Our Staff

Jessica Focht-Perlberg

Executive Director

Luis Mendoza

Communications Intern

Laura Schlotterback

Community Building Intern

Jessica and her family have lived in SE Como since  2009. She strives to teach her kids by example how to be part of the change towards creating a community that is ever more just and equitable for all. Driven to action by this aspiration, she made a career shift last year to community organizing work, after more than fifteen years of social justice work as a social worker, and a legal services attorney. She looks forward to building on these experiences in service of the community in SE Como.

Whether you have been involved with SECIA for a long time or SECIA is brand new to you, I would love to hear from you. Contact me at jessica@secomo.org if you would be interested in finding a time to talk about what matters most to you in our neighborhood.

Luis Mendoza is one of the Communications interns for SECIA. Luis works to maintain SECIA’s biweekly newsletter, E-Comotion, in addition to updating social media and the website. He is currently studying Marketing at the University of Minnesota. Luis is excited to get more involved with the SE Como Community through this internship.

Laura Schlotterback is SECIA’s Grant Writing Intern. June of 2019, Laura moved from Northfield, Minnesota to Southeast Como to pursue a Master’s of Social Work and Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. Laura’s past work at the Northfield Community Action Center spurred her interest in local government and neighborhood organizing, and she is excited to learn and work with her new community through this internship.

Lauren Heers

Community Garden Intern

Julia Kobilka

Community Garden Intern

Lauren Heers is one of the Community Garden Interns for SECIA and is currently pursuing a degree in Organic and Local Food Production with a minor in Sustainability Studies at the University of Minnesota. She brings a horticulture background in landscaping as well as plant retail experience with Mother Earth Gardens, all alongside a deep love and understanding of our local and native plants.

Originally from South Minneapolis, this is Lauren’s third year as a happy resident of SE Como. She is looking forward to working alongside the Southeast Como Improvement Association to care for our community and foster greater connections between residents and our local green spaces.

Julia Kobilka is one of the Community Garden Interns for SECIA. Julia is currently an Environmental Science student at the University of Minnesota specializing in conservation and resource management. Julia has been working on gardens practically her whole life and is really excited to work with the Como community!

Maribel Morales

Community Building Intern

Maribel was born and raised in New Mexico but has called the Twin Cities home for 12 years. She is a senior at Augsburg University studying Sociology. She enjoys reading, working out, dancing, and trying something new if she’s not studying or at work. Mabel is excited to be a part SECIA as a Community Building Intern and learn more about this wonderful neighborhood. She looks forward to meeting you all in-person soon!