Spotlight Series: Equity, Law, and Nonprofits for Non-lawyers
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits



In the Law & Equity Spotlight Series, you will join four attorneys, each with expertise at the intersection of nonprofit employment, program operations, and equity, for three 60-minute sessions designed to offer key legal information in a way that resonates for non-lawyers. Comprehensively, the sessions will address these topics and more:

-Identifying and acknowledging historical patterns of inequity in the nonprofit sector and how to shift them actively and legally through program development and payment structures

-Recruitment and retention of employees who identify as coming from a marginalized community (race, gender, class)

A central learning goal for the series is: How to achieve your equity goals and still stay legal, particularly regarding the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Spotlight Series are online events offering three to four sessions, each exploring a different aspect of a specific topic, over a series of dates. Each session will be led by experienced nonprofit leaders and consultants. Spotlights are designed to offer practical information that can be applied immediately along with larger-picture questions to consider for the long-term.

Event Details

  • Wednesday, December 1, 3 – 4 p.m. – Tisidra Jones
  • Thursday, December 2, 12 -1 p.m. – Courtney Blanchard and Veena Iyer
  • Friday, December 10, 12 -1 p.m.  – Elizabeth Glidden

Registrants can both participate in the live session and then review the session on-demand via Zoom.

Speaker Information

Courtney BlanchardCourtney Blanchard, associate, Nilan Johnson Lewis, Labor and Employment, represents and advises a variety of employers, from nationwide companies with thousands of employees to homegrown Minnesota businesses and nonprofits. She has successfully litigated sophisticated wage-and-hour class cases, conducted sensitive workplace investigations, and advised employers on complex employment issues. In particular, Courtney specializes in working with employers to develop practical time off policies, accounting for the ever-evolving landscape of sick and safe leave, and paid family and medical leave. Courtney holds a J.D. degree.

Elizabeth GliddenElizabeth Glidden, director of Public Policy and Strategic Initiatives for the Minnesota Housing Project, is a public policy professional and lawyer with over 25 years of experience. Elizabeth was elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 2005, serving as a councilmember for the Eighth Ward through 2017 and as Council vice president from 2013 to 2017. During her Council tenure, Elizabeth focused on transformational public policy change including authoring Minneapolis’ paid sick time law (first in the State of Minnesota), implementing ranked-choice voting election reform (Minneapolis was the first city in the state to do so), creating Minneapolis’ first-in-the-nation Clean Energy Partnership with energy utilities, and directing city efforts on race equity plans and policies. Prior to her service on the City Council, Elizabeth represented individuals as an employment and civil rights lawyer at Hedin, Goldberg & Glidden P.A. for over 10 years. Today she continues to assist asylum applicants as a long-time volunteer for The Advocates for Human Rights. Elizabeth is a 2013 Bush Fellow, focused on race-conscious leadership development for local elected officials. She is also a 2011 recipient of the Equal Justice Award from the Council on Crime and Justice, and a 2004 American Marshall Memorial Fellow. Elizabeth has a J.D. degree.

Veena IyerVeena Iyer, esquire, is the executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, where she leads a staff of approximately 30 and hundreds of volunteers to provide legal representation, educational outreach, and advocacy for low-income immigrant and refugee communities. She began her career as an Equal Justice Works fellow and staff attorney at Legal Aid Chicago, and was a shareholder in the Labor and Employment practice at the Nilan Johnson Lewis law firm. Veena is passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity. She is a past president of the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association, a past board member of Minnesota Women Lawyers, and the recipient of MNAPABA’s Leadership Award, MWL’s Service to MWL Award, and Minnesota Lawyer’s Diversity and Inclusion Award.

Tisidra JonesTisidra Jones, CEO of Strong & Starlike Consulting, Inc. has been working at the intersection of creativity, policy, and entrepreneurship for over 10 years. Tisidra has a B.A. in music, with a minor in the sociology of difference from George Mason University. She acquired her J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and is licensed to practice law in New York and Minnesota. Tisidra has had articles and research published pertaining to diversity, access, and economic inclusion and is passionate about creating systems that allow more people to thrive. Throughout her career, Tisidra has worked with government entities, nonprofits and businesses to design sustainable programs and policies related to economic development, economic opportunity, and business inclusion. She has drafted ordinances for municipalities, state statutes, and promulgated federal regulations. Tisidra’s work at the intersection of art, law, and entrepreneurship has resulted in multiple awards and honors, including the 2017 International Arts and Culture Citizen Award; 2020 Minnesota Lawyer’s Diversity and Inclusion Award; and the Lawyers of Color 2020 Hot List. She has also been named as the 2020-2021 Law and Public Policy Scholar for the University of St. Thomas’ Center on Race, Leadership & Social Justice.

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