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Staff and Board

Our Staff

Claire Anderson

Executive Director
(262) 898-2590


Claire Anderson holds an Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry degree from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and is the Executive Director of Siena Retreat Center. She draws on global experiences, including living in Poland, in her exploration of cosmology, science, and faith.


Jane Czarnezki

Director of Hospitality
(262) 898-2591


Jane Czarnezki oversees the hospitality and volunteer aspects of Siena Retreat Center. Have you every thought of volunteering at Siena Retreat Center? Please connect with Jane!

Ben Brzeski

Director of Donor and Community Engagement
(262) 898-2586


Ben Brzeski joins the staff as Director of Donor and Community Engagement. Ben brings 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and ministry sectors to the Siena Retreat Center team.  His experience includes a variety of leadership, development, and communications roles, and he has been fortunate to be on retreat here numerous times!  Ben is a writer, musician, and lover of the outdoors, and he brings a passion for the Siena Retreat Center’s commitment to the building of a more just and compassionate world.

Nicki Steinmetz Nelson

Director of Spiritual Guidance Initiatives


Nicki Steinmetz Nelson oversees and coordinates spiritual guidance at the Siena Retreat Center, including individual and group spiritual guidance, supervision for spiritual guides, the Spiritual Guidance Training Program, summer directed retreats, and other emerging programs. She has a MA in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and a MA in Clinical Psychology from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI. You’ll often find Nicki with her nose in a book or deep in conversation about spirituality, psychology, social analysis, or how all of those converge in the experience of parenting.  She loves spending time with her family in the kitchen, on the trail, or playing board games.

Judy Melaro-Gavigan

Business Manager


Judy Melaro-Gavigan joins the Siena Retreat Center team as Business Manager. Judy has over 30 years of extensive training, certification and hands on experience in the area of sales, coaching and performance management. Her career in the financial and then healthcare field has allowed her to build relationships with organizations and people in the Racine community where she has served in many capacities. She grew up in upstate New York and has called Racine home since 1986...enjoys golfing and camping and believes that success can be measured in the number of hearts you touch.

Nikki Madisen

Arrangements Coordinator
(262) 898-2580

Nikki Madisen schedules groups and private retreats. She is a Racine native whose connection with the Siena Center began while attending retreats through St. Catherine’s High School and continued as she volunteered in the dining room. Nikki draws administrative coordinating experience from many years working with a local Montessori School. In her free time, Nikki enjoys participating in local craft fairs and spending time outdoors.

Alison Newman

Administrative Assistant
(262) 898-2587

Alison Newman supports the clerical needs of the Retreat Center and will staff the front desk as needed. Alison is from Racine and comes to us with experience as a receptionist, office manager, librarian, and archivist. She has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from UW-Milwaukee, and, in her spare time, she loves bird watching and crochet.

Susan Arvai

(262) 898-2582

Susan Arvai receives and accurately enters retreat registrations and donation information. Susan is from Racine and has experience in finance and legal trust and estate planning. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Alverno College in Milwaukee. Susan enjoys art fairs, craft fairs and estate sales in her spare time.