Heidi Wiste, a longtime adoption expert, became president of Children’s Home Society of Minnesota (Children’s Home) on August 19, 2021. She was also named associate vice president for Adoption and Foster Care at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS). The two organizations have been partners in Adoption Services since 2012.
It is an incredible honor to step into this role and lead the Adoption Programs at Children’s Home and LSS,” Wiste said. “I’m fueled by my passion for this work, the energy of our incredible adoption team and our collective commitment to our mission to help all children thrive.
Wiste joined Children’s Home in 2001. During her tenure, she has served in almost every area of the organization, including working with children in foster care as well as prospective adoptive and foster families, providing post adoption services, and managing teams that provided permanency services for waiting children in Minnesota and around the world. Wiste most recently led adoption services as senior director for Children’s Home and LSS.
Wiste was adopted from Korea as a child and was raised in a multicultural and multiracial family. She brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to her work supporting vulnerable children here and around the world who need adoption.
I look forward to Heidi taking on the leadership role as President of Children’s Home,” said Lance Novak, Board Chair. “She has been a strong passionate leader and advocate for the children and families we serve. I am excited for Heidi to lead Children’s Home into the future as we continue to serve the community by creating families for children through foster care and adoption.
Wiste holds a master’s degree in Social Work from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Skidmore College. She has continued to enhance her skills and completed the University of Minnesota’s Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program, the Child Trauma Academy’s Certificate Program in Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, and the New York University’s Executive Leadership in the Not-for-Profit Sector program.
Heidi is extraordinarily talented and deeply committed to ensuring that all children have an opportunity to thrive,” said Maureen Warren, LSS Chief Family Services Officer and a former president of Children’s Home. “She brings outstanding personal and professional experience to her new role at Children’s Home and LSS.”
Alexis Oberdorfer Named Vice President and Chief Officer of Community Engagement and Partnerships
Alexis Oberdorfer has been named Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s first Vice President and Chief Officer of Community Engagement and Partnerships. Previously, she served dual roles as President of Children’s Home Society of Minnesota and Associate Vice President for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.
In this new role, Oberdorfer will lead Lutheran Social Service in partnering with other organizations and community leaders to advance new innovations and enterprises that build healthier and more sustainable communities that improve people’s lives.
I am excited to step into this new role,” Oberdorfer said. “I am deeply passionate about serving the diverse communities of Minnesota. I began my career spearheading a community-county partnership and continued to foster partnerships throughout my career. Through this work, it is essential that communities have opportunities to voice their needs and be part of developing the best and most effective solutions. I look forward to being part of how we can engage in new ways to offer our support.”
Oberdorfer is a recognized subject-matter expert in child and family wellbeing who has testified at the Minnesota Legislature and led innovative public/private sector partnerships to further family preservation. She also led and operationalized the partnership and subsequent affiliation between Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Children’s Home Society of Minnesota that began in 2012.
Oberdorfer has served in child welfare in public and private sectors for more than 25 years, including previous positions with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare and has numerous awards for her work advancing child and family wellbeing.
As an adopted person herself, Oberdorfer brings valuable lived experience to her work having been raised in a multi-racial, multi-cultural family. She and her husband have three children, two of whom were adopted as siblings.
Alexis is an exceptionally gifted leader who has deep empathy and compassion for the people we serve,” said Patrick Thueson, CEO of LSS. “She brings extensive experience in developing public and private partnerships that improve people’s lives and we’re thrilled to have her on our executive leadership team. We look forward to all of the new ways she will be part of inspiring hope, changing lives and building community in the years to come.”