Bare Bones Collective was founded in Minneapolis, MN. This is where the roots of the company were planted and don’t intend on staying.
PRESIDENT & CO-FOUNDER
Vanessa Lawson was born in Monrovia, Liberia and raised in the Metropolitan area of Minnesota. After leaving the University of Kansas she came back home to finish her studies in pursuit of a Bachelor's in Sociology in Criminal Justice, Law and Deviances as well as a Judicial Doctorate. Vanessa is currently a soldier for Minnesota’s National Guard as a paralegal and plans to practice her field within the military in hopes to become a JAG lawyer.
Vanessa started mapping out a way to have an impact within her community after the killing of Jamar Clark in 2015. It was not until the death of Philando Castille in 2016 that provoked her to gather a group of like-minded individuals to help establish the Bare Bones Collective. Vanessa is dedicated with the ideal of equity for everyone, especially youth, and devotes her time to ensure that it is delivered.
VICE PRESIDENT & COFOUNDER
Jennifer Cotennec Christensen was born and raised in New York, graduated from Lafayette College with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and moved to Kansas City, Missouri as a teacher with Teach for America in 2011. After a few years teaching in Kansas City, Jennifer earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. In 2013, Jennifer and her husband moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. While living in Minneapolis, Jennifer has continued to teach kindergarten, and is a foster parent and adoptive parent in Hennepin County. Some of Jenn’s passion are education reform, foster care reform, and diversity studies.
Julia Fong was born and raised in Minnesota. She graduated from Inver Hills Community College with an Associate Arts Degree. Since 2011, she has done extensive traveling across three continents. Julia enjoys volunteering and holds two advisory board positions (Emerging Leaders and Community Advisory) with Park Square Theater Community. When not working or volunteering Julia loves to read, drink coffee, and watch live theater. A few of her passions include diversity, disability advocacy, and equity in theater.
Hello, my name is Veida, I am 23 years old, Latina, a wife, a fur momma, a friend and a female. I love helping others. Being part of Bare Bones has helped me fulfill my desire to help. I am a full time photographer and aspiring videographer. I believe that we can all make our dreams a reality if we put our minds, heart and energy 100% into it. My life motto is “if you can dream it, you can do it.” by Walt Disney.
Doniesha Braboy was born in North Minneapolis and raised in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. She is currently serving in the Minnesota National Guard in addition to being a student at Anoka Ramsey Community College. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a masters degree in teaching, and her passion in life is to help inspire and empower youth to become the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be.