Staff & Board

Staff & Board

Freshwater Future Staff

Alexis Smith, Community Program and Technical Associate


Alicia Smith, Associate Director of Policy

Alicia 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 focus on the educational development of the youth of color within low socioeconomic and disenfranchised communities.


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.


Brandon Tyus, Policy and Community Program Associate


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.


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 is now the Executive Director of Freshwater Future, where she has been since 2000.  In addition to building Freshwater Future, Jill’s passion focuses on increasing grassroots capacity to protect waters in the Great Lakes region, including assisting with a variety of planning processes, board development, facilitation and bi-national collaborative efforts. She serves on the Healing Our Waters Governance Board, helped spur creation of the growing Great Lakes Network and monitors emerging issues in the region. Jill enjoys paddling, cycling and camping with her family who reside in Petoskey, Michigan.


Hilliard Hamptom, Associate Director for 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.


Kate Hogan –  Quality Control Chemist


Kristy Meyer, Associate Director

Kristy MeyerKristy Meyer is an Associate Director at Freshwater Future. Kristy supports community groups in forwarding equitable policies and regulations for clean, safe, affordable, and accessible drinking water in communities throughout the Great Lakes states and provinces. Previously as the Vice President of Policy with the Ohio Environmental Council, Kristy led and co-led critical work that transformed the ability of the Lake Erie region to respond to its most significant challenges. She brings more than 15 years of experience in policy and campaign development, team-building, and non-profit leadership. Kristy has a B.S. in Environmental Biology and Business Administration from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. She earned a M.S. from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, where she worked with Aboriginals on Natural Resource Management Issues and formed a “Greening Strategy” for all of Northern Australia, including Papua New Guinea. Kristy is a native of the Buckeye state and enjoys camping, hiking, and flat and whitewater kayaking with her husband, Chase, and her daughter and son.


Laurie Breighner, Grants Specialist and Administrative Assistant

Laurie is involved in grant management, membership management, and helping organizations with planning..Prior to joining the Freshwater Future team, she had a thirty plus year career in retail specializing in customer service.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Michigan University.


Leslie Burk, Communications and Development Director



Freshwater Future Board


2016_karen-reinbold_0262_webKaren Reinbold





Melanie Welch





Adam Parker





Trent Stark





  Tom Knott





 Dr. Robert Letscher





Donald Wiggins Jr., Donald Wiggins Jr.





Stephanie SmithStephanie Smith






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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.