Program Coordinator, La Casa Norte
Azalea Acuña is the Palante Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Re-Housing Program Coordinator at La Casa Norte, a non-profit located on the West side of Chicago serving youth and families confronting homelessness. Azalea is an alumnus of the Loyola School of Social Work, graduating in 2012 with her Bachelor of Social Work degree. Azalea began her career at La Casa Norte in 2013 as a case manager in their Permanent Supportive Housing program. She practiced direct service for three and a half years before being promoted to her current role. Azalea is a graduate of the Inaugural Cohort of the Latino Policy Forum’s Multicultural Leadership Academy in 2017. Azalea is excited about La Casa Norte’s new community service & wellness center opening in January 2019 in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Along with an FQHC and community pantry, this facility will be inclusive of Pierce House, an extension of La Casa Norte’s Permanent Supportive Housing program, with an additional 25 units dedicated to chronically homeless youth and families in the city of Chicago. Azalea’s interest and passion lies in developing and enhancing programming for homeless youth and families that operates under an Inclusive, Housing First, Harm Reduction model”.
Programs Manager, Adler Planetarium
Chris Bresky is a trained artist and educator who currently works at the Adler Planetarium finding creative ways for the public to engage with science. He is interested in using story and narrative to inspire exploration. He has been awarded the Jon Lipsky Award for Excellence in Playwriting for his immersive theatre work about Gemini 4 and the life and death challenges of space exploration. Chris is also the author and illustrator of the shark holiday mash-up,"The 12 Days of a Great White Christmas." Currently, Chris is partnering with Chicago teens and scientists to embark on the first student-driven underwater meteorite hunt : "The Aquarius
Laura Campbell, LCSW
Program Manager, Coaching - LIFT-Chicago
Laura Campbell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has 10 years of experience working with children and families through research, evaluation, volunteering and direct service. She currently works at the Program Manager, Coaching at LIFT-Chicago, a national non-profit that works one-on-one with parents on their career, financial, and education goals to break the cycle of poverty. Laura's role is to provide management, support, training and direction to LIFT-Chicago staff with special attention to member service quality and local intern management, training and service delivery. Prior to LIFT, Laura worked as the School Social Worker at Legacy Charter School in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood on the west side. She provided elementary-aged children with individual and small-group counseling services and crisis intervention. Prior to graduate school, she focused on early childhood research and evaluation as a Senior Research Assistant at Child Trends in the Washington, D.C. area. Laura holds a Masters of Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband and adorable beagle, cooking delicious meals, exploring new restaurants across Chicago, running, going to concerts, and playing board games.
Development Associate, Public Allies Chicago
Erica Eckhardt has always had a passion for working with youth and organizations that understand and invest in their assets and talents. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago and went right into working in the nonprofit sector, in direct service with youth in several different positions. As the demands for money and resources became apparent, she was often tasked with working to secure extra supplies, money, and talent in order to ensure that the programs she was working with were successful. Like all non-profit jobs, she also wore many hats including marketing and data reporting. Over the course of a few years, it became apparent that working on the development side and helping to tell the unique stories of the program participants was the place she was meant to be. In 2012, she transitioned to a full time development position at a youth serving community organization and gained invaluable experience from her coworkers and larger organization.
Organizational Development Specialist, Planned Parenthood of Illinois
Stacy Gilmer is the Organizational Development Specialist at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Her focus includes leadership development, employee engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She joined the organization in 2015 as a training coordinator. Prior to working with PPIL, Stacy was a youth sexual health educator at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Saint Louis University in 2010. Stacy currently lives in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago with her husband David and toddler son Jonah.
Lisa See Kim
Director of Marketing and Communications, Mikva Challenge
Lisa See Kim is a professional creative and all around do-gooder. Currently as the Director of Marketing and Communications at Mikva Challenge, she develops and implements a high impact communications plan for a youth civic engagement nonprofit. She has spearheaded a rebranding and messaging strategy; created new systems for communications workflows; and deployed a high-yield social media strategy. She is passionate about using creative storytelling to support mission-driven organizations. Throughout her career as a designer, educator, and program director she uses the intersections of art, media-making, learning, and technology to promote equity and empower communities to tell their own stories. Prior to her work at Mikva Challenge, she has worked with The Field Museumg, MIT Media Lab, and YWCA of New York. Lisa earned her M.Ed. in Technology, Innovation, and Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.A. in Visual Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Stephanie Mena, CWDP
Career Coach, National Able Network, Inc.
Stephanie Mena is a Career Coach with over 7 years of experience in direct client services and crisis intervention at National Able Network. She has worked with diverse populations of various socioeconomic backgrounds and brings over 10 years of experience in the Social Service Industry. Stephanie excels in the development of employment for all job seekers by helping them make informed decisions about their career development and providing tools that they can use – resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles – to reach their goals. Her approach is to first meet with a client to create an Individualized Employment Plan with a solution-oriented approach to identify steps to achieve their career goals. Further, Stephanie also helps clients identify any potential barriers to employment and a plan to tackle them. She is most passionate about seeing clients succeed, thrive, and leave with a new sense of hope for their future! Stephanie obtained her Bachelors of Arts, with a major in Psychology, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She recently obtained a Certified Workforce Development (CWDP) certification from the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals for her expertise in core areas of Career Coaching. When not working, Stephanie enjoys traveling, playing softball, and checking out museums.
Director of Teacher Support, Chicago, ONEGOAL
E.M. Miller (they/them) is an educator and innovator working in college access and success. After graduating from the College of Wooster in 2007, they began their nonprofit career serving as an Americorps volunteer City Year Seattle/King County. Since then, they have worked in the nonprofit and public sectors-- as a community technology center coordinator, CPS teacher, college counselor, and, most recently, as a Director of Teacher Support with OneGoal Chicago. At OneGoal, E.M. coaches teachers from across the city as they support first-year college students. They are excited to grow and develop with others in the YNPN Leadership Institute.
Public Relations Manager, Navy Pier Inc.
Payal Patel is an international award-winning and multilingual communications professional with more than a decade of experience. With a knack for writing and storytelling, Payal originally set out for a career in sports broadcasting upon graduating from Marquette University. Following a brief stint as a sports reporter for Milwaukee's ABC-TV affiliate, she returned to her hometown of Chicago to transition to a career in public relations. Currently at Navy Pier, Payal manages media relations and serves as the primary spokesperson for the top destination in the Midwest, which welcomes more than 9 million guests each year. She played a pivotal role in developing and executing the PR strategy for Navy Pier’s centennial celebration, which included a robust lineup of special events and programming and Pier-wide redevelopment efforts to enhance the iconic landmark as it entered its second century.
Presently, Payal sits on the local boards for Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) and Women In Sports and Events (WISE), and is a member of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and Chicago Leadership Alliance (CLA), an exclusive network of distinguished leaders in Chicago. As part of her philanthropic involvement, she volunteers regularly at Feed My Starving Children and serves as an ambassador and charter member of Room to Read - Chicago Chapter. In her spare time, Payal enjoys reading, working on her cookbook (benefiting Room to Read), practicing yoga and meditation, watching soccer and spending time with family and friends. Payal currently resides in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago with her goldendoodle, Leo – named after her favorite soccer player, Lionel Messi.
Director of Placement & Alumni Relations, Golden Apple Foundation
Corey Richardson is Director of Placement & Alumni Relations of the Golden Apple Foundation, which honors, develops and trains teachers in Illinois. The program has impacted nearly 3,000 teachers and 70,000 students throughout the state. Richardson focuses on improving the career services, K-12 partnerships and alumni engagement for the entire program. Before joining the foundation, he served as a regional admission counselor for Western Illinois University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of St. Francis (’09) and a master’s in Leadership Studies in Higher Education from North Central College (’12). Richardson volunteers in the community as the Chairman of One Million Degree Associates Board and is a national member of American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network.
Care Manager Team Lead, Erie Family Health Center
Jocelyn Rizzo is from Joliet, Illinois and earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and French at Iowa State University. Following her studies she volunteered until she landed her first job at Catholic Charities. She then lived abroad for two years honing her French speaking skills while teaching English at various levels. Her experience at a transitional housing shelter, O'hare international airport and managed care reflect her interest in living with intention, in different cultures and in human rights, such as quality of life.
With over ten years in the field, she is committed to leadership and strives to lead by example. She learns the most from her patients and her team through the exchanging of ideas and collaboration. She stays motivated to do her best to meet her patients' health needs, keeping in mind that they are the heart of the program. Jocelyn is always looking for ways to improve and take on new adventures including this new one with YNPN!
Development Director, ArtReach Chicago
Marine Tempels is the Development Director for ArtReach Chicago, a nonprofit that empowers and connects people through the practice of visual arts. She is responsible for cultivating relationships with the funding community, individual donors, and event liaisons to support the organization’s mission-driven programming. ArtReach believes that distinct job functions are strengthened with a holistic, integrated approach to the work that ensures connectivity. Therefore, Marine also works to improve program operations and structures, envision new programs, evaluate existing programs, and contribute to the vision of the organization. Aside from ArtReach, Marine is a practicing visual artist dedicated to making the art world more inclusive. Marine exhibits throughout Chicago and was a recent finalist of the Luminarts Cultural Foundation's Fellowship Competition. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Indiana University in 2012. Previously, Marine has worked with several organizations that help empower individuals through the arts including Stone Belt, a center for individuals with disabilities and the Recovery Engagement Center where she created artwork with individuals suffering from addictions. You can view Marine's artwork at www.marinetempels.com.
Chicago Program Coordinator, Student Conservation Association
Chris-Michael Tena is an environmentalist person of color, youth advocate, and supporter of open access to healthy recreation opportunities for all people. He is also a passionate activist for the Inclusion and Representation of people of color and LGBTQ-identified folks in outdoor spaces.
Chris-Michael serves as the Chicago Program Coordinator at the Student Conservation Association. The Student Conservation Association (SCA), a national leader in youth service and stewardship, engages young adults in hands-on service learning programs across the United States with a goal of developing the next generation of conservation stewards and leaders. In Chris-Michael's role as Program Coordinator, he oversees training and management of 125+ seasonal employees each year and serves as a project management lead for conservation-focused programming in the Chicago and Northwest Indiana region.
Prior to joining SCA, Chris-Michael worked with numerous other youth development and conservation agencies including the California Conservation Corps, Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development (FIELD), and the Lake County Youth Build. He has served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) as well as helped preserve some of the country's iconic trails as a seasonal Backcountry Trailcrew member in Yosemite National Park. In his off time, Chris-Michael volunteers with the Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) program as an outing leader. He also enjoys cooking with friends, brewing beer, and napping in hammocks.
Chris-Michael earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz in Sociology. He later received his Master of Public Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) where he studied Nonprofit Management and Social Entrepreneurship.
Edna M. Togba
Chief Development Officer, Chicago Sinfonietta
Edna M. Togba is the Chief Development Officer at Chicago Sinfonietta, the nation’s most diverse and innovative orchestra, where she manages fundraising efforts for the organization including grant writing, event planning, solicitations, and volunteer board oversight. She is passionate about cultivating the next generation of leaders while championing racial equality in the visual and performing arts. After receiving a B.A. from Wesleyan University (College of Letters), Edna held several positions in New York, including as a photography instructor. Later, in Paris, she worked as an English teacher and artist’s assistant. She then completed an M.A. in Art History at Northwestern University, focusing on Contemporary Black Art. Prior to joining Chicago Sinfonietta, Edna worked at The HistoryMakers in Chicago and Human Rights Watch in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She is delighted to be back in her hometown where she enjoys practicing photography, attending art exhibitions and performances, exploring the lake, and roller skating.
Senior Program Manager, Girls on the Run–Chicago
Shavonne Worthy has over nine years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working in numerous capacities with youth, school administrators, community volunteers, and families. In her current position as the Senior Program Manager for Girls on the Run-Chicago (GOTRC), she is responsible for facilitating program development and outreach for nearly 11,000 girls annually and managing the recruitment efforts of over 2,500 volunteers. In her five years with GOTRC, she has played a key part in increasing access to programming in under-resourced communities throughout the Chicagoland area. Prior to her role at GOTRC, she was the Family Literacy Coordinator for Albany Park Community Center, where she ran a program designed to support recent immigrants in their transition by providing English classes and child education. As a first-generation college graduate, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has dedicated time to helping prepare grant proposals for the founder of The Gray Matter Experience, a non-profit that helps teens build businesses to impact underrepresented communities. More recently, she completed the Chicago Marathon as a charity athlete.
Executive Director, Motorola Solutions Foundation Director - Inclusion, Diversity, and Culture Motorola Solutions
Matt Blakely has more than 20 years of experience working with private and corporate foundations. Since 2005, Matt has coordinated the foundation and corporate giving programs of Motorola and Motorola Solutions Foundation, a company recognized by Points of Light as one of the fifty most community-minded companies in the United States.He develops philanthropic strategies and directs grants, corporate contributions and volunteer programs focused on science education, public safety training, and disaster response. Motorola Solutions Foundation and Motorola Solutions employees make contributions totaling more than 70,000 volunteer hours and $12 million in over 35 countries annually. Since 2017, Matt's responsibilities expanded to include the coordination of Motorola Solutions' Inclusion and Diversity efforts.Before joining the Motorola Solutions, Matt was Senior Program Officer in the Communities Program at the McCormick Tribune Foundation where he helped guide the philanthropic giving of 11 different companies across the United States. He currently serves on the board of the Chicago History Museum including the museum's OUT committee.He is also active in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Funders Network, and recently joined the Inclusion and Diversity Committee of the Red Cross of Chicagoland Facebook: Motorola Solutions, Foundation Twitter: @MSIFoundation
Director of Policy, Cook County Health & Hospitals System, Northwestern
Kathy Chan 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.
Executive Director, Esperanza Community Services
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.
Industry Assistant Professor of Public Admin, ITT
Joanne Howard is an Industry Assistant Professor at the Stuart School of Business at Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Howard previously held academic appointments at Roosevelt University, The School of the Art Institute, and DePaul University. Dr. Howard has held senior administrative positions at The University of Chicago, Northwestern University School of Law, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to moving to Chicago, she worked for the Bureau of Curriculum and Instruction with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Office of Migrant Education with the New Jersey Department of Education, and the Chicago Urban League. She attended Hampton Institute where she received her bachelor’s in Sociology, her master’s in Public Administration at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and a doctorate in Public Administration from the College of Urban Planning and Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Howard’s research interests are pipeline programs for underrepresented groups, nonprofit organizations, and school finance reform. She has served on the board of directors of four nonprofit organizations.
Executive Director, Pride Action Tank Aids Foundation of Chicago
Kim Hunt 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.
Eric B. Johnson
Executive Director, Open Books
Eric Johnson joined Open Books as Executive Director in November 2018. In this role, Eric oversees the fiduciary and operational health of the organization, which seeks to transform lives through reading, writing, and the power of books. Eric most recently served as the Senior Director of Philanthropic Partnerships with Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), a national organization focused on closing the academic achievement gap among pre-K–8th grade students through evidence-based, out-of-school-time programs. Prior to BELL, he served as the Director of Development and Capacity at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS), Chief Development Officer at the Golden Apple Foundation, and the Director of Development and Communication for the Inner-City Teaching Corps, now
known as the Accelerate Institute.
An advocate of service and volunteerism, Eric continues to dedicate time to several organizations and initiatives. He currently serves as a Board member of the Chicago Brewseum and AFP Chicago, of which he is a past Board President; co-chair of the University of Virginia’s Reunions 2019 Fundraising Committee; Steering Committee member of John J. Audubon Elementary School’s PTO; and support team member with The Honeycomb Project, with which his family volunteers
Eric received his B.A. in Sociology at the University of Virginia, his M.S. in Learning & Organizational Change at Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy, and his Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential. He lives in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, Anissa, and two daughters, Ella and Isla.
Chief Financial Officer, Marillac St. Vincent Family Services
Karen Kane has served as Chief Financial Officer since July, 2015 and has been involved with Marillac St. Vincent Family Services for over 20 years including serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Finance Committee. Prior to joining MSV, Karen’s 30+ year financial career was with for-profit companies, including most recently as Group Senior Vice President Finance at RR Donnelley. She has a B.S. in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University, MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Management Accountant, and a Six Sigma Green Belt.
Senior Director of Development at iMentor Chicago
Carey Kogol is an experienced nonprofit fundraiser with over 15 years of experience working for Chicago nonprofits that fight to rebalance the odds for low-income young adults. In her current role as Senior Development Director at iMentor Chicago, Carey works to secure funds from foundations, corporations and individuals to continue to scale the mission of iMentor to build mentoring relationships that empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school and succeed in college. iMentor increases college enrollment at low-income high schools by an average of 15 percentage points and students served are nearly three times more likely to graduate college than their peers. She has helped grow iMentor’s work from one high school on the westside of Chicago serving 207 students to four high schools throughout the city serving 1,334 students in three years. Carey holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing & Advertising from Columbia College Chicago and received her certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University.
VP Human Resources, SAGA Innovations
In her role as Vice President of Human Resources for SAGA Innovations, Angela Mason is responsible for directing all of the people functions of the organization in accordance with the policies and practices of SAGA, the ethical and social consciences of business, and the laws, regulations and administrative rulings of governmental organizations and other regulatory and advisory authorities and organizations. She is also responsible for the strategic human resource planning to provide the organization with the best people talent available and to position the organization as the employer of choice. Among other work experiences, Angela is the former National Director of Recruitment for SAGA Innovations, was the Director of Human Resources, for the third largest school district in the United States, the former Director of Admissions and Recruitment for a major medical center in Chicago, and she is a board member and mentor at several organizations in Chicago. She has a Masters degree in Management and a Bachelor's degree in Communications and English.
Director, Organizational & Leadership Development
Episcopal Charities and Community Services
Otto Reinisch joined Episcopal Charities and Community Services in April, 2001 to oversee annual and planned giving as Director of Development. In 2008, Otto assumed responsibility for ECCS’ Capacity Building Program as Director of Organizational & Leadership Development. His responsibilities include working with ministry partners to develop a new generation of effective not-for-profit leaders, equipping them with the skills, perspectives, and resources needed to manage strong, effective governing boards, to increase their success in relational fundraising, and to improve their communication strategies with key constituents. In his role, Otto also works with vestries and Missions & Outreach committees at Episcopal congregations to assist their philanthropy and to help raise the visibility of Episcopal Charities and the work of its partner agencies in the Diocese.
Otto is a frequent presenter on fundraising, not-for-profit leadership, governance, and communication in the faith-based sector and has trained many not-for-profit executives to be more effective in leadership roles. Otto lives in Glenview and is a member of Willow Creek Community Church (North Shore). He earned a Master of Science in Communication degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois  and received his B.S. degree in Journalism/Marketing from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb .
Executive Director, Chicago Run
Danya Rosen is the Executive Director of Chicago Run, which promotes the health and wellness of Chicago youth through innovative, engaging, and sustainable running programs. Previously, Danya served as the Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange Chicago, a health equity non-profit that trains college student volunteers to deliver health education in under-resourced high schools. Prior to joining Peer Health Exchange in 2010, Danya held the role of Deputy Outreach Director at Peace Action, an advocacy organization promoting international diplomacy and nuclear non-proliferation. Danya graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology. She serves as Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women’s LBTQ Giving Council, which provides grants to organizations and programs benefiting lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer women and girls in the Chicago region. She is also a member of the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Maternal, Infant, Child, and Adolescent Health Advisory Committee (MICAH), is a mentor for YNPN Chicago’s Leadership Institute, and is a 2019 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Danya is an avid rock climber, and a dedicated fan of the WNBA Chicago Sky basketball team. She also enjoys discovering new vegan restaurants in Chicago, running in Palmer Square Park, and taking annual backpacking trips.
Outreach & Engagement Manager, Forward>ending homelessness
Holly Rotman-Zaid received her Masters in Counseling from Northwestern University and proceeded to her own business in the design and sales of promotion marketing tools (A Woman of Substance, Inc.) honing her communication and listening skills. During that time she also assisted in developing the “Generous Space” concept for fundraising and then teaching that concept through a series of workshops with Wisdom Exchange, Inc. She helped extend this concept in to the world of sales by holding workshops and public speaking engagements explaining the concept with local organizations.
Eventually, she came back to fulfilling her first passion of helping people! She held a variety of positions at several non-profits and local organizations--from teaching art, organizing book-art fair fundraisers, serving on 2 boards, and being chosen as the Director of Business Development of the Gay/LesbianChamber of Chicago (now called LGBT Chamber of Illinois) and Program Operations Manager at In Search of Genius and then at the Center of Concern. It was there that she found working with the issues of those experiencing homelessness was where she wanted to focus all her energy. She is an experienced supportive housing case manager, and a Rapid ReHousing, Homeless Prevention case worker and a Shared Housing case manager. Eventually she moved into the position of Interim Program Operations Manager before finding her current position at Housing Forward. Holly came to Housing Forward in 2017 as the Outreach & Engagement Manager overseeing amazing InReach and Outreach case management staff.
Her personal passions are her grandchildren and creating sculpture. She has been married for over 40 years which, in itself, gives her much experience in communication, compromise and compassion!
Director of Marketing and Communications, Illinois Action for Children
As the overseer of all things marketing and communications at Illinois Action for Children, in 2019, Jemilah Senter is leading the agency’s 50-year anniversary celebration that will emphasize philanthropy and donor cultivation. Since joining IAFC in 2016, Jemilah has had the opportunity to spearhead the implementation of a major agency-wide technology initiative. She also continues to refine the agency’s overall marketing strategy. Prior to joining IAFC, Jemilah was the Director of Marketing and Communications at Association Forum (formerly Association Forum of Chicagoland) where she led the organization through the celebration of its 100-year anniversary, a rebrand, and the development and launch of a new website, member app, and online community platform. She also managed several volunteer groups and played a key role in revising the membership and sponsorship strategies.
In the for-profit sector, Jemilah spent 8 years merchandising and marketing supplemental educational materials for ETA hand2mind (formerly ETA/Cuisenaire). She also worked on major consumer brands including PaperMate, Sharpie, and Expo. Earlier in her career, she enjoyed working as a marketing coordinator and marketing manager for designer chef apparel companies.
Chief Development and Strategy Officer, Navy Pier Inc.
Patrick Sheahan 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.
Program Director, Changing Worlds
Joanne Vena is the Changing Worlds’ Director of School and Community Programs since 2013. In her current position, she has sought to diversify the in-school and community programs to ensure that the organization continues to deepen the impact of arts, literacy and cultural connections for young people
in relevant and provocative ways. Joanne’s career in Chicago spans almost 30 years, all dedicated to the
development of Arts Education/Teaching Artist-driven programs with schools, school districts and
community partners. She has created training programs for teaching artists, developed arts and arts integrated curriculum for classrooms, managed higher education partnerships and formed strong
relationships with Chicago arts organizations and institutions. Joanne currently serves on Ingenuity’s Outreach Panel.