Leadership

David McDonald

Executive Director

David McDonald was named Executive Director of World Press Institute in January 2008.

McDonald, who with his family served as a host to WPI Fellows since 1983, is also a practicing attorney with the Schaefer Halleen law firm in Minneapolis. Much of his personal and professional life has been devoted to international interests.

For nearly 10 years, he made numerous trips to Geneva to represent Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund at meetings of the U.N. focusing on environmental human rights. McDonald has traveled extensively to promote this and other causes, and has contributed Op-Ed pieces to newspapers highlighting issues he addressed in India, Ireland and Brazil, among other places. He frequently visited and worked with former WPI Fellows during his travels. In addition to his work for Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, McDonald has served as the Chair of the Finance Committee and Vice Chair of Graywolf Press, one of the nation’s leading non-profit literary publishing houses. An intense interest in poetry led to his earning an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Literature at Bennington College in 2001. Previously, McDonald earned his B.A. from Carleton College, where he majored in Political Science and Urban Studies, and his law degree from New York University School of Law, where he served as Executive Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law.

As WPI’s Executive Director, McDonald is dedicated to promoting and implementing the core international journalist program that has been the organization’s signature program since its inception in 1961. He is also working with WPI’s Board of Directors to build support for programming that addresses changes in journalism, including developing a deeper understanding of transparency in the media, and supporting diversified vehicles for information sharing.

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Zach Mullinax

Zach Mullinax

Program Director

Zach Mullinax has spent over 15 years planning and negotiating music and lecture tours for his clients in the US and abroad. In 2008, Zach launched Creative Speakers Worldwide, a lecture bureau on the forefront of the “alternative programming” genre helping secure publicly ticketed engagements for world leaders, journalists, professional athletes, and military generals. Highlights have included planning legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward’s public lecture events, representing criminal defense attorneys Dean Strang and Jerry Buting (featured in Netflix’s Making a Murderer) for their worldwide “Conversation on Justice” tour, and retired DEA Agents Steve Murphy and Javier Pena (whose book was the basis for Netflix series “Narcos”) for two sold out international tours. Zach’s passionate about his community and has served on multiple city boards, including the Minneapolis Capital Improvement Commission and the Minnesota Committee on Foreign Relations. Zach holds a BS from California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of South Dakota. Zach lives in south Minneapolis with his family.

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Kate Westlund

Kate Westlund

Communications Director
Kate Westlund is a mission-driven communications specialist with extensive experience in the arts, health care, public media, and higher education.

She received her BS in communications with an emphasis in rhetoric from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. She is a former journalist and documentarian, having held several roles at Twin Cities PBS before starting her own consulting firm in 2017. She joined WPI as its Communications Director in 2020.

She loves helping other people and organizations tell their stories, whether it’s for the purpose of winning grants, growing an audience, or simply for entertainment purposes.

In her free time, Kate can be found tending the many plants and animals of her growing hobby farm, serving on the board of directors for the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild, experimenting in her kitchen, or dreaming up her next adventure.

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The policies of WPI are set by its Board of Directors. Click on the names in blue below to read a short bio of that board member.

Dan E. Gahlon

Chair

Retired Vice President, Public Relations and Corporate Communications, 3M Company, St. Paul, Minnesota

Ginny Morris

Vice Chair

Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Hubbard Radio, LLC, St. Paul, Minnesota

Lori Johnson

Vice Chair

Retired Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cargill, Inc., Wayzata, Minnesota

Ron Iori

Treasurer

Principal, Iori Communications, Chicago, Illinois

Susan J. Albright

Secretary

Managing Editor, MinnPost.com, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Claude Erbsen

Retired Vice President and Director of World Services, The Associated Press, New York, New York

James Fallows

National Correspondent, The Atlantic, Washington, DC

Jim Farley

Retired Vice President, News & Programming, WTOP Radio, Washington, DC

Donna Fleming Runyon

Crisis Communications Manager, 3M Company, St. Paul, Minnesota

Nina Fudala

Media and Public Relations Consultant Sydney, Australia

Jose Gonzales

Managing Partner/GCG Advisors, Director/ECG Asset Management, New York, New York

John Hoeschler

Attorney, John G. Hoeschler, P.A., St. Paul, Minnesota

Denise Johnson

Editorial Board Member, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Conrad Kiechel

Executive Director, Global Programming and Events, The Milken Institute, Santa Monica, California

Bruno Lopez

Executive Vice President, Hola Doctor, Inc., Miami, Florida

Lucas Mendes

Journalist, Anchor, Manhattan Connection, GloboNews Channel (Brazil), New York, New York

Howard Morgan

Partner & Senior Managing Director, Argand Partners, LP, New York, New York

Christopher (Kip) Morgan

Director of Audience Development, GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, New York, New York

Kaius Niemi

Senior Editor-in-chief, Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki, Finland

Eric Nilsson

Attorney, Nilsson Midness, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota

John Tunheim

Chief Judge, U.S. District Court (Minnesota), Minneapolis, Minnesota

Wendy Wyatt

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota