BIZAA’s mission is to change the world by offering vulnerable children and young adults in Africa a chance to participate in the global marketplace through sponsored education, technical training, and job placement. Giving rescued victims of child labor and child trafficking the tools necessary to develop self-reliance, build stronger communities and create a more sustainable future.
Okey Anyanwu, Founder & President Okey Anyanwu received his degree in Philosophy from Pontifical Urban University in Rome, Italy. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. His graduate fieldwork in Medical Anthropology was conducted at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. He currently is the Director of Pastoral Care and Social Justice at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
Carl Crimmins, Vice-President Carl Crimmins is a retired president of the Minnesota Pipe Trades Association and is currently a District A Commissioner on the Metropolitan Airports Commission, a member of the Minnesota Rehabilitation Review Panel and the Trustee Candidate Advisory Council. Currently, he serves as Vice-President for the Basic Institute for Zonal African Advancement. Crimmins is also a member of the Product Certification and Standards Council for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, a lifetime member of the 11th Armored Cavalry’s Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia, and is a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Interim Board Chair
Paul Zimmer, Legal Council & Interim Board Chair Paul A. Zimmer is an attorney and shareholder in the Minneapolis law firm of Courey, Kosanda & Zimmer, P.A. Paul’s law practice includes representing higher net worth individuals in connection with estate and wealth transfer planning matters, and representing closely-held and family-owned businesses in connection with a variety of business law matters, including business and ownership succession planning. Paul has also served on the board of directors of various non-profit organizations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area.
Matt M. Cooper MD MBA FACS, Development & Corporate Relations Advisor Matt M. Cooper is the Global Senior Medical Director and Director of Patient Safety at 3M Health Care Business Group. Matt’s focus is in comprehensive analysis and design thinking leading to system and process evaluation and organizational growth. Matt attended New York University School of Medicine, Harvard School of Government and the Watson Graduate School of Management.
Denice Lacher, Marketing, Events & Public Relations Advisor Denice Lacher was an image consultant for WCCO Television’s Promotion’s Department, HGTV’s nationally syndicated garden show, Rebecca’s Garden, and ShopNBC. As an independent marketing consultant, she has worked with small businesses and cities on their marketing and branding initiatives and produced StyleWatch, a trend’s video and recipient of the Maxi Award for Retail Advertising for the Minneapolis Downtown Council. Denice holds a BA in Marketing and Behavioral Science from Metropolitan State University and certificates in nonprofit management, fundraising, and marketing. Her past volunteer experience includes working with a homeless shelter for youth and serving on her City’s Economic Development Commission.
Karl Lacher, Technology & Operations Advisor Karl Lacher has over thirty years of experience as a Data Warehouse Architect and Business Intelligence professional. He has served as an Information technology consultant and IT Manager at various corporations in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently, Karl is a data analyst and developer for Bright Peak Financial a division of Thrivent Lutheran Financial services. Karl’s background includes an MBA with an emphasis in finance from St. Thomas University, a Master’s in Information Technology and a certificate in Project Management from Capella University.
Trevor Lambert, Corporate Network & Fundraising Advisor Trevor Lambert is a native Minnesotan and graduates from the University of St. Thomas. He is the founder and owner of Enhance Product Development, a consumer product design firm that specializes in bringing housewares, toys and As Seen on TV products to the mass market. Trevor currently sits on the board of directors of two other non-profits, the United Inventors Association (UIA) and Nuestro Pequeno Hermanos (NPH USA). The UIA is the largest organization of its kind in the world serving independent inventors, entrepreneurs and startups. NPH USA is the fundraising arm of Nuestro Pequeno Hermanos, which is an organization that operates nine homes throughout Central America and Haiti that benefits over 3400 orphaned, abandoned or disadvantaged children.
Michael Majerus, Finance & Budget Advisor Mike Majerus has a strong background that includes roles in Finance, IT, HR, Marketing and Operations. He is presently Vice President for Finance/HR for a growing software company, Agosto, in Minneapolis. In addition to having owned his own e-commerce business, Mike has held CFO and General Manager roles at several companies in the Twin Cities. He is also on the board of the Twin Cities Chapter of Financial Executives International and currently serves on its executive committee as Vice President of Marketing & Communications. He passed the CPA exam in 1992 and holds a BA in Business/Accounting from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and an MBA from Saint Cloud State University.
Teresa Robinson, Finance & Budget Advisor Teresa Robinson graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1994 with a BA in Accounting and passed the CPA exam in 1994. Before becoming a Board Member for BIZAA, Teresa worked for Honeywell in various financial analyst roles ranging from budget analyst, cost accounting, internal controls, senior analyst, and special projects. She has also lead many fundraising events such as a marathon, book fairs and auctions for the St. Vincent de Paul School.
Marci Siers, Board Secretary & Planning Committee Chair Marci Siers has been a registered nurse for over 36 years. She currently works at the University of Minnesota as a Transplant Coordinator. Marci has volunteered for six years in social justice leadership at her church through its Outreach Commission and Pastoral Council. She has also completed the Just Faith Program and serves as a facilitator for same the program. Marci has been involved with BIZAA since 2013. She is inspired to be involved with BIZAA, a non-profit focused on educating children who otherwise would not have the chance of receiving an education.