May 2, 2022
Brookfield, WI— Good Friend, Inc. announces the hiring of Allison Katula (Brookfield) as Executive Director of the organization starting May 9. Earlier this year, the organization announced that the current Executive Director, Chelsea Budde, would be stepping down to fill the position of Program Director, allowing her to focus more on Good Friend, Inc.’s mission of autism awareness, acceptance, and empathy.
Katula brings nearly 20 years of nonprofit experience, predominantly in healthcare, disability advocacy, and the arts. Most recently, Katula has been consulting nonprofit organizations and coaching leaders of all industries as the founder of Trillium Collaborative Consulting, LLC. Katula earned her undergraduate degree from Rollins College and her Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Katula is honored to be working with the founders of Good Friend, Inc., Chelsea Budde and Denise Schamens, as well as the Board of Directors as they scale their programs that create autism awareness, teach acceptance of differences, and foster empathy for people on the autism spectrum in both the educational and professional workplaces, eventually offering programs online to reach a wider audience. She is the mother of two children with autism, and is keenly aware of the need for expanding the reach of Good Friend, Inc.’s message to prevent disability harassment. She believes that education and training in schools and businesses is key to creating inclusion and belonging.
“Allison is perfectly qualified to guide Good Friend, Inc. along its ambitious plan for growth,” says Co-Founder and outgoing Executive Director Chelsea Budde. “I am confident that her ability to connect with both board and staff will embolden Good Friend, Inc. to stride into this next chapter with all the professionalism our donors and clients deserve. I look forward to both supporting her leadership, and stepping back to focus on programs.”
“I am excited to have Allison take the lead of our organization,” says Co-Founder and Creative Director Denise Schamens. “Having someone step in and push us into the next big movement is what we have worked so hard for. New thoughts, new energy, and the same great mission will help put Good Friend, Inc. on the national map! Teamwork really does make the dream work!”
Jessica Gonzalez, Good Friend, Inc.’s Board President, is confident that the Executive Committee's search has surfaced the right candidate for the part-time role. "We recognize that stepping into an executive position previously occupied by a co-founder can be tricky, and yet we see the impressive, relevant skill set that Allison brings to the organization. We believe she is just the right fit for Good Friend, Inc. and are excited to see how we grow with her leadership!"