Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Mary Gronnert

I’m the Coordinator for the Schneider Foundation.  I’ve been married to Hank Kollross for 17 years and have four children and five grandchildren ranging from 1 year to 20 years.  We love to golf and put the top down on our ’69 Pontiac Firebird and cruise.   As a board member for CASA of Brown County, I have a strong passion for helping abused and neglected children.

My favorite moment from my initial DWOS experience in 2013 is winning the People’s Choice Award for my Jive.

Why did I decide to take part in DWOS All-Stars? My husband, Hank, was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia in October 2016 and needed numerous blood transfusions and platelet infusions eventually leading to a bone marrow transplant.  He said I had to do this and dedicate my dance to all the wonderful people who take the time to donate blood, platelets and organs to help others.   Thanks to all the treatments, donors and, by the Grace of God, he is now cancer-free. I especially want to thank his bone marrow donor, a 19-year-old female, whom we hope to meet some day. We call her Jessica and I am dedicating my dance to her this evening.

Get to know Mary Gronnert – Foundation Coordinator, Schneider National Foundation, Inc.

photo courtesy of Frievalt Photography, llc

Mary Gronnert is the Foundation Coordinator for the Schneider National Foundation, Inc. Mary has been employed with Schneider National for 39 years and prior to being names foundation coordinator she was the administrative assistant to Don Schneider.

Get to know a little more about Mary:

Describe your first dancing recollection. About how old were you and what was the occasion? My mother seemed to think at the age of 6 I needed some coordination and self-esteem. She enrolled me with Mary Jane VanDyse who taught tap and ballet dancing along with baton twirling in the basement at the Bank of Luxemburg. If you remember Mary Jane, she was the Packers Golden Girl in the 50’s and 60’s. Lessons were held in the late afternoons once a week. At the end of the session (I can’t remember how long a session lasted) we performed our routine(s) on stage at the Bay Theatre. Some of the mothers, grandmothers and aunts were great seamstresses and they made us some very elaborate costumes. My favorite dance was the Skater’s Waltz.

Who is your dream dance partner? I really don’t have a dream dance partner. A good partner would be someone who could just glide across the room.

 Who is your favorite dancer of all time on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and why? I have to apologize here. I really did not watch ‘Dancing with the Stars” until this past year. So, I would have to say Donald Driver because he’s so much fun to watch and extremely charming. And who can resist that smile?

 Why support the American Red Cross with your participation? Until hearing a presentation from our local American Red Cross several years ago, I associated them with holding area blood drives and providing babysitting instructions. I learned that the Red Cross does a lot more. They provide disaster relief. We are fortunate in our part of the country in that we don’t have to worry about hurricanes or earthquakes – but we have no idea when we could experience a fire, flood or tornado. The Red Cross is always available to assist with food and shelter and they work well in partnership with other area agencies that provide disaster services. This collaborative approach has always impressed me, as does their assistance for military families coping with deployments and emergency situations. Yes, they still have a babysitting course but in addition, they hold CPR classes and offer first responder training. Because they are not a government agency, they operate with volunteers and our generosity to continue their mission.

Hobbies or passions:

I love to spend time with my husband cruising the countryside in our restored 1969 Firebird convertible and, when there is room and time, pack up the golf clubs and cruise to a golf course. And, of course, there’s the grandchildren, they are the best! Working for the Schneider National Foundation has introduced me to a number of not-for-profit organizations and, being able to work part-time, I have become involved with many volunteer activities. I have been very fortunate and feel strongly about giving back to the community where I live and work.

Check out Mary and Mike practicing their Waltz!

American Red Cross Announces Dancing with our Stars 2013 Participants

Top row l-r: Betina Driver, Mary Gronnert, Emily Matesic, Amy Sehring, Erica VanBoxel Bottom Row l-r: Rick Bondowski Todd Bierowski, Sean Sanders, Pat Warpinski

The newest group of “star dancers” for the American Red Cross Dancing with our Stars fundraiser was unveiled Thursday night at a kickoff party at the Lambeau Field Atrium. The nine community members competing to raise the most funds to support local Red Cross efforts are:

Todd Bierowski – President/Owner, Décor Lighting Sales, Asst. Football Coach, St. Norbert College

Rick Bondowski – Senior Vice President, Regional Retail Director, Associated Bank

Betina Driver – Co-host, “The Better Half”

Mary Gronnert – Foundation Coordinator, Schneider National Foundation, Inc.

Emily Matesic – Reporter, WBAY-TV 2

Sean Sanders – Grocery/Frozen/Dairy Director, Festival Foods

Amy Sehring – Community Supporter

Erica VanBoxel – Green Bay Press-Gazette Magazine Editor

Pat Warpinski – Owner/Veterinarian of The Animal House

They will now spend the next four months learning two ballroom dances which they will perform at Dancing with our Stars 2013. That event will take place Saturday, February 23rd at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Green Bay. Dancing with our Stars is now in its fifth year and it is has been a sold-out event each year. Not only do those in attendance support local efforts, so can those not attending as the “star dancers” receive votes in the form of donations to the Red Cross. One dollar equals one vote. Donations can be made starting Monday, October 29 at this website:

The person who raises the most money between now and the end of the event will be awarded the mirror ball trophy. All funds raised support disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the life-saving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe, the transportation program and international programs.

Among the “pro dancers” participating in the event will be Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver. He’s the reigning champion of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”, taking home the mirror ball trophy during the show’s 14th season. Donald will dance with his wife, Betina.

DanceSport of Green Bay, Simply Ballroom, LLC and TC Dance Club of Appleton are the participating dance partner studios for the event.

Information about tickets will be available in January. More event information can be found on the following Red Cross platforms:

Dancing with our Stars website:

Dancing with our Stars blog:


Twitter: @NEWRedCross (#DWOS to join the conversation!)

Northeast WI American Red Cross Website:

Associated Bank, Festival Foods, the Green Bay Packers, Jack’s Maintenance, the Oneida Nation, Schneider National, WBAY-TV, WIXX and the Green Bay Press-Gazette are proud sponsors of Dancing with our Stars 2013.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at