The Venture Board
Venture Academy holds open Board Meetings at 7:30 am on the 3rd Wednesday of every month, with the exception of April and May, when meetings will be held at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, April 18 and 9:00 am on Saturday, May 12. Meetings are held at Venture Academy, 315 27th Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414. These meetings can (and should!) be attended and observed by the public, in accordance with the Minnesota Open Meeting Law.
February 21, 7:30-9:00 AM
March 21, 7:30-9:00 AM
April 18, 5:30 PM (Wednesday evening)
May 12, 9:00 AM (Saturday morning)
Board of Directors
Brian Peterson, Board Chair
Peterson is currently on the consulting team supporting schools and nonprofit organizations at Clifton Larson Allen in Minneapolis. He previously left his position as an IT project manager for UnitedHealth Group to launch a new social entrepreneurship venture. As a University of Minnesota freshman in 2003, Peterson co-founded and for nearly a decade served as co-executive director of Students Today Leaders Forever, now a national service and leadership development agency serving more than 4,000 students annually from 13 states. Under Peterson’s co-leadership, STLF won the Minnesota Social Entrepreneur’s Cup.
Betsy Ohrn, Board Secretary
Ohrn is the Director of the Office of New Schools at Minneapolis Public Schools. She has served as a Program Manager with the Research and Evaluation Department at MPS and as a 4th grade reading teacher at Hiawatha Academies. Ohrn began her education career teaching at YES Prep Gulfton in Houston, part of the nationally renowned middle-high charter network. She was previously a teacher for Hiawatha Leadership Academy in south Minneapolis.
Brad Pogalz, Board Treasurer
Robbins is an attorney at the Minneapolis firm of Messerli & Kramer and coordinator of the AngelPolleNation network, with an extensive background in entrepreneurship and angel early stage investment in Twin Cities start-up firms.
Jason Davis Davis is a Vice President at Optum Clinic (UnitedHealth Group) where he is responsible for clinic development, and the oversight of business development activities. Jason is a strategic business leader with more than 15 years of leadership experience across several industries, including retail, financial services, healthcare, and functional expertise in real estate, strategy, finance and operations. Jason has held leadership roles at Target Corporation, Woodside Group, and Merrill Lynch. In addition to Venture Academy, Jason currently serves on the board of the Project for Pride in Living. Jason previously served on the board of Main Street School of the Performing Arts in Hopkins, MN, as Treasurer, from 2009 through June of 2015. Jason graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in Economics, and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.
Charles (CJ) Ellsworth
Founding Board Members Emeriti
Verne Johnson, Co-Founder
In 1952, Johnson became the youngest elected state representative (representing the city of Minneapolis) in the Legislature, beginning a distinguished career that included long stints as executive director of the Citizens League (1958-67) and as vice-president for planning at General Mills (1967-82). An early supporter and volunteer for the Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO), Twin Cities Rise and Youth Frontiers, Johnson was the founding chair of the Civic Caucus, a nonpartisan Minnesota policy discussion and innovation group. Verne Johnson died on November 2, 2012.
Peterson (Chair), Ohrn, Pogalz
Human Resources Committee
Pogalz (Chair), Robbins
Davis (Chair), Peterson
Robbins (Chair), Peterson