Staff

Olivia Stockman, Staff Director

After leading our dedicated organizing team for ten years, Olivia accepted the role of Northern Plains’ Staff Director in 2019. Having grown up in the Midwest, Olivia earned degrees in political science (B.A. from the University of Kansas; M.A. from the University of New Mexico), and previously worked for the League of Conservation Voters, Service Employees International Union, Montana League of Rural Voters, and Western Organization of Resource Councils. She is known for her tenacious leadership, professionalism, and tireless organizing skills. Email: olivia@northernplains.org


Teresa Erickson, Senior Adviser and History Project Manager

After 33 years as Northern Plains’ Staff Director, Teresa passed the torch in September 2019. Teresa oversees the Northern Plains History Project and guides other program areas as needed. Hailing from from Colorado and daughter of a hard rock miner, she holds a degree in geography from the University of Northern Colorado. In 1993, Teresa received the first annual Jeannette Rankin Award from A Territory Resource, recognizing her years of dedication to principles of social justice and land stewardship. In 2010, Teresa and her husband, Pat Sweeney, were presented with the Len and Sandy Sargent Stewardship Award by the Cinnabar Foundation. She is an experienced and respected trainer, and is known for her ability to work with people of all backgrounds. Email: teresa@northernplains.org


Svein Newman, Political Organizing Director

Originally from Billings, Svein joined the staff in 2009 after graduating from the University of Montana in political science. During college, he volunteered with Students for Economic and Social Justice in a multi-year anti-sweatshop campaign (that was covered in The Nation and USA Today). He also volunteered for the Women’s Resource Center, and knocked on thousands of doors in canvassing efforts. He is the lead staff for our Coal Task Force, organizes in the Missoula area, and staffs our affiliate Bull Mountain Land Alliance. Email: svein@northernplains.org


Cody Ferguson, Legislative Organizing Director

We are excited to welcome Cody back to the Northern Plains team as our Legislative Organizing Director! Before working as a lobbyist and organizer for Northern Plains from 2002 to 2005, Cody received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Carroll College.  After pursuing both graduate and doctorate degrees in history, Cody worked as an Assistant Professor of History at universities in Texas and Colorado, and authored This Is Our Land: Grassroots Environmentalism in the Late-Twentieth Century, a book that highlights the history of Northern Plains. Cody staffs our Helena office and directs Northern Plains’ legislative and policy efforts. Email: cody@northernplains.org


Maggie Gordon, Director of Organizing and Campaigns

Maggie joined our staff in 2013. Hailing from Wyoming, she has undergraduate degrees in biology and environmental sciences from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in public administration from Montana State University. Before coming to Northern Plains, Maggie was an active member of the organization and was awarded Crew Leader of the Year while working for Montana Conservation Corps. She staffs Northern Plains’ Agriculture Task Force and our Cooke City affiliate, Beartooth Alliance. Email: maggie@northernplains.org


Sydney Ausen, Lead Organizer

Originally from Billings, Sydney joined Northern Plains’ staff in 2016. She earned a degree in Political Science and Development Studies from the University of Montana and, before coming to Northern Plains, worked as an intern & research assistant at MPG Ranch and helped run a Montana voter registration campaign. Sydney staffs our clean energy task force as well as two of our affiliates, Carbon County Resource Council and Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council in Park County. Email: sydney@northernplains.org


Caitlin Cromwell, Field Organizer

Caitlin joined the Northern Plains staff in 2016. She is originally from Maryland and earned a degree in English from Yale University. Before coming to Northern Plains, Caitlin worked at the Western Organization of Resource Councils as both a summer research intern and a year-long Fellow. She leads our work on oil and gas and staffs our Glendive affiliate, Dawson Resource Council and our Lewistown affiliate, Central Montana Resource Council. Email: caitlin@northernplains.org


Alex Cunha, Field Organizer

Alex joined Northern Plains in 2017.  He is originally from northern California and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University. He worked as a tree technician in Wyoming prior to moving to Montana. His work with Northern Plains is currently focused on helping coal country diversify its economic base as well as staffing our Rosebud County affiliate, Rosebud Protective Association. Email: alex@northernplains.org


Makenna Sellers, Field Organizer

Makenna was born in Billings and joined the Northern Plains staff in 2017. She earned her degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Business from Gonzaga University, where she worked closely with the Office of Sustainability. After college, Makenna worked for Nothern Plains as an intern and focused on oil and gas issue work as well as the climate issue canvass. She staffs our Helena and Gardiner affiliates, Sleeping Giant Citizens Council and Bear Creek Council, and works primarily on clean energy policy. Email: makenna@northernplains.org


Mikindra Morin, Field Organizer and Good Neighbor Agreement Manager

Hailing from Indiana, Mikindra joined our organizing team in 2018. Before coming to Northern Plains, Mikindra received a law degree from the University of Arizona before pursuing a graduate degree in Environmental Science (thesis in-progress) from Montana State University After working for various environmental law projects on the East Coast and directing an environmentally-focused canvass program in Minnesota, she is excited to be back in Montana. Mikindra manages our Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA) with Sibanye-Stillwater (formerly Stillwater Mining Company) and staffs our Sweetgrass County affiliate, Cottonwood Resource Council. Email: mikindra@northernplains.org


Caroline Canarios, Field Organizer

Before coming to Northern Plains in 2018, Caroline worked as a Research Associate at the University of Mississippi for Population Studies in Oxford, MS where she managed projects related to community health and the resilience of county-level food systems in the South. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana, the Tenessee transplant returned to her original region to pursue a postgraduate degree in sociology from the University of Mississippi, where she found her niche working on agriculture and food issues. Caroline helps staff our Billings affiliate, Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council as well as our agriculture task force. Email: caroline@northernplains.org


Tirza Asbell, Field Organizer

With a sociology degree (emphasis in Inequality and Social Justice) from the University of Montana, Tirza has worked on a variety of social justice and political issues for various organizations. Prior to joining Northern Plains’ organizing team in 2019, Tirza worked as the public policy coordinator for Montana Food Bank Network where she helped expand federal child nutrition programs and protect social safety net programs on both state and national levels. Tirza recently returned to her hometown of Billings, MT, to staff Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council. She also administers our Good Neighbor Agreement with Sibanye-Stillwater (formerly Stillwater Mining Company). Email: tirza@northernplains.org


Steve Paulson, Development Coordinator

Hailing from South Dakota, Steve came to Northern Plains from a business background, joining the staff in 1992. He majored in political science (B.S. Ed. at Black Hills State University; M.S. at Utah State University) and wrote his thesis on mineral tax policy. Steve prepares grant proposals and reports, performs a wide range of editing, assists with hiring and financial tasks, and with other fundraising work. He authored the 2016 book Environmentalists: An Eyewitness Account from the Heart of America. Email: steve@northernplains.org


Caleb Lande, Director of Grassroots Fundraising

Born and raised in Montana, Caleb came to Northern Plains in 2008, originally as a research intern, then as an organizer. Caleb holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Montana, where his thesis dealt with homeowners’ valuation of energy efficiency. Since 2012, he has led our membership development and grassroots fundraising efforts. Email: caleb@northernplains.org


Claire Overholt, Grassroots Outreach Coordinator

A former Jesuit Volunteer and canvasser for Northern Plains, Claire is our Grassroots Outreach Coordinator. Hailing from Colorado, she graduated with degrees in Environmental Studies and English from Santa Clara University in 2014. Before coming to Northern Plains, Claire worked for the Northern Cheyenne Department of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources in Lame Deer, Montana. Claire assists our communications and organizing teams by working on events, fundraising, and community outreach. Email: claire@northernplains.org


Dustin Ogdin, Communications Director

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dustin earned degrees in the visual arts from Middle Tennessee State University in 1999, and Ohio University in 2004. Before coming to Northern Plains, Dustin self-produced a documentary project about criminal justice reform in Chicago, IL and produced multimedia work in collaboration with MTV News and the Associated Press. Dustin also produced a podcast series exploring family agriculture projects in Nashville. As the Communications Director, Dustin oversees the flow of internal and external communications. Email: dustin@northernplains.org


Megan McLean, Communications Coordinator

Megan joined our staff in January 2018. Before coming to Northern Plains, Megan worked as both a field organizer and canvass manager on issue-based electoral campaigns. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Arts from the University of Montana and a postgraduate degree in Communication for Social Change from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Megan helps tell the Northern Plains story through email, website, and social media as well as developing world-class graphic designs. Email: megan@northernplains.org


Paula Berg, Comptroller

Paula hails from Lewistown, Montana and earned a bachelor’s in business administration at the University of Montana. Prior to coming to Northern Plains in 2011, she performed accounting and administrative work in the private sector. Paula oversees our day-to-day accounting, transactions in our bank and brokerage accounts, and handles state and federal reporting requirements. She staffs our Investment Committee. Email: paula@northernplains.org


Karen Olson, Office Manager

Karen joined the Northern Plains staff in 2010. She grew up in Billings and earned a bachelor’s in liberal studies from Montana State University – Billings. Before coming to Northern Plains, Karen was a longtime network technician for Qwest and also worked in printing services for Office Max. She has long been an active community volunteer. Karen performs a wide range of jobs to keep our office running smoothly and works with a large team of volunteers. Email: karen@northernplains.org


Jim Cooper, Facility Manager

Jim joined the Northern Plains staff in 2018 to oversee the care and maintenance of our Home on the Range. Before coming to Northern Plains, Jim built a robust career working in a broad range of positions from managing the supply chain for a rural hospital to groundskeeping and maintenance for Stockman Bank. Originally from the Big Sky State, Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Montana, with an emphasis in Chinese language and culture.