TRC Board Welcomes Robin Sereno as Executive Director, Gives Thanks and Apology to Brenda Konkel - Tenant Resource Center

TRC Board Welcomes Robin Sereno as Executive Director, Gives Thanks and Apology to Brenda Konkel

The Tenant Resource Center (TRC) Board of Directors is thrilled to announce the hiring of Robin Sereno as new permanent Executive Director. Robin brings an incredible depth of knowledge around housing and homelessness in Dane County, and commitment to racial and housing justice. Robin comes into the organization with 20+ years of professional leadership experience including program development, research, fundraising and direct service. She serves on numerous boards and coalitions throughout Madison and Dane County, focusing on homeless issues, eviction prevention as well as a variety of other anti-poverty measures. “I am so honored and excited to be a part of this incredibly passionate, talented and justice-driven team. I believe that as a community we agree that there is important work to be done regarding housing, which is why it is such a privilege to be in this position. I look forward to building upon the amazing work that Brenda and everyone else at the TRC has accomplished over the past 20+ years,” says Sereno.

"From our first meeting, Robin impressed us with her deep, nuanced understanding of the nature of homelessness and housing insecurity in Dane County, wisdom gained from years of working directly with the communities we serve. Her background as a counselor and her experience with marginalized communities brings a trauma-informed approach to our mission to seek housing justice in Wisconsin," said Andrea Singletary, president of the TRC's Board of Directors. "She's demonstrated a strong commitment to growth and development: of the TRC as an agency, of our staff as professionals, and of herself as a leader. We're excited for her to head the organization as we write our next chapter." We are eager to welcome her into our agency, and hope that the TRC’s community will do so as well. 

In that vein, we invite all community members to our Fall Fundraiser, date and time TBD, to meet our new Executive Director and speak to her about her vision for the TRC.

Additionally, we the Board wish to officially commend Brenda Konkel for her incredible dedication to the TRC for the 27 years she worked for this agency, with 23 years in the role of Executive Director. Brenda exhibited unrelenting selflessness during her time with our agency, working long hours with low pay, to expand the reach, scope and funding of the TRC many times over. Brenda has become one of the foremost experts on tenant-landlord law in Wisconsin over her time with the TRC. She continually encouraged staff to deepen their understanding of the law and its impact on the lives of everyday Wisconsinites. Brenda has been an impassioned and dedicated voice for some of the most marginalized members of our community, including those who experience homelessness. She has embodied the belief that we can and must provide services for individuals steeped in poverty and those who experience homelessness while preserving their dignity, compassion and hope. She has, without doubt, advanced the belief that housing is an inalienable human right.

Brenda's separation from the TRC last fall did not involve progressive discipline, nor did it afford her the opportunity to understand, explain, dispute, or rectify the allegations of financial mismanagement made against her. We acknowledge that in choosing a mediated settlement, Brenda opted to sacrifice her personal and professional reputation rather than risk further damage to the agency. 

Brenda has put the agency’s longevity and health above her own needs even as she was publicly shamed for her dedication. She remained a staunch ally of the TRC after her removal, and graciously returned to the organization after being elected to the Board in June. In the past month she has continued to work relentlessly on behalf of the TRC, agreeing to step down as a voting board member in order to be able to fully support incoming Executive Director Robin Sereno as she transitions into this role. 

We, the Board, apologize to Brenda Konkel for the harm she has endured in the past year as a result of her separation from the Tenant Resource Center, and for the Board's contributions to that harm. We commit to making progressive discipline and ethical just cause a given in any future discipline actions for any employee, and will prioritize anti-oppression measures in our upcoming strategic planning process.

In the last year, many things have been said about Brenda Konkel, but this is what we as the Board of Directors believe absolutely: Brenda has always advanced the mission of the TRC, she has worked harder than any reasonable person could expect, and she has our deep appreciation for decades to come. Brenda doubled the TRC budget in three years (2015- 2018), and tripled it in under 10 years, providing the agency with a stable base from which to grow. 

Brenda Konkel’s leadership over her 27 years of service to the TRC have made us the agency we are, and we trust Robin Sereno to lead us into the future. "I'm excited to welcome Robin Sereno as Executive Director, and have complete confidence that she will provide strong, compassionate and thoughtful leadership to guide the Tenant Resource Center forward through the challenges that come with this new chapter," says Konkel. 

Throughout this year of change, we have continued to deliver services vital to our community and work towards housing justice in Wisconsin. This is due to the incredible commitment of our amazing and unparalleled staff, who have worked every day to ensure that our clients are cared for even as the agency experienced a time of instability. Moreover, staff were instrumental in our interview and hiring process. We thank all staff, past and present, for their efforts. They are the glue that holds this agency together. Today, with the hiring of Robin Sereno, we move forward as an agency that is united, committed, and more galvanized than ever to fight for justice, in a time in which it is deeply needed. We invite you to fight with us for housing justice! Come and join us in solidarity and celebration for our Fall Fundraiser. Watch our website and Facebook page for details.


Members of the Tenant Resource Center Board of Directors: 

Andrea Singletary, president
Justin Schober, treasurer
Laura Dixson-Kruijf
Joan Kemble
Zeb Patek
Anders Zanichkowsky

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