Johnson and Mueller join Clayton County Foundation for the Future advisory board

The Clayton County Foundation for the Future is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to its advisory board of directors. Haleisa Johnson of Strawberry Point and Kathy Mueller of Elkader will join the board in February. 

“Experience and enthusiasm are two perspectives I can contribute to the board,” said Johnson. She holds degrees in communications and sociology from Winona State University, which she says motivate her to listen to peoples’ life stories and help them see connections. 

Johnson has been involved in philanthropy as both a grantor and grantee. She’s currently the early childhood program coordinator for Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness and has also served as development director at Strawberry Point Lutheran Home and Gernand Retirement Center, and foundation director of Central Community Hospital. 

“One thing that appeals to me about this service opportunity is helping others excel, which brings value to a community and brings growth opportunities for everyone in the county,” said Johnson. “Drawing on local knowledge from a diverse group creates solutions that are practical and effective.”

Supporting, improving and caring about her community is important to Johnson, and she understands that involvement and teamwork lead to deeper relationships and lasting partnerships.

“Combining the feeling of being part of Clayton County’s future with my passion for learning more about investing for success and sustainability where we live inspires me,” said Johnson. 

Mueller and her husband, Steve, are lifelong residents of Clayton County and raised their three children here. As a nontraditional student at Upper Iowa University, she earned a degree in leadership and management as well as an MBA with a focus on corporate financial management. 

Today, she is executive vice president of FreedomBank, where she began her career in 1981 as a teller — long before she earned her degrees.

“From that work experience, I’ve seen how important a few extra dollars can be to get an idea off the ground for an individual or a group,” said Mueller. “I’ve also seen the opposite, when people worry about what legacy their financial successes can leave.  My contribution to the Foundation board will be the financial experience of helping people meet their goals for the money they need or the money they have to share.”

Mueller’s commitment to serving as a Foundation board member stems from an interest in serving Clayton County in ways beyond what a specific organization or municipality can do. “Clayton County Foundation for the Future has a wonderful reputation for building a strong community in our corner of the world,” she said. “I especially like that it extends across city boundaries and looks at the county and the region as a community.”

Mueller looks forward to helping strengthen communities and support innovative ideas through the grant process. “I am excited to work with other people who recognize the opportunities that exist in Clayton County and the surrounding region,” she said.