Meet Our Team
Wendy Caldwell is the Executive Director of the Monarch Joint Venture, a national partnership of over 100 organizations working to conserve monarch butterflies as a flagship for broader conservation benefits.
Wendy grew up on a farm in west-central Minnesota and has always had a passion for the diversity of life and nature. As a conservation professional, she is passionate about leveraging the charisma of the monarch butterfly to inspire people of all backgrounds to find moments to enjoy the beauty of the natural world and take actions to protect it for future generations. Wendy lives in the rural Belle Plaine community with her husband and three young children. They seek every opportunity to enjoy the peace and solace that Prairie Oaks offers the community, especially through leading an annual "Monarch Walk" hosted at POI each fall.
Board Member & Co-Founder
Kim is co-founder of Prairie Oaks Institute (along with husband Chris Johnson), having grown up on the century farm that became the Prairie Oaks farm campus. Mother of three, she works as a pediatric physical therapist at Children's Minnesota - Minneapolis. She is an active member of her church and community. Environmental stewardship and conservation practices are an important focus for Kim, along with nurturing what makes her heart sing and supporting others to do the same.
Tom is a Professor of Leadership Studies at Augsburg University. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from the University of Minnesota, an M.S. in Economics from the University of Oregon, and an MBA in Finance & Operations Research from the University of Denver. He has served as a member of the Steering Committee for the Faith in the City Collaborative since its inception in 1999 until 2012 and serves on the Boards of Seeing Things Whole and Select Learning Resources.
Tom has over 35 years of teaching experience and has extensive experience in institutional planning, facilitating professional development workshops, and the design and implementation of new programs. He designed and launched Augsburg’s first graduate program, the Master of Arts in Leadership. Prior to working in higher education, he worked doing research and grant writing in health care. He has lived in the Twin Cities for the past thirty years. Tom is married, has one daughter, and thinks about riding his recumbent bicycle. He holds a private pilot’s license, enjoys woodworking, and is an avid walker.
Board Member & Co-Founder
Chris is proud to be co-founder (with Kim Devine-Johnson) of POI. Much of his work here grows from the same roots as a nearly 30-year career in teaching, mentoring, speaking, writing, facilitation, and consulting. He is the principal of the Milkweed Group, LLC, whose mission is to create safe, courageous spaces that nourish inner wisdom, sharpen clarity of purpose, and fuel capacity to live and lead for a better world.
He has been active with state, regional, and national projects around issues of vocation, calling, and purpose; life transitions; leadership development; personal, social, and ecological sustainability; experiential learning; civic engagement; and spirituality in life and work. He’s a Circles of Trust® facilitator in association with Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage and Renewal, and facilitates several Courage retreats at POI (and elsewhere) each year.
Grace Harrison (formerly Corbin) resides in Minneapolis, MN with her husband and her cat. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public ministry at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. She received her undergraduate degree at Augsburg University in Youth and Family Ministry. After that she spent almost three years working with the Minneapolis Lutherans doing environmental justice organizing across the Twin Cities and the state.
She has a passion for reading, all animals, and spending time outdoors. She is proud to be a member of the Prairie Oaks Institute board as she feels closely connected with POI’s values and vision.
Ben Hilding is a native of Hudson, WI. He and his wife, Alicia, met at Gustavus Adolphus College and both went on to Luther Seminary where they each received their Masters of Divinity degrees, and are now ordained pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Ben has since finished a Masters of Arts in Leadership degree from Augsburg University. Ben and Alicia Hilding are co-pastors at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of New Prague, and are proud parents of two daughters.