We Believe in Social Good.
In 1983, the Volunteer Center was founded by a group of community leaders led by Sharon Ziegler. These visionaries imagined a single place that connected volunteers with local for-purpose organizations. Fast forward to today and we still love matching people with the perfect volunteer opportunity. We’ve also grown to offer exciting programs that share a powerful message: it’s really quite simple to do good!
When you volunteer through the Volunteer Center, you’re helping a local for-purpose organization continue their important work. Whether you give a helping hand to someone in need, clean up a local park, or do any sort of good in between, you’re making a difference right here in the community in which you live.
Sue Millin, Executive Director
Sue’s personal mission of “leaving more than you take in this world” has led her to more than 35 years of nonprofit work. She joined the Volunteer Center team in 2012 and really enjoys being a community connector. Leading the Volunteer Center has allowed Sue to work closely with so many nonprofits doing amazing work in Washington County. Her vision and creativity has helped re-imagine the Volunteer Center’s founding mission to make a powerful impact for today’s volunteers.
Sue has been an active volunteer in our community and is currently serving on the board of directors for the Historic West Bend Theatre – a group working to turn the iconic theater into a multi-use arts and gathering space. She recently trained with her labradoodle, Cooper, to become a certified therapy team. Together, they volunteer at locations throughout southeast Wisconsin.
In her free time, Sue enjoys spending time with family and friends in Door County…tromping around the outdoors, harvesting prairie seeds, hunting morel mushrooms, upcycling old stuff… and always looks forward to her annual trip to NYC with her daughter (where they’ve been known to take in more than 10 Broadway shows in 6 days!)
Melanie Gonring, Director of Programming
Inspired by a middle school presentation about volunteering, Melanie walked through the Volunteer Center doors in 1996 and asked, “how can I help?” She spent 6 years volunteering at the Center and its many partner agencies before moving to the Twin Cities for college.
Melanie has worked as an event coordinator and as a marketing assistant at a corporate law firm but longed for a career where she could make a difference. In 2009, Melanie joined AmeriCorps and was placed “back home” at the Volunteer Center. She’s worn almost every hat here, but discovered that her favorite role is developing programs that inspire others to give back and build stronger communities. She is currently seeking her Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the Helen Bader Institute at UW-Milwaukee.
When she’s not working Melanie enjoys spending time with her husband and teenage son, traveling, a good trivia night, pretending she’s an Olympic figure skater, and (badly) playing her ukulele. She even finds time to volunteer, having been a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County for 7 years and currently tutoring Latino adults seeking US citizenship at Casa Guadalupe.
Kayla Bieszk, Community Engagement Manager
A day of service in 2015 brought Kayla to the Volunteer Center’s front door. After 50 flights of stairs lugging rubbermaid containers up from storage, a few stubbed toes, and plenty of laughs, Kayla knew the Volunteer Center was the place she had to be! She came back as full-time volunteer manager a few short weeks later.
Kayla brings professional experience in public relations, event coordination, and customer service to her role. Her favorite part of the job is working with some seriously good people (the wonderful thing about volunteers is, well, they’re wonderful!). And in a world of busy schedules and full plates, she also loves reminding people that you don’t need to be Superman to make a big difference…sometimes all it takes is a few hours and a friendly smile!
When she’s not matching volunteers, you’ll find Kayla enjoying time with her husband and baby daughter, adventuring in the great outdoors, or trying (key word: trying) to tackle some sort of home project. She also serves as a hospice volunteer and is an aspiring master gardener volunteer with the University of Wisconsin Extension.
Michelle Spettel, Marketing & Outreach Specialist
Volunteering has always been a part of Michelle’s story. She grew up knowing it’s just what you do to be a part of your community.
She first experienced the Volunteer Center while working for a different company in the same building downtown. Michelle headed down the hall to find a meaningful way to help. Turned out, the Volunteer Center needed some graphic design assistance and was looking for new marketing committee members. A year later, she officially joined the staff. These days Michelle’s doing super cool things like designing buses and coffee shops!
When not at work you might find Michelle in Mexico, roaming the streets looking for the best taco stand. She is also very involved with Spotlight Productions where she designs and creates sets for all the shows. Eight crazy years ago Michelle was asked to design a set for Cats. Fifteen shows later; it has been a great way to volunteer, grow incredible friendships, and spend time (lots of time) with family.
Debby Schumacher, Program & Hub Coordinator
Debby’s event planning expertise brought her to us as a volunteer, where she oversaw our annual Champions of Change awards ceremony and other small fundraisers. Three years and hundreds of centerpieces later, Debby officially joined our team in August 2017.
After a 33-year career with the YMCA, Debby was inspired to start her own event planning business. While very successful, it didn’t provide her an opportunity to be an agent of change like her time in the nonprofit sector. Debby’s infectious enthusiasm for the Volunteer Center, combined with her outstanding customer service, special events and programming background, made her the perfect addition to our team!
In her free time Debby enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and serving on several committees at St. Frances Cabrini Parish, where she and her family are long-time members. When at home she’s usually found in “craft central,” spending time with her three grandchildren, and cheering on Chicago sports teams (we’ll let that one slide…).
Roberta Rinzel, Hub Manager
Roberta’s passion for specialty coffee and volunteer engagement led her to the Volunteer Center. A strong believer in “being the change you wish to see in the world,” she jumped at the chance to serve the community literally and figuratively.
Roberta’s background in horticulture led her to a career in organic vegetable farming. In the off season, her love of local cafes resulted in a second career as a barista at a coffee shop in Cedarburg. There she quickly worked her way up to manager, and is excited to start a new chapter, mentoring a crew of volunteer baristas here at The Hub.
When not learning about and consuming yummy coffee and tea, Roberta enjoys growing herbs, flowers and vegetables and spending time with her family and lovable cockapoo sidekick, Sunny.
Sandy Cashman | EPIC Creative
Beth Fellenz | Prescott Family Foundation
Gaytha Hillman | GrandCare Systems, LLC
Ted Neitzke | CESA 6
Mike Nowack | Senior Investment Consultant Baird
Tim Schmidt | Delta Defense, LLC
Sharon Ziegler | Volunteer Center Founding Member
Carl Wegner, CPA | Wegner & Associates
Chris Zwygart | West Bend Mutual Insurance
Board of Directors
Jake Schmidt, President | West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.
Katie Evans, Past President | OTech Group
Stacy Scherzer, Vice President | Stacy Scherzer LLC
Paul Price, Secretary | University of Wisconsin-Waukesha
Lisa Hammer | Wells Fargo Advisors
Rachel Bertsch | EPIC Creative
Josephine Brzezinski | Brookfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tony Koebel | The Norbert
Glenn Leinen | Russ Darrow
Rev. Clarissa Martinelli | Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church
Amy Schermetzler | MGS Mfg. Group
Tonnie Schmidt | Delta Defense
Jeff Szukalski | Jeff’s Spirits On Main
Marshall Welch | Stone Creek Coffee
Kathleen Weston | Preceptor Health Care