WorkLab Founding Members

We Leverage a Combined 35 Years of Experience Running the Sustainable Workforce Model

Founding Members

Lars Nowack

Lars Nowack

CEO, Connect for Success

Seattle, WA

Lars has extensive and varied leadership experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, with more than 20 years of experience leading organizations through multiple transitions, mergers, and growth. He specializes in strategic planning, program development, administrative and fiscal management, and fund development. Lars has raised and coordinated more than $18 million in foundation, local, state, and federal grants, and social venture funding to fund Cares of Washington, the parent organization of Connect for Success.

Lars holds a B.A. in counseling from DePaul University, a theater degree from the School for Total Theater in Switzerland, and a Marine machinist degree from Esbjerg Marine Engineering College in Denmark. Lars is active in the local Seattle community, where he serves on various boards, and is a passionate believer in the opportunity for all people to be self-sufficient.

Liddy Romero

Liddy Romero

Founder and Executive Director, WorkLife Partnership

Denver, CO
Liddy has a dual role serving as managing director for WorkLab Innovations and executive director of WorkLife Partnership. WorkLab Innovations is a network organization that leads the replication and scale of the Sustainable Workforce Model. The Sustainable Workforce Model engages human capital, increases economic opportunity for families through work, protects businesses' bottom line, and builds more inclusive workplace cultures.

Liddy Romero founded WorkLife Partnership in 2009, building on her education and small business and nonprofit experience to bring a new model for social enterprise to Colorado. In the last seven years, Liddy has been a catalyst for change in the ways employers invest in their workforce to impact the bottom line and improve employee engagement and worker economic opportunities.

Liddy has 14 years of experience in working with government entities and both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Liddy serves as an executive member of the Colorado Workforce Development Council and currently sits on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Community Development Advisory Council. She was a previous Aspen Institute Sector Skills Academy Marano Fellow and a Job Quality Fellow, hosted within the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program.

She lives in Centennial, Colorado with her three children and partner.
Mindy Ysasi, SPHR

Mindy Ysasi, SPHR

Executive Director, The Source

Grand Rapids, MI

Mindy leads The SOURCE, with a mission to reduce employment barriers for employees who work for partner organizations of The SOURCE. Mindy is one of the founding members of WorkLab Innovations – a network organization leading the replication and scale of the Sustainable Workforce Model.

The SOURCE began as an idea by local CEOs who wanted to retain talent in their companies and who understood that talent is a differentiator. The SOURCE works with the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, with private caseworkers, and with employers by providing navigation and connection supports to employees.

Mindy joined The SOURCE in 2015 after a career in Human Resources with a variety employment sectors, including healthcare and manufacturing. She is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a B.B.A. in management and marketing. Mindy is currently pursuing an E.M.B.A. at Michigan State University. 

Mindy is also a co-founder of the Latina Network of West Michigan, an organic collective focused on changing the Latina narrative in the region. She is an appointed member to the Civil Service Board, City of Grand Rapids. Additionally, Mindy serves as the co-chair for KConnect, a collective impact high school to career work group. She has been recognized for her commitment and leadership with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Young Professional award, the GVSU Alumni Service award, Grand Rapids Business Journal “40 under 40,” and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network—Grand Rapids DoGooder and Exemplary Executive awards.

Lisa Falcone

Lisa Falcone

Burlington, VT
Lisa serves as the executive director of Mercy Connections in Vermont. Previously she served for nine years as the director of Working Bridges at the United Way of Northwest Vermont. Lisa spent many previous years working in higher education and business/industry workforce development. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maine and a Master of Arts from Bowling Green State University. Lisa and her husband Tristram Coffin have three children.

Senior Advisory Council

Kathleen-Brenk

Kathleen Brenk

Vice President of Human Resources, TruStile Doors

Kathleen Brenk, Vice President of Human Resources at TruStile Doors, consults on business partner talent strategy and program implementation for Colorado’s groundbreaking system of business led and student focused youth apprenticeships. Past leadership roles include Director of HR Strategy & Implementation with CareerWise Colorado, CHRO at Recondo Technology, and VP of People & Culture at Trust Company of America. Kathleen is an HR leader that believes in creative, strategic solutions and shaking up past practices to get things done smarter and faster. She serves on the board of the PAVE Project and spends her spare time honing her improv skills, going to the theater, and enjoying the outdoors while SUPing and hiking.
Andrew Brower

Andrew Brower

Program-Related Investment Officer, Kellogg Foundation

As a program-related investments officer on the Kellogg Foundation’s mission-driven investments team, Andrew is responsible for developing and coordinating strategic investment activities that address systemic barriers that create vulnerable conditions for historically marginalized communities and children. Prior to this role, Andrew co-led the Grand Rapids place-based team, co-directing both strategy and investments. Before joining Kellogg in 2010, he served as the founding executive director of The SOURCE, a founding member of WorkLab Innovations focused on retention, supports, assets, career mobility and workforce and economic development for employees, family members and employers in one of Grand Rapids’ most economically depressed neighborhoods.
Diana Dollar

Diana Dollar

Executive Director, The Prosperity Agenda

Driven by a deep, life-long commitment to fairness and justice, Diana came into her role as the founding Executive Director of The Prosperity Agenda dedicated to transforming big, complex systems in order to drive meaningful, sustainable change. With more than 20 years of experience working in human, workforce, and economic development systems, Diana found the experience of individuals and families needed to be viewed through a different lens, asking tougher questions, such as “how can we do better for the many who are stuck?”

Diana studied Political Science at San Jose State University and earned her Masters in Public Administration from University of Washington where she immersed herself in policy, education, social welfare, and a search for the systemic drivers of economic and social inequality. Before building The Prosperity Agenda, Diana launched the first summer hunger campaign for two counties in the Bay Area and engaged business, environmental advocates, government, and community members to agree upon sound development practices in Snohomish County.
Todd Levinson

Todd Levinson

Work on Inequality, Mobility, Workforce Development, and Education

Todd Levinson has contributed to the field of workforce development at the local, state, and national levels. He started at the local level, leading a New York City workforce development center where he gained an on-the-ground understanding of the needs of employers, jobseekers, and workforce development staff. While at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, he then worked on bringing together leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to develop joint solutions that could overcome critical workforce development challenges, playing a pivotal role in the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, which culminated in the Career Pathways report that put forth a plan to transform the city’s workforce development system in order to improve upward mobility.

He continued to work on these same issues at the national level with the Clinton Global Initiative, bringing together national leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to develop joint projects on an array of important workforce development goals. Finally, working with an initiative at the Council of Chief State School Officers, he most recently coached state governments on how to work with employers to develop a more robust career readiness approach to state education systems.

Previously, Todd was a consultant and professional speaker for over nine years, leading personal and professional development seminars for international audiences and performing strategy and innovation consulting with public and private sector organizations. He also worked with the United Nations in Fiji, helping to lead a conflict resolution training that guided civil society and government leaders from conflict-affected islands in the Pacific to develop joint solutions to further peace and development in their islands. He currently lives in San Diego, California with his wife and daughter.

Kevin O'Shaughnessey

Kevin O'Shaughnessey

Entrepreneur, executive and management consultant

Kevin helps businesses grow as an entrepreneur, executive and management consultant. Building a great and supportive work environment has been a key part of his approach for some time. WorkLab Innovation’s goal to do the same resonates with him strongly because he’s seen the measurable benefits to companies and individual staff.

In his career, Kevin has helped businesses and nonprofits scale to multiple locations across the nation. Most recently, he has worked in healthcare as an entrepreneur and consultant. Earlier in his career, he was part of the leadership team of two rapidly growing national nonprofits working to increase college enrollment and improve education technology.

Kevin lives with his family in Denver. He earned an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management and is a graduate of Leadership Denver.
Patti Phillips

Patti Phillips

President and CEO, ROI Institute, Inc.

Dr. Patti Phillips is president and CEO of ROI Institute, Inc., the leading source of ROI competency building, implementation support, networking, and research. A renowned leader in measurement and evaluation, she helps organizations implement the ROI Methodology in 70 countries around the world. Patti serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

In addition, she serves as Chair of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) People Analytics Board, Principal Research Fellow for The Conference Board, board member of the Center for Talent Reporting, and ATD CPLP Certification Institute Fellow. Patti also serves on the faculty of the UN System Staff College in Turin, Italy. Her work has been featured on CNBC, EuroNews, and over a dozen business journals. Patti's academic accomplishments include a Ph.D. in International Development and a master's degree in Public and Private Management.