Leadership Transition at Wisconsin Family Council

Leadership Transition at Wisconsin Family Council

Leadership Transition at Wisconsin Family Council

Christine File, new President of WFC
Julaine Appling, President Emeritus of WFC

In late 1997, I started working at Family Research Institute of Wisconsin. It was a small
operation but had considerable impact, especially in the state legislature. In the first year I was
with the organization I did research, wrote copy for various needs, processed gifts, answered
phones, attended public hearings, and in general did whatever was needed. I have somewhat
jokingly said to people that we pretty much ran the 3-person organization out of a shoebox!

I also told the president of the organization that while I could and would act as a kind of office
manager, it would eventually become uncomfortable for me because that wasn’t who I was and
was not using well my God-given strengths, talents, interests, or experience.

Some board members understood what I was saying, and in late 1998, the board asked me to be
the Executive Director. After considerable prayer, thought, and counsel, I accepted. And thus
began the ride of a lifetime!

Now, going on 27 years with this organization (renamed Wisconsin Family Council, with
Wisconsin Family Action formed in 2006), 26 of which have been as the leader (currently
president), I know it’s time for a leadership change here. I know that as surely as I knew I was to
say yes way back in 1998.

Honestly, because I have long been a “student” of organizations and administration, I knew when
I started this position, that I needed to begin looking for a successor. I’ve kept my eyes and ears
open for years, and we’ve had a couple of hires that we thought might work out to be the next
president of both Wisconsin Family Council and Wisconsin Family Action. However, we ended
up still looking for the next leader.

A couple of years ago, I told the board I would like to step down as president by the end of 2024,
and my announcement set in motion a very serious national search for the next president of
WFC. No longer are we a 3-person organization operating out of a shoebox. By God’s grace, and
because of friends like you, WFC has become the state’s premier pro-family, pro-church

Over the years, our budgets have increased significantly, we’ve added new programs, our
outreach and impact have grown exponentially, and our team has more than tripled. And all of
this has been because of God’s good hand upon us and because of the ministry friends He has
brought our way. Certainly, our leadership needs have changed over these years of growth as

Our nationwide search actually resulted in finding a remarkable successor-leader right here in
Wisconsin. I am so pleased and excited to announce that the next president of WFC is
Christine M. File, who grew up in Wisconsin and has lived here most of her life. As you will see
in the accompanying letter from our Board Chairman Lee Webster, Christine is well qualified to
lead WFC into the future.

Being the president of WFC has been an incredible honor and a privilege. I have been humbled
to serve in this capacity and am grateful to the Board of Directors for the opportunity to provide
leadership for the organization and for their godly guidance and wisdom through these years as
we have expanded our operation and reach in every way. I am especially thankful for the Board’s
thorough, prayerful work as we together sought the next leader for WFC.

While I am stepping out of the role of president of WFC, as President Emeritus I will be working
closely with Christine as we make this transition. Christine joins us on February 19, 2024. When
the time is right at some point this year for me to step completely away from WFC, I will
continue to be involved with making Wisconsin a great place for families by encouraging people
of faith to put their beliefs into action.

The future is so bright for WFC! Because we have a faithful God and incredible partners and
friends like you, and now an exciting, immensely qualified new leader for these organizations, I
am more convinced than ever that the best days for WFC lie ahead as it, in partnership with you,
continues to strengthen, preserve, and promote God’s plan for marriage and family, the sanctity
of human life, and religious freedom in our great state.

We have planned for this time for years; now is the time to put the plan into action. Thank you
for standing with us over the years of my leadership and now as we pass the baton to the
next-generation leader!

May God grant His incredible blessings to you, our dear friends, and also to the WFC Board of
Directors and Christine File in the days ahead.

Serving with gladness and gratitude,
Julaine K. Appling

Dear Ministry Friend,

As Chairman of the Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to inform you of some exciting
transitions that are taking place with Wisconsin Family Council. Julaine Appling has been
diligently serving as President of the organization for over 25 years. Approximately two years
ago she informed the Board that it would soon be time for a leadership change. She has worked
closely with the Board to move in that direction and—after a nationwide search and much
prayer—we have found an exceptionally qualified candidate to step into her position as of
February 19th.

We are pleased to announce that our new President, Christine M. File, comes to us with great
credentials and experience. She is a Hillsdale College graduate and has a master’s and a law
degree from Regent University. Christine interned at The Heritage Foundation and has
experience working for State Supreme Court Justices in both Indiana and Wisconsin.
Additionally, Christine is a Blackstone Fellow with Alliance Defending Freedom. She most
recently joins us from the corporate world where she continued to stay involved with grassroots
efforts on issues currently impacting her community, state, and nation. Christine and her husband
and family live in Southeastern Wisconsin and are active in their church and community.

Under Julaine’s leadership Wisconsin Family Council has over these years become a nationally
recognized leader as a state family policy council and, by God’s grace, has been effective in
strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life, and religious freedom in our
home state.

Thankfully, Julaine is not retiring. She will continue to partner, serve, and consult with us as
President Emeritus. Words can never express our appreciation for Julaine’s vision, leadership,
and faithfulness to God as well as to the citizens of Wisconsin and our organization. We will
keep you posted on details for a special recognition event later this year.

Thank you for your ongoing support! Please keep us all in your prayers as we move forward in
our Lord’s service!

E. Lee Webster
Chairman, Board of Directors
Wisconsin Family Council

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