Serenity Inns announces new Executive Director


Nonprofit supporting men in addiction has new leadership

The Serenity Inns Board of Directors is pleased to announce the hiring of Kenneth Ginlack, Sr., as Executive Director.  His first day with Serenity Inns will be December 6,  .

Ken is widely known within the Milwaukee recovery and behavioral health community and his reputation and network are impressive. He holds the highest licensing credential achievable within residential recovery in the state of Wisconsin: Independent Clinical Supervisor – ICS (ICS). In addition, he is a fully licensed Psychotherapist, as well as having earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work.

He is leaving his post as Director of Outpatient Treatment Programs, a key role in the leadership structure at Milwaukee County’s Behavioral Health Division, where he had oversight of a large staff and multi-million-dollar contracts. Much of Ken’s earlier career experience was with smaller treatment organizations. This well-rounded background in a variety of treatment modalities is a key reason he was selected to lead the next chapter of Serenity Inns’ growth, according to Board Chair Tom Dunst.

About his new role, Ken says, “Leading an organization like Serenity Inns is a dream come true. I feel like my entire career has been preparing me for this role in an organization where faith and connection with God and a higher purpose play critical roles in the recovery program. I’m excited to build on the strong foundation built by the Board, Volunteers and Staff to lead Serenity Inns into the future.”

Tom Dunst, Serenity Inns Board Chair, said, “What impressed the Board, even beyond Ken’s impressive credentials, is his humility and commitment to God and his higher purpose in serving others. He believes becoming connected to a faith community was a key part of his success in recovery. Securing Ken as our new leader will position Serenity Inns for a stronger leadership role within the larger Milwaukee treatment community.”

The leadership opportunity at Serenity Inns came about as a result of the retirement of former Executive Director Ellen Blathers earlier this year.  Interim Executive Director Kevin Lynch has served Serenity Inns since May 2021 and will be overseeing the transition through mid-December. During this transitional period, the Board of Directors and staff of Serenity Inns have done deeply reflective work to prepare the organization for the next chapter of service to the community under the leadership of a new Executive Director.

For more information or with questions from donors, volunteers, and friends of Serenity Inns, please contact Virginia Zignego, Director of Development & Administration, at or (262) 370-3993, or Kevin Lynch, Interim Executive Director at or (612) 723-4209.


Serenity Inns WUWM and WISN stories

Serenity Inns March 2017 Newsletter

Serenity Inns December 2016 Newsletter

Serenity Inns September 2016 Newsletter

Serenity Inns June 2016 Newsletter

The June 2016 newsletter is out and in it we’ll see a review of the 6th Annual Celebration of Recovery, a visit Jim Stingl from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, information about the Annual Cookout/Picnic, and a memorial for Robert Love. Click the link below to read the newsletter.

June 2016 Newsletter

Serenity Inns March 2016 Newsletter

Beauty at Serenity Inns

This past Wednesday Dixie and I brought the meal for the residents of the Inn. The conversation at the table was once more a witness to the ‘plus’ that many of the residents experience as part of Serenity Inn’s approach to recovery. Sitting beside me one of the men said, “This is my thirteenth time in a recovery program. There is not another like this.” Another said, “I have never lived in a more beautiful spot. This is great.”

As we enter our 12th year in providing opportunities for men to begin meaningful recovery, I am drawn to rehearse again the values and principles that have invited us to this work.

They continue to guide our decisions. Of all the wonderful insights that Samaritan Inns [in Washington, D.C.] shared with us in the early days, the rarest and least understood yet important has to do with ‘Beauty.’

Rick Deines

Rick Deines

We regard the men as ‘beautiful’ in the midst of their human struggle. We employ staff who embody ‘beauty’ in their personal style. The staff develops programs that depend on the role of ‘beauty’ in one’s life, therefore the ‘spiritual growth’ emphasis. The men witness over and over to the ‘beautiful’ people that daily come and provide a meal.

Serenity Inn is a facility that is so much more than a place to lay one’s head. The hands that built it from scratch 14 years ago chose the colors, the room arrangements, the architectural touches so a living space could be part of the healing process, a process emphasizing the role of ‘beauty’ in life. With Bill Buehler’s dedicated work to ‘maintenance’ along with other volunteers working on the landscaping, gardening and the tasks, ‘beauty’ is sustained. The yearly celebration at the Italian Community Center is an event of beauty, as are the stories that the men share. Add the summer picnic hosted by the residents, the alumni Christmas celebration and the whole emphasis on beauty becomes essential to how men recover.

When that ‘beauty’ is absent, unnecessary struggle ensues. We lose our focus. Less important values move beauty aside.

It is with that backdrop that I read “When Beauty Strikes” by David Brooks in this morning’s NYTimes (1/15/2016). I share it with the hope that as we plan expansion and provide more and more services, we will always emphasize the necessity of ‘beauty’ being primary in our work. This, I believe, is central to our ‘spiritual growth’ as the board.

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