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New Board Members 2024

Reach Out and Read Minnesota Welcomes Five Members to Board of Directors

January 23rd, 2024

Reach Out and Read Minnesota is thrilled to announce the appointment of five new members of our board of directors. This new cohort, who officially started January 1st, 2024, have diverse and relevant professional experience which will help our organization to expand our our early learning program's impact at clinics across the state. 

The Reach Out and Read Minnesota board, currently composed of 13 members, serve in a volunteer capacity to helm the governance of the organization, and participate in committees, such as the fundraising and finance committees, in order to help the organization grow sustainably and with equity. You can review our full list of active board members here

Read more about each of our new board members below


  • Tricia Dege
    Tricia Dege

    Title: Founder & CEO at Mom Mastermind

    Experience: For more than 25 years, Tricia worked with healthcare businesses to improve their operational and financial performance, most recently as Chief Financial Officer for a health system in Minnesota. In 2021, she founded a women’s leadership development company, helping businesses develop and retain talented working mothers, to grow their leadership pipeline and create more executive women leaders.

    On joining the board: "I’m delighted to offer my time and talents to Reach out and Read because I’ve seen firsthand the joy that reading holds for children and families. Bedtime was always a special time when my girls were young, I have several books I think I could still recite from memory! I am excited to join the Board and collaborate to assure that all families have access to books for simple joy and lifetime impact."

  • John C Markham, JD
    John C Markham, JD

    Title: Lawyer, Contracting and Vendor Coordinator with Minnesota Department of Information Technology

    Experience: John has been a practicing attorney for over 10 years specializing in contract, business, and employment law. He is currently an adjunct professor with the University of St. Thomas College of Law.

    On joining the board: "Having welcomed my own child within the last year, the organization’s work is particularly important to me. I am immensely proud to help further their mission of improving literacy, development, and outcomes for the children of Minnesota."

  • Mike Mercer, MD
    Mike Mercer, MD

    Title: Physician and faculty, United Family Physicians and United Family Medicine Residency Program

    Experience: Dr. Mercer has been a full-time family physician at Allina Health's United Family Physicians in downtown St Paul, MN, and a faculty member of our Family Medicine Residency Program since 1999. He practices outpatient and inpatient family medicine including obstetrics and pediatric care. He is involved in the education of 21 family medicine residents, 7 of whom graduate each year.

    On joining the board: "I'm proud to say that I have helped keep our Reach Out and Read program going strong since 2008. I would like to help spread the benefits of this program to other Family Medicine clinics across the state."

  • Liza Soto De Cichowicz, MBA, CMA
    Liza Soto De Cichowicz, MBA, CMA

    Title: Financial Executive, Life Floor

    Experience: Liza works for Life Floor, a manufacturer of safety surfacing on a mission to make all aquatic spaces safe and beautiful. Liza is a Financial Executive and enjoys developing and implementing new initiatives and processes but more importantly she loves working for a mission-driven company with a high-performing team that enjoys what they do.

    On joining the board: "When I became a parent, I did a lot of research on everything children related from what to feed them to early childhood development and I did find that reading was key not only for brain development but for forming connections with caregivers. I started reading to my children since day one and enjoyed it so much; we still have the first books we read and we still read every night. I'm excited to be part of an organization providing this opportunities for families."

  • Leann West, MD
    Leann West, MD

    Title: Pediatrician, HealthPartners/Park Nicollet

    Experience: Dr. West has been practicing pediatric medicine in a variety of settings for 30 years.

    On joining the board: "I have always loved books and the opportunity to share that joy with children while educating their caregivers on the benefits of reading books to their children has been a highlight of my career. I want do what I can to allow every healthcare provider for children to also participate in Reach Out and Read, so every child can reap those benefits."

About Reach Out and Read Minnesota:

Reach Out and Read Minnesota partners with clinics across the state to share the brain-building power of books with young children during and their families their routine pediatric care. We are an independent 501(c)3 affiliate of the national Reach Out and Read network. Learn more about our work here.

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