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. 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.

 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.

 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 and has with two adult children.

 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.

Maggie Griffith


DEVELOPMENT  COORDINATOR

Maggie joins the UPAF team as a recent graduate from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media. She was previously an intern in the Partnership Department at VISIT Milwaukee receiving experience in donor and member relations. Maggie spent two months in Guatemala after graduation volunteering with the nonprofit organization Ecolibri. She taught English in schools around Lake Atitlan, while simultaneously creating multimedia projects and administrating the social media for the organization. Maggie currently sits on the Ecolibri board. As a self-claimed ambassador to Milwaukee, Maggie enjoys seeking out the next restaurant, brewery or festival to take her family and friends. She also loves to ski out west, when not enjoying the amenities of Lake Michigan.

Jim Moore

 Jim Moore –Senior-Development-Director
SENIOR DIRECTOR of DEVELOPMENT

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


DIRECTOR of DEVELOPMENT

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 director, Erik works to grow new and existing 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, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, and several others. He has graduate degrees from University of Missouri—Columbia and Marquette, and he is currently a grad student in psychology. In his spare time, Erik does a little writing and teaches college courses in a variety of subjects.

Emanuel Rios


DEVELOPMENT  SPECIALIST

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.

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

Katie Korek


PUBLIC RELATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA  SPECIALIST

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 Social Media Coordinator, 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-Koenig –Admin-Assistant-Development
DONOR & COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER

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 (renamed Responsory), 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, advertising, creative development, print production and website maintenance. 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 three cats.

Tina Sternitzky


DONOR SERVICES SPECIALIST

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
MANAGER OF EVENTS & SPECIAL PROJECTS

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


OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

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

 Risha-Cupit-Operations-Specialist-Web-Developer
OPERATIONS WEBSITE MANAGER

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


DATA ANALYST

Hannah’s the Data Analyst at UPAF which involves maintaining accurate donor records, 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 partner, Matt, and their mischievous cats, Hudson and Houdini.

Lisa Rulf


DATABASE ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATE

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.

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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