Our Board of Directors
Easter Seals Wisconsin’s Board of Directors is made up of individuals from throughout the state of Wisconsin. The board consists of 18 individuals who dedicate their time to support Easter Seals Wisconsin programs that assist people with disabilities across Wisconsin.
CHAIR OF THE BOARD: Pamela Birschbach, Verona
First Weber Group Realtors, Realtor
“One of my favorite memories was when I was at Camp Wawbeek for our board of directors meeting and we had a few campers come speak with us during the meeting. One of the campers said she met her now husband at camp and being able to see camp in action was amazing. Seeing how comfortable all the campers were with being at camp and just being around other people who were not judging them was really touching and also very sad they could not live every day that way.”
1st VICE CHAIRMAN: Tom Woodward, Middleton
Madison Lighting, Owner
“Although our camps for children with physical and cognitive disabilities are certainly higher profile, I am very proud of the work we do with our Farm Program. This program continues its unique success and partnership with Wisconsin DVR and UW Extension to keep farmers with disabilities engaged in what is often the only occupation and lifestyle they have ever known or wanted. While I am very pleased by our service accomplishments, I am even more amazed by the energy, determination, and accomplishments of the very people we serve. In the end, the quiet confidence of their renewed personal and financial independence is most rewarding.”
TREASURER: Jason Klawonn, Kenosha
Northwestern Mutual, Senior Vice President & Chief Actuary
“My family became acquainted with Easter Seals Wisconsin through its Respite Camp – a camp that my son, Casey, has benefited from for several years and that has benefited my family by providing respite and the chance to reconnect while having the confidence that Casey was being taken care of with the utmost care.”
SECRETARY: Charles F. Buell, Middleton
C. F. Buell Company, LLC, Owner & Developer
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Eric Blankenheim, Appleton
Blankenheim Services, Owner
“All the Easter Seals Wisconsin programs are great, but camp will always have a speical place in my heart. I started working there in 1981 and it truly changed my life.”
Wayne Corey, Madison
“I’ve seen Easter Seals provide solutions and change lives since I became a volunteer in 1975. I became an Easter Seals volunteer almost by accident but I’ve stayed involved these decades because I’ve seen the real results of the services Easter Seals provides. Easter Seals services really do change the lives of the people with disabilities and their families that we serve. Easter Seals Wisconsin is really good people doing really wonderful work. I’m proud of what Easter Seals does and honored to be a part of it.”
Andy Crooks, Verona
TR McKenzie, Business Development
“I don’t have a favorite Easter Seals Wisconsin program as there are too many great services to choose only one. I like how the Self-Employment Service empowers people to work for themselves and fosters each individuals’ unique skills set. I like how the Camp/Respite programs allow kids to have a summer camp experience which brings joy to their lives (while also giving a needed break to the campers’ parents). I like how the Farm program finds custom solutions to unique injuries and allows farmers to maintain their livelihood and continue to provide for their families.”
Joe Gussel, Wisconsin Dells
Holiday Wholesale, President
Pat LeMire, Madison
M3 Insurance, Insurance Executive
“The Camps, in particular Respite Camp, got me involved with Easter Seals Wisconsin, and not only what it brings to the individuals attending but their families as well. This service to the families that provide 24/7 care to their family members is a real difference maker. The respite time not only allows the kids to have a special time at camp but gives the families caring for the individual that respite to enjoy other facets of life they may not be able to while caring for their child or loved one.”
Jeff Lyon, Middleton
FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, General Manager
“Throughout my career I have worked with farmers who have been involved with Easter Seals Wisconsin’s FARM Program and AgrAbility and I have witnessed the benefits to our state’s farmers. My wife and daughter, who are teachers, work with children with disabilities and I have seen the satisfaction they get when helping their students. Being on the board is one way that I can give back to the community.”
Jeff has many years of experience in the field of agriculture. He began his career as a writer at The Country Today, then as a legislative aide in Washington DC, assistant director for National Commission on Dairy Policy, 22 years at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, and most recently, the general manager at FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. Prior to joining FarmFirst, Lyon served for nearly eight years as the Deputy Secretary at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Jeff resides in Middleton with his wife Karen. They have two adult children.
Paul Molinaro, Monona
Welton Enterprises, Vice President
“My sister has been a respite camper for many years so I have seen firsthand the incredible impact of the services provided by Easter Seals. Marisa and our family are just one of thousands of individuals and families that Easter Seals Wisconsin has provided invaluable services to, so I’m incredibly proud to be associated with them.”
Zach Morley, Middleton
Wisconsin Financial Group, Financial Advisor
Zach Morley grew up in Maryville, Missouri and moved to Madison to attend the UW and play basketball for the Badgers. After retiring from professional basketball in Europe, he decided it was time to focus his attention on finding ways to be more involved in his own community here in Wisconsin. Zach attended the Starry Night event with a friend, was impressed by the Easter Seals programs he was introduced to that night and knew that he’d found an organization he’d be proud to be a part of. When asked to serve on the Board, he quickly accepted and he’s excited to do his part in helping enhance the lives of those with disabilities. Zach is a financial advisor with Wisconsin Financial Group and lives in Middleton with his wife, Rachel, and kids Rowan and Fallon.
Steven R. Peotter, Oregon
Oregon Community Bank, President & CEO
Joy Royston, Wisconsin Dells
Sports Impressions and JustAGame Fieldhouse, Owner
After four years of teaching and two years at home with her young children, she and her husband Dave opened up a screen printing and embroidery business called Sports Impressions, located in Wisconsin Dells. Printing shirts and working with the Camp staff is how she first became aware of Camp Wawbeek and the wonderful programs they offer. Joy has been a participant in the Camp Wawbeek Fall Sprawl, and attended the picnic dinner following the Golf for Kids outing for a number of years.
Sara Schoenborn, Fitchburg
Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Wisconsin Corn Program, Communications Director
Sara is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association and the Communications Director for the Wisconsin Corn Program. She previously held roles as the Director of Communications for Cooperative Network, Wisconsin FFA Foundation Executive Director and Assistant Editor for Agri-View. She is a proud alumnus of UW-Madison, where she majored in Dairy Science and Life Sciences Communications and completed her Master of Agribusiness degree from Kansas State University in May 2018.
When approached to serve on the Easter Seals Wisconsin Board of Directors, she enthusiastically accepted, noting “It is a privilege to be asked to be a part of this exceptional organization. I consider it an honor to work with the Easter Seals Wisconsin Staff and Board of Directors to further the opportunities available to children and adults with disabilities across the state.” Sara most looks forward to assisting with the FARM Program and visiting Camp Wawbeek.
Scott Stevenson, Madison
Kleenmark, President & CEO
John Teevan, Milwaukee
Home Care Medical, Inc., President
“One of my favorite memories with Easter Seals Wisconsin is the opening of the new pool in 2014. It was a big project and instantly brought huge smiles to every camper’s face. Visiting camp recharges my batteries and reconfirms why I love Easter Seals Wisconsin and the wonderful memories created in every program we sponsor.”
John Van Wie, Wisconsin Dells
Van Wie Properties, Owner
Christine Fessler, Madison
Easter Seals Wisconsin, President & CEO
Christine has guided Easter Seals Wisconsin as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Board of Directors since 1994. She is responsible for carrying out the policies established by the Board and delegating authority to management staff for accomplishing agency and department objectives. She coordinates Board and staff efforts, defines staffing needs, administers personnel policies and is responsible for hiring and supervision of management staff. She develops the budget and coordinates and implements budget development, oversees and refines grant proposals, negotiates contracts, seeks new funding sources, guides strategic planning, represents Easter Seals Wisconsin in Easter Seals, Inc. activities, and works with stewardship of major donors and volunteers. She has 40 years of experience in disability services and nonprofit program and fiscal management.
Peter A. Eltink, New Holstein | Bill Holley, Middleton
Community Representatives & Committee Members
Dan Paltz, DeForest | Carol Peirick, Middleton | Terri McCarthy, Madison | Melissa Warner, Madison
Although our camps for children with physical and cognitive disabilities are certainly higher profile, I am very proud of the work we do with our Farm Program. This program continues its unique success and partnership with Wisconsin DVR and UW Extension to keep farmers with disabilities engaged in what is often the only occupation and lifestyle they have ever known or wanted. While I am very pleased by our service accomplishments, I am even more amazed by the energy and determination and accomplishments of the very people we serve. In the end the quiet confidence of their renewed personal and financial independence is most rewarding.