2024 Board Members

Jordan Gilgenbach, president
Digital Communications Coordinator
City of Minneapolis

Term expires December 2025

Jordan Gilgenbach has been the Digital Communications Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis since September 2016, and focuses primarily on web, social and other digital communications strategy and implementation. Jordan has spent his entire career in local government communications, previously having worked for the City of Edina, Minn. as Communications Coordinator.

Ari Lyksett, vice president
Communications Manager
City of Chanhassen

Term expires December 2025

Ari Lyksett joined the City of Chanhassen in July of 2021 as the Communications Manager, and focuses primarily on managing web, print, video, and digital communications. In addition, Lyksett is responsible for creating internal and external communications, press releases, strategic communication plans, and serves as brand manager.

Lyksett has nearly a decade of experience in communications, serving non-profits and government agencies. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is a trained ToPs Facilitator and serves as the Digital Media Specialist for the Youth in Government Program.

Ben Hayle, treasurer  
Communications Manager
City of BlaineCommunications Division

Term expires December 2024

Ben Hayle is currently the Communications Manager for the City of Blaine. Ben has been with Blaine since 2018 after spending 14 years in community television as a news anchor and producer.

Ben’s responsibilities in Blaine include overseeing the organization’s internal and external communications strategy and content. Additionally, Ben provides communications related guidance to the Blaine City Council, Blaine Police Department, Blaine emergency management team, and the City’s senior management team.

Ben has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Communications from Bethel University.

Joe Sheeran, secretary, fall conference co-chair  
Communications Manager
City of Maplewood

Term expires December 2024

Joe has been in the communications and media relations field for more than two decades. He currently serves as the communications manager for the City of Maplewood. Joe started his career as a reporter in Sioux Falls, SD, with stops in Wichita, KS and Delaware.

He also has experience with nonprofits, as communications director of Minnesota 2020 and the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. Joe is also a board member of Fusion Learning Partners, a nonprofit that works with governments and nonprofits to advance IT excellence.

Ashley Klemer
Communications Specialist
City of Bloomington

Term expires December 2025

Ashley is the City of Bloomington’s main writer and photographer, responsible for producing and editing content for two monthly newsletters, annual reports, press releases and the occasional social media post. She’s passionate about showing the human side of local government and making connections between communities through storytelling.

Ashley has a BA in english literature from the University of Minnesota—Duluth. She is a trained ToPs facilitator. Ashley has also served on the MAGC Northern Lights Committee for four years and the communications committee for three years before joining the board. 

Carolyn Marinan, past president
Chief Public Relations Officer
Hennepin County

Term expires December 2024

Carolyn Marinan is the chief public relations officer for Hennepin County. She has worked in communications in the county since 1998. Previously Carolyn spent nearly 20 years in television news and promotion at WCCO TV, KSTP TV and KARE 11. She’s done talk radio and produced and hosted a local travel show on TPT. Her numerous awards include a New York Film Festival award, Telly Awards, Best of Gannett and AP. Carolyn serves on the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) Board of Directors.

Carolyn graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in speech-communication. She remains involved with mentoring students at the University of Minnesota along with being active in the Hennepin University Partnership. She lends her time as well to other worthwhile causes in need of communications and public relations.

Jenna Bowman, at-large
Strategic Communications & Engagement Director
City of Rochester

Term expires December 2024

Jenna joined the City of Rochester in July of 2018 and serves as the Strategic Communications & Engagement Director.  She is passionate about being a municipal employee and helping the community.  One of the greatest joys of her job is having the opportunity to work with all the departments and service areas of the organization.  The City of Rochester has been focused on growing digital communication, internally and externally and finding way to work collaboratively across all service areas.

Jenna has a B.A. from St. Catherine University, where she majored in Sociology and minored in Sales and Theology.  She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.   On a personal front, she and her wife, Allison have three young children and she enjoys soccer, being outside and re-watching Schitt’s Creek and Ted Lasso.  

Brad Phenow
City of Faribault
Communications Coordinator

Term expires December 2024

Brad Phenow joined the City of Faribault as the Communications Coordinator in May 2017 and manages the various City social media accounts and City webpage. As the only communications employee within the City, he leads all communications and engagement efforts and often finds himself assisting other departments finding new ways the market the City. Brad is passionate about humanizing government and getting community members involved.

Prior to joining local government, he worked as a reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio before joining the Faribault Daily News as the regional editor.

Brad holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he also played hockey. Brad has served on the MAGC Northern Lights Committee and often leads informational sessions on improving accessibility in local government.

Katie Bengtson
Communications Coordinator
City of Mendota Heights

Term expires December 2024

Katie joined the City of Mendota Heights as communications coordinator in 2022, having previously served as senior communications coordinator with the City of Eden Prairie for more than 14 years. She has more than 23 years of experience in communications, marketing and public relations, having worked in retail and restaurant marketing prior to joining the government communications field in 2007.

Katie holds a Master’s Degree in strategic communication from the University of Minnesota, a Bachelor’s Degree in education from St. Cloud State University, and she is accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators. Katie served as a Public Information Officer with the Minn. All-Hazards Incident Management Team and volunteers as a family support specialist with Backing the Blue Line: Police Wives of Minnesota.

Don Gore, at large
Plain Language Program Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Revenue

Term expires December 2025

Don is the Plain Language Program Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Revenue. He develops and maintains Revenue’s writing and editing policies and standards, external communication strategies, and leads a team ensuring Revenue is easily understood in person, in correspondence, and online. Don has been writing and editing for plain language since 2016, creating and teaching writing and editing classes since 2018.

Don is a communications veteran, with over 30 years of experience, including public speaking, hosting events, and morning radio.

Kendra Grahl, at large

Communications and Public Engagement Director
City of Victoria

Term expires December 2025

Kendra Grahl manages the communications and public engagement efforts on behalf of the City of Victoria in Victoria, Minnesota. Her work focuses on creating approachable and well-designed communications for our community and beyond. Kendra’s previous work includes managing and consulting on several strategic communication initiatives for various projects and centers at the University of Minnesota. She holds a Master of Arts in Strategic Communications from the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. When not working, Kendra gets to explore and run around different parks in the region with her husband and their toddler. 

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