Kerri Kane – Producer
Kerri is a native to the Madison community and works as a local residential real estate broker. She loves assisting and consulting her clients in the buying and selling process. Her favorite all time thing about her job is to race against the clock to get homes prepped and ready in time for a photoshoot. She is married to the love of her life, has four amazing children, one son in law and 2 dogs . Kerri loves “making a difference” in the lives of others. She says “once you realize the impact it makes, it truly becomes contagious”. A huge thank you to her family, and the Project Brave Team for all the love and support for making this dream come true!
Being Real Affects the Value of
Leslie Esser-Reitano – Director
Leslie Esser-Reitano is a Voice and Acting Coach that maintains an active private studio in Middleton, WI. She is one half of Heartline Theatricals, with her husband Tony Reitano. Leslie has worked professionally as a performer in the entertainment industry for over three decades in Theatre, Film, Television and Recording. Thank you to everyone here today for sharing in this meaningful event!
Dr. Michael Hammer – Expert Speaker
Dr. Michael Hammer is a psychologist and trainer in the areas of emotional intelligence, stress and anger management, conflict management, managing organizational change, systematic problem solving, meeting management, and teamwork and teambuilding. He has conducted training for governmental employees, managers, supervisors, students, and others since 1988, and has presented at various statewide conferences. He worked at Mendota Mental Health Institute for nearly 29 years, and he continues to work in private practice at a rural mental health clinic.
John Weiss – Expert Speaker
John Weiss is the Co-owner and Outpatient Psychotherapist of Psychotherapy Center of Waunakee. John has provided school-based therapy services in 6 Wisconsin school districts: Pecatonica, Lake Mills, Oregon, Mount Horeb, De Forest and Waunakee. He works with student clients who have behavioral issues, trauma and family dysfunction. John has received extensive training in Conscious Discipline techniques and strategies to help clients and families heal and reconnect. He also practices the following modalities: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Informed Therapy, Strength-Based Therapy and Experiential Therapy. In addition to his Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy, he has a Master’s degree in Applied English Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin.
Michelle McGrath – Expert Speaker & Storyteller
Dr. Michelle McGrath is the Coordinator for the Waunakee Community Cares Coalition. She has worked in education for the past 27 years, including as an assistant principal at Waunakee High School and a non-profit executive for a youth leadership organization for 15 years. She has led organizations at the state and national level. She is a published author and speaks around the country on leadership and youth engagement. She is a resident of Waunakee and has 4 children.
Michelle is a Waunakee resident and small business owner who tragically lost her son, Cade Reddington, on 11/4/21 at the age of 18 after he was poisoned by a fake Percocet pill that turned out to be 100% fentanyl. Michelle is determined to save other families from this same horrific tragedy by telling Cade’s story and educating on the fentanyl crisis in our country.
Gwyn Friedl & The BC Boyz – Dog Act
Gwyn and her Border Collies, Amigo, (7 years old), and Deseo, (2.5 years old), train good behavior games, as well as compete in the sport of dog agility. Amigo and Gwyn recently competed and earned a spot on the U.S. Team traveling to the Netherlands in May to compete at the World Agility Open. Gwyn is a Registered Nurse at UW Health and currently works in the ICU caring for COVID patients. 2022 marks Gwyn’s 30th year as an RN!
Alyson Schaefer – Storyteller
Alyson has been in education for 30+ years as a health/advanced health teacher. She is Mental Health First Aid Certified, is an advocate for teens, and is the executive director for the Mental Fitness for Teens Organization. She wants all teens to live a fulfilling life with skills to embrace, empower, explore, and elevate to meet the challenges that may arise from mental health obstacles throughout their lives.
Sandra Meinholz – Storyteller
Sandra has been teaching for 20 years with 16 years at Waunakee High School. Being an alumnus of Waunakee, she and her husband Ben decided that Waunakee was going to be their home to allow their three children the opportunity to be a part of a great school community. She is passionate about marketing education and helping others find their success.
Sydney Schmidt – Storyteller
Sydney is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studying Accounting and Spanish. She works hard as an accounting intern for TDS and in the Dean of Students Office on campus. In her free time, Sydney plays cello for the university all-strings orchestra and in the worship band of the Christian student movement Badger Cru. She is a busy student, worker, friend, and family member who has her fair share of struggles that she works through with the support system she is surrounded by. A three word phrase that can be used to describe Sydney is “Passionate about Life”.
Tonya Schmidt – Master Of Ceremonies (MC)
Tonya Schmidt serves an Assistant Dean/Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has over 18 years of professional student affairs experience in residence life, student conduct, and the Dean of Students Office. Tonya works closely with Title IX issues at UW-Madison and is a member of the Behavior Intervention Team which assists students experiencing mental health crisis’ and connects them to university and community resources. Tonya lives in Waunakee with her husband of 22 years, her mother, two teenagers, two cats, and a bird. She is actively involved at Northridge Church and co-leads the youth group.
Abby Wilson – Stage Manager
Abby is a theatrically trained scenic artist and business owner of her own painting company specializing in mural work for Waunakee and the Dane county area.
S. Turk Wilson – Technician
Turk has been involved in theater throughout his long career. He currently works at Electronic Theatre Controls as a special projects and technical support engineer.
Rick Braun – Waunakee PAC Director
Rick Braun was born and raised in Waunakee. He taught for five years in Orfordville, Wisconsin before returning home to teach and raise his own kids in the school system he grew up in. He is currently a Teacher and Drama Director at Waunakee High School.