Board of Directors

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

Shruti Jayaraman, Vice Chair

Warren Chapman, Secretary

Christine Gallagher, Treasurer

Duffie Adelson

Dana Berkowitz

Erin Clifford

Steven Collens

Peter Doyle*

Elissa Hamid Efroymson

Sondra Berman Epstein

Lori Gray Faversham

Carol Friedman

Sandra P. Guthman

Mirja Haffner

Francia Harrington

John H. Hart

Betsy Holden

Tom Hurvis

Alan Jagiello

Samera Syeda Ludwig

James W. Mabie†

Kay Mabie

Gary Metzner

Sylvia Neil

Liza Pappas*

Jonathan Plotkin

Cynthia Plouché

John Yonover

Neal Zucker

*Parent Representatives  **Community Representative  †Founding Chair

GET TO KNOW OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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.

Christine Gallagher (Treasurer)
Christine is the Vice President, Chief Audit Executive at Illinois Tool Works, a Fortune 250 global industrial company located in Glenview, IL. In this role, Christine is responsible for providing assurance on the effectiveness of risk management and the strength of the control environment in the organization. Previously, Christine worked for KPMG for 16 years, helping some of the world’s leading organizations manage compliance and execute their growth strategies. She appreciates and values the importance of building a leadership culture that promotes company values and inspires the individual, team and organizational performance. From 2010 through 2016, Christine served on the Finance Committee of the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra, a non-for-profit organization located in Plymouth, MA, which she continues to support and enjoy. Christine holds a B.A. from Babson College (Wellesley, MA) and is a Certified Public Accountant (MA).

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.

Dana Berkowitz
Dana Berkowitz is the proud parent of a 2019 ChiArts graduate, and has been an active volunteer in that community since 2015.  Prior to joining the ChiArts Board in July 2019, she served as a Parent Representative from 2016-2018.

Currently, Dana is also a volunteer mentor for Chicago Scholars, a seven-year college access, success, and leadership development program for financially under-resourced and first-generation Chicago high school students preparing for college.  During her children’s elementary school years, she was an active volunteer for their fundraisers and community events. 

Professionally, Dana was a Public Relations Specialist, and is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism.

Erin E. Clifford
Erin Clifford grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and attended Northwestern University as an undergraduate, where she majored in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. After graduating, Erin taught high school English in the Chicago Public Schools for 5-years. Thereafter, she matriculated to DePaul College of Law, earning her Juris Doctorate. Erin then clerked for 5-years at the Illinois Appellate Court, First District for the Honorable Justice Terrence J. Lavin and then for a period as legal counsel at the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.

In addition to being a lawyer, Erin founded Erin Clifford Wellness Coaching (along with her lifestyle brand Rockstar Doggy Momma). Through these avenues, Erin works with professionals in creating and maintaining healthy lifestyles through nutrition, life and wellness coaching. Erin also participates in speaking engagements, webinars, and is a contributing wellness expert in numerous publications, such as Shape Magazine, US News and World Report, Prevention Magazine, to name a few.

Erin is currently the board chair of Lawyers Lend-A-Hand, an organization that channels the legal community’s resources to promote mentoring and tutoring programs in disadvantaged Chicago communities through distributing grants, as well as its in-house tutoring and mentoring program. Further, Erin serves as a board member on the Friends of Prentice Board, an organization committed to superior healthcare spanning the full spectrum of a woman's life. In addition, Erin serves as a board member for the Chicago High School for the Arts. ChiArts is a Chicago Public School, dedicated to fostering scholar-artists through its intensive pre-professional training program in the arts, combined with a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum. Erin is also a member of the WTTW/WFMT Board of Directors.

Erin is affiliated with the following professional organizations:
 American Bar Association
 Chicago Inn of Court
 Chicago Bar Association
 Illinois State Bar Association
 Legal Marketing Association

For a more detailed biography, please visit Erin’s websites:
http://erincliffordwellness.com/about/
https://healthylawyers.com/
http://rockstardoggymomma.com/about/

Steven Collens
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.

Peter Doyle (Parent Representative)

Elissa Hamid Efroymson
For the past twenty 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 serves on the Board of Directors  of the Drake Center for African and African American Studies at Roosevelt University, as well as the Committee for Learning and Engagement at the Art Institute of Chicago. 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
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 inner-city 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 Haffner
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
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 H. Hart
John H. 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.

Betsy Holden
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.

Tom Hurvis
Tom is Co-Founder and Chairman of Old World Industries, LLC. Old World Industries is headquartered outside of Chicago in Northbrook, Illinois and was founded more than 40 years ago. Today, Old World Industries is the leading supplier of automotive and heavy-duty coolants and has the largest diesel exhaust fluid brand in the United States. Old World’s brands, including PEAK and BlueDEF, can be see supporting major automotive series including NASCAR and NHRA as well as ambassadors and motor sports icons including John Force; Cambridge, Wisconsin’s Matt Kenseth; and Mexico’s Daniel Suaez; at events around the country. Old World Industries has significant business in Latin America, Asia and Europe.

In the 1960’s before establishing Old World Industries, Tom founded his own boutique advertising agency, Hurvis, Binzer & Churchill.

Tom is President of Caerus Foundation, Inc. Tom and his late wife, Julie, founded the Caerus Foundation in 2001, which focuses on improving education opportunities for underserved youth, bringing the arts and environmental awareness to low-income neighborhoods, and supporting wildlife preservation and global health initiatives. The Foundation’s domestic grants support organizations and programs primarily in the cities of Chicago and San Francisco, as well as in the State of Wisconsin. International grants support activities across Africa and Asia, and in parts of Eastern Europe and Central America.

Outside of the Foundation, additional philanthropic endeavors include support for the community and economic development programs in Chicago and Milwaukee. Tom’s current philanthropic board affiliations include The Chicago High School for the Arts, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo, WTTW, and Providence St. Mel School.

Tom earned a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business University of California Berkeley.

Alan Jagiello
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.

Samera Ludwig
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
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 has been in the investment business since 1970.  Jim co-founded Chicago Capital in 2018 after holding senior leadership and portfolio management roles with William Blair and A.G Becker.  Early in his career, Jim spent thirteen years in the retail business with Marshall Field & Company.

Jim is a Director or Trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (past Chair finance committee), Lyric Opera of Chicago (past Vice Chair), WBEZ Public Radio (past Chair), WTTW/WFMT Public Television (current Chair), and on the Leadership Council for ProPublica Illinois. He was the founding Chairman of The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), a Chicago public charter/contract school, and continues to
serve as a Director.

Jim is past Chairman of Thresholds and Old Town School of Folk Music and past Director of The Cara Program and the League of American Orchestras. Jim served on the Center for Development Economics Visiting Committee for Williams College. He has also served on the board of Northfield Public Schools and as a Trustee of the Village of Northfield.

Jim has been recognized by several organizations including Thresholds, The Night Ministry, All Chicago, The Emergency Fund, The Resurrection Project, North Lawndale Employment Network, The Arts Alliance of Illinois, StreetWise, and others. He has been featured in several publications including Barron’s, Crain’s, Chicago Magazine, Wealth Management Magazine, among others.
Education: B.A. Williams College

Gary Metzner
Gary Metzner is a Senior Vice President of Sotheby’s and their Head of Office for the Midwest. He joined Sotheby’s in 1997 after working as the Director of Fine Art for Leslie Hindman Auctioneers since 1993. Previously, he was Director of Hokin Kaufman Gallery in Chicago. He is a generalist in paintings, prints and sculptures from Old Masters to Contemporary painting. Mr. Metzner can be seen on Chubb’s Antique Roadshow on PBS and appeared weekly on the Home and Garden Television programs “At the Auction” and “The Appraisal Fair” and participates in Heirloom Discovery Days across the country. As an auctioneer he has also conducted hundreds of charity auctions throughout the Midwest including “Cows on Parade” and the Banner auctions for the City of Chicago. A graduate of Indiana University with graduate studies in Art History at the University of Chicago, Mr. Metzner is a recipient of the Plummer Scholarship in Fine Art and is president of Threewalls Arts Organization. He sits on the boards of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum and the DePaul University Art Museum and the Old Master Society of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a member of the Arts Club of Chicago and sat on the advisory panel for the Legacy of Absence Gallery at the new Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie.

Sylvia Neil 
Sylvia Neil has had leadership roles in many cultural, civil rights and academic institutions. She currently is chair-elect of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and serves on the boards of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago High School for the Arts, Chicago Public Media and Brandeis University. She is life trustee and former chair of the Grand Teton Music Festival.

For many years Ms. Neil has been a lecturer in law and previously associate dean at the University of Chicago Law School. She serves on advisory councils for the Humanities, Stevanovich Institute, and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the university. She created the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and Law at Brandeis University and co-edits its book series. Ms. Neil began her career in poverty law litigation, was adjunct professor of law at Northwestern, executive director and legal counsel for the American Jewish Congress Midwest, established the Chicago Jewish Women’s Foundation and among other honors was appointed to the Illinois and Cook County Human Rights Commissions.

Sylvia Markowicz Neil received an AB with high distinction from the University of Michigan, MA from the University of Chicago and JD cum laude from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. She and her husband Daniel Fischel share a wonderful expanding family of children, in-law children and grandchildren.

Liza Pappas (Parent Representative)

Jonathan Plotkin
Jonathan is a commercial real estate developer and investor. His business career includes the development of a number of Chicago area retail and mixed-use shopping centers. In 2009 Jonathan was appointed by the Mayor of Highland Park to serve as Chairman of the Highland Park Roundtable Business Advisory Group. Jonathan recently completed a similar assignment at the personal request of the Board of Trustee’s President for the Village of Northbrook, Illinois.

Jonathan is a nationally published editorial cartoonist, illustrator, educator and patron of the arts whose own art can often be found on the pages of the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald, American Bystander, The Chicago Reader and other national and regional publications. He firmly believes spontaneous doodling has the power to expand the creative potential of the human mind and that every child and adult should be allowed to daydream with a fist full of colored pencils and a stack of blank paper. As a world traveler and self  proclaimed expert on all things strange and unusual, Jonathan believes that art is a universal language that can be used as a visual tool for creative problem solving and expression.

Jonathan is a long-standing member of the National Cartoonist Society where he proudly serves as Minister of Ways and Means for the Chicago chapter. He is also a standing member of the National Association of Editorial Cartoonists. In 2015 Jonathan received the Mayor’s Award for the Arts which recognizes an individuals outstanding achievements or contributions to the arts in Highland Park. Jonathan successfully completed two terms as Chairman of the Cultural Arts Commission of Highland Park before moving on to take his place on the Board of The Art Center Highland Park including two terms as Board President. He is a past two term Board member of the Chicago Association of Realtors and was an active member of Remains Theatre’s Board of Directors formally located in Chicago. Jonathan earned a BA in Political Science from The George Washington University (1976) and a MBA in Strategic Planning from Northeastern University in Boston (1980).

Cynthia Plouché
Cynthia has an extensive background in the financial services industry with more than twenty-five years of experience as a fixed income portfolio manager and financial executive. Additionally she has extensive experience in the financial and operational oversight of for-profit, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. Her career has incorporated risk, control and compliance responsibility at both implementation and oversight levels. She serves on the boards of the Northern Institutional Funds and Northern Funds and is chair of the Funds’ governance committees. She also currently serves as an Independent Director of Barings Fund Trust, a registered investment company and an Independent Trustee of Barings Global Short Duration High Yield Fund, a closed-end investment company. She began her investment management career with Equitable Capital Management Corporation.

Cynthia regularly volunteers her time in consulting to non-profit and women-lead business initiatives. She is an Advisor to a STEM organization that, to date, has educated over 4K girls through 3D printing, CAD and other leading technologies. Her community and civic leadership is extensive with over twelve years of serving in locally elected leadership roles. Cynthia served as Township Assessor for Moraine Township (Illinois) from January 2014 to June 2018. At North Shore School District 112, she is a prior school Board Member and Vice President. She also was a Moraine Township Board Trustee for four years. Cynthia is a long-time volunteer with local high school student programs and is a school liaison and interviewer for the Harvard Club of Chicago.  In recent years she has participated as panelist and moderator for youth oriented events, Environment Social & Governance (ESG), Diversity & Inclusion, and Fund industry forums.

Cynthia has a Wharton MBA and a Harvard University undergraduate degree. She is a lifelong learner who continues to pursue impactful learning and involvement related to educational access and the impact of belonging and inclusion on the success of young adults from under-resourced communities.

John Yonover
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; 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 projects have included the Tony Award-winning Memphis (Broadway, US Tour and London’s West End), the much-acclaimed Mountaintop with Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, First Date, 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 (finalist in the feature category at the 2011 South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, TX), and a producer on the feature film Alto which had a limited release in May 2015. He is currently working on a new play directed by Jason Alexander that is being developed for Broadway.

Neal 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