About Us 2

Our Staff

Carissa Carroll    Founder and Executive Director   Carissa graduated from Bethel University and then earned a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota. She taught at the elementary and collegiate levels before an unexpected diagnosis and a sweet baby boy named Jack, changed her heart and passion. After an abrupt and assumptive  diagnosis experience  after the birth of their son, 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 opportunities to connect within the community. Carissa spends her days presenting to medical professionals about how to deliver the diagnosis without bias, working with the Jack's Basket board to further the mission, connecting with volunteers who deliver baskets,  blogging , speaking to various groups, and meeting with potential donors.

Carissa Carroll

Founder and Executive Director

Carissa graduated from Bethel University and then earned a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota. She taught at the elementary and collegiate levels before an unexpected diagnosis and a sweet baby boy named Jack, changed her heart and passion. After an abrupt and assumptive diagnosis experience after the birth of their son, 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 opportunities to connect within the community. Carissa spends her days presenting to medical professionals about how to deliver the diagnosis without bias, working with the Jack's Basket board to further the mission, connecting with volunteers who deliver baskets, blogging, speaking to various groups, and meeting with potential donors.

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 brings her passion for our mission and a background in corporate marketing to a variety of communications, events, and development duties and projects at Jack’s Basket. 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 brings her passion for our mission and a background in corporate marketing to a variety of communications, events, and development duties and projects at Jack’s Basket. 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 Jason and their 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 Jason and their three sons.

Sam Lacy

Sam Lacy

Michael Prince

Michael Prince

Finance Squad

Larry Persuitti, Treasurer   We will fix spacing and image shape  Jack’s Basket has been a big part of Larry’s family since the birth of Jack. But my heart, and involvement, moved to a different level, with the birth of our granddaughter Kate. I wanted and needed to help. My background in finance and the needs that Carissa was searching for in the early stages of the formation of Jack’s Basket.

Larry Persuitti, Treasurer

We will fix spacing and image shape

Jack’s Basket has been a big part of Larry’s family since the birth of Jack. But my heart, and involvement, moved to a different level, with the birth of our granddaughter Kate. I wanted and needed to help. My background in finance and the needs that Carissa was searching for in the early stages of the formation of Jack’s Basket.

Greg Stalsberg   Greg Stalsberg received his B.A. in Finance from the University of St. Thomas, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He is 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 also serves as a Board Member for Jack’s Basket, a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate babies born with Down syndrome and educate medical providers on how to discuss the diagnosis in an unbiased way in hopes that the birth of a child with Down syndrome is celebrated like any other. 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 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 also serves as a Board Member for Jack’s Basket, a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate babies born with Down syndrome and educate medical providers on how to discuss the diagnosis in an unbiased way in hopes that the birth of a child with Down syndrome is celebrated like any other. Greg resides in North Oaks, MN with his wife, Erin, and three children, McKenna, Brynn, and Callan.

Ryan Theune

Ryan Theune

Healthcare Squad

 
Catherine Erickson

Catherine Erickson

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 and 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 has served on the board since the inception of Jack’s Basket and participates as a member of the Medical Squad. She is invested in changing families’ stories by improving clinician communication about Down syndrome. She regularly facilitates medical student, medical resident, and pediatric nurse practitioner student lectures on best practice of sharing unexpected news, with a Down syndrome diagnosis as the framework for teaching. 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 and 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 has served on the board since the inception of Jack’s Basket and participates as a member of the Medical Squad. She is invested in changing families’ stories by improving clinician communication about Down syndrome. She regularly facilitates medical student, medical resident, and pediatric nurse practitioner student lectures on best practice of sharing unexpected news, with a Down syndrome diagnosis as the framework for teaching. Rebecca lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two daughters.

Dr. Michael Pitt   Dr. Michael is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota where he works as a pediatric hospitalist - taking care of children who are hospitalized - 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 including the use of simulation to prepare for emotional challenges, using games and social media in medical education, and leveraging positive peer pressure for motivation. 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. Dr. Pitt is core faculty in the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication and leads workshops on physician communication. He 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. He is a member of the Medical Squad on the Board of Directors at Jack's Basket, where he helps support the mission of improving provider communication about Down syndrome.

Dr. Michael Pitt

Dr. Michael is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota where he works as a pediatric hospitalist - taking care of children who are hospitalized - 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 including the use of simulation to prepare for emotional challenges, using games and social media in medical education, and leveraging positive peer pressure for motivation. 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. Dr. Pitt is core faculty in the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication and leads workshops on physician communication. He 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. He is a member of the Medical Squad on the Board of Directors at Jack's Basket, where he helps support the mission of improving provider communication about Down syndrome.