2015 Leadership Institute Cohort

Alexandra CanalosAlexandra Canolas
Alexis joined Center for Changing Lives (CCL) as Program Director on April, 2013. After receiving her Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago with a concentration in Community Development, Planning and Organizing in 2006, she joined the Strategic affairs department for hospitality workers union, Unite Here Local 1, where her job included worker and community organizing, issue-based advocacy, and campaigning. Later Alexis joined Unite Heres International Union where she successfully campaigned and won contracts for hundreds of workers. In her current position, Alexis manages all CCL programming and staff development, as well as leading up the agencys internal strategic planning process.

Katie Clendenning
Kate Clendenning
Katie is the Senior Manager of Youth in Service at Chicago Cares. She oversees a small team of staff in planning and implementing service learning for groups of students throughout the city of Chicago. Prior to joining Chicago Cares, Katie coordinated week-long volunteer opportunities for high school students in Chicago and Denver through YouthWorks! She continued her worked with Belo USA Travel, a company focused on cultural tours for students, where she orchestrated service and site-seeing experiences for foreign exchange students. Katie earned her B.S. in Adolescent Ministry with a minor in leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Dan EdlebeckDan Edlebeck
Dan is in his fourth year as a Corporate Account Manager for The Cara Program?. In this role, he manages the external relationships with Cara’s preferred employment partners while selling Cara candidates to help fill the employer’s hiring needs. Dan has worked in sales since graduating with Marketing and Management and Human Resources degrees from UW-Madison. Dan has worked in consumer product good sales with Nestle USA and software-as-a-service sales with Meltwater. Since beginning at Cara, Dan has been very involved in Chicago’s growing nonprofit sector. He is on the steering committee for the Chicago Jobs Council (CJC) Frontline Workforce Association (FWA). He also is a speaker at CJC sales trainings and sits on the Junior Board for Foundations of Music.

Brooke FallonBrooke Fallon
Brooke is the Assistant Director of Community Relations at the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School. Brooke leads the IJ Clinics efforts to engage government officials, community members, and strategic partners in order to open opportunities for low-income entrepreneurs. She also coordinates the IJ Clinics conferences and trainings for aspiring entrepreneurs, including South Side Pitch, a pitch competition aimed at highlighting innovation on the South Side; and Recipe for Success, an annual conference for food startups. Brooke received her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Chicago. Brooke also serves as the Marketing Chair on the St. Thomas the Apostle School Board. She also enjoys running, crafting, and exploring Chicagos manyneighborhoods with friends.

Carr HarkraderCarr Harkrader
Carr is the Educational Resources Manager at Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). He manages the creative design and scheduling process for IFYCs online resources aimed at students, staff, and faculty in higher education. He also produces and co-hosts IFYCs podcast on interfaith literacy, Common Knowledge. Through this work, and as a trainer for students, staff, and faculties on campuses across the country, Carr helps shape the strategy and content for IFYCs educational material and trainings. As a part of his role at IFYC, he also serves as a consultant for universities and colleges across the country interested in better engaging the religious diversity on their campus. Prior to his work at IFYC, Carr earned a M.Ed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and worked as nonprofit associate and teacher in North Carolina. He sits on the Faith Outreach Committee for Equality Illinois and volunteers at the Center on Halsted.

Raymond JacksonRaymond Jackson
Ray is an Associate Director of Leadership Giving at the University of Chicago. He also serves as the Project Manager for the Interview Project, a prospect discovery initiative aimed at strengthening relationships between alumni and the University. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Ray oversaw Alumni Relations and Development for the Colleges of Education and Liberal Arts at Benedictine University. He earned a B.A. in Communications from Benedictine University. He also earned an MBA from Benedictine University with a concentration in organizational behavior. He enjoys trying new restaurants with his lovely wife, Brittany, and playing with their dogs Ethel and AJ.

Brandon MasseyBrandon Massey
Brandon currently serves as Schools Program Manager at HandsOn Suburban Chicago, where he manages after school programs at multiple middle schools and in-school programs at several elementary schools. In this role, Brandon recruits and manages volunteer tutors and mentors, manages partnerships with schools and other community organizations, and assists with grant writing and fundraising. Previously, Brandon served as Community Engagement Manager with Boys & Girls Club of Lake County, managing after school programs and volunteers, implementing systems to track program outcomes, and working to secure funding for the program. Brandon holds a B.A. in History of Ideas and Biblical Studies and is working to complete an M.A. in New Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In his spare time, he and his wife enjoy cooking, movies and training for a half marathon.

Maggie MelinMaggie Melin
Maggie currently works in the field of sustainable transportation for the Active Transportation Alliance and the Alliance for Biking & Walking. She coordinates multiple travel demand management programs designed to encourage biking, walking and transit use in Chicago neighborhoods and also collaborates on a national biennial report aimed at benchmarking biking and walking trends in the United States. Maggie has earned a Bachelors in Statistics from the University of Michigan, and earned a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Virginia, and a Masters in environmental studies from Lund Universitet in Sweden with a focus on environmental psychology and behavior change. Maggie looks forward to participating in the Institute and learning from her cohort and the experience!

Sara MenoSara Meno
Sara hails from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and is a graduate of Marquette University where she earned her Bachelors in Psychology. After running the Marquette branch of the Campus Kitchens Project, she moved to Chicago to pursue a Masters in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University. She has developed a wide array of nonprofit experience through her work with a multi-site national nonprofit, independent nonprofit contractor and now with the Noble Network of Charter Schools, where she serves as a Grants and Special Projects Manager. As part of a small but effective development team, she manages the majority of Nobles foundation relationships, vital marketing tools, and key corporate partners who are landmarks in the Chicago community. Her expertise in government grants and project management have been instrumental in supporting Nobles growth and the development of their funder portfolio in her five years with the organization.

Khalfani MyrickKhalfani Myrick
Khlafani is serving as a Program Manager of Genesys Works Chicago. He is responsible for the curriculum development and execution of the organizations core student training and college access programs. Khalfani earned his Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing at Loyola University Chicago. After working for Warner/Elektra/Atlantic records, he participated in Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta. Khalfani is an active Teach for America Alumni and serves on their Alumni of Color Advisory Board.

Suzanne NiemothSuzanne Niemoth
Suzanne is a non-profit finance, operations and accounting expert dedicated to building stronger organizations through exceptional financial management and structural efficiency. She has served as the Director of Finance & Operations at Kartemquin Films for the last two years. Suzanne is a certified non-profit accounting professional (CNAP) with nearly a decade of experience. Prior to joining Kartemquin, she served as Associate Director of Chapter Accounting for the Alzheimer’s Association and as Senior Accountant at SGA Youth & Family Services. Suzanne holds a Bachelors in Philosophy from Northwestern University, a Masters in Non-Profit Administration from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters in Accountancy from DePaul University. Suzanne is a longtime volunteer for Tree House Humane Society and has also volunteered with Girls Rock! Chicago as a camp counselor and a pro-bono accounting expert.

Lycrecia ParksLycrecia Parks
Lycrecia joined the Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) as the Director of Portfolio Management in 2012. She handles all of CCLF’s post-closing portfolio management. Lycrecia has worked as a commercial real estate lender for more than 8 years, including work at Seaway Bank and the former ShoreBank. She holds an MBA with a concentration in real estate from Roosevelt University and a B.A. from Stillman College. She currently serves on the loan committee board at South Side Community Federal Credit Union and as the Treasurer of the PTA board for her sons preschool. A native of Thomasville, Alabama, in her spare time Parks enjoys school field trips with her son, relaxing with her family, reading and Sudoku puzzles.

Catherine Rabenstine
Cat has worked with nonprofits all over the world including: two years of organizing a service-learning and study trips programs at an American study abroad program in Rome, Italy; one year as a volunteer in Kerala, India; and one year of organizing community journalism projects in the West Bank. As the Communications Associate at Kinship Foundation, Cat establishes and implements marketing and communication strategies, designs the visual aesthetic of all Foundation-generated reports, and manages a global community of Kinship Conservation Fellows. Cat received her B.A. in English and Peace Studies from Loyola University Chicago and her M.S.J. from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. For the past few years, she has considered getting an MBA or Master’s of Nonprofit Management and hopes that the Leadership Institute will help her discern whether to take that step forward.

Karen Benita Reyes, Ph.D.
Karen, a product of Chicagos public schools and a life-long family-taught fiber and textile artist, is the Executive Director of ArtReach at Lillstreet. Most recently a teaching artist at BBFs Knitlab program. Karen also served for eight years as the Managing Editor of the international academic journal Latino Studies and has held teaching positions at St. Augustine College, University of Illinois at Chicago, St. Leonards Adult High School, and Literacy Works. She also volunteers at St. Leonards Academy, UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), Young Womens Leadership Charter School, and National Teachers Academy. Karen earned her Doctorate in Urban Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds a M.A. in Linguistics TESOL from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.A. in Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Elizabeth WalkerElizabeth Walker
Elizabeth is the development director for Windy City Habitat for Humanity, an affiliate of Habitat International. She is responsible for the healthy growth of the organizations fundraising, marketing, and volunteer efforts. Prior to joining Habitat in Chicago, Elizabeth worked for an affiliate in Indiana and served in the Peace Corps at a site in Ukraine. She received her B.S. from University of California, Davis and her M.P.A. from Indiana Universitys School of Public and Environmental Affairs.