Pathways Staff

Erika Backberg (she/her), Executive Director

A St. Paul native, Erika spent the last 20 years traveling the globe designing social impact solutions and strategies with public and private sector organizations. Before joining Pathways, she was the Chief Social Impact Officer at Kresser Institute for Functional Medicine. Additionally, she was the Principal of a creative solutions consultancy, a research consultant for state and federal legal teams, held the role of Director of Sustainable Business & Donations for Los Angeles-based EcoSet Consulting — a company that implements zero-waste practices for international film productions, and served as the Youth Outreach Coordinator for Saint Paul Neighborhood Network. Erika brings a holistic lens, a tireless passion, and an open heart as she welcomes everyone into the Pathways community.  

“Pathways is a breath of fresh air, and I am honored to contribute to this impactful organization at the forefront of both the health equity and holistic health movements.”
{Email: erikabackberg@pathwaysmpls.org}

Sarah France Ullmer (she/her), Program Manager

Originally from Colorado and a graduate of Macalester College Sarah has spent the past two decades working in various programming and management roles in education focused nonprofits in Minnesota including YouthCARE/Camp Sunrise, National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) and Minnesota Alliance With Youth.  In addition Sarah is a practicing massage therapist trained at Northwestern Health Sciences University, certified Life Coach and martial artist.  Sarah is excited about the opportunity to weave together her experiences as a non-profit professional and a body work practitioner to support the Pathways community. {Email: sarah@pathwaysmpls.org}

Emerson Smith (he/him), Office Manager

Raised in the Greater Metro Detroit area, Emerson spent four years in Los Angeles after graduating from Oakland University. There, he built his foundation in operations and administration at the fitness brand POUND Rockout Workout, as well as the online content production company Rogue Rocket, before setting his sights back to the Midwest. Since moving to the Twin Cities in early 2021, Emerson has spent the past year managing the calendar at Kemmetmueller Photography, perfectly prepping him for the task of maintaining Pathway’s schedule and daily operations. He’s eager to plant his roots in Minneapolis and to support and ingratiate himself into the beautiful and eclectic community here. In his spare time, he enjoys writing prose and music, and playing tabletop role-playing games with his friends. {Email: emerson@pathwaysmpls.org}