Peggy Hanley grew up in Waco, Texas, coming to Austin in 1999 to attend the University of Texas, graduating with a Bachelor of Journalism. With more than 11 years of experience in the nonprofit industry, Peggy most recently served as director of development for St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, focused on cultivating major gifts and planning for a multi-year capital campaign. She has also worked with St. Francis School, United Way Capital Area, and Cathedral School of St. Mary. Peggy earned her Master of Art degree in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2011. She is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and a founding member of Advancing Austin.
Outside of work, Peggy enjoys spending her time with her large extended family and friends, mainly enjoying the incredible wine and food in Austin.
As the Executive Director, Peggy is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, geared toward fulfilling the...more
Senior Director of Events
Originally from Cherry Hill, NJ, Hillary Welde moved to San Francisco, CA, in 2001 to pursue a career in the arts and enjoy the celebrated food and wine of the region. As the gallery director for Kathleen Avery Fine Art, she participated in art fairs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York and traveled internationally to expand the gallery’s collections. In 2007, Hillary moved on to the Academy of Art University as the director of the University’s three galleries and coordinator of two annual fine art fundraising auctions.
After several visits to Austin, Hillary and her husband fell in love with the energy of the city and the beauty of Hill Country. In 2011, they made the move to Austin to take advantage of new opportunities and raise their family.
As the Senior Director of Events, Hillary is responsible for organizing and executing all of the Foundation’s premier events.more
Director of Wine Education
Mark is a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) with the Society of Wine Educators and has worked in the wine industry in various capacities for over 13 years. He has a weekly wine radio show and podcast in Austin on 91.7 FM KOOP, called Another Bottle Down, and teaches and consults for numerous industry organizations through The Illuminated Bottle. Mark hosts the WFFT monthly educational wine class and is growing and developing high caliber educational programs for the wine-loving WFFT membership, public, and industry.
Growing up in New Jersey and going to college at Rutgers to study Spanish and Math, sent Mark to spend a year in Spain to get bit by the wine bug. After graduation, he moved to Argentina to study wine business and then to Washington State to work as Assistant winemaker at :Nota Bene Cellars in Seattle. During these formative five years immersed in wine production, he also began to broker small-production Washington wines, first in the Pacific Northwest, then to 5 different...more
Membership & Events Coordinator
Maddie Ward grew up in Virginia and graduated from The University of Virginia where she studied Poetry Writing, Sculpture, and Spanish Literature. She leveraged those highly-marketable degrees to get a job as a farm laborer and assistant hard cider brewer at small, family-owned businesses in Central Virginia. She moved to Austin in 2014 with her husband looking for warmer weather and better tacos.
You will see Maddie at all of our events, big and small. She's also available to help with any and all membership questions. Before taking on this role at the WFFT, she worked as Events Coordinator for Antonelli's Cheese Shop.
When she’s not at work, she enjoys spending time with her cat, volunteering with the dogs at the Austin Animal Center, and enjoying all the delicious local restaurants, breweries, and other food and beverage purveyors in Austin.
Please contact her to learn more about upcoming events, or with any questions regarding your membership.more