Sareen Dunleavy Keenan Program Officer, Career Academies
Inspiration: “Bring joy to the world through disobedience.” — Travis Jones
What working in this community means to me: “I have committed to a daily practice of listening to the community I live, work, and raise my family in. I do this to ensure there is intentionality and authenticity in the work I am entrusted to carry forward and build in partnership with community. This work must fundamentally change not only what we try, but everything that we do, to create a different tomorrow. I am committed to the work of dismantling systems of oppression and supporting leaders from marginalized communities to take their place in leadership roles.”
Sareen leads the Career Academies team at Greater Twin Cities United Way. This is a restricted portfolio of work that focuses on wealth-building for individuals in the community. In a new way of working for United Way, this blend of funding and technical assistance allows partners in the portfolio to amplify the excellent work they are doing and stay focused on what is most beneficial for students and families. The work Sareen and team lead in Career Academies is focused on systems disruption, ensuring all students leave their educational experience with a family-sustaining position with opportunities to be retained and promoted.
Prior to joining United Way, Sareen led career and technical education work at MCTC. She also founded Heartwood Montessori, a nonprofit early childhood center focused on equitable access to quality childcare and livable wage jobs for employees. Sareen holds a master’s degree in educational administration and undergraduate degrees in the sciences. She has also worked for over 20 years supporting individuals with disabilities in the Twin Cities.
Sareen serves as a girl scout leader for a queer inclusive scouting troop, focused on camping and travel. She is an active advocate for queer and trans youth, both in schools and in out-of-school programming. Sareen is also a competitive broomball player, traveling internationally to represent team USA. She is a partner and proud mother of four kids, two dogs, and a bearded dragon.