You may download a PDF of the Workshop Presenter Directory
Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics, UW-Madison
Timothy M. (Tim) Smeeding is the Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin . He was director of the Institute for Research on Poverty from 2008–2014. He was recently selected to the American Academy of Political and Social Science http://www.aapss.org/ as their John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow for 2017. He is the founder and lead author of the Wisconsin Poverty report http://www.irp.wisc.edu/research/WisconsinPoverty/pdfs/WI-PovertyReport2017.pdf. Professor Smeeding’s recent research has been on social and economic mobility across generations, inequality of income, consumption and wealth.
Eviction Defense Project Coordinator, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Raphael Ramos is an attorney with Legal Action of Wisconsin where he serves as the Project Coordinator for Legal Action’s Eviction Defense Project. Prior to joining Legal Action, Raphael was a commercial contracts attorney for GE Healthcare in Wauwatosa and practiced environmental law at Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee. Raphael has been active in pro bono service, volunteering with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic and Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Volunteer Lawyer Project since graduating from Marquette University Law School in 2008.
Deborah Ehrenthal, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Advocacy Campaign Manager, Hunger Task Force, Inc. (Hunger Relief Federation of WI)
As Hunger Task Force’s Advocacy Campaign Manager, Matt Stienstra creates and implements local and statewide campaigns to strengthen nutrition policy. In 2016 these campaigns connected nearly 4,000 more children from low-income families to a daily school breakfast. Matt has built a career around connecting citizens and stakeholders to policy solutions at the local, state and federal level. He uses both online and offline strategies to elevate citizen voices to elected officials and the media. Matt resides in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin with his wife, 14 month old daughter and two dogs.
Food Bank Director, Hunger Task Force, Inc. (Hunger Relief Federation of WI)
Advocacy Director, Hunger Task Force, Inc. (Hunger Relief Federation of WI)
Staff Attorney, Legal Action of WI
I’ve been working with Legal Action since January of 2016 as a staff attorney. I work under a special grant and work with low-income individuals receiving food stamps. These individuals face legal barriers that impact their employability. I help these individuals remove those barriers by lifting their driver’s license suspensions, lifting active warrants and removing inaccuracies from their criminal history reports. Before my position with Legal Action, I worked as a traffic law clerk for the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. I graduated from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in May of 2014. I serve on the Executive Board for WAAL (WI Association of African American Lawyers).
Research and Program Coordinator, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
Mike Bare researches and advocates for public policies that help low-income Americans. He is an expert on the intersection of policy with politics and the legislative process. Mike teaches graduate courses in public health policy. Mike has an extensive grassroots politics and government service background, having worked on and consulted for political campaigns at every level of government. He also served as a longtime aide to former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in his Washington, DC office, and on his 2004 and 2010 campaigns. Mike holds an MA in political science from American University, where he was President of the Graduate Student Council. He is a former alderman, has been a longtime volunteer for Special Olympics and other disability organizations, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin, HealthWatch Wisconsin, and is the Chapter Director of New Leader Council-Wisconsin.
Coordinator for Public Policy, Wisconsin Council of Churches
Peter Bakken is Coordinator for Public Policy at the Wisconsin Council of Churches and Statewide Coordinator of Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light. He received his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of the WCC publications, Hunger at Our Doorstep: A Study-Action Guide for Wisconsin Congregations (2006; 2014) Becoming Welcoming Communities: Immigration in Light of Biblical Faith (2011); and Health and Hope: What Can We Do About Wisconsin’s Health Care Crisis? (2007; 2008). He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife and daughter, where they are members of Advent Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).
Public Policy Analyst & Legislative Liaison, WI Board for People with Developmental Disabilities
Tami Jackson is the Public Policy Analyst and Legislative Liaison for the WI Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, where she works on state and federal public policy to improve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities’ lives and systems that serve them. She works directly with the state legislature, state agencies, Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation, and with multiple advocacy coalitions. Tami develops and executes strategies to influence the state budget, legislation, and agency policy on many topics including Medicaid, transportation, employment, civil rights, public benefit programs, housing, and other issues that affect people with disabilities.
Director of Community Engagement and Achivement Collaborative, Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative & My Brother’s Keeper Initiative & Black Male Achievement ProgramDirector of Community Engagement and Achivement Collaborative, Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative & My Brother’s Keeper Initiative & Black Male Achievement Program
Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Substance Abuse Counseling. He has licenses/certifications as:
- Social Worker: Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board
- Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor: Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board
Vice President of Communications, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Ambar provides strategic direction and oversight to the Shriver Center’s public relations, brand management, and marketing activities. She has 13 years’ experience in strategic communications and public affairs. Working as a consultant in boutique agencies serving a civic and social sector clientele, she has directed communications and outreach projects to support policy work on behalf of several public interest organizations, including foundations and government entities.
Development & Communications Director, The Samaritan Counseling Center
Executive Director, WISDOM
David Liners is the Executive Director for WISDOM, a Wisconsin network of faith-based organizations, part of the international Gamaliel Foundation. WISDOM is a multi-issue, grassroots organization. It is best known for its work to end mass incarceration.
Consumer Law Priority Coordinator, Legal Action of WI
Attorney Stacia Conneely has worked in civil legal aid for over 12 years. She focuses her practice on consumer law, including representing consumers in foreclosures, predatory lending cases, and debt collection. She is the Consumer Law Priority Coordinator for Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.’s six offices. She received her undergraduate degree from DePaul University and her law degree from the University of Wisconsin. Before joining Legal Action, she was the Immigration and Poverty Attorney at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (now End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin). She serves on the Advisory Board of the Consumer Law Litigation Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Economic Advocate, Harbor House
Ann Munro is the Economic Advocate for Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs in Appleton, WI. Ann’s role is to help women find employment and education opportunities as well as assist in removing financial, transportation and/or childcare barriers in regards to gaining or maintaining employment.
As one of many services provided by Harbor House, Economic Advocacy helps women develop personally and professionally through a variety of internal and external community resources. Ann believes in an “Economic Ecosystem” made up of key conditions that break down barriers and build bridges to greater financial and professional opportunities.
In her time at Harbor House, Ann has created two Economic Advocacy/Community Outreach programs that target corporations through education and awareness and provides them with a greater understanding of domestic violence:
- The Harbor House Step Up Program is an 8-week job readiness class in conjunction with a local corporate partner.
- The Harbor House Certified SAFE Space Program provides an immediate and confidential on-site workplace resource for individuals who need immediate assistance with the domestic situation.
For more information, Ann can be reached at Harbor House at 920-832-1667.
Amy Williamson, MPP
Administrative Director, Lifecourse Initiative, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Staff Attorney, Legal Action of WI
Kori was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from DePaul University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School. After graduating from law school, Kori practiced Criminal Defense Law where she developed a unique understanding of how criminal and civil convictions can negatively and disparately impact job and housing opportunities. Kori currently runs Legal Action’s Juvenile Reentry Assistance (JRAP) grant program. Project JRAP provides free representation to youth up to age 24 who currently live in subsidized public housing and rent assistance (Section 8) households, with a juvenile and/or adult record. Kori also represents minors living in public housing/rent assistance (Section 8) households in municipal court.
Staff Attorney, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Elizabeth Groeschel is a civil legal aid attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc., in the Oshkosh office. Attorney Groeschel primarily practices housing law and driver license recovery, though she is currently a staff attorney for LAW, Inc.’s Elder Rights Project. She grew up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and currently lives in Menasha, Wisconsin, with her husband, her cat and two Boxers. If you’d like to refer a client to Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc., please have the client call our receptionist at (920) 233-6521 or stop in the office at 404 North Main Street, Suite 702, Oshkosh, WI 54901. If you have any questions, please contact Attorney Groeschel at EAG@legalaction.org or at (920) 233-6521.
Director, Aging and Disability Resource Center of Portage County
Cindy Piotrowski is currently the Director at the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Portage County. As part of her position, she advocates for seniors and adults with disabilities and works to have a comprehensive, accessible and coordinated system of services for these target populations. Prior to working at the ADRC Ms. Piotrowski was the Executive Director at the Epilepsy Foundation of Central & Northeast Wisconsin for eight years, currently known as Epilepsy Foundation, Heart of Wisconsin. Earlier professional experience includes serving as the Director of Operations for St. Vincent DePaul in Plover, WI and as the Communication Manager for CAP Services in Stevens Point. Ms. Piotrowski received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a double major in Communication and Psychology.
Marion Holmberg is one of the founding members of Save IRIS, a non-partisan grassroots coalition dedicated to preserving and promoting self-direction in Wisconsin’s long-term care system. One her favorite quotes is: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead).
Communications Strategist, Special Olympics Wisconsin
Tommy Jaime works as a communications strategist for Special Olympics Wisconsin where he focuses on helping over 10,000 athletes statewide tell their stories. This involves media relations, social media management and writing stories for Special Olympics Wisconsin’s website, among other things. He grew up in Southern California and moved to Madison in 2012 to pursue his PhD in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is currently working on his dissertation. Since 2014, Tommy has taught courses in the communication studies department at Edgewood College in Madison. He has an MA in communication and leadership studies from Gonzaga University and a BA in film studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara. Prior to moving to Wisconsin, he worked in communications roles with the City of Santa Barbara and the City of Santa Monica.
Executive Director, The Sharing Center
Sharon, a transplant from the arts and entertainment industry, with a marketing and event management background, holds a “How can we…” attitude for the Sharing Center, Kenosha County’s rural Resource Center and Food Pantry. An actress, musician, mother of two, foodie, organic gardener and longtime resident of Kenosha County, Sharon keeps the “bigger picture” in her awareness, and knows the necessity of advocacy to truly be in service.
Director of Development, Hunger Task Force
Jonathan Hansen is the Director of Development for Hunger Task Force. He is responsible for managing the agency’s fundraising, marketing and branding, community relations, events and volunteer program. Hansen joined the Hunger Task Force Development team in 2009.
Engagement Manager, RENEW Wisconsin
Volunteer Engagement Leader, St. Joseph Food Program
As the leader of volunteer engagement, Leah is passionate about connecting volunteers to the mission of St. Joseph Food Program. From volunteer recruitment and placement, to recognition and feedback, Leah helps volunteers see the bigger picture of their work. She recognizes volunteerism as daily acts of compassion, and strives to make people aware of their inherently compassionate nature. She is happy to share tools to further cultivate compassion in our communities.
Lead Instructor Policy Institute, Wisconsin Women's Network
Vicky Selkowe has been engaged in policy advocacy in Wisconsin for nearly twenty years. A public interest attorney, Vicky has represented low-income clients in employment, housing, and public benefits matters, led statewide anti-poverty policy advocacy efforts, and served for nearly six years as Chief of Staff to a Wisconsin State Representative. Since 2014, she has been the legislative & compliance director for Wisconsin’s largest provider of free, high-quality civil legal aid. Vicky has extensive experience with a wide array of policy issues, the legislative process, effective media, grassroots and grasstops organizing, and coalition building. Vicky is a proud graduate of Beloit College and the University of Wisconsin Law School and lives in Madison with her husband and his two cats, who occasionally deign to let her pet them also.
Poverty Initiative Project Director, US Venture
Development Director, Food Pantry of Waukesha County (Hunger Relief Federation of WI)
Kim Theno is the Development Director at the FOOD Pantry of Waukesha County. The FOOD Pantry’s mission is to provide food, hope, and dignity to county residents in need, and advocate to increase awareness of hunger in the community through collaborative action. Kim is responsible for building a fundraising program focused on increasing support from local foundations, corporations, and individuals to advance the Pantry’s mission. Prior to her role at the FOOD Pantry, Kim was the development director at the Cathedral Center, a Milwaukee area shelter for women and families; development manager at Penfield Children’s Center, an early childhood education and therapy program for children with and without disabilities; and grants and communications manager at COA Youth & Family Centers. She has a BA from Ripon College.
Director, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance
Jason Edens is the founder and Director of the Renewable Energy Alliance, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting energy poverty with solar power and ensuring that solar energy is accessible to all. As a thought leader on issues of energy and equity, Jason and his team have installed hundreds of low-income solar installations throughout the country and abroad forging an inclusive clean energy future. Jason is a licensed building contractor, has a Master’s of Science in Environmental Policy and lives in an off-grid solar powered home in northern Minnesota with his wife and a small pack of dogs.
Director, Bureau of Youth Services, WI Department of Children and Families
Wendy Henderson is the Director of the Bureau of Youth Services at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Wendy manages the WI DCF efforts to improve outcomes for youth in the child welfare and youth justice systems. Current initiatives including improving outcomes for youth aging out of foster care, creating systemic change to end homelessness for youth aging out of care, developing a unified statewide approach to youth justice and strengthening the adolescent service system for system-involved and at-risk youth. Wendy earned a BA with high honors from Wesleyan University and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Staff Attorney, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Sheila has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She has represented clients in a variety of civil matters relating to employment, occupational and professional licensing, and criminal records. She has litigated the constitutionality of various state licensing and records laws in state and federal court. She is currently the Managing Attorney of the Road to Opportunity Program, an umbrella designation for a variety of Legal Action programs that provide free civil legal aid to low-income clients who have legal barriers to obtaining stable, family sustaining employment. She also currently works with the Center for Veterans Issues and the Supportive Services for Veterans Families programs to provide a similar range of services to veterans and their families facing imminent homelessness.
Quality Assurance Manager, Social Development Commission
Ofelia Mondragon is the Quality Assurance Manager for Social Development Commission. Ofelia is responsible for developing and implementing quality management procedures and systems agency-wide as well as review agency compliance with funding contract requirements. She is also responsible to implement activities to measure and improve the accuracy and effectiveness of processes used for service delivery. With her leadership, SDC met all the Organizational Standards required by CSBG. In 2017, she was presented with the Chairman’s Award of Excellence for her dedication, work ethic, and diligence in implementing positive changes for the agency’s transparency. Ofelia currently holds a Business Management and Mathematics, Bachelors of Arts Degree from Alverno College and a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Eau Claire University.
Attorney, Elder Law Center at GWAAR
Attorney Kate Schilling is the Legal Services Manager at Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc., where she oversees the Guardianship Support Center and the Elder Benefit Specialist Supervising Attorney program. She works predominantly in the areas of elder law, public benefits, and consumer law. Previously, she was in private practice in New Richmond, Wisconsin, where she practiced in estate planning, Medicaid benefits, guardianship, and general civil litigation. Kate is a board member of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Elder and Public Interest Law Sections, and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Prior to attending law school, Kate coordinated supports for adults with developmental disabilities, and she remains an active volunteer guardian for a woman with a disability living in Madison. She is also a volunteer at high school mock trial events, local free legal clinics, and Wills for Heroes.
Racial Equity Coordinator, City of Madison
As the Racial Equity Coordinator for the City of Madison. Toriana Pettaway is in a constant pursuit to deconstruct dominate culture legacy of privilege. Address systemic racism, barriers and inequities for low-income, marginalized and people of color in governmental police, procedures and engagement for transformation equity in the City. She develops, administers and implements city wide policies and procedures recommendations for the use of equity impact assessments; city and departmental work plans, and organizational structures. She develops and maintains equity work plan standards and establishes a system for periodically reviewing/updating these plans. Toriana Pettaway is charged with addressing institutional racism and building systematic awareness in data collection, community engagement, tools and training, and communication for and with Elected Officials, City staff, Alders and stakeholders throughout Madison by leading the City’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative. She is a long standing social justice advocate and human recourse professional in the City of Madison. Addressing racial disparities is not just part of her career but by His design her purpose and ministry.
Work N Wheels Coordinator, ADVOCAP
Sue Pomplun has coordinated the Work N Wheels Employment Transportation Program for ADVOCAP, a non-profit Community Action Agency, since 2009. Sue uses her knowledge as a Certified Mobility Manager in Winnebago, Calumet, Green Lake and Fond du Lac counties to coordinate and improve efforts to increase employment transportation. Sue serves on the Green Lake County Transportation Coordination Committee, The Fond du Lac County Transit Committee, and the Winnebago County Rural Transportation Initiative. Sue currently serves as the Vice-President of Wisconsin Association of Mobility Managers (WAMM) where she is Chair of the Professional Development Committee and a member of the Training and Meetings Committee.