by Casey Ek
After 20 cumulative years with Keystone Community Services President and CEO Mary McKeown will be stepping down from her role in June.
“It has been an honor to lead Keystone over the last seven years and an even greater honor to have spent more than two decades of my career working at Keystone,” said McKeown. “There is something truly special about community center-based work; seeing the impact that can be made when neighbors help neighbors is powerful. Our community – colleagues, volunteers, participants, and supporters – has enriched every one of my days at Keystone. I look forward to remaining a part of the Keystone community and know I’m passing the baton to an incredible person and leader in Adero Riser Cobb.”
McKeown has been in her top leadership role since April 2016, and her retirement comes after 40 years of work with community-based organizations, including 20 cumulative years working at Keystone. During McKeown’s tenure, Keystone expanded programming and services to meet the increased needs in the community. Today, Keystone supports 40% more neighbors than just seven years ago, according to the organization.
Asked about what she feels are highlights of her Keystone career, McKeown pointed to the community engagement she has fostered with neighborhoods. In 2019, she led a multi-level effort to survey the Keystone community, including volunteers and those they serve. This exhaustive effort to understand their own work just before the pandemic and the community’s support, MeKeown said, was pivotal in Keystone’s success over the last few years as needs have grown.
“We simply can’t do this work well if we aren’t doing it with a ‘we’ mindset,” McKeown said. “People really do care about their communities and the people in their neighborhood. Whenever we put out a call for help people respond.”
McKeown will continue to work part-time as CEO Emeritus through the conclusion of the Opening Doors to Food Security Campaign to open the new Keystone Community Food Center.
With her first grandchild on the way in July, McKeown plans to devote the next portion of her life to spending time with family and enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation. Those closest to her won’t be surprised to learn that she plans on spending a good deal of time on a rocking chair on her porch.
McKeown said that she will always stay connected with Keystone and plans to volunteer with the meals on wheels program when the time is right.
Stepping into McKeown’s role will be Adero Riser Cobb. Riser Cobb earned a BA, MA in Organizational Management, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Concordia University. Before joining Keystone, Riser Cobb held leadership positions at Olu’s Homes Inc./Olu’s Beginnings, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and other organizations and businesses in the Twin Cities. Riser Cobb joined the Keystone senior leadership team as Director of Human Resources and Operations in 2019 and has served as COO since 2021, overseeing organizational operations, including finance, facilities, human resources, and IT. She has worked in human resources and business management with specialized and general focuses for more than 25 years.
Riser Cobb is a lifelong St. Paulite and her family has been connected to Keystone for 30 years.
“Adero exemplifies Keystone’s values, advocating for our community, supporting our professional staff, and centering equity and our mission in all of her work,” said Keystone Board Chair Diane Gerth. “Her focus on operational excellence will be important as we work on a critical part of our strategy for the future – building Keystone’s Community Food Center.”
Riser Cobb was not available for comment in time for publication.
by Casey Ek