MRLF hires Sarah Podenski as new policy director
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, July 29, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS — Sarah Podenski began work July 11 as the new policy director for the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.
She replaces Laura Sayles, who left the MRLF for a job at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
The policy director position, created last year, aims to increase the capacity of the MRLF and its suburban labor councils to monitor actions by city and county government and to develop and advance local policies that promote the growth of good jobs.
Podenski most recently worked as a public policy intern for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
She graduated in May 2011 with a masters degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Podenski grew up in a union household in Rochester, Minnesota. Her father, Tom Podenski, recently retired after 30 years working as a lineman for Rochester Public Utilities. There he worked as a member (and steward) of Local 949 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
“A lot of the time Dad would explain the reason we had the lifestyle we did… because we had unions,” she related.
After graduating in 2005 from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, Podenski became an Americorps volunteer. “I started the month after Hurricane Katrina hit. I spent a significant amount of time in Louisiana and Mississippi doing disaster relief.”
In 2007, Podenski moved to the Twin Cities for a job with Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO. She worked there through the 2008 election, coordinating with national staff and coordinating mobilization of Minnesota members.
After completing graduate school, Podenski said, “I wanted a policy job where I could put my degree to work and I wanted to get back to the labor movement.”
Podenski lives in south Minneapolis with her fiancé Jake Sinderbrand, who she met when both worked at Working America.
Contact MRLF policy director Sarah Podenski at 612-379-4206 ext. 105 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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