Meet the Team


Dougal Nelson, President and Chief Executive Officer

Dougal brings passion, enthusiasm, and positive energy to the JA team.  After his first volunteer experience with Junior Achievement in 2001, Dougal was hooked on preparing children for their future success.  In 2016, Dougal joined the JA leadership team full-time.

Outside of the office, Dougal is an avid golfer. He also enjoys cooking and entertaining with family and friends, working on his 100 year old house, antiquing and taking short road trips around the Midwest.

Dougal has always been a people person. One of his favorite quotes is, "There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't met yet." He truly enjoys meeting people and learning what makes them who they are. Being a positive role model for everyone is also very important to him.


Val Yazbec, Vice President, Development

Val's role at JA is to secure funding and build partnerships to ensure schools have the opportunity to foster future success, economic health and financial literacy to empower young people to own their economic success.

Val really enjoys seeing all of the kids' hard work come to fruition when they arrive at JA World for a day at JA BizTown®. She loves to see the excitement and seriousness the kids have as they go about running their business, running the city and doing their assigned jobs.


Mark Taghon, Vice President, Education & Operations 

Sports have always been Mark Taghon’s passion. He’s always wanted to be an athlete and is an avid runner. He also makes a point to give back to the community whenever he can by helping out at local organizations.

At Junior Achievement, Mark oversees JA programming, both in-school and Capstone programs, including volunteer recruiting and training. He ensures all JA facilities are properly maintained and secured. Mark also manages our computer networks and the Human Resources Department.




Tawnya Hambly, Senior Director, Marketing & Special Events

Tawnya enjoys working behind the scenes to help showcase Junior Achievement's mission at special events and various marketing tools. Tawnya's favorite part of her job is hearing JA success stories from local students, educators, and volunteers.

Outside of work, Tawnya enjoys spending time with family and friends.  She also enjoys feeding them!  Experimenting in the kitchen or making family approved dishes is one of her favorite ways to unwind.


Sabrina Dale, Accounting Manager

Sabrina's role at JA is to prepare financial statements, income, expense and balance sheets. She also provides analysis of cash, receivables and contribution balances to the executive team and board members. Sabrina ensures compliance with JA USA reporting requirements, and when the opportunity presents itself she loves to attend the JA events.

Sabrina realized how important JA is to provide an optimal growing experience for her children when her son came home from his second JA class and decided he couldn’t be a sports caster because he couldn’t support his wife and two children.  At age 10, he was exposed to taking responsibility for his financial success.


Linda Sims-Keith, Operations Assistant

Like many of the employees at Junior Achievement of the Heartland, Linda Sims-Keith wanted to be a school teacher when she was young. Today she contacts businesses for donations for JA fundraisers and keeps the office running.

Outside of work, Linda enjoys working in her flower garden.

Scott Ellerbach, Development Director

Most of Scott's time at JA is spent securing funding for all JA programs throughout the course of the year. He gets to build meaningful and lasting relationships with local communities and the individuals and businesses that reside there.  He also works daily to create and promote awareness of JA and all of the JA programs we bring to young people.

Scott says it may seem a bit cliché, but his family is everything to him and he is super-passionate about them and keeping them safe, happy, and healthy!  They spend a lot of time together doing things such as sports, outdoor activities, heading to the family farm, traveling, etc.  With three young kids, Scott never has a dull moment at home.

When Scott's not in the office, he loves to do yardwork and landscaping projects.  He finds that taking an idea from scratch and turning it into something beautiful for others to enjoy is rewarding! He also says there is something therapeutic about yardwork that he truly enjoys!


Stacy Voelliger, Senior Manager, Education

Stacy Voelliger plays a key role in getting Junior Achievement programs into schools. She works with educators to offer JA programs and recruits volunteers to teach children about financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.

Outside of work, Stacy enjoys spending time with her family, enjoying the outdoors and reading. Her favorite book is “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. She laughed and cried her way through the novel.

Kathy Andon, Education Manager

Kathy Andon’s favorite part of Junior Achievement is going into the classroom and having the kids excited and happy to see her, this gives her the validation that she is doing something right.  It seems fitting then that her responsibility at Junior Achievement is to place volunteers in the classrooms.

Outside of work, Kathy enjoys going Junking at flea markets and auctions and repurposing these items to make new things out of them.  Because Kathy grew up on a farm, she likes to tend to her vegetable and flower gardens in the summer. 

Jessica Brooks, Education Coordinator

Jessica spends her work day helping teachers find volunteers to teach JA programs in their classrooms.

During the warmer months, Jessica loves spending time on the water wake boarding, knee boarding, and tubing with her family. She also enjoys working on DIY projects, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Jessica is also extremely passionate about softball. Now that she's done playing colligate ball, she's started helping youger athletes learn the same passion that she has for the game. 


Dawn Camlin, Education Coordinator

Dawn works with the rest of the Education Team in securing volunteers for our programs in the classroom.

Dawn remembers having JA when she was a freshman in high school. It was an after school program and they made pine cone wreaths and then sold them. She also remembers her kids bringing home their JA certificates and talking about the class.

Outside of work Dawn enjoys being with her family. She has four kids, two adult children and two still in high school, and they keep her young! She enjoys hearing them all laugh together and helping each other out.


Katie Sothmann, Special Events Manager

Katie's role at Junior Achievement is to plan and organize special events to support JA programs.  Her favorite memory at JA is probably like many others. She recently had the opportunity to teach her first JA class, a great group of second graders. Every day the students were so happy to see her and so happy to learn. She was able to see JA’s mission in action and be a part of it at the forefront.

As a kid Katie loved animals and wanted to be a veterinarian. She's still an animal lover, but over her years in school she realized her mind was more wired for communications than science, which led Katie to events.


Makenzie Morris, Digital Marketing & Communications Manager

Makenzie manages JA's digital marketing campaigns, website and social media pages. She also assists in event planning, event operations and marketing materials.

Outside of work, Makenzie loves to spend time with her family, friends, and her two Goldendoodles. She also enjoys traveling, playing sports, crafting, and relaxing in her hammock.


Lisa Francis, Capstone Program Director

Lisa coordinates the JA BizTown® and JA Finance Park® programming at JA World.

Her passion in life is to create positive, worthwhile projects, events, and learning opportunities for youth. 


Wilma Deal, Education Coordinator

Wilma’s greatest passion in life is learning and then sharing that new knowledge with others.  You can see this in every facet of her life.  That is why after 30 years of teaching she has brought that passion and knowledge to JA World.  Wilma works with students during their on-site simulation for JA BizTown and JA Finance Park at JA World.

Wilma also enjoys exercising to keep healthy and traveling to experience new areas and cultures.


Julie Fitzpatrick, Education Coordinator

As a child Julie wanted to be a fashion stylist, she even received her degree in Textile and Clothing.  Now working at JA World, she helps facilitate JA BizTown and JA Finance Park by working with the teachers and students. 

When Julie is not at work, she enjoys cooking and reading the Twilight Series.


Carol Huggins, Education Coordinator

Carol teaches students at JA World financial literacy through onsite simulations. She is passionate about giving back to the community, and she does so by working at local foodbanks. 

Carol's favorite book is Mists of Avalon by Marion Z. Bradley because it combines history and fantasy.


Jolane Otto, Education Coordinator

Jolane’s favorite memory of Junior Achievement is from when she was a teacher and she took her students and their parents to JA World for a 4 hour simulation of JA BizTown.  They all left feeling aglow.  Her job is now to facilitate students’ experiences at that program, as well as JA Finance Park.

Outside of work she loves to play pickleball, because it is good fun and keeps her active.  Jolane also enjoys watching movies.  ET is by far her favorite because as Spielberg says, “if an alien civilization is advanced enough to get here, they must be peace seeking.”


Deb Slothower, Education Coordinator

Deb also wanted to be a teacher growing up, and after retiring from a 33 year teaching career, she now helps students at JA BizTown and JA Finance Park.

Deb enjoys traveling to see new places, meet new people, and explore.