Board Of Directors

Matt Presley - Board President

Board Member since January 2008.

Matt is an English teacher at La Porte High School. He obtained his Bachelor degree from Indiana University Bloomington in 2004 and is currently pursuing a Masters in English at Indiana University South Bend. Matt also coaches tennis at La Porte High School.

Shaw Friedman - Vice President

Board Member since January 1998.

Shaw Friedman was one of the co-founders of Harmony House which began in 1999. He is on the Board of Swanson Center, the county’s community mental health center which is a strong supporter of our program and has provided its former outpatient facility at 1005 Michigan Avenue as our permanent home. Working with Executive Director Karen Biernacki and former CASA Board President Betty Daniel-Lanie, Friedman helped create the concept of Harmony House. A practicing attorney in La Porte since 1984 with the law firm of Friedman & Associates, PC he is very committed to non-profit programs such as Harmony House/CASA Program and says some of his most “satisfying work is seeing programs like this one grow and thrive and provide much needed services for our community.”

Rudy Kohn - Secretary/Treasurer

Rudy joined the Board of Family Advocates in 2018, after volunteering for two years as a CASA.He feels that “being a CASA was an eye-opening experience. It made me realize how essential this organization is for LaPorte County.” Kohn retired as Director of Junior Achievement of LaPorte County in 2011. Previously he worked as a Systems Analyst at Jaymar Ruby, and as the Director of Systems and Programming for CSI Inc. in Valparaiso for 25 years. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Purdue University. Kohn also currently serves on the Board of the Michigan City Community Enrichment Corporation and is chair of the Unity Foundation of Laporte County Community Grants Committee. He previously served as President of the MCCEC and as a Board Member and Past President of the Washington Park Zoological Society. In retirement, along with serving as a CASA, he has volunteered at St. Anthony, served as a Math instructional assistant in the Adult Education program at the A. K. Smith Center, and was Head Girls Tennis Coach for Michigan City High School. Kohn lives in Michigan City with his wife, Betsy and their daughter, Sydney, who attends Purdue. His sons Scott and Jeff also live in Michigan City. He is an avid Purdue fan, and enjoys hiking and playing pickleball.

Sarah Brown - Financial Advisor

I started my career as a financial advisor with Edward Jones in 2013. Prior to that, I taught
science for 12 years. As an educator, I enjoyed making a difference in the lives of others
and helping them reach their goals. My transition into the financial service industry has
allowed me to continue that same passion.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana University and a master’s degree in
educational supervision and administration from Ball State. To further service my clients, I
obtained the AAMS® designation and I received the CFP® designation in 2020.
Throughout my career at Edward Jones, I have been able to exercise my leadership skills in
various capacities, including serving as a visiting veteran to assist in training new financial
advisors and mentoring other financial advisors, as well as serving as women’s inclusion
leader, and secondary recruiting leader.
I enjoy being involved in the community. I served as the Kiwanis of La Porte President in
2018-2019 and remain an active member. I currently serve on the boards of La Porte
Economic Advancement Partnership and Women in Leadership of La Porte.
I live in LaPorte with my husband and our three children. We enjoy spending our time
together playing games and hiking outdoors.
My branch office administrator, Stephanie McCullough, and I value relationships and will
provide you with the highest level of care. As your Edward Jones team, we believe it is
important to invest time with you to understand what is important to you. We use an
established process so I can build personalized strategies to help you achieve your
financial goals.

Douglas Waters

Board Member since September 2006.

Douglas is a resident of Michigan City, IN, and a graduate of Indiana University School of Business. He has been active in the real estate business for many years with Long Beach Realty, and serves on La Porte County Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and MCNEAT in Michigan City.

Kim Sauers

Board Member since December 2014

 

Sean Fitzpatrick

Board Member since January 2019

 

Becky Pressel

Deb Varnik

Deb Varnak joined the Board in January 2022. 

She has several years of experience serving on nonprofit boards in the La Porte County area and holds a certificate in non-profit leadership from the IU School of Philanthropy, having had the opportunity to take that certification through the generosity of the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte. She is also a graduate of Leadership La Porte County. Most recently, Deb spent three years as Vice President of Unity Foundation of La Porte County after working for fifteen years as the Vice President of Human Resources and Marketing at La Porte Savings Bank.  Most of all, she enjoys spending time with her active family, including two teenage daughters, Sydney and Grace, and her husband, Chris.

Lorri Feldt

Lorri Feldt has served as Regional Director of the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center for several years. She and the SBDC staff assist small businesses and start-up entrepreneurs in NW Indiana’s seven-county area. She and husband Rob live outside of La Porte and raised 3 kids, Tom, Susan and Sam. 

Sarah Brown