Meet the Team

Meet the Team!
 

Barbara VenHorst, President

Barbara VenHorst describes herself as the head cheerleader of Junior Achievement. She shares the impact JA has on students with current and future partners, and works with businesspeople and educators who share their dedication by teaching young people about free enterprise.

Outside of work Barbara enjoys spending time with family and close friends, including her furbaby.

   

 

Mary Ellen Johnson, Senior Vice President

Mary Ellen Johnson’s most memorable moment at Junior Achievement was listening to parents and teachers describe the impact a scholarship JA awarded would have on the two students it benefited. The parents and teachers spoke passionately about the impact JA had on the two young people, and Mary Ellen has never been so proud about the work JA does with students than in that moment.

When Mary Ellen isn’t overseeing the day-to-day operations of JA, she enjoys reading and gardening. She grows flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. She enjoys the sense of satisfaction that comes from raising a plant to maturity, much like her work helping students develop at JA.

   

Dougal Nelson, Vice President, Development

Dougal leads the development team in creating awareness and raising funds to support JA programs. As a team, their goal is to increase revenue in an effort to empower more young people to own their economic success.

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.

   

Mark Taghon, Senior Director, 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 manages the operations and human resources department.

 

 

   

Tawnya Hambly, Senior Director, Marketing & Special Events

Tawnya works behind the scenes at Junior Achievement, telling the story of educators and students in JA marketing materials, press releases and grant proposals. Tawnya enjoys being able to make a difference in young people’s lives, like the time a little girl came up to her and said she wanted to be a JA lady just like Tawnya when she grew up.

   

Jeniffer Spindler, Accounting Manager

Jeniffer monitors cash, accounts receivables and year-to-date contribution balances as well as provides accurate and timely financial information to senior management.

When Jeniffer was a kid she wanted to be a lawyer, but when she took her first accounting class in high school she realized it wasn't for her.

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

   

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 Manager

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!

   

Kari Turner, Development Coordinator

Kari works as part of the development team, working with area businesses to increase awareness of JA and secure funding for JA programing.

Kari's favorite JA memory was attending JA BizTown in 4th and 5th grade.  She worked her way up the ladder at the radio station, going from advertising sales one year to owning the station the next. 

Outside of work she loves to have adventures and travel.  Kari feels that being somewhere new and off the beaten path always inspires a better understanding of a new culture or environment as well as a deeper connection with yourself.  She's been to 17 countries so far, soon to be 23!
   

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. 

   


Cassandra Druhl, Education Manager

Cassandra calls herself a “music nerd”.   She loves Queen for their ridiculous and fun music, but admits she enjoys going to live concerts of any genre.  Besides music, Cassandra loves the outdoors.  She enjoys spending her free time staying active by going hiking, kayaking, and running.  She has a degree in Environmental Studies and continues to keep up to date on the latest news on environmental issues.  She also enjoys volunteering at local nature centers.

Cassandra spends her professional day securing volunteers from the business community for teachers requesting JA programs in their classroom.  She oversees volunteer recruitment for JA of the Heartland in the Gateway and Tri-State areas.

   

Kim McMahill, Education Manager

Kim's favorite JA moment was when a high school student in an at-risk class stated that she came to school that day because she knew Kim was going to be there.  She stated that she thought Kim was funny, and liked that she talked with them and not at them.  She also felt like the material that Kim was presenting provided her tools to attain a new job!  JA is truly about connecting what’s going on in the world to our youth!

Kim's role at Junior Achievement is to create relationships with education personnel at the schools, local businesses, and community members.  Through creating relationships, she connects volunteers from the community into the classrooms.

   

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, Marketing & Events Specialist

Makenzie updates JA's website and social media sites with information on events and donor recognitions. She also assists in event planning, event operations and the creation of marketing materials.

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

   


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 being with her friends and family.  She also enjoys traveling with her husband and volunteering.

   
   


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. 

More than anything Julie loves spending time with her six year-old son and husband.  She says everyday is new and interesting when you have a six year-old in your home!

   



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.”