Danya has a decade of experience in non-profit management across both the direct service and advocacy sectors. She is currently the Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange Chicago (PHE). In this role, she is responsible for the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the PHE Chicago program, raising funds, managing and growing the Chicago Board of Directors, and providing fiscal and organizational oversight for PHE Chicago. Danya previously served as PHE’s Senior Director of Development in San Francisco, California since 2010. Prior to joining PHE, Danya spent over four years at Peace Action West (PAW) as the Deputy Outreach Director, where she was responsible for overseeing California-based programming. While at PAW, she lobbied for disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s DC Days, and managed the GOTV efforts for the 2006 CA-11 race through Peace Action West’s political action committee. Danya graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology. She is a member of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs’ JCore, the Chicago Foundation for Women’s LBTQ Giving Council, the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Maternal, Infant, Child, and Adolescent Health (MICAH) Advisory Committee, and is a New Sector Alliance mentor.
Susan attended St. Norbert College in DePere, WI, where she earned a B.A. in International Business and Spanish. After graduation, Susan held positions with the Embassy of Argentina in Chicago, United Airlines and later worked in a family business. In 1997, Susan began her career in the nonprofit sector, as a Regional Representative for ALSAC / St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the Chicago Regional Office. Her responsibilities were special event fundraising and volunteer development throughout the Midwest. She quickly moved into management roles, managing teams of special event fundraisers in several offices throughout Illinois and Minnesota that met multi-million dollar yearly budgets.
In 2008, Susan was promoted to Senior Regional Director of Field Operations, working with regional special event field staff, managing regional offices throughout the United States and driving national fundraising programs. In 2011, Susan accepted a position within the ALSAC/St. Jude Gift Planning Department, as a Regional Director on the Bequest Team. In this role, Susan and her team focus on the stewardship of donors who have included St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in their estate plans or hold other planned gifts with the organization. Susan currently serves as the Senior Director of Bequests in the Gift Planning department at ALSAC. In this role, she oversees the strategic direction of the second largest Bequest program in the country, as well as leading a team of 3 Regional Directors and 31 Philanthropic Advisors.
Marissa, PMP, has 14 years of experience with associations and nonprofit organizations in Chicago. She currently serves as Assistant Director, Executive & Strategic Projects at the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and its affiliate, the DALE Foundation. Prior to DANB, Marissa was the Nonprofit Programs Manager at Donors Forum (now Forefront). From 2010 – 2013, she was a member of the volunteer executive board at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Chicago and served as Executive Co-Chair. Marissa earned a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Arizona State University.
Andreason joined Forefront in 2010 and served as Vice President, Finance & Administration and then CFO prior to being named Executive Vice President & CFO in 2016. Andreason supports the execution of strategic organizational decision making and realization of programmatic and financial priorities while also managing special projects and initiatives. He also oversees the administrative functions of governance, finance, accounting, human resources, and information technology.
Previously, he most recently served as Vice President and Assistant Treasurer for the Executive Service Corps of Chicago and Operations Director at the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference. His extensive work in the nonprofit sector encompasses a broad spectrum of organizations including associations, social service, architecture/design, and performing arts.
He currently serves on boards and committees with the African American Legacy Fund, Chicago Dance Crash, Forum Regional Association of Grantmakers, and Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities. Andreason earned a Bachelor of Economics degree at Central Michigan University and a Master of Nonprofit Management degree at DePaul University.
Kim has a 30-year career spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with a focus on advocacy, nonprofit management, and training. She is currently the executive director of Pride Action Tank (PAT), a social justice lab devoted to improving outcomes for LGBTQ communities through a collaborative process of inquiry, advocacy, and action. PAT, which launched in the fall of 2015, is a project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, where Ms. Hunt also serves as an advocacy advisor.She is the former executive director of Affinity Community Services, a social justice organization that works with and on behalf of Black LGBTQ people and queer youth. While there her accomplishments included working with the board to grow the organization’s income, launching a youth leadership program, greatly increasing public policy involvement and visibility, and securing state funding to implement HIV prevention programs.
Prior to becoming an advocate for LGBTQ rights, Ms. Hunt worked in the private and public sectors. She co-founded a management consulting firm that worked with communities throughout the Midwest to create and implement community development plans and increase the capacity of neighborhood institutions and groups. The first 15 years of her career were in urban planning where she focused on public transportation.In her spare time Ms. Hunt is a co-host of a monthly LGBTQ storytelling event, the political columnist for FOP Magazine, a member of various boards and advisory councils, and occasionally an instructor for courses and workshops. In 2016, Ms. Hunt was inducted in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
Marianne is Executive Director of Pierce Family Foundation and a consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations, specializing in planning, evaluation and organizational development. She has more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and an extensive background in grantmaking and fundraising. At the Pierce Foundation, she has been the driving force behind a number of innovative initiatives, including the Peer Skill Share Program, and the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative.
Previously, she spent years as a consultant, was Development Director for the $50 million Chicago Annenberg Challenge; Executive Director of The Chicago Foundation for Women; and Executive Director of The Peace Museum in Chicago. In addition to her work with foundation and nonprofit clients, she has served as an instructor for Forefront, a Lecturer at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies, and a frequent trainer for Chicago’s nonprofit organizations.
She is co-author with Marcia Festen of LEVEL BEST: How Smaller Organizations Can Tackle Evaluation and Talk Results (Wiley & Sons, 2007); and also How Effective Nonprofits Work: A Guide for Donors, Board Members and Foundation Officers, (Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, 2002). She is a contributor to Women, Philanthropy and Social Change: Visions for a Just Society (Tufts University Press, August 2005); The Grassroots Fundraising Journal (Chardon Press); and numerous other publications.
Marianne has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including Amnesty International USA, Project Exploration, the Chicago Global Donors Network, and has been a member of the Governance Committee for the national Center for Victims of Torture, located in Minneapolis.
Kathy is the Director of Policy for Cook County Health & Hospitals System where she provides leadership on policy activities and initiatives for one of the largest public hospital systems in the nation.
Previously, Kathy was the Associate Director and Director of Policy and Advocacy for EverThrive Illinois (formerly the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition), where she worked for over ten years. From 2002-2006, Kathy staffed EverThrive Illinois’ Covering Kids and Families Project. Her efforts there helped Illinois gain recognition as a national leader in outreach and enrollment.
Kathy also worked at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, where she assisted with strategic enrollment efforts and the implementation of All Kids. She is an appointed member and elected Chair of the Illinois Medicaid Advisory Committee and serves on the boards of the Midwest Access Project and Delta Dental Foundation of Illinois. Kathy formerly served on the boards of Chicago Volunteer Doulas, IFLOSS, and YNPN Chicago.
Kathy was recognized for her policy work with an award from Health and Medicine Policy Research Group in 2012. Kathy graduated with a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and began her career as an organizer with Green Corps.
Dr. Patrick Sheahan
Patrick has deep and wide expertise at the intersection of businesses, government and nonprofit organizations; advising Fortune 500 CEOs; starting a small business as a sophomore in college; leading highly respected nonprofit organizations; and currently, providing consultation on organizational change and program development to nonprofits and businesses.
Highlights of Patrick’s career include his positions as Managing Director and Americans Head of Community Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility for UBS, as the Public Affairs Director for Sara Lee Corporation, as the founding board chairman for Center on Halsted, and as the current board chair of Woods Fund Chicago. The common thread and strengths that he has exhibited from these roles is the ability to inspire positive change, to support and develop colleagues, and to accomplish ambitious initiatives.
Patrick received his Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago; his M.S. in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Kentucky, Lexington; and his B.A. from Asbury College in Kentucky. He has taught courses in nonprofit management and fundraising at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies and Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.
For the last twenty-five years Jerry has been President of his own consulting firm, Jerry Pinney and Associates. He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with The Alternative Board and is a Certified One Page Planning Consultant.
Beyond that Jerry has over three decades of experience in the food industry, and possesses a unique perspective of customer service and marketing. Jerry has proven expertise in planning and business development. His food industry career started at Jewel Food Stores and developed with a long career with IGA, with their retailers, wholesalers and ten years as Vice President of Marketing. In addition Jerry has served as Vice President of Membership for the National Grocers Association, Senior Vice President of Procurement for Shurfine International and Executive Manager of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.
Jerry has also served on a number of nonprofit boards including the Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago. He is currently a Project Manager for the Executive Service Corps (ESC) of Chicago. Jerry’s ESC assignments have included coaching for several Executive Directors, and consulting on various Board Development projects and on a number of strategic planning projects.
Pon is Principal of Barkada Creative, a branding and design studio, and Director of Barkada Circle, a team of artists coaching nonprofits on how to tell more compelling stories about their mission. Part artist and part engineer, Pon brings diverse perspectives together to show leaders how bold ideas can change perceptions within their organizations sparking meaningful transformation.
As partner to nonprofits, Pon is passionate about helping create their distinct brand using his depth of real-world experience in communication design, event marketing and storytelling. He has delivered keynotes and workshops on storytelling for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Illinois Community College Resource Development, Illinois Farm Bureau, Loyola University Museum of Art, and National Louis University.
Pon’s academic study brought him a unique understanding for applying the principles of science, business and the arts in innovative problem solving. Pon graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.S. Engineering Management, B.F.A. Industrial Design and B.F.A. Communication Design.
As the Executive Director of Esperanza Community Services, Joy Decker is committed to serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help improve their quality of life. Joy joined Esperanza in 2014 and has over 22 years working in social service organizations that serve people with disabilities.
Prior to Esperanza, Joy worked at Orchard Village where she held various roles including case manager, residential director, senior director of programs, and president and CEO. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Drake University and a M.A. in Nonprofit Administration with distinction from North Park University. Joy continues to stay connected with North Park and serves on the Axelson Symposium planning committee and the Alford-Axelson Award committee. She is a seasoned strategic executive with proven experience and demonstrated results in program development, community outreach, and strategic change.
From 1989 to 2012, Nikki was the Executive Director of the Polk Bros. Foundation. She was the first staff person hired after the Foundation separated from the Polk Bros. stores. Nikki worked with the Board to design and implement the Foundation’s giving program and hire its staff. At her retirement, the Foundation’s assets were over $400 million and its grant distributions had grown from $2.5 to more than $20 million a year. Prior to working at the Foundation, Nikki was the studio manager of her husband’s commercial photography studio and also worked as an administrator at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. Since retiring, Nikki has served as a consultant to the Polk Bros. Foundation and an informal advisor to staff at numerous Chicago nonprofits.
Nikki is the past chair of the board of Donors Forum and has participated on the steering committees of many funding collaborations, including the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods, Arts Work Fund, Fund for Educational Reform, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, the Fund for Immigrants and Refugees, and the Partnership for Quality Child Care. She is the past board president of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. Nikki is the board member of the Public Interest Law Initiative, and St. Leonard’s Ministries. She has also received numerous awards and been honored at several events.
Nikki is married to Fred Stein, mother of Max Stein and Benjamin Stein and grandmother of Sophie, Zoe, Molly and Madelyn Stein; life-long resident of Chicago.
Margie is the Executive Director of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group. Prior to taking this position in 1993, Margie was a board member of Health and Medicine and served as its vice president. While maintaining overall responsibility of all of HMPRG’s activities, her specific policy expertise is in public health systems development, health equity, health reform, and women’s health. Prior to joining Health and Medicine, Ms. Schaps served for eight years as the Director of the Women’s Health Resource Center at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, the first in the nation hospital- based comprehensive primary care center for women. Ms. Schaps speaks nationally and locally on a variety of health systems issues, and has published articles on women’s health issues, heath care safety net issues, health system reform, and public health policies. She serves on a number of local and statewide boards and taskforces focused on public health system development. She is passionate about creating a just health system that will improve the health of the public. Ms. Schaps holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois and a Bachelors Degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
Steve Strang, MPA is currently a Senior Consultant, Practice Director with Spectrum Nonprofit Services where he provides consulting in sustainability strategies for community-based organizations and internal organizational leadership. He is currently an Advisory Board member of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University and the Evanston-based nonprofit Allowance for Good. Additionally, he is a former Executive Co-Chair of YNPN Chicago and was a member of the YNPN National Chapter Congress.
Prior to joining Spectrum, Steve worked as the Nonprofit Programs Manager at Donors Forum (ForeFront). Additionally, he worked as an Instructor at Madison College, federal grants trainer with the University of Chicago, and for the American Red Cross in both Chicago and Denver. He earned his BS from Grand Valley State University in Public & Nonprofit Administration and MPA from Roosevelt University with an emphasis in Nonprofit Administration.