A look back over the twenty-eight years of Plowshare's history reveals: hundreds of dedicated volunteers who have sustained its peace building work, serving on the board of directors, committees, and working in the shop; twenty-eight dedicated hired staff members over the years; and thousands of community people of all ages who have supported and participated in Plowshare's programs and events! (click here to read our full history)
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.
I am a life long resident of Waukesha and am fortunate and grateful to have had many people positively influence my life. Because of them, I have wanted to give back to others. My motto is “always give back more than you receive.” I believe that people are our strongest assets and our community, our world, is only as strong as the people in it. My philosophy has been to do the best I can to make my community the best it can be. I ask myself, “do I act with kindness rather than anger?”; “do I show compassion before judgement?”; and when challenged, “am I choosing to do the loving thing?” I believe that if I make these intentional choices everyday, the world will be just a little bit better for all. The vision of Plowshare, “Make Peace Relevant to the World Around Us” fits my philosophy of life and I am proud and excited to join the Plowshare Board.
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!
Ellen D. Langill - B.A. Degree - Grinnell College in Latin and the Classics, Ph.D. in American History - University of
Wisconsin. Native of Webster Groves, Missouri.
Served as President of the Waukesha Women's Center Board, and of the ACAP Board. Past president of the Waukesha
County United Way Board, past member of the Waukesha School Board, and past president of the Board of Curators of the
State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Has taught for 9 years at Carroll College, 6 years at Univ. of Wisconsin, Waukesha, and 25 years at the University of
Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Author of 20-plus history books.
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.
Director of Retail and Marketing
I love animals, the outdoors, painting, music and spending time with my family & Friends. 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. I have worked with Plowshare since October of 2011, and I feel truly blessed to find value in my work… and to be able support the arts in such a unique way is inspiring!
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.
Hannah Jonas Sales Associate
I love to laugh, and I enjoy singing in the shower, and out of the shower…at least 80% of what’s in my head are song lyrics. When I walked into Plowshare I knew I’d be working for a cause much larger than myself, and it stood for something I deeply believe in: love, and acknowledgment of what it is to be human. It is a blast working with the two beautiful women I am fortunate enough to call both my bosses, and coworkers. I have at moments found rare beauty in my life and fair trade is no exception to that. I am in love with animal conservation, would have married Abe Lincoln if four score and seven years ago he hadn’t died, have a Boston terrier named George (very mischievous and gassy), am an avid knitter, love gardening, and put cheese on basically everything. I am currently going to UW Waukesha and will be receiving my associates degree this Spring 2017. I’m then planning on transferring to UW Milwaukee in the fall for my bachelors degree in fine arts. My hope is to be in love with all that I do in my life, and to never stop treating the world with kindness and gentility.