Our Team

LEADERSHIP & SUPPORT TEAM

Andrea Robideau MA, LMFT 

Executive Director, Consultant & Trainer

Andrea is driven to see advancements in technology exponentially increase the effectiveness of people in human-service organizations. In her role as Executive Director, she connects the team’s vision and strategy to delivery as the SafeGenerations team provides innovative ways for child welfare organizations to accelerate the quality of their service, especially in the context of high anxiety situations.   

Starting with SafeGenerations in 2007, Andrea worked with families in crisis, front-line practitioners, and leaders throughout child-welfare systems. As a Licensed Signs of Safety Consultant, Andrea supported small and large implementations. Andrea’s favorite part of consulting with child welfare organizations is seeing peoples’ unique gifts supported within teams to create practical action toward the vision.  

Andrea obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Communication from Bethel University, a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School and her license as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Still today, Andrea is passionate about exploring ‘what works’ within the nuances of human interactions and decision-making so that together, communities can advance practice and see families have the best shot at safe and healthy outcomes.   

Bill Schulenberg  MA, LMFT

Director of Training, Consultant & Trainer

If you had told Bill upon his graduation from St. Olaf College that the majority of his professional career would be working within the child welfare world, he would have laughed with disbelief, and maybe a little bit of dread. Ironically, he has been doing just that with SafeGenerations since 2005.   

While working with high risk teens for six years in a local not-for- profit organization, Bill realized he wanted to take a “deeper dive” into understanding behavior, but more importantly, how to help them find solutions for their struggles. This led to a Masters degree in Psychotherapy and the beginning of his work with SafeGenerations. The challenge of reminding parents and/or social workers about who they are when they are at their best, even in overwhelming circumstances, is one worthy of pursuit. For Bill, this has most often happened in the context of training “on the ground” practice in agencies throughout North America.  

 In recent years, Bill has used his education and his experience with multiple agencies (large, medium, and small) to consult with agency leaders who are seeking to make meaningful systemic change.  It is deeply gratifying to work with passionate leaders to help bring the organizational change that is often so daunting. Bill is proud to be a part of the SafeGen team that has worked tirelessly to bring encouragement and hope to so many agencies who do such important work!  

Bill graduated from St. Olaf College with a double major in Biology and Religion and has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School.  

Dan McCormick

Chief Strategist & Chief Technology Officer

As a previous SafeGenerations’ Board Member and executive, and the former Regional Director and consultant for Signs of Safety®, North America, Dan’s leadership experience is well-grounded in child-welfare and human services. At SafeGenerations Dan combines his passion for families, his belief in the good work of social service professionals, and his proven abilities in technology innovation.   

Beyond his work in human services, Dan is an experienced executive, entrepreneur, strategist and battle-tested CEO with $200M+ global leadership success, and M&A and restructuring experience totaling billions of dollars. He has held executive roles at some of the most admired Fortune 100 companies in the world, including GE and Seagate, as well as strategic and operating roles at emerging, market-changing companies such as PC Express, Xiotech and Atrato.  

Dan is focused on the question, “How can technology clear the way for all of us to connect more deeply with the humanness of humanity and help families build a safe, nurturing environment for the kids that they love?”  

Sarah Sundman MA, LICSW  

Director of Family Services & Resources, Consultant & Trainer

Even as an adolescent, Sarah knew she wanted to work with children.  She began her career in child welfare in 2002. Since that time, she’s advocated for children, youth and parents to not only be heard, but to be intimately involved in planning and decision-making for their lives. Sarah worked directly in child protection organizations for 9 years as a forensic interviewer, case manager and foster care licensor.  For seven years, Sarah worked at Carver County Community Social Services in Minnesota where she was immersed in learning and growing in Signs of Safety practice.    

Sarah took a leap in 2011 to provide more training and consulting for SafeGenerations.  She strongly believes that child safety does not happen in isolation and that, when the work is skillfully led, families and networks can be empowered to make sure their children are safe long-term. In her consulting role, Sarah has assisted organizations to make systemic changes that have helped them build the rigor of their safety planning practices.  Sarah’s first-hand experience in working with families allows her to meaningfully connect with practitioners, while also consulting agency leaders in whole system change.  Sarah works hard to stay connected to frontline practice with children and families because this keeps her grounded, energized and constantly learning.    

Sarah holds a Master of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Winona State University.  

Sharon Meschke 

Office Administrator

As the Finance Administrator, Sharon is responsible for the bookkeeping functions of the organization as well as Payroll, HR, office logistics, and generally keeping the SafeGeneration’s team running behind the scenes. She started working with the SG Team in 2009 and brought with her over 20 years experience in the accounting & bookkeeping field, working in banking, healthcare and non-profit sectors. 

She enjoys working with a team that she admires for their commitment, passion, innovation & ability to adapt, all with their strong vision of making a difference in Child Welfare Systems. The Core Values of the Organization guide every aspect of their work and interactions making this an organization that she feels proud to support. 

 

Sherry Amelse LSW 

Director of Implementations, Consultant & Trainer

After beginning at the College of Saint Benedict as a chemistry major, Sherry’s personal connection to at-risk teens in a youth residential program led her to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and a career in child welfare.  During her 19 years in frontline practice, Sherry combined her deep sense of compassion for struggling families and her relentless attention to child safety whether she was investigating a report, providing ongoing services or advocating for policy changes.  In 2007, Sherry’s hope and energy for child welfare work was renewed when she began integrating solution-focused methods, including Signs of Safety and the Resolutions Approach, into her practice.  

Experiencing the child welfare system from the inside prepared Sherry well for her role as Director of Implementation.  She has had personal experience with many practice model initiatives over the years, including Alternative Response, Structured Decision-Making, Signs of Safety, the Resolutions Approach and more.  Regardless of the practice model, Sherry knows that child protection workers can be either the ‘victims’ or the ‘beneficiaries’ of the systems in which they work.  She passionately believes that, for frontline practitioners to do their best with families, they must work in a system that sets them up for success.    

Since becoming a full-time member of the SafeGenerations team in 2015, Sherry has worked with leaders of small and large child welfare agencies, including Missouri Children’s Division, to transform their organizations and to create a context where practitioners and families can thrive.  In 2018-19, Sherry played a key role in supporting the State of New York to navigate the preparations and planning necessary to bring their practice model implementation to fruition.  She is excited to come alongside you and your organization next!    

TRAINING ASSOCIATES

Chad Hayenga MA, LMFT 

 

Sarah Kulesa 

Sarah Kulesa has been a Child Protection and Children’s Mental Health ongoing case manager since 2005; over eight of those years have been at Carver County using the Signs of Safety framework. Sarah’s work has evolved throughout the years with direct guidance from Dr. Turnell through an exemplar case which consisted of denied child abuse where Sarah learned to use the safety goals and case-specific safety scales to drive cases forward. Sarah has been involved in training the state of Minnesota, the state of Maine, and other jurisdictions both in the US and Canada. Sarah uses humor and her vulnerability to show examples of current work as a way to connect with other social workers and supervisors.

Stacey Steinbach

Stacey has been a child welfare practitioner and supervisor since 2006 engaged in practice in Minnesota, a county supervised, state administered system. She has led training and consulting with agencies across the US and Canada since 2011. Stacey passionately brings 15 years’ experience into the training room to motivate and engage attendees to implement child welfare best practice. From these experiences, Stacey brings knowledge to transform the whole system in organizations. The training and consulting can be provided in person or virtually.

 

AFFILIATES

Erik Sulkers

 Eric Sulkers is a pediatrician from the Netherlands, specializing in child protection, endocrinology and diabetes. Eric has experience with the Resolutions Approach, the Signs of Safety approach along with other child protection models based on training he has received since 2006. This included co-hosting and sometimes co-presenting with individuals including Susie Essex, Andrew Turnell, Peter de Jong, Rob Saywer, Sue Lohrbach, Sonja Parker and Adriana Uken.

Eric hosted numerous workshops with Susie Essex where he video recorded Susie leading role-plays with actors to capture her work. In recent years Eric has spent many hours subtitling these videos to understand from a systemic perspective what motivational techniques Susie used to get parents engaged in the journey towards safety.

From 2006- 2017, Eric was the primary consultant to the Child Protection agency in Zeeland, a southwest province of the Netherlands. As part of that role, he was central in developing the use of the Signs of Safety (SofS) approach in Zeeland. Eric also established a high risk pregnancy project and a domestic violence project that were both grounded in Signs of Safety.

Eric is currently a trainer in Motivational Interviewing and in Solution-focused Therapy in the Korzybski Institute (Bruges) and in the Solutions Centre (Soesterberg).

Kay Whyte-Bell, MA Soc.Sci.

Consultant, Trainer, Coach, Practitioner Owner & Director, Arise Leadership

ROK, UK

Kay has 34 years experience of working as a practitioner, Leader and Strategic Adviser in child welfare and child protection in the UK, Europe and USA. Kay also runs her own successful business that includes Coaching and Mentoring of Senior Managers and Leaders from diverse backgrounds. During her many years of experience, Kay has also held high level positions specifically focused on Race and Equality, developing policy, procedure, training and auditing of strategic Equalities Plans as well as leading serious incident child care learning reviews that have focused on outcomes for children or young people from Black African heritage.

Ophelia Mac-Kwashie 

Consultant, Trainer, Owner, En Hel By

ROK, Sweden

Ophelia Mac-Kwashie is a Social Worker who has 22 years of experience in the child protection field in Sweden. Ophelia has always been passionate about her work with children and families and has for the past eight years been working as Independent Social Worker and takes on difficult cases while at the same time supports and guides Child Protection Services in Sweden, mostly in cases involving children with different ethnic backgrounds. As a Social Worker with African origin, Ophelia is not unfamiliar with the treatment Africans and marginalized groups receive when they have to deal with the Child Protection Services in Sweden. Ophelia has reached a stage in her dedication to Child Protection work to create a forum that will enable Child Protection Services in Sweden to start having conversation and discussion about this delicate topic.

Rob Maragh MSc

Consultant, Trainer, Non-Executive Director, Director

Rob Maragh has 36 years in children’s services as a practitioner, team manager and for 20 years Head of Service in a LAs in London and the South East England. Rob has innovated services pan London and was the Director of services for refugee and children and parents affected by life limited illnesses including HIV/AIDS. Rob is a non-executive director of 2 agencies in Health and Housing. He now works as a independent consultant working with agencies and professionals on anti-racist leadership and practice.

Susie Essex, BA Hons, CQSW, DSA, DASS

Susie has over 40 years experience in Child Protection work. Susie has experience as a Child Psychiatric Social Worker, Local Authority Child Protection Manager, Child Care Training Manager, and Consultant Family and Systemic Psychotherapist. Susie has also been a Lecturer in Child Protection at University of Bristol, and Head of Family Therapy Service.

In the early 1990’s Susie as Lead Practitioner, along with her colleagues Colin Luger, John Gumbleton, and Jan White, developed the Resolutions approach to denied/disputed Child Protection concerns and stuck cases. The approach put the welfare and safety of children at the center of the work and was in response to older children who had come forward to end abuse but didn’t want an end to their family. Susie and her colleagues had over 25 years experience using the Resolutions approach, with children and young people across the age range, and with their families and extended kinship systems. This approach is now being used in Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, USA, and Canada, a key emphasis is on openness and establishing a safe network for children.

Susie is now retired living in Cornwall UK.