Our Board Members

Stacie Stephens - Board Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Stacie Stephens - Board Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Director of Behavioral Health Operations, Cherry Health

Stacie is a dedicated nonprofit professional working alongside the community who are experiencing life with mental illnesses ranging from mild and moderate to severe and persistent and substance use recovery. While Stacie doesn’t hold a direct clinical role in patient care, she provides effective and strategic oversight to ensure comprehensive quality care is provided and available in a safe and trusted space for each patient navigating their mental health and substance recovery and life experiences.
Stacie has 14 years of operational experience working in different healthcare sectors serving adults in need of the healthcare system. While each sector provided care in its own capacity, mental health was always prevalent. Stacie strives to educate and advocate for individuals in need of holistic healthcare serving the mind and body while removing stigma and barriers to care.
While behavioral health is a major driver in Stacie actions, she has also initiated and participated in the ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts and has been an integral part in leading those practices within the culture of Cherry Health.
Stacie holds a Master degree in Health Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts with a Major in Healthcare and Cultural Issues and a Minor in Business from Grand Valley State University.

Brooke Aernouts - Board Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Brooke Aernouts - Board Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Trauma and Resilience Coordinator, Family Futures

Brooke is a trauma-engaged specialist, with nearly 2 decades of teaching and leadership experience in early childhood education and adult education and training. Brooke has a B.A. in Psychology and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education with a focus on the Practice of Teaching, and has multiple training certifications through national organizations. Her professional focus is on equity and justice in intentionally marginalized and underserved communities in Grand Rapids, through the development of authentic relationships and resource sharing. Brooke lives on the NW side of Grand Rapids with her husband and 3 children, and enjoys music, camping, kayaking, and getting weird in the kitchen with cooking.

Jimmy Sherrills - Treasurer (he/him/his)

Jimmy Sherrills - Treasurer (he/him/his)

Enterprise Account Executive, Everstream

Jimmy is a passionate community advocate and status quo disrupter. His 10+ yrs experience in the “for-profit” business technology sector will aid him as a knowledgeable resource and capable leader. Jimmy is an engaging collaborator, problem-solver, and his positive “can-do” attitude is infectious. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, watching/attending sporting events, and hanging out with family & friends. Jimmy looks forward to cultivating new relationships, sharing new ideas and challenging old perspectives that limit growth.

Cheyenne Buelterman-Fernandez - Secretary (she/her/hers)

Cheyenne Buelterman-Fernandez - Secretary (she/her/hers)

Community School Coordinator, Kent School Services Network (KSSN)

Cheyenne grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, and has been a resident of Michigan for the past 13 years. She is passionate about advocating for youth and families and is also bilingual in Spanish. Her full-time role within Kent School Services Network (KSSN) is spent at Explorer Elementary in Kentwood Public Schools. Cheyenne is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, an AmeriCorps alum, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

Carrie Veldman - Educational Programming Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Carrie Veldman - Educational Programming Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Membership Manager, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

Carrie received her Bachelor of Science at Aquinas College studying Sustainable Business in 2012. Previously, Carrie was the Sustainability & Philanthropy Manager for BarFly Ventures where she ran a successful sustainability & waste diversion program across 20 bar & restaurant locations and raised thousands for local urban farm and clean water initiatives.
Carrie spends most of her free time outdoors and is an avid trail runner & hiker.

Kate Veldman - Educational Programming Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Kate Veldman - Educational Programming Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Community Membership Manager, Girl Scouts Michigan Shore to Shore

Kate is a nonprofit professional that has managed spaces in Alaska and Michigan, through Community Engagement and Advocacy. Kate has worked alongside indigenous communities in Alaska and various nonprofits supporting adults with disabilities, working to advocate change within the system in order to meet the needs of the people within those spaces.

Kellie Fitzgerald - Membership Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Kellie Fitzgerald - Membership Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Strategic Communications Specialist, GVSU Autism Education Center

With 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Kellie is passionate about empowering community leaders and fostering inclusive environments that create equitable opportunities. Kellie has a Master’s of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership from GVSU and currently works as the Strategic Communications Specialist at the GVSU Autism Education Center. Through her work at GVSU, Kellie is also an Inclusion Advocate, a specialized role that facilitates dialogue surrounding inclusive talent acquisition and that also ensures employment searches are conducted in an equitable manner. She lives in Wyoming with her husband, John, and enjoys reading, great food and wine, and traveling up north any chance she gets.

Jessica Kuster - Membership Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Jessica Kuster - Membership Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Program Manager, Hello West Michigan

Jessica oversees the organization’s internship and Candidate Connections programs, facilitates member employer orientation and training, produces marketing and communication materials, manages yearly events, and educates employers and prospective candidates about the West Michigan region.

Prior to joining Hello West Michigan, Jessica served as Program Coordinator at GROW. There, she handled the planning and implementation of all entrepreneurial training programs, fundraising events, and the organization’s intern program. 

Jessica serves as a Membership Co-Chair for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids empowering emerging professionals to thrive, grow, and build community within the nonprofit sector. 

Originally from the Chicago area, she loves living in West Michigan because it offers the best of both worlds – a city life with an abundance of outdoor activities! Her personal relocation journey has given her a passion for helping young professionals build strong networks and a full life in West Michigan.

Lauren Enos - DEIA Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Lauren Enos - DEIA Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Program and DEI Director, Affinity Mentoring

Born in Maine, but moved to Michigan after living in NYC for the past 16 years, Lauren has spent her entire career in nonprofits. Lauren is a social worker, and received her Masters in Social Work from GVSU in 2022. She has worked with populations including hospice, adults with disabilities, and young students. She is passionate about DEIA, advocacy and research. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, dancing, and reading.

Arlette Perez-Aguirre - DEIA Co-Chair

Arlette Perez-Aguirre - DEIA Co-Chair

Bilingual Crime Prevention Coordinator and Community Organizer, Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association

Julie Lesniak - Fund Development Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Julie Lesniak - Fund Development Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Originally from New Jersey, Julie moved to GR in 2018 to be closer to family. With a background in dance, she was motivated to pursue a career at Grand Rapids Ballet. What began as a receptionist position turned into her now serving as the development director. Julie is passionate about expanding the access and joy of performing arts education to the West Michigan community. She is equally as excited to develop relationships and experiences through her new role with YNPN|GR. Julie is bilingual in English and French and has a goal to visit all 50 states by the age of 50. When not traveling, Julie spends her free time with her partner either puzzling or enjoying tacos.

Mario Vargas - Fund Development Co-Chair

Mario Vargas - Fund Development Co-Chair

Operations Associate, Grand Valley State University

Kristie Winslow - Marketing and Communications Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Kristie Winslow - Marketing and Communications Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Grand Valley Area Command Grant Writer, The Salvation Army

Kristie is a dedicated storyteller currently applying her expertise as the Grand Valley Area Command Grant Writer at The Salvation Army in West Michigan. With a diverse background, Kristie holds a BEI I ASL interpreter certification and boasts experience in marketing and communications, ASL interpretation, and development and fundraising. She earned her Bachelor’s in Writing and English Language and Literature from Grand Valley State University, where she received distinctions in writing and creative scholarship. As a former McNair Scholar, she delved deeply into the memetic evolution of fairy tales, while her work as a GVSU Library Summer Scholar focused on the Monomyth, both subjects on which she has extensively presented. Outside of work, Kristie can often be found curled up with a good book and her cat, diving in new hobbies, or keeping up with her active teenage children.

Emily Pineda - Marketing and Communications Co-Chair

Emily Pineda - Marketing and Communications Co-Chair

Customer Engagement and Loyalty Specialist, Meijer

Kennia Cifuentes - Member at Large (she/her/hers)

Kennia Cifuentes - Member at Large (she/her/hers)

Personal Banker

Kennia was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. She graduated from The University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. She is passionate about helping people in the community by learning and growing in their careers. As a Banker she enjoys helping people with their financial goals. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and attending events.

Gavin MacDonald - Member-at-Large (he/him/his)

Gavin MacDonald - Member-at-Large (he/him/his)

Executive Director, The Sunset Project and Development and Communications Coordinator, Conservation Resource Alliance

Gavin is a nonprofit professional with multiple years of marketing, administrative and fundraising experience from organizations across the state of Michigan. He also brings with him photo and video production skills, with a history of producing for statewide and national clients. In addition to a Master of Science in Administration, Gavin holds a B.S. in psychology, a minor in professional sales and a certificate in corporate video creation from Central Michigan University.

Nadire Elmi -  Leadership and Recognition Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Nadire Elmi - Leadership and Recognition Co-Chair (she/her/hers)

Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Cherry Health

With 9 years of experience in the nonprofit healthcare sector, Nadire is passionate about coaching and matching top talent to a wide variety of life changing careers in healthcare. She loves supporting individuals of all ages to explore different career opportunities that they might not have known of. Nadire received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan studying Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience in 2013. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Nadire is able to speak four languages and travels to visit family in Romania regularly. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family & friends, traveling, reading, and paddle boarding.