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Chelsea Budde, Founder

ImageChelsea Budde has lived in Waukesha, Wis., since 2001 with her husband of 17 years, Pete, and their two children, Justus (age 14) and Noelle (age 11).  She graduated from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., in 1995 with a B.A., and worked in public relations for several years before leaving to care for her family.  Justus’ and Noelle’s special needs have kept her engaged in the community as an advocate and a resource for other parents and professionals.

“Parenting children with autism, mood issues, and medical challenges is nothing I would have hoped for, but has turned out to be greatest blessing of my life,” she says.  Her faith in and reliance upon God have sustained her these years, as have the prayers and support of her many friends and family, both in southeast Wisconsin and throughout the country.

Chelsea sits on the Southeast Regional Core Autism Team and is an active member of Grace Bible Church (West Allis), serving on its Missionary Team. She has been attending continuing education seminars in addition to state and national autism and children's mental health conferences since 2004. She has presented at the Autism Society of Wisconsin Conference (2008, 2009, & 2012), the Autism Society of America Convention (2009 & 2011), the OCALI Conference (2009 & 2011), the Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association (2010), and the Minnesota Autism Conference (2011). She has delivered Good Friend's Awareness-Acceptance-Empathy® message to more than 20,000 people since 2007.

As President of Good Friend, Inc., Chelsea is a de facto member of the Board of Directors and serves as its Chairperson.


Denise Schamens, Founder

ImageDenise Schamens has been married for 20 years to husband Mike and has three children.  Her eldest son Jacob is 16 and has ADHD.   Sam, who is 14, has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS, an ASD.  And the Schamens have a 10-year-old daughter, Anna.

Prior to staying home with her children, Denise’s career background has been in the networking and employment placement fields.  Before that, architecture and retail sales.  Her work experiences have developed her people skills as well as her ability to network and communicate with all kinds of people.

She has attended many Wisconsin conferences and trainings, including Circles of Life, IEP Process, Communication, Alternative Assessment, and Statewide Transition as well as continuing education courses on ASDs.  As the WSPEI Family Engagement Liaison for the Waukesha school district since 2005, she has supported families of children with all disabilities and helped coordinate several autism in-service training agendas.

“I am committed to assisting parents and educators in working together to promote effective partnerships through positive communication, collaboration, and training for the purpose of improving education for children with disabilities,” she says.

Denise is Good Friend’s Vice President and Treasurer, and a de facto Board member.


Ken Genin, Director

ImageKen Genin is the Development Director for The Women’s Center, located in Waukesha, Wis. He is married to Linda Rounseville. Linda is a psychotherapist and co-owner of Systemic Perspectives, an outpatient mental health clinic.  They have two adult children, Renee, who is a child therapist, and Rachel, who does interior design, and three grandchildren. Ken has lived in Waukesha since 1985.

Born in Madison, Wis., Ken is the eldest of eight children. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1972 with a B.A. in Business Administration. After graduation, he spent 33 years as an executive, focused primarily on marketing and sales, in the food and feed ingredient business. He worked for 24 years with a large food ingredient company based in Denmark. He has traveled extensively nationally and internationally while involved in this business. He has been employed with The Women’s Center for the past six years.

Ken has twice served on the Board of Directors of the American Feed Ingredient Industry Association. He was a Board member of Pro-Ag Services and Fermented Products. He is also a member of the Waukesha Noon Rotary. 


Claire Topp, Director

ImageBoard Certified Behavior Analyst, Wisconsin Early Autism Project (Brookfield); Nationally certified and state licensed for private practice School Psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s Family Achievement Clinic (Madison). Formerly with the Elmbrook School District. Member of the National School Psychologist Association, Wisconsin School Psychologist Association, Suburban Psy, and the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin


Jeff Schill, Director

ImageJeff Schill, who lives in Milwaukee with wife Candy, brings a wealth of program experience with him to the Good Friend board. He is currently the Director of Professional Instructor Development with the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI, Milwaukee, Wis.) Jeff has traveled the country offering trainings on Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Autism Matters at Work. Prior to his current position, he spent more than a decade with Huntington Learning Centers in Illinois and Wisconsin, earning an award for his program development initiatives.

Jeff received his Masters in Teaching from National Louis University (Milwaukee) and his B.A. from St. Norbert College (DePere, Wis.).


Nicole Bessert, Director

ImageDevelopment Officer, Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital Foundation member







Sarah Zubarik, Director

ImageSocial Media & PR Coordinator, Image Makers Advertising (Waukesha)







Pam Lara, Director

ImageAttorney/Mediator, Lara Family Law, LLC (Brookfield)