Letesha Nelson CEO / Executive Director
Letesha Nelson will join the Goodman Community Center as its CEO and Executive Director on Jan. 25, 2020. Letesha brings with her more than 16 years of nonprofit experience that ranges from working directly with program participants all the way up to leading an organization as its Executive Director.
Prior to joining the Goodman Center, Letesha was the Executive Director of Children and Family Enrichment at Idlewild, in Memphis, and before that, she held a number of positions with the Girl Scouts that spanned more than 10 years and a range of responsibilities. Thanks to this breadth of experience, Letesha brings expertise in operational efficiency, fiscal responsibility, donor relations, grant writing and programming to the Goodman Center.
A naturally authentic person, Letesha’s greatest strength may be the compassion and transparency she brings to every leadership role she’s held. In her career, she has demonstrated a level of direct, but caring communication with staff, colleagues, donors and the community. Letesha couples this with a demonstrated ability to think creatively and pragmatically to ensure budgets are optimized to their greatest effect while members of the community receive the services they need.
Perhaps this strength of leadership and caring comes more naturally to Letesha because for her, this work is personal. As a young, single mother, she relied on services like those the Goodman Center provides to balance taking care of her children and getting her degree. She understands just how important the work GCC does is – because she was once in the very same shoes many of our families are in right now.
Heidi Deininger Chief Operations Officer
Heidi Deininger brings 30 years of experience as a nonprofit leader to the Goodman Community Center. Born and Raised in Hawaii, she began her work with the YMCA in Honolulu. After moving to Wisconsin in 2001, she worked for the Y in a number of locations, including Dane County, where she spearheaded the Y Kidzfit initiative, aimed at enhancing the health and fitness of youth throughout Dane County. Heidi is passionate about innovative partnerships, and she worked with a number of local organizations through Kidzfit, including the Madison Metropolitan School District, UW Pediatric and Fitness, Physicians Plus and more. After leaving the Y, Heidi joined Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast as its Chief Operating Officer. While there, Heidi worked to expand programs to girls in urban and Latina populations in Milwaukee. Under her leadership, GSWISE was the third fastest growing membership in the nation, and experienced success growing membership nationally.
Heidi brings this passion to her work at the Goodman Center, leading our programs and operations teams. The Center’s first ever COO, she was brought on to streamline processes, manage overall operations throughout the organization and grow our programs to serve even more people throughout Madison and Dane County. She applied her expertise immediately and continues to find new ways to improve operational efficiency.
Heidi has a BA in Organizational Communication and a BA in Exercise Physiology from the University of Hawaii. She has more than 1,000 hours of leadership training with Y professionals across the United States, and holds certificates of completion from the Fund Raising School at Indiana University, YMCA-IDEO Collaborative Program Development Innovation and YMCA Multicultural Executive Development Program.
Michelle Green Chief Development Officer
Michelle Green stepped in to lead the Goodman Center Development team in 2018, and prior to that, she served on the GCC board of directors as the Development Committee chair for five years. She’s held progressively responsible nonprofit fund development roles for the last 20 years, including eight years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Foundation where she served in a variety of roles, including Managing Senior Director of Development for the Wisconsin School of Business and Senior Director of Planned Giving.
Michelle has helped build sustainability and resources for causes as diverse as a Level IV NICU unit, adult and pediatric cancer centers, and educational access and excellence for everything from a nonprofit start-up to sizeable and established nonprofit institutions. She loves applying those experiences to similarly ensure GCC’s rock-steady presence for the tens of thousands of people we serve.
Michelle also has a passion for helping others understand fundraising and build nonprofit sustainability, and for the last five years, she has been engaged as a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, as well as worked with several boards of other local nonprofits to help them better understand their role in their organization’s success.
Jaime Benton Senior Director of Human Resources
Jaime Benton has been in the HR field for more than 20 years, beginning her career as an HR intern and then progressing into leadership positions from there. Jaime has extensive experience in talent acquisition and management; diversity equity and inclusion; employment and labor relations; and organizational development. Prior to joining the Goodman Community Center, Jaime was the sole HR Manager/Practitioner for a 100-employee construction company. While working with the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue as their Diversity Officer, Jaime chaired the Affirmative Action Council for the state agencies and was nominated for a Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award. Jaime earned a Professional of Human Resources (PHR) certification in 2003, and has been a qualified Myers Briggs Practitioner since 2007 and a Hay Emotional Intelligence accreditation since 2008.
Dewayne Powell Senior Director of Business Services
Dewayne Powell has been serving the Goodman Community Center for more than 10 years, growing in his role and capacity in financial services to oversee all of the Center’s finance and technology operations. And, he was a Goodman kid himself, participating in Center activities for more than eight years. Dewayne holds a Master of Professional Accountancy and brings with him more than three years of auditing experience as well as a drive to solve problems through research and collaboration with colleagues and community partners.
Megan Dow Director of Strategic Initiatives & Program Impact
Megan Dow has held a variety of positions at the Goodman Center since 2011. She draws on that experience to help guide projects and programs core to GCC’s strategic priorities, which helps ensure smooth program operations and effective mission alignment. Prior to taking a hiatus from Goodman in 2014 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Megan served as a Lead Elementary Afterschool Teacher and then Career Coordinator for the TEENworks program. Upon her return in 2017, she took the helm of the GCC Youth Programs before stepping into her current role. Megan brings a forward-thinking perspective to the Center, guiding strategic initiatives that will help GCC serve the community in new and bigger ways in the years to come.
Jennifer Lord Director of Programs
Jennifer Lord joined the Goodman Center team as Director of Programs in 2015. She holds a Masters in Afro-American Studies and brings more than 20 years of experience in precollege educational programs. Jennifer uses this experience and expertise to guide our program staff in building and developing strong services that move the GCC mission of improving lives and securing futures forward. She’s an expert grant-writer and enjoys helping to bring the ideas of her staff and community members to life.
Sam Holben Director of Hospitality & Facility Services
Sam Holben has been involved with the Goodman Community Center since May of 2019 when he was hired on as Events Coordinator for the Center. In 2020, Sam was promoted to his current role because of his vast professional experience in food service and restaurant management. One of the most important reasons Sam was excited to start with the Goodman Center was the opportunity to work with teens again. Not only does showing young people the how’s and why’s of the catering world provide real-life skills for them, these lessons also act as vehicles for teaching professionalism and pride in work well done – knowledge that is transferrable to so much else in life. Sam is passionate about building an environment of positivity, sharing and growth, and he’s found an outlet for that passion at the Goodman Center.