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

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 14 “Member Groups” that deliver world-class performances and nationally recognized arts education throughout the region. Prior to UPAF, Deanna spent almost two decades at Northwestern Mutual, holding leadership positions in Communications, Marketing and the Foundation. She is a Board member of Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design, serving as Governance Chair and Executive Committee member and a member of the Burke Foundation Board of Directors. Deanna 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. Deanna 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. Deanna 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.


Christine Culver

 Christine-Culver – Assistant-VP-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.


 Michelle Phillips



Christine Hojnacki


Christine comes to UPAF after working for more than 20 years in the retail industry and previously held the position of Vice President of Public Relations & Special Events and President of the Foundation for The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. She also led community outreach initiatives supporting numerous local charities. Christine received the Women of Influence award from the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2006. At UPAF, Christine is responsible for creating and driving fundraising strategies to support Workplace Giving Campaigns, company and planned giving as well as sponsorships. Christine volunteers in the community and is an avid cyclist and triathlete. She and her husband John reside in Waukesha County.


 Bruce Osgood


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 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.


 Patti Wrobel


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 and has two adult children.

Development Team

Katy Corey


Katy Corey offers more than 14-years’ experience serving in development and marketing at Horizon Home Care & Hospice, Filament Communication and the Peace Corps, Guatemala. Katy thrives on representing a mission that positively impacts community, which is why she is proud to serve as a Director of Development for UPAF. In her role, she oversees prospecting and strategic planning to grow UPAF’s geographic footprint. Katy is also passionate about the arts. Throughout her college years at Marquette University she performed on the Studio Refugees Improv Team and led summer camp theater for youth. She and her husband reside in the Greater Milwaukee Area and enjoy live music, traveling, supporting local businesses, and hosting family and friends in their garden.


Colleen Hider


Colleen brings extensive project management and leadership experience to UPAF, having worked with hundreds of non-profit organizations and individuals implementing fundraising programs. Most recently, she was at The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. and served as Community Involvement and Events Manager. As Director of Development at UPAF, Colleen develops and executes fundraising programs specifically through Workplace Giving Campaigns. She and her husband have two adult children and reside in New Berlin. They enjoy travel, hitting the area bike trails and spending time with their friends and family.


Emanuel Rios


Emanuel Rios joins the UPAF team with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Denison University. He previously worked as the Member Services Coordinator for Actors’ Equity Association in Chicago. In his free time, Emanuel enjoys camping, dabbling in photography, and experiencing the wonderful arts community in Milwaukee. As a lifelong Packers fan from Chicago, he’s excited to finally watch games surrounded by fellow cheese heads.


David Salmo


David joins the UPAF team with a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership from Virginia Tech, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management from Webster University. He previously worked as the Executive Director for Shawnee Summer Theatre of Greene County in Bloomfield, IN. As Development Coordinator at UPAF, David is responsible for overseeing Fall Workplace Giving Campaigns and coordinating performances with UPAF Member Groups. In his free time, David enjoys tabletop gaming, going to the movies, watching sports and experiencing all the great activities Wisconsin has to offer.


Finance Team

Sue Connor, CPA


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


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 C.P.A. 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

 Melanie Hupfer



Katie Korek


Katie joins UPAF with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Psychology from Marquette University. While at Marquette, she gained marketing experience at First Stage, Bublr Bikes and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, providing a perfect blend of her love of the arts and passion for nonprofit work. As Public Relations and Digital Media Specialist, Katie is responsible for executing social media strategy to effectively connect UPAF with the Greater Milwaukee area and strengthen overall appreciation of the performing arts, as well as secure earned media in support of the organization’s mission. Outside of UPAF, you can find Katie relaxing with family and friends, watching her favorite reality TV shows and traveling to Walt Disney World.


Isabelle Koenig


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.


Tina Sternitzky


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.


Angela Topetzes Strelka

 Angela-Topetzes-Strelka–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!”


Operations and Technology Team

Keshena Armon


Keshena joins UPAF as Office Administrator with a long history of performing arts in her life. Mother to a 16-year-old daughter who is active in band, sports and academics, Keshena has 30+ years of performance and instruction in the arts of keyboards and drums. In addition, she is a vocalist for a down tempo jazz pop fusion band. Pythagoras said there was a connection to math and music, and apparently Keshena agrees. She holds Associate Degrees in Accounting and Music Occupations, and is further pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. Topping off the devotion to music in her life, she is an MATC Music Advisory Board Member.


Risha Cupit-Berzins


As Operations Website Manager, Risha manages the UPAF website, oversees credit card processing, enters donor gifts, works on renewal mailings, and assists in database management. She holds degrees in Fashion Design, Marketing and Management, and Web Design. Risha joined UPAF in 2009 while working locally as an NBA photographer/journalist for a professional basketball magazine in Croatia. Prior to that she was at the Milwaukee Art Museum after moving to Milwaukee from New Orleans. Some of her favorite activities include fine art portraiture, graphic design, traveling, and improving her language skills in Croatian, Italian, and French. Most of her time outside of work is shared with her husband, Dave, training and competing with their four Irish Wolfhounds in a variety of AKC events. Risha is on the board of the Great Lakes Irish Wolfhound Association.


Hannah Johnson-Breimeier


Hannah’s the Senior Data Analyst at UPAF which involves maintaining accurate donor records, managing the Workplace Giving Portal, analyzing data, and supporting the incredible efforts of the Development and Marketing teams. Hannah holds a BA in Sociology from Bates College and previously worked 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. She enjoys growing food and flowers at Alice’s Garden, participating in Milwaukee Film’s Shorts Screening Committee, and reading omnivorously. She lives in Bay View with her husband, Matt, and their mischievous cats, Hudson and Houdini.


Betsy McCormack


Betsy is UPAF’s Operations Assistant. Her position supports the Operations team with the process of donations and donor database maintenance. She also provides backup to UPAF’s Office Administrator. Betsy’s work history includes time with the Milwaukee Brewers, WTMJ-TV, and most recently as Quality Analyst at the broadcast software company, SintecMedia. She is a member of Cream City Calligraphers and Paper Arts and enjoys creating cards. Betsy and her husband are season ticket holders to Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and have a dog-sitting business which gives them the much needed fix of dog-time.


Lisa Rulf


As Database Accounting Associate for UPAF, Lisa is responsible for entering donor gifts and working closely with Workplace Giving ambassadors and LE’s. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Marquette University and has a diverse work history, including previous positions with a children’s book distributor, community clinic, and an antique company. In her free time, she enjoys reading, knitting, spending time with family and friends, enjoying nature, and immersing herself in music at MSO performances.


UPAF’s Whistleblower Policy

Sign Up for Arts Beat

Get involved with local arts news. Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and you'll always have local performing arts information at your fingertips.