in collaboration with BrightWorks, a Minnesota Service Cooperative. BrightWorks member districts/schools save 30-50% on SparkPath registration fees. For more information, visit

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