Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors


The Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors helps lead Holy Wisdom Monastery by following the Carver Policy Governance Model. Board members are volunteers and focus on the larger picture and the AIMS of the organization. In 2020 the Board conducted a “Listen, Imagine, Create” process which generated input from hundreds of stakeholders who identified strengths and possible opportunities for the ideal future of Holy Wisdom Monastery and the Community of Communities.

We are grateful for the dedication of the following members:


Sarah Best

Sarah Best (she/her) CEO of Sarah Best Strategy (https://www.sarahbeststrategy.com), along with her team, have won over a dozen awards for their work including best use of a social media platform from Travel + Leisure. Her work has been featured in Mashable, TechCrunch, Crain’s Chicago Business, National Geographic Traveler, Chicago Tribune, and other publications. She was tapped to speak at Social Media Week for the MacArthur Foundation, and has been selected twice for SXSW. She is an alumna of New York University and holds a certificate in entrepreneurship from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Babson College. She’s a Rotarian and serves on the board of Bach, Dancing and Dynamite Society.

An avid traveler and multi-faceted creative, Sarah is also a poet who has been published in The Yale Review and Painted Bride Quarterly. As a visual artist and film curator, she has curated programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Hyde Park Arts Center (Chicago), Mana Contemporary (Chicago / Miami / NJ), Links Hall (Chicago), Chicago Cultural Center, and Echo Park Film Center (Los Angeles).

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Catherine Cruickshank

Catherine Cruickshank was born and raised in Ghana. She earned her B.Sc. (Design) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (K.N.U.S.T., Kumasi, Ghana) and her Post-graduate Diploma in Architecture from the University of Cambridge (England) after which she returned to teach architecture at the K.N.U.S.T. for four years. In 1978, she moved to the U.S. to marry her Ghanaian fiancé. She enrolled in a master’s program in Anthropology and graduated from Syracuse University in 1981. She later worked for an architectural firm in Massachusetts before moving with her family to Wisconsin in 1990.

In between raising three children, Catherine worked for two architectural firms in Appleton. The last 18 years of her career were spent with Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc. concentrating on education and senior housing projects. Increasingly, her focus on the latter shifted to helping 15 Women Religious congregations plan for the future of their properties including leading the planning, architectural and interior design of Holy Wisdom Monastery from 2006-2009. Catherine has served on the Menasha Plan Commission since 1998 and is spending her retirement researching and writing a book.

Videos:
Her younger daughter interviewed her for a class project when she was studying Video & Motion Graphics at the Madison Media Institute.
https://www.vcruickshank.com/interview-with-catherine-architectural-designer

The video Hoffman created soon after we completed the Monastery project:
https://youtu.be/L67kEMOn9c0

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Colleen Hartung,
Board Chair

Colleen Hartung is the current chair of the board at Holy Wisdom Monastery.  She joined the Sunday Assembly along with her family in 2004.  Colleen is currently a homilist and works with Kids On The Prairie.  In the past, Colleen has facilitated the ministry to families and children program, worked in the kitchen, on the Sunday Assembly Council, Liturgy Committee and more.  She holds a Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from Chicago Theological Seminary.  She has served as a spiritual guide for more than 15 years, is currently the chair of the 1000 Women in Religion Wikipedia Project and series editor of Atla’s Women in Religion series.

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Neil Heskin

Neil Heskin is pleased to be a member of the Board of Directors of Holy Wisdom. He is a member of the Sunday Assembly and also serves on the Capital Committee and the Finance Committee.

Neil’s wife, Kathy, and he have been married 53 years. They have three sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law and seven grandchildren. Kathy and Neil met at Georgetown University where he earned a B S in Accounting and played on the varsity basketball team.

He earned his CPA certificate when he worked for Price Waterhouse as an auditor. For the next 10 years, he worked as controller for two manufacturing companies. Kathy and Neil started, owned & operated a Christian Bookstore for 20 years in Illinois. After this, he spent 10 years as Business Manager for two Catholic Churches in suburban Chicago.

Neil has a Master’s in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of Chicago. Neil and Kathy moved to Lodi seven years ago and in October 2020, they moved to Middleton. They are both very excited to be closer to Holy Wisdom and communities.

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Charles McLimans, CEO

Charles McLimans began his tenure as CEO of Holy Wisdom Monastery on June 29, 2020.  Prior to assuming his new role, he served on the Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors and is a member of the Sunday Assembly, Oblates, and Friends of Wisdom Prairie communities.

Charles has 25 years of experience as a nonprofit executive, having most recently served as President & CEO at The River Food Pantry in Madison, Wisconsin.  For the past 15 years he has devoted his professional time and attention to food and income equality, along with other social justice issues.

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Sister Lynne Smith

Sister Lynne Smith became the first Protestant member in the Benedictine Women of Madison community in 2000. Prior to joining she was an ordained Presbyterian pastor, serving congregations in Iowa and Kansas for 15 years. Sister Lynne is currently the Director of Monastic Ritual & Formation Team Coordinator at Holy Wisdom Monastery.

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Tim Stadelman

Tim Stadelman was the Chief Financial Officer of J.H. Findorff & Son Inc. for 31 years and retired in 2020. Findorff is one of the Midwest’s leading builders, with offices in Madison and Milwaukee. Findorff currently employs over 1,000 construction professionals and tradespeople, and completes over $600 million in construction annually. Tim has been a member of the Rotary Club of Madison since 2002 and had leadership roles as President and Sergeant at Arms. Tim has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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Sister Mary David Walgenbach

Sister Mary David Walgenbach is the prioress of Benedictine Women of Madison at Holy Wisdom Monastery.  From early on, Sister Mary David took an active role in the formation of an inclusive ecumenical community at Holy Wisdom Monastery.  She co-founded the Community of Benedict and the monastery’s Oblate Community, setting a path toward the dream of an ecumenical sisters’ community that became a reality in 2006.

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Sally Wedde

Sally Wedde is a member of the Board of Directors, Chair of the Mission Advancement Committee, and a member of the Friends of Wisdom Prairie. At the UW-Madison, Sally manages graduate programs in clinical and translational science for non-traditional and traditional students at UW-Madison.

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Jim Welsh,
Board Vice-chair

Jim Welsh is the Executive Director of Groundswell Conservancy and has been instrumental in the permanent protection of many of the most loved and valued places in south central Wisconsin. During Jim’s successful tenure over the past 17 years, Groundswell has achieved national accreditation and has conserved 13,000 acres of farms, forests, prairies, and wetlands in and around Dane County. Under Jim’s leadership, Groundswell has preserved land in rural, agricultural, and urban environments, a testament to his belief that everyone deserves access to nature and open spaces.

In addition to his success in expanding conservation areas, protecting new lands and conserving historical areas, Jim has worked with community members to provide equitable access to land and nature, including expanding the outdoor classroom at Lake View Elementary School in Madison and protecting land for use by immigrant farmers and farmers of color.

Jim has devoted his professional career to land conservation and has worked in Wisconsin, California, Michigan, and Washington, DC with leading conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy, the Alaska Coalition, and National Parks and Conservation Association.

Jim serves on the board of Holy Wisdom Monastery and is a past community board member of Clean Lakes Alliance. He has served on the Dane County Zoning & Land Regulation Farmland Preservation Plan Subcommittee and the Dane County Task Force for the Prioritized Revision of Chapter 10 Zoning Ordinance.

Jim has master’s degrees in ecological restoration from the University of Wisconsin and natural resources policy from the University of Michigan.

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2021 Community Leadership

Oblate Leadership Circle

Ellen Joyce, Facilitator
Jane Ahlstrom
Mary Hoddy
David McKee
Lisa Nelson
Sue Pearson
Chris Todd

Sunday Assembly
Council

Joyce Wodka, Chair
Amy Bonomie
Charles Bradley
Sue Bradley
Mike Crawford
Sister Barb Dannhausen
Bob Dinndorf
Ryan Hall
Alice Jenson
Lynn Lemberger
Charles McLimans
Carolyn Moynihan Bradt
Sister Lynne Smith
Michael Stier
Yvonne Stueber

Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council

Paul Slota, President
Julie Melton, Vice President
Kathleen Wessels, Secretary
Greg Armstrong
Peg Davey
Jeannine Desautels
Howard Fenton
Drew Howick
Jan Lottig
Sylvia Marek
Peter Marshall
Maia McNamara
Michael Shinners
Judy Troia
Amy Alstad, Ex-officio

Board Finance Committee

Neil Heskin, Chair
Sharon Leinen
Charles McLimans
Sister Mary David Walgenbach
Sally Wedde

Land Management Advisory Council

Charles McLimans, Chair
Amy Alstad
Amy Bonomie
Toby Grabs
Darcy Kind
Sharon Leinen
Julie Loehrl
Julie Melton
Wayne Pauly
Dean Proctor
Paul Slota
Sister Mary David Walgenbach

Mission Advancement Committee

Sally Wedde, Chair
Raj Atalla
Amy Bonomie
Sister Barb Dannhausen
Bob Dinndorf
Renee Frank
Tony Gibart
Neil Heskin
Charles McLimans
Sister Mary David Walgenbach
Joyce Wodka

Monastery Leadership Team

Charles McLimans, Chair
Amy Alstad
Amy Bonomie
Jerry Buss
Sister Barbara Dannhausen
Bob Dinndorf
Nancy Enderle
Toby Grabs
Sharon Leinen
Lynn Lemberger
Car McGinley
Sister Lynne Smith