Lilli Gust was born in Germany. A few years after WWII she, her mother and father were granted refugee status and emigrated to the U.S. They were sponsored by an agricultural businessman in New Jersey where her parents were obligated to work for five years and then moved to Milwaukee in 1957. They lived about a block from St. Marcus Lutheran Church and became members right away. Although they later moved, they never left their home church. Lilli went to St. Marcus School for the last four years of elementary school and then to Wisconsin Lutheran High School. Her first job was as a secretary at a regional brokerage firm where she continued her studies and later received her broker’s license. Years later she and a partner started their own investment advisory firm. She sold her business last year, retired and now enjoys even more time gardening, reading and volunteering where she can. 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 Christian Women’s Leadership Circle 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.
Nell Speerschneider made a big leap, from her small town in northern Minnesota, to the east side of Milwaukee years ago. Here she advanced to a Senior Project Manager position at an interior design/build firm before taking her current position as Executive Assistant for St. Marcus Lutheran Church (home congregation and daughter’s school). Nell is interested in all things visually creative and tries to keep her floral arranging skills sharp. It was through design work that she connected with Marlene Schumacher and has now assumed Marlene’s place as a member on the Board of Directors. Nell is the CWLC’s blog manager and also on the Marketing Committee. She supports the CWLC because not only are the young female students at Wisconsin Lutheran College able to find value but she herself is honing skills and gaining experience through participation in the Christian Women’s Leadership Circle and attendance at their events.
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 and her (newly wed) husband, Dave, are both volunteers with the CWLC, as Dave donated his photography services at the 2017 Butterfly Brunch! Sharon has served on the Butterfly Brunch committee since 2014, and as the committee chair for the past year. 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. Thanks, Sharon, for your creativity, hard work, enthusiasm!