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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. Gray 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 was excited to return to where she grew up and restore the Historic Suttons Bay Stone Schoolhouse. Cheryl spent 20 years in travel technology, and over 10 years in nonprofit fundraising collaborating with communities and leaders.


HOWARD LEARNER is a leading environmental and energy attorney, 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 classes on Clean Energy Law and Environmental Constitutionalism.  Howard lives in Chicago.  


JENNIFER LYON, DO is a family and sports medicine physician who graduated from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her sports fellowship training at Michigan State as the team physician for MSU athletes. She is currently practicing medicine at her office "Pure Health" and is actively involved in community health initiatives.


DEBBIE McKEON is senior vice president for member services at the Council of Michigan Foundations which has offices in Grand Haven, Detroit and Grand Rapids. 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 of Directors of the Michigan Association of United Ways and Michigan Humanities Council and is on their respective public policy committees.

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 Woman 2 Woman TC, the Traverse City Human Rights and Arts Commissions, and Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse, and contributes a regular opinion column in the Northern Express.


ROB MOSSBURG owns The Cottage Company, a Harbor Springs development and interior design firm. The company has attracted national notice for the quality and environmental sensitivity of its properties, particularly its Bay Street Cottages in downtown Harbor Springs, which was named the best cluster community in the country by Builder Magazine.


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.


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.