The YNPN Chicago Executive Board is an all-volunteer working and governing board, consisting of 19 young nonprofit professionals. Find out more about the commitment, responsibilities, and how to apply here.
Brian Elmore (He/His), Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Financial Analyst | Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation
Brian is a Financial Analyst at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation. He manages the financial framework around philanthropic funding of pediatric medical research initiatives. Prior to Lurie Children’s, Brian worked at PwC, performing financial statement audits of insurance and financial service companies.
Brian is originally from the Philadelphia area, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and is a licensed CPA in the State of Illinois. Since moving to Chicago in 2013, he has become active in advocating for legislative transparency and social justice in city and state politics. Brian is a year-round cyclist, loyal supporter of the Philadelphia Phillies, and frequenter of live music shows across this fine city.
Miriam Kamya (She/Hers), Vice Chair email@example.com
Director of Philanthropy | Saga Education
Miriam serves as the Director of Philanthropy at Saga Education. Saga is a nonprofit organization that provides in school math tutoring to 9th and 10th-grade students across Chicago and New York City. As Saga continues to grow and expand, Miriam is responsible for establishing a solid donor base in Chicago. She leads prospect research, site visits and builds partnerships. Prior to Saga, Miriam had the opportunity to serve as a White House intern, where her passion for education policy deepened.
In her spare time, Miriam volunteers with Traffick Free, a local non-profit that works to eradicate human trafficking in the Chicagoland area. Miriam holds a Master's in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University and a Bachelor's in Political Science from North Carolina State University.
External Relations / Secretary
Jaclyn Carmichael (She/Hers) firstname.lastname@example.org
STEM Program Manager | Lake View High School
Jaclyn is the STEM Program Manager at Chicago Public School’s Lake View High School, where she is working to increase student engagement opportunities, build project-based learning curriculums, and develop a robust makerspace. Previously, she was the Program Director for Project Exploration, a non-profit educational organization in Chicago that provides out-of-school time STEM programming for youth and teens, where she took charge of building partnerships, strengthening her team through trainings, and initiating new programming to reach students in new subjects. She has also worked in the formal education space as a high school Biology/Environmental Science teacher at Chicago’s Perspectives Charter Schools. Jaclyn received her B.S. in Biological Sciences and Teacher’s Certification from Eastern Illinois University and is currently studying at the Illinois Institute of Technology - Stuart School of Business in the Master of Public Administration program.
When Jaclyn isn’t working, she loves hanging with her poodle-terrior pup, Eli, sharing a craft beer with friends, or going to see a superhero movie. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lilcarm17 !
Claire Barner (She/Hers) email@example.com
Senior Manager, Operations | Financial Health Network
Claire's nonprofit career began early at the age of 15, as a member of the Teen Council at the Chicago History Museum. At the museum, Claire collected oral histories on the teenage experience in Chicago, culminating in the exhibition Teen Chicago. Claire received a Bachelor’s in Public Policy and a Masters in the Art of Teaching from the University of Chicago. In her free time, Claire enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, trying local craft beers, and exploring Chicago with her family.
Rebecca Kaplan (She/Hers) firstname.lastname@example.org
Data & Learning Specialist | Feeding America
Rebecca is the Data & Learning Specialist on the Member Grants team at Feeding America. In her role, Rebecca manages a portfolio of nearly $15 million in grant opportunities to Feeding America food banks and focuses on leveraging grants data to support organizational strategy. Prior to Feeding America, Rebecca worked in nonprofit consulting and for Center for Independent Futures, a nonprofit in Evanston, IL that supports individuals with disabilities to live independently.
Rebecca received her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and her BS in Psychology from University of Michigan. Outside of work, Rebecca enjoys volunteering at Lakeview Pantry, divvying (with a helmet!) around the city, and cooking lots of veggies from her farm share.
David L. Cotugno (He/His), Special Events email@example.com
Senior Gift Officer | Communities In Schools of Chicago
David L. Cotugno serves as Senior Gift Officer at Communities In Schools of Chicago. In this capacity, Dave focuses on securing major gifts and working with the Board of Directors and key stakeholders to ensure the organization’s sustainable growth. Dave started working at Communities In Schools in September 2019. His portfolio includes a wide array of families, individuals, corporations, and foundations.
Prior to CIS-Chicago, Dave spent 8 years working for Cradles to Crayons, most recently as Associate Director of Development in their Chicago office, which he helped open in August 2016. In his role at C2C-Chicago, Dave led the fundraising, events, and marketing to ensure annual goals were met. Additionally, Dave managed three of the organization's leadership Councils and led their two signature events, which raised more than $1M annually for the organization.
In his tenure at the C2C-Chicago office, he brought the organization from a start-up with a $1.2M budget, to a robust organization with 20 staff members and a $3.5M budget that serves 82,500 Chicagoland children annually.
Dave received his degree from Ithaca College, where he studied Business Administration with a dual concentration in Marketing and Management.
Emily Decker-Bess (She/Hers), Fundraising firstname.lastname@example.org
Development & Special Projects Coordinator | American Writers Museum
Emily Decker-Bess graduated from Pratt Institute with a double Masters degrees in Library Science and Art History with a thesis on women and comic art in 2014. She previously worked at Marvel and in academic libraries and wrote for online blogs including, The Rumpus.
Decker-Bess has been on panels at Rutgers, C2E2, among others, and has given lectures at various schools and institutions. She turned to fundraising in 2016 at the Field Museum, then moved to American Writers Museum in February 2019, but continues to research and lecture on the feminist movement in comic art.
At Large - Digital Content Development
Ilana Bruton (She/Hers) email@example.com
Director of Interpretation and Guest Services | Adler Planetarium
Ilana is the Director of Interpretation and Guest Services at the Adler Planetarium where she works collaboratively with the Guest Experiences team to provide engaging experiences to visitors. Prior to her work at the Adler, Ilana was the public programs manager at the Chicago History Museum.
Ilana served as the Leadership Institute Board Chair for the last two years (2018-2019) and prior to serving as a board member, went through the Leadership Institute as a participant (Cohort 2017). It is because of these experiences and through the practice of becoming a self-aware leader, that has led to her new role as the Digital Content Developer. Ilana’s goal is to share leadership development work with the wider YNPN network by sharing resources, interviewing Chicago nonprofit change-makers, sharing Leadership Institute participant perspectives, and broadening her own insights in a blog titled “Leadership: Lost and Found”.
Ilana has a Master’s in Museum Education from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Michigan State University. You can follow her on Twitter at @iBmuseum.
Elizabeth Blasko (She/Hers) firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing & Communications Specialist | Bernie’s Book Bank
Elizabeth serves as the Marketing & Communications Specialist for Bernie’s Book Bank, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality books for at-risk children throughout Chicagoland. In this role, she plans and executes communications strategies involving socials media, website content, newsletters, blog posts, digital media and print. Prior to joining Bernie’s Book Bank, Elizabeth worked on the public relations team at Hendrick Motorsports in Charlotte, North Carolina. She also spent time at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida as a Disney College Program intern.
Elizabeth is a proud graduate of Western Michigan University with a B.A. in Public Relations and minors in Nonprofit Leadership, Event Management and Psychology. Additionally, she earned her Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance in 2016. Outside of work, she can be found reading, running, traveling or watching NASCAR.
Jillian Madden (She/Hers) email@example.com
Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations | Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Louise Sharrow (She/Hers) firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Manager, Multifamily Program | Elevate Energy
Louise Sharrow is the Senior Manager, Multifamily Program at Elevate Energy. In this role she implements a program delivering energy efficiency services and incentives to income-eligible multifamily properties throughout northern Illinois. She leads and supports program design, data management, reporting and forecasting, monitoring, production, and management. Previously, she worked on expanding this program model throughout the Midwest with implementation and policy partners; providing project management, operational support, start-up tools, process development, and policy and data research.
Louise received her BA in Environmental Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and her MPA from the School for Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. She is originally from Cincinnati, making Illinois the fourth Midwestern state she calls home. Outside work she enjoys reading, concerts, and traveling to places she can hike or eat amazing desserts.
Evan Williamson (He/His) email@example.com
Manager, Strategic Advancement | Ounce of Prevention Fund
Evan serves as the Manager of Strategic Advancement at the Ounce of Prevention Fund, where he cultivates and stewards relationships with corporate partners to promote philanthropic investment across the Ounce's various program areas, including education policy, research, and programming. In this role, he also helps to coordinate the Ounce Affiliates Board, and recruits sponsors for Ounce events. Previously, Evan has held roles in education advocacy with the University of Illinois Alumni Association and Advance CTE. He began his career on Capitol Hill working as a press assistant in the House of Representatives.
Evan is a native of Champaign-Urbana, IL, and a proud alumnus of the University of Illinois with a B.A. in Political Science. In his spare time, Evan can be found playing soccer; walking his oversize Beagle, Watson; and experimenting in the kitchen to varying degrees of success.
Leadership Institute Chair
Stacy Gilmer (She/Hers) firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizational Development Specialist | Planned Parenthood of Illinois
Stacy is the Organizational Development Specialist at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. She specializes in the connection between employee engagement and patient experience by supporting teams to enhance their effectiveness and leadership competencies. She designed and facilitates the internal leadership and mentorship programs. Prior to PPIL, Stacy was a youth sexual health educator with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health.
Stacy is a member of the 2019 YNPN Chicago Leadership Institute cohort. She received a B.A. from Saint Louis University in Political Science and is a trained full spectrum doula. Stacy is a mom to two kids under 3. In her downtime, she enjoys yoga, the New York Times crossword puzzle, and reality TV.
Jerica Banks email@example.com
Development Assistant | University of Chicago
Jerica is a development assistant at the University of Chicago, an institution currently campaigning for $5 billion to advance campus-wide priorities. In her role, she supports international development by drafting fundraising proposals, preparing prospect briefings, and creating donor-centric reports. Jerica also assists teams across UChicago’s alumni relations & development department on an ad hoc basis.
Prior to entering the nonprofit space, she worked as a paralegal at both intellectual property and real estate law firms. Jerica received her B.A. in Legal Studies in Business from Tulane University. As a native of Baton Rouge, she is passionate about all things related to Louisiana, enjoys planning domestic and international trips, and loves sifting through vinyl at Hyde Park Records.
Dejanae Byrd firstname.lastname@example.org
Therapist and Certified Senior Professional Trainer | UCAN
Dejanae is a Clinical Therapist with a specialization in Trauma and Child-Parent Psychotherapy. Dejanae works as a Therapist and Certified Senior Professional Trainer at UCAN, a Chicago nonprofit that provides a variety of services to children, youth and families mostly within underprivileged communities.
Dejanae serves as the co-founder and co-chair of EMERGE, an employee resource group at UCAN geared towards supporting young professionals through training, professional development and social engagement. She is also co-founder and co-facilitator of the EXPRESS Performing Group, which helps high risk youth expand their emotional repertoire and develop skills in communication through creative performance and exposure.
Dejanae was formally an ABA therapist who worked with children diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. Her experience in serving people started in high school and has expanded to include volunteer work with communities of color for several Chicago organizations, as well as humanitarian aid in various countries.
Dejanae earned a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago and a M.A. in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adler University. She enjoys attending professional and social events with friends and family, traveling, reading and acting.
Briana Schlesinger (She/Hers) email@example.com
Assistant Director of Research | UIC Center for Literacy
Briana is the Assistant Director of Research at the UIC Center for Literacy, a public service and research center that works to improve literacy education, policy, and research at the local, state, and national levels. In this role, Briana works to develop, implement, and disseminate the findings of the Center's research initiatives.
Prior to her work at UIC, Briana moved from her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona to pursue her Master's in Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. As a student, she was introduced to the Chicago nonprofit community while completing her fieldwork with Broadway Youth Center and CCS Fundraising. Outside of work, Briana enjoys reading, traveling, and sharing photos of her rescue dog, Murphy.
Stephani Peterson (She/Hers) firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Manager | Careers in Nonprofits Chicago
As the Senior Manager of Careers In Nonprofits Chicago, Stephani manages the day to day operations of a national staffing firm that focuses on connecting the best people with the best causes. Once a recruiter in their DC branch, Stephani’s commitment and passion ultimately helped her exceed company goals allowing her the opportunity to move to Chicago and manage CNP Headquarters. She works closely with her team of recruiters to be a resource for job seekers looking to work for impactful organizations, as well as awesome nonprofits looking for assistance with staffing needs. Stephani’s role encompasses everything from business development and partnership building to employee management and hitting multimillion dollar yearly goals.
Stephani is a proud New Jersey native, and graduated with her M.A. in Contemporary Communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University, and her B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. From a young age, Stephani always had a passion to help others, and that is what eventually led her into the nonprofit sector. Prior to working for Careers In Nonprofits, Stephani held roles as a Graduate Assistant, Day of Event Coordinator, Marketing and Communications Manager, and Afterschool Academy Coordinator. When she isn’t working, Stephani loves to travel, assist others with her resume service, listen to music, explore her new home of Chicago, and spend time with her close friends and family.
Julissa Cruz (She/Hers), email@example.com
Consultant | Fiscal Management Associates, LLC
As a consultant with FMA, Julissa has the pleasure of working with a diverse portfolio of nonprofit organizations and helps them strengthen their financial management and operational infrastructure and better position them to fulfill their mission-critical strategies. She began her career at the City Colleges of Chicago - blending her curiosity, data expertise, and diligent drive for continuous improvement to improve processes, inform strategy, and achieve organizational goals.
Julissa holds a Master’s degree in Sociology with a specialization in applied demography from Bowling Green State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with minors in Latin American Studies and Anthropology from Loyola University. She was born and raised on the far southeast side of Chicago. She travels as often as she can, enjoys chatting with others about what makes them smile, and daydreams about writing for fun.
Suzy Lee (She/Hers), firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Nonprofit Strategy and Engagement | Forefront
Suzy is the Director of Nonprofit Strategy and Engagement at Forefront. As part of the Engagement Team, Suzy’s focus areas include nonprofit membership, #ILGive for #GivingTuesday, and the Nonprofit CEO Roundtable.
Suzy is a member of the National Council of Nonprofits Membership Committee, volunteers with Chicago Women in Philanthropy, and the Hanover College Alumni Recruitment Team. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Hanover college, and a Master of Public Administration from DePaul University School of Public Service. When she’s not working or volunteering, you can find her in her garden, trying a new ice-cream recipe, or playing with her English bulldog.