Diana Lang, President & Founder
As the founder and executive director of Iowans for Adoption, Diana Lang hopes to educate others about adoption terminology, the adoption processes and the positive aspects of adoption that can enhance the well-being of children and families. Adopted at birth, Baltimore is in reunion with her birth family members. Her birth father was also adopted. She is a proud mom of two children—Blake and Danielle. Blake is biologically-related to her and she adopted Danielle six months after her birth. Diana earned her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Her desire to educate others about adoption stems from her experiences as an adoptee, an adoptive parent and an adoption researcher. She interviewed and surveyed numerous individuals who have been involved in the adoption process. The majority of individuals who participated in her research indicated a need to educate others about adoption as a positive parenting option.
Rusty Johnson, PR Coordinator
Raised in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Rusty Johnson defied the odds of the foster care system. Beginning in the fourth grade, Johnson moved into several temporary foster homes. By the sixth grade, elementary music teacher Ms. Carolyn Brickley agreed to take Johnson as a foster child. During supervised visits, he also connected with his biological mother, who in return, gave him a saxophone. After his mother’s death in 1994, Johnson used music and his saxophone to ease his childhood struggles. In 2006, he combined music and advocacy to create “Rusty Johnson’s American Dreams” tour. His child welfare advocacy has received national recognition and awards. In 2017, on his birthday, he was adopted by Ms. Carolyn Brickley.
Erin Kiernan, Honorary Board Member
Erin is a co-anchor of WHO-TV Channel 13 news team and an advocate for adoption and adoptive parents’ rights. Kiernan became pregnant at age 16 and chose adoption for her son, who is now in his twenties and remains an important part of her life. She and her husband, Michael, made public their eight-year struggle to start a family of their own, a process that involved multiple rounds of artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. The experience prompted her to help spearhead a bill in the Iowa legislature that would guarantee an adoptive parent the same maternity leave as a birth mother. Today, Erin and Michael are the proud parents of their two children.
Christopher Pose, Attorney
Chris Pose spends his time working on a variety of matters relating to real estate transactions. He represents clients in seeking matters which require approval from municipal building and zoning authorities. He also represents parties involved in real estate tax proceedings to local boards of review, the Iowa Property Assessment Appeal Board and district court. Chris also represents utilities seeking to acquire rights of eminent domain following issuance of a franchise by the Iowa Utilities Board. Chris brings a fresh perspective to the board and enjoys helping adoptive families.
Bill Pearce, Vice President
Bill Pearce is the co-director of Adoption Associates of Iowa and is certified as an Iowa adoptions investigator. Adopted by his stepfather at the age of 15, Pearce began to support adoption at a young age. He held numerous professional seminars on child development, juvenile justice, family dynamics and adoption issues. Pearce earned his B.A. and M.A. in sociology at Drake University. He has been married for 56 years and has two children and three grandchildren. Pearce worked in Juvenile Court for 25 years and served as the Iowa Court System unofficial lobbyist. He free-lanced as a writer, investigated contested custody cases, managed a psychiatric clinic and now owns a secular, adoption agency. He is the co-author of Scruffy Shares a Secret, an illustrated storybook about young children of alcoholics and the co-author of Tough-Minded Parenting. Pearce has an understanding of individuals with problems, families as systems, formal organizations, budgets, policy and law.
Natalie Mahoney, Marketing & Technology Coordinator
As the marketing and technology coordinator for Iowans for Adoption, Natalie is responsible for writing about adoption, orchestrating social media, handling communications/public relations, updating the IFA website and managing adoption-related events for the organization. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and earned her B.S. in public relations and B.A. in Spanish. She is currently a public affairs coordinator at PolicyWorks Iowa, where she plays an active role in helping clients achieve their public policy objectives. Although Natalie has not been adopted, she enjoys working with birth families, adopted individuals and families and sharing their stories throughout Iowa.
Michelle Vogel, Treasurer
Adopted as an infant, Michelle joined the family of a couple that adopted a baby girl five years earlier. Michelle always wondered about her biological family. In 2007, an unexpected chain of events reunited Michelle with her biological parents. While they remain in contact, Michelle believes adoption was a blessing for her and cannot imagine having to make such a difficult, selfless choice as an expecting mother. Michelle joined IFA because she wants to help others understand that adoption is a positive, powerful choice. Michelle lives in Ames with her husband, Jake, and their three young children, and serves as president of Sigler Companies.
Ryan Genest, Adoption Attorney
Ryan Genest attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale earning his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1989. He attended Drake Law School in Des Moines, Iowa earning his law degree in 1992. He has been in private practice since graduating from law school. Genest practices in domestic relations (including adoption) and criminal law. He has represented clients throughout the state, including all of the counties in the central Iowa area. He is a member of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association and the Iowa and American Bar Association’s Family Law section.
Sean Presnall, Advertising Coordinator
Sean Presnall was born and raised in Ankeny, Iowa by Denny and Bev Presnall. Sean graduated from The University of Northern Iowa with a degree in communications and marketing. Sean met his wife, Jordan, at UNI and married in 2017. Together, they enjoy cooking, biking, boating and enjoying time with their family. Sean believes that creating awareness for the adoption process is a key ingredient to improving the lives of children, as well as the lives of families in need. Sean is employed at WHO-TV Channel 13 News in Des Moines as an advertising account executive.