About Our Leadership Team

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee Board of Directors consists of dedicated community leaders who volunteer their time and talent in governing the organization. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to guide the organization and help champion our mission in the community.

Board Leadership Intro Image

2020-21 Board of Directors


Jay McKenna, Chair
Tami Garrison, Vice Chair
Derek Tyus, Vice Chair
Maria Gonzalez Knavel, Secretary
Jon Sohn, Treasurer
Ray Wilson, Immediate Past Chair


Janette Braverman
Eric Christophersen
Joe Frohna
Jodi Gibson**
Peter Hammond
Margaret Harris
Nezih Hasanoglu
Tanya Hines
Dustin Hinton
Kathy Hust
Emory Ireland
Christine Irgens
Karen Peck Katz
John Kellerman
Peggy Kelsey
Dan Kempken
Sang Kim
John Kissinger
Russ Kohl
Joe Kresl

Caroline Krider
Tony Marino
Tom Miller
Kat Morrow
Jim Olson*
Scott Redlinger
Harold Redman
Joe Rock
Chuck Roedel
Barry Sattell
Rick Schmidt
Roger Smith
Judy Holz Stathas
David Strelitz
James Ward
Wendell Willis

* Associate Board President
** Zoological Society President & CEO

Honorary Board

The Zoological Society selects previous board members who have significantly contributed to the organization in notable ways to be a part of the honorary board. Our honorary board includes:

William Abraham
John B. Burns
Michael Carter
Stephen M. Dearholt
Richard A. Gallun
Michael M. Grebe
John A. Hazelwood
Robert A. Kahlor
Quinn Martin

Bill G. Moomey
Sandi Moomey
Jeffry A. Neuenschwander
Jill Pelisek
Gina Peter
Jay Robertson
Rich Tennessen
Bernard C. Ziegler, III

Associate Board

The role of the Associate Board is to oversee the fundraising events for the Zoological Society and represent the organization in the community. Members volunteer their time throughout the year and serve on committees to assist in the success of each event.

Graham Baxter
Meghan Shannon Berndt
Brian Blake
Brian Boecker
Jordan Carey
Merry Casperson
Blake Derr
Logan Falk
Jason Fathallah
April Finger
Sean Finnigan
Tony Hopkins
David Konkel
Karen Loth

Kristin Occhetti
Jim Olson*
Kent Oren
Vedran Rimarcuk
Kevin Schalk
Tricia Shinners
Kelly Sullivan
Steven Szymanski
Caitlin Tilley
Chris Timm
John Tokarz
Ed Treis
Melissa Will

* Associate Board President

Honorary Associate Board

The Zoological Society selects previous board members who have significantly contributed to the organization in notable ways to be a part of the honorary board.

Bob Anger
Tony Baish
David Batten
Lori Bechthold
Matthew D’Attilio
Nora Dreske
John Fleckenstein
Mike Fox
Linda Grunau
Eli Guzniczak
Lee Walther Kordus
Peter Kordus
Joe Kresl
Quinn Martin
Kat Morrow
Margie Paur

Katie Pionkoski
Richard J. Podell
Bunny Raasch-Hooten
Arlene Remsik
Barry Sattell
Dan Schwabe
Randy Scoville
Tricia Shinners
Judy Holz Stathas
Jeff Steren
David Strelitz
Jim Szymanski
Kathleen Toohey
Pete Underwood
Jane Wierzba
Ray Wilson

Zoological Society Leadership Team

Jodi Portrait

Jodi Gibson
President and CEO

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee is led by Jodi Gibson, president and CEO since 2016. Like many people who grew up in Milwaukee, Gibson has fond memories of attending the Milwaukee County Zoo as a child. As an adult, she recognizes the Zoo is not only an amazing conservation and educational institution, but it is also an important cultural attraction that contributes to the economic vitality of Milwaukee, making our community a great place to live, work and play.

Gibson has a unique background having held senior leadership positions in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has served as the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at two global Fortune-200 companies and led fundraising activities at the country’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity.

Gibson and the leadership team at the Zoological Society oversee about 50 full-time employees and about 40 interns and part-time employees.

Kate Icon

Kate Halfwassen
CFO and Vice President
Finance & Administration


Robin Higgins
Vice President
Communications, Marketing & Membership


Penny Gutekunst
Vice President

Chris Keene

Chris Keene
Creative Director

Beth Fetterley Heller

Beth Fetterley Heller
Vice President of Programs