ChiArts is grateful to the following people who serve on the Board of Directors of Chicago High School for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) corporation committed to supporting this high school and providing it with leadership and encouragement.
Ronald B. Grais (Chair)
Ronald B. Grais is a transactional lawyer who is highly skilled in all areas of real estate law, particularly as it relates to the development process. With special experience in zoning, tax increment financing and construction, he represents developers, contractors and subcontractors as well as landlords, tenants and occasionally community groups. Mr. Grais has served as a court-appointed receiver for projects still under construction and has extensive experience representing receivers of properties, as well as mechanics lien claimants, in foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Grais is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. He is of counsel and a member of the Firm’s Real Estate and Climate and Clean Technology Law Practices. Well versed in the intricacies of LEED certification and development and leasing of sustainable projects, Mr. Grais is a frequent speaker at national conferences and seminars on the subject of Green Leasing. In addition to his law practice, Mr. Grais has been an active real estate developer for more than 20 years. In January 2011, he was profiled in a cover story for Leading Lawyers Magazine – Real Estate, Construction & Environmental Edition. Strongly committed to community service, Mr. Grais for more than two decades has been involved with Thresholds, the largest and oldest provider of mental health services in Illinois, including serving as president of the Board of Directors. He received the 2006 W.F. Faulkes Award from the National Rehabilitation Association Awards Committee, as well as the Citizen Community Rehabilitation Service Award, a Chicago and State of Illinois honor.
Shruti Jayaraman (Vice Chair)
Shruti Jayaraman is a Principal at Civic Consulting Alliance, which invests $15 million of pro bono private sector expertise annually to drive enduring change for Chicago. She has led work in the firm’s Economic Growth, Special Projects and Healthcare practices since she joined in 2010. Previously, Shruti has worked in project finance; on product design for small business lending; and on culture and strategy challenges in a Fortune 500 merger. Shruti holds a J.D. from the Yale Law School and an A.B. in History and Science from Harvard College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Warren Chapman (Secretary)
As a visiting assistant professor at UIUC, Warren Chapman taught graduate courses in social foundations and sociology of education. He has served as Senior Vice President and Interim Vice President for Institutional Development at Columbia College of Chicago; Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Vice President and National Philanthropic Advisor at JPMorgan Chase; President, Bank One Foundation; and Lead Program Officer at the Joyce Foundation. Warren also serves on the Boards of the Chicago History Museum; The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired; and the Chicago Jazz Institute. Previous Board appointments include; Columbia College Chicago; The Donors Forum of Chicago; The Community Renewal Society; and Grantmakers for Education.
Betsy Holden (Treasurer)
Betsy Holden began serving as a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company in 2007. Prior to that, Ms. Holden was with Kraft Foods, Inc. from 1982 to 2005 holding a variety of positions including Co-CEO of Kraft Foods, Inc., CEO of Kraft Foods North America, and President of Global Marketing and Category Development. In addition to her Master of Management degree from Northwestern’s J. L. Kellogg School of Management, she received a B.A. in Education from Duke University and an M.A. in Teaching from Northwestern University. She taught for four years in public schools with a focus on integrating arts into the curriculum. Ms. Holden serves on the boards of the Tribune Company, Western Union, Media Bank, Duke University’s Trinity College Board of Visitors, and the Kellogg School of Management Dean’s Advisory Board. Ms. Holden is also President of the Board of Off the Street Club, serves as a Senior Fellow to the Kellogg Innovation Network and is a trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry.
Duffie A. Adelson
Duffie Adelson is a Life Trustee and past president of Merit School of Music, a community music school nationally renowned for the caliber of instruction and level of financial support provided to thousands of students annually. Prior to her work at Merit, Duffie directed school music programs in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Illinois. In addition to her service as a trustee of ChiArts, she serves on the boards of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the Chicago Philharmonic Society, and Pilgrim Chamber Players, and is a member of the WFMT Radio Committee of WTTW: Window to the World. Duffie received a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Carlos Azcoitia is the Founding Principal of a new “Comprehensive Community School” concept in Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood. He left central office to become Principal again at John Spry Community School and Community Links High School. The school was the first in Chicago to include a pre-kindergarten through High School program in one building with the goal of 100% high school completion rate and 100% post-secondary graduation. Dr. Azcoitia received his Doctorate in Leadership and Educational Policy from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. He has also served as an adjunct professor in several universities. Currently, Dr. Azcoitia serves as Distinguished Professor of Practice in Educational Leadership at National Louis University. He was appointed by the Mayor to serve on the Chicago Board of Education and is Chair of the Board of Trustees at Northeastern Illinois University. Dr. Azcoitia is a Steering Committee Member of the Coalition of Community Schools in Washington DC and a Trustee of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. He is also a Board Member of the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Miami, a Family Retreat Center founded by his uncle who was a Jesuit priest. Dr. Azcoitia has also been the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding leadership. His latest recognition is a street named in his honor in the school community which he served as Principal in the City of Chicago.
Sarah Bader, Gensler’s Firmwide Health & Wellness Practice Area Leader, is passionate about identifying the big idea and designing to it. While the healthcare setting is laden with challenges, Sarah and her team are striving to slowly improve and change the way people think about the healthcare environment. Her approach is part of a growing movement called user-centered design, which aims to redefine how people experience healthcare by focusing on their specific needs. As a leader in her field, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience focused on project management and consultant coordination in healthcare, institutional, education and corporate facilities. She brings seasoned insights to clients, having worked with notable healthcare institutions such as Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, University of Iowa Healthcare, Henry Ford Hospital, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, as well as some of the Midwest’s leading financial institutions including Mesirow Financial, Citadel Investment Group and Infinium Capital Management. She has multiple undergraduate degrees in finance, economics and interior design, and a master’s degree in architecture. Sarah believes that there is a need for new thinking in healthcare and that design plays an important role in creating fresh solutions to complex problems. Her philosophy focuses on creating a common vision for all stakeholders in order to bring about the change that is needed in the healthcare setting. For Sarah, it is vital to understand the end users in order to create an environment that engages people and leads to improved health and wellbeing. Sarah is committed to engaging the client throughout the design process and helping clients identify problems and creating innovative solutions.
Dana Berkowitz (Parent Representative)
Dana became an active and eager volunteer in ChiArts’ PSO last year when her daughter, Devyn, started her freshman year. Dana is looking forward to continuing her support of ChiArts by representing the PSO as the Parent Representative on the ChiArts Board of Directors. Her goal is to ensure great communication between the parent community and the Board so that our students, families, teachers and administration all feel their voices are heard and their experience is the best it can be.
Joo Youn Boe
Joo Youn Boe is a Managing Director in the Private Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Joo served as a Director in Credit Suisse Private Banking for 8 years. Joo began her career at Goldman Sachs in 2000 after receiving her MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Kelley School of Business. Ms. Boe also earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Piano Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio. Prior to business school, she was a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and performed as an Artist in Residence with the Emile Beaux Jeux piano trio. Ms. Boe is a member of the Dean’s Council for the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She is also a former board member of the Juvenile Protective Association, the Minnesota Orchestra and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. She lives in Winnetka with her husband Stephen and their two children.
Evette Cardona (Community Representative)
Evette Cardona is a native Chicagoan and a graduate of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, where she received the 2010 U of C’s Leadership in Diversity Alumni award, the 2008 Elizabeth Butler award for outstanding professional success and achievement in social work, and where she teaches a course in philanthropy and public policy. In 2012 she was appointed the Vice President of Programs for the Polk Bros. Foundation where she began as a program intern in September 1997. She is also the vice-chair of the board of directors of the Donors Forum of Illinois. Evette has also been honored with numerous awards for her community work including the Center on Halsted’s Human First award, ACLU/Chicago’s John R. Hammel Award, Mujeres Latinas en Accion’s Maria “Maruca” Martinez award, the Illinois Women’s Bar Association’s Women with Vision award, and leadership awards from the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees, the Near Northwest Neighborhood Network, the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, Latino Immigrants of Illinois, Literacy Powerline and the Association of Latino Men For Action. She was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2002.
Steven Collens is CEO of MATTER, the healthcare technology startup center and community hub. Prior to assuming his current role, Steven was senior vice president at Pritzker Group, the investment firm led by Tony and J.B. Pritzker. In that capacity, he led the team that created 1871, Chicago’s center for digital startups that now houses more than 300 early-stage companies. In 2005, Steven helped found ConstantWellness.com to give patients control over their health data and allow healthcare providers to coordinate care of their patients.
Steven holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis. He serves on the boards of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and the IMSA Fund. He is also a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Stephanie Cox-Batson (Parent Representative)
Stephanie Cox-Batson joined the ChiArts Parent Support Organization executive committee in 2016 as the first volunteer coordinator. In that capacity she helped launch a new push for parent involvement. Every ChiArts family is now asked to contribute to the school in some way. With the new family involvement campaign, “Your Gift, Your Way” approximately 35% of ChiArts families donated time or money to the school. For the 2017/18 school year Stephanie will serve as PSO president as well as a parent representative to the board. Stephanie is committed to ensuring that the mission of ChiArts is reflected in PSO activities. She is passionate about representing all ChiArts families and she believes it is important to creating a thriving artistic-scholarly community where all feel supported. Stephanie has been a practicing physician board certified in obstetrics and gynecology for almost 20 years. The majority of her career has been dedicated to caring for underserved populations. Previously she coordinated the women’s health department for a large community health organization. Dr. Cox-Batson continues to work with Erie Family Health and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is a trainer for Nexplanon, and is on the humanitarian committee for the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology. Dr. Cox-Batson has been the course director for a colposcopy training in Managua, Nicaragua, and continues to work with the local health department in Esteli, Nicaragua. She received her BA in political science with honors from Northwestern University, and received her MD and MA from Washington University in St Louis. She completed residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Stephanie has received awards for clinical service and teaching, and has published in peer reviewed scientific journals in the field of neurophysiology. Other board experience includes serving on The Board of Directors at Near North Montessori, and The City of Chicago Ethics Board for the CTA. Stephanie continues to serve on the advisory board for The Mama Licha Project and Single Story Inc. She is the proud mother of twin daughters, Noa who is a junior at ChiArts in the dance conservatory, and Hannah.
Elissa Hamid Efroymson
For the past fifteen years, Elissa Hamid Efroymson has been involved in the not-for-profit community in Chicago. Ms. Efroymson is currently Vice Chair of the Efroymson Family Fund — a CICF Fund — and serves as a Co-Chair of the Efroymson-Hamid Family Foundation. In addition to her role in family foundations, Ms. Efroymson has worked in the fields of Child Welfare and Domestic Violence at the Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services. As well as being published in the field of Domestic Violence Awareness, Ms. Efroymson was a state licensed counselor and remains an advocate in the field. As well as sitting on the Board of Trustees for Chicago Public School for the Performing Arts, she is a trustee at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Ms. Efroymson holds a Bachelor’s degree from Loyola University in Chicago and Masters’ degrees from Depaul University in Multicultural and Business Communication as well as a Master’s in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.
Sondra Berman Epstein
Sondra Berman Epstein has decades of experience in marketing and public relations. She is the former President of Sondra Berman Public Relations, a mid-sized public relations firm, as well as the co-founder and partner of Group One Associates, a public relations firm serving social service agencies and a variety of clients in the entertainment and hospitality industries. For three years, Ms. Epstein was an elementary school teacher in Mount Prospect, Illinois. She is a board member at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, a member of the Executive Board of the Auditorium Theatre, former trustee of Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a former member of the Advisory Board for the City of Chicago Cultural Arts Department, board member of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Advisory Board member of the Chicago Foundation for Women, member of the Acquisitions Committee of the Photography Department of the Art Institute of Chicago, and former Commissioner of the Illinois Arts Council.
Lori Gray Faversham
Lori Gray Faversham is involved at the Art Institute in a number of capacities. Currently, she is Chair of the Sustaining Fellows Program Committee, which designs and coordinates all programs for members of Sustaining Fellows. She serves on several committees there, including European Decorative Arts Committee and the Library, and she is a past president of The Auxiliary Board. Ms. Faversham is a member of the Costume Council at the Chicago History Museum and a member of the Donor Relations and Community Engagement at The Chicago Community Trust. Lori is the mother of three boys, twins Holden and Truman (16) and Henry (14). She is an active volunteer at their school (Latin) where she served as editor of the Middle School newsletter and currently serves on several other committees. A former writer, her work has appeared in publications including The Chicago Tribune, The Louisville Courier-Journal, Art & Auction Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar,Maine Antiques Digest and Saveur. In addition, she freelanced in public relations and fundraising. Ms. Faversham has a B.A. in English and Art History from the University of Michigan, and a M.A. in literature from Northwestern University.
Carol Friedman has worked in education for more than 20 years. She served as Interim Principal at ChiArts in 2014 and played an essential role in the Principal search. Ms. Friedman previously served as the Principal at the Franklin Fine Arts Center in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood from 2005-2012. She holds a M. Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the University of Illinois and a M.A. in Education from San Fransisco State University.
Sandra P. Guthman
Sandra Guthman has been Chair of Board of Directors of the Polk Bros. Foundation since 1988 and its fulltime CEO since 1993. The Polk Bros. Foundation is a private foundation with assets of approximately $375 million making grants of more than $20 million per year for direct services that impact innercity children, youth and families in Chicago. Prior to 1993, Mrs. Guthman spent 28 years with IBM Corp. in various marketing capacities, including branch manager and Director of Marketing for the Midwest. She serves on the boards of the Northern Institutional Funds and Northern Funds, Rush University Medical Center, as Chair Emerita of the board of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, former Chairman of the board of Window to the World Communications WTTW/Channel 11 and WFMT98.7, chairs the Advisory Board of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University as well as the Wellesley College Davis Art Museum Advisory Council. Mrs. Guthman was formerly a member of the Founders Committee for Millennium Park, Chicago, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Civic Consulting Alliance and is currently a member of the Business Leadership Council of Wellesley College, The Chicago Network, the Commercial Club of Chicago and The Economic Club of Chicago.
Mirja Spooner Haffner currently serves on The Renaissance Society’s Board of Directors, the Woman’s Board at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Founder’s Board at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She is also active with the Society for Contemporary Art and the Art Institute. Previously, Ms. Haffner spent her career working in the arts at Christie’s Auction House and Phillips Auctioneers, and was the Director of Development and Events at the Neue Galerie New York, Museum for German and Austrian Art. She worked in development at the Art Institute of Chicago raising capital funds for the Modern Wing, designed by Renzo Piano, and then at J.P.Morgan in event marketing for their private wealth management group. Ms. Haffner is an avid follower and supporter of the arts and grew up living in many countries as a result of her father’s work in the US State Department (Foreign Service), where he was responsible for promoting US arts and education around the world. Ms. Haffner holds a BA in American Studies from Barnard College/Columbia University (1996) and currently lives in Chicago with her husband, Ted, and their sons, Caillum and Henry.
Francia Harrington is currently serving as President and Chief Development Officer at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hopsital of Chicago Foundation. Previously, Ms. Harrington was Senior Vice President of JPMorgan Chase Community Relations group in Illinois, where she managed relationships with the numerous organizations supported by Chase throughout the state, many of which are engaged in community development, education, and arts and culture. Ms. Harrington has extensive experience throughout the various businesses within the bank and worked closely with Chase’s Bill Daley, who is a member of LISC’s national board of directors.
John Hart, Chairman of Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., has been a leading wine merchant since 1973, and his reputation as a wine expert is international in scope. Hart Davis Hart is a world-wide auction house and retail online division with clientele ranging from leading restaurants, corporations, and noted individual collectors throughout the world. He and his wife, Carol Prins, have lent their support to some of the city’s most notable cultural institutions over the past two decades. Mr. Hart’s extensive civic involvement includes serving on the boards of the Lincoln Park Zoo (Life Trustee), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Trustee), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Life Trustee),Chi Arts:The Chicago High School for the Arts(Trustee), Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (Trustee) they support the Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, the Art Institute of Chicago, and The Lyric Opera .Their foundations are The Jessica Fund, and the John H. Hart Foundation. In 2013, Mr. Hart and Ms. Prins were awarded the Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts by the Merit School of Music.
Tom and his late wife, Julie, a former member of the ChiArts Board of Directors, have been supporters of The Chicago High School for the Arts since the school’s early years. In addition to his dedication to ChiArts, Tom has been involved in education through his work with several other institutions, including his service on the Board of Trustees at Lawrence University and Providence St. Mel. Tom completed his undergraduate education at Lawrence University and earned his MBA at University of California-Berkeley. He has been the CEO of Old World Industries since the 1970’s.
Al Jagiello is a senior audit partner based in Chicago who focuses on large multinational public clients. As Deloitte’s process and industrial products audit sector leader, he is responsible for developing and executing strategy, driving growth, enhancing quality, and developing professionals serving clients in the industry. He has more than 25 years of experience in both public accounting and the private sector, including an international assignment in the Deloitte practice in Belgium. Al joined Deloitte in early 2001 after serving as the chief financial officer of a NASDAQ-listed company. Prior to that, he worked at Arthur Andersen in its professional standards group and audit practice. Al has served a variety of clients in Deloitte’s audit practice, with a focus on global industrial products and life sciences companies. He currently serves as the lead client service partner for Illinois Tool Works and the engagement quality control review partner for a number of industrial products audit clients. Al holds a Bachelor of Science from Northern Illinois University, and a certification from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
A Chicago native with a passion for the city’s neighborhoods and diverse cultural treasures, Justine has worked with collaborative teams to create vibrant, engaged communities and leverage the rich assets of the city. During the 1990’s, Justine founded and ran insideART, a contemporary gallery and art tours/programs business focused on “demystifying the art world,” where she honed her entrepreneurial skills and formed creative collaborations across the city. From 2003 to 2013, as director of Illinois Institute of Technology’s Mies van der Rohe Society, Justine set strategy, tone, and programming, raised more than $14 million for restorations of a National Historic Landmark and other key buildings, curated exhibitions and managed a volunteer board. Most recently, Justine joined the Corporate Relations team at Exelon Corporation, the nation’s leading competitive energy provider.
Justine currently serves as a trustee of her alma mater, Bryn Mawr College, as well as on the board of the Hyde Park Art Center and the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a past member of the boards of The Arts Club of Chicago and Blair Thomas and Company Theater, and the Education and Outreach Committee of the Ounce of Prevention.
Samera is an attorney practicing commercial litigation, employment and immigration law. She is licensed to practice in New York and Illinois. She has taught at John Marshall Law School and is a frequent speaker on immigration and litigation practice. Most recently, Samera volunteered with the International Refugee Assistance Project advising travelers on President’s Trump’s Executive Orders relating to travel. She also has an active pro bono practice. Recently, in conjunction with the National Immigrant Justice Center, Samera obtained asylum for her Pakistani client who was a victim of domestic violence. Samera obtained her bachelor’s degree with Honors from Wesleyan University and her law degree from Columbia Law School. She is a Board Member of the Chicago chapter of the Asian American Bar Association.
The arts and arts education are particularly important to Samera. She believes they play an essential role in child development and critical thinking, and has made that a priority in addition to education with her twin daughters, Sarah and Norah, age 8.
Kay Mabie has been director of Glenbrook Meals at Home since 1987. She is also a community volunteer with several organizations including the Music Institute of Chicago (trustee since 1993 and former Chair of Board of Trustees), the Women’s Association of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Goodman Theatre Women’s Board. Ms. Mabie is also a former Public Library Trustee, former Girl Scout Leader (nine years), and former district PTA President. She managed the Northfield Public Schools’ lunch programs from 1975-1981. From 1965 to 1970, Ms. Mabie was director of two summer day camps for elementary school students from the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago (one held in Wilmette for four years and one held in Northfield for three years). These camps were run in cooperation with Urban Gateways.
James W. Mabie (Chair Emeritus)
Jim Mabie joined William Blair & Company as a Partner in 1983 after 13 years as a Managing Director with A.G. Becker & Company. Mr. Mabie is a Trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee of Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He serves in the same capacity at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is active on the boards of WBEZ Public Radio (past Chairman), WTTW Public Television, Public Radio Capital, Thresholds (past Chairman), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (past President), the Old Town School of Folk Music (past Chairman), The Cara Program, and the Ravinia Festival. Mr. Mabie has also served on the Board of the Northfield Public Schools and as a Trustee of the Village of Northfield. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
Cynthia joined the ChiArts board in 2015 and currently serves as Chief Administrative Officer to the Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Retail and Business Banking at BMO Harris Bank. She comes to her current role from a previous special assignment at BMO Financial Group, where she was part of a hand-selected leadership team working on an end-to-end brand revitalization strategy for the company, globally. Cynthia’s commitment to doing the right thing – paired with a commitment to bold execution that drives outcomes – extends to her civic life in Chicago. In 2013, she co-chaired the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School’s annual fundraiser to record results – positioning the school to achieve new contribution levels to the operating income. This year, Cynthia has been tapped to serve on the committee of “Four Stars” – St. Jude Children Research Hospital’s largest annual fundraiser in Chicago. She also serves on the Grant Park Music Festival’s Board as a Trustee and a champion of their diversity initiative. Cynthia works, lives, and laughs in Chicago. She’s a passionate advocate for making Chicago a leader in national inclusivity for women and people of color.
Sylvia Neil lectures in law at University of Chicago Law School. She is founder and chair of the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and Law at Brandeis University and is co-editor of its book series (Brandeis University Press). She is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law and has taught courses on religious liberty, gender, jurisprudence and legal writing. Ms. Neil, who began her legal career as a poverty law litigator, served as associate dean at the University of Chicago Law School. Previous to that, she was regional legal and executive director of American Jewish Congress. She’s on the national advisory committee of Human Rights Watch Womens Rights Division, WomenOnCall.org and Jewish Funds for Justice. Ms. Neil has been a consultant to not-for-profit and civic institutions and has served on various boards. Among them are the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (chair, education committee), Columbia College Chicago (chair, academic affairs), Chicago Public Media/WBEZ, and the Grand Teton Music Festival. She is a lifetime governing member of the Art Institute of Chicago and sits on the committee on medieval through modern European painting and sculpture.
As a Senior Portfolio Manager for Williams Capital Management, a role Ms. Plouché held from 2006 to 2012, she was responsible for investment strategy, trading, and portfolio management of individually managed institutional portfolios and back-up portfolio manager for the Firm’s money market mutual fund. Additional responsibilities included administrative and marketing support for SEC registered fund. From 1991 to 2006, Ms. Plouché was with Blaylock-Abacus Asset Management (formerly Abacus Financial Group, Inc.), as Founder, Chief Investment Officer, and Managing Director. She was responsible for all investment strategy, trading, and portfolios including the development of the firm’s investment processes and disciplines, formulation of buy/sell decisions, and oversight of investment operations.
Ms. Plouché earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University in Psychology and Social Relations (1979), and has an MBA in Finance from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (1983).
Pamela B. Strobel
Pamela Strobel is the retired executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Exelon and retired president of Exelon’s Business Services Company. Currently, Ms. Strobel serves on the boards of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, ITW, and Domtar Corporation, and is on the boards of trustees for Ravinia Festival, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and Joffrey Ballet. She chairs the boards of the Civic Consulting Alliance and Ravinia Festival. Ms. Strobel is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Economic Club of Chicago, and the Chicago Network. Her honors include The 2003 Association of Professional Fundraisers Award for Executive Leadership; The 2003 Myra Bradwell Award for Excellence in the Profession from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois; The 2002 Luminary Award from the Girl Scouts of Chicago; The Diversity 2000 Award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association; The 1997 Founder’s Award from the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women; and the 1997 Women of Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League.
John leads the operations of Indiana Sugars, Missouri Sugars and Sweet Specialty Solutions. There are currently four separate facilities with manufacturing, distribution and co-manufacturing in Gary, Indiana, Neosho, Missouri and Lemont, Illinois. Indiana Sugars was started by John’s grandfather in 1923, and until 2007, there was only one operating facility (Gary, IN). John has been with the company full time for 30 years and has been the President and COO for the last 12 years. Significant growth in the company has occurred in the last 10 years due to his vision, industry knowledge and leadership. John received his BA in political science from Tulane University in New Orleans. He is an investor and producer in Broadway Theatre (over 30 projects), these have included the Tony Award winning Memphis the Musical (Broadway, US Tour and London’s West End), the much-acclaimed Mountaintop with Samuel L. Jackson/Angela Bassett, First Date The Musical, Something Rotten, A Time To Kill and Living on Love. This season he is proud to be involved in Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away. For the last two holiday seasons, he produced Dee Snider’s Rock and Roll Christmas which had a successful 9 week run in Chicago and a 5 week run in Toronto. He was an Associate Producer for the film Fly Away, which was a finalist in the feature category at the South By Southwest film festival in Austin, TX in 2011 and a producer on the feature film Alto which will had a limited release in May of 2015. He is currently working on a new play directed by Jason Alexander that is being developed for Broadway.
Neal S. Zucker
Neal Zucker, founder of Corporate Cleaning Services, Chicago’s largest all-union, window-washing company, is a leader in Chicago’s philanthropic community having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for civic organizations, urban beautification projects, and arts groups. He is an advocate for the environment and for children’s educational enrichment programs, and serves on the boards of The Museum of Science and Industry, Goodman Theatre and After School Matters. In the past, Mr. Zucker has served on the boards of Gateway Green Committee, Chicago Botanic Garden, Inner-City Teaching Corps, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Children’s Memorial Hospital. He was a member of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Landscape Advisory Committee and Gallery 37, an innovative program that offers arts-related employment and mentoring opportunities to young people. Mr. Zucker is a graduate of University of Michigan, where he studied economics and business. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.