City Coordinator’s Office hires equity and inclusion managers

Joy Marsh Stephens and Julianne Leerssen have joined the City Coordinator’s Office as the City’s new equity and inclusion managers. Together they bring the City more than 30 years of experience in social justice and fostering equity and inclusion in workplaces and communities.

Joy’s and Julianne’s work will focus on addressing Minneapolis’ racial and placed-based disparities and helping the City meets its goal of One Minneapolis.


Joy Marsh Stephens (at left) and Julianne Leerssen (at right) joined the City recently as the new equity and inclusion managers.

Joy’s main role will be with equity initiatives within the City as a workplace. She will work closely with enterprise leadership on a variety of initiatives including supporting the work contemplated by the Racial Equity Action Plan as well as that already undertaken within City departments. She will help support equity and inclusion efforts in hiring, recruiting, supplier diversity and contracting. 

Julianne will primarily address Promise Zone initiatives. She will work closely with our community partners to identify and create lasting solutions using a collective impact approach within the designated Promise Zone. Minneapolis has one of 20 Promise Zones nationwide. The goal of the Promise Zone in Minneapolis is to revitalize high-poverty communities by reducing racial inequities in public services and institutions, reducing serious and violent crime, reducing the racial achievement gap, building a more inclusive economy, creating jobs, and promoting stable housing.

Joy most recently worked at UnitedHealth Group where she led large-scale systems and operational change across the multinational organization with more than 180,000 employees. With undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota, she has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of sectors including public schools, health care and financial services. She has served leadership roles in numerous nonprofit boards, schools and other community groups with a focus on driving equitable outcomes for people of color across the Twin Cities metro area. She views her new role with the City as an ideal opportunity to marry her organizational development and change management skills with her passion for racial equity.

Julianne has 15 years of combined volunteer and professional experience working in north Minneapolis. As the founding director of the Neighborhood Hub, she comes with a background in social service as well as community education, advocacy and organizing around livability issues in north Minneapolis communities. Having grown up on the North Side, she is a product of the Hawthorne neighborhood and the Minneapolis Public Schools. She has a degree in speech communication from Augsburg College and a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law. She is a licensed attorney who has put those skills to work assisting community members in the areas of family law, housing law, nonprofit development and small-business development. Julianne brings a passion for improving the lives of all residents of Minneapolis, but in particular, the residents of north Minneapolis who are suffering the weight of disparities.

Joy and Julianne will reach out to City employees in the coming weeks to talk about equity work. To contact them, find them on Lync, or email [email protected] or [email protected].

Published Sep 22, 2015



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