Nurses elect new president, board of directors to continue fight for patients before profits


Contact:  Amber Smigiel
(c) 651-202-0845
amber.smigiel@mnnurses.orgLauren Bloomquist
(c) 651-376-9709

Chris Rubesch, RN, elected MNA president with a call to educate, engage and empower nurses  

Nurses thank outgoing president Mary C. Turner, RN for her years of service 

(St. Paul) – November 22, 2023 – Today, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) announced the election of Chris Rubesch, RN, from Essentia-Duluth as the new president of MNA. Rubesch will take office on January 1, 2024, with a newly elected Board of Directors. Rubesch will assume the presidency of MNA from Mary C. Turner, RN, who has served the limit in the position since she was first elected in 2015.

“I thank my fellow nurses for the trust they have placed in me to carry our mission forward,” said Chris Rubesch, RN, incoming MNA President. “The corporate policies pushed by our hospital CEOs are hurting nurses and patients at the bedside, driving nurses out of the profession, increasing prices, and limiting access for those in need of care. I am ready to work to educate, engage and empower nurses for the fight ahead against corporate greed in our healthcare system.”

MNA elections took place this fall, with balloting beginning in October and concluding this past week for the board of directors and top leadership positions, as well as commissions and committees concerning governmental affairs, nursing practice and education, elections and other MNA issue areas.

“Representing our MNA nurses for the past eight years has been the honor of a lifetime,” said Mary C. Turner, RN, outgoing MNA President. “From a historic statewide strike to important gains for nurses and patients in our contracts and at the Capitol, I am so proud of the work we have done together. Rest assured; I stand side by side with all our nurses in the fight ahead to put patients before profits in our hospitals.”

MNA members elected to the Board of Directors

Executive Board Members
Chris Rubesch, RN, Essentia-Duluth (President); Shiori Konda-Muhammad, RN, North Memorial (1st Vice President); Melisa Koll, RN, Children’s Hospital – St. Paul (2nd Vice President); Becky Nelson, RN, Allina Abbott Northwestern (Secretary); Jill Lebrun, RN, M Health Fairview Riverside (Treasurer)

Tamra Andersen, RN, North Memorial; Kevin Hawn, RN, Allina United Hospital; Alexia Hitchings, RN, Allina Abbott Northwestern; Brittany Livaccari, RN, Allina United Hospital; Meghan Matteson, RN, M Health Fairview Riverside; Sydney Pederson, RN, M Health Fairview Riverside; Kristy Ricks, RN, M Health Fairview Southdale; Michelle Sorensen, RN, Owatonna Hospital; Venessa Soldo-Jones, RN, Allina Mercy Hospital; Jayme Wicklund, RN, Children’s Hospital – St. Paul;  Bernadine Engeldorf, RNBS, Retired (non-collective bargaining)

Among those selected by nurses for additional MNA bodies, Turner was elected to serve as a member of the union’s Governmental Affairs Commission.

About Chris Rubesch, RN, New MNA President  

Rubesch works as a cardiac nurse at Essentia Twin Ports in Duluth. Rubesch became a steward from the start, eight years ago. Rubesch served as a member of the MNA negotiating team in 2019 and 2022 as nurses fought for fair contracts to put patients before profits. Rubesch became a member of the MNA Board of Directors in 2020 and most recently served as MNA’s First Vice President.

In addition to his roles with MNA, Rubesch serves on the Northeast Area Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and the Minnesota AFL-CIO State Executive Board and enjoys helping MNA nurses connect with and support fellow union members in other unions.

Before becoming a registered nurse, Rubesch worked in the non-profit sector on community organizing and grant writing. Rubesch lives in Duluth with his family. Outside of nursing and union organizing, Rubesch enjoys running, skiing, biking and beekeeping.

About Mary C. Turner, RN, Outgoing MNA President 

Mary C. Turner, RN, was elected Minnesota Nurses Association President in 2015, and has served the limit of two four-year terms in the position, from 2016 through 2023. Turner is an ICU nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. She previously worked at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis for 10 years.

In 2022, Turner led 15,000 nurses through one of the largest private-sector nurses’ strikes in United States history that helped win groundbreaking contract language and wage increases for nurses in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Turner worked in the COVID ICU at North Memorial. In 2021, she was selected by President Biden to serve as the only frontline healthcare worker on his COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Turner served on National Nurses United’s Joint Nursing Commission from 2011 to 2016. She now serves as a Vice President of National Nurses United.

Turner has served in a variety of leadership roles at MNA, starting as a steward and serving on North Memorial’s contract bargaining team. She has also served on MNA’s Board of Directors and as chairperson of MNA’s Governmental Affairs Commission. Turner has been a consistent advocate at the Minnesota State Capitol for issues affecting nurses and other frontline workers.

She serves on the board of Isuroon, which provides empowerment, culturally sensitive health education, and advocacy for Somali women. In 2023, Turner was selected by the Minnesota Legislature to serve on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, the governing body for the university system.

She has received two of MNA’s highest awards: the President’s Award and the Political Activist Award.