June Kress (‘05) Principal, June Kress Consulting, LLC and Michael Frohm (‘14), COO for Goodwill of Greater Washington
October 1, 2019
It all started with a lasagna.
For many LGW members, life-changing relationships are forged during the Mindtrust. But for Michael Frohm (‘14) and June Kress (‘05), their’s began with something far less serious: lasagna.
For June, the former Executive Director of the Council for Court Excellence, LGW Member Dinners have proven a wonderful way to continue connecting with LGW’s vast network of local changemakers.
“I never miss a Member Dinner,” June says. “I always meet someone new and interesting, and really get to know them. In fact, these are the people I have gotten to know the best. There is nothing more intimate than breaking bread.”
So it was with eager anticipation that June welcomed guests into her home for her second Member Dinner. And it was here that she met Michael Frohm (‘14), COO for Goodwill of Greater Washington. Over an animated meal of June’s homemade lasagna, June and Michael discovered a common interest: people re-entering the DC community from the criminal justice system. And as conversation unfolded, June also discovered the board member she’d been looking for.
Soon thereafter, Michael joined the Council of Court Excellence Board and their strategic planning committee, embarking on a transformative strategic planning process. Over the course of a year, June worked with Michael and the group to align 40 people around a shared vision and plan for the Council.
“This was not easy,” says June. “But people gravitate toward Michael, and his commitment was unwavering.”
So years later, when June was advising another organization in transition, it was easy for her to spot the need for Michael’s unique combination of charismatic leadership and expertise in the re-entry space. The Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop, a prison-based storytelling education organization that also builds lasting community connections for men and women leaving incarceration, was moving into a period of rapid growth. Michael’s interest in the Free Minds’ mission, combined with his expertise in managing organizational growth, made him an ideal candidate for a role on the board.
Michael joined Free Minds as a board member and helped enhance a partnership between the organization and Goodwill of Greater Washington. The partnership connects Free Minds members with Goodwill’s professional certification programs in Goodwill operations, and The Goodwill Excel Center, a tuition-free adult charter high school. This exposure to certificate-level training and education is critical for men and women with a history of incarceration as they begin to rebuild their lives and careers. Today, hundreds of Freeminds members have the opportunity to enroll in Goodwill of Greater Washington’s programs and graduate with the credentials and skills they need to move confidently away from incarceration, and toward a promising career.
From the dining room to the board room and beyond, what started as a dinner conversation has grown into a meaningful second chance for formerly incarcerated individuals across our region. And, today, June and Michael remain actively involved with each other, and LGW.
“The people who join LGW are all very successful individuals,” says Michael. “But what really sets them apart is they want to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Different backgrounds. Different Signature Programs. A shared lasagna. At LGW, this is how diverse leaders merge passion and expertise to advance our community.