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Support & Encourage


As of July 2019


Marshall Jones (Henry Co), President

Former Communications Executive

Diana Whitney (Henry Co), Vice President

Former Managed Care Executive

Sheila Rumbold (Stark Co), Secretary/Treasurer

Entrepreneur/Business Owner


Kevin Doyle (Putnam Co)

Sheriff, Putnam County

Nedda Simon, Emeritus

Founder, Freedom House

Shelley Giesen (Bureau Co)

Trust Officer, Heartland Bank & Trust

Jennifer Beaver (Marshall Co)

Business Owner

Laura Kann, PhD (Bureau Co)

Retired Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control

Claudia Plumer, APN, CPNP (Stark Co)

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Resource Center

staff leadership

Michael Zerneck

Michael Zerneck

Executive Director

Michael is fortunate to lead an amazing team of talented and dedicated professionals at Freedom House. Before joining the agency, Michael was most recently the Associate Director of CASA of Peoria County, with responsibility for grants, major gifts, marketing, training, and staff and volunteer supervision.

Working for non-profits is Michael’s second career, having spent his professional life in medical education and pharmaceutical advertising in New York City. As the CEO of NCM Nexus Inc. and Park Row Publishers Inc., he created and oversaw a portfolio of promotional campaigns for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. This 40-year body of work includes award-winning programming in HIV and AIDS, oncology, infectious diseases, heart disease, and psychiatry, produced for physicians, allied healthcare professionals, consumers, and patients.

He has served on the boards of the non-profit Brooklyn Public Library Foundation (New York) and the biotechnology company Artecel Sciences Inc. (North Carolina).

Jen Johnson, LSW

Jen Johnson, LSW

Domestic Violence Program Manager, Advocacy and Counseling

Jen oversees advocacy and counseling services for our Domestic Violence Program.  She is a licensed social worker. Previously, she was the Victim/Witness Coordinator for the YWCA of Sauk Valley and, before that, she served as a Legal Advocate, where she provided crisis intervention, legal advocacy, and counseling to domestic violence survivors. Jen is a  Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional and a graduate of the Illinois Victim Assistance Academy. She holds an MSW from  Aurora University.

Stacey Hoffman-Rosalez

Stacey Hoffman-Rosalez

Program Manager, Sexual Violence

Stacey manages all aspects of the Freedom House Sexual Violence Program, which has doubled in size and scope under her leadership, with responsibility for staff supervision, grant reporting, and administration. Before coming to Freedom House, Stacey was a Lee County Sexual Assault Caseworker at the YWCA of the Sauk Valley, where she provided legal advocacy and counseling to sexual violence victims. Stacey was awarded a BS from Southern Illinois University in 1995.

Amber Killian, ICDVP

Amber Killian, ICDVP

Domestic Violence Program Manager, Operations

Amber supervises the emergency and transitional shelter program, truly the heart of Freedom House. In this role, she is responsible for supervision of shelter advocates, office staff, and grant administration. Previously, Amber was shelter manager, responsible for developing the shelter program and providing case management to residential clients and their families. Her work included assisting survivors with seeking safety, counseling, legal advocacy, employment and housing. Amber also facilitated domestic violence education classes and weekly support groups. She organized yearly domestic violence awareness events and provided public education about the needs of the clients we serve. She received  a BA from Aurora University in 2006 and obtained her Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional license in 2012.

Trisha Schafer

Trisha Schafer

Manager, Outreach & Facilities/Community Relations

Trisha leads the agency’s fundraising and community outreach efforts. Trisha started her “volunteer career” in Nebraska, moving to Princeton, Illinois in 1991. She has been active in the community since then and has been part of several volunteer service organizations while working her “first career.” She is very proud to serve Freedom House in these capacities and enjoys nothing more than presenting our story and vital mission to the public at large.

Trisha’s efforts in community relations and fundraising has been ongoing for more than 25 years. She has vast experience working with people, along with community organizations, not-for-profits, boards of directors, and helping businesses with marketing and communications. She gravitates to organizing people for projects and helping them celebrate their accomplishments. She is passionate about encouraging the potential of the people around her.

Trisha has been involved in philanthropic causes throughout her professional life. She has recruited, led, and trained hundreds of volunteers and organized dozens of events. 

Michael Sigwalt, MBA

Michael Sigwalt, MBA

Fiscal Manager

Michael manages the agency’s financial operations. He worked for more than 20 years at a Fortune 500 company in a variety of positions with increasing responsibility, including external reporting accountant; internal auditor; insurance analyst (risk management); forecast accountant;  accounting supervisor; and financial analyst. Michael also worked on mergers and acquisitions as a business development analyst and managed the company’s forecast analytics team. Immediately before joining Freedom House, he served  as a part-time risk management specialist for an area community college. Michael holds an MBA in Finance from Indiana University. He obtained BAs from Central College, Pella, Iowa (Political Science) and Western Illinois University (Accountancy). While at Western, Michael received the WIU Accounting Department Scholarship Award, the WIU Most Outstanding Senior Award, and was a member of the Business National Honor Society, and the National Honor Society.

Michael volunteers for an area food bank, where he is part of the project team that organizes and runs mobile food pantry events in 22 counties. Michael is very active in his church.

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
John Maxwell


Freedom House is a
Gender-Neutral / All-Inclusive