Monique Salinas, PhD

Founder and Executive Director

Dr. Salinas is the driving force behind Mind Meets Music. She did her undergraduate work at Aquinas College and Central Michigan University, and received her Doctorate in Music Education with a cognate in Conducting from Michigan State University. Monique has won several awards in the community; being named as one of West Michigan’s “50 Most Influential Women” in 2016, Molina Healthcare’s 2016 “Community Champion Award”, and has also been selected as a finalist for West Michigan Women’s 2017 “Woman of the Year” Brilliance Award .

Caitlyn Diroff

Director of Communications and Events

Caitlyn is a 2017 graduate from Grand Valley State University. She hold a Bachelors degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration along with a minor in Advertising and Public Relations. She has experience with fund development and communications, along with website design and photography.

Jerry Wayne Newson

Director of Projects  

Jerry Wayne Newson holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Music Industry Management.  Additionally, Jerry Wayne has experience in the nonprofit sector working with multiple organizations.

Traci Pethick

Chief Financial Officer

Traci has over 16 years of experience in finance.  She holds an associate’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting in addition to a bachelor degree English and Business Administration degree from State University of New York at Fredonia.  In addition, Traci also has experience in an education setting.

Susan Putnam

Director of Development 

Susan brings to Mind Meets Music more than 20 years of community relations and fund development experience. She has held nonprofit leadership positions at Big Brothers Big Sisters and United Way. Her corporate career includes IBM in Washington, D. C. and Minneapolis where she served as state and federal government relations manager and also managed IBM’s corporate philanthropy programs. She holds a BA and MBA in Business, Economics and Public Policy from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Daniel S. Stauffer, PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Stauffer holds a Bachelor of Music from Grand Valley State University, a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University, and a Doctorate of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Daniel has spent the last 7 years collaborating with various non-profit organizations devoted to bettering the lives of vulnerable and underserved populations throughout the West Michigan area.

Erin VanDellen

Director of Education 

Erin is a college educated vocalist, having studied with renowned singer Edye Evans Hyde. Before becoming Program Coordinator, Erin was a Master Teaching Artist with Mind Meets Music for three years. She has many varied experiences with mainstream and special needs students, as well as diverse populations of at-risk students.  She is a 2012 graduate of Hope College.

Mind Meets Music Diversity Mission

To attract and sustain a diverse workforce by recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining high performing employees who work collaboratively to carry out the mission of Mind Meets Music.