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Advisory Council

GARY APPEL, an administrator, science educator, and author, was a founding board member. An enthusiastic advocate for social justice, he rejoined and served on the board from 2007-2013 and recently accepted a position on the advisory council. Gary believes that poor planning and unbridled growth often hurt most those who have the least.


JEFF GIETZEN spent more than 30 years with D&W Food Centers in Grand Rapids, where he worked as head of retail operations, sales and marketing before becoming CEO and vice chair. Gietzen now lives in Glen Arbor where he owns and operates Northwoods Hardware while offering mentoring and coaching to regional businesses.


LESLIE HAMP, vice-chair, is owner of Forward Momentum, a consulting business specializing in public relations and marketing communications. She and her husband live on Crystal Lake and enjoy the region’s lakes, trails and local foods. Leslie plays an important role in supporting Groundwork marketing and member building initiatives.


Dr. ORAN HESTERMAN is president and CEO of the Fair Food Network, a national nonprofit that improves access to healthy, local food. His 2011 book, Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All quickly become a national sensation. Oran lives in Ann Arbor and spends time at his home in Omena.


CHERYL HUTCHINSON is a property developer focused on repurposing buildings using "green" practices. After developing LEED Platinum projects in California, she returned to where she grew up and restored the Historic Suttons Bay Stone Schoolhouse. Cheryl spent 20 years in travel technology, and over 10 years in nonprofit fundraising. She recently restored an 1890 lodge near Suttons Bay, to be used as a yoga and executive retreat, named The Lee Point Retreat.

HOWARD LEARNER  is a leading environmental and energy litigation attorney and policy expert who serves as president and executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center—the Midwest’s leading public interest envi­ronmental law advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. Howard is also an (adjunct) professor at the University of Michigan Law School, teaching Clean Energy Law and Environmental Constitutionalism. Howard lives in Chicago.  

JENNIFER LYON, DO is a family and sports medicine physician who is currently achieving certification in functional medicine. She strives to find the root cause of the disease process, which is often triggered by food choices, exposure to environmental toxins, or psychosocial experiences. She practices family medicine at Brookside Family Medicine and functional medicine at Table Health.

DEBBIE McKEON is senior vice president for member services at the Council of Michigan Foundations. Before joining CMF, Deb was executive director of the NorthSky Nonprofit Network, a program of Rotary Charities of Traverse City, where she was active in numerous community initiatives, including the Grand Vision. Debbie also serves on the board and public policy committeed of both the Michigan Association of United Ways and Michigan Humanities Council.

ALISON METIVA is vice president for strategic engagement and programs at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. She's involved in many community efforts, including the ICAN College and Career Access Network, Central Lake Experience and Opportunities, and the Traverse City Young Professionals.


CHRISTIE MINERVINI is a community advocate who is passionate about gender equality, smart growth and issues surrounding homelessness. She currently serves on the boards of Woman2Woman TC, the Traverse City Human Rights, and Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse, and writes a regular opinion column in the Northern Express.


ROB MOSSBURG has 35years’ experience in management consulting, real estate finance and development, the U.S. lodging industry, and residential and commercial construction. He is the owner of The Cottage Company, a custom homebuilding and interior design firm based in Harbor Springs. Rob serves on several nonprofit boards and is active in the Harbor Springs community, including serving as chairman of the Downtown Development Authority.

MARK NEITHERCUT has worked for more than 25 years in the philanthropic sector, having served in leadership roles at family, private and community foundations. He heads Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors, which provides out-sourced solutions for family foundations from offices in Detroit and Traverse City.


MICHELLE SCHULTE has spent a large part of her career developing programs. As a Certified Teacher she has taught pre-K through adult. Her efforts as a Project Director at Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan include work with Tribal Communities in Michigan to increase collective impact in early childhood systems, including access to education, good health and food. Michelle is Ojibwe, from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewas.

JON SEBALY is a senior partner in the law firm Sebaly Shillito + Dyer in Dayton, Ohio. He and his wife, Diana, are longtime supporters of Groundwork with a deep interest in education and the environment. They spend as much time as they can at their second home in Leland.