Congratulations to Nancy Mirhashemi, Disaster Volunteer

Each year, the Chamber commends and highlights People You Should Know in its feature of the same name. This year, they asked for nominations of individuals in our community who Lead the Way in their corner of the world.  We are very proud to have Lead Disaster Volunteer, Nancy Mirhashemi, selected as one of the 20 community members highlighted in the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Bay Business Journal!

Continue reading to get to know a little bit more about Nancy, and the amazing work she does for the American Red Cross! Congratulations!

 In a paragraph or two, why did you think of this individual as one of this year’s People You Should Know? What’s his/her story?

It is Nancy’s dedication, commitment, and passion for her volunteer work as a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Team that made us think of her as someone “People Should Know.”

has been a volunteer for American Red Cross for five years. She started with the organization when she watched the devastation that was going on surrounding Hurricane Katrina, Wilma and Rita. The Red Cross put out a call for help and Nancy was there to answer it. Since her first national deployment to Florida for Hurricane Wilma, Nancy has gone out on two other national disaster assignments. These assignments are usually 2-3 weeks, and you leave at a moment’s notice when called upon. Because of a supportive family and spouse, she is able to answer the call for help both locally and nationally when needed. 

How does your nominee “Lead the Way” / exhibit innovativeness in his/her job?

Nancy “leads the way” through her volunteer work by being a mentor to new disaster team members and is a team leads for the disaster services department. What does this mean? As a lead, Nancy coordinates the relief efforts in disasters that affect Red Cross clients. She is on call two weeks of every month from 6:00am-6:00pm to respond to disasters anywhere in our eight county areas. A few examples of these disasters include: single and multiple family fires; Climatic events such as floods, snow/ice storms, tornados, hurricanes; and power outages. These types of disasters result in horrific situation, regardless of the severity.

One never knows what they may come across when they go to the scene of a disaster situation. This is the atmosphere in which Nancy excels in because of her calm nature, critical thinking skills, and flexible nature. An example of her creative thinking was the night of the Port Plaza fire three years ago. It was hard for the residents to identify who to go to for assistance with so many people at the scene. Nancy grabbed a jesters hat with bells hanging from the tips (that she happened to have in her car) and put it on her head to started gathering the residents of the building – all 140 of them. She has said, “God has blessed me in many ways and I can give back by helping people find peace in the middle of chaos.”

 When she is not “on call” you can find her in our disaster storage room organizing it, inventorying the supplies, restocking the disaster van and helping where ever she is needed.

(l-r) Hossein and Nancy Mirhashemi, with Nancy's parents, Marjorie and Richard Stolz

“Its Nancy spirit for her work and passion that distinguishes her,” said Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross. “She truly wants to help people during a time of need and make a difference in their lives. It doesn’t matter whether its day or night. She’s ready, willing and able to respond and help in a moment’s notice.”

If fact, she’s always prepared to respond. Many times just being in the area, she will not wait for a call but rather will arrive on the scene and provide immediate assistance and feedback regarding a disaster situation. It’s this passion to help others that makes a difference in our community.

 One example of her readiness was on Friday, November 5, 2010.  Nancy was driving over the Mason St. Bridge and saw heavy smoke coming from the downtown area. She drove down to the scene and discovered a large apartment fire and immediately went into action asking the emergency personnel how can the Red Cross help? She was on the scene to help the people affected even before Red Cross was called to help.  “Nancy is the go-to person for the Red Cross disaster team,” said Yvonne Duffek, Red Cross Disaster Volunteer. “She has all the skills to manage any unexpected problem that arises–in a calm professional manner.

How has the nominee benefited the company through his/her role? Or made a significant impact?

We need people, like Nancy, who give of themselves in such an unselfish manner to help others, who are sometimes at their lowest point. Volunteers constitute 96 percent of our total work force to carry on the humanitarian work of the American Red Cross. We could not provide the services we do in our community without volunteers.

“Nancy possesses and displays the positive, empathetic, and knowledgeable spirit necessary to lead others in the achievement of the goals for the Red Cross Disaster Action Teams, said John Fairchild, Lead Disaster Team Volunteer. “She will remain on- scene and off-scene to assure all efforts have been exhausted. She is a great advocate and devotee for the American Red Cross.”

Weyers selected as Part of Current’s Future 15!

Current created the young professional awards in 2007 as a way to honor those contributing to our mission to attract, engage, develop and retain young talent in Greater Green Bay. This year marks the inaugural presentation of the Future 15 to recognize the emerging leaders in our community who will serve as the next generation of leaders and who contribute significantly to Greater Green Bay’s overall quality of life. Read on to see the difference these individuals are making.

Click HERE to see the other 14 members selected.

Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director for American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter: In her role at the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter, Weyers relies on volunteers to help her make a difference in the lives of Brown County. Even after working at the ARC for 10 years, her passion for promoting volunteerism is as strong as ever. Weyers manages the chapter’s 500 volunteers and also works on a contract basis as the volunteer coordinator for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, Door County Triathlon, Fall 50 Distance Run and Festival Foods Turkey Trot. Weyers’ responsibility is to provide the channels and support to those wanting to give back to the community.

Two years ago, Weyers looked at the demographics of the chapter’s volunteer base and realized nearly 80 percent of them were over the age of 50. The stats spurred Weyers to establish two programs. The first was the creation of a Red Cross College Club on the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB) campus designed to introduce young adults to the Red Cross and to promote civic and community engagement. The club, now entering its third year, has 40members.

The second program Weyers developed was the Red Cross Honor Guard, which pays final respects to deceased volunteers and staff members to honor their time, service and dedication. Weyers is always networking—she never knows if the next connection made may lead to her next volunteer. While she originally became involved in local organizations as a recruitment tool, she soon realized the benefits of getting to meet so many people in the community—great friendships have been made.

Attending a variety of events has allowed Weyers to tune into what is happening in Green Bay. She’s become a walking billboard, relaying opportunities to others to get involved. Weyers is an advocate for the volunteer management profession. She is a member of the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (ALIVE), a national organization on volunteer engagement. She is also entering her third term as president for the Bay Area Managers of Volunteer Service, a group of volunteer coordinators in the Brown County area that share best practices in recruitment and management. She has been asked to speak on various panels related to volunteerism and service at UWGB, the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and a handful of schools in the community.

When she isn’t organizing volunteers, Weyers is volunteering herself. She’s helped with the Bellin Run, Prevea 3-on-3 basketball tournament and downtown Green Bay clean-up events. Weyers said she feels blessed to be in a profession where she knows she’s making a positive impact on her community. And after 10 years, she is still learning. “Each volunteer that I come in contact with has a way of touching me or teaching me something new,” said Weyers. “I do what I do because I love working with people, helping them find their passion, and doing what I do best– supporting my community.”


Current,  the young professionals network of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, announces changes to their officers and steering committee members.

Incoming officers and executive committee members include: Ashley Groskreutz, chair, Schreiber Foods, Inc.; Chad Heath, vice-chair, Alliance Insurance Centers, LLC; Kristin Kent, secretary, WFRV Channel 5 and Lisa Christensen, event planning chair, Wipfli LLP. Retained chairs include: Mary Frank, membership relations chair, Wisconsin Public Service, Corp.; and Chad Heath, ambassador program chair.

(l-r) Ashley Groskreutz, Current's Steering Committee chair, poses with Jody Weyers as she receives her recognition gift as the outgoing Event Planning chair.

At-large steering committee members include: Lisa Casey, Tosca Limited; Jody Weyers, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter; Crystal Heckel, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College; Tamara Rozmarynowski, Integrys Energy Group, Inc.; and David Westphal, Federated Insurance.

Outgoing officers and chairs with expiring terms include: Peter Weiss, chair, Notre Dame de la Baie Academy; Ashley Groskreutz, vice-chair, Schreiber Foods, Inc.; Lisa Casey, secretary, Tosca Limited; Jody Weyers, event planning chair, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter; and Kristin Kent, marketing & public relations chair, WFRV Channel 5.

Outgoing steering committee members with expiring terms include: Colleen Cantwell, Humana Inc.; Justin Rebman, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network; Michelle Stokes, American Transmission Co. LLC; Molly Vandervest, Downtown Green Bay, Inc. & Olde Main Street, Inc.; and Peter Weiss, Notre Dame de la Baie Academy.

About Current: Established in 2002, Current, the Chamber’s young professional network, offers career and professional development opportunities to young professionals working in the Green Bay area. From educational seminars to social networking events, Current engages young professionals in our community

Want to learn more about Current? Click HERE to view the video.


Eric Witczak honored as a Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce BBJ magazine’s ‘20+10 People You Should Know in 2010’

Eric Witczak, and his wife, Kelly at the BBJ 20+10 reception

The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 5th annual BBJ magazine’s “People You Should Know” awards tonight, honoring 31 local individuals including Eric Witczak of Nicolet National Bank in the Banking Industry.

These honorees – and the February/March 2010 issue of the BBJ magazine – were unveiled at a reception hosted at the Swan Club at Legends in De Pere.

“If Eric Witczak is on your board, you can guarantee things will get done,” said Jody Weyers, volunteer and communications director, for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter.  “As vice chair for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter he is a great role model and leader and we are very proud to have him recognized for his accomplishments by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s awards, entitled “20 + 10 People You Should Know in 2010,” honored 21 individuals (due to a tie) who have more than 10 years of experience in their respective industries and have made a significant impact in their fields. The awards also honored 10 individuals with 10 or fewer years of experience in their respective industries or fields who have made a significant impact in their fields. All honorees met criteria for which the BBJ “People You Should Know” awards are known, including accomplishments/contributions in their respective industries; spirit, drive, ambition, innovativeness and creativity; employment at Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce members; and living or working in Brown County.

“I’m pleased to celebrate the 5th anniversary of our BBJ magazine’s ‘People You Should Know’ by honoring some of the mainstays in our community,” said Paul Jadin, president, Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. “These individuals – all of whom have made a significant mark in their respective fields – play a significant role in making life ‘Better on the Bay.’ To all of them, I say, ‘Congratulations.’”

Profiles on the all the honored individuals – including their photos – are featured in an online version of the BBJ magazine, available at

Board Spotlight: Ray Kopish, Board Chair

Through community involvement and as board chair for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter, Ray Kopish touches many lives. Since joining the board six years ago, Ray has come to recognize the needs of the community in a variety of ways.

“One of the great things about the Red Cross is its broad reach and the great number of lives touched through its many services,” said Kopish.”I’ve always felt it’s important to stay involved in your community and stay involved in areas you might not typically be.” Ray finds this helps maintain an understanding and sensitivity to the needs of the community. A community he is committed to being a part of.

Ray gets first hand experience knowing what the needs are with his position as Vice President at the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce. He is also involved in a number of local efforts including being founding board member of the Allouez Optimists Miracle League of Green Bay, acting as N.E.W. Curative Board member for 15 years, and serving as an Allouez Village Trustee.

Ray was born in Marinette, WI and, with his wife, Judi raised their three children here in Green Bay, WI. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and during his time there he participated in the Big Brothers program. The program would be the first of many civic duties he would be involved in over the years.

Ray’s first experience with the Red Cross was over 35 years ago when he started giving blood. Since then he has come to respect the number of services the Lakeland Chapter provides to its service area beyond blood services. Other services include Transportation Services, Disaster Services, Services to the Armed Forces and Health and Safety Services.

 “All of these services reach broad segments of the population and by doing so they are assisting not only the community at large but also area employers, workforce, and more.”

Here at the Red Cross we see how Ray touches many lives with his commitment of leadership to the organization. With the help of Ray, the other 19 board members, staff and 450 volunteers the Red Cross has the resources to touch the many households in need. “It’s been an eye-opening experience to see the need across the Lakeland Chapter and the commitment of the volunteers.”