Genna Eaton founded Waunakee Neighborhood Connection (WNC) in 2004 with humble objectives. In the ensuing 13 years, these objectives progressively became more aggressive. Today she oversees an organization that includes a $1 million Capital Campaign leading to the acquisition of a 6500 sq ft permanent home at 208 S. Century Ave in Waunakee, now debt-free, with programs and services all in one location. Moreover, she has led the development of dozens of client programs and services and through collaborative efforts with area resources, assisted and empowered thousands of neighbors in need while providing hundreds of community members with volunteer opportunities.
Last year, Genna met with WNCs Board of Directors for future planning around long-term sustainability and growth. It was clear that more creative help was needed to assist in all the great growth that WNC has experienced. At that point, WNC embarked upon a succession planning process for the Executive Director position.
The result of this process? Jannina Killian will become WNC’s second Executive Director effective September 5th. To ensure continuity and a smooth transition, Genna will stay on as Community Development Director while also mentoring Jannina. Along with Project Coordinator Amy Sampson, WNC will have three full-time employees for the first time in history to take the organization into this exciting new phase.
Jannina started volunteering with WNC after moving to Waunakee in 2011, assisting with marketing support, general fundraising, chairing the fundraiser Moonlight Masquerade Mash, and volunteering in the sorting room as well as with her family for Christmas meal deliveries. Her commitment to WNC’s mission grew as she stepped into a Board role in July 2016. With both kids now school-age, she was looking to find a good fit to resume a career that included advertising, sales, media and strategic planning. Since becoming a stay-at-home Mom in 2011, Jannina also worked closely with the Junior League of Madison’s “All Dressed Up” program. Also, she was a charity runner benefitting the American Cancer Society, and very involved in the PTO at Arboretum Elementary.
“Jannina has the drive, energy, passion, and focus to take WNC to the next level”, Genna said. Board member Kari Davis added “Jannina has the business acumen the Board was seeking to achieve long-term sustainability and growth.”
When asked about the first order of business, Jannina talked about executing WNC’s upcoming events and initiatives, including the WNC Community Resource Fair (September 14), the Laundry Soap and Diaper Drive (September 16 – October 21) and the Moonlight Masquerade Mash (October 21).
Long term, the organization will advance its focus of Building a Stronger Community…One Story at a Time. “We have to continue to foster an awareness of who we truly are. WNC is much more than a free store that provides daily necessities. We also connect clients to area resources to provide comprehensive care and serve as an outlet for community members young and young-at-heart to plug in and volunteer to gain leadership skills,” Jannina said. To do this, her goal is to build upon client education programs, proactive engagement with new community members, advance WNCs sustainability portfolio and leverage Genna’s new role for enhanced business community outreach while pursuing grant opportunities.
To get involved with WNC email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their website at www.waunakeeneighborhoodconnection.com
By Jeff Statz, WNC Board Member