Board of Directors

J. Werner.jpg

John Werner, Board President
Grant Thornton, Manager, Tax

John Werner is a manager in Grant Thornton's Wisconsin tax practice, based in Appleton and has over eight years of tax experience, specializing in S-Corporation and individual and trust tax compliance and consulting.  John received a BA in Accounting, a BA in Management and a Certificate of Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Iowa.

John joined Best Friends as a mentor in 2009 and has since served on almost every committee for the organization.  “I have always had a passion for working with youth.  Growing up, I had tremendous support from my parents, teachers and coaches.  I want to give back to the community and use my professional skills as a board member.”

Tiffany Carter, Board Vice-President
Voith Meri Environmental Solutions, inc.
Inside sales engineer


Tiffany Carter is an Inside Sales Engineer at Voith Meri Environmental Soluctions, Inc., in Appleton.  She started her career as an intern for Miller Electric, an ITW welding company in 2011 and has since held several roles within the company. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from UW- Platteville.

Tiffany joined the Best Friends Board of Directors in 2014 and has held several positions within the Executive Board and committees. She is also the founder and chair of Smart Girls Rock! STEM Outreach Program in the Fox Cities, started the ITW YPN Appleton Chapter at Miller and has many other charitable interests. Her work in the community and professional career led her to earn a 2017 Future 15 award from the PULSE Young Professional Network/Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Tiffany Carter Web Sized.jpg

Brian Rhodes, Secretary
oshkosh corporation, Director of Global Human resources services

Brian joined Oshkosh Corporation in 2014 after seven years with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in a variety of Human Resource positions across the southern United States.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management from UW-Oshkosh and a MBA from East Carolina University.  Brian joined the board of Best Friends in 2016 and serves on the Personnel and Bike Tour Committees.

"I was thrilled to take the opportunity with Best Friends as I am a firm believer in our mission to help young people thrive.  I have two young kids at home and through my wife's experience as a teacher I know that there are a lot of kids out there who don't have the same support and opportunities at home that my kids do.”

Phil Jankowski, Treasurer
fond du lac credit union, Director of Lending

Phil Jankowski is the Director of Lending for Fond du Lac Credit Union. He graduated from UW-Oshkosh with a BS in English and has served in the credit union industry for many years.

Phil has been involved with several local non-profits and is dedicated to improving the lives of others.  He was instantly hooked by the “people helping people” approach of Best Friends. He has been a board member since 2012 and a mentor since 2005. He was honored with Best Friends Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016. Phil lives in Neenah with his wife, two children and their cats. He enjoys golfing, running and traveling.

Phil Jankowsi.jpg

Jeffrey Williams, board member
kimberly-clark, Senior Quality consultant

Jeff has been with Kimberly Clark for 25 years and joined the Best Friends Neenah-Menasha Board of Directors in 2009.  Jeff has held several roles, including past-President.  Jeff is involved with many subcommittees and has been a mentor to Stanley for five years.  He enjoys time on his motorcycle.



Mike Schmidt, Board Member
Northrop grumman corp, field service engineer

Ryan Sterkenburg.png

Ryan Sterkenberg, Board Member
Associated bank, vice president personal trust officer

Ryan has extensive experience working with intergenerational trusts and other complex family-related wealth matters.  His background includes assisting institutional, business and personal clients with all aspects of their financial planning, investment, insurance and banking needs. Prior to joining Associated Bank in December 2016, Ryan served as Executive Vice President and Director of Trust and Investment Services for State Savings Bank in Traverse City, MI.  He has been serving his customers in the financial services industry since 1991.

Active in the community, Ryan is a member of the Fox Cities Morning Rotary and he serves on the scholarship committee of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. He joined the Best Friends Board in 2018 and serves on the Board Development, Marketing,  and Fund Development Committees.  Ryan and his wife Kris reside in Neenah and have two grown children, Jake and Samantha.

James kilsdonk, board member
Old national bank, vp commercial relationship manager

James Kilsdonk is the Vice President of Commercial Banking for Old National Bank in Appleton, WI. He is responsible for maintaining and growing relationships and the commercial portfolio throughout Northeast Wisconsin. James has been in the Financial Institutions industry since May 2007 and brings over 11 years of experience to Old National Bank and Best Friends Neenah-Menasha. James works closely with commercial clients of all industries, shapes and sizes to help them operate as strongly and efficiently as possible. This includes, but is not limited to, current state challenges and initiatives and planning for future growth in both capital funds management and cash management.

James is a Fox Valley native and currently resides in Kaukauna with his wife and their 1-year old twin boys. He holds a degree in Marketing with a focus on analytics and business operations and has recently been accepted into the 2018/2019 Leadership Fox Cities program through the Fox Cities Chamber. This year James also joined the CVC Committee for United Way Fox Cities and has enjoyed spreading awareness and the importance of the United Way to many local businesses in our community. In his spare time James loves to play golf, go camping and spend time with his family and friends. James has a passion for cars and tries to get to Road America as often as possible. It is his honor to serve on the Board of Best Friends Neenah-Menasha, and he looks forward to playing a critical role in the growth of the organization.

James Kilsdonk.jpg

Eric Fieck, Board Member
marsh electronics, account and marketing manager

Eric Fieck is an Account Manager and Marketing Manager at Marsh Electronics, out of Milwaukee, WI.  Eric has over 10 years of experience in the electronics industry working with major original equipment manufacturers around the Fox Cities such as Miller Electric, Plexus and Oshkosh Corporation.  Eric received his BA in Marketing and a certificate of Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  Eric and his wife Sami Jo joined best friends in 2017 as a mentor to a 9-year-old boy.  They wanted to give back to the community and found that working with the youth provides a great amount of joy and excitement.


Eric and Sami Jo recently had their first child, a baby boy born at the end of January.  They are having a lot of fun tying him into the Best Friends mentoring program.  We hope that he and their young best friend can grow up together and continue to learn from each other.


For fun Eric and his family enjoy the outdoors.  They spend a lot of time on the Lake Winnebago waterways enjoying their boat during the summer months.  If it isn’t boating, you will find Eric enjoying the outdoors in some way shape of form.He has a strong passion for hunting, fishing skiing and simply spending time with his family.


Become a Board Member

Do you have a little time to help lead Best Friends into the future? We are looking for community members who understand the power of mentoring and may have a background in marketing, legal, operations, fundraising or special events.

Not ready to make the commitment to be a board member? Consider serving on a Best Friends committee. We are looking for marketing, design and advertising specialists for the Marketing Committee. Please download and complete the form below and return it to

Apply Now!


Board Login