2007 Young Alumni Service AwardElizabeth (Liz) Raven Juern '97
The noted anthropologist, Margaret Mead, once remarked, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Since graduating from St. Norbert College in 1997, with majors in International Studies and in German, Elizabeth Juern has been a part of numerous groups that are changing the world, one bit at a time.
Perhaps what initiated Liz’s commitment to helping others was her trip after graduation to Bosnia with Professors Garth Katner and Kevin Quinn. There she taught English as a second language to college-age students as part of an overall effort to reestablish the work-torn country’s university system.
After returning from Bosnia, Liz earned a Master’s (MPA) degree in public administration from NYU, with an emphasis on nonprofit management. What has followed is a lengthy career with various nonprofit organizations. While in New York, she worked with the United Methodist Church’s United Methodist Committee on Relief, and subsequently worked for UMCOR as an independent consultant to analyze a landmine removal project in Mozambique, a project that included field research in Africa.
When she moved back to Milwaukee, Liz worked as a program associate with the Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee, where she was in charge of the corporate volunteer program and annual volunteer recognition, as well as helping community individuals to find the right volunteer opportunities at local nonprofit organizations. This, in turn, led to a position as Development Director for Waukesha Country’s Volunteer Center where she wrote grants and managed special events. This also involved her in the Points of Light National Conference on Volunteerism and in making national presentations on corporate leadership and, in particular, how Volunteer Centers and companies can work together.
Since 2005, Liz has been Associate Manager for the American Diabetes Association in Milwaukee. Once again, her major responsibilities have entailed special events and fundraising. Among the events she develops and manages are School Walk for Diabetes, Family Resource Network (a program she launched in Wisconsin) for families living with Diabetes, and Sheboygan County’s “Brat Trot.” All of these activities, and more, are part of her efforts to develop and sustain on-going relationships with sponsors, schools, donors, volunteers, and community partners. Among her accomplishments, Liz has, in one year, doubled the number of registrants for Brat Trot, generated a 77% increase in the School Walk budget from 2005 to 2006, effected a 25% increase in attendance at a diabetes risk assessment screening event, and raised over $250,000.00 to support education and awareness of diabetes.
Liz’s concern for others in need extends into her family’s life. She and her husband, Chris, are active in their church and as FOCCUS pre-marriage counselors who work with newly engaged couples. They now live in Colgate, Wisconsin, with their children, Ellison and Mary Jane, children whom they are raising to “have empathy and to care about the world around them.”
For all the good work Liz has done and for her successful career, she gives much credit to her SNC mentors: Fr. Jim Baraniak, Nick Humphrey, Garth Katner, Maureen Manion, and Gratzia (Smeall) Villarroel. As she says, “the impact they made on me with last a lifetime.”
So, too, will the impact Elizabeth Juern is making on the lives of others “last a lifetime.”