Who we areImpactLives' Board, staff and volunteers are passionate about creating the conditions for transformation in individuals and communities locally and around the world. We represent a diverse group of talents, skills and experiences.

Dr. Ramón A. Pastrano IV
President – CEO


With over 25 years of experience in leadership among many different cultures around the world, Ramón founded ImpactLives in 2007 to create a dual model of transformational leadership and social innovation. His model is designed to teach and optimize Service Learning Experiences, Transformational Leadership, Development and Global Competencies, which leads to social innovation and produces sustainable works of social justice. Additionally, he promotes diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness to help individuals reflect and strengthen their identity, wisdom and maturity – transforming people and communities one life at a time. Ramón inspires and leads the ImpactLives' team to achieve greatness, aspiring to the highest standards.

Ramón's global experience is vast. He has lived in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and has traveled extensively for humanitarian efforts throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Jordan, India, Palestine, Africa, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Korea, China, Cambodia, Thailand and Japan. As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Supply Corps School, Ramon served as a Commanding Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa; his Master of Arts in Theological Studies and his Doctorate in Global and Contextual Leadership from Bethel University and Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota. Ramón's vision and expertise is broad and includes: business development, strategic planning, organizational and transformational leadership, marketing and sales.

Prior to creating ImpactLives, Ramón spent 15 years as a surgical consultant and medical device specialist. He has received recognition from Pfizer, Medtronic and Warner-Lambert, and is the recipient of the Doctor Act Award presented by TRANS4M Council for Research and Innovation in Switzerland. This award is given in recognition for outstanding achievement in Social Innovation. He is also the recipient of the William A. Fretwell Memorial Thesis Award, awarded to the Doctor of Ministry Graduate with a thesis project that exemplifies quality research, academic writing, practical application, and transformational impact on society. In 2014 Ramón was named the Outstanding Community Leader by Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), honoring his work to inspire young people to make a difference and become catalysts for positive change in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities.

Never one to sit on the sidelines, Ramón has a Master Degree (5th) in Tae Kwon Do. Other interests include ballroom dance and dance sports, and he played semi-pro basketball in the Puerto Rican Professional Basketball League. He loves music, theater and strategic sports, and maintains an interest in surgical procedures. Ramón enjoys family time with his wife, Shelly, and sons Xavier and Kryston. He lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Cathy A. Bergland
Chief Learning Officer (CLO)

CathyCathy’s role as the Chief Learning Officer for ImpactLives was simply meant to be. Before joining ImpactLives as a staff member, she was Chair of the Board of Directors for four years, guiding the organization through early growth with a keen eye for both long-term sustainability and critical details. In her newly created role as CLO, Cathy brings strengths-based leadership development for corporate, faith-based and education-based clients to a new level – with strong service and solutions that guide transformational change in organizations, teams and individuals.

Before joining ImpactLives, Cathy served at Presbyterian Homes & Services for twenty-five years, most recently as the Executive Director of Leadership Development and Organizational Effectiveness. Her previous roles included Director of Care Center Operations, Director of Quality Management and the Executive Director of Operations. During Cathy’s service at Presbyterian Homes & Services, the organization grew from three campuses in Minnesota to thirty-six campuses in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin and has more than 5,500 employees. Cathy holds an adjunct faculty position with the Bethel University MBA Program, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and the University of Minnesota, and has been a frequent presenter for Aging Services of Minnesota and Leading Age. She received her undergraduate degree in Music Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, her MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and is also a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. She is certified through the Performance Excellence Network and the American Health Care Association to perform organizational assessments and evaluate organizational performance.

When not relaxing at her cabin, Cathy is an avid distance runner and musician, and serves with her church. She lives in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Melissa Kalal
Marketing, Operations and Grant Writing

Melissa leads the communication efforts for ImpactLives with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dedication to tell the world about ImpactLives’ amazing transformational stories. A graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, she earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Organizational Management and Music. 

Melissa is has been the Principal at Modern Culture for four years, consulting with organizations to realize their visions and build cultures of excellence. Her work results in the creation of strategic goals, a solid brand vision, efficient workflows, inspiring marketing that gives a competitive edge, effective operations and people management, and the right tools and technology. Previous experience includes ten years as vice president of operations and organizational effectiveness at Little & Company, and process improvement and project management roles within small and large companies including The Musicland Group, General Growth Management, Kilter and Winslow Printing.

Active in the Twin Cities music community, Melissa plays her French horn in the Wayzata Symphony Orchestra, Wayzata, Minnesota. She is also a member of the Ars Nova Brass Quintet, St. Paul, Minnesota. Melissa lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with her husband, Wayne. She has three stepchildren, Mason, Megan and Madison, and one beloved dog, Piper.

Click here to read about the ImpactLives’ Board of Directors and Student Advisory Board.