Carol Gebhart, Executive Director

Carol Gebhart was hired as Executive Director in November 2017. Carol has a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa and a Master of Education in School Administration from Sam Houston State University. She taught in an inner city school in Houston, TX and was a private school administrator for 14 years. She was most recently the Director for the Office of Protection of Children for the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Carol’s professional career has focused on helping children and families. She is passionate about empowering women, and the health and wellness of women and children. Carol is a certified Health Coach who loves waterskiing, organic gardening, cooking, and hiking.

Michelle Brown, Development Assistant (former Executive Director)

Michelle Brown has been with the agency since its inception. She is a licensed social worker with over 27 years’ experience in the human service field working with adults and children. Five years were spent working for the Department of Human Services in the former Aid to Dependent Children Program, where she developed sensitivity to the problems of poverty. She worked 10 years for the former Gannon Mental Health Center Community Support Programs serving the chronically mentally ill. Additionally, she worked closely with her former clients on housing issues and saw firsthand the need for transitional housing in Dubuque for women and children. Michelle has her license in Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation and has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Iowa State University. She is an active member of the local chapter of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals), as well as Women’s Leadership Network.

Ann Lorenz, Development and Marketing Director

Ann Lorenz has been the Opening Doors Development and Marketing Director for 5 years. Ann has a Bachelor of Communications degree from Clarke University and a Bachelor of Business degree from the University of Dubuque. Prior to joining the Opening Doors staff Ann worked a total of 9 years at the Dubuque Regional Humane Society as the Development & Marketing Director and Community Outreach Director.  She is passionate about the mission of Opening Doors and she enjoys making a difference in the lives of women and children.  Ann has experience in marketing, event planning, volunteer and project management, fundraising, and more. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Women’s Leadership Network and she enjoys singing, dogs, and the Cubs (win or lose!)

Heather LuGrain, Opening Doors Program Director

Heather LuGrain started at the Teresa Shelter as a Program Advocate in April 2010. Before becoming Teresa Shelter Director, she was the Case Manager for over three years. She graduated with her Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa in 2009.  She has a wide variety of experience in social work including working for a child abuse prevention agency in Waterloo, IA and BHIS services work with children and their families. Heather is responsible for all aspects of the Teresa Shelter Emergency and Extended Stay Programs and Maria House Transitional and Permanent Supportive Housing Programs. She also oversees the “Doorways to Hope” job skills and employment readiness training program that is managed by Sr. Kathy Flynn.  She was previously the Teresa Shelter Program Director.

Cozette Oberhoffer, Office Manager

Cozette Oberhoffer joined the Opening Doors staff in January of 2017.  She previously worked as the office manager and event coordinator for the Dubuque County Fairgrounds for seven years, and as a manager and event coordinator at Clarke College prior to that.  Cozette grew up in the Keywest area of Dubuque, then moved to Cedar Rapids and graduated from Kennedy High School.  She moved back to Dubuque in 1987 where she married her husband Dan and raised their three children.

Kiresten Bauer, Teresa Shelter Case Manager

Kiresten Bauer started at Opening Doors as the Teresa Shelter Case Manager in August 2016. Kiresten received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in social work from University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Before coming to Opening Doors, Kiresten worked at Orion Group Home in Platteville for almost two years working with troubled adolescents and managed an Orion group home in Madison. Afterward, she worked as a social worker in Milwaukee, WI.

Brittany Beesecker, Maria House Case Manager

Brittany Beesecker started at Opening Doors as the Maria House Case Manager September 2016. Brittany received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Before coming to Opening Doors, Brittany worked at Orion Group Home in Platteville for almost two years working with troubled adolescents.

Sr. Kathy Flynn, Employment & Education Case Manager

Sr. Kathy Flynn is Opening Doors Education & Employment Specialist.  She manages our “Doorways to Hope” program that provides both an education component and hands-on work experience to help our residents gain the self-confidence and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency.  She previously worked as an overnight advocate at Sojourner Truth House/Sojourner Family Peace Center, a domestic violence shelter for women and children in Milwaukee.

Celeste Dolter, Program Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator

Celeste Dolter, has been Opening Doors’ Program Assistant (and volunteer coordinator) since August of 2017. Celeste has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Clarke University. Prior to joining the Opening Doors’ team, Celeste worked as an Activities Coordinator at Stonehill and ran the Meals on Wheels Program in Dubuque County. Celeste has a strong passion for helping those in need and enjoys making a difference in the lives of others. Celeste plans to continue her education next year, and receive her Masters in Clinical Psychology, with the hopes of someday obtaining her Doctorate. Celeste enjoys spending time with her family and friends, music, and her two cat fur children. Interested in volunteering for Opening Doors? Email Celeste at