Maggie Gordon, Executive Director

Maggie accepted the role of Executive Director in 2021 after 8 years of service and leadership in differing roles within the organization. She began her career as a Community Organizer in 2013 and later served as the Director of Organizing and Campaigns and Director of Mission Engagement. 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. Maggie is known for her passion for organizing, her deep experience working on conservation and agriculture issues, and her talent for developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with people and organizations across MontanaMaggie’s an avid gardener, backpacker, and baker. Email:

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 assists with the Coal Task Force and organizes in the Missoula area. Email:

Sydney Ausen, Director of Organizing & Campaigns

Sydney was born, raised, and remained in Montana. She grew up on the great reaching plains of Billings, where she loved to hike and climb in the rimrocks with her family. She earned a degree in Political Science and Development Studies from the University of Montana. Before joining the Northern Plains staff in 2016, she worked on a voter registration and civic engagement campaign. Sydney guides the overall work of Northern Plains’ organizing team and directs our issue campaigns. Sydney loves working with neighbors, community leaders, and activists to build thriving Montana communities. She staffs our Cooke City affiliate, Beartooth Alliance. Email:

Caitlin Cromwell, Deputy Director of Organizing & Campaigns

Caitlin joined the Northern Plains staff in 2016. She grew up in Maryland, where she watched her dad raise chickens and keep bees and where she grew to love all things rural. She attended Yale University and worked at the Western Organization of Resource Councils before coming to Northern Plains. Caitlin helps guide the overall work of Northern Plains’ organizing staff and directs our leadership development program. Her favorite part of her job is getting to introduce people to their own power, and develop their leadership and confidence to participate in public life. She also leads our work on oil and gas and staffs our Glendive affiliate, Dawson Resource Council. Email:

Mikindra Morin, Community 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:

Caroline Canarios, Community 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 Tennessee 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:

Tai Koester, Community Organizer

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Tai completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado, where he received degrees in geography and evolutionary biology. Before joining the organizing team at Northern Plains in 2019, Tai worked as a field technician for the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research where he collected hydrology data for long-term climate analysis. The son of an anthropologist, Tai has also spent time researching peasant movements in the West Indies and exploring the exclusion of indigenous people from the management of public lands at Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Tai staffs our Soil Task Force as well as our Red Lodge affiliate, Carbon County Resource Council and our affiliate Stillwater Protective Association. Email:

Bronya Lechtman, Community Organizer

Hailing from Maryland, Bronya joined the organizing team in 2021. Before starting at Northern Plains, Bronya earned a degree in Environmental Policy from Colby College. While there, she was involved in organizations throughout Maine focused on sustainable agriculture and local food, and conducted research on the future of coal in Montana. After graduating, she worked on an organic farm in Western Maine. Bronya staffs our Lewistown affiliate, Central Montana Resource Council, and leads the Coal Task Force. Email:

Emily Auld, Community Organizer

Emily grew up in the New York City metro area and earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in English from the University of Vermont. In college, she focused on agriculture, food access, and environmental justice and spent summers farming and building trail. In the winter, she participated in study abroad courses to Ecuador and Nepal to learn about energy resiliency and indigenous relations. After driving to Montana, Emily served an AmeriCorps term at Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls, and most recently lived in Gardiner giving educational tours in Yellowstone for the nonprofit Yellowstone Forever. Her favorite part about her job is building relationships with members and creating community connections. Emily staffs the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council in Helena and will be staffing the new Great Falls affiliate in 2022. Email:

Paula Berg, Director of Finance and Administration

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:

Caleb Lande, Director of 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:

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:

Dustin Ogdin, Communications Director

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dustin earned degrees in the visual arts from Middle Tennessee State University (BFA) in 1999, and Ohio University (MFA) 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:

Anna Kerr-Carpenter, Communications Coordinator

Originally from Sacramento, California, Anna has been a professional photographer for over ten years. She got her degree in Anthropology from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2017 and in 2019 completed an online boot camp in User Interface Design. She has a particular interest in the branding and messaging of social movements. Anna maintains content and functionality for the website, designs print and digital outreach materials, and supports all organizational communications efforts. Email:

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:

Danielle Jordan, Grant Writer

Born and raised in Georgia, Danielle joined Northern Plains after completing her M.A. in English at the University of Florida. While there, much of her work focused on the environmental humanities. She has organized grassroots climate initiatives and spent time assisting clean energy programs on the West Coast. She is an avid cinephile and outdoor explorer. Danielle assists the Northern Plains Foundation team by preparing grant proposals and reports. Email:

Melodie Snyder, Technical Assistant

Melodie is originally from Washington state where she grew up in a rural logging town where access to public land was constantly being taken away or threatened. Melodie transferred from Centralia College, where she got her Associates Degree in Mathematics, to Rocky Mountain College in 2017. While in Billings, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Small Business Management at RMC in 2020. She has volunteered with Americorp, led a group at Rocky Mountain College to help stop the hunger crisis in Billings and was an intern at Forward Montana where she worked on local elections and climate change action. Melodie loves volunteering and travelling whenever she can. Her job includes data entry, processing accounts receivable and managing thank you letters. Email:

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.