Meet our Executive Team

Katie Lipsett

Co-Owner

Katie is a Cedar Rapids area native who has a strong passion and desire for connection in her community. Mom to Hayden (5) and Hudson (1), wife to Curran, social media marketing business owner (Hello Digital LLC), volunteer, and cycling instructor, Katie is a busy mom who wouldn't have it any other way. Taking on the ownership of Cedar Rapids Moms in 2021 fuels Katie's desire to create a strong community and network between small businesses and local moms. Her mission for Cedar Rapids Moms is to give all mom-focused local businesses a strong voice and connect moms with the local community.

Alyssa Wiliams

Co-Owner

Alyssa is a proud wife and mama to two kiddos ages 10 and 1 1/2, and is expecting their third! Her Type A personality is evident through her color-coded Google Calendar and her never-ending lists. Along with her role as Sponsorship Coordinator for CRMB, Alyssa also runs her own marketing company and is a Firefighter/EMT. Her favorite family activities include riding bicycles, playing board/card games, and anything outdoors. In her free time you’ll find Alyssa trying a new recipe, writing a handwritten greeting card, or playing with her Cricut.

Valerie Earnest

Editor

Valerie grew up in Naperville, Illinois, and is a Midwestern girl at heart even though she spent 16 years in Phoenix. She moved to Marion in 2016 with her husband, daughter (16), and two sons (14 and 11). Valerie graduated from BYU with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She is a former band director, a current substitute teacher and accompanist, and an avid reader and crafter.

Meet our Contributors!

Alicia Tjelmeland

Contributor

Alicia is a stay-at-home mom to Claire (5), Drake (4), and Kate (1). After growing up in western Iowa, Alicia ventured east to attend the University of Iowa and graduated in 2014 with a Political Science degree, and a minor in English. When she isn’t chasing kids, she loves finding time for scrapbooking, going on walks around the neighborhood, and watching any and every home renovation show! Alicia loves staying involved in her community, mainly through spending time in her church and volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. With three kids under five, her advice to moms with young kids is: “prayer, coffee, and then a little more of each!”

Amanda Kirk-Smestad

Contributor

Amanda is a lifelong Cedar Rapidian along with her husband Chad and their seven daughters. She has been blessed by her littles at the ages of 21, 24, 32, 34 and again at 42. Her oldest two girls are now young adults and living their own lives, her middle girls are in their tweens and teens, and to round it all out, identical twin toddlers, four dogs and a house that is never empty. Amanda’s passion for her family sometimes creates its own adventures. She is the family photographer as well as the family genealogist and loves to uncover the stories and mysteries of her roots.

Alyssa Burks

Contributor

Alyssa is an Iowa native but fairly new to the Cedar Rapids area. Wife to Carter, and mom to her little man, Ronan as well as two fur babies, Jaxon & Minerva. She has a Psychology & Sociology degree from Loras College and Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University. In her free time, Alyssa loves to be outdoors; camping, fishing, sitting around a bonfire, or baking for her family and friends. Alyssa loves iced coffee, no matter how cold it is outside, binging Gilmore Girls or Parks n Rec and spending time with her family. Alyssa is so excited to bring moms together and explore the wonderful Cedar Rapids community!

Amy Lovseth

Contributor

Amy is a North Dakota girl who fell in love with Iowa when she moved to Cedar Rapids as a newlywed in 2006. She's an elementary teacher turned homeschooling mom of twin girls (2011) and little sister (2014). Her ongoing struggle, is keeping faith and family at the heart of family life, while still encouraging each of her girls to follow their passions and find their unique gifts. Awkwardly athletic with a large dose of nerd, Amy is a lover of words, winter sports, theater, and chocolate. As a recovering perfectionist, she strives to be present over perfect each day and is forever thankful there are no limits on grace. She hopes you find love and encouragement through the posts on Cedar Rapids Moms because mom-ing is always better together.

Elise Handke

Contributor

Elise has lived in the Cedar Rapids area since she was 6. She lives in Marion with her husband, Chris, and two kids, Avery and Maddux. An engineer from Iowa State by education, she currently works from home in logistics for General Mills, and she loves not having to commute which leads to more time with her family! She stays active by running daily (which allows for her daily audiobook/podcast fix!) and she teaches taproom yoga weekly at a local brewery. She loves coffee, wine, leggings, gardening, decorating/crafting/diy projects, Target, cooking, and is an avid bargain hunter!

Ashley Bass

Contributor

Ashley is a small town girl from Northeast Iowa who moved to the big city of Cedar Rapids after high school. A graduate of Coe College, Ashley is currently an AK & Kindergarten teacher who loves crew neck sweatshirts, chai tea lattes, and spending time outdoors. Her family enjoys hiking, camping, and enjoying campfires together. Ashley met her husband Mitch back in Middle School. They were married in October of 2009 and welcomed their first child, daughter Stella, in May of 2013 and their second child, Archer, in December of 2017.

Makenna Hollandsworth

Contributor

Makenna grew up in small town Washington, IA and moved to Cedar Rapids a couple years ago to live with her husband, Sebastian. She stays busy with their son Jax (1), working as a Patient Care Tech and Phlebotomist at Mercy Medical Center, an engineer in the Army Reserves, and a sales associate at Bath and Body Works for a fun side gig. When she has free time she enjoys spending it outside, watching crime documentaries, and making new memories with her family. She also loves corny jokes, iced coffee, and second hand shopping.

Kelli Michel

Contributor

Kelli is the mama to an adorable 3 year old Marcel. The duo love to spend their time together in nature climbing trees and boulders, reading books, playing French Cafe, dancing, and singing Top 40 hits such as The Wheels on the Bus and Happy Birthday. By day, Ms. Michel has worn multiple hats that range from former interior designer to AMI Montessori educator, to freelance voiceover artist and story seller. Kelli's moonlighting experiences includes performances in the Twin Cities either writing, acting, improvising or singing. She's supremely grateful for the opportunity to connect with others and in her spare time hopes to bring world peace.

Courtney Dayton

Contributor

Courtney likes to describe herself as a lover of lists and post-its, all things nerdy, and as an all-around pretty awesome person. She lives in Marion with her husband, Jon, their two sons, and their two crazy cats. Both of her boys are rainbow babies, with Everett arriving in December 2013, and Hendrix in March 2016. Courtney is a Penn State graduate, and currently works as a team lead for a state agency. Aside from attempting to be successful at this parenting thing, she likes to go on adventures with her family that includes trying out all the local parks and ice cream stops. Courtney also likes to binge watch Netflix, attempt all things from Pinterest, and can be occasionally be found on her couch doing both.

Samantha Moskowitz

Contributor

Samantha was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. She grew up around a large, crazy, loving extended family who gets together every Sunday for lunch and to catch up. She spent six years working for The Walt Disney Company - where she met her husband directly in front of Cinderella Castle. They moved back to Iowa in 2016 to be near family and have three rambunctious kiddos who are 5, 6 &10. Autism awareness & understanding is a close cause to her heart as two of her kids have autism. When not working or spending time with family, Samantha enjoys reading, listening to music or a podcast, cooking, baking, and binge-watching shows with her husband.

Paola Ayers

Contributor

Originally from Puerto Rico and an Iowa State graduate, Paola lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband Ryan, their two kids Olivia (5) and Lucas (2), and their adopted dog Connor. She's a landscape designer by trade while also running Pikosa Creations, selling her handmade jewelry designs online. She loves spending time with family, staying active with yoga and running, as well as anything arts and crafts-related.

Kristin Ristine

Contributor

Kristin is a single, working mother to two (9,4). She has lived in the Cedar Rapids area her entire life, though just outside Cedar Rapids in Atkins. She enjoys the small-town life and the relationships that come with it but enjoys being close to Cedar Rapids for recreation. She is currently working towards a degree from Mount Mercy University. When she is not working or doing homework, she enjoys watching her children play sports, watching Hawkeye Football, reading, writing, and binging Netflix.

Olivia Stoner

Contributor

Olivia grew up just outside of Cedar Rapids in Mount Vernon, IA. She moved to Pella, IA for undergrad and loved working in the library, so she continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her Masters of Library and Information Science. She originally intended to be a higher ed librarian, but an internship at a public library working with kids convinced her to change her plans. After 9 years working as a full time children’s librarian, Olivia is now embarking on an exciting new chapter as a full time mama. She moved back to Iowa after graduate school to marry her highschool friend turned sweetheart, Chris, and they now live in Marion with their two, soon-to-be-three, kids and two cats. She enjoys reading, board games, podcasts, dancing, travel, and she recently earned her credentials as a 200 hour Registered Yoga Instructor.

Renee Bullis

Contributor

Renee was raised an Iowan before moving to Kansas City to play soccer in college and receive her doctorate of physical therapy degree. She and her husband moved back to Iowa a couple of years ago for her husband's residency at the U of I. Renee recently added "twin mom" to her life resume and is also a proud dog mom to her fur baby, Archie. She works as a women's health physical therapist in Cedar Rapids and has a passion for educating, empowering, and supporting women in all phases of life, especially through pregnancy and postpartum. A few of her other loves include a good cup of coffee, a craft brew, all dogs, the Great British Baking Show, and anything outdoors.

Elizabeth Kreher

Contributor

Elizabeth is a Cedar Rapids native who has been married to her husband for 12.5 years. By day she is a high school counselor, helping teenagers navigate through life, and by night she's a mom to two girls, ages 7 and 5. In her spare time, she is the owner of a small side business creating handmade earrings and bracelets. She loves traveling (with and without kids), getting lost in a good book, connecting with friends (new and old), indulging in good reality tv, and seeing her kids learn and grow. A former original writer for Cedar Rapids Moms, she's excited to rejoin the team in a different way and connect again with local moms!

Robin Hinrichs

Contributor

A good balance of part time fitness training at the Collins Aerospace Rec Center and stay at home mom life is what keeps Robin active. She is the mother of daughter, Bennett (4) and son, Brooks (9months). She met her husband, Robert, of 7 years on a blind date and it was movie like love at first sight but managed a long distance relationship until they became engaged and settled in Marion together after the wedding. You can usually find Robin and her family outdoors camping, fishing, hiking, and exploring. When they aren't outdoors they love musicals, sports, fun events in the area, and all things that include time with family and friends!

Sara Neuhaus

Contributor

Sara is a born and raised Iowan has lived in Marion since she was 6 years old. She and her husband Nathan are raising their two children, Finley (6) and Baker (2). Sara is a full-time barber in downtown Iowa City, but in her free time she loves spending time with her family and friends, hanging out outdoors, and watching tons of sporting events - especially the Hawkeyes!! She’s super excited to connect with all the wonderful moms in the Cedar Rapids area!

Kim Helmlichs

Contributor

Kim is a newly single mom of 4 kids, a hairstylist, and a Salon owner. She was adopted as a baby and raised an only child in Cedar Rapids, and has recently moved out to the outskirts of down with her kids to enjoy the country life. She loves to be outdoors doing anything and loves to garden, craft, create, develop and brainstorm fun plans. And don’t forget the coffee and wine!

Melissa Prins

Contributor

Melissa is mom to 3 kiddos and grew up in the Cedar Rapids area. Her adventurous children are ages 11, 5, and 7 months with a husband of 15 years. Melissa teaches Group Exercise classes at The MAC and is the Group Exercise Online Coordinator. She loves all things fitness, but her favorite is teaching cycle classes and searching for the perfect playlist. She enjoys having family and friends over for food and fellowship. Give Melissa a good cup of coffee and yoga pants, and she is good to go!

Emily Garcia

Contributor

Emily was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, am a mama-to-be to a baby boy, and a proud #policewife to her amazing husband, Robby! She works as a social media manager for Sisters Marketing + Co. and loves spending her free time creating and crafting (I’m obsessed with my cricut)! She is a huge home-body, old-soul, lover of the Hallmark channel and a hater of cooking - you don’t want her in the kitchen unless she's there to clean!

Shannon Wilson

Contributor

Shannon was raised in a very small town here in Iowa, but has long felt like a native to the Cedar Rapids area since establishing roots locally in 2005. She lives with her husband, Ben, whom she can’t live without, and three babies (yes, they are still her babies), Olivia (11), Henry (9), and Arlo (6) in Marion. The newest Wilson, Otis the mini goldendoodle, joined the family in May 2021. Shannon is passionate about relationships, meaningful human connection, and motherhood, and is incredibly lucky to get to nurture all of these interests plus some in her professional life.

Thank you to Sarah Fridono of Sarah Fridono Photography for caputring our team's headshots!