Our People

  • Missy Ringgenberg

    Executive Director

    Missy has the honor of being the very first respite provider for Respite Connection!  She began her career in home care and then with the Iowa Respite and Crisis Care Coalition before starting Respite Connection in 2002.  Missy received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa (sorry Hawkeyes… she’s a Cyclone fan at heart).  You will often see Missy and her three daughters at Respite Connection events.  She loves spending time with both her family at home and her Respite Connection family!



  • Lacey Giunta

    Director of Operations







  • Lejla Lindt

    Billing Specialist







  • Alicia Emanuel

    Project Manager






  • Taylor Knapp

    Human Resource Supervisor






  • Amanda Grimm

    Office Coordinator





  • Brittney Olson

    Service Supervisor

    Brittney came to Respite Connection in 2013 with a lot of experience working with individuals with disabilities in a residential setting as well as a school setting. Brittney is very active, spending time at the gym, playing sand volleyball or taking her daughter on stroller rides.  She also loves spending time at home with her husband, daughter and family.  If you’re looking for a good bargain talk to Brittney. She will shop until she drops on Black Friday! Next time you’re in the office, ask to see a picture of her dog Jack and his beautiful underbite!



  • Deb Pumphrey

    Service Supervisor

    Deb is a part-time Service Supervisor out of Ottumwa. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a Master’s degree in Social Work and has experience at the Dept. of Human Services and with AEA. Deb is an advocate and can be seen advocating for individuals with a disability at our state capitol and even in Washington D.C.!  Always on the go, Deb is extremely busy working (she has a full-time gig on top of her work with Respite Connection), spending time with her family (especially those grandkids!), and traveling. If you are a NASCAR fan, you may bump into Deb at one of the races, as she and her husband like to travel to watch.



  • Jamie McQuillen-Benge

    Service Supervisor


  • Jenny Black

    Service Supervisor

    Jenny Black graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Social Work. She has experience in a residential setting, a school setting with at-risk kids, and as a social worker for the state of Iowa. Jenny landed at Respite Connection in 2010 and loves the relationships that she develops with the people she supports. Jenny loves live music, being outside in the sun, spending time with family, and dinners with friends! Jenny also enjoys that she gets to be such a great support for her family members.



  • Karlee Walker

    Service Supervisor

    Karlee is one of our newest Service Supervisors in our Urbandale office!  But she is not new to Respite Connection!  She began her career with us in early 2019 as a Direct Support Professional providing Respite and Supported Community Living services part time.  Karlee graduated from Iowa State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology.  Her passion for helping others shines through as she does one of favorite parts of her job – meeting in person with those we serve on her caseload and their families!  In her free time, Karlee likes spending time with family and friends, watching sports, shopping and attending concerts!




  • Lynn Younie

    Service Supervisor

    Lynn has been with Respite Connection since 2010 and coordinates services for Respite Connection families in the northwest part of Iowa. She had an interest in working with families since high school, and went on to get her degree in Psychology from Clarke College. She has experience working with people with chronic mental illnesses, as well as at-risk youth and has worked as a Case Manager. After work is done for the day, Lynn and her husband enjoy spending time with their 2 sons and daughter.  One of her proudest moments – earning a trophy for her 7th grade spelling bee!  If the Green Bay Packers are playing, we know where Lynn will be – supporting her favorite team!



  • Mandy Westerdale

    Service Supervisor

    Mandy has been a Respite Connection Service Supervisor since 2016. She manages the eastern region of central Iowa, mostly between Grinnell and Iowa City. Mandy graduated from Upper Iowa University with a bachelor’s degree in human services and minor in psychology. She has over 20 years experience working with people who have a disability, which makes her a wealth of great information for the families she works with.  Mandy is passionate about working with clients and their families.  She really enjoys assisting others in reaching their goals.  She oversees a fun group of clients and their staff that gathers at least monthly in her area, supporting friendships and doing fun activities together!  Mandy loves spending time with her 3 boys and her husband. She enjoys traveling, shopping, scrapbooking, and a good football game!  We know where to find her on Friday nights in the Fall!



  • Martha Grewell

    Service Supervisor

    Martha graduated from Northwestern College with a degree in Social Work.  She has over 30 years of experience working with families and people with special needs as well as at-risk families and youth and foster families.    She has provided in a variety of settings including residential and case management for managed care.  She worked on grant programming for DHS and juvenile court, and was a Social Worker for the State of Iowa.  Martha enjoys reading, binge-watching crime drama shows, traveling, and spending time with her family.  A tried and true ISU fan, you will find her color-coordinated wardrobed self at basketball games cheering her team on!


  • Michele Mesman

    Service Supervisor

    Michele works part-time in our Urbandale office and really enjoys seeing how services can impact families in a positive way. She graduated from Dordt College with a degree in Social Work and has had a variety of roles in the helping field, ranging from a community mental health agency to case management, and using Applied Behavior Analysis with children. Michele was voted “Best Dressed” as a senior in high school, and could still land the title today with her scarf and necklace collection!  While Michele really enjoys the time she gets to spend with her Respite Connection families, she also really enjoys time with her own family. She and her husband home school their three children, and attend sporting events on a regular basis. And when she’s done with all that? A manicure and pedicure is in order!



  • Rachel Boley

    Service Supervisor

    Rachel Boley is a Respite Connection Service Supervisor for the Southeast Region of Iowa.  As a former special education teacher, Rachel has a passion for working with the indvidiuals she serves.  Rachel has an adult daughter, Bailey, and a love for pets.  She can often be seen working with her kitty co-workers:  Charlie, Simon, Tweety, and Sylvester; and her French Bulldog, Lola!  Rachel enjoys reading, movies and traveling!  She looks forward to the day when she can finally check off a big item on her bucket list….riding in a hot air balloon!

  • Stephanie Balagna

    Service Supervisor

  • Valerie Mergen

    Service Supervisor

    Valerie is our source of positive energy at Respite Connection! She came to us in 2009 with lots of experience working with waiver services. She received her BA in Leisure, Youth, and Human Services from The University of Northern Iowa. She works full-time in our Urbandale office and when she is not working, she is on the go. She enjoys spending time with her family who keeps up with her, no problem!! Some of her favorite things include: traveling, ziplining, hiking, and line dancing. She has yet to go skydiving but hopes to soar the skies soon.  When it’s time for our thrill seeker to slow things down she likes to pamper herself with a professional massage. When you come into the office, you will know Valerie by her huge smile and energy-no coffee needed!