Staff Leadership

Karla Benson Rutten

St. Paul Executive Director

Karla Benson Rutten is the Executive Director of Jeremiah Program’s St. Paul campus. She has over 20 years of experience leading nonprofit organizations, higher education initiatives, and strategic organizational change rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a facilitator, trainer, and consultant, Karla works proactively and collaboratively with people, organizations, and communities to ensure their working and living environments are inclusive, equitable, safe, welcoming, and culturally affirming.

Prior to joining the Jeremiah Program, Karla served for three years as the Vice President of Community Engagement at Girl Scouts River Valleys, where she fostered relationships between communities of color and community-based organizations throughout Minnesota and created new and innovative pathways to Girl Scouting for girls of color. Karla also worked at Macalester College for 15 years as the founding director of Macalester’s Lealtad-Suzuki Center and as the first Title IX Coordinator and Director of Equity. An entrepreneur, Karla is the founder of Benson Rutten Innovations (BRI), a coaching, consulting, and training firm focused on strategic leadership development in diversity, equity, and inclusion. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Iowa State University.