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Leadership

Christine Landa

Christine Landa – PresidentLeadership

 

Erin Kurt

Erin Kurt – Senior Vice PresidentLeadership

Hi everyone! I’m Erin Kurt and I have been at Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa since 2005 in a variety of roles. I grew up in Marion, Iowa, where my parents and siblings still live. I graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Spanish. While working in Admissions for Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, I obtained my Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing there. I loved working for a non-profit college and when I learned about the chance to work at JAEI, to continue to make a difference in young people’s lives, I made the switch. I live now in Coggon with my husband and our family.

My favorite…

Part of My Job: I have a unique role that allows me to support all parts of our team. I love that! I love doing what I can to make things easier, whether that’s through process improvement, technology, utilization, you name it! I like taking the big picture, breaking it down, and making the work move in that direction. And the team we have really makes it possible. Their enthusiasm, teamwork and joy make amazing things happen!!!

Thing to do in Outside of Work: Spend time with my family, which usually includes lots of sporting events, dinners, spending time outside, home projects, and laughing!

Place to Travel: Colorado. I love the mountains, the fresh air, the long list of activities. I have been there in the summer, fall and winter and love it every time!

Ways to Relax: I love to read, cook, garden, do home improvements…I’m always doing something until I crash at the end of the day!

 

Whitney Schreder

Whitney Schreder – Vice President - AdministrationLeadership

My name is Whitney Schreder and I’ve been with JAEI since 2012. My role has morphed over the years and I love learning and growing with each new challenge! I am an Eastern Iowa native (Mount Vernon) and a University of Iowa alum (Go Hawks!). I live with my family in Sutliff and enjoy traveling the Midwest in our camper van, reading, cooking, boating, movies, golf and being outside when we can!

My favorite…

Part of My Job: The people. We have a great team at JAEI and we get to work with really great people in our communities.

Spot in Eastern Iowa: Sutliff – there’s live music each weekend during the summer months, the river, biking – I’m lucky to call it home!

Quote: “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” ~Bob Marley

Things to do after 5 PM: Happy hours, game nights and date nights are my faves!

 

Laura Worden

Laura Worden – Experiential Learning CoordinatorDevelopment

Hi! I’m Laura Worden, the Experiential Learning Coordinator for Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa. I was raised in Perry, Iowa and had the privilege of participating in some of JA’s programs while growing up, as well as my first-year teaching. I graduated from Simpson College with a double major in Liberal Studies and Elementary Education. After graduating, I taught for a year in Des Moines then moved to Cedar Rapids and taught for an additional 3 and a half years. What I love about Junior Achievement is that it prepares students and young adults for a variety of careers all while giving them the knowledge and tools to be successful in fun and engaging learning opportunities.

Favorites
Part of my job: I’m new to this role and JA, but I’m excited to still have an impact on student education outside of the traditional classroom. So far, the JAEI team has been the highlight of my job! Everyone is positive and encouraging; it’s a great team to be a part of!

Spot in Eastern Iowa: I love going to Wickiup Hill Learning Center or Morgan Creek Park and walking the trails with my two dogs, husband, Anthony, and daughter, Annetta. Our dogs, Lucy and KJ, are 4-year-old rescues with a lot of energy so walking the trails is a great way to get fresh air and wear out the pups! For food, I love eating at West End Diner in Marion and Siamville is always fantastic. My favorite coffee spot is by far Café Saint Pio in Czech Village. Their caramel coffee cake is divine.


Things to do after 5 pm: Hang out with my family, snuggled up watching a movie/tv show or playing with my daughter.

 

Kristi Brown

Kristi Brown – Development DirectorDevelopment

Hi! My name is Kristi Brown, and I am proud to serve as the Development Director at Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa. I was raised in Marion, Iowa and later moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa to attend college. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and minors in Marketing and Journalism. After college, I tried out the corporate world and quickly decided it was not for me. I realized I wanted to work for an organization that gives back to the community and makes it a better place for everyone to live and work, which makes Junior Achievement a perfect fit for me! I am so proud to get to be a part of showing area students that if they believe in themselves, work really hard, and never give up, their future has endless possibilities.

My favorite…

Part of My Job: Having an opportunity to work with associates from multiple functional areas of our team to bring the Junior Achievement mission to life! We truly have a great team. I love that each staff member also gets to spend time in the classroom to see our work and impact in action.

Spot in Eastern Iowa: My backyard! Chasing my kiddos and spending time with family.

Quote: "Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing."- Pele

Things to do after 5 PM: Being outside going for a walk or bike ride.

 

Emma Disterhoft

Emma Disterhoft – Logistics ManagerDevelopment

Hello! My name is Emma Disterhoft, and I am the Logistics Manager at Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa. I am from Marengo, Iowa and attended Central College in Pella, IA. Go Dutch! I graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management-Marketing and minors in Spanish and Accounting. This is my first job in the “real world” and I am so glad to have found a home at JA. A few fun tidbits to know about me- I love cats, office supplies, anything involving cheese, and nature.

My favorite…

Part of My Job: Watching each of our events come to life and seeing our WHY in action when I teach a JA class.

Spot in Eastern Iowa: This is not so much a place but a feeling. My parents’ house on Christmas Eve is always full of love, family, comfort, and warmth. If there’s a place that has that, I’ll be there!

Quote: "The sunshine walks beside her” – lyrics by Nanci Griffith. Be the light!

Things to do after 5 PM: Usually something involving good food, good company, or good entertainment- hopefully all three!

 

Amy Fossum

Amy Fossum – Education DirectorEducation

Hi! My name is Amy Fossum, and I am the Director of Education at Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa. I was raised in Center Point, Iowa and after getting married I moved to the Quad Cities. I attended St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Arts and Book Arts. I have recently moved back to Center Point with my husband and four children.

My Favorite…

Part of My Job: Watching the passion of my co-workers, volunteers and teachers when it comes to sharing the Junior Achievement mission with young people!

Quote: “Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse

Things to do after 5 PM: Creating art in all different forms, from tie dying and screen printing to designing.

 

Kim Graulein

Kim Graulein – Corridor Education ManagerEducation

Hi! My name is Kim Graulein and I am an Education manager for Junior Achievement focused in the Corridor. I grew up in Northern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with my teaching degree. I spent the last nine years teaching middle and high school English in North Carolina before moving here to the Cedar Rapids area with my family. I currently live in Marion with my Husband Derrick, and our kiddos Logan, Naomi and Penelope. I am so excited to join the Junior Achievement team and be a part of the amazing things JA and the community of volunteers do to help students succeed!

My favorite…

Part of My Job: Seeing the impact that community members and volunteers have on the lives and successes of students. Watching students grow and learn about the opportunities they have!

Quote: 7. “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin


Things to do after 5 PM: Spend time with my family, explore this new city and try out new restaurants.

 

Beth Horan

Beth Horan – Cedar Valley Education ManagerEducation

Hi! My name is Beth Horan, and I am an Education Manager for Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa, focused in the Cedar Valley. I grew up in Northwest Iowa, and then went to UNI to pursue my teaching degree. I graduated from UNI with an English Education degree. After teaching in the Cedar Valley for 8 years, then around 10 years in the business community, I am so very excited to join the Junior Achievement team! I currently live in Cedar Falls with my husband Adam, my children Anna and Jay, and our dog Sophie. I am honored to be part of such a great organization that is able to provide support to our young people in the community while connecting them with volunteers with the desire to be a positive influence and resource within the community.

My favorite...

Part of My Job: I am just diving into my new role, but I already feel that I am part of a team who truly cares. I am excited to build relationships with current and new educators who can benefit from the JA curriculum as well as meet new individuals within the community who are driven to volunteer within the classroom.

Place to Visit: We love visiting Eagle River in Northern Wisconsin. It is beautiful and peaceful, and we can enjoy time outdoors and on the many lakes. We hav missed it the past two years, but we are excited to return next year.

Quote: "Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." - Andy Rooney

Things to do After 5 PM: WE are always up for a great movie and love cozying up in our basement to watch just about anything. As a former English teacher, I of course love reading. I also love to take walks, play outside with my kids, and I really do enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.

 

Katie Langrehr

Katie Langrehr – Corridor Education ManagerEducation

Hi! My name is Katie Langrehr and I am an Education Manager at Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa. I am originally from the UK, but I immigrated to the US in early 2020 in order to marry my now husband who is an Iowa native. I studied my bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Nottingham and got to enjoy all things ‘Robin Hood’ while I was there!

My Favorite…

Part of my Job: I am brand new to JA, but what really drew me to this position was the opportunity to connect with people through such a positive organization. Seeing all of the wonderful things that JA has to offer students, educators, volunteers and businesses, it is hard not to be excited about this endeavor.

Spot in Eastern Iowa: I love visiting the Amana colonies for shopping, ice-cream, and good German food!

Quote: ‘Respond to every call that excites your spirit’ - Rumi

Things to do after 5pm: I like to relax and unwind with some puzzles – jigsaw, sudoku, crossword, you name it!

 

Christina Millikan

Christina Millikan – Business Development CoordinatorDevelopment

I am happy you’re here! My name is Christina Millikan, and I moved to Iowa from Colorado in February of 2021. Although Eastern Iowa is a change from the mountains of Dillon, Colorado, I am not new to the Midwest. I grew up in Cary, Illinois and graduated with a musical theatre degree from Ball State University in Indiana. After graduation, I performed in multiple venues across the country during my time as an actor. In Colorado, I got involved in volunteering at a domestic violence advocacy nonprofit which turned into a full-time job. I found my passion in nonprofit work, and I am thrilled that I get to continue pursuing this passion at Junior Achievement Eastern Iowa as the Business Development Coordinator. I welcome you to introduce yourself. I look forward to meeting you!

My favorite…

Part of My Job :Interacting with my community, meeting new friendly faces, and helping individuals and businesses get involved with Junior Achievement.

Spot in Eastern Iowa: My 150 year old brick home in Mount Vernon. I am new to Iowa, so send your favorite spots my way!

Quote: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

Things to do after 5 PM: cook, walk my rescue Boxer/Lab BoJo, garden, and get together with friends and family over a yummy meal.

 

Carrie Pontzius

Carrie Pontzius – Evaluations DirectorEducation

Hello! My name is Carrie Pontzius and I started my career with JA in 2010. I have had many different responsibilities within the education team and my most current role focuses on developing an enhanced student assessment program, demonstrating how the JA program affects students. I am excited to share the impact JA has on students with our community!

My favorite...

Part of my job: Being in the classroom. I enjoy leading the JA program and interacting with educators and students.

Place in Eastern Iowa: Any of the local dessert shops! We have a few to choose from and they are all good!

Quote: “Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do!" -anonymous

Thing to do after 5 PM: Our family enjoys spending time at the lake and exploring local parks and festivals.

 

Jessica Rickard

Jessica Rickard – Operations ManagerOperations

My name is Jessica Rickard, and I serve Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa as Operations Manager at our Waterloo location. I was raised in Ames, Iowa - Go Cyclones! - and moved to the Cedar Valley after graduating high school. In my mid-twenties I moved to the Front Range of Colorado. After almost 9 years in the mountains, I missed the green fields and small towns of Iowa so much that I decided was time to come home. I've been with the Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa team since 2016 and love working for an organization that helps prepare area students for their amazing futures.

My favorite…

Part of My Job: I always wanted to be a teacher, so spending time with the students in their classrooms is almost a dream come true! Plus, the experiences I've had in the classroom really help to drive home how instrumental the Junior Achievement mission is in improving the lives of our kids. I also really enjoy spending time with everyone on our team, particularly the other members of the morning coffee club, in such an upbeat and enthusiastic working environment.

Spot in Eastern Iowa: My house. It's cozy and all my favorite people, animals, and things are there.

Quote: "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." CS Lewis

Things to do after 5 PM: Usually walking the dog before having dinner with my family.

 

Katelyn Tungland

Katelyn Tungland – Regional DirectorDevelopment

Hi! My name is Katelyn Tungland, but a lot of people call me KT! I was raised in Hudson, Iowa and currently reside in Cedar Falls with my husband, Alex, our daughter Joslynn and our Australian Shepard, Chex! I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. Prior to working for Junior Achievement I was a JA volunteer and quickly fell in love with the program and wanted to get more involved in the community. JA has blessed me with a career that allows me to find a healthy balance between work and life! I love how JA focuses on youth education and entrepreneurship!

My favorite…

Part of My Job: Working in the community! I love connecting with business people, networking and participating in other service organizations and clubs. I love spreading the mission of JA with some of the best community leaders and colleagues in Eastern Iowa!

Spot in Eastern Iowa: The trails! I love to run. The Cedar Valley has some of the best paved and dirt trails. I have ran 2 full marathons, 19 half marathons and countless 10k’s and 5k’s.

Quote: "Comparison is the thief of joy” – Teddy Roosevelt. I love this quote because it is a daily reminder that everyone is unique and has their own story. It is not fair to compare.

Things to do after 5 PM: Spending time outside with the family! And eating dinner…. Because I love to cook and to eat!

 

Michelle Waldron

Michelle Waldron – Strategy DirectorOperations

Hello! My name is Michelle Waldron and I am the Strategy Director at Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa. August of 2022 will mark my 11th year with JAEI! I have lived in Cedar Rapids for most of my life and graduated from The University of Iowa. My husband Mike and I have three children, Annah will be a senior and Sam will be a freshman, both at the University of Iowa. My youngest, Sophie, will be in ninth grade at Prairie in Cedar Rapids. All three of them have had Junior Achievement in school and I am thankful that I was able to teach a lot of their classes!

My favorite…

Part of my job: The JAEI Team! I feel very lucky to work with a team that is so passionate and works so hard to make Junior Achievement successful in Eastern Iowa.

Spot in Eastern Iowa: My house! I love spending time with my family.

Quote: Choose to be optimistic, it feels better. – Dalai Lama

Things to do after 5pm: Take my dogs for a walk or catch up with my family about their day.

 

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