Leading the Way

Shining the spotlight on CAC leadership

Behind many successful nonprofits is a volunteer board – a team of individuals who bring a diversity of skills and a passion for the mission. This month, the CAC is shining the spotlight on four individuals who serve as officers of its 14 member board: Jayne Mohr, Pat Warner, Vernon LaLone and Regina Jaeger.

They all share a critical goal of sustaining the financial health of the organization, as well as strengthening it in order to expand services and meet increasing demand. But read on to learn how and why they got involved with the CAC and what they wish everyone knew about its work covering the six-county area and the Sovereign Nation of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

JAYNE MOHR, CHAIR

As a retired educator, Jayne Mohr understands the long-lasting trauma a child suffers from an abuse situation.

“It deeply impairs their ability to learn, thrive and grow,” says Mohr, who retired from the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) in 2012 after 20 years as associate superintendent and capping a 38-year career in education. “Our CAC offers hope and healing!”

She first became involved with the CAC during its development more than a decade ago through her role with TCAPS. Now on the board for almost seven years, she is beginning the second year of her second term as chair.

“One in ten children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday, and in our region, 99.6% of the perpetrators are someone the child knows and trusts,” says Mohr.

One thing she wishes everyone knew? “That our CAC is child-focused and family-friendly, offering free intervention programs and services that give hope and healing to those in need.”

Mohr and her husband, Cal Karr, have lived in Traverse City for 25 years and have a son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren in Traverse City and another son who lives in Marquette.

PAT WARNER, VICE CHAIR

With a career committed to public health, Pat Warner sees her involvement on the CAC’s board as helping a population that can’t speak for themselves.

“It’s a silent public health issue that we need to make public,” says Warner, who joined the board three years ago and serves as its vice chair.

For Warner, the one in ten statistic about abuse says it all. “To me, that constitutes a public health crisis,” she says.

After growing up in Traverse City, Warner went on to spend her career in public health in Ann Arbor. She was with the University of Michigan health system for 35 years, the last 20 as executive director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

She first connected with the CAC after moving back north and had a friend who was on the board. She also chairs the CAC’s prevention council.

“I’m passionate about helping communities to own the issue of childhood sexual abuse,” she says. “We are talking about social change here.”

Warner touts the CAC’s forensic interviewers as a critical piece of its care model. With that expertise, it means that a child is interviewed once about an alleged incident instead of multiple times by multiple agencies.

“The level of expertise of the CAC staff and leadership is amazing,” she says. “Our care model is a model for the state.”

VERNON LALONE, TREASURER

As a retired CPA, Vernon LaLone is well suited for his role as treasurer on the board. He joined the organization after learning the CAC was looking for someone with his background to serve.

He immediately set up a financial reporting system for the organization that was simple and accountable. “That’s what I love to do,” says LaLone who with his wife raised a family in Elk Rapids and was an accountant for 35 years. “It was a nice, natural fit for me.”

While he wasn’t familiar with the organization previously, LaLone says he’s learned the incredible importance it has for families dealing with abuse.

“This organization specifically coordinates everything so well,” he said, of the services and support offered, “with the least amount of impact on the families as possible.”

Though he describes the pervasiveness of the issue as “mind-boggling,” he is hopeful the increasing publicity about the organization’s work and presence in the region may be a deterrent for would-be offenders.

When LaLone isn’t working with numbers, he and his wife are preparing for their new project in retirement: a bed & breakfast operation north of Elk Rapids.

REGINA JAEGER, SECRETARY

“The CAC has done a great job of raising awareness of child abuse in our region so since their beginning, I have followed the organization,” says Regina Jaeger, who joined the board two years ago and has served as secretary this past year.

Jaeger is vice president / senior trust relationship officer for Greenleaf Trust in Traverse City.  She became directly involved with the CAC after attending its annual fundraiser, Circle of Friends.

“I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for any issue that impacts children,” she says. “The CAC provides help, hope, and healing with an avenue to overcome hardship, pain, and stress from toxic experiences of sexual abuse, physical abuse and violence.”

Jaeger also served on the board for Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan for nine years so becoming involved with the CAC was a natural transition, she says.

She would like to continue to educate the community on issues of child abuse “so that the root of the problem is addressed and we’re not just focusing on symptoms of the root cause.”

She adds, “Of course, our ultimate goal is a community (and world) without abuse. If we achieved that goal, the CAC wouldn’t be needed and that would be an amazing thing.”

Jaeger lives with her husband Kevin in Traverse City and has a son who lives in Detroit.

BOARD WORK IS TEAMWORK

The CAC executive committee is charged with tending to tasks in between board meetings, but it takes a team of dedicated individuals to build the kind of momentum that the CAC has experienced during the last decade.

The full board includes Karen Browne, James Bussell, Betsy Evans, Matthew Feil, Holly Hack, Ginger Kadlec, Annelle Kaspor, Michael Long, Noelle Moeggenberg, and executive director Sue Bolde. All members serve on committees and contribute financially to the CAC on an annual basis.