Van Wezel Foundation Professional Staff
Monica Van Buskirk, President, and CEO
Monica Van Buskirk has held the position of President and CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation since 2012. Previously, Monica was Vice Chairman of the Board and Member of the Executive Committee and had been involved as a volunteer and donor to the Van Wezel Foundation since 2002.
During her tenure as President and CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation, the Foundation has had double-digit annual growth. In addition, the Foundation has won several awards including the 2014 Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Cultural Organization of the Year Award from the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Best Fundraising Gala in Sarasota Magazine's "Best of 2015" edition, Best Fundraising Event in the "Best of 2016 edition and most recently, the 2017 Herald Tribune Readers Choice for Best Non-Profit (Sarasota and Manatee)
Before becoming the President and CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation she was a property consultant and Senior Realtor representing high net worth individuals and groups as well as Principal of Monica Consults.
Monica's wide range of business experience includes past President and CEO of Monica's Best Foods, a multi-line chocolate company in New York City and Boston. She had also been the Vice President of Marketing for Godiva Chocolatier, Vice President for Pepperidge Farms and Campbell Soup Company, as well as a Vice President for Brentano's Book Stores and MacMillan Publishing, New York City.
Barbara Brosius, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations
Barbara is a long-time resident of Sarasota but was born and raised in Western New York. She joined the Van Wezel Foundation in January 2014, bringing over 30 years of experience with her. Coming from New College Foundation after a 10-year tenure, she oversees the Financial Department and is thrilled to be newly inducted into the Foundation's team.
Barbara is married to a native Floridian and has one son. She relaxes with gardening, hiking and bike riding and loves to travel.
Jim Selinski, Chief Development Officer
Jim holds a Bachelors in Communications, Master's Degree, Certificate in Non-Profit Management and is one of only 1500 active development professional globally who have earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation.
Mr. Selinki most recently served as Executive Director & Stewardship for St. Thomas More Parish Diocese of Venice, Florida where he oversaw business operations, stewardship, and development initiatives for one of the most successful operations in the Diocese and was instrumental in raising the necessary capital for the construction and completion of their new Church expansion. Prior to this, Jim spent 20 years, B2B, cultivating and consulting key stakeholders within Fortune 200 consumer product manufacturers including Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive, Coca-Cola, and much more.
In 2003, Jim and his wife Michele relocated to the Sarasota area- Jim from Tampa via Baltimore, and his wife Michele from Watchung, New Jersey
Melissa Lane, Director of Development
Melissa, formerly from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has lived in Sarasota since 1992. As an adult learner, she received her bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from Eckerd College in 2000 and a Masters in Organizational Management in 2002.
Melissa joined the Van Wezel Foundation in 2016 and has worked in the non-profit sector since 1998. She started her career at the Sarasota Ballet and was recruited by the Sarasota Opera in 2000 leading a $2 million growth in annual funding and a $20 million capital campaign for renovations of the 1926 historic theater. Melissa entered the human services sector in 2010 where she worked for the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida as Chief Development Officer through the organization's 100th Anniversary and then as Director of Development for the Child Protection Center raising awareness about the realities of child abuse and increasing annual and event revenue by over 70%.
She is the proud mother of two boys. She loves music, writing, and studying her family's genealogy tracing back to the Mayflower.
Melissa is responsible for the Annual Fund, Planned Giving and more to ensure the long-term viability of the Van Wezel Foundation.
Erin Guzzo, Marketing and Events Manager
Erin joined the Foundation in 2014 and brings over 20 years of professional business and marketing experience across various industries including global asset management, real estate, insurance, and wealth management for both large and small firms.
Erin also brings significant event management experience having successfully managed a large number of corporate events throughout Florida during her 5-year tenure as a Florida Regional Marketing Manager for BMO Wealth Management. In addition, she has served on many local committees including Forty Carrots (Wine Chair, Wine Women & Shoes), March of Dimes, and Big Dog Ranch Rescue helping to plan and organize major fundraising events.
Erin relocated to Sarasota in 2004 and is originally from Scituate on the South Shore of Massachusetts. She has a BA in Business Management from Merrimack College in North Andover, Ma and holds a Paralegal Studies degree from Northeastern University in Boston, Ma. Erin resides in Sarasota with her husband Rob, stepson Nick and dog Colt where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, boating, traveling and reading.
Elsie Merrill, Donor Relations Manager
Elsie began working with the Van Wezel Foundation in 2002 when she relocated to Sarasota from the Washington, D.C. area. She took a short hiatus in 2005, but missed working with the Foundation's "Friends" and returned a year later. Her duties include Concierge Member Ticketing and the Community Outreach Ticketing Program, as well as support for the entire staff.
Elsie was born and raised in Boston. As a military wife, she has lived in many different locations. Elsie likes to visit her 4 children and 8 grandchildren, play golf and trivia and continues to follow the Red Sox. She lives in Osprey and has two miniature schnauzers.
Nancy Denton, Donor Relations Specialist
Nancy moved to Sarasota from Las Vegas in 2009 and earned her Master of Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida in 2012. She has been immersed in the arts for over 20 years, having performed on stage around the country both professionally and as a hobby. She chose Sarasota for its amazing arts community and is a fixture with several local theater companies and the troupe Random Acts.
Prior to moving to Las Vegas, Nancy lived in the Philadelphia area and worked as the assistant to the President and CEO for the Foundation for New Jersey Public Broadcasting, where she worked on fundraising and development in support of New Jersey Network, New Jersey's public television, and radio station.
Nancy joined the Foundation in November of 2016 and provides concierge service to the Friends of the Foundation.
Cathleen Mai, Database Coordinator
Cathleen was born and raised in Germany, where she worked as an independent Financial Planner for 15 years. During several visits, she and her family fell in love with Florida and finally moved to Sarasota in 2010. Cathleen joined the Foundation in February 2013. Cathleen loves spending time with her family. Hobbies include bike riding and playing classical guitar.