More About Angela Conley

My Beginnings 

I was born and raised on the Southside of Minneapolis.  For the first 11 years of my life I lived in Southwest Minneapolis close to Lake Bde Maka Ska where I taught myself to swim.  I am the youngest of three daughters born to a mother and father who were hard, union workers in the labor industry.  Watching my parents’ dedication to hard work instilled in me, at a young age, a strong work ethic which is still embedded within me.  Around the age of 12 my family and I moved East of 35W into the Phillips neighborhood and, since then, I have lived in the 4th district.  Some of my fondest memories include watching the fireworks with friends at Powderhorn Park, walking my children around Lake Nokomis, swimming in Lake Hiawatha and viewing the fall colors along the Mississippi River.  The Southside of Minneapolis has always been and continues to be my heart and my home.

My career in public service began almost 20 years ago in 1999 in a very non-traditional way.  My first encounter with public service, the start of my career as I see it, began as an applicant for county cash and food assistance.  At the time, I was an under-employed single mother of one and expecting another.  Applying for and eventually receiving public assistance allowed me to see how the system works.  The application process was daunting, the experience was oppressive and confusing.  Navigating this system was difficult for me and I imagine other families and individuals found it difficult as well.  In fact, I hear stories from participants now that echo my own experiences.  Once stable, I began working as a Financial Worker at Hennepin County Human Services in 2001.  It was important to me that I work on the other side, using my own experience to help families.  What has kept me in public service since then is the importance of changing systems at the macro level in ways that are person-first and seamless for families.  I’ve worked at both the state and local levels of government within human services in pursuit of the highest outcomes for families and individuals.

Career, Volunteerism & Community Service

While working in public service, I completed my undergraduate degree in Social Work from St. Catherine University.  My motivation for studying social work was witnessing the needs of my community and to work for society to make it better which is the foundation of social work practice.  The most important thing that I learned during my studies is that there are people in our neighborhoods who are one paycheck away from homelessness, one sick day away from unemployment and asking myself what is it that we, servants of the public, can do, are doing and are not doing to advance key principles of social justice advocacy? My practicum experience included case management and advocacy for people experiencing homelessness, teaching literacy to newly-arrived immigrants and assisting in visitation for non-custodial parents and their children.  I received my Master’s degree in Public Administration from Hamline University.  What I found from my studies is that, with a social work and social justice background, I was now capable of looking at government operations and administration through a lens that focuses on the root of issues that directly affect the people that public administrators and public servants are working for.  

Currently, I am an appointed member of Hennepin County’s Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council.  I work as the Minnesota Family Investment Program Operations Coordinator which allows me to work with multiple community agencies on employment outcomes for people accessing our services.  This work allows me to look at adult mental health through the lens of employment as a tool for wellness and a key connection to community for people living with mental illness.  As part of this council I am able to work with my peers, providers and consumers on identifying needs that have gone unmet in service delivery.  Our council prioritizes these needs for consideration in the County Board’s proposed budget and advocates on behalf of adults who live with mental illness and their families.  For the last year I have also served on Hennepin County’s Continuum of Care Employment and Income Committee which allows me to work collaboratively with partners to find ways to integrate employment and housing for youth, individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

My Home & Family

I am renting my home and raising my family in the historic Bryant neighborhood in South Minneapolis.  A beautifully rich and diverse community which is home to the first integrated homes in Minneapolis and, as such, my neighborhood received historic designation status by our City Council in 2017.  I am proud to serve as the President of Bryant Neighborhood Organization where I can listen to my neighbors, build community and take the lead on neighborhood priorities. I am a mom to a recent graduate of Washburn High School who has been in Minneapolis’ Fire Explorers program for the past year.  My oldest daughter is in her senior year at Washburn and is an incredible artist who I will soon be sending off to college as she pursues her dream of working in the animation industry.  My two youngest children are my 5 year old who just started Kindergarten and my brilliant 3 year old son who is on the Autism Spectrum and regularly shocks us with his rapidly increasing abilities.  As you can probably tell, I am a very busy mommy.  We enjoy family movie nights, working in our yard, playing at Phelps Park and just relaxing in our home with our big cats Maximus and Jacob.

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