2nd Annual Art of Transformation for Greater St. Cloud Leaders Committed to Creating Place Equity

Organized and Facilitated by Lyricality in Partnership with Create CommUNITY

Event Schedule

Morning Session: 10 am – 12 pm
10:00 —Check-in
—welcome from City of St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis
—welcome from Create CommUNITY
— acknowledgements, introductions, and overview from Lyricality Executive Co-Directors
— Purpose Artisans’ presentation on “The Power of the Pause”
—Table Talk 
—Lyricality presents on collaboration as a practice of place-based equity/anti-racist intervention
—Table Talk 
— Morning session wrap up

Lunch and Networking : 12 – 12:45 pm

Lunch catered by African Yen, Arroy, and Coborn’s 

Afternoon Session: 12:45 -2:00 pm
12:45 — Break Out Sessions
— Session Reports/Summaries
— Dr. Sangeeta Jha on Collaborative Allyship in Action
— Feedback and What’s Next?

Afternoon Break-out Sessions

(event attendees are invited to participate in one of the following sessions) 


Collaboration is inherently different than teamwork, which relies on hierarchical structure and assigned roles/responsibilities and is useful for completing “business as usual” projects. When issues are complex and the people working on them come from diverse cultures and experiences, collaborative practices build trust and consensus for working together. Collaborators practice compassionate humility, bring the courage to mutually explore others’ ideas, and summon the creativity that artists routinely bring to their processes of making something new. These sessions offer opportunities to practice the skills that strengthen authentic collaborations.

  • Coming to a Place of One Mind About the Work: Natoyia Alberts will bring her experiences as a spiritual leader and poet to guide participants into practices of resonance and attunement that honor each other’s histories and the lenses through which we see, while coming to a collective, core understanding regarding our responsibilities to each other in co-creating community. 
  • Creativity as a Pathway to Collaboration: In this session facilitated by Michael Kleeber-Diggs, participants will work together to create a poem. From that collaborative effort, we’ll explore ways that creative collaboration can provide a model for collaboration in settings we might not associate with creativity. Participants will gather ideas to think about creativity and collaboration in new ways, and they will learn practical tips for applying collaborative creativity in their day-to-day work. 
  • On What Matters to (Each of) Us: This session facilitated by Sook Jin Ong centers on how we can courageously and thoughtfully collaborate on issues that matter deeply to each of us. Participants will experience group poetry writing with other attendees on a topic of their own choice. Participants will also have a reflection moment on what they learned about their own practice to lean in with thoughtfulness and courage.


Authentic Collaborations will inevitably generate conflict, which we are socialized to see as a win/lose problem. It is possible, however, to instead see conflict as generative of possibilities none of us could imagine on our own. And yet, encountering conflict will likely activate our autonomic nervous system, causing us to feel pressured, mobilized, and possibly overwhelmed. These sessions offer opportunities to practice transformation as a pathway back to compassion, courage, safety, connection, and empowerment. 

  • Funyuns, Christmas Trees and More—An Erasure Poetry Workshop: Hedy Tripp will guide participants to use erasure techniques to transform a racist text into an antiracist poem, assisted by Chinyin Oleson
  • Poem 2 Song Jam with Nicole Konz and John Salgado Maldonado (Purpose Artisans): Research study results have revealed a close association between participating in small ensemble music/performance and exhibiting various social-emotional skills, including empathy. This jam is a mini-re-creation of Lyricality’s best-loved event so far, our Poem 2 Song Jam last summer at Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail, offering you an opportunity to experience collective emotional expression as a pathway to successful collaboration. 
  • Strengthen DEI through Curiosity: Sandra Mitchell will guide participants to access their curiosity and strengthen relationships with BIPOC partners through a conversation on “divorcing white supremacy culture.” 
  • Navigating Burnout—Coping Utilizing Time Management Strategies: Dr. Jennifer Potter-Vigwill cover a high-level understanding of burnout and practical time management techniques to help prevent it and enhance productivity. 
  • Make a Lyricality Sensory Tool: Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz will guide participants to create a beautiful and functional piece of art that can create an atmosphere of comfort and peace.


  • Khadijo Abdi (Lyricality Executive Co-Director—Operations and Accessibility) embodies transformation through her art of communication, facilitation, and advocacy. Whether in academia, healthcare, or publishing, her essence is woven into fostering understanding, bridging gaps, and advocating for inclusivity.
  • Natoyia Alberts (a founder and Executive Administrator of Higher Works Collaborative and First Lady of Higher Ground Church of God in Christ) is a woman of many hats. She is an executive, a pastor’s wife, a business owner, a mother of 10, and a grandmother of seven. She is a woman of integrity, wisdom, pride, and perfection. Her motto is “all things done decent and in order.” She strives to make the world a better place and leave a mark on the hearts of those she loves.
  • In her work to to amplify voices, Anisa Hagi-Mohamed (Lyricality Executive Co-Director—Communications) brings transformation to the spaces where she practices and facilitates through the power of positive language and authentic representation. Drawing from her own experiences as a diaspora member, she creates resources and materials that not only serve educational purposes but also foster healing and empowerment within communities. 
  • Dr. Sangeeta Jha (Lyricality Cultural Competence/Proficiency Advisor, Create CommUNITY Co-chair) is an intercultural advisor at Lyricality and a strong advocate for intercultural development, inclusivity, and transformation. She is also involved in notable initiatives such as Create CommUNITY and the Jugaad Leadership Program, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Drawing from her Asian Indian heritage, Dr. Jha is passionate about initiating challenging intercultural conversations with an anti-racism lens in the community. She played a pivotal role in establishing the Multicultural Center at SCTCC, highlighting her dedication to creating inclusive and transformative spaces.
  • Ruthanne Kim is Professor and Faculty Lead Organizer for Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative (CARE) at St. Cloud State University. With over twenty years of experience in higher education, her administrative work advances academic equity in the classroom, institution, and larger community.
  • Michael Kleber-Diggs (Independent Artist Facilitator) is currently writing a memoir about his complicated history with lap swimming called My Weight in Water (forthcoming with Spiegel & Grau). His debut poetry collection, Worldly Things was published by Milkweed Editions in 2021. Michael’s essay, “There Was a Tremendous Softness,” appears in A Darker Wilderness: Black Nature Writing from Soil to Stars, edited by Erin Sharkey (Milkweed Editions, 2023). His poems and essays appear in numerous journals and anthologies. 
  • Purpose Artisans’ mission is to offer meaningful activities that promote social justice and sense of belonging with fun. As occupational therapists they consider how to create engagements that are inclusive. This 501(c)(3) group is located out of Willmar. Nicole Konz (Lyricality Board Member and Artist-Facilitator) is from central MN, is a mental health occupational therapist and yoga teacher, and uses her training and experience to support people in healing and meaningful engagement of life. For over a decade she has worked in the broken mental health system. Bringing alternative methods of treatment to those in crisis care (i.e. inpatient hospitalization, corrections) such as art, body oriented healing, music, and spirituality. John Salgado Maldonado (Lyricality Board Membersand Artist-Facilitator)from Chile South America, is a mental health occupational therapist who has worked in social inclusion programs and as a professor of occupational therapy. Since coming to the US, he has focused more on social justice through the arts and by providing pathways for different cultures to connect. He is a percussionist, photographer, and international lecturer.
  • Sandra Mitchell is the inaugural Senior Diversity Officer at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.  She brings more than 20 years of experience developing and leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts at a variety of institutions. She is responsible for leading institutional efforts to examine practices, policies, and systems; guide the institutional full commitment to developing an inclusive environment incorporated in all decision-making processes; and supporting efforts to cultivating an equitable, inclusive and just community founded on the belief that all persons inherently deserve respect and dignity.
  • Chinyin Oleson (Lyricality Artist-Facilitator Apprentice) is an undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University majoring in creative writing and minoring in gerontology, psychology, and Asian Pacific American Studies. Her work has been published in the Upper Mississippi Harvest Literary and Art Journal and the Windward Review. 
  • Sook Jin Ong (Independent Artist-Facilitator) loves facilitating conversations and learning spaces among organizations and communities. Sook Jin’s career spans more than a decade working in the public and nonprofit sector on issues of innovation, equity, and systems change. She sees creativity as a lifespark. Poetry reading and writing is part of her rest practice, and a way to connect to her lineage, her identities, her experiences, and her being. 
  • In her role as a senior leader (The Society of Vascular & Interventional Neurology) Dr. Jennifer Potter-Vig (Ph.D Health Services and Healthcare Administration, M.Sc. Health Care Management, Certified Executive Coach & Consultant/Smiling Lotus) spearheaded global initiatives, authored numerous publications, and attained special consultant status at the United Nations. Beyond titles and accolades, what drives her are the beliefs that each individual and organization has the capacity for greatness, and that true success stems from a harmonious balance of ambition and self-care. 
  • In her work as a genre-fluid writer, mentor, and facilitator, Tracy Rittmueller (Lyricality Executive Co-Director—Development and Finance) strives to bring transformation to the spaces where she practices by offering beauty and hope through artistic expression. Drawing from her studies in trauma-sensitivity and the diverse cultures of her communities, she collaborates to create environments that foster connection, healing, and empowerment. 
  • Hedy Tripp (Lyricality Antiracist Advisor and Artist-Facilitator) brings her global life experiences of more thanseven decades into her engagement with the community. As a long-time social justice activist, and BIPOC artist, she has taken part in peace protests, spoken word, writing, poetry, and storytelling. These are her elements for transformative change.  
  • Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz (Lyricality Artist-Facilitator) leads life as a multidisciplinary artist and writer. They find joy in building bridges between people of diverse belief systems, cultures and genders, while engaging in creative pursuits that reflect a deep love for research and learning. A Puerto Rican-born creative who finds inspiration in natural and reclaimed materials, Vas currently lives in Rice, MN.

Facilities hosted by City of St. Cloud through the Mayor’s Office

Sponsored by Central Minnesota Community Foundation, Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative (CARE) St. Cloud State University, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Diversity Office, Smiling Lotus Coaching and Consulting, and Coborn’s.

Lunch by African Yen, Arroz, and Coborn’s.

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