The Great River Passage Conservancy represents the next generation of civic and philanthropic leadership.


Peter Myers Board Member

Peter B. Myers (Board Chair)
Owner, Myers Communications Group

Peter Myers is an independent filmmaker and communications specialist with his own business, Myers Communications Group, based in Saint Paul. He is best known for his work in the nonprofit arena serving clients such as Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Breakthrough Twin Cities and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. He is also the executive editor of District Energy magazine, a trade publication produced for the International District Energy Association.

Tanya Bell
Founder, Grand Real Estate Advisors

As Founder of Grand Real Estate Advisors, Tanya Bell is an experienced real estate developer, broker, asset manager, and trusted advisor to developers, sellers, tenants, and community leaders. A collaborator by nature, she knows how to assemble the people, ideas, and financing for a successful project. Tanya also has considerable experience in the non-profit world as a board member for organizations such as: Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Cameron Boyd
General Counsel, Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC)

While at the MAC, Cameron Boyd has overseen a wide range of legal matters, including those related to airport food, retail and passenger service concessions, labor issues, real estate leasing, and airline agreements. Notable projects include legal work related to a new hotel under construction and a major solar power installation, both at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Monica Bryand
Executive Director, Voices for Racial Justice

Monica brings a longtime commitment to social justice and the natural world. After more than 25 years in philanthropy (including 16 at Headwaters Foundation for Justice).  She is now the co-executive director at Voices for Racial Justice while also leading and supporting the Urban Bird Collective that provides safe and welcoming spaces for BIPOC and the LGBT community to bird in the Twin Cities. She is an active volunteer with her local District Council, the West Side Community Organization, Audubon St. Paul’s Conservation Committee, and serves on the board of Hawk Ridge, based in Duluth.

Shelley Buck
President, Prairie Island Indian Community

President Shelley Buck is currently serving her fourth term on the Prairie Island Tribal Council and second term as the community’s president. Prior to being elected Tribal Council President, Buck held other positions within the Prairie Island Indian Community government, including Tribal Council Secretary and Assistant Secretary/Treasurer.

Jay Haapala
Associate State Director of Community Engagement, AARP

Jay Haapala has worked for AARP in the Minnesota State Office for nine years. His team is focused on a very broad mission to empower all people to choose how they live as they age. He is responsible for volunteer management and partnership-building in support of advocacy and education efforts.

Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation

As President and CEO of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Dr. Jolly educates, elevates and gives voice to people in his communities. Managing $1.5 billion in assets and 2,000 charitable funds, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation also supports the work of the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation.

John I. Marshall
Regional Vice President, Community Relations & Foundation – MN, ND, SD
Xcel Energy

John Marshall works for Xcel Energy as the Director of Community Relations. His team manages strategic relationships within roughly 700 Minnesota communities served by Xcel Energy, playing a critical role in areas of operations, energy policy, emergency response, economic development, and business retention and expansion.

Joe Nayquonabe Jr.
CEO, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures

Joe Nayquonabe Jr. is an American Indian business professional who has spent his career reimagining and reinventing how American Indian tribal economies grow and prosper. He spent more than a decade as a marketing executive, growing the Grand Casino brand before ascending to CEO of the Mille Lacs Band’s Corporate Commission.

Jake Reint
Vice President of Public Affairs, Flint Hills Resources

Jake Reint oversees communications and public affairs for Flint Hills Resources, a leading oil refinery, pipeline, biofuels and petrochemical company based in Wichita, Kansas. He specializes in strategic communications, crisis management, media relations, and political and issues advocacy.


Andy Rodriguez
Director, City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

For the past 17 years, Andy Rodriguez has served in an array of program and management positions in the City of Saint Paul’s Parks and Recreation Department, including recreation program supervisor overseeing nine community recreation facilities, and volunteer coordinator for more than 2000 Parks volunteers annually. In 2022, he began serving as Director of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. Growing up in Saint Paul, he engaged extensively in City Parks and Recreation programs, relying heavily on recreation centers, park spaces, programs, and program workers as a source of support and guidance.

Russ Stark
Chief Resilience Officer, City of Saint Paul

Russ Stark is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Saint Paul, working in Mayor Melvin Carter’s office. Stark previously served for 10 years on the Saint Paul City Council, including three years as the Council’s president. Prior to his public service, he worked at nonprofits focused on community development, environmental advocacy, and transportation improvement, where he was involved in early planning for the present-day Green Line LRT. Stark has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College and a master’s of urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware.


Mary deLaittre
Founding Executive Director

Mary deLaittre is the Founding Executive Director of the Great River Passage Conservancy and former Manager of the Great River Passage Initiative. Drawing on 25 years of community design experience, she conceives major city-building projects and develops sustainable organizational structures to ensure the long-term success of projects.

As founder and principal of Groundwork: The Foundation for City Building, she has focused on enhancing waterfront development. She led Wayzata’s Lake Effect Park Project, the transformation of the city’s Lake Minnetonka shoreline and the creation of the private fundraising entity for the park – the Lake Effect Conservancy. On behalf of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, she developed and managed RiverFirst, a revitalization effort along 5.5 miles of the Mississippi River. Finally, she co-founded and consulted for 2020 Partners, a public-private partnership that facilitated the transformation of a downtown Minneapolis industrial district into a new urban center.

Previously, deLaittre was the executive director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, where she galvanized the organization around a new mission of creating the Next Generation of Parks™. She received a bachelor of arts in art history from Brown University and a masters of architecture with a focus on urban design from the University of Minnesota.

Laura Bray
Administrative and Donor Associate

Laura Bray joined Great River Passage Conservancy in January as the Administrative and Donor Associate. She provides administrative support to the organization with a focus on office and fundraising support, effective database management and reporting, event logistics and donor stewardship efforts.