Meet the Wise Women Gathering Place Staff!

Alice Skenandore, founder and Executive Director

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Tribal Member; Mother of 5 boys and 1 girl; Grandmother to 3

Alice became a strong community activist, in Laughlin, Nevada, where she lived with her family for 7 years prior to moving back to her native state of Wisconsin, helping to push the county forward in the development of schools and family centered events and infrastructure. Alice also served her communities as a Traditional Midwife for more than 27 years, attending over 740 home births, following the basic tenet that, all women are innately midwives and every woman deserves a midwife. She believes that midwifery has always been a ‘cradle to grave’ role for the wise women of all communities. She has helped many other women, through the apprenticeship model, to become practicing midwives themselves.

Oneida and Green Bay community member since 1992, Alice helped form a successful women’s support and learning group which met weekly, with children in tow, over a period of 8 years, studying various topics including alternative health choices, personal relationship development, parenting, etc. In 1998, Alice founded Wise Women Gathering Place. WWGP continues to operate through the lens of midwifery. In 2001, Alice authored a unique relationship development tool named Discovery Dating. Discovery Dating helps the reader to explore the attitudes, behaviors and beliefs of the people with whom they are developing relationships.

Alice travels extensively, lecturing and educating women and families about the benefits of home birth and breast-feeding and culture based, holistic health care. The basis for all of her work is to assure the most informed choices and greatest level of self-determination available.

Beverly Scow, Assistant Director

Kwickseutaineuk Ah-kwa-mish First Nation, of the Kwakwakawak Peoples from west coast in British Columbia, Canada; Mother of 3 girls and 1 boy; Stepmother to 4, Grandmother to over 12 grandchildren

Beverly has lived on the Oneida Nation Reservation in Wisconsin since 1991. Beverly apprenticed as a Traditional Lay Midwife with Alice Skenandore. Her work has shifted to Community Midwifery, as they continue to work to create safe space for individuals, groups and community to struggle through difficult challenges on their journey of healing. As one of the women that met around the original kitchen table that became Wise Women Gathering Place, Beverly became a founding member of the organization.

 

 Beverly is a Certified ToP Facilitator and a Mentor ToP Trainer. She uses TOP Facilitation Method to support groups like Changing Women Initiative, Young Women United, New Mexico Breastfeeding Coalition, New Mexico Birth Justice Coalition, Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), American Indians Against Abuse (AIAA), Oneida Community Integrated Food System, Ho Chunk Youth Services, Oneida Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Coordinated Community Response (CCR), Women Growing Leadership Diversity- Sowing Seed for the Future, Adolescent Parenting Coalition (APC) and APC Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Committee. Bev supports group through focused conversations, consensus workshops, action planning, strategic planning, conflict resolution and virtual facilitation since 2007. She has co-trained over 300 people on Top Facilitation Methods. Beverly has an Honorary Degree from Native Indian Teaching Education Program (NITEP) at the University of British Columbia.

 

Beverly has co- trained countless Discovery Dating Facilitators. She also supports evaluation and development work on the promising practice of Discovery Dating, towards becoming recognized as an evidence based program. She is also available for interactive presentations on Historical Trauma/Generational Healing, Compassionate Communication, Restorative Justice, Bullying, Transitional Living Programs and Domestic Violence Prevention.

Julia McLester, Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Program Specialist

Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Tribal Member; Proud mother and grandmother

Julia has joined us bringing 20 years of experience in helping people. Julia has worked at Golden House in Green Bay for the past 15 years. She was appointed to represent the Oneida Tribe on the Board of Directors for the American Indians Against Abuse Coalition. Julia formerly devoted 17 years to Oneida Social Services in various capacities. She then worked for three years at Great Lakes Inter Tribal Council helping people with disabilities and recently spent one year working at the Menominee Domestic Violence Shelter as a Client Advocate.

Sam McKenzie, Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Program Specialist

Non-tribal (Australian); Mother of 1

Sam has a Bachelor of Education and taught in Australia for approximately 10 years before returning to study for a Bachelor in Applied Science, Health Promotion & Prevention. Sam is in the process of gaining her Masters Degree in Community Mental Health and Counseling. Sam has specialized training and skills in responding to trauma. Previously, Sam has worked at the Mental Health Foundation of Australia as the Coordinator of Program Development, Crisis Intervention & Community Education & Prevention, with a focus on Suicide and Depression Awareness & Intervention. After immigrating to the United States, Sam worked as the Director of Family, Teen & Community Development for the YMCA in Green Bay, WI.  Sam additionally was employed at the Sexual Assault Center of Family Services as a legal advocate and as the Co- Project Manager of the Brown County SART Project. Over the past 20 years, Sam has provided assistance and resources to over 5000 sexual assault survivors. Sam has provided training to many responders to sensitive crimes, specifically sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and stalking. Sam also works as an In Home Mental Health co-therapist working with children and adolescents who have mental health disorders and behavioral challenges. Sam enjoys working with individuals and families, and working collaboratively with community partners to increase community supports and resources for all. 

Jessica Adams, Sexual Assault Prevention Specialist

Non-tribal (Irish and German)

Before coming to Wise Women, Jessica worked in a variety of places around the country. She has been a program director for a transitional home in Baltimore,
MD, been a victim advocate in Door County, has worked with students in elementary, middle and high schools, and has assisted Native American populations in Montana and Wisconsin. She loves the mission and vision at WWGP and is thrilled to be a part of an organization capable of such valuable impact on others. Jessica also has her Master's certificate in Non-Profit Management, and is a trained doula.

In her free time, Jessica enjoys yoga, the outdoors, and traveling—she has been to forty-nine out of the fifty states, with only Alaska left to go! She is currently

enjoying a new house and exploring new hiking trails and cannot wait to continue her journey here at Wise Women.

Stacy Lewis, Prevention Specialist

Non-tribal, (Norwegian and German)

Stacy joined Wise Women after seeking a job at a grassroots, non-profit organization, with a mission that aligns strongly with her own values.  Stacy brings over 10 years of experiences of working with domestic abuse and sexual assault victims. She  strives to make  a positive impact throughout our community by providing a safe space for  youth to heal and be supported. Stacy is currently working on her Master's degree in School Counseling, and is excited to see where her career with WWGP takes her. When she isn't working here, Stacy keeps up a rigorous exercise routine with Zumba and kickboxing, both of which she is very passionate about. She has a dog named Runner and a cat named Simon, and loves to be outdoors in her backyard, gardening, or reading. Stacy LOVES coffee too. She is always carrying a travel mug full.

Judy VanderBloomen, Administrative Assistant

Non-tribal (Finnish); Mother of 1 boy (who's a Hollywood stunt man!)

Judy has a Master's degree in Nutrition and is certified by the state as an herbal practitioner. Judy brings to her position with Wise Women a wealth of organizational experience as a legal secretary in Atlanta and a real estate secretary in Los Angeles. She has also been an office manager for her husband's appliance business locally. She was born and raised in Wisconsin but has also lived in Alaska, Georgia and Washington state. Proud to have served Wise Women for over 4 years, Judy appreciates how "everyone at Wise Women does what they need to do to help other people!"

Breann Clark, Child and Youth Program Specialist

Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Tribal Member & Polish

Breann has joined the staff at Wise Women as a Child and Youth Program Specialist. Before Wise Women, Breann worked one-on-one with child who have Autism and with the elderly community. Breann has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is working towards her Master’s degree in Transnational Human Services Leadership. During the winter months, Breann also works at St. Johns Homeless Shelter as Support Staff. When Breann isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, Buster Brown. When the weather is nice, she enjoys spending weekends up north and going to the dog park. Breann is excited for her journey with Wise Women!

Deborah Chinana, DV & SA Program Specialist

Non-Tribal (Irish) Born in England to Irish Parents;  Mother of 3

Deborah Comes to Wise Women with 25 years’ experience in Holistic Healing and has taught and facilitated workshops and groups to a broad spectrum of people. She is also a professional Horse Trainer in Dressage and Three Day Eventing and has brought Equine Therapy to troubled youth and victims of abuse with great success.  Deborah has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Masters in Counseling through Lakeland University in Green Bay. In the future she hopes to combine holistic healing and counseling into an integrated approach for mind, body and spiritual wellness. She is very excited and honored to work at WWGP and help the community as a devoted advocate for healing and support. Deborah loves to ride, hike, be with her children, travel, write, paint and sing amongst other things…..

Danielle Karl, Program Outreach Specialist

Descendant of the Oneida Nation of WI & Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Danielle comes to us from West De Pere School District as the former Title 6 Home/School Liaison. She has an Associate’s degree in Elementary Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Integrative Leadership Studies.  For the past 13 years, Danielle has worked with Native American youth and families doing advocacy work. While she was at West De Pere she was very passionate about integrating American Indian Studies in the school curriculum as well as building cultural identity with her students. She also works with the Oneida Tribal Judicial System as a Guardian ad Litem in custody and placement disputes. For fun she likes to travel with her husband Mike, work on crafts, garden, paint and spend time with her loved ones.  She is very excited to join the Wise Women team and looks forward to helping the community in a different capacity.