© 2019 by Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance, Inc.

1700 Tainter St., Unit D

Menomonie, WI 54751

info@milkweedalliance.org

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Staff

Kate Laird, Interim Executive Director

Kate Laird is a co-founder of Milkweed Connections, LLC and Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance, Inc. She has an educational background in community organizing and has been involved in mental health consumer-led advocacy and peer-delivered services since 2012. She has a passion for building community and forming healing relationships.

Victoria Welle, Peer Run Respite Program Director

After many years in the worlds of activism and theological studies, Victoria became involved in peer support and advocacy for people diagnosed with mental health conditions. Victoria is passionate about helping create alternative ways to support individuals during times of crisis and distress, and is a proud co-founder of Milkweed Connections, LLC and Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance.

Mark Wacek, Financial Manager

Mark Wacek has worked as an accountant and administrative professional for four years in the greater Chippewa Valley area. He has degrees in accounting from CVTC and UW-River Falls. One of his interests in college was working in the not-for-profit sector, and he enjoys working with people on a collective mission to help others. Mark served as the treasurer for The Master Singers, another not-for-profit organization out of Eau Claire, WI, prior to accepting this position, and looks forward to contributing his skills to the Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance. Other interests include singing in community choirs, directing a church choir, and spending time with his family. 

Sae Kim, Program Coordinator

Sae has background in social work and public interest law. Through her own experience with more traditional mental health services, Sae became a strong believer of peer support movement and peer run respites and is thrilled to be a part of Monarch House family. Sae is also passionate about fitness and animal welfare. 

Cassie Jasper, Peer Supporter

Cassandra Jasper, from Colfax, is a peer supporter, photographer, and future educator. She has a passion for energy work and spiritual healing.

Board of Directors

Melissa Smith-Tourville, Chair

Melissa Smith-Tourville, from Menomonie, is a midwife with a background as an educator and life coach, and has extensive experience serving on nonprofit boards.

Daniel Soler, Treausurer

Daniel Soler, from Menomonie, has a background in nonprofit work as the executive director for the Menomonie Theater Guild.

Mellie Artema, Milkweed Liaison

Mellie Artema, from Menomonie, is a member-owner and manager of Milkweed Connections, LLC and provides peer support and holistic health services to those in the CCS program within the region.

Sam Ahrens, Vice-Chair

Sam Ahrens, from Eau Claire, was involved in the advocacy work that led to the State of Wisconsin funding the peer run respite program. She previously worked for Grassroots Empowerment Project, and was charged with opening the first respite in Menomonie.

Tom LaMartina, Secretary

Tom LaMartina, from Chippewa Falls, is the clinical supervisor for crisis services in Chippewa, Buffalo, and Pepin Counties. Tom has worked with the Milkweed Connections CCS team since the beginning.

Paulette Anderson, Member-at-Large

Paulette Anderson ran a flower garden maintenance business for 24 years. After passing the garden business onto two of her employees she started a community education program in her school district and has been director for the past 11 years, which has led to her teaching, yoga, gardening and unicycling.  She stays busy on numerous boards and director of an arts alliance. 

Staff

Kate Laird, Executive Director

Kate Laird is a co-founder of Milkweed Connections, LLC and Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance, Inc. She has an educational background in community organizing and has been involved in mental health consumer-led advocacy and peer-delivered services since 2012. She has a passion for building community and forming healing relationships.

Victoria Welle, Peer Run Respite Program Director

After many years in the worlds of activism and theological studies, Victoria became involved in peer support and advocacy for people diagnosed with mental health conditions. Victoria is passionate about helping create alternative ways to support individuals during times of crisis and distress, and is a proud co-founder of Milkweed Connections, LLC and Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance.

Mark Wacek, Financial Manager

Mark Wacek has worked as an accountant and administrative professional for four years in the greater Chippewa Valley area. He has degrees in accounting from CVTC and UW-River Falls. One of his interests in college was working in the not-for-profit sector, and he enjoys working with people on a collective mission to help others. Mark served as the treasurer for The Master Singers, another not-for-profit organization out of Eau Claire, WI, prior to accepting this position, and looks forward to contributing his skills to the Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance. Other interests include singing in community choirs, directing a church choir, and spending time with his family. 

Sae Kim, Program Coordinator

Sae has background in social work and public interest law. Through her own experience with more traditional mental health services, Sae became a strong believer of peer support movement and peer run respites and is thrilled to be a part of Monarch House family. Sae is also passionate about fitness and animal welfare. 

Ryan, House Coordinator

Ryan has spent several years working as a community activist and peer researcher in the Menomonie community, specifically focusing on gendered violence and survivor support systems.  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, Ryan joined the team at Monarch House to continue his passion for peer support and active change.  Ryan is also passionate about his family and healing through the art of cooking!

Cassie Jasper, Peer Supporter

Cassandra Jasper, from Colfax, is a peer supporter, photographer, and future educator. She has a passion for energy work and spiritual healing.

Ryan Sawyer, Peer Supporter

Ryan likes to play video games, golfing, guitar, and basketball. He enjoys listening to others' stories and helping in any way that he can. He also enjoys traveling and being around friends and family.

Tony Hoffman, Peer Supporter

Tony is easy-going, easy to talk to, but difficult to beat in games.  He is always trying to live his best life and will always tell you to follow your dreams.  In his free time, you can find him biking on country roads, cooking, or sleeping.

Board of Directors

Melissa Smith-Tourville, Chair

Melissa Smith-Tourville, from Menomonie, is a midwife with a background as an educator and life coach, and has extensive experience serving on nonprofit boards.

Daniel Soler, Treausurer

Daniel Soler, from Menomonie, has a background in nonprofit work as the executive director for the Menomonie Theater Guild.

Chris Hayden, Milkweed Liaison

Chris Hayden is a member-owner and part of the coordinating team of Milkweed Connections, LLC. Chris provides peer support and holistic health services to those in the Comprehensive Community Services program.

Vice-Chair

Open seat.

Tom LaMartina, Secretary

Tom LaMartina, from Chippewa Falls, recently retired as the clinical coordinator for crisis services in Chippewa, Buffalo, and Pepin Counties. Tom has worked with the Milkweed Connections CCS team since the beginning.

Tom Diel, Member-at-Large

Tom Diel has over 30 years of work experience in community mental health for Chippewa County. Tom’s passion is to reduce barriers that exist to accessing mental health services , through promoting resilience and emotional strength of individuals.