Meet the Team
Karel Sovak is an associate professor in the Gary Tharaldson School of Business at the University of Mary and program director for the Management and Marketing majors. Karel is also co-founder of the I.D.E.A. Center, an incubator in the Bismarck-Mandan area designed to assist start-up businesses. His areas of expertise in teaching are in management, marketing, entrepreneurship and leadership. Karel completed his PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences, specializing in Organizational Change and Leadership through Walden University. He has completed the Carver Board Governance training program, as well as the Weatherhead Project Management certificate program. He is active in his community, assisting non-profits with their needs in strategic planning and execution, board governance, feasibility studies and risk assessments. Originally from Ohio, Karel is married with five children.
Tara B. Brandner is a member of the board of directors for 31:8 Project. She earned her M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and her J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. After graduation, Tara worked for the Minnesota Department of Human Services in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is currently an Assistant Attorney General at the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office. As a native of Bismarck, North Dakota, Tara is dedicated to helping improve the lives of individuals throughout the community. She spends her free time at the lake with family and friends.
Dr. Chad E. Litton completed a BA in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Minnesota, Morris (1992), a MA in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University (1994), and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2002). He completed his dissertation on the topic of Negotiating Religious Identity at Borden State College. Dr. Litton is a Professor of Criminal Justice and Program Director for Criminal Justice. His primary areas of research include community engagement, identity development, human diversity, justice, and comparative religion.
Amy Hollar is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Mary. As an undergraduate, Amy received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in English. During her time at the University of Mary she has been awarded several distinguished honors, including the University of Mary Senior of the Year award. She has a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Communication. Amy has also taught communication courses at Marquette University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She joined the University of Mary communication department as a faculty member in 2006. Her primary areas of teaching include business communication, public relations, public speaking and advertising. Servant leadership is the cornerstone to Amy’s educational and teaching philosophy so she remains an active member in both the Bismarck-Mandan and University of Mary communities. She is currently the Chair of the University of Mary Board of Student Publications and is a member of the University of Mary Professional Development Committee. She is also an active Junior Achievement of Bismarck-Mandan volunteer.
Murray Sagsveen (non-board) has represented nonprofit organizations for more than thirty years. Currently, he is on the boards of directors of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, Luther Seminary, and the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Recently, he was the chief of staff for the chancellor in the North Dakota University System. Previously, he has served as the State Flood Coordinator (1997 Red River flood and 2011 Souris River flood), the State Health Officer for the North Dakota Department of Health, and a senior judge advocate in the Army National Guard.