Board of Directors

We are actively seeking talented, passionate and enthusiastic community professionals to serve on Board Committees. Please let us know if you are interested! Thank you.


 

Board_BriceBrice Hutchcraft, President
Commercial Relationship Manager, Midland States Bank

Personally and professionally passionate about preventing homelessness and Domestic Violence along with affordable housing for all, Brice has been Board officers for the Urban League, the Urban League Development Corp, and 40 North/88 West Arts Council. He is currently the Chair of our Finance Committee. As the Commercial Relationship Manager for Midland States Bank in Champaign, Brice has a proven history of providing commercial and business advice and counsel. He is responsible for assisting clients in identifying their business’s needs and customizing financial business solutions unique to each customer. He was recognized as being one of our community’s “40 Under 40” in 2012, and has a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

 

Board_MichaelUMichael Ujcich, Vice President
General Manager, Bergner’s at Market Place Mall

As a member of the business community, Michael feels it is important to share your skills of time and talent to coach and develop others to continue to build a vibrant, caring community. He brings this to life in leading the further development and improvements of the Connections Thrift Store in Lincoln Square Mall. He is currently the Store Manager of Bergner’s Department Store in Champaign, and chairs our Board’s Retail Store Committee. Michael has a Bachelors degree in Interior Design from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and has enjoyed over 40 years of retail sales, merchandising, visual, marketing and management experiences in the Midwest and South East.

 

 

Board_Jenny

Jennifer Hall, Secretary
Senior Customer Relations Coordinator, ISA

Jenny is a professional management executive with over 20 years of experience in customer relations, office and retail management. Jenny is a native of Urbana/Champaign with strong ties throughout the community. She developed an enduring sense of devotion for Courage Connection as a former client of nearly 18 years ago. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for how the organization helps to improve real lives of real people. She has a passion to inform and dig in to help make a difference in building a safer, healthier, connected community! Her connection with our mission, and her commitment to helping others in the community better understand the vital role of the agency, inspired Jenny to Co-chair the Courage Connection rebranding campaign.

 

Board_Richard-214x300Richard Ziegler, Treasurer and member of Finance Committee
Retired Assoc Professor of Accy Emeritus

Dick Ziegler is Associate Professor of Accountancy Emeritus in the College of Business at the University of Illinois. Prior to joining the Illinois faculty in 1972, he was a senior associate on the staff of Price Waterhouse & Co.  He is a member of the Illinois CPA Society, from which he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He is a member the American Institute of CPAs and it’s Not-for-Profit section.   Currently he serves as Chair of the Audit Committee of a professional association and is or has been a board member and volunteer at several other nonprofit organizations.    Dick holds degrees from William and Mary, Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Marietta TurnerMarietta Turner, Member of the Fundraising committee

Dean of Students, Parkland College

Marietta joined Parkland College in 2008. As the Dean of Students, she serves as all students’ advocate, lead conduct administrator, a deputy-coordinator for Title IX, the campus liaison for the Wesley Pantry at Parkland and is the division dean for Athletics and Student Life. She enjoys giving back to the community and currently serves as a committee member for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Countywide Celebration. Marietta was given the 2016 Innovation Celebration- Engagement Award for facilitating a collaboration with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank and Wesley Pantry to bring a food pantry to the Parkland College campus, which serves both students and the community. She welcomes the opportunity to serve as a Courage Connection board member because of her concerns for anyone facing the devastation of domestic violence. She has first- hand knowledge of its effects after helping a family member. Marietta’s career in higher education spans over twenty years; serving primarily in student affairs/services administrative roles. Her earlier career background includes; teaching in the inner city of Chicago, and sales and customer service management with Morton Salt and Pitney Bowes. Marietta holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Governor’s State University and Northern Illinois University.

Brenda Mehnert
Brenda Mehnert, Member of the Finance and Fundraising Committees

Research Civil Engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers (Engineering Research and Construction Laboratory)

Brenda has been a member of the Champaign-Urbana Community for over 30 years.  She is a Texas native and has been active with various organizations and schools when her 2 children were growing up.  Brenda received her B.S. from the University of Texas at El Paso and her M.S. from the University of Illinois in Civil Engineering.  Brenda currently works on the Sustainment Management Team where maintaining building systems at an optimum level of performance is critical to saving dollars –by maintaining at an optimum level instead of paying for major repair or replacement costs.   Brenda volunteers with Courage Connection because she saw first-hand the impact of her “stay-at home” mom divorcing with no work experience outside the home and no “credit” towards her name.  As women, we have to be able to stand up on our own 2 feet.  Courage Connection offers clients a safe place and resources to be able to move forward and stand alone.


Board_VandanaVandana Patel
Business Operation Consultant, Maxput LLC

Vandana grew up in India in a predominately male dominated society. Historically women were often abused and subjected to violence, but such cases were rarely reported because of severe stigma attached to the victim. She lost her mother at a very young age, but was fortunate to have a wonderful father who always empowered her and all her siblings to excel in life. After getting her engineering degree in India, she moved to United States in early 90s. Being in a professional engineering career for over 20 years, she never thought that there was much domestic violence in a sophisticated modern society like the U.S. She has become increasingly aware of this problem. She educated herself about the complex psychology of victims of domestic violence which really opened up her passion to make a difference. She is proud to be a part of Courage Connection and the community that is making this world a better place.

 

From the Board of Directors

I know from personal experience that no other organization in this community helps women and families as Courage Connection does. Their work is so vital, I feel compelled in helping the agency grow, and thrive so more lives can change for the better. I want the community to know the compassion and connection I felt!
–Jenny Hall

When Courage Connection strengthens and improves the lives of women and their families through the programs and services it offers, the lasting effects are life changing.  However, these results not only improving the lives of those directly served…it also makes our community a stronger and better place to live.  Courage Connection is improving lives and making our community a better place…that is definitely something I want to be a part of!
–Brice Hutchcraft

It is a joy to use my passion and talents to help others who have not been as fortunate as I have but who have had the courage to ask for help and resources for themselves and their families.
–Lynn Barnett Morris (former Board member)