Staff

The United Performing Arts Fund is powered by an experienced ensemble of fundraisers, professionals and dedicated individuals.

Meet the group that’s as passionate as you are about supporting the performing arts in Greater Milwaukee.

 

Executive Team

Deanna L. Tillisch

Deanna Tillisch-President
PRESIDENT & CEO

Deanna L. Tillisch is President & CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), the largest nonprofit of its type in the country. UPAF raises much-needed dollars for 15 “Member Groups” that deliver world-class performances and nationally recognized arts education throughout the region. In 2016, UPAF raised a record-setting $12,059,201.

Prior to UPAF, Tillisch spent almost two decades at Northwestern Mutual, holding leadership positions in Communications, Marketing and the Foundation.

Tillisch is a Board member of Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design, serving as Governance Chair and Executive Committee member. She is also a member of the Burke Foundation Board of Directors. Tillisch has served as a thought leader in key community initiatives including: Cultural & Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force, Medical College of Wisconsin’s Women in Science and LISC Strategic Planning Committee. She is a founder of UPAF Notable Women. In Tillisch received the Women of Distinction Award from the Waukesha County Community Foundation in 2014 and the Women of Influence Award from the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2016.

Tillisch holds a Master of Business Administration, graduating with honors, from Marquette University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 David Fantle

 David-Fantle-Chief-Marketing-Officer
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

Dave comes to UPAF after working for more than 10 years in the hospitality and tourism industry as Deputy Secretary of Tourism and Vice President of Public Relations for VISIT Milwaukee. At the Department of Tourism, he led the marketing efforts, which included a series of TV commercials conceived and directed by filmmakers and Milwaukee natives David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams that featured the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a slapstick winter snowball fight. At VISIT Milwaukee, he conceived the bronze Fonz statue, which was dedicated on the Riverwalk in 2008. His nonprofit board affiliations have included the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Film Wisconsin, The Wisconsin Humanities Council and Wisconsin State Fair. Dave is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and an adjunct professor at Marquette University. He and his wife Cathy reside in Bayside and have three adult children.

 Bruce Osgood


CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER

Bruce was first hired at UPAF in 2008 to manage IT Infrastructure improvement projects funded by the Argosy Foundation. He stayed on to continue process and technology upgrades and was recently promoted to CAO. Bruce has 16 years of experience in project management and software development and has managed supply-chain software implementation projects throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. He received his B.S. in Physics from Marquette University, graduated with Honors from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, and is a Navy veteran. Bruce enjoys working out with his talented son, running (not as much as he should), traveling (not as much as he would like), walking his wonderful yellow lab (not as much as she would like) and playing strategic board games.

 Patti Wrobel

 Patti-Wrobel-Executive-Assistant
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Patti joined the UPAF team with many years of experience as an administrative assistant. She worked in many different types of industries and environments, including construction equipment, accounting firms, school districts, travel and insurance. Music and performing has been a huge part of her life. She has been involved in church choir, handbells and high school marching bands for more than 40 years. Patti is married with two adult children and a dog.

 Sandy Wysocki


CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER

As Chief Development Officer, Sandy drives fundraising activities and oversees the UPAF Development team. Prior to UPAF, Sandy was the Director of Audience Development for The Milwaukee Business Journal for 14 years. She led efforts resulting in circulation growth of the print publication and email newsletters. She also worked with dozens of professional and nonprofit organizations in coordinating all marketing and sponsorship agreements. Sandy is a member of multiple boards including the Waukesha County Business Alliance Policy Board, Milwaukee Women Inc., Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast, YMCA of Greater Waukesha County, and Marketing Advisory Board for Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). Sandy received her MBA from Marquette University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia. In her free time, Sandy is an avid golfer and distance runner.

Development Team

Christine Culver

 Christine-Culver – Assistant-VP-of-Development-and-Member-Relations
VICE PRESIDENT OF DEVELOPMENT AND MEMBER RELATIONS

Christine previously served as a senior account manager for a brand management firm. Christine has always enjoyed volunteering and wanted to take her passion for nonprofits and make it her full time job. At UPAF Christine is responsible for being the primary contact with the UPAF Member Groups, managing the annual allocation process, and developing and executing a community outreach strategy to establish and strengthen partnerships and support long-term fundraising ideas and marketing priorities. As a volunteer, Christine is very active with Meta House, Hunger Task Force, Junior League of Milwaukee, Vision Forward and Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee. Christine graduated with a B.S. in Marketing & Consumer Science from UW-Madison. She enjoys cooking, reading, current events, playing tourist in her own town, and being with family and friends.

Melissa Feldmeyer

 Melissa-Feldmeyer –Development-Specialist
DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

Melissa joins UPAF with more than 10 years of arts nonprofit experience, most recently serving as operations director at Danceworks. As development specialist, she primarily serves as liaison to the UPAF Member Groups and Affiliates, scheduling them to share their talents at UPAF Workplace Giving Campaigns. Melissa holds a BA in Organizational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and is currently pursuing her graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management at UWM. Away from work she enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband experiencing the many wonderful activities and events Milwaukee has to offer.

Hannah Johnson-Breimeier


DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Hannah joins UPAF with experience working for Milwaukee Film, Boswell Book Company and other organizations. She is proud of her two years of service as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Seattle area. As Development Coordinator, Hannah assists the rest of the department with proposal and solicitation preparation, calendar management and event coordination. In addition, Hannah will oversee the implementation of the Fall Workplace Giving Campaigns. Hannah holds a BA in Sociology from Bates College. In her free time, she volunteers with 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, eats cookies, reads omnivorously and attends community events. She lives in Bayview with her partner, Matt, and their cats, Hudson and Houdini.

Jim Moore

 Jim Moore –Senior-Development-Director
SENIOR DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Jim joins UPAF after serving as Director of Development for Skylight Music Theatre. His previous nonprofit experience has included the Greater Milwaukee Foundation/Wisconsin AIDS Fund, IndependenceFirst, and ARCW. Jim’s volunteer work has included the BestD Clinic, Holiday Invitational Tournament and the Wisconsin Humane Society. Jim also currently sits on the board of the Southeast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. With what free time is left, he enjoys spending time with friends and the occasional quiet night at home with a book and his dog.

Erik Richardson


DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Erik comes to UPAF with a diverse background that includes work in education, small business consulting, and designing e-learning for corporate clients. As development manager, Erik oversees existing and identifies new Workplace Giving Campaigns. He also collaborates with community stakeholders to grow UPAF’s geographic footprint. Erik currently sits on the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Milwaukee and the Council for Wisconsin Writers. He has a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Missouri—Columbia and an MBA from Marquette University. In his spare time, Erik loves to write and teach college courses in a variety of subjects.

Angela Topetzes Strelka

 Angela-Topetzes-Strelka–Director of Development
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Angela is delighted to be part of the UPAF team and brings a number of years of non-profit fundraising experience with her. Most recently, she worked for The Julie and Michael Tracy Family Foundation/Urban Autism Solutions in Chicago, IL, as well as Milwaukee’s Festa Italiana. Previously, Angela held positions with the Social Development Commission, Time Warner Cable, Penfield Children’s Center and the Easter Seal Society. Outside of work, Angela enjoys serving on the alumni board of her high school and volunteering for the Greek Hellenic Community, cooking, painting and going to the theatre. Her motto, “Everyone must get out and experience the performing arts!”

Finance Team

Sue Connor, CPA


FINANCE DIRECTOR

Sue joined UPAF in December 2010 after having been employed as a manager in the not-for-profit division at KPMG. At UPAF, Sue is responsible for the fiscal integrity of UPAF’s financial position and maintaining controllership of all financial interactions. Sue was raised in Baltimore, Maryland, holds an M.B.A. from Loyola University, a B.A. from Gettysburg College and is a licensed C.P.A. Sue has three children with her husband, Tom, volunteers in the arts community, enjoys camping and loves being a mom.

Jane Reardon, CPA


FINANCE MANAGER

Jane joined after working as a controller at a local company. Prior to being a controller, Jane was a manager in public accounting for many years both in Milwaukee and Boston. She is responsible for the preparation of UPAF’s financial statements and also processes all financial transactions within the company. Jane was raised in Brookfield, received a B.S. in Accounting from Marquette University and is a licensed CPA. She has four children with her husband, Mike, and they live in Wauwatosa. Jane spends her free time volunteering at her childrens’ school and their many activities.

Marketing Team

Kyle Heller


EVENTS SPECIALIST

Kyle comes to UPAF after working as a co-founding staff member and the managing director of the Milwaukee Film Festival. Kyle brings his 10+ years of experience producing an annual film festival in the city of Milwaukee to UPAF to assist in the coordinating and executing of UPAF’s many special events including the UPAF Ride for the Arts, sponsored by Miller Lite. In his free time, Kyle enjoys spending time with his wife Kristen and daughter Nora, cheering for the Packers, playing video games and exploring tabletop gaming.

Katie Joachim


PUBLIC RELATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR

Katie Joachim joins UPAF after working in documentary film production for three and a half years as a production assistant, head of social media, chief researcher and proposal writer at The Duncan Group, a Milwaukee production company. As Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator, Katie is responsible for creating and implementing a social media strategy to better connect UPAF with the Greater Milwaukee area and work to secure earned media in support of the organization’s mission. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, graduating with honors, from Trinity College of Connecticut, spent a year abroad studying at Oxford, and is a proud member of Phi Beta Kappa. In her free time Katie is a hobby bodybuilder. When she’s not in the weight room, she also enjoys blogging, spending time outside and reading.

Isabelle Koenig

 Isabelle-Koenig –Admin-Assistant-Development
SENIOR DONOR & COMMUNITY RELATIONS SPECIALIST

Isabelle joined UPAF with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). While studying at UW, Isabelle gained experience as an administrative assistant at the UW-Extension and played in the University Orchestra. After graduation Isabelle lived in Santiago, Chile, where she worked as an English teacher and freelance translator. Before joining the UPAF team Isabelle moved back to her hometown of Milwaukee and spent a year as a nanny for a wonderful baby boy. Isabelle enjoys spending her free time traveling, eating and seeing live music in the company of family and friends. You can find her at the library or combing one of Milwaukee’s thrift stores in search of treasure.

Laura Rodriguez

 Laura-Rodriguez - Marketing Director
MARKETING DIRECTOR

Laura Rodriguez joined UPAF with more than 20 years of marketing and brand management experience. She was most recently at Johnson Direct, a full-service advertising agency specializing in direct marketing and measurable results. As marketing director Laura is responsible for planning and implementing initiatives to further the UPAF cause, including direct appeal, prospecting and volunteer management and website. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her free time Laura likes to swim, run, bike, cheer on the Badgers and Packers, travel, cook and relax with her husband, Bob, and their two cats.

Tina Sternitzky


DONOR SERVICES COORDINATOR

Tina joined UPAF with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communicative Arts from Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC). She previously interned at UPAF while at WLC, and is happy to be back on the team. At UPAF, Tina coordinates donor acknowledgement, relations and benefit programs, including the SMART CARD (sponsored by Associated Bank), special ticket offers, complimentary performance opportunities and events. In her free time, Tina enjoys all things DIY, thrifting, binge watching Netflix, visiting friends and family, and taking in all of the great activities Milwaukee has to offer.

Operations and Technology Team

Risha Cupit

 Risha-Cupit-Operations-Specialist-Web-Developer
SENIOR OPERATIONS SPECIALIST AND WEB DEVELOPER

Risha joined UPAF in 2009 with prior experience in operations at the Milwaukee Art Museum and as an NBA photographer/journalist for a professional basketball magazine in Croatia. Risha manages the website, works with the database, gift entry, data pulls and credit cards. She holds degrees in Fashion Design, Marketing and Management, and Web Design. She enjoys traveling, languages, gardening, cooking, photography and graphic design. Her time away from work is shared with her husband, training and competing in AKC events with their three Irish Wolfhounds.

Allison Neumann


SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Alli joined UPAF in 2010 upon graduating from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. While at UWM she interned for two years at the MACC Fund, Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, which piqued her interest in nonprofits. At UPAF she is responsible for daily gift entry and overseeing daily credit card processing. She is also involved in the coordination of online employee giving and matching gifts programs. In her spare time Alli enjoys running, reading, watching sports, hanging out with friends and family, and discovering all that Milwaukee has to offer. She also continues her involvement with the MACC Fund, volunteering for them whenever possible.

Laura Schnicke


OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Prior to joining UPAF, Laura worked for the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, managing several community health and emergency preparedness projects. She also gained many years of customer service and safety experience as a flight attendant for Midwest Airlines. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Public Health. As the office administrator at UPAF, Laura helps to keep the office running smoothly and efficiently on a day-to-day basis and assists with projects, including volunteer solicitation. Laura travels every chance she has and often incorporates volunteer work into her travels. She also enjoys gardening, attending Brewers games and taking in Milwaukee’s restaurants and entertainment offerings.

Ka Bao Yang

 Ka Bao Yang –Operations- Associate
OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE

Ka Bao joined UPAF after completing her Accounting Associate degree from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. She is continuing her education at Lakeland University for her bachelor’s degree. She enjoys working and interacting with her coworkers. In her free time, she likes to relax, workout at home and play indoor/outdoor volleyball.

UPAF’s Whistleblower Policy

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