The board members of Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance (WIMA) would like to announce upcoming leadership changes in our organization.
In August 2018 Kate Laird and Victoria Welle were approached to lead an effort to re-open a peer run respite in Menomonie, WI. Due to their prior experience with peer run respites, as well as their recent success in launching the small business Milkweed Connections, Kate and Vic were uniquely suited for this undertaking. With the help of some committed volunteers to serve as board members, they created the non-profit Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance (WIMA) in September 2018, and set a goal to open a new peer run respite program by the end of the year. On December 18, 2018 Monarch House Peer Run Respite was up and running with a full team of peer supporters to serve individuals needing support during times of distress.
Throughout the past year Kate and Victoria continued to work with both Milkweed Connections and WIMA, and this work included training and mentoring a strong team of peer supporters and emerging leaders at Monarch House. Now, as Monarch House approaches its one-year anniversary of successful operation, Kate and Vic will be moving out of their roles at WIMA. We are proud to announce new leadership stepping up to continue WIMA’s vision of “a transformed culture built on mutual respect in which all people have the right to choose their own paths to healing and wholeness.”
Stepping in to the role of Executive Director is Sae Kim. Sae began as the program coordinator at Monarch House, and during the past year has been instrumental in the daily operations of the respite program. Sae’s new role will combine the part-time executive director and respite program director duties that Kate and Victoria had previously worked. Sae’s deep commitment to the values of the peer support model and enthusiasm for nurturing a fledgling non-profit make her uniquely suited for this new role.
The new program coordinator for Monarch House will be Gabbie Allee, who has been working as a peer supporter with both Monarch House and in the Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) program through Milkweed Connections. Gabbie also brings her skills as a trainer and advocate who has presented throughout the region on supporting members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The final leadership change is an expanded role for Ryan Leckel, who joined Monarch House this past July as house coordinator. Ryan’s role now includes a part-time community coordinator position, making it possible to expand WIMA’s plans to provide more resources and wellness events to the wider community. Ryan’s skills at community organizing and dedication to WIMA’s core values will continue to benefit both Monarch House and the Dunn County region.
We are immensely grateful for Kate and Victoria’s dedicated leadership over the past year, and we wish them all the best in their continued work with Milkweed Connections and mental health advocacy. The seeds they planted at the inception of WIMA have grown into a vibrant program with impressive emerging leadership ready to continue WIMA’s mission.
- The Board Members of Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance, Inc (WIMA)