Johnsonville, LLC announced that a new family member will succeed Ralph C. Stayer as board chair, who had served in that role since 1995.
His wife and co-owner, Shelly Stayer, was appointed as chairwoman and will lead the company’s board of directors and growth strategy. She becomes just the third leader in the company’s 74 years to serve in this role, behind co-founder Ralph F. Stayer and his son, Ralph C. Stayer.
“Shelly has been my confidant and advisor for the last 25 years, making an impact at Johnsonville in many capacities – from innovation and board leadership, to member and product development, and making our work environment an exciting and attractive place to learn and grow,” said company co-owner Ralph Stayer, who will remain as a board member. “She is as dedicated to our 1,800 members (employees) as I have been and I have great confidence in her ability to lead our board and growth moving forward.”
During her two decades at Johnsonville, Shelly Stayer led several new product introductions, with the most recent developments including a branded mustard line and the indoor Sizzling Sausage Grill. She also led Johnsonville’s multi-year marketing sponsorship efforts with the Tailgate Village at Lambeau Field starting in 2017 and the Milwaukee Brewers sponsorship that began last year.
“As Johnsonville enters its 75th year of business, Ralph and I are so very proud of all that our members – past and present – have given to this wonderful organization,” said Shelly Stayer. “Now that we look to the next 75 years, maintaining our unique culture and family-owned status will continue to be important. I’m honored to serve in this capacity.”
Outside her work at Johnsonville, Shelly Stayer has been an active philanthropist, entrepreneur and author. She’s served as a board member with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wis., and also with Edgewood College and Marian University. Her board experience also includes service on the boards of Artis-Naples, Shelter for Abused Women & Children, and the Golisano Children’s Museum in Naples, Fla. She’s also been a successful fund-raiser for several nonprofits in both Wisconsin and Florida. The Naples-based magazine e-bella wrote that Stayer “is often sought after and an outspoken voice for fundraising” as it highlighted her latest endeavor in building the Shelly Stayer Shelter in Immokalee, Florida, for survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. Her charitable work in Naples also earned her the Women of Distinction Award by the Community Foundation of Collier County.
In her hometown state of Wisconsin, Stayer recently founded the Reilly’s Ranch of Recovery, a working equine farm and addiction ranch in Eden, Wis., for women rebuilding their lives after drug or alcohol addiction. She’s also co-authored “The Weight of a Father’s Shadow,” and two Johnsonville cookbooks.