Plowshare is a non-profit organization, which means we do not have an owner...
we like to say that we are owned by our community
and run by a Board of Directors which are all community volunteers.
~ Meet Our Board Members ~
I have long shopped at the Plowshare Fair Trade Gift Shop and attended excellent educational presentations sponsored by Plowshare. In 2011-12 I served on the Plowshare Fashion Show Planning Committee, and I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to become a member of the Plowshare Board of Directors. Promoting health, social justice and economic opportunity has always been very important to me; working with the Plowshare Center gives me a chance to engage with other committed individuals in doing that. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, camping, traveling, studying history and spending time with friends.
I first spotted the Plowshare store downtown as a Carroll University student earning my bachelors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). I've always been interested in sustainable market solutions to poverty, like Fair Trade. But it was my interest in peacemaking that drew me to join the Education Committee in 2012.
In 2013, I attended American University's Washington Semester program to study environment and sustainable international development in Washington, DC, and I stayed for a year afterwards interning with the Fair Trade organization Amani ya Juu. When I returned to Wisconsin, I was excited to become involved with Plowshares' shop and technology committees, and in time the Board.
I work as a freelance copyeditor and writer. My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy--the literature of possibility. I also enjoy cooking and trying new foods, long nature walks, and visits to anywhere with a warmer climate.
I love being outdoors hiking, cross country skiing, gardening and traveling. I especially love prairies and canyons. I’ve lived in Waukesha since high school, graduated from Carroll College in art education and taught K-8 art in Hartland for 38 years. I retired in 2010 and have more time to do the things I love, and time to volunteer as a tutor for the Waukesha Literacy Council, as a ranger in Utah’s canyon country, as a member of the Waukesha Library’s Art committee and as a member of the Plowshare Board. I like to relax with my love, Craig, the beekeeper, and my cat, Zuni.
The first time I heard about Plowshare was during my Cultural Diversity course at Carroll University. Two representatives came into our class and brought with them both a unique selection of products and a passion for what they represented. During my time at Carroll, I was active in multiple student organizations and came to love being part of the Waukesha community. Unfortunately, it was almost 8 years later before I was able to find my way to Plowshare again.
Upon graduating in 2012, I worked at Carroll University for 4 years before switching gears a little and began working for Waukesha County in 2016. This is where one of my co-workers approached me about Plowshare. She was currently serving as the board Treasurer and would was looking for someone to replace her. While I was originally nervous at accepting the offer, I decided to accept in early 2018 after hearing of her experience with the board saying, “You will never meet a more welcoming and kind and knowledgeable group of people. They are devoted to their cause and just knowing them is an honor,” and I have found her words to be true. I can see the same qualities throughout the entire organization from their board to volunteers to committee members and marketplace staff.
I am excited to see where my time with Plowshare will take me and I look forward to expanding my awareness in their mission.
The Plowshare shop was a destination for unique fair trade gifts as Bill Oakwood and I raised our daughters, Kathryn and Jessica, in Waukesha. I worked in nursing at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, and completed a BSN from Alverno College in 1989. Now remarried, Phil and I live in Sussex and share our lives with animal companions and grandchildren. We have always enjoyed hiking, biking and gardening.
The Plowshare Center has been my local source for stimulating educational forums, small group seminars, and documentaries about living peacefully in a multicultural, finite world. The programs also offered me a sense of belonging and collaboration with people of similar interests and values. The Plowshare Center remains a relevant and creative nonprofit community agency. I am grateful to participate as board member.
When I moved to Waukesha in the mid 1980’s I became aware of the peace and justice organization called Plowshare. Over the years I have participated in numerous education forums and purchased items from the Plowshare store as it moved from its various locations downtown.
My interest in social justice issues dates back to my college days when I interacted with South Vietnam students that were going to school while their country was at war. When South Vietnam fell I got active with our church as they sponsored Vietnamese families. Since then I have work on supporting refugees as they fled war and persecution from Burma, Bosnia, and Russia.
Being semi retired from a career as library/media and technology specialist, I now have more time to ride my bicycle for transportation and recreation while continuing to support bike clubs and organizations in our area. Since bicycling is the major form of transportation in third world countries where many of the items at Plowshares come from, I feel that we can learn from these communities and bicycle more in our transportation choices.
Ever since I was a young child, I loved learning about different counties and cultures. I remember my father bringing home a delegation of executives from Japan when I was 9 years old. I was enthralled asking them tons of questions about Japan. My interest in diverse cultures and desire to travel began at that moment.
During college, I traveled to Spain, Morocco, and Holland to help quench my thirst for discovery. After college, I ended up as a AAA Travel Supervisor for 28 years, visiting many countries and learning about their cultures. I also was an adjunct Travel instructor for MATC where I shared my joy in learning about the world.
When I married my husband Larry (who surprised me with a $10 Plowshare ring when he proposed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) in 2004, he was a big advocate of Plowshare and got me involved with the Farmers’ Market. So I became a volunteer and regular customer of Plowshare.
Upon retiring in Dec. 2013, I was asked to be on the Plowshare Marketplace Committee and helped to assist with the Fashion Show and Peacebuilder Award Event. I was delighted when asked to be on the board of this wonderful organization and to be part of the new Speakers Bureau. In this day and age, Plowshare’s mission is needed more than ever.
Elena De Costa
At Carroll University I teach Spanish language and the literature, culture, history and politics of Spain and Latin America in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department. I have lived, worked and traveled abroad in a variety of countries.
My passions are teaching, dancing, cooking, gardening, music, theatre and animals. I enjoy learning and engaging in new ventures, new initiatives.
In addition to being on the Plowshare Board of Directors, I serve on Plowshare's Education Committee and am very engaged in a number of other community advisory boards, steering committees, and action teams in service to the local Hispanic community.
I contribute energy, enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity to all that I do— to my teaching, to my projects, and to Plowshare.
Board Member ~ Emerita
My license plate reads "1 4PAZ" (One for Peace), and that really sums up the magnificent obsession of my adult life: peace education and action! Over the years, I have enjoyed working with many different peace groups and committed peacemakers in Waukesha County. As one of the founders of the Plowshare Center, it is a thrill to see our fair trade shop and programs for peace continue to thrive after twenty-three years in Downtown Waukesha. I am pleased to be serving still on Plowshare's board of directors and on the education committee.
This summer, my husband Jim and I celebrated our 51st Anniversary with our four adult children and their families, including eight lively grandchildren. Jim and I cultivate a native prairie and raise organic fruits and vegetables on three beautiful acres of woods and pastureland in the Town of Waukesha, where we have lived for forty years. I am truly blessed!
Haven't moved far from the family dairy farm in western Waukesha County where I grew up. I'm a very recent retired Medical Technologist or Clinical Scientist as they are called today. Working in the laboratory I used my hands for a lot of my work. So it is not surprising that I consider myself a hands on person.
My list of loves are quilting, crafting, gardening, cooking and traveling. I'm an elder in my church and co-founder of a neighborhood garden. I completed by Master Gardener training and volunteer in various area gardens. Last year was my first year working at Old World Wisconsin. I worked in the German area doing spinning and weaving of flax into linen cloth. I also took one day a week to volunteer as a gardener in the heritage gardens located at Old World.
I have two grown sons. One son lives close by so I get to be Grandmother to two granddaughters. They get cookies, dresses and quilts from me. My oldest son lives in New York so I get to travel and visit the big Apple. He keeps me informed about the latest in the computer world.
My involvement with Plowshare all started because I made coffee. Yes, I was making the coffee last year for the fashion show and Sally asked me if I'd consider joining the Plowshare board. So that conversation is why I came to say yes to another hands on adventure.
I love to read, go to plays, movies, and be active in non-profits like The Plowshare Center where every purchase actually helps to make a better world. Besides working for peace and justice on the Plowshare Board, I also serve as co-chair of the Waukesha County Drug Free Communities Coalition, and on the board of the Waukesha Civic Theater, Friends of Waukesha Public Library, Waukesha Reads, SE Wisconsin Festival of Books, and the John Marshall Alumni Association. I previously was an English Teacher at Butler Middle School, a Waukesha Alderman, Waukesha Mayor, and since April of 2012, was elected as a Waukesha County Supervisor. I also serve on the Wisconsin Counties Association’s Health and Human Services Steering Committee.
Sue Saint Aubin
I first experienced Plowshare in the late 1990's when the store was still at the 5 points. I immediately fell in love with the mission and the products. In 2002, my husband and I moved to Waukesha and became unofficial ambassadors of the city, bringing everyone we could to events such as Art Crawls and Plowshare specifically.
I was honored to be the manager of the store from 2010-2011. At that time, the board and I created the first annual fashion show fundraiser, bringing the store to the public in an even more interactive way. I started volunteering at the farmer's market booth in 2016 and became a board member in 2017.
I am delighted to have been able to come full circle with my interaction with Plowshare and I hope to help the board bring our mission to even more people in our community.
After 38 years of teaching Business Education at Waukesha North High School, I retired in 2014 to begin a new chapter in my life of service. In September, I traveled with nine others from my church to Tanzania to build our partnership with eight congregations in Maroroni parish. It was a life-changing experience that has prompted me to find ways to offer a “hand up” to many around the world to support varied entrepreneurial endeavors and to seek ways to develop global partnerships. I gladly accepted the invitation to join the Plowshare Marketplace Committee in November to share insights from my business background with our local fair trade retail store. I started 2015 by accepting the invitation to serve on the Plowshare Fair Trade Marketplace and Education for Peace Board of Directors. I enjoy photography, traveling, volunteering in our public schools, and spending time with my family and friends. As a life-long learner, I have enjoyed the time that retirement has allowed to read books and participate in two book discussion groups, and I look forward to being involved in many of the Plowshare outreach and education events.
~ Meet Our Retail Staff ~
Director of Retail and Marketing
I have been with Plowshare since 2011 and I truly feel blessed to find value in my work. I am an artist my self, so to be able to support the traditional arts in such a unique way is inspiring!! I am a mother of 2 little ones, so now I can also truly appreciate what Fair Trade does for families all across the globe.
In my free time (which is not much at the moment), I love spending time with my family & Friends, I love the outdoors, painting, music and working in my garden. I was born in Colorado, but have spent most of my life here in Waukesha. I graduated from Carroll College in 2004 with a Fine Arts degree and am glad to be a part of the creative community in Historic Downtown Waukesha.
Jacqueline (Valenti) Kuehl
Assistant Manager & Social Media Specialist
I wandered into Plowshare by chance, and found it to be everything I love to support: absolutely beautiful fair trade products that are working towards a better, more peaceful tomorrow. I'm a Mount Mary College graduate with a B.A. in English, and I now work as a Freelance Copywriter for a variety of businesses. I'm excited to be working for Plowshare, enjoying the zen-like atmosphere, Putumayo music, and friendly customers. In my free time you can usually find me reading, writing, cooking or thrifting. In the future I hope to start my own online vintage boutique and write a children's book or two.
I love animals, photography and cultivating my English degree through reading and writing. I am a full-time caregiver and found the perfect fit working for Plowshare on my day off. Working for Plowshare has become my respite, and I feel truly lucky to work with such amazing people to support an important mission. The products are unique, the customers genuine and the atmosphere uplifting. My daughter’s love for Plowshare and her desire to educate others about Fair Trade brings me immense pride. What we teach our future becomes our future. Along with my friends and family, my job has become my passion and I strive daily to continue “reaching out by reaching in.”