Regional Director of Programs - Mary Burleson
Mary grew up in Eaton Rapids, Michigan and is an alumni of the YMCA Michigan Youth in Government program, where she took part in the legislative program area and attended the Conference on National Affairs. Mary has volunteered with the program since 2005 and served as Chair of the Alumni Association from 2011-2013.
Mary attended Northern Michigan University and Michigan State University. In college she was Vice Chair of the student government and participated in marching band as part of the colorguard section. She graduated with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science and a minor in Spanish from MSU, along with a secondary education certification, in 2010. Mary received her MA in Teaching and Curriculum from MSU in 2014.
Mary has a range of educational experience teaching high school social studies at Everett High School, Mason High School and Michigan Virtual. She also taught middle school social studies in Kalamazoo Public Schools. While teaching in Kalamazoo, she created a middle school MYIG delegation and brought her students to the Lansing Conference for several years. Currently she is a colorguard coach for Eaton Rapids and Reading High Schools.
Regional Director of Strategy - Jeff Litten
Jeff grew up in Lake Orion, Michigan and is an alumni of the YMCA Michigan Youth in Government program, where he took part in the National Issues Forum and attended the Conference on National Affairs. Jeff has volunteered with the program since 2013 and served as Chair of the Alumni Association from 2017-2019.
Jeff attended Michigan State University, where he graduated with a BA in Economics, Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, as well as Theatre in 2018. While in college, he was a Resident Assistant, Treasurer of the James Madison College Student Senate and Chair of the MSU College Republicans.
Jeff has a range of political experience working on campaigns, as a legislative assistant, as a press assistant, and leading ballot initiatives. He also has an extensive background in fundraising.
Outreach Coordinator - Nicole Richard
Nicole grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Detroit Public Schools. Nicole is a graduate of Ferris State University with a B.S. in Marketing in 2003 and also received her Master of Business Administration (M.B.A). She is also a member and served as Vice-President of the national business organization, Delta Sigma Pi while in college.
Nicole has a lengthy career in education, beginning with teaching English at Cherry Hill School of Performing Arts in Inkster, MI. Tutoring and teaching students is a passion for Nicole, as she likes to see youth succeed in life.
Nicole also led the Metro Youth YMCA as the Executive Director managing youth career, college-prep, and enrichment programs. Her dedication to youth development landed her several other roles and volunteer opportunities in which she has been able to see over 1,000 young adults pass through programs that she managed or created.