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The Academy for Leadership and Innovation is a model leadership program whose graduates emerge with a multidimensional perspective and competence needed to meet the challenges of a constantly changing environment, to think strategically, and to act collaboratively as they serve the educational needs of Wisconsin residents.

Academy for Leadership and Innovation

The 2016 Academy for Leadership and Innovation Participants

Mary Kay Aprison

Mary Kay Aprison

Transfer Credit Evaluator
Registrar's Office, UW Colleges

Mary Kay joined UW Colleges Registrar's Office in Madison in 2012. In her role as transfer credit evaluator she provides assistance and support to campus staff in regards to transfer students to all thirteen campuses and the Online institution, as well as the Flexible Degree program. She is responsible for evaluating all transcripts of newly admitted transfer students and posting the information to the student's records. Prior to joining UW Colleges she provided administrative support to a large epidemiologic study program at UW Madison for five years. She held positions in the private sector as administrative assistant in an office that created, implemented, and executed business plans and supported clients of a large asset manager. She also had a career in retailing in St. Louis, MO, and was a buyer for a department store with seventeen branches. Mary Kay received her B.S. degree from UW Madison.

Jessica Beckendorf

Jessica Beckendorf

Community Development Educator
Community, Natural Resource, Economic Development(CNRED), UW-Extension

Jessica became passionate about communities while growing up as a Navy “angel” (to combat the more familiar “brat” term), making frequent cross-country moves as a child. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies at UW-Green Bay, she proceeded to work in just about every sector of community development - Geographic Information Systems, urban planning and zoning, and economic development. In 2014, Jessica finished her Master of Arts degree in Communications & Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University, and began her journey as an educator with Coop Extension where her current duties include building human capital and facilitating an environment conducive to resilient communities. She lives in Appleton with her husband, two dogs, and three cats.

Eric Biltonen

Dr. Eric Biltonen

Assistant Professor
Community, Natural Resource, and Economic Development Educator(CNRED), UW Extension

Eric Biltonen came to UW Extension with 16 years of international consulting experience, primarily in a development context. He currently works in St Croix County on issues related to economic development, strategic planning, entrepreneurial support, organizational development, and other odds and ends that occasionally come his way. He enjoys the challenge of bringing about transformative change while bridging academics, stakeholder engagement, effective planning, and practical implementation. Outside of work, he enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, and spending time with his family.

Cassandra Breunig

Casey Breunig

Outreach Communications Specialist
College of Engineering, UW-Madison

Casey has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, specializing in digital and social media, working for private, public and non-profit organizations. Casey recently started with UW-Madison's Department of Engineering Professional Development after spending time in web marketing with Cooperative Extension. She directs the marketing and recruiting strategy for the online master's in engineering degree programs. Strategic, integrated, digital communications for a great organization is what drives her passion in a career. She is married and the proud mom of a 3-year-old daughter and a new addition expected in November.

Faina Brovarnaya

Faina Brovarnaya

Sr. Financial Analyst
Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning(CEOEL), UW Extension

Faina Brovarnaya has been working as a Sr. Financial Analyst for the last 15+ years in various private sector industries, including scientific instrumentation, insurance, and retail. For the last year and a half she has been working with CEOEL division of UW Extension in Business Services. Currently she is responsible for providing support and consulting on budget, financial performance, and management reporting. She lives in Madison with her husband, who is a faculty member at the UW-Madison, and raising two lively 5 and 7 year-old boys.

Tim Brown

Tim Brown

Account Executive Business Sponsorships
Wisconsin Public Radio(WPR), UW Extension

Tim Brown works in the development department of Wisconsin Public Radio. He works with a wide variety of businesses and organizations that purchase on-air announcements that help promote or build brand awareness with the WPR listeners. Tim has worked in this area of Public Radio for a total of 11 years. He and his wife Kim, a high school English teacher, live in Oregon Wisconsin. Tim enjoys the outdoors, especially wilderness canoe camping.

Jason Butler

Jason Butler

Assistant to the Director of Radio
Wisconsin Public Radio(WPR), UW Extension

Jason Butler has worked in non-profit administration and event planning since 2004. In Los Angeles, he was the Literary Awards Manager at PEN USA, a writer's membership organization. After moving to Madison in 2008, he worked for UW-Extension's Broadcast and Media Innovations as the Unit Manager for the National Center for Media Engagement. Currently at Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), he assists the Director of Radio, serves as the Unit Manager for WPR staff, and provides administrative support to the Board of the Wisconsin Public Radio Association. In his free time, Jason likes to write plays and fiction and eat ice cream.

Vivek Deshpande

Vivek Deshpande

Project lead
Central Information Technology Services(CITS), UW Colleges / UW Extension

Vivek served as an interim manager at Central IT for UW-Colleges and UW-Extension. He managed a team of five people from the area of learning technologies (D2l), Web development and PeopleSoft. Vivek is a project lead of PeopleSoft (PRISM) area in Central IT for UW Colleges and Extension. As a project lead, Vivek manages ERP technology, product development, project execution, process improvement and leads technology team to provide innovative solution. He is a sport lover, and plays cricket very enthusiastically. He loves watching other sports like American Football, Ice Hockey, and Basketball.

Catherine Emmanuelle

Catherine Emmanuelle

Family Living Educator
UW-Extension, Cooperative Extension- Trempealeau County

Catherine works as a family living educator for the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Trempealeau County, where she partners with organizations and people to build family resilience through complex social issues, such as incarceration, alternatives to incarceration, treatment and diversion courts, immigrant families, and community leadership development. Catherine graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, in Women's Studies and Economics. She received a Master's degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in Advocacy and Political Leadership. In addition to her career with UW-Extension, Catherine represents over 66,000 people as an at-large member on the Eau Claire City Council, and is the first Latina/o elected in her community. In her spare time, she likes to bargain shop, tries to recreate foods from her travels, dabbles in growing food in her front yard, and occasionally indulges in Netflix-binging.

Brandon Fetterly

Brandon Fetterly

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (until December 31st) and Associate Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry, UW-Richland

Brandon Fetterly has taught Chemistry at UW-Richland since 2005, becoming a tenured Associate Professor in 2011. From 2012 to 2015, he also served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Brandon earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Iowa State University and B.S degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics from St. Norbert College. When away from campus, Brandon enjoys spending time with his family.

Mary Flessert

Mary Flessert

Accountant
UW Extension Conference Centers

Mary has worked as an Accountant for Extension Conference Centers since 2012, recently adding accounting duties for Extension Mail Services. Before coming to the Extension she worked at the Computer Sciences department at UW Madison, and in private industry as an Office Manager and bookkeeper for many years. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in 2008 from Lakeland College. In her free time she loves to read and travel.

Donnie Finch

Donnie Finch

Financial Aid Coordinator
Office of Financial Aid UW Colleges

Donnie Finch has worked in financial aid for more than 6 years and has been with UW Colleges as a financial aid coordinator since 2014. He was the director of financial aid for two private sector colleges since 2009. Donnie's primary focus is assisting students with completing their necessary paperwork to obtain federal funding for college. He is responsible for completing Return of Title IV funding when students officially or unofficially withdrawal from college. Donnie received his MBA from University of Phoenix and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Herzing University. Donnie currently resides in Fitchburg, WI with his wife and enjoys watching most sports and taking hikes with his wife and 10 year old yellow lab named Zoey.

Jason Lemahieu

Jason Lemahieu

Senior Web Applications Specialist
UW-Extension, Cooperative Extension

Jason has been a part of Cooperative Extension since 2003, when he found a part-time student position while completing his Computer Science degree at UW-Madison, and has been with Extension ever since. Today, Jason is the lead developer and decision-maker behind Cooperative Extension's public web presence. In his spare time, Jason is a professional organizer and official for large-scale competitive Magic: the Gathering tournaments (a trading card game).

Andrew Licht

Andrew Licht

Assistant Manager
Lowell Center, UW-Extension - Conference Centers

From 2011-2014 Andy was an assistant Manager at two different Wal-Mart's around Madison, WI. In September, 2014 he accepted a position at UW Extension Conference Centers where he is an Assistant Manager at The Lowell Center and its 137 hotel rooms. He oversees the overall operations of the Hotel and its conference rooms. Andy was married in August of 2015 to his wife Stephanie and he has a dog named Rickie.

MelissaSmiley

Melissa Smiley

Instructional Materials Specialist/Learning Design & Technologies
Department of Engineering, UW-Madison

Melissa currently works with the Learning Design & Technologies team at the Department of Engineering Professional Development at UW Madison as the Instructional Materials Specialist. Melissa currently focuses on producing instructional materials for professional development courses, providing instructional materials in electronic format, and manages the Notebook Production Group. She also works interdepartmentally on copyright issues, web accessibility standards, and the development of online courses. Melissa earned a BA in political science from UW-Whitewater and a Master of Science in Education degree from UW-Stout. She is currently completing an Ed.S. degree through UW-Stout.

Kate Sullivan

Kate Sullivan

Senior Institutional Planner
UW-Extension, UW Colleges, UW-Superior

Kate is currently Senior Institutional Planner for three University of Wisconsin institutions (UW-Extension, UW Colleges, and UW-Superior). Her responsibilities include preparation of the Capital Plan and special planning projects for these institutions. Kate previously served as UW System Administration's Director of Facilities Planning and Senior Planner for nine years.

Melissa Webster

Melissa Webster

Outreach Specialist
Continuing Education and Extension, UW-La Crosse

After earning a degree in education, Melissa Webster chose to redirect and grow her career in the hospitality industry. She held positions in event sales and in hotel management prior to re-entering the education realm by joining the UW-La Crosse's Continuing Education and Extension team over a year and a half ago. She now combines her unique background with her creative spirit as an Outreach Specialist spending her time joining forces with faculty and community partners to develop and deliver workshops, courses, and conferences to meet the needs of the community. At home, a busy one-year old and hobbyist husband keep the fun-filled day rolling ever onwards. She centers herself amidst the chaos with hiking, cooking, and crafting.

Ben White

Ben White

Producer/Director
Wisconsin Public Television (WPR), UW-Extension

Ben White has been a producer and director at Wisconsin Public Television since 2000. During his time at WPT, he has filled various roles from production supervisor to overseeing WPT's Auction for 4 years. Currently Ben is a producer/director for the national distributed program Sewing with Nancy. He also received a Chancellor's Award for Excellence for his work on the program Wisconsin From the Air. Besides studio productions, Ben also directs remote productions of concerts, political and sporting events for WPT. Outside of Wisconsin Public Television, Ben is the head coach of the Middleton boys' volleyball team, a role he has held since 2001.

Amy Ziebell

Amy Ziebell

Marketing Communications Manager
Broadcast and Media Innovations (BAMI), UW-Extension

Amy's background is primarily in commercial radio with experience on-air and in programming, promotions, sales, operations and management; in addition, her time with an organic farm and a social media/content marketing agency offered valuable knowledge. She joined Instructional Communications Systems (ICS) in late 2014 and manages the organization's marketing and communication efforts, including brand development, special events/trade shows and internal/external messaging. Amy loves dogs, visiting National Parks with her husband, reading and playing piano.


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