Welcome new board members: Tenzin Gakyi, Dralandra Larkins, Buddy Robinson, and Dinah Swain

Published April 20, 2022

Please help CUB welcome the newest members of our board of directors. We are grateful to Tenzin, Dralandra, Buddy, and Dinah for their commitment and are very fortunate to have their leadership and experience as a part of CUB’s team.

Tenzin Gakyi (she/her/hers) is a first-generation immigrant of Tibetan descent. She graduated from Century College and subsequently from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Tenzin currently serves as a labor organizer and United Steelworkers (USW) grievance leader. She is also part of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Young Leaders Council and is an alumnus of Citizens League’s Capitol Pathway and SEIU API Organizer Leadership Program. She is passionate about amplifying the voices of all Minnesotans, especially those who are historically marginalized, as CUB MN continues to strive for an equitable Minnesota energy world. Tenzin resides in Bloomington with her partner and cat Bhuchung.

Dralandra Larkins is the Housing RA Coordinator at the Metropolitan Council’s HRA. She has been serving families in government-funded rental assistance programs since 2018. She earned her certification as a housing specialist through Nan McKay Associates in 2020. Previously, she worked for the fourth judicial district court in the Civil Housing Division as a court operator. She served on the Advisory Board for Violence Free MN, formerly known as MN Coalition for Battered Women, from 2019 to 2020. She is a culturally grounded graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work from Augsburg University. With experience as a court operator, case manager, domestic violence hotline responder, and now as a housing specialist, Dralandra brings a unique ecological, holistic approach to practice; her experience in non-profit and the public sector makes her equipped to work with diverse populations. Hennepin County is her primary community; however, she feels called to serve communities facing economic and social injustice in the greater Metropolitan region.

Buddy Robinson is recently retired. He served as Staff Director of the MN Citizens Federation NE (previously known as the Senior Federation) from 1979 to 2019. In that work, he was involved in defending the interests of low use, lower income ratepayers in every MN Power rate case, plus a number of other MN PUC proceedings, as well as some related advocacy in the state legislature. In the last two years, he performed some consulting for CUB on MN Power issues. He participates in the Duluth Climate and Energy Network. He has also long been involved in health care reform and is currently on the legislative committee of Health Care for All MN. He has a BA in History and Sociology from Columbia University, and co-wrote, with Mark Hanna, a book on strategies for social change (published in 1994). An East Coast transplant, he lives in Duluth with his wife Jan.

Dinah Swain, CFRE (she/her) is the Chief Advancement Officer for Coltura, a national environmental nonprofit accelerating the shift from gasoline to cleaner alternatives through policy and culture change. Dinah previously worked for several nonprofits in Minnesota leading comprehensive fundraising strategies. Prior to her nonprofit work, Dinah was a TV news anchor and producer. Dinah earned a BA in Public Policy from Duke University, an MA in Journalism from New York University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Jurisprudence in Environmental Law from Tulane University. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Dinah speaks fluent Japanese. She has lived in and loved St Paul, Minnesota, for 25 years, and has two accomplished young adult daughters.

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Author: Hannah Hoeger

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