With decades of combined experience in the coffee industry, in business management, and in working to create second chances for post-prison people, the leadership of the Walls to Wages Foundation is now bringing all three areas together to create a strategy for success for decades to come.

Pete Leonard

Founder/Executive Director

Pete Leonard is the Founder and Executive Director of the Walls To Wages Foundation. He is responsible for the overall vision and strategy. 



The Walls to Wages Foundation is inspired by the business model of Second Chance Coffee Company, which Pete founded in 2007. Blending his passion for exceptional coffee with the larger purpose of training and employing post-prison people, Pete is the inventor of a proprietary roasting system that has been in use since 2009. The company has been doing business as “I Have a Bean” since 2010.

I Have a Bean coffee has won numerous awards while the company has employed more than 60 post-prison people across all roles. Prior to 2007, Pete started and led three technology companies and has acquired 2 patents for software that he was instrumental in creating. He worked in various technology roles at Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting for 13 years before leaving to start his first technology company in 1999.

Board Member

Dr. Karen K. Swanson is the Director for the Institute for Prison Ministries, Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. She has more than 20 years of experience working with the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.

Karen is certified in Motivational Interviewing, Bridges Out of Poverty, Justice Ministries, Anger Management, Moral Recognation (MRT), and Trauma Healing. She has co-authored All Rise: Ministry with Justice-Involved Women, and Released: Preparing for your Incarcerated Loved One’s Return Home.

Karen has provided a number of workshops at professional conferences and developed the Correctional Ministries Certificate Program. She is a member of the American Correctional Association and American Jail Association.


Board Member

Mike Ebert is Founder and Principle of Firedancer Coffee Consultants, which he created to help specialty coffee companies achieve success. He has extensive experience in all facets of the specialty beverage supply chain and offers an educational approach to help create the right strategy for long term success.

Mike has worked in the coffee processing, packaging, and distribution industry for over 30 years. In the past 6 years at Firedancer, Mike has worked in the specialty beverage market, focusing on quality, employee, and food safety and helping companies achieve operational excellence. He has received certifications in the various food safety certification schemes and has demonstrated proficiency in program development, management, internal audit, root cause analysis, HACCP, GMPs, and food safe certification processes.

Mike is also a AST (authorized SCA trainer) for the Specialty Coffee Association. He teaches around the world in areas of green coffee, sensory skills, coffee roasting, brewing and coffee science. He also serves on the Educational Council of the SCA, helping refine and create educational programs for them.


Board Member

Susan Mennenga, MPA, is President of Wings of Transformation Inc., a consulting firm to support nonprofit organizations in fundraising and strategic planning. She is the Special Project Manager for the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s Cold War Veterans Memorial Design Competition for the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. 

Susan has served in various capacities over the years, including as Vice President of Development at Presence Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois and Vice President of Development and Executive Director of Saint Anthony Hospital Foundation. In 2005, she received the Ascension Health Sister Mary Walter Boyle Award for Innovation in Philanthropy for the renovation of a pediatric unit. Prior to that, Susan held the position of Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Illinois Chicago, School of Public Health.

Susan holds a Master of Public Administration degree with an emphasis in nonprofit management from the University of Illinois Chicago. She holds a Certified Fundraising Executive credential and is a certified Master Trainer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Susan is a faculty member at the Dunham School of Business & Public Policy at Aurora University, where she teaches nonprofit strategic management and planning, along with Organizational Behavior.