About Us

Our Staff

Carissa Carroll    Founder and Executive Director   Carissa, M.Ed., is an alumna of Bethel University and the University of Minnesota. She taught at elementary and collegiate levels before a sweet baby boy named Jack changed her heart and passion. After an abrupt and assumptive  diagnosis experience , Carissa felt led to start Jack's Basket. She wanted to make a change for future parents, ensuring that they felt their child was a reason to celebrate and have opportunities to connect within the community. Carissa presents to medical professionals about how to deliver the diagnosis without bias, works with the Jack's Basket board to further the mission, and connects with volunteers who deliver baskets.

Carissa Carroll

Founder and Executive Director

Carissa, M.Ed., is an alumna of Bethel University and the University of Minnesota. She taught at elementary and collegiate levels before a sweet baby boy named Jack changed her heart and passion. After an abrupt and assumptive diagnosis experience, Carissa felt led to start Jack's Basket. She wanted to make a change for future parents, ensuring that they felt their child was a reason to celebrate and have opportunities to connect within the community. Carissa presents to medical professionals about how to deliver the diagnosis without bias, works with the Jack's Basket board to further the mission, and connects with volunteers who deliver baskets.

Marie J. Harvat    Operations Manager   Marie's professional background spans libraries, orchestras, running events, tea shops, academia, non-profits, and e-commerce. She is passionate about applying her diverse domain experiences to supporting Jack's Basket's strategic, process, and organizational needs. Her favorite little one with Down syndrome to cheer about is her niece, who has already grown up to a confident kindergartener. When not playing proud auntie to Quinn and her brother, Gibson, Marie enjoys gardening, hiking, and cooking.

Marie J. Harvat

Operations Manager

Marie's professional background spans libraries, orchestras, running events, tea shops, academia, non-profits, and e-commerce. She is passionate about applying her diverse domain experiences to supporting Jack's Basket's strategic, process, and organizational needs. Her favorite little one with Down syndrome to cheer about is her niece, who has already grown up to a confident kindergartener. When not playing proud auntie to Quinn and her brother, Gibson, Marie enjoys gardening, hiking, and cooking.

Julie Knipp    Marketing and Development   Julie graduated from Bethel University with her B.A. in Business Marketing. She then worked in various marketing roles including over eleven years at General Mills. Currently at Jack’s Basket, Julie brings her passion for our mission and her background in corporate marketing to a variety of communications, events, and development duties and projects. She juggles time in the office and time at home with her family as well as supporting her wider community - all with a smile and a willingness to embrace challenges and learning new things.

Julie Knipp

Marketing and Development

Julie graduated from Bethel University with her B.A. in Business Marketing. She then worked in various marketing roles including over eleven years at General Mills. Currently at Jack’s Basket, Julie brings her passion for our mission and her background in corporate marketing to a variety of communications, events, and development duties and projects. She juggles time in the office and time at home with her family as well as supporting her wider community - all with a smile and a willingness to embrace challenges and learning new things.

Our Board

Executive Squad

Julie Hetland-   Chairperson   Julie started her career with Northwestern Mutual in 2001 as a college intern and has grown her business to support a team of five. Julie was named as one of 2012’s Top Women in Finance by Finance & Commerce, and most recently received her agency’s Jack Brown award recognizing her strong commitment to her community, to the financial services industry, and leadership as she gives back to her agency and the company as a whole. Julie lives in Plymouth with her husband and three sons.

Julie Hetland- Chairperson

Julie started her career with Northwestern Mutual in 2001 as a college intern and has grown her business to support a team of five. Julie was named as one of 2012’s Top Women in Finance by Finance & Commerce, and most recently received her agency’s Jack Brown award recognizing her strong commitment to her community, to the financial services industry, and leadership as she gives back to her agency and the company as a whole. Julie lives in Plymouth with her husband and three sons.

Michael Prince-   Vice Chairperson   Michael is a Finance and Corporate Development professional with nearly a decade of Finance, Strategy and Corporate Development experience across multiple industries. Trained in nearly all finance functions at a large company (General Mills), invested in early stage tech companies (Cue Ball Capital) and led finance and business development for a startup (Lighter). Outside of work, he spends most of his time with family and friends. He is often playing basketball, golfing, and traveling.

Michael Prince- Vice Chairperson

Michael is a Finance and Corporate Development professional with nearly a decade of Finance, Strategy and Corporate Development experience across multiple industries. Trained in nearly all finance functions at a large company (General Mills), invested in early stage tech companies (Cue Ball Capital) and led finance and business development for a startup (Lighter). Outside of work, he spends most of his time with family and friends. He is often playing basketball, golfing, and traveling.

Dre Barthel   Dre is a graduate of Bethel University with a degree in Social Work. After years of social services and transitioning into the world of sales and entrepreneurship, is now the owner and creative director of  Covey . Dre is also an event producer and has launched a successful women's event series the  Momboss 5k.  She serves as a business mentor, is on the event committee board for Bethel Biz, and leads worship at Church of the Open Door. Dre is married to her college sweetheart and a mother to two boys.

Dre Barthel

Dre is a graduate of Bethel University with a degree in Social Work. After years of social services and transitioning into the world of sales and entrepreneurship, is now the owner and creative director of Covey. Dre is also an event producer and has launched a successful women's event series the Momboss 5k. She serves as a business mentor, is on the event committee board for Bethel Biz, and leads worship at Church of the Open Door. Dre is married to her college sweetheart and a mother to two boys.

Sam Lacy   Sam is a litigator at Jones Day where he represents clients in complex commercial matters in federal and state courts. Through his pro bono practice, Sam also represents immigrants in offensive and defensive asylum proceedings, and volunteers with the Children’s Law Center advocating for minors in welfare and safety actions. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania writing a dissertation that analyzes how biblical and legal interpretation worked symbiotically to justify lynching in the Jim Crow South. When not working, Sam runs, gives sermons, spends time with his wife and four children.

Sam Lacy

Sam is a litigator at Jones Day where he represents clients in complex commercial matters in federal and state courts. Through his pro bono practice, Sam also represents immigrants in offensive and defensive asylum proceedings, and volunteers with the Children’s Law Center advocating for minors in welfare and safety actions. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania writing a dissertation that analyzes how biblical and legal interpretation worked symbiotically to justify lynching in the Jim Crow South. When not working, Sam runs, gives sermons, spends time with his wife and four children.

Finance Squad

Larry Persuitti-   Treasurer   After receiving his MBA from Eastern New Mexico University, Larry spent forty years in a variety of Accounting and Finance positions. Larry has been involved with Jack’s Basket since the beginning. However, his heart, and involvement, moved to a different level, with the birth of his granddaughter Kate, who was born with Down syndrome. His background in finance and the needs that Carissa was searching for in the early stages of the formation of Jack’s Basket seemed to bring the two together. Larry says it has been an incredible run since then.

Larry Persuitti- Treasurer

After receiving his MBA from Eastern New Mexico University, Larry spent forty years in a variety of Accounting and Finance positions. Larry has been involved with Jack’s Basket since the beginning. However, his heart, and involvement, moved to a different level, with the birth of his granddaughter Kate, who was born with Down syndrome. His background in finance and the needs that Carissa was searching for in the early stages of the formation of Jack’s Basket seemed to bring the two together. Larry says it has been an incredible run since then.

Susan Corcoran   Susan is currently the Vice President and Controller of OptumInsight, a segment of UnitedHealth Group. Prior to her time at UnitedHealth Group, Susan spent nearly 10 years at Deloitte & Touche, in both the Minneapolis and London offices. Susan earned her B.A in Accounting from Bethel University and is an inactive CPA in Minnesota. Outside of work, Susan enjoys traveling with her husband, Patrick and their two sons, Hakan and Hans, and spending time at their cabin in Wisconsin.

Susan Corcoran

Susan is currently the Vice President and Controller of OptumInsight, a segment of UnitedHealth Group. Prior to her time at UnitedHealth Group, Susan spent nearly 10 years at Deloitte & Touche, in both the Minneapolis and London offices. Susan earned her B.A in Accounting from Bethel University and is an inactive CPA in Minnesota. Outside of work, Susan enjoys traveling with her husband, Patrick and their two sons, Hakan and Hans, and spending time at their cabin in Wisconsin.

Greg Stalsberg   Greg Stalsberg received his B.A. in Finance from the University of St. Thomas, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He is currently a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charterholder. Outside of the investment industry, Greg is a longstanding volunteer with Young Life, a non-profit youth ministry organization. He currently serves as Committee Chair for Young Life’s Northern Twin Cities division. Greg resides in North Oaks, MN with his wife, Erin, and three children, McKenna, Brynn, and Callan.

Greg Stalsberg

Greg Stalsberg received his B.A. in Finance from the University of St. Thomas, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He is currently a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charterholder. Outside of the investment industry, Greg is a longstanding volunteer with Young Life, a non-profit youth ministry organization. He currently serves as Committee Chair for Young Life’s Northern Twin Cities division. Greg resides in North Oaks, MN with his wife, Erin, and three children, McKenna, Brynn, and Callan.

Ryan Theune   Ryan is currently a Director with BlackRock. Previously, he’s worked within financial services such as Strong Investments, Wells Fargo Institutional Trust Services, and Wells Fargo Asset Management. Ryan’s connection with Jack’s Basket originated when he met Carissa and Jack. Since that point, and as Jack’s Basket began, his family has served as parent volunteers, delivering baskets and connecting with families in celebration and support. Outside of work, Ryan and his wife keep themselves busy with their two boys and traveling anytime they can.

Ryan Theune

Ryan is currently a Director with BlackRock. Previously, he’s worked within financial services such as Strong Investments, Wells Fargo Institutional Trust Services, and Wells Fargo Asset Management. Ryan’s connection with Jack’s Basket originated when he met Carissa and Jack. Since that point, and as Jack’s Basket began, his family has served as parent volunteers, delivering baskets and connecting with families in celebration and support. Outside of work, Ryan and his wife keep themselves busy with their two boys and traveling anytime they can.

Healthcare Squad

Catherine Erickson   Catherine has a lengthy career in the healthcare field, with many years as a Newborn ICU nurse clinician and clinical head nurse. She has a special interest in healthcare transitions, with emphasis on transition of children with special needs from pediatric to adult healthcare. Catherine has prior leadership roles on Ramsey County’s Early Intervention Interagency Committee, board of the Down Syndrome Assoc of MN and the Leadership Board of the American Lung Assoc in MN. Outside of work, Catherine spends time with her daughter who is 28 and has Down syndrome, is a big baseball fan, hangs out at Lake Pepin in the summer, and coaches Special Olympics golf.

Catherine Erickson

Catherine has a lengthy career in the healthcare field, with many years as a Newborn ICU nurse clinician and clinical head nurse. She has a special interest in healthcare transitions, with emphasis on transition of children with special needs from pediatric to adult healthcare. Catherine has prior leadership roles on Ramsey County’s Early Intervention Interagency Committee, board of the Down Syndrome Assoc of MN and the Leadership Board of the American Lung Assoc in MN. Outside of work, Catherine spends time with her daughter who is 28 and has Down syndrome, is a big baseball fan, hangs out at Lake Pepin in the summer, and coaches Special Olympics golf.

Rebecca Olson   Rebecca is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a passion for caring for children with Down syndrome. She works at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis and St. Paul in the Genomic Medicine division. She is the lead clinician in the Down Syndrome Clinic, where she provides medical evaluations and recommendations for the care of infants, children, and adolescents with Down syndrome. She often has the pleasure of meeting a family when their child is an infant and makes frequent requests for a Jack’s Basket. Throughout Rebecca’s career, she has had the privilege of providing care to over 650 children with Down syndrome from birth to age 18. Rebecca lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two daughters.

Rebecca Olson

Rebecca is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a passion for caring for children with Down syndrome. She works at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis and St. Paul in the Genomic Medicine division. She is the lead clinician in the Down Syndrome Clinic, where she provides medical evaluations and recommendations for the care of infants, children, and adolescents with Down syndrome. She often has the pleasure of meeting a family when their child is an infant and makes frequent requests for a Jack’s Basket. Throughout Rebecca’s career, she has had the privilege of providing care to over 650 children with Down syndrome from birth to age 18. Rebecca lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two daughters.

Dr. Michael Pitt   Dr. Michael Pitt is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota where he works as a pediatric hospitalist and as an Associate Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Pitt has won multiple awards for teaching, and has overseen dozens of research projects on medical education. He is an international expert on global health education, and co-created the SUGARPREP global health curriculum ( sugarprep.org ) which is used at over one hundred institutions worldwide. On the side, Dr. Pitt is also a professional magician, and has taught thousands of pediatricians across the country how to leverage skills used by magicians for centuries to improve bedside rapport with patients.

Dr. Michael Pitt

Dr. Michael Pitt is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota where he works as a pediatric hospitalist and as an Associate Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Pitt has won multiple awards for teaching, and has overseen dozens of research projects on medical education. He is an international expert on global health education, and co-created the SUGARPREP global health curriculum (sugarprep.org) which is used at over one hundred institutions worldwide. On the side, Dr. Pitt is also a professional magician, and has taught thousands of pediatricians across the country how to leverage skills used by magicians for centuries to improve bedside rapport with patients.