Jill May is a familiar face to many at TraverseCONNECT, having joined the staff of Venture North staff a year ago as a Development Consultant working with Venture North partners in growing the organization’s available lending capital, doing marketing and outreach and leading Venture North’s effort to become federally certified as a Community Development Financial Institution.
In her role as Director of Investor Relations, Jill will work with the high-level investors across the TraverseCONNECT enterprise, including personal account services for Chamber members at the Community Builder level and above. She will also be responsible for sponsor recruitment and retention, assist with grant opportunities, and work with Chamber Government Relations Director Kent Wood to implement the Creative Chambers initiative in conjunction with the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.
Jill previously worked as a program officer for the Frey Foundation where she reviewed and evaluated grant proposals and then monitored their administration and impact. She also served as an adjunct professor in grant writing at Grand Valley State University, and before that worked as the Director of Fund Development at The Right Place Inc. in Grand Rapids, which is among Michigan’s most-impactful economic development organizations. She’s done extensive community volunteer and advocacy work, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Olivet College and a Master’s Degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Grand Valley State University.
Sara Christensen joins the Venture North in a full-time position as Portfolio Administrator, where she will be responsible for managing the flow of information between Venture North clients/loan applicants, underwriting and loan committees, and provide administrative support to Executive Director Laura Galbraith.
Sara joins the Venture North as a highly respected professional in community and economic development in the region. She most recently served for nine years as the Community Development Director for Northern Lakes Economic Alliance based in Charlevoix County, and is a certified CDBG Grant Administrator through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. She also worked as an office administrator for a real estate office in Boyne City, taught as an adjunct professor at North Central Michigan College and as a teacher at Boyne City Public School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s from Spring Arbor University, both in education.
Lisa Myers will serve as a part-time Accounting Assistant for TraverseCONNECT, assisting Finance Director Mandy Sentieri with accounting, billing and other financial functions for TraverseCONNECT, the Traverse City Area Chamber and Venture North. Lisa has worked as a Certified Public Accountant with extensive accounting experience at firms in southeast Michigan, includes seven years with the Plante Moran accounting office in Detroit, with ASG Renaissance in Detroit, and Munder Capital Management Inc. based in Birmingham. She earned an accounting degree from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
Welcome all to the TraverseCONNECT team.