Our Board Members
Julie Byrnes - President
Julie joined the Board of Directors in May of 2018 and has held a variety of positions including Vice President, Program Committee Chair, and Interim Executive Director. Julie is active with fundraising and was the chairperson of the 2019 “i have a Voice” Gala and the 2020 Virtual Generation G Gala.
Julie is a speech language pathologist with her own private practice and consulting business. Her specialized training includes a background in early childhood speech and language development and bilingual/dual language development. She has lived in Spain and traveled for extended periods in Belize, Mexico, and Latin America. Julie is a Madison native and grew up just up the street from GiGi’s Playhouse. She is married and has two young children.
As President, Julie looks forward to serving families and collaborating with our community to advance the mission of GiGi’s Playhouse.
Kimberly Arndt - Vice President
Kimberly Arndt is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who works for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at Central Wisconsin Center. Kimberly received her undergraduate degrees from UW-Madison, attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and completed her residency at UW Hospital and Clinics.
Kimberly worked as a clinical assistant professor in the UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation for 10 years. She then transitioned to Central Wisconsin Center to pursue her personal and professional goals of caring for individuals with significant developmental disabilities.
Kimberly and her husband, Brian, have 3 beautiful daughters. One of their daughters, Alexa, has Down syndrome. Kimberly joined the GiGi’s Playhouse Board of Directors to provide perspective as a parent of a child with Down syndrome and to help advocate for inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities. Their family is so thankful that GiGi’s Playhouse has a presence in Madison to support the Down syndrome community!
Brett Bauch - Treasurer
Brett grew up watching his sister deal with many of the transition issues faced by those now benefitting from GiGi’s programming, but at a time when organizations such as GiGi’s were few and far between. The organization is a gift and he is happy to be a small part of it. Brett has over 20 years of experience in the investment and insurance industries and runs a fee based financial planning practice with a focus on special needs planning.
Brett has volunteered with various non-profits in the past, most recently finishing a six year term on the board of Wispact (formerly Wisconsin Pooled and Community Trusts) with two years served as chair. He lives in the Madison area with his wife Katie, sons Sam and Jake, Annie the cat, and Lucy the guinea pig.
Amy Ulrich – Secretary, Grant Writer
Amy lived in Denver, Colorado for 20 years where she raised a family and developed a fulfilling career in nonprofit management. Upon the passing of her parents, Amy moved back to her hometown of Madison in order to assume guardianship for her adult brother, Christopher, who has Down syndrome. As a sibling of an older adult with Down Syndrome, Amy brings a unique perspective to the GiGi's Playhouse board of directors.
Amy received her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a masters degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Denver. For twenty years, she served as development director for a nonprofit in Denver, Colorado. She currently works full-time for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Office of Crime Victim Services.
Amy and her husband Steve relish the time they spend with Chris, and do everything they can to make his life in Madison fulfilling and inclusive. The addition of GiGi's Playhouse-Madison has provided a new venue for Chris and family to meet new friends and participate in a variety of fun and educational activities. Amy and Steve have a daughter, Alexis, who is married and lives in Los Angeles, California.
Zane Torgrude - Founding Board President Emeritus
Zane is married to Susan, and is the proud parent of two daughters, and has five grandchildren. One of his grandsons, Noah, was born with Down syndrome. It is because of Noah that Zane, serving as Board President, led a group that was instrumental in bringing GiGi’s Playhouse to Madison (opening in May of 2016). Zane is an inspired and fierce advocate of individuals with Down syndrome, actively promoting awareness and acceptance for all, and fundraising in order to provide services, free of charge, to families and individuals with Down syndrome.
Prior to his many years of service with GiGi’s Playhouse, Zane was in the Financial Services industry for over 30 years as a trainer, Regional Vice President, and a Financial Advisor. He retired from BMO Harris in 2016. Zane also served for 11 years as a Lutheran pastor and in the human services industry as a speaker, counselor, manager, and fundraiser.
Keith Lehnherr - Board Member
Keith Lehnherr has been in the Madison Area since 2001. He lives in Oregon WI with his wife Amber and their two sons Oliver and Simon. He is the Director of Investor Relations for SARA Investment Real Estate. He spent the first ten years of his professional career in Wealth Management Industry creating and implementing financial plans for clients. Keith holds a Bachelors’ degree in consumer science and emphasis in personal finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When he is not working, he enjoys a round of golf and being outside whenever he can.
Chris England - Board Member
Chris England is a Madison native and has lived in Dane County for most of his life. He attended Madison College before starting a career in Information Technology, specializing in desktop and application support. He believes in the mission that GiGis’s Playhouse represents and hopes to continue using his skillset to advocate and support the Down syndrome community.
Chris currently lives in DeForest, WI with his wife Kris and his son Ollie, who has Down syndrome. Ollie has participated in programs at GiGi’s since it opened and considers it one of his favorite places to visit.
Chris enjoys hiking in many of Wisconsin’s great parks and wilderness areas with his family, and loves sitting around a campfire whenever he can.
Jessica Abegglen - Board Member
Jessica Abegglen is the owner of Abegglen Counseling in Fitchburg, WI and holds numerous licenses including Professional Counseling, School Counseling, and as a Special Education Teacher. She has worked with individuals with unique needs, and their caregivers, for over 20 years across numerous environments including in home services, school based services, and now through Abegglen Counseling. She started Abegglen Counseling with the goal of addressing the mental health needs of those with disabilities and their families, and has been working with that population ever since. It is through this work that she was first connected with GiGi's Playhouse and fell in love with their commitment to, and advocacy for, those with Down Syndrome and their caregivers.
Jessica, a UW alumni, lives in Fitchburg with her husband, her three kids and numerous pets! She enjoys biking, running, and traveling with her family. She looks forward to supporting GiGi's mission and to continue the work of advocacy and support for those with Downs Syndrome and their caregivers.
Brian Haroldson- Board Member
Brian works at Transamerica as a Senior Director of Procurement and lives in Mt. Horeb with his wife, LeAnn, who is the Director of Activities at Beehive Homes. Brian and LeAnn have 3 kids, Grace, Will and Grant, who are going to be an RN, sports producer/announcer and high school senior, respectively.
Brian chose GiGi’s Playhouse Madison because he saw that it was amazing on its own merits but had an additional motivation because of his cousin Jim Sandeman. One of his favorite memories of Jimmie was teaching him how to golf and the amount of fun both had those days many years ago. Brian hopes to support the organization and most importantly find kids and adults like Jimmie to spend time with on a regular basis.
Camilla McKay - Board Member
Camilla is a midwest transplant who moved to Madison in 2016. She is the Executive Operations and Community Relations Manager at Findorff, a Wisconsin-based Commercial General Contractor. Serving in a cross-functional role, Camilla works with the company's leadership on strategic resources, operations, and communication. In addition, she manages the company's philanthropic portfolio where she is passionate about connecting Findorff's resources, both financial and employees, to organizations in the community. Camilla holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and History from Beloit College, and is an MBA Candidate at University of Wisconsin Madison. Originally from the greater Boston area, Camilla lives in South Madison with her husband, Matthew and rescue dog, Flora and can often be found running, cycling, or enjoying Wisconsin's trail systems.
Fred Swanson - Board Member
Fred has recently retired from public education in Wisconsin. He spent 29 years at West HS in Madison, WI where he developed and led a team of dedicated educators in the delivery of transition services to students with significant disabilities ages 17-21. He has been intimately involved in the pursuit of positive outcomes for hundreds of young men and women as they move into adult long-term support services. This exemplary model continues to this day.
Fred was also involved early in his career at HS Transition programs in Janesville, WI, Las Vegas, NV and Eau Claire, WI. He currently is the Director of Education for the Dancing Goat Distillery in Cambridge, WI. He continues to stay involved In the field through board membership in: Teamwork Case Management Associates, Dreamweavers Residential Support Services and GiGi’s Playhouse.
Fred is married to Beth Swanson a public school Speech Pathologist for 40 years and they have 2 adult children.
Tim McDonald - Board Member
Tim has spent 36 years with the steamfitters union as a superintendent and project manager and is now retired.
His wife Jen and two adult boys (Max and Zach) live in Cottage Grove.
Tim is a known as a tireless advocate for people with Down syndrome since the day Zach was born. He was the founding president of the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society in 2001 and has spread awareness and acceptance non-stop.
Being a member of the DADS (Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome) group, he’s in constant contact with DADS in the area to share the trials and tribulations with our kids with Down syndrome.
He is a sports fan and committed to Special Olympics for the physical and mental development of the athletes. He also coaches baseball, basketball, and golf with Special Olympics and Wisconsin Timberwolves Hockey. He has seen the benefits of physical activities help develop mind and body.
When he is not playing or coaching sports, he’ll be found hunting or fishing with both sons in the US and Canada or relaxing at their family cottage in northern Wisconsin.
After seeing the impact GiGi’s has made on Zach with every program, their family has seen Zach's potential is endless. Tim wanted to get on the board of directors and help support the momentum and build more acceptance and opportunities for people with Down syndrome.