Board Member Spotlight
Anna Milbach - U.S. Bank Commercial Relationship Manager
During her 6 years on our Board of Directors, Anna served as Secretary and on several committees, including: Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Board Recruitment Committee, 1911 Society Event Committee, and Child Care Services Committee. When asked about her board service, Anna said: "I was originally inspired to get involved due to Waypoint’s work with domestic violence survivors. Because of Waypoint’s partnerships with so many of the nonprofit organizations throughout our community, I learned a great deal about the strengths and offerings of nonprofits in the ICR community during my time on the board. I have been truly inspired and amazed by the strength and resiliency of the domestic violence survivors I have heard from over the years." Anna is currently raising two boys, Logan (9) and Archer (2) with her husband Joe, who is a Front End Web Developer. She is inspired by her faith and the supportive family, friends, and coworkers who she is grateful to have in her life.
Wendy Nielsen - First Vice President Marketing & Public Relations at Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust
During her 6 years of board service, Wendy served on the Child Care Rebranding Committee and the Tribute to Women of Achievement Planning Committee. When asked about her board service, Wendy said: "When I first joined the board, I did not know a lot about Waypoint. However, as I met with Jaye [the CEO] and learned more about the organization, I quickly realized the need in our community for Waypoint’s services, as well as the staff’s passion to help move people forward during tough times. That, combined with the fact that I’ve always been passionate about helping women, made it something I knew I wanted to get involved with. I’ve learned so many things while serving on the board over the past six years. But the one thing that stands out most to me is the passion, dedication and resiliency of Waypoint’s staff. Their staff is phenomenal and the big and little things they do each and every day to serve Waypoint’s mission of “moving people forward” is inspiring to me. It has truly been an honor serving on the board. I am forever touched by the personal stories and strength shared by clients who were able to move forward in their lives because Waypoint was there for them and gave them hope. It has made me more aware of my community’s needs regarding domestic violence and homelessness support and quality child care. Lastly, I have built many relationships that I look forward to continuing." Wendy and her husband, Nick, who met at Coe College (Go Kohawks!) live in Marion. They are raising two beautiful and funny boys, Roman (10) and Connor (7). They love to watch and play sports, have family movie or game nights, and spend time with friends and family. They are also looking forward to adding a Yorkie puppy to their family very soon! Wendy says she is inspired by her mother, whose strength, work ethic, and positive attitude inspire her each and every day.
Teri Gibson, Employee Benefit Practice Leader at TrueNorth Companies and Past President of Waypoint's Board of Directors
Teri joined Waypoint's board in 2013 when she was asked by some current board members at the time. "The mission really spoke to me," Teri said. "It was something I could get excited about and put energy toward." During her board service, Teri has learned a lot about the needs of the community and the barriers people face to moving forward. "I've learned how important Waypoint's mission is and how needed the services are,” Teri said. “Since joining Waypoint's board, I have been more passionate about giving back in all areas of time, talent, and treasure. I have become more aware of all nonprofits in our community and the help that is needed, which has prompted me to reach out and get more involved. I am a people person through and through. I love being out in the community meeting new people and adding value anywhere I can. I love to get in the trenches and not sit on the sidelines, which my work with Waypoint has allowed me to do." Teri comes from a long line of philanthropic entrepreneurs who have always gotten involved with the communities where they lived and worked. "This instilled in me a need to give back at young age as I watched my father and mother own a business and embrace their community, giving generously where they could. I have a 30 year-old son who is stepping right into that same cadence, which makes me extremely proud," Teri said.
Brianne Cummins, Director of Sales and Marketing at UFG Insurance
Brianne has served on Waypoint’s board for the last five years. She is currently serving as the Board Secretary and has also served on the 1911 Society Planning Committee and the Waypoint Party Planning Committee. When asked about her board service, Brianne said: “I started volunteering at Waypoint while serving on a Women in Action Affinity Network board at US Cellular. We started volunteering at holiday events, but really got to know the staff and how they all served Waypoint’s mission while working on a rehab project in their School Age Kids rooms at KidsPoint Downtown. We spent many hours painting, cleaning, and setting up new furniture and equipment for those rooms, and I felt a strong pull and connection with their cause. I knew I wanted to commit more time and look for new ways to get more involved, so I offered to join an event committee for a new 1911 Society they were creating. Shortly after, I joined the board. My time on the board has truly taught me the broad impact that Waypoint has in our community. Most have no idea of the unfortunate demand our community has for the work Waypoint does. While we would all agree that an end to domestic violence and homelessness should be the goal in every town or city, that is simply not the case in most places. Waypoint helps people move forward out of some of the toughest circumstances anyone could imagine. They show empathy, understanding, and provide resources that are crucial to allowing people to heal and get back on their feet. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Working with Waypoint has given me a stronger awareness and understanding of what is happening in our own communities and how individuals and communities can help. It has also given me a sense of pride and belonging to something bigger.” Brianne currently lives in North Liberty with her husband and their two children, daughter Peyton (9) and son Greyson (8). They have two dogs, Remi and Carli. Brianne and her husband both grew up between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and much of their extended family is still in this area.
Stacie Osako, Chief Strategy Officer at Informatics
Staci has served two terms on the Board of Directors from 2010 to 2016 and served as Board President in 2014. She also serves on the board for Women Lead Change, Catherine McAuley Center, and the Iowa Senior Human Resources Association. "My connection to Waypoint began in 2005 when my first son started daycare at the [KidsPoint] downtown location,” Stacie said. “It was a joy to get to know the teachers and the staff simply by being in the building every day. Both my boys have been in KidsPoint’s care all the way through the School Age Kids program through their elementary years. The visibility of being in the building daily to drop off and pick-up my boys allowed me to learn more about the mission of Waypoint and the impact the organization has on the community." When asked about her most recent board service, Stacie said she is hoping to learn more about the challenges our community is currently facing. “I want to learn how Waypoint can grow and adapt to serve as many people as possible. I hope to understand how board members can truly add value and support the team who are supporting those in need on a daily basis." Stacie and her husband, John, operate a Web Marketing Agency that keeps them very busy. They have two teenage boys (15 and 13) that keep them on their toes and two dogs (Pip and Oliver) that are really benefiting from everyone working from home! Recently, Stacie has been focusing on learning how to make jewelry and how to embroider. She is also getting good at homemade German pretzels, trying to find her inner green thumb with a salsa garden, and has been watching a ton of documentaries. At the moment, she is inspired by “people who are fearless in pursuing change, willing to chart new territory, and are creatively adapting and persevering.”
Tara Wachendorf, Public Relations Director at GreenState Credit Union
Tara is new to Waypoint’s Board of Directors. When asked about her interest in working with Waypoint, she said "I have always been impressed with the gamut of services and programs Waypoint offers to the residents in our community. I am glad I can get more involved by serving on the board, and I am looking forward to learning more about wealth and education gaps and how Waypoint helps people move forward in life." When asked what inspires her, Tara said: “Self-help and Christian-based books. There is always a golden nugget from each book that I use to live my life with more strength, positivity, and faith.” Tara and her husband have two sons, Jensen (3 ½) and Tate (17 months), and a Boston Terrier named Fonzi, who truly runs the house. She enjoys working out, traveling, biking, golfing, hiking, and boating in the Ozarks with family during her free time.
Jason Vestweber, REALTOR and Owner of the Vestweber Team at Skogman Realty
Jason joined the board in 2016 in an effort to help create a more collaborative relationship between Waypoint and Willis Dady to ensure the needs of those experiencing homelessness in our community were being met. When asked about his involvement with Waypoint, Jason said “I was very unaware of the level of support Waypoint provides to our community, and even more unaware about the level of domestic violence that occurs in our community. I now feel I have a far better awareness of the multitude of challenges facing people in our community and the services available to support them.” When asked about who inspires him, Jason said “My children. They cause me to want to work hard in life. Seeing them have a better future drives me and motivates me to do the day to day things I do to make this world a better place for everyone in it.” Jason has been married to his best friend, Heather, for 20 years, and he describes her as his “better part.” Heather works for Wells Fargo as a Wealth Advisor. Together, they have two kids: Maddie, who is a sophomore at the University of Iowa, and Cooper, who is a junior at Kennedy High School.
Michelle Jensen, President & CEO of Rayser Holdings, Inc.
Michelle has served on the board for the past two years and will be the incoming Board President. When asked why she got involved with Waypoint, Michelle said: “I’ve always respected the organization and felt their mission was critical within our community. I’m also extremely inspired by the Waypoint team and their commitment to their work. I’ve learned more about their ability to assist with housing, which expands beyond Madge Phillips and really focuses on helping individuals establish a longer term solution for housing. I’ve gained a more comprehensive understanding of the needs within our community regarding housing and child care and the challenges faced by those trying to move forward and provide a better life for themselves and their families.” Michelle has a daughter, Katie, who is a freshman at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and is married to her husband, Mark, who teaches science at Kennedy High School, coaches girls cross country at Kennedy, and is a home brewer. She says she is inspired by the opportunity to continually learn in order to increase her ability to grow.
Jaymie McGrath, Talent Development Director at McGrath Family of Dealerships
Jaymie joined the board in 2018 and has served on the Capital Campaign Committee and The Waypoint Party planning committee. When asked about her involvement with Waypoint, Jaymie said: “I was approached about the opportunity and it was an easy yes! I had heard Jaye (CEO) speak at an event we hosted for our McGrath Women's Network, and I loved the mission and what Waypoint does for our community. It was an easy thing for me to want to be a part of! I have learned so much during my time on the board, including how the systems that are put into place to help people sometimes limit growth. At times, the structure only continues the cycle, and Waypoint is here to help along in that growth. I love how Waypoint works on Rapid Re-Housing to help ensure people have access to housing to prevent homelessness and also provides scholarships for their child care for those who are not eligible for government assistance, just to name a few of their amazing services. Serving on the board at Waypoint reminds me that we truly don't know what others are going through or have been through, so we cannot judge, but can lend a hand to help move them forward.” When asked about who inspires her, Jaymie said she is continually inspired by her mother. “She is a force to be reckoned with. When she puts her mind to something, she accomplishes it and doesn't take no for an answer. Yet she has the biggest heart and is so caring and compassionate for others. She always shows up for people and is there whenever her friends or family need her. She has this perfect balance of getting things done while bringing others along with her and lifting them up.” Jaymie has been married to her husband, Anthony, for five years, and they have four kids. Grace (16), Colt (11), Sammie (3), and Parker (1), making for a busy, but fun household. There is always something going on, and you can usually find them at a sporting event, activity practice, or dancing to the Frozen 2 soundtrack.
Jill Mast, Vice President/Director of Client Service at de Novo Marketing
Jill has served on the board for 6 years and often helps out with the Gentleman Campaign© Benefit Motorcycle Ride as well as board member recruitment efforts. When asked about how she got involved with Waypoint, Jill said: "I was first exposed to Waypoint when I was pregnant with my oldest child and looking for daycare. A colleague recommended Waypoint. We toured, signed up, and stayed for 8 years! After learning more about the critical services they offer, especially those focused on women, I knew I wanted to be more involved. I have learned so much about the needs our community faces in terms of domestic violence, homelessness and housing insecurity, and the availability of quality, affordable childcare. This community is fortunate to have many solid nonprofits working together to find real, tangible solutions to these issues. I now have a better appreciation for our community and a deeper desire to serve. The passion and energy shared by the board and staff inspires me to contribute whatever I can to fulfill the mission of helping people move forward. I’m inspired by people who get up every day and make things happen. It doesn’t have to be life altering or major inventions. But the small, everyday things that make a difference in people’s lives. I’m also inspired by positive people - people who help and give and laugh even when times may be tough." Jill and her husband, Steve, have two daughters: Stella and Cora. Steve works for the fire department in the training division. Stella and Cora, both KidsPoint graduates, attend Grant Wood Elementary. They also have a dog, a 17 year-old cat, and two fish.
Carmen Kleinsmith, Sr. Vice President/Chief Nurse Executive at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s
Carmen joined the board in 2018 after hearing about the services offered to the community year after year. Carmen said “For as long as I have been a member of the Cedar Rapids community, I have heard of Waypoint – to me, it was like a beacon in the night, there to provide assistance to all that need it during their time of crisis. In working closely with our Social Services team at the hospital, I became more intimately informed on the work that Waypoint was doing with their Domestic Violence Victim Services. There is so much need in our community. I see Waypoint impacting that in so many ways – I wanted to be a part of making that happen. I am continually impressed by the number of individuals impacted by the services provided by Waypoint, along with the consistently positive outcomes demonstrated by each of their unique services. For example, the Rapid Re-Housing and Homeless Prevention Programs were services I was not aware of when I first joined the Board. It is an honor to support this organization and particularly the team members that make up the organization. They are so passionate about their work and are extremely creative and committed. Who doesn’t want to help make it happen for them? They are an inspiration! Together, as a community, we can inspire people to move forward!” Carmen and her husband, Mike, enjoy time on their acreage south of Mt. Vernon, as well as spending time with their families. Mike has 3 grown daughters with a combined 8 grandchildren, and Carmen has 5 nieces and nephews with upcoming weddings and babies! Despite the challenges that 2020 has brought, Carmen continues to be inspired by the beauty of the human spirit and its ability to prevail, which is most evident as everyone comes together to make a difference in others’ lives.
Leisa Breitfelder, Executive Director of Student Services at Linn-Mar Community School District
Leisa has served on the board for five years. When asked why she got involved with Waypoint, she said: “Working in the school system, I have always had the philosophy that our impact on students’ lives does not end when the school bell rings. In order for a student to engage with school, they must first be ready to learn. A student is not ready to learn if they have no bed to sleep in, haven’t had food since their last school lunch, are scared for what will happen when they get home, and so many more traumas that can occur in a student’s life. Our district has worked with Waypoint to assist our families to safety. I wanted to get more involved because I fully believe in the good that Waypoint is doing for our community. Waypoint has been able to inspire so many families to move forward and I wanted to get involved to help ensure Waypoint and Waypoint’s philosophy in our community for many more years to come. I have been shocked at the number of families Waypoint touches on a yearly basis. Over 7,500 people in total each year are impacted through Waypoint’s Housing & Homeless Services, Domestic Violence Victim Services Program, and Child Care Services. That number just astounds me!” Since being involved with Waypoint, Leisa has gained a sense of pride in her life. “Pride in our community, pride in all the members of Waypoint, pride in the Board of Directors, pride in the Board of Trustees, and pride in myself. I am continually inspired by all of the kindness in our community and that is shown from all of those associated with Waypoint. After the Derecho, we have seen the images of true kindness over and over again. There are so many moments throughout our days where we are faced with a choice. We can either choose the path of kindness or we can choose a different path. I am truly inspired by the moments when people choose kindness, and I am inspired by the people who choose kindness again and again.” Leisa has been married to her husband, Chris, for 19 years, and they have three wonderful children. Kennady is 15 and enjoys volleyball, basketball, and track. Enzler is 13 and enjoys basketball, baseball, and gaming. Will is 4 and loves playing with his cars and trucks making his construction site. As a family, they like to travel to see new communities and experience new cultures.
Sam Houston, Executive Vice President at Health Solutions, LLC
Sam spent 6 years on the board, serving on the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, and as the Board President. When asked why he got involved with Waypoint, Sam said: “Jaye Kennedy [CEO] spoke at one of our company events and shared a personal story along with how important Waypoint is for women and their families. It touched my heart so much that, after she spoke, I asked her how I could help. Working with Waypoint has inspired me to be the best father and positive male role model for my daughters. It is the most important job that I will ever have in my life. I have also been inspired to try new challenges or things that I am unsure about, just to see if I can do it.” Sam has been married to his wife, Lori, for over 30 years. They have two daughters: Lauren is 27 and is a Marketing Specialist at First Mainstreet Insurance, and Haleigh is 21 and a senior at the University of Iowa – she will begin working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy next year.
At Waypoint, we believe that housing and homelessness, domestic violence, poverty, and access to quality child care are community issues that must be addressed with dedication and support from the community at-large.
Every year, Waypoint works to spread awareness about the importance of healthy relationships to ensure that everyone, both men and women, young and old, know that they are enough and are deserving of love and support. Waypoint hosts the Gentleman Campaign© every year in October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.