Who We Are

The caring and dedicated staff that make it all happen at Our Neighbors' Place supported by an active Board of Directors

Shelly Smith, Executive Director

Shelly began at Our Neighbors' Place in April 2016 serving in the role of Program Coordinator. In this role, Shelly successfully managed all programs including highly successful fundraising and community awareness building events. When there was a vacancy in the Executive Director role, the ONP Board of Directors voted unanimously to name Shelly Smith the Executive Director. Since assuming this role in May of 2018, Shelly has provided leadership in all aspects of Our Neighbors' Place including highly successful grant writing work and beginning ONP's first ever corporate giving campaign. Shelly is passionate about both educating the community and providing assistance to anyone who is struggling.

Shelly can be contacted by emailing shelly.smith@ourneighborsplace.org

Sara Fathauer, Case Manager

Sara has been with Our Neighbors' Place since February 2016. She works directly with guests needing help finding affordable, sustainable housing. Her expertise and creative problem-solving are a valuable resource at Our Neighbors' Place.

Sara can be contacted by emailing casemanager@ourneighborsplace.org

Our Neighbors' Place Board of Directors

Our Neighbors' Place is supported by a 15 person volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for overseeing the organization’s governance, long-term direction, and develops policy, sets priorities, oversees finances, and raises funds in collaboration with our professional staff.

Interested in Becoming a Board Member?


Brian Manion

Brian Manion has been a part of Our Neighbors’ Place Board since 2017 and currently serves as Treasurer. Brian lives and works in River Falls where he has been with WESTconsin Credit Union for over 10 years and currently oversees the River Falls Office as a Vice President of WESTconsin. Brian chooses to assist Our Neighbors’ Place because helping those who may need some extra assistance is what everyone should strive to do and that’s exactly what Our Neighbors’ Place does. In down time, enjoying any adventure with his family is what he appreciates the most.

Brian can be contacted by emailing brian.manion@ourneighborsplace.org

Jackie Cobian

Jackie Cobian has been a longtime Our Neighbors’ Place Board member. Jackie is passionate about the development and implementation of events that raise funding to support Our Neighbors' Place and builds awareness of Our Neighbors' Place in the community. Jackie is also passionate about promoting the work of Our Neighbors’ Place through relationship building in the community and collaborating with other organizations.

Jackie can be contacted by emailing jackie.cobian@ourneighborsplace.org

Jane Kelley

Jane Kelley began volunteering at Our Neighbor's Place in 2015, and she became a board member in 2019. Jane is a retired U.S. Postal Service manager. Her postal career began in 1983, as a city carrier in Dallas TX. Jane's husband is a military veteran, and their two daughters are raising their families in River Falls. Jane's seven grandchildren [ages 2 - 8], keep her heart full and her hands very busy!

Jane can be contacted by emailing jane.kelley@ourneighborsplace.org

Janet Wilson

Janet Wilson has served on the Our Neighbors’ Place Board since 2015 and served as the Board president from January 2016 until January 2019. She currently serves on the Housing committee. Janet is a retired Family Nurse Practitioner and worked for 25 years in a health clinic for persons experiencing homelessness that was housed within a multi-agency facility providing a wide range of services. Janet lives in River Falls with her husband Rick and enjoys spending time with her family, especially watching her grandkids play soccer. She is passionate about helping those in need and is pleased to assist ONP with its mission in whatever way she can.

Janet can be contacted by emailing janet.wilson@ourneighborsplace.org

Julie Larson

Julie Larson has a passion for volunteering and has found a home volunteering for Our Neighbors' Place. Julie believes in service to make our community a better place for all and that service is a life long journey. Julie has lived in River Falls since 1982 and is married with two adult children. Julie's husband Keith is a former Our Neighbors' Place Board member and continues his support by serving as a member of the maintenance committee. Julie is grateful for the opportunity to serve Our Neighbors' Place and our community.

Julie can be contacted by emailing julie.larson@ourneighborsplace.org

Kurt Helmrick

Kurt Helmrick has served on the Our Neighbors’ Place Board since 2018 and is the current Vice President and maintenance committee chair. Kurt has spent the past 34 years in the healthcare field, the last 26 in River Falls. He practices as a physician assistant for the Vibrant Health Family Clinics in River Falls, Ellsworth, and Spring Valley. Kurt volunteers at the Pierce and St. Croix County Free Clinic. In his spare time, Kurt enjoys spending time with family, reading, and keeping up with Wisconsin sports teams.

Kurt can be contacted by emailing kurt.helmrick@ourneighborsplace.org

Paul Shepherd

Paul Shepherd has served on the Our Neighbors' Place Board since 2017 and is the current chair of the Personnel Committee. Paul has worked for nearly 20 years in the field of higher education as an administrator at several institutions in the University of Wisconsin system and currently serves as the system director for student development and success for the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities. Paul also teaches part time in graduate programs at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Paul lives in River Falls with his family and enjoys spending time at his kid's events and being a small part of helping Our Neighbors' Place live its mission.

Paul can be contacted by emailing paul.shepherd@ourneighborsplace.org

Shari Frisbie

Shari Frisbie is is excited to help make a difference in our community and is also our current secretary. With a passion for connecting people and projects, Shari is an experienced small business owner with a history of starting, growing, leading, managing and selling successful businesses. Shari and her husband Matt established Frisbie Architects in 1997 shortly after moving to River Falls and in 2020 Shari and her husband Matt established Frisbie Companies to focus on developing senior living, multi-family and other commercial properties.

Shari can be contacted by emailing shari.frisbie@ourneighborsplace.org

Stacia Johnson

Stacia Johnson is new to the Our Neighbors' Place Board as of 2021, and is proud to be part of an organization that is essential to our community. As an elementary educator in River Falls, some of her greatest passions are co-advising her school's Character Council and learning with and from both inspiring colleagues and young people who challenge her to THINK BIG every day! Stacia lives in River Falls with her awesome family of boys (even the dog!) and enjoys being part of all the fun community events and cheering on various Wildcat groups, now as an alum! She sees first-hand how essential Our Neighbors' Place is to our schools through the Backpack Program on a weekly basis, and hopes to continue to help ONP live out its ever-important mission of support in all the ways possible.

Stacia can be contacted by emailing stacia.johnson@ourneighborsplace.org

Tanya Franta

Tanya Franta is a River Falls native, where she lives with her young family. She has been volunteering with ONP since 2014 and is our current board President. She has worked professionally as a nurse at the River Falls area hospital since 2013 and enjoys volunteering with various community engagement groups, church, and youth programs. Outside of these, she invests her time in friends, gardening, house remodeling projects, and running her family farm and store.

Tanya can be contacted by emailing tanya.franta@ourneighborsplace.org

Thomas Pedersen

Thomas Pedersen has served on the Our Neighbors’ Place Board since 2017, serving as president from 2019-22. Thomas is the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards at UW-River Falls where he is responsible for the day to day implementation of the University Judicial system, providing education to various constituencies within the campus community on critical student behavioral issues and working to promote self-responsibility and high ethical standards among students. Thomas lives in River Falls, WI and enjoys a wide variety of hobbies including many involvement opportunities in the River Falls community.

Thomas can be contacted by emailing thomas.pedersen@ourneighborsplace.org

Veronica Pettigrew

Veronica Pettigrew is new to the Our Neighbors' Place Board starting in 2021. Veronica has held several roles in higher education and is excited to support the mission of Our Neighbors' Place.

Veronica can be contacted by emailing veronica.pettigrew@ourneighborsplace.org

Zane Heinselman

Zane Heinselman, a River Falls native, joined the Our Neighbors' Place Board in 2021 and is excited about helping ONP continue its mission in the community. Zane works in the Twin Cities for the Saint Paul Saints within their sales and corporate partnerships team. Zane lives in River Falls with his wife. Outside of work, Zane enjoys spending time with his family and being active outdoors.

Zane can be contacted by emailing zane.heinselman@ourneighborsplace.org

Mike Pepin

Mike Pepin lives in River Falls with his two children, who are very active in school activities, sports, and performing arts. He is an avid runner and explorer of the outdoors. Mike is a former police captain and for the past 15 plus years has been a financial planner and owns TruNorth Financial in River Falls. He is dedicated to lending a helping hand where he can.

Mike can be contacted by emailing mike.pepin@ourneighborsplace.org