The Rural Assembly Team

Whitney Kimball Coe is the director of National Programs at the Center for Rural Strategies. In that role, she leads the Rural Assembly, a nationwide movement striving to build better policy and more opportunity for rural communities across the country. As an organizer, speaker, moderator, and writer, Whitney has shared her perspectives on community and civic courage with audiences around the world. She has been featured on stage at the Aspen Ideas Festival and the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit, and as a guest on the radio program On Being with Krista Tippett.

Whitney Kimball Coe

Vice President of National Programs

Libby Lane (she/her) serves as Deputy Director for the Rural Assembly, overseeing daily operations and focusing on projects that support sustainable rural development and address the unique challenges facing rural communities. She has over 15 years of experience in non-profit management, marketing, and event planning, previously working as Senior Marketing Manager at Bostrom. Libby earned a BFA in Musical Theatre from Millikin University and an MFA in Acting from Western Illinois University. Originally from rural west-central Illinois, she now lives in Chicago with her wife and rescue dog, Roxie.

Libby Lane

Deputy Director

Tyler Owens (she/her) is from the Gila River Indian Community in Southern Arizona where she was born and raised. Prior to joining the Rural Assembly, Owens worked with the National Congress of American Indians where she took on various roles, such as: Membership Coordinator, Youth Program Associate, and Administrative Assistance. These formative roles in her early career have equipped Owens to service the Rural Assembly and serve communities similar to hers.

Tyler Owens

Program Associate

Taneum Fotheringill (she/her) takes pride in being a connector and developing positive relationships with the Rural Assembly communities across the country. Taneum is based in Washington State, where you can find her with her knitting or a book close by. Her work is informed by a lifelong interest in civics and the belief that everyone's voice matters. She is also proud to be a volunteer advisor for the Washington YMCA Youth Legislature where she mentors teens from across the state to engage in democracy. 

Taneum Fotheringill

Associate Director of Community

Kim Phinney is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Rural Strategies. Previously she was the Vice President of Program Design for YouthBuild USA. In this position, she collaborated with senior leaders to craft the organization’s strategic direction as well as led the overall design and implementation of TA, training, and organizational learning across education, career pathways, and life skills for rural, Native, and urban programs across the country. Kim joined YouthBuild USA in 2001 to design a national initiative to create and strengthen education and career pathways for rural and Native Opportunity Youth. She served as the senior director of Rural and Native Initiatives, overseeing technical assistance and training to the national field of over 70 rural and Native YouthBuild programs.

Kim Phinney

Fellow, Center for Rural Strategies

Joel Cohen has earned awards and critical acclaim over his almost 30 years as a video producer/director/editor. His national public television experience started with a three-year run of The 90’s, a magazine style show featuring the work of independent producers from around the world. He was also the co-creator of the five-time Midwest Emmy-award–winning series Check, Please!, a Chicago restaurant-review series. He has collaborated on numerous video projects with the Center for Rural Strategies, including a documentary about the recovery of rural Louisiana and Mississippi after hurricanes Rita and Katrina. With Rural Strategies he has also done video work for the Kellogg Foundation, Duke Endowment, National Rural Assembly, Rural LISC, NeighborWorks, Oprah’s Angel Network, and the Housing Assistance Council.

Joel Cohen

Director of Multimedia

The Rural Assembly
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