About the Staff
Katie Belanger, Executive Director
Katie Belanger has extensive experience in Wisconsin politics, campaign and nonprofit fundraising and grassroots organizing. Katie joined Fair Wisconsin as the Legislative Director to shepherd Wisconsin’s first pro-fairness legislation in over two decades, domestic partnership protections, through the 2009-2011 biennial budget process. In July 2009, Katie became Fair Wisconsin’s Executive Director.
Prior to joining Fair Wisconsin, Katie was the Deputy Campaign and Program Director for Advancing Wisconsin, one of the largest state-based voter contact and issue advocacy organizations in 2008. Katie also served Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin for multiple cycles as both campaign Finance Director and PAC Director for The People’s House PAC. Katie’s fundraising background also includes several state and federal campaigns and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Before transitioning to fundraising, Katie was the Scheduling Director for Governor Jim Doyle.
Katie currently serves as the Board Co-Chair for the Equality Federation, the national alliance of state-based LGBT advocacy organizations, representing over 50 organizations in 41 states. She served as Equality Federation Board Secretary from 2010-2012.
Megin McDonell, External Relations Director
Megin McDonell has extensive experience working in nonprofits, including grant writing, media and communications and program development and implementation. Before joining Fair Wisconsin in 2011, she was the Program Director at the Tenant Resource Center in Madison for fourteen years. She has been extremely active in local politics and elections, including serving for eleven years on the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission and working on numerous aldermanic, county board, assembly and congressional campaigns.
Megin also serves as President of the Social Justice Center Board of Directors, and is a member of the NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin Board of Directors. She is married with two daughters. She hopes that her daughters will be able to marry (or not) whomever they want when they are adults, without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and that they will be able to choose to become parents (or not) regardless of the same.
John Smallwood, Field Director
John Smallwood comes to Fair Wisconsin with extensive LGBT advocacy and campaign experience. He was a working board member of Equality Alabama in its infancy to adult phases of development, and a founding member and past president of Alabama Stonewall Democrats. John has worked on campaigns large and small all over the country including the elections of Alabama’s first and second openly gay elected officials. He first came to Wisconsin to work on the recall elections in 2011 replacing two anti-fairness state senators with two pro-fairness champions.
John thinks the fastest, most effective way to bring equality to all Americans is through placing affected minorities in positions of power; therefore, he has dedicated his working career to getting women, young, old, people with disabilities, people of color, and openly LGBT people seats at the tables where decisions are made.
John enjoys being outdoors. His favorite quote: “I never saved anything for the swim back.” - Vincent from the movie Gattaca
Breianna Hasenzahl-Reeder, Development Assistant
Breianna Hasenzahl-Reeder joined the Fair Wisconsin staff in July 2012. Just prior to coming to Fair Wisconsin, she worked for four years as the Finance and Development Director at United Council of UW Students. During college, Breianna was an LGBTQ representative on the United Council board of directors. In addition, she co-chaired a campus organization called Promoting Racial and Ethnic Awareness. Currently, she is a fellow for the Center for Progressive Leadership.
Mary Sykes, Office Manager
Mary Sykes joined the Fair Wisconsin (then Action Wisconsin) staff at the end of 2004 and rode the waves of the 2006 campaign. Her duties include staffing the Boards of Directors, and providing general administrative management and support. Prior to working for LGBT rights, she worked for many years in the disability rights movement. She lives on the east side of Madison with her life partner. She and her partner were the 6th couple to register as domestic partners in Dane County. She looks forward to the day that they can marry in Wisconsin!
Carolyn Foster, Accountant
Carolyn Foster moved to Madison 10 years ago from California. She has worked many years in nonprofit accounting, because “I like to make a difference” for the good of the people, not a corporation. When she’s not making sure that the funds raised go to fighting for fairness, she enjoys camping and hiking.
Susie Earley, Development Volunteer
Upon retirement as an RN working in Washington, D.C., Susie returned to her home state of Wisconsin. While in D.C., she volunteered for the Clinton Health Care Initiative. Susie started volunteering for Fair Wisconsin with the kickoff to the 2006 amendment campaign. Being a believer in volunteerism, she is gratified to be part of realizing the goals of Fair Wisconsin.
Troy Lohr, Intern
Troy Lohr is a senior at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. He is currently working on his degrees in social work and psychology. Prior to joining the Fair Wisconsin team, he served as an intake counselor for Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, and worked as a psychology research assistant for the UW Whitewater psychology department. He began his internship at Fair Wisconsin at the beginning of 2013. Troy is thrilled to have the opportunity to experience the macro level of LGBT advocacy.