Executive & Honorary Board of Directors

Executive Board of Directors

A diverse, experienced team of experts in business development, organizational management, and education is leading Common Hope in its mission to promote hope and opportunity in Guatemala and to improve lives through education, health care, housing, and family development.

Common Hope has an executive board of directors and an honorary board of directors. Only the executive board members have voting privileges. All board members have traveled to Guatemala to work directly with the poor. Most have been down multiple times. The following is a complete list of our board members, their professional affiliations, and their involvement with Common Hope.

Kathy Longo

Kathy Longo is President and Founder of Flourish Wealth Management. Her area of concentration is wealth management, with a focus on discovering and implementing philanthropic goals of clients. Kathy is nationally recognized for her extensive experience and leadership in the financial planning field and has appeared in numerous national and local publications.

Kathy and her husband, Jay Pluimer, are Guatemalan adoptive parents and have visited Guatemala several times. They also sponsor three children through Common Hope.

Mary Capozzi
Vice Chair

Mary Capozzi is the former senior director of corporate responsibility for Best Buy. She held various leadership roles within Best Buy, most notably her position as senior director of WOLF (Women’s Leadership Forum) and the Winning with Women business strategy. Mary has visited Guatemala with the board and sponsors two children through Common Hope.

Charlie McMurray

Charlie McMurray retired in 2014 from a 33 year career with Donaldson Company, Inc. where he last served as Chief Administrative Officer. Charlie first learned about Common Hope from his daughter, Meghan, who worked as the Accounting Manager in the St Paul office. Charlie and his family first visited Guatemala in 2007 as part of a Vision Team. That experience hooked them on Common Hope’s mission and led them to sponsor several children. Charlie stated, “I have been very impressed with the effectiveness of the organization and the results Common Hope has provided to the people of Guatemala. The Common Hope staff are truly wonderful people to be associated with.” Charlie serves on the Executive Board and the Nominating and Governance subcommittee. Charlie and his wife Rose currently sponsor seven students.

Fran McCloskey

Frances McCloskey is Co-founder and Of Counsel with Financial Advisors LLC, which provides forensic accounting and expert witness services to its clients. She has more than 30 years of combined experience in accounting, finance, financial consulting, and expert witness work. Ms. McCloskey is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Certificate in Financial Forensics. She is a graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Spanish, and she has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Ms. McCloskey has been very involved in the community and has served on a number of non-profit boards including The Cookie Cart (Board Chair and Treasurer), Common Hope (Treasurer), Special Olympics Minnesota (Board Vice President), and the Volunteer Missionary Movement (Treasurer).

John Bruellman

John Bruellman is the President/CEO of Sign-Zone, Inc., a role which he has held since 2006. Prior to that time, his career spanned several years at large, global businesses such as Nordic Track, Honeywell, and Ceridian. His roles have included operations management, sales/marketing, business strategy, and general management. Bruellman also has a military background, having graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served five years in the U.S. Army as a commissioned Armor officer. Bruellman received his MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in 1997.

In his role as President of Sign-Zone, John leads the company’s Corporate Sponsorship Program, sponsoring more than 80 Common Hope students. John has lead several Common Hope Vision Teams with Sign-Zone employees and also with members of his faith community.

Eric Carpenter

Eric Carpenter is an attorney at M.A. Mortensen Company. He has been involved with Common Hope for many years. He is a former long-term volunteer for Common Hope in Guatemala.

Gary Doten

Gary is COO of H3 Life Science Corporation, a global company that supplies raw materials to the pharmaceutical industry. Gary and his wife Mary sponsor two children though Common Hope and have traveled extensively to Guatemala with their family on Vision and Discovery teams.

Amalia Moreno-Damgaard

Amalia Moreno-Damgaard, a native of Guatemala, is an entrepreneur who has held three professional careers: one in the international financial services industry and two others in the entrepreneurial and culinary fields. After 20 years in business she founded Amalia, LLC, a culinary design business offering Latin gourmet cuisine for social and business gatherings. Her first cookbook, Amalia’s Guatemalan Kitchen, was published in the fall of 2012. In addition, Amalia is a founder and current president of Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota, a non-profit fostering women’s entrepreneurship.

Guatemala is very near and dear to Amalia’s heart. She sees Common Hope’s board service as an opportunity to help Guatemalan children in an even more meaningful and direct way.

Joe Hammell

Joe Hammell is a Partner at Jones Day law firm in Minneapolis, focusing on Labor and Employment. There, Joe has a national employment and commercial litigation practice, having handled cases in more than 20 jurisdictions.

Joe served on the Board for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for six years, St. Joseph’s Home for Children for six years, and was a member of the Hennepin County Ethics Board for 7 years. He is currently a member of the Board for the Conflict Resolution Center. Joe has been a sponsor with Common Hope for many years and has taken four Vision Teams to Guatemala.

Laura Ness

Laura Ness is a senior vice president within the operations area of UnitedHealth Group. She has extensive experience in both operations management and finance from her work at UnitedHealth as well as her prior experience at Northwest Airlines. Laura and her husband Lloyd have two children and live in Woodbury, MN. Laura visited Guatemala in 2008 and is looking forward to future visits and working with Common Hope. She and her husband sponsor a child through Common Hope.

Nancy Norling

Nancy Norling is a Doctor of Dental Science and owns her own practice in Minneapolis, MN. Nancy is is an Accredited Fellow (the highest credential earned in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry).  She is one of only 65 accredited fellows worldwide; she has become the third woman worldwide and one of only two dentists in Minnesota to become an Accredited Fellow. Dr. Norling is passionate about giving back to the community. She is a board member of the Minnesota Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and dedicated volunteer with AACD’s “Give Back A Smile” program, restoring the broken and damaged teeth of survivors of domestic violence.

Nancy is a Common Hope sponsor and makes annual volunteer trips with her team to provide dental services to Common Hope students and families.

Shaun Nugent

Shaun Nugent is CFO of AllOver Media, a market leader in the out-of-home media industry. He is an experienced business leader and former CEO of Sun Country Airlines, CFO of LifeTime Fitness and CFO of Champps Entertainment. Shaun and his wife, Chris Denton, are Guatemalan adoptive parents. They also sponsor two children through Common Hope.

Mark Ruff

Mark Ruff is the chief financial officer for the City of Minneapolis.  Mark and his wife, Lisa, were short-term volunteers for Common Hope during the summer of 1994. They and their two daughters have visited Guatemala and led Vision teams several times since then.  Brenda, sponsored by the Ruff family for 15 years, graduated from high school in 2016. Mark is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and holds a Masters of Arts from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School.  He enjoys the abundant biking and cross-country ski trails in the Twin Cities and regularly treks to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Tom Page

Tom Page is a Twin Cities native who has supported Common Hope since 1994 when he joined his wife, Marilyn, on a medical mission in Guatemala. Since then they have made multiple trips to Guatemala to participate in medical mission trips and visit the children they have sponsored through Common Hope. Tom Co-Chaired the 5th Annual Common Hope Golf Tournament and serves on the Development Sub-Committee of the Board of Directors. Tom is a retired businessman who founded and managed Zimmer-Page and Associates for 31 years.

Pete Regnier

Pete is a retired attorney, having spent more than 30 years with Jardine, Logan & O’Brien, P.L.L.P. He is an active Common Hope volunteer, having led Vision Teams in 2000 and 2006. Pete and his wife Judy are Common Hope Partners.

Tom Sullivan

Tom Sullivan is a Commercial Real Estate Broker at Cushman & Wakefield | Northmarq. He specializes in representing buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants with their real estate needs. Tom first traveled to Guatemala in high school on a mission trip and has been hooked ever since. He spent a year as a long-term volunteer with Common Hope in Antigua after graduating college, led a Vision Team of family members in 2007, and has served on the past four Noche de Colores committees, emceeing the event in 2009. Tom and his wife Katie, who was also a long-term volunteer, are Common Hope Partners and sponsors.


Honorary Board of Directors

Stan Amidon

Vice president of Amidon Graphics, Stan became involved with Common Hope after visiting Guatemala in 1998. He has also traveled to Guatemala on a Vision Team.

Annette Atkins

Annette is a professor of history at the College of Saint Benedict / Saint John’s University.

Ann Bloomquist

Ann enjoyed a successful career in marketing and sales, before taking early retirement to start a family. She now spends much of her time volunteering for organizations that focus on children and education. Ann is a strong supporter of Common Hope’s education programs and sponsors both a student and a teacher at New Hope Village.

Eric Bloomquist

Eric is the former CEO of Colonial Craft, Inc. He and his wife, Ann, sponsor two children.

Kim Culp

Kim is the chairman of the Minnesota region of M&I Bank. His daughter was a long-term volunteer in Guatemala. Kim and his wife sponsor a child.

Robert Fafinski

Bob co-founded Fafinski Mark & Johnson, a commercial law firm in Eden Prairie that has been one of the fastest growing law firms in Minnesota since its inception in 1999.

Ed Flaherty

Ed is an entrepreneur and owner of Lariat Companies, Inc. He is a sponsor and has led many Discovery Teams, introducing friends and colleagues to Common Hope’s work.

Lia Huber

Lia is an entrepreneur, consultant, recipe developer, and food writer. She is the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith & Enduring Love and the founder of NOURISH Evolution. She has traveled to Guatemala to teach cooking classes to Common Hope students. She and her husband are also sponsors.

Ron Kelly

Ron is a retired group president at Pentair Corporation, who became a board member after going to Guatemala on a Vision Team. He is a sponsor.

Barbara Kopp

Vice-President of Kopp Family Foundation, Barbara is a volunteer and advocate for women’s growth and domestic violence programs. She traveled to Guatemala in 2000 with a Vision Team from her church.

Mike Menzel

An anesthesiologist in Minneapolis, Mike has participated in over a dozen Common Hope surgical trips since 1991.  He also served nine years on the executive board.

Jim McDonald

Jim is the CEO of McDonald Remodeling. He is a former member of Common Hope’s executive board, serving as board chair from 2003 to 2007. Jim has been a regular Common Hope volunteer in both the St. Paul office and in Guatemala. He has hosted a Discovery Team and been part of Vision Teams in 2000 and 2001. Jim sponsors a student, named Dalila.

Larry & Peg Meyer 

Peg and Larry Meyer have sponsored a child in Guatemala since 1991. Larry is the former mayor of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and he and his wife Peg spent a lifetime as entrepreneurs, establishing four companies which grew to over 400 employees. They have since retired to the United States Virgin Islands and sold their companies to their former employees. The Meyers were noted for their civic service to youth organizations, and in their retirement, they continue their work with youth on the island of St. Croix. Peg also conducts spirituality work and is currently a regent for Ave Maria University in Florida.

Gerry Morrison

Gerry does fundraising on the West Coast for Common Hope. She was a long-term volunteer for three years with Common Hope in Guatemala. She sponsors three children and is a Common Hope Partner.

Dick Palen

Dick is a retired commercial mechanical contractor from the Palen-Kimball Company. He continues to be involved in the development of micro-businesses in Central America. He has visited Common Hope in Guatemala many times and is the sponsor of Rosario Hernandez.

Greg Palen

Greg is CEO of Palen/Kimball Company and CEO of Spectrow Alloys. He has been a sponsor and is a long-time donor.

Mary Pasquinelli

Mary is a registered nurse working at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois. She participated in a Vision Team in 2005 and a Discovery Team in 2007.  Mary also sponsors a student with Common Hope.

Greg Scherer

Greg is a general partner of Scherer Bros. Lumber Company. His favorite way to introduce people to Common Hope is to show them the project firsthand. He has visited Guatemala at least 27 times, bringing his entire family and over 40 friends to see the work up close. Greg and his family sponsor Claudia Larios, José Castro, and Nestor Benítez.

Linda Scherer

Linda is an active volunteer for social justice causes, through the League of Catholic Women and other avenues. She has been a committed ambassador for Common Hope, having led multiple Vision Teams to Guatemala and serving as an active volunteer for many Common Hope benefit events. Linda and her family sponsor Claudia Larios, José Castro, and Nestor Benítez.

Joe Shank

Joe is the senior pastor of the Winnetka Congregational Church. He is a regular Vision Team leader, and he participates by being a sponsor with Common Hope.

Leslie Shank

Leslie is an elementary school educator. She is a sponsor and a regular Vision Team member.

Glen Taylor

Glen Taylor is the chairman and owner of Taylor Corporation. He also owns the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. Glen and many members of his family became involved with Common Hope after visiting our sites in Guatemala in 2002. Glen is a strong advocate and supporter of educational programs domestically and internationally.

John Watson

John is a former marketing executive who is now a consultant and community volunteer. He and his wife sponsor a child.

Our Founders

The Huebsch Family

Common Hope was established by Dave and Betty Huebsch in 1986. Motivated by a desire to help the poor, Dave and Betty made the difficult decision to leave family, friends, and a peaceful lifestyle in Minnesota to see what they could offer the people of Guatemala. They were joined by their son, John, who led the organization as executive director for fourteen years. Bill Huebsch, Dave’s brother, was the first to visit Guatemala and witness the stark poverty and great need. Bill has twice served on the Board of Directors.