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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

House Staff

Patty M. – President & CEO

patty metropulos

My Contribution: I ensure that our founding vision remains in the forefront as we provide a premier guest experience to patients and caregivers. Working with our Board of Directors, I am helping the organization prepare for the future while responding to unprecedented growth in occupancy.

My Background: . After moving back to Milwaukee, I was attracted to the quality of the Kathy’s House organization and the value of the services provided. I found the vision for Kathy’s House to have a strong foundation that affords great potential for future growth and success and was named Executive Director and CEO in 2012. There was also something personal in my decision to accept the position. Two of my family members had required critical health care services and while supporting them during their illness, I grew to have a keen appreciation for families experiencing a medical crisis.

The Best Part: Kathy’s House allows people with significant health care needs to come to Milwaukee for care as well as assuring that the patient has family support during a very difficult time. Research shows that patients with family support have better outcomes.

Without Kathy’s House: We know with certainty that if Kathy’s House weren’t here, a large number of people who are in critical need of specialized care would not be able to receive the lifesaving treatment provided at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin and other area regional medical centers. In research we conducted recently nearly 40 percent of our guests have told us exactly that. This concept is embedded in the vision of Dick Vogel and his daughter Kathy Kuettner Vogel. That vision is a strong inspiration that drives us as we plan for a new expanded facility. There’s another, much more plain, direct way to describe why our services our so important to our community – over the long term it is our strategic imperative to forge strong, enduring bonds – partnerships – with our area’s medical centers. Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin are among the leaders in our country providing the best and most advanced health care to patients. We help patients connect with them.

Kathy W. – Director of Operations

kathy wagner

My Contribution: My job is to manage the operations so that no matter where people are from they receive the same quality care and support. In a sense, my job is easy, our staff and volunteers are so awesome. Everyone jumps when they see something that needs to be done. The statistics show Kathy’s House guests and patients come from 50 miles away or more, many from Green Bay or Chicago. Most are from the Midwest but many travel longer distances. More than 16,000 people have stayed at Kathy’s House since 2001. Patients and guests have traveled to 103rd Street in Wauwatosa from 48 states as well as a number of foreign countries.

My Background: I have been part of the team since 2012. And I’ve lost track of the number of “miracles” I’ve seen since then, but it’s more than I ever would have imagined.

The Best Part: For me, it’s the understanding (learned over time) that sometimes a simple hug has the power to make all the difference in the world.

Without Kathy’s House: Milwaukee has some of the most “awesome” medical care resources available. Kathy’s House makes sure many people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to those resources get the critical help they need.

Marie G. – Volunteer Coordinator

marie grevsmuehl

My Contribution: I help volunteers find ways to help Kathy’s House and our guests. Our volunteers play an important role in helping us fulfill our mission to make Kathy’s House away from home by cooking meals, helping us maintain the house, and supporting our events throughout the year.

My Background: I began at Kathy’s House in November 2013, serving as a volunteer. I joined the Kathy’s House team officially in July 2016.

The Best Part: My background includes training as a social worker. The best part of my job is that I’m able to use my training and background to help make the lives of patients and families as comfortable as possible during a very challenging period in their lives. Caring about people and doing what I can to help them is extremely rewarding.

Without Kathy’s House: Who would provide the help that families and patients need at this critical time in their lives? We get to see the appreciation on their faces.

Ashley V. – Housekeeper

My Contribution: I do just what you think a housekeeper does. That means Monday through Friday, I’m cleaning, picking up and generally trying my best to keep everything spick ‘n’ span.

ashley vorbil

My Background: I started as a volunteer in May 2009 and grew to really appreciate the good things that happen here and the wonderful people I get to meet. I feel I can play a part in helping make sure people feel comfortable and that someone cares about their situation. Four months after I started volunteering, I officially joined the team.

The Best Part: Is getting to know the guests and learn their special stories. And also knowing that the service we provide really helps people cope at a difficult time in their lives. I was so personally touched about what I see every day happening at Kathy’s house that I wrote a poem “One Woman,” which is about the caring and dedication of our founder Kathy Vogel Kuettner. The poem, I’m humbled to say, has been published in a national anthology and a copy is on display in our building.

Without Kathy’s House: For many people, very serious needs would go unmet.

Lorraine K. – Guest Services Assistant

lorraine kofler

My Contribution: I do what every other dedicated guest services assistant at Kathy’s House does but I’m sure that like everyone here, I do what I do with passion. Usually I’m here two days a week, Monday and Friday or any other time I’m needed.

My Background: I have been volunteering here since 2010. I live a few blocks away and being within walking distance, I can be here when there’s a need outside my regular work days.

The Best Part: Is caring for the guests and doing what I can to make them feel that this is as close as possible to being at home for them. Helping at Kathy’s House is my biggest desire. I’ll be 87 soon and it is so gratifying to me to be able to contribute to others’ well-being. Kathy’s House is and will always be one of the most important parts of my life.

Without Kathy’s House: It would be heartbreaking to think about how many people wouldn’t get the help they need.

Katie S. – Director of Philanthropy

katie sparks

My Contribution: As Director of Philanthropy, my job is to be a type of matchmaker, connecting with community members and understanding what they care about and then matching their interests to the work of Kathy’s House.

My Background: I’ve been in the philanthropy field since 2005, mainly working for healthcare and educational organizations, both big and small. I also have experience in various types of fundraising: annual appeals, gifts from major investors, establishing gifts from estate plans, event planning and marketing.

The Best Part: The staff and the board open their hearts with great compassion for our guests. It is wonderful to see this level of empathy. Everyone associated with Kathy’s House, including all our outstanding volunteers, share their hearts with our guests. It’s way beyond traditional customer service! Support for the guests is strong, genuine and authentic.

Without Kathy’s House: We already know how difficult it is when guests can’t stay at Kathy’s House. In the past 2 years, we’ve had to turn away 500 families because the House was full. It breaks our hearts to do so. Many in our community don’t realize that one of Milwaukee’s greatest assets is the strength of researchers, physicians and scientists at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and from other area health care facilities. People are willing to travel hundreds, even thousands, of miles to benefit from their expertise. It is also true that many medical procedures are moving from the inpatient setting to outpatient care. That means many more patients need Kathy’s House because they must remain close to the hospital for a period of time to be near care if there is an adverse reaction. Without Kathy’s House, these treatments – from clinical trails to outpatient bone marrow transplants – would not be possible for many of our guests. We need a bigger House for the guests and are working to build one soon.

Liz B. – Director of Marketing

My Contribution: I have the honor of collecting and sharing the many small moments that comprise the story of Kathy’s House. Volunteers, staff, and others help me find ways to celebrate our accomplishments and raise awareness about this incredible resource.

My Background: My career has allowed me to serve in various leadership and communications roles. I feel called to serve the community and grateful for the opportunity to use my talents to advance a meaningful cause.

The Best Part: I love connecting with our guests and supporters to learn what Kathy’s House means to them. It is exciting to work with leadership that has developed and executed a successful growth strategy and a vision for becoming a national model.

Without Kathy’s House: Our community would lack an important resource for families confronting one of life’s biggest challenges: a medical crisis.

Mary K. – Events and Philanthropy Coordinator

mary kanavas

My Contribution: As the Events and Philanthropy Coordinator, I help plan the Gala, Golf Outing, Oktoberfest and other fundraising events for Kathy’s House as well as assist with other fundraising and friend raising activities.

My Background: I started working with nonprofits after my 3 children were grown and just love it! Most recently I worked with United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. My husband passed away from cancer in 2017. I’m grateful that we lived so close to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and the world class care they provide. I’m thrilled to be a part of a team working to support out of area families facing a similar crisis.

The Best Part: It’s great to be surrounded by people who are dedicated to the Kathy’s House mission. It’s exciting and invigorating!

Without Kathy’s House: Without Kathy’s House there would be so many families that would have to face a difficult time in life without the loving and caring environment provided by Kathy’s House

Mickey S. – Guest Services Manager

mickey salzmann

My Contribution: My focus is guest comfort. As much as possible, I want Kathy’s House to be “Home” for everyone who comes through our doors. That means treating everyone like family, with respect, dignity and caring from the heart. I help with reservations, cleaning, shuttling guests and, along with everyone else at Kathy’s House, taking care of any concerns that may come up. Growing up my parents said to just “give them you”. That’s what I do.

My Background: I have worked in health clinics for over 15 years. The most rewarding years were in the Oncology/Hematology department at what is now Aspirus Ironwood in Michigan. So many aspects and priorities of life were straightened out for me during that time, and rich bonds were formed.

The Best Part: Being able to work with a group of people who genuinely care, and all work together to make Kathy’s House a sanctuary. When someone is in need of a hug or someone to listen, everything else comes to a standstill. Here I get to do what I love most: care for people.

Without Kathy’s House: Kathy Vogel’s concern was for people struggling through some of life’s hardest times alone because loved ones could not afford to be nearby. Kathy’s house helps keep that from happening.

Kayla K. – Guest Services Specialist

Kayla K

My Contribution: My job is to process referrals, schedule rooms for the guests, and take care of any need they may have while staying with us.  While the guests are getting the very best care physically at a local hospital, it is my job to make sure we are giving them the best care emotionally while staying with us at Kathy’s House.  I want each guest to feel at home when they walk through the doors, know that they have a support system here, and know that they are not alone. 

My Background: I have worked in corporate America for the past 10 years in the print and marketing industries.  Through personal family experience in the last few years, I have seen a need for something like Kathy’s House, but to be honest, never knew it existed.  It started to become a dream of mine and when I learned about Kathy’s House, I realized that dream was already a reality and one that I needed to be a part of.  I have seen the toll that being a caregiver can take on wellness as well, so my passion lies within keeping the caregiver healthy just as much as keeping the patient healthy. 

The Best Part: I love knowing that every day I go to work, I’m making a positive impact in someone’s life who is going through one of their toughest seasons.

Without Kathy’s House: So many patients would go without care if Kathy’s House didn’t exist, simply due to their location.  We take for granted living in Milwaukee and having one of the best hospitals in the nation in our backyard.  Everyone deserves the very best treatment no matter where they live. Kathy’s House helps to make that possible. 

Our monthly newsletter has the latest guest stories, events & updates on our New Home for Healing.