Member Bios - Happendance

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Happendance Administrative Staff
Sherrie Blankenship, CPA - Acting President

Sherrie Blankenship joined Maner Costerisan, the largest locally-owned CPA firm in mid-Michigan, in 2008. As a senior manager in the firm’s audit department, she primarily works with affordable housing, education, and nonprofit entities, including service organizations, trade associations, and religious organizations. She became a part of the Happendance Board of Directors in 2013. Although not a dancer herself, she understands that the arts play an important role in development. “I believe the arts are a vital part of our culture, and I enjoy seeing the arts community thrive through Happendance.”

Sherrie grew up in Fraser, Michigan and settled in Grand Ledge, Michigan, with her husband, Aaron, and their two daughters. In her free time, Sherrie enjoys camping, spending time with family - especially at the family cottage on Higgins Lake - and attending concerts (I’m a huge DMB fan!).
Jim Linnemann - Treasurer

Jim Linnemann is a physics professor at MSU. He spends much of his day attempting to outwit computers. He has performed experiments in high-energy physics at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and participates in a cosmic ray experiment in Mexico, called HAWC. He's been interested in modern dance since his graduate school days at Cornell, when a fellow researcher started taking classes. He's followed Happendance with pleasure since his arrival in Lansing in 1984, and has been pleased to serve as a board member of Happendance since 1995.

Jim lives in Haslett with his wife Ruth Eggert Linnemann. Ruth invites you to visit the dance chime at the MSU children's garden. Their daughter Rachel took classes at Happendance from age three, and participated in DANCE Lansing. On (rare) good days, Jim thinks of downhill skiing as a form of dance.
Jessica Livingston - Board Member

Jessica holds a BA from MSU in Interdisciplinary Humanities, and studied dance and theater at LCC and MSU. After college she moved to Seattle to study Salsa and Swing dancing. In 2000, she moved to NYC to pursue modeling and acting. After 9/11, she started her own massage therapy practice as a way to give back. Jessica returned to MI in 2006 with her then fiancé, and currently resides in East Lansing. While still practicing massage, she also enjoys working from home with a nutraceutical company, which affords her time to raise her twin boys, pursue dance, and Yoga.

She has 20 years’ experience as a seasoned Executive Administrator working in everything from fashion, interior design, and finance, to medical education, pharmaceutical advertising, and farm credit. Additional experience includes Haute Couture Showroom Director, VIP & Special Events Coordinator, Marketing & Social Media Specialist, and Executive Administrative Supervisor. Jessica and her husband are involved with their church where she currently serves as Women’s Board President.

Jessica has been dancing all her life, but only started taking classes in college. She continues to dance with Happendance and enjoys performing in the Spring Concert and DANCE Lansing. For the last decade, she has worked with LEPFA and the OTCA to include dance in Common Ground and Oktoberfest. She hopes to further the opportunities for adult dance and performance in Lansing.
Guillermo Z Lopez - Board Member

Along with my family, we moved to Lansing from Bay City, Michigan in 1984. In Bay City I was involved in the arts and as a promoter of multicultural dance and music presentations Executive Director for the Spanish Speaking Representative Council, Inc., a 501C-3 non-profit organization. That continued in Lansing with my involvement with the Cristo Rey Fiesta, the Ingham County Multicultural Day Program and numerous City sponsored performance programs. So, it made sense for me to consider serving as a member of the Happendance Board of Directors where we can open doors for all children and young adults who wish to pursue dance as a career. 

 

I have worked in education governance at the local board of education level, the state level as a Director of the Michigan Association of School Board Members, and at the national level as a Director of the National Association of School Board Members. I retired from the City of Lansing after 30 years of employment in the Department of Human Relations and Community Services. I attended Pan American University, Saginaw State University, and Lansing Community College’s Community Leadership Development Academy.  On a personal basis, my wife Mary Ann and I have 5 grown children, 10 grandkids, on great grandchild and as I write, another grandchild on the way. We both like to dance and I enjoy golfing as much as I 

Elizabeth Mittman - Board Member

Liz Mittman joins the Board of Happendance as a way of giving back to an organization that is important to her family. She is particularly interested in engaging with the Happendance community on issues around racial and economic diversity. Liz is an associate professor in the German Studies program at Michigan State University, where her primary teaching and research interests include East German and post-socialist studies, film and visual culture, and the intersection of gender, voice, and memory in autobiographical literature.

 

Liz grew up in Oregon and studied in Minnesota. She credits childhood experiences in Ethiopia and Afghanistan with giving rise to a lifelong passion for language study and international travel. As a student and professor, she has spent extended periods of time in Germany, including two memorable years in 1980s Leipzig and East Berlin. A lover of literature and the arts, she is a classical violinist who wishes she had the time to play in a string quartet. 

 

Currently, Liz’s time is divided primarily between her work at MSU and being the mother of two children; her daughter, Zebiba, is a member of Happendance Impulse (Young Artists) and a student of ballet and contemporary dance. Liz and her husband, Vaughn, live in East Lansing and are active members of the Racial Justice Task Force at Edgewood United Church.

 
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