ONA Leadership

About Susan

President and Founder

Susan is originally from Egg Harbor, WI, and is a 2017 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Leadership and Business Administration. At 18 years old she felt compelled to take charge and make a difference in the lives of service men and women in inspiration of her father. Sgt. Donald Fochs of the United States Marine Corps served in the Vietnam War and is 100% permanently disabled. She made it her mission to create an organization which exists in the ope that no one feels alone during and after deployment, and once they are back home.

Susan is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University and works as an Account Executive for a content marketing firm in Madison, Wisconsin.

About MeKenzie

Vice President and Director of New York Operations

MeKenzie is a native of Oshkosh, WI.  As a 2016 graduate of the University of Wisconsin- Madison, she majored in International Studies and French with focus on Global Health, African Studies, and European Studies. The daughter of 23-year US Army Reserves veteran, Sergeant First Class Gary Lund, she understands the service and sacrifice made by those in uniform. After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 Gary was deployed to Fort Benning, GA. It was during that time that MeKenzie’s family truly experienced and appreciated the love and support of the community around them. It is that kind of support she hopes to pass along through Operation Not Alone  to those who serve and have served in our country’s military, along with their families. MeKenzie now resides in Buffalo, New York where she works as the Lead Community Engagement Specialist for Girl Scouts of Western New York and hopes to carry along the mission and vision of Operation Not Alone.


About Jennifer

Director of Donor Relations

Jennifer Schmidt is joining the Operation Not Alone Board as our Director of Donor Relations. Jennifer first learned about ONA when she met Susan Fochs, CEO, through the Miss America Organization. In 2018, when Jennifer’s sister was serving in the United States Army overseas, she saw firsthand ONA’s mission at work. Her sister received a personalized #carepackage just in time for her birthday and Thanksgiving, which reminded her during such a difficult time that, although she couldn’t celebrate with family and friends, she was not alone. 

Jennifer has recent experience working as the Associate Manager of Donor Relations for the American Diabetes Association. She is so excited to share her expertise in nonprofit fundraising with the ONA team and help grow our impact!

About Allison

Director of Communications

Allison is a graduate from UW-Platteville with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dairy Science. She has a passion for communicating, teaching and storytelling. She has much experience with 4-H and WILC, a nonprofit working in animal and premises identification and as a coordinator for the Columbia County Fairest of the Fair program. She has experience in creating posts, advertising events and educating people about these groups and organizations.

Allison is excited to be working with Operation Not Alone to continue to hone her skills in content creation and sharing stories while working on new projects and tracking insights on how impactful our social media is! She was inspired to be a part of the ONA Team because of her younger brother’s passion to honor veterans. Watching him decorate every veteran’s grave with a flower on Memorial Day and seeing him enthusiastically shake hands with and thank veterans everywhere from Walmart to community events truly motivated her to take action and show gratitude to not only veterans, by those actively serving our country. She thought there would be no better place to start than helping further the mission of Operation Not Alone!

About Nathan

Director of Marketing and Advertisement

Nathan is originally from Peshtigo, WI. He is currently a Junior at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point majoring in Professional Communication and double minoring in Business and Psychology. He first met Susan, ONA Founder and President, in 2016 with the Wisconsin Leadership Seminars (WILS), a non-profit that instills leadership skills and volunteerism in high school students. Since then, he has volunteered with ONA and felt inspired by their mission and the passion their leadership team shows. He is passionate about leadership and helping others, and dedicates himself to our vision. Nathan has family and friends in the Army and National Guard and he hopes to inspire others to learn about the service of our active duty service members as well as the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.

About Jess

Public Relations & Media Manager

Jess currently resides in Oshkosh, WI. She graduated from UW Oshkosh in 2017 with a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. She currently works as part of a local manufacturer’s office team. Her previous experience in marketing and donor stewardship at EAA and St. Norbert College has led her to join the ONA team, along with her friendships with MeKenzie and Susan. Jess has previously volunteered for Operation Not Alone with her son, husband, and in-laws at local events. She is excited to work with a vibrant, energetic team, contribute to the growth of ONA and make a difference in the lives of active duty service members and veterans, and their families.

About Matilda

ONA Intern

Matilda was born, and currently resides in Cudahy, WI. She graduated from UW- Oshkosh in 2019 with a degree in Radio-TV-Film and a minor in public relations. Her dedication to helping others and interest in grant writing led her to the ONA team. Matilda has worked for seven years delivering meals to hospital patients and will now be transferring into a similar role at the Milwaukee Veteran’s hospital. She is honored and eager to give back to people who have given up so much, both through her job and in her involvement with Operation Not Alone. Matilda is excited to utilize her writing skills to help ONA secure funding that will expand their efforts to serve Veterans. 

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