Board Members & History
B.S.Chem/B.S. Ch.E. 1988 College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
M.B.A. 1999 Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Certificate of Fundraising Management, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University
Advanced Master Gardener Volunteer MSUE, Gold Badge
Michele has been an Extension Master Gardener since 2003. She served on the MGANM board from 2006-2008 as Vice President and president starting in 2016. She has enjoyed serving on the Committee for Master Gardener College twice. She also currently also serves on the Operating Committee of the Northwest Food Coalition. Since moving to Northern Michigan, Michele spent 6 years, collectively, as school garden and ‘Food of the Month’ program instructor, followed by serving as a Farm to School Educator in 5 northern Michigan elementary schools. She is a founding board member of The Greenspire School, Traverse City. In her professional life, Michele worked as a consultant in product development in technology-based companies and also managed capital projects as an engineer in the petroleum and chemical industries, both overseas and domestically.
She lives in the woods in Traverse City with her husband and two teenage children. She enjoys hiking the trails and working in her garden.
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Masters of Science in Environmental Management
Advanced Master Gardener MSU Extension
Nancy is a recent retiree of Consumers Energy where she had a long and successful career in nuclear energy, air quality, corporate strategy and renewable energy. Before retiring Nancy was responsible for the development of the two largest solar facilities in Michigan. Nancy has been involved with non-profits as a board member for the past 10 years including the Greater Lansing Food Bank, Leelanau Christian Neighbors and By-the-Bay Garden Club. Recently she was President of Leelanau Christian Neighbors that provides food and financial assistance to those in need. While in that role, Nancy developed a food pantry garden that produced 750 lbs of food for the pantry every year. Nancy joined the Board of the MGANM in January of 2020 as Vice-President. Currently Nancy is on the Stewardship Committee of the Leelanau Conservancy. Nancy lives in Leelanau County with her husband. She loves to garden, hike, bike, ski, cook and sew.
B.B.A. Accounting and Finance Loyola University. 1980 Darden School of Management, University of Virginia
Master Gardener Volunteer MSUE
Jim retired in late 2018 after serving for over 10 years as the Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Charles Schwab, a diversified wealth management firm with $3.7 trillion in client assets. In addition to his work in the wealth management and mortgage guaranty businesses, Jim has extensive experience in the credit card and consumer bank segments of financial services. He began his career at Price Waterhouse and over the course of twelve years served multination Fortune 100 clients in the oil and gas, mining and transportation industries. Jim has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations over the years, including the Wester Rivers Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and The Watershed Center.
Jim is married and has two children. Jim’s wife Jill is a volunteer school ship instructor for the Inland Seas Education Association. His interests include woody plants and native perennial gardens.
Glynis completed the Master Gardening Course offered by MSU Extension in 2013 and received her Master Gardening Certification in 2014. Taking the course from MSU Extension had been on her “bucket list” of personal goals, she wanted to learn more about horticulture and landscaping. It was through the course that she learned of MGANM and became a member in 2014. MGANM’s work within the community drew her interest to the association.
A native of Detroit, she relocated to Northern Michigan as a young adult and in 1991 to Traverse City. She is the mother of three; son (24) and twin daughters (23). Glynis is a Registered Nurse of 33 years and works at Munson Medical Center. She received her Master’s Degree in Nursing from University of Phoenix in 2009.
When not working, she spends the majority of her time doing home improvement projects and working in her yard and immature gardens.
Sue is an Advanced Master Gardener. She completed her Master Gardener certification requirements in 2001. From 2001-2014 she maintained the garden beds at the public library in Fenton, Michigan. She also participated in Career Day at Mason Middle School for several years, discussing plants’ growing needs, smart garden design, and landscaping and horticulture related careers with 7th and 8th graders.
Becoming a Board Member for MGANM has been a great way for Sue to make connections with the local Master Gardener community. Her current gardening interests are learning to grow and harvest food throughout the year, and landscaping with native plants to support the native animal, bird and insect populations.
Sue worked for General Motors for 25 years, mostly in strategic planning, process improvement and business application support. She and her husband Gary had always enjoyed vacationing in northwestern Michigan, and decided to move to Traverse City permanently in spring 2015. Her first job in the area was the Gardener at the Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor. She worked at the Homestead for the 2015 and 2016 summer seasons, then took a full-time position in Enrollment Services at Northwestern Michigan College in the fall of 2016.
Barbara is a retired Munson Behavioral Therapist who is a credentialed LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) and a CCS-M (Certified Clinical Supervisor of Addictions). Her background is also in photo-journalism and substitute teaching in the TCAPS school system. She currently serves on the Master Gardeners Board of Directors as an Advanced Master Gardener where she pursues her passion for gardening through continued education and volunteer work in this area. She finds serenity and much joy in spending time with her 10 grand-children.
Judy Reich lives in the Old Town Neighborhood in Traverse City in a 125 year old “painted lady” that has been a work in progress since moving there in 1988. She shares with the Real Dirt her background:
I graduated from Wayne State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I worked in Detroit as a graphic artist briefly but decided that the Traverse Bay Area was where I wanted to be having spent many summers on Glen Lake.
In November of 1970 I settled north of Suttons Bay in an old farm house and had my first real garden. I grew flowers, vegetables and raised chickens, picked berries and cherries and peaches and plums, canned, pickled, froze and eventually ate them all (well, not the flowers). This was a whole new world for a girl who grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. Since moving to “town” I have never had quite the size garden I had in Leelanau but my goal is to eventually turn my whole back yard into garden.
There was not much in the way of commercial art to do in the area at the time so I managed the office at a resort for a year and then worked at the Child Guidance Clinic as a receptionist and art therapist in Traverse City while expecting my daughter Aaryn. I was lucky to be able to stay home with her until I started nursing school at Northwestern Michigan College. I then worked at Munson in Labor & Delivery, a General Surgery and Neuro unit, and in 1980 ended up in the Operating Room. While there, I developed the position of Education Coordinator, helped to found a regional chapter of the Association of Operating Room Nurses, developed a senior practice in the O.R. for Registered Nursing students, trained the labor and delivery nurses to scrub and circulate caesarean sections in the Obstetrics Department and wrote and produced an educational film for the AORN. In 1994, I accepted a position with Baxter Healthcare as a supply chain consultant for Procedure Based Delivery System. Over the next 18 years I traveled the country visiting procedural areas of hospitals helping them to design custom kits for their procedures.
Since retiring I have been perfecting my geriatric nursing skills taking care of my mother who is 94. She keeps me pretty busy but taking the MSUE Master Gardener course was at the top of my to-do list when I retired. I completed the class in December 2013 and have enjoyed this new community. My partner Tim McGrew and I have been members of MGANM since January 2014 and I have volunteered in the maintenance and development of the gardens at the Boardman River Nature Center. This year I was intensely involved in the installation of the Green Roof there. I also have served as a docent for the Botanic Garden at the Historic Barns Park. Much to my surprise I was awarded the honor of being chosen Grand Traverse County Master Gardener of 2015. I believe that the best way to learn about something is to be involved in it. I am happy to serve as secretary for MGANM.
With a B.S. in Computer Information Science/Business Administration, Molly spent most of her career in IT Business Process Systems Analysis with earlier years in Computer Aided Drafting. Although new to the Master Gardener Program, she gardened in various parts of the country for years including growing award-winning orchids.
Molly has lived in St. Ignace (pre-bridge), Fowlerville, and Farmington. Her family moved to California when she was 16. After 20 years in California and 32 years in the Southeast, she retired in June 2017. Even before Molly retired, she knew she was “coming home” to Michigan. She now lives in the northwest corner of Gladwin county, but her connection to northwest Michigan boasts relatives in Empire for over 100 years. She frequently spends time visiting the area.
She is married to Chris Brown with no children. They are both interested in classic cars and own a few, to include their favorite, a 1968 Ultra Van limited-production 22-foot vintage motorhome powered by an air-cooled Chevrolet Corvair engine.
Molly serves on the Board for the Ultra Van chapter (Ultra Van Motor Coach Club) and Corvair truck and van chapter (Corvanatics) of the Corvair Society of America (CORSA) and volunteers as the newsletter editor for both chapters. She created and maintains the Ultra Van chapter’s website. In between, she likes to cook, volunteers by collecting weather data for the National Weather Service and CoCoRHS (Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network) and counts birds for Cornell University’s Winter Feeder Watch program.
Please feel free to contact Molly at any time with suggestions, comments, and contributions to The Real Dirt newsletter, realdirt.
Additional Board & Advisory Positions
Botanical Gardens at Historic Barns Park Liaison: Open
Boardman River Nature Center Liaison: Open
Program Chairperson: Open
Membership Chairperson: Open
In recognition of all the hard work and dedication that it takes to run a volunteer organization, we would like to recognize and honor our past MGANM Board Presidents.
Sue Sensenbaugh-Padgett, & Marina Deering Emeritus: 2015
Liz Clous: 2014
Erik Zehender: 2013
Kristine Drake: 2012
Liz Clous: 2011
Ellen Lapekas: 2010
Joe Sarafa: 2009
Marina Deering: 2008
Jill Porter: 2006
Gabby Thompson: 2005
Sally Weaver: 1996 (Inaugural President)