Since 2006, the Christian Women’s Leadership Circle (CWLC) has offered encouragement, personal growth opportunities, and scholarship resources to help the women of Wisconsin Lutheran College identify and develop their God-given gifts and talents. It is our mission to provide these excellent and extraordinary women with opportunities to learn and grow as Christian servant leaders who make a difference in the world around us.
The Board of Directors for the CWLC is an experienced group of women who each voluntarily take on a facet of the organization. It’s through the combined efforts of these individual leaders that the work to have engaging events and funds available to help so many students, is accomplished.
Dawn Aisbet: Introduced to the Christian Women’s Leadership Circle while attending a Butterfly Brunch, Dawn has embarked on her second year serving on the Leadership Initiatives committee. “I love to volunteer,” Dawn commented. “Joining CWLC and serving on the board or a committee is a great opportunity for women to serve in a leadership role. I encourage all women to use their God-given gifts – you might even discover some talents that you didn’t realize you had!”
A Wisconsin native and active volunteer for many years. Dawn has four adult children and a husband who is very active in WLC as well. In her spare time, Dawn loves to golf and sew, and is learning how to knit! Volunteer work at her church and school remain a priority.
Angela Ebeling: Angela serves on the CWLC board as the WLC faculty representative. Born in Bluffton, OH to dairy farmers, she graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from Wisconsin Lutheran College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in soil science from UW Madison. Currently, Angela is an associate professor of biology at Wisconsin Lutheran College. She enjoys doing research with students on soils and biosolids to gather data that farmers can use to better help them manage nutrients and protect water quality.
“I first heard about the CWLC when as a faculty member I learned of their faculty/staff partnership grants and applied to receive funding to be able to pay students to do research with me. I serve on the CWLC board because I believe that what they do has a very positive impact on the women at WLC. It is also part of what I do for service as a faculty member at WLC. By serving on this board, I have seen how God can use people with varying interests and talents to serve His kingdom.”
Angela added, “If you are looking for a way to serve young, Christian females and to have a positive impact on their lives – by giving of your time, talents, or treasures (or all of the above) – this organization gives you ample opportunity to do that.”
Angela is married to Dan Ebeling (also an alum and current professor at WLC); together they are raising their four children – Alyssa, Silas, Amos, and Reina. They love to camp and explore National Parks to enjoy and wonder about God’s amazing creation.
Lilli Gust: Lilli Gust was born in Germany, and her family emigrated to the U.S. in 1952. They moved from New Jersey to Milwaukee in 1957 and became members of St. Marcus Lutheran Church. Lilli attended St. Marcus School and is a graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran High School. Working first as a secretary at a regional brokerage firm, she and a partner later started their own investment advisory firm. Lilli sold her business in 2016 and retired, and now enjoys her time gardening, reading, and volunteering. She has served on the Wisconsin Lutheran High School Foundation Board, on various St. Marcus and WLHS committees and is currently President of the St. Marcus Foundation. She first became interested in the CWLC many years ago while attending the Butterfly Brunches, and then invited friends and sponsored girls from St. Marcus School and Wisco so they could be exposed to the positive Christian influence of the speakers, students of WLC, and all the women attending. It has been a passion of hers to support Christian education, and the CWLC is a part of that.
Jana Johnson: Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Jana attended Martin Luther Prep School in Prairie du Chien, WI. and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College with a degree in elementary education. Her marriage to Dan Johnson after graduation began her travels around the United States, as they served at Christ the Lord Lutheran School in Clearwater, Florida, Shoreland Lutheran High School in Somers, WI, and then on to Arizona Lutheran Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. When Dan accepted the role as President of Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2008, they returned to Wisconsin where they are raising three children. Connor and Cassidy are attending WLC, and Caitlin is at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School.
Jana previously served as an elementary school teacher and is now the Executive Assistant to Bill Meier at Kingdom Workers in Milwaukee. Jana spends much of her spare time on bleachers as all three children play a lot of sports! An avid reader, Jana also belongs to a monthly book club, yet still finds time for volunteer work, including serving on the CWLC board of directors and on the Leadership Initiatives Committee.
“I am very passionate about WLC and our amazing students! Serving on the CWLC board has been a good way to learn more about what is happening in classes and on campus. I’ve served with some wonderful women as we strive to mentor the young women on campus, helping them to discover their leadership potential.” Commenting on the Leadership Initiatives Committee, Jana noted, “This is an exciting committee. We have the privilege of vetting the grant requests from the WLC students requesting funding for their various leadership projects. It is truly inspiring to see their passion and zeal to help others as well as to improve the college and its students in the process. I encourage women to consider serving on a CWLC committee. It really isn’t a huge time commitment, and you get so much in return.”
Lori Lorig: Introduced to the Christian Women’s Leadership Circle by then-President Pat Freer who invited her to serve on the Leadership Initiatives Committee, Lori joined the Board and currently serves as Vice President. Lori was drawn to the CWLC because she was serving as a leader in her church and was looking for support, encouragement, and a network of female leaders within the WELS. “I believe in investing in others and helping them to grow in their leadership skills academically, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. WLC and the CWLC provide hands-on experiences that develop amazing servant leaders.”
Lori continued, “Wisconsin Lutheran College and the CWLC have been a blessing to me and to so many other women! If you are looking for a network of amazing women leaders and are interested in investing in tomorrow’s women leaders, you need to get involved with the CWLC. Join us in investing in Christian leaders for a better tomorrow!”
A life-long resident of Crete, Illinois, and member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Crete Lori and her husband, Alan, have three grown children (of which two are WLC alums) and two grandchildren.
Lori served on the staff of Trinity Lutheran Church as the Coordinator of Member Ministry where she developed a sustainable member ministry system. In 2017 she launched Faith Unleashed Consulting which seeks to assist other congregations in developing their own member ministry system to engage, equip and empower more members for personal ministry.
Lori most recently served on the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team, as a Travel Team Coordinator for Adventures for the Almighty and on the Illinois Lutheran School’s Wellness Committee. She is also a Bible Study Facilitator and hosts God’s Girls Growing in Grace on Facebook posting daily devotions.
Lori’s hobbies include reading, traveling and playing with her grandbabies whenever possible!
Yvonne Quint: Yvonne currently serves as the president of the CWLC and on member events committees. Yvonne, a native of southern California, moved to Wisconsin with her husband Jeff in 2000. She became familiar with WLC through attending events in the Center for Arts and Performance. “I was so impressed by the beauty of the campus, and then once I started meeting the faculty and students, I knew this was an institution that I wanted to support with my time and money.”
Yvonne learned about the Butterfly Bruch through fellow St. John Lutheran Church (Wauwatosa, WI) member Sharon Schoeneck and her mother, JoAnne. “Although Jeff and I do not have children, we are committed to helping young people obtain a solid education in a Christian environment. Supporting the CWLC seemed a great way to do that – and that notion has been confirmed every year as I learn about the young women the CWLC supports through its scholarships, grants, and partnerships.”
Yvonne enjoyed 25 years in human resources at McKesson Corporation in San Francisco and most recently, six years serving in the mission advancement office at Wisconsin Lutheran High School. Now retired, Yvonne focuses on volunteer work, gardening, quilting (or at least buying fabric!) and judging bar-b-que competitions with Jeff in the South and Midwest.
“Serving on CWLC committees and the board has been a joy. I continue to hone my skills – even in retirement – while serving others. I urge our members and friends to learn more about opportunities to serve on a committee.”
Nell Speerschneider: A Bethany Lutheran College Alumni, Nell has the heart for Christian education, mentoring and peer fellowship at such a formative age. Nell made the big leap from her small town in northern Minnesota to the east side of Milwaukee many years ago. After marrying her college sweetheart and getting settled in the big city, Nell advanced to a Senior Project Manager position at an interior design/build firm where she leveraged her creativity and attention to detail. In 2013, Nell accepted her current position as Executive Assistant for St. Marcus Lutheran Church (home congregation and daughter’s school).
Interested in all things visually creative, Nell still enjoys using her floral design and event planning skills to create memorable events that help fuel the next generation of female leaders. It was through design work that Nell connected with Marlene Schumacher and has since assumed Marlene’s place as a member of the CWLC Board of Directors. Nell also chairs the CWLC Marketing Committee.
Nell supports the CWLC not only because of the high value young female students at Wisconsin Lutheran College find but also because she is honing skills and gaining experience through participation in the Christian Women’s Leadership Circle and attendance at their events.
Sharon VanderVeen: Sharon VanderVeen, a Wisconsin native, worked for Sears.com as a jewelry buyer in Chicago before moving back to Wisconsin and serving at the WELS Center for Missions and Ministry in the human resources department. Now retired, Sharon has served on the Butterfly Brunch committee since 2014, and as the committee chair for the past few years.
In her spare time, Sharon enjoys sewing, gardening, decorating, and reading. Sharon encourages CWLC members to invite female family members and friends of all ages to embrace the mission of CWLC by attending the annual Butterfly Brunch. She notes that gifts received go toward grants, partnerships, and scholarships that enable female WLC students to take their leadership skills to the next level.
Joan Vehlow: Joan first attended a Butterfly Brunch three years ago. “I was extremely impressed with the mission statement, the women I met, and the program,” Joan commented. “I decided that I would like to be a part of CWLC. This is the second year I have served on the Member Event committee, and I so enjoyed greeting freshmen female students and their mothers at last August’s Warrior Orientation Weekend. I am proud to be part of the CWLC. I encourage you, the reader, to seriously consider taking on a volunteer role within CWLC. It’s a great learning experience, and interacting with the students is a joy!
Joan Vehlow was born, raised, and educated in Waukesha, WI. She graduated from Carroll College (now University) and earned her master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University. Joan was a teacher at Templeton Middle School (in the Sussex-Hamilton School District) for 34 years. Since her retirement in 2001, Joan has been an active volunteer in numerous civic and church organizations, including Grace Ev. Lutheran Church in Waukesha, where Joan is a life-long member.
Vickie Walther: Vickie Walther is the Director of Development Services for Wisconsin Lutheran College and is the current WLC liaison to the CWLC Board. She has been at WLC for 10 years supporting a variety of fundraising and special event activities, including the Butterfly Brunch. Vickie lives in Brookfield WI with her husband Daryl and is an active member of Christ the Lord Lutheran Church in Brookfield. She has two adult children, Chris, a 2016 WLC grad, and Katie. She is passionate about Christian education and providing opportunities for students to develop their skills as our future Christian servant leaders.