About Us

Anna, serving as Program Director, Co-Founder of Guardians of Northeast Iowa, Inc. and a National Certified Guardian. She graduated in 2010 from Capella University earning a Master’s Degree in Human Services, Nonprofit Management. In 1984 she graduated from St. John’s University earning a BS in Human Services & in 1982 from LaGuardia Community College earning an AA in Human Services. Anna considers herself to be a professional advocate for individuals with disabilities. She has provided support services to individuals that live with disabilities and mental illness in the areas of case management, personal development, skills development, and educational services. Anna has recently retired from working at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) as the Coordinator of Disability Services.

Melanie, serving as Director of Finance and Operations, Co-Founder of Guardians of Northeast Iowa and Conservator/Payee. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Luther College in Management and History. Melanie has had a variety of office, accounting and management positions over the years ranging from hotel front office management, coffeehouse management, factory cost accounting, legal assistant and tax preparer/tech support. She has also been a foster parent, CASA and volunteer board Secretary/Treasurer Winneshiek County Historical Society.

Cheryl, serving as Guardian Case Manager in Western Iowa, is a National Certified Guardian serving clients in western and northeast Iowa. Cheryl graduated from Wayne State College with a BS in Psychology and is well versed in Medicaid services, including HCBS Waivers. She was a Targeted Case Manager with Woodbury County Social Services for 20 years, working with the ID and BI populations. She then worked for a Managed Care Organization as a Community Based Manager and Crisis Specialist before moving on to Director of Social Services at a local nursing facility.

Katie, serving as a Guardian Case Manager,  has been a foster/adoptive parent for 12 years, specializing in the care of teenaged children. She is a First Responder and has volunteered for several nonprofit organizations in the U.S and abroad, working both directly with indigent populations and in administration. Katie is working towards becoming a National Certified Guardian. She loved serving as a library director for 10 years, is passionate about supporting libraries, and is an avid reader. 

Kelly, serving as Guardian Case Manager for our Eastern region, is a graduate of Northern Iowa with a BA in Social Work. She has been in social services for nearly two decades, working as an Income Maintenance Worker for the Linn County Protective Payee office for three years and then as a Targeted Care Manager with Linn County Mental Health and Disability Services for 10 years. She was also a Community Based Case Manager under Managed Care for 6 years prior to starting with Guardians of Northeast Iowa. She has worked with individuals of all ages who have traumatic brain injuries, mental health needs, cognitive disabilities, and/or physical disabilities.

Makeba, serving as Guardian Case Manager for our Eastern/Central region, has served persons with disabilities in the Cedar Valley for over 7 years. As previous direct support provider at Exceptional Persons, she transitioned into acute care shortly after graduating from University of Northern Iowa with BA in Social Work in 2017. She interned at Allen Mental Health Unit and was employed as Mental Health Navigator for 4 years. With taking a different approach in the social work related field, Makeba briefly utilized her skills as brain injury case manager at Brookhaven Neuropsych Rehab Hospital, in Tulsa OK. Makeba also has previous experience as social service coordinator in long term nursing care facilities. Makeba brings a great spirit to our team and strives to assure individuals are able to maintain a safe and stable lifestyle.  

Jennifer, serving as Representative Payee/Administrative Assistant in our new Calmar office

Board Members:

Larry Grimstad, Board Co-Chair, served as CEO of Decorah Bank and Trust Company in Decorah, Iowa for 25 years.  After his retirement from banking he began a career in wind and solar power development and has been a Climate Change Activist. He has also served on several non-profit boards in the Decorah area for the past 55 years.  He and his wife Diane enjoy gardening and raising chickens on their hobby farm near Decorah.

Elaine Morse,  Board Co-Chair, Elaine has worked as an accountant in both the for profit and not for profit sectors for 35 years, and as a chief financial officer, takes joy in supporting numerous nonprofit boards with her professional experience. She is passionate about race and social justice including the fight to end human trafficking, and the support of children in foster care.

John Ellingson, Board Secretary, DHS Investigator, Waukon, IA

Becky Woller, Board Treasurer,  has over 30 years of experience in the finance industry. From bookkeeping to payroll to cost accounting, she has done it all. Becky holds a bachelor’s degree in both finance and accounting and received her Master of Business Administration in 2014.  She is currently a Principal Financial Analyst with Boston Scientific Corporation in the Global Business Services division.  She is also an active member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion pillar within this division.  Along with her full-time gig, Becky is the owner and president of Woller Financial Services, helping small businesses achieve their goals by managing their accounting needs.  Becky feels strongly about advocating for people’s rights and is honored to work with the Guardians in carrying out their mission of assisting vulnerable individuals.  Becky and her husband, Lou, have an amazing, blended family of 5 children, 5 grandchildren, 3 dogs and 2 cats. She enjoys camping, road trips and trying new-to-her restaurants.

Dr. David Gehling, Director, Chiropractor, Decorah, IA

Marcia Oltrogge, Director, Retired director of Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health, Decorah, IA