Jill Ryan, Executive Director Jill Ryan received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Grand Valley State University in Michigan, her master’s degree in zoology from the University of Maine, and her law degree from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She has a background in nonprofit management and capacity building, environmental toxicology, and human services, and has taught environmental law and legal research. Jill has held positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Chautauqua Area Girl Scout Council, was the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund Director for over seven years and is now the Executive Director of Freshwater Future. Jill and her family live in Petoskey, Michigan where they enjoy kayaking, fishing, biking, hiking, swimming, skiing and camping.
Cheryl Kallio, Associate Director Cheryl Kallio is Associate Director for Freshwater Future and is a lead for the organization’s policy work, administers the Great Lakes Healing Our Waters implementation grant making program, and provides consulting to environmental groups on how to strategically work their advocacy issues. Previous to her work with Freshwater Future Cheryl was the Water Conservation Manager for the Alliance for the Great Lakes and served as an adviser to the eight Great Lakes governors and premiers of Ontario and Quebec in the development of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Agreement. She received her bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Michigan State University.
Ann Baughman, Associate Director Ann began work for Freshwater Future in the fall of 2006. Ann manages our climate program–helping communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change. In addition, Ann works on diversifying funding sources for the organization. Prior to working at Freshwater Future, she served as a Watershed Protection Director and National Park Service Ranger. Ann has a bachelors of science in natural resources from the University of Michigan. Ann works out of the Petoskey office.
Becca Nelson, Grants & Data Specialist Becca started with Freshwater Future in June in 2012. Previous to Freshwater Future, she worked as a naturalist educator and spent a summer working on dune restoration with The Nature Conservancy. Becca received a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Michigan. As a Petoskey native, Becca is happy to be working in the Petoskey office, supporting her team members.
April Weppler, Program Manager In her 16 years as a conservation professional, April Weppler has had a variety of work experiences ranging from Stewardship Coordinator roles with the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre and Ontario Nature, to a project manager in the Conservation Lands department of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. She also served two terms on the board of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, where she held the positions of Secretary, Vice-Chair, Chair, and past-Chair. April holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from University of Guelph, specializing in Wildlife Biology. April lives with her family in Guelph, Ontario where they enjoy hiking, paddling, and generally exploring the outdoors.
Hilliard Hampton, Associate Director of Urban Partnerships All his life, Hilliard Hampton has been a hands on problem solver and hands on leader. A four-time elected Mayor, police officer, small business owner, education leader – all of these experiences are what Hilliard brings to his role at Freshwater Future as our Associated Director of Urban Partnerships. Hilliard values the role of community and diverse perspectives in developing solutions, and excels at listening to and integrating others’ perspectives while also maintaining the broader picture to reach a successful conclusion.
Latia Leonard, Urban Program Associate Latia works on urban water issues in the Detroit and Flint metro areas. She has a passion for helping others, and her work on affordability and infrastructure is an extension of ten years of community service and anti-poverty work. A graduate of Michigan State University, Latia recently completed a year as a VISTA volunteer with AmeriCorps, and now brings her communications expertise to Freshwater Future.
Alicia Smith, Associate Director of Policy, manages the Great Lakes Network and guides Freshwater Future’s engagement in state and federal policy. In Alicia’s most recent position she served as the Executive Director of Youth Commission and Manager of Youth and Recreation for the City of Toledo. She is the founder of a Toledo, Ohio community organization, Junction Coalition that started as an opportunity to help the community help themselves through partnering with others to address social, economic, and environmental issues and improve the community’s quality of life. Alicia’s doctoral studies at the University of Toledo focused on the educational development of the youth of color within low socioeconomic and disenfranchised communities.
Holly Hughes, Vice-Chair
Great Lakes Citizen
Karen Reinbold, Treasurer
Board Secretary, Interim Board Chair