Couleecap, Inc. has announced the hiring of a new executive director, Hetti Brown, to succeed Grace Jones, who has been the Community Action Agency’s leader since 1986 and is retiring in July.

Hetti comes to Couleecap from the Deleware Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, where she was the executive director of the Office of Animal Welfare. In that role, Hetti led her team to develop social service programs for pet owners with low incomes and to address emerging issues concerning community health and welfare. Among her accomplishments, Hetti reformed the state emergency response and sheltering program for people with pets, chaired a state task force to help people with mental health disorders, and conducted research to inform outreach efforts and programs for persons receiving public assistance. She also worked closely with state and county lawmakers to author and pass laws establishing new state services, launched job skill programs for youth and adult offenders, and developed training for judges, law enforcement officers, and field case workers.

Hetti recently relocated to La Crosse to join her husband, an Assistant Professor in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. However, Hetti is not new to the Midwest. She grew up in a rural farming community in Northeast Missouri and attended college in Southern Illinois.

In announcing Hetti’s hiring, current Executive Director Grace Jones said, “Hetti’s firsthand knowledge of poverty from experience as a child, as well as her work in the non-profit and public sectors, have inspired her passion for helping people by tackling the root causes of poverty in a compassionate and respectful manner. Hetti is guided by core principles, which she carries into every role: center one’s focus on the people being served; build barrier-free programs; invest in organizational culture; and cultivate diverse community partnerships. As the new director of Couleecap, Hetti will focus on ensuring sound business acumen, securing the future for the organization through innovation and fundraising, fostering the culture to build employee engagement and effectiveness, and engaging the community to situate Couleecap as the premier Community Action Agency in Wisconsin.”

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