2018 Leadership Institute Cohort

Claire Barner
Operations Manager, Center for Financial Services Innovation

Claire is the Operations Manager at the Center for Financial Services Innovation. She is responsible for legal and insurance operations, internal IT systems, facilities management, financial management, and administrative processes. She is especially focused on creating and implementing strategies for enhancing process improvements, and leveraging technology solutions in order to develop efficiency within the organization. Claire is passionate about supporting programs and tools to address urban poverty. Claire received a Bachelor’s in Public Policy and a Masters in the Art of Teaching from the University of Chicago. In her free time, Claire enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, trying local craft beers, and exploring Chicago with her young daughter and husband.


Jaclyn Carmichael
Program Director, Project Exploration

Jaclyn Carmichael has been working at Project Exploration since the summer of 2014.As Program Director, her work focuses on the organization-wide program strategic planning, staff training, partnership management, and overall supervision of program staff.Before being promoted to Program Director, Jaclyn worked as the Program Manager for 2 years where her responsibilities centered on program implementation and day-to-day logistics regarding staff, curriculum, and partnerships.Through her work at Project Exploration, Jaclyn also serves as the representative at Chicago City of Learning, as well as Hive Chicago, where she was nominated and chosen to be a member of the Hive Advisory Committee. She has presented her work at the Digital Media & Learning Conference 2017 in Irvine, California and Mozilla Festival 2015 in London, England. Before joining the Project Exploration staff, Jaclyn was a classroom teacher for 4 years in Phoenix and Chicago. She taught high school and middle school sciences, including Biology, Anatomy, and Environmental Sciences.Her passion for science education extends to outside professional pursuits as well.In November of 2017, Jaclyn was chosen to be a SciGirls Trainer through the SciGirls Program at PBS.Jaclyn also become a Board Member on the Illinois Environmental Council’s Young Professionals Board in April of 2017 and has recently been voted in as Secretary. Jaclyn earned her BS in Biology and Secondary Education from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. You can follow Jaclyn on Twitter and Instagram at @lilcarm17.


Maria Doria
Medical Missions Coordinator, One World Surgery

Maria is the Medical Missions Coordinator at One World Surgery, a global surgery nonprofit with the mission to ignite the spirit of service and transform lives by providing access to high-quality surgical care globally. She oversees operations of a medical mission program based at One World Surgery’s ambulatory surgical center in Honduras. In 2017, nearly 900 patients received surgeries and over 500 volunteers served during these missions.Prior to One World Surgery, Maria worked as Assistant Education Coordinator at Manos de Cristo in Austin, Texas, organizing educational services such as English as a Second Language and computer literacy classes for adults. Maria comes from a service background, having served with AmeriCorps in Austin, Texas and the Border Servant Corps in Las Cruces, NM. She also has experience working with immigrants, refugees, youth, individuals experiencing homelessness, and survivors of domestic violence. Maria has a M.S. in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Spanish from Augustana College. She is committed to developing culturally-sensitive and empowerment-based programs that build community and promote social justice.


Kate Englund-Ginn, LCSW
Program Director, Safe Families for Children

Kate Englund-Ginn is the Program Director of Safe Families PLUS (Providing Lasting Unconditional Support), equipping mentors to walk alongside youth aging out of the foster care system.She also serves as the National Director of Research, Training, Scaling, and Innovation at Safe Families for Children. Kate previously worked at the Center for Law and Social Work providing therapeutic case management to families and assisting them with adoption and guardianship services. Kate is passionate about helping children who have experienced trauma and supporting caregivers to strengthen and preserve the family unit. Kate received her BA in Human Development from Boston College,and her Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 2011 with a focus in nonprofit management. She is a certified trainer in Trust-Based Relational Interventions (TBRI) for working with children who have experienced trauma. Kate serves as the Secretary of the Young Professionals Board of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center,and is involved in community development work in her neighborhood of West Garfield Park, where she resides with her husband.


Maura Flood
Youth Programs Educator, Art Institute of Chicago

Maura is an arts administrator, educator, designer, and mentor. In her current role as Youth Programs Educator at the Art Institute of Chicago, she fosters partnerships with community organizations, artists, and teachers to create collaborative, youth-led programming at the second largest art museum in the U.S. Maura founded Re:Imagine, a 24-hour museum design hackathon bringing together hundreds of young people from neighborhoods all across Chicagoland. She also led production of the Art Institute’s first online course, an ambitious international collaboration with Tate Collective London and the Museum of Modern Art New York.

A former Chicago Public School Teacher, Maura is passionate about equity in both education and the arts. Through her work, she aspires to empower youth creatively and professionally, using art as a tool to disrupt systems of power, connect individuals, and illuminate wonder in the everyday. Prior to her work in Chicago Public Schools, Maura held positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Gallery 400, and Caroline Rose, Inc. Maura earned both her M.Ed. in Art Education and her B.S. in Fashion Marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Malita Gardner
Children and Youth Program Manager, World Relief DuPage/Aurora

Malita has over 8 years of non-profit experience. She is currently the Children and Youth Program Manager at World Relief DuPage, a refugee resettlement agency. Malita oversees case management for all children, an Early Childhood Program, school enrollments, and after-school, tutoring, and summer programming. In this role, Malita has created a new position to better support early childhood and a new volunteer position to better support families who need further assistance with academics and with navigating the American school system. She is also in the process of creating an office-wide mentoring program for staff to increase growth and development. Malita is also in the process of launching a Lean In Circle in her neighborhood that is comprised of 13 professional women.

Prior to her role at World Relief, Malita was a District Executive at the Boy Scouts of America for three and a half years where she was responsible for recruiting more boys into the program, managing adult volunteers, and fundraising. She also worked at the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville as a Play Facilitator and School Programs facilitator. She also has cross-cultural experience through her experience teaching fifth grade in Mexico. Her education includes an M.A.Ed. in elementary education, a B.A.in English, and minor in communication from Truman State University, and holds an Illinois teaching license. Malita is a two-time breast cancer survivor, has a 4 year old daughter, enjoys reading, writing, watching the Cubs, and is currently training for her first tough mudder.


Lindsey Hammond
Associate Director of Policy, Community Renewal Society

Lindsey is passionate about mobilizing people of faith to advocate for economic and criminal justice policy changes, especially restoring opportunities for people with criminal records, justice reform, and affordable housing. She serves on the United Church of Christ Chicago Metropolitan Association Justice and Witness Committee and the Board of Mission at First Congregational Church of Evanston.

Prior to joining Community Renewal Society, Lindsey worked for nonprofits addressing community development and ending chronic homelessness. Lindsey holds a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University Divinity School and a BA in Religious Studies from Rhodes College.


Will Irvine
Manager of College Prep, Gary Cornor Youth Center

Will currently serves as the Manager of College Preparation at the Gary Comer Youth Center (GCYC). In this role, he manages all high school transition and college preparation programming for 8th-12th graders. This includes an 8th Grade Male Mentoring Program, a high school transition initiative, and GCYC’s Upward Bound Program. Will has been working with students on Chicago’s South Side since he was an undergrad at DePaul University. First as a tutor with DePaul’s America Reads program and then as a corps member of the Inner City Teaching Corps (ICTC). During his time in ICTC, Will taught 5th-8th grade English and Social Studies at St. Columbanus Catholic School. After his third year of teaching, Will joined the team at GCYC first as Assistant to Executive Director and then as a Manager on GCYC’s College Team. Will is a graduate of DePaul University with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. Additionally, he received an MSED from Northwestern University. In his free time, Will enjoys exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods, cooking for friends, and good trivia or board game night.


Stephenie Lazarus
Development Director, Horizons for Youth

Stephenie is the Development Director at Horizons for Youth. Horizons for Youth is a Chicago based nonprofit working with families from low-resource neighborhoods to ensure that their children have all of the resources they need to not only enroll in but also graduate from college. Stephenie is responsible for assisting the CEO and VP of External Relations with implementing Horizons for Youth’s fundraising programs while managing the Development and Communications team. She also oversees Horizons for Youth Annual Fund efforts as well as the Student Sponsorship program.

Prior to Horizons for Youth, Stephenie served as the Development Director at Providence Englewood Charter School. She also worked at LIFT-Chicago as their Development Manager. Stephenie holds a M.A. in Social Work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently, Stephenie is a mentor in Erie Neighborhood House’s TEAM Program as well as an active member of the Junior League of Chicago


Sara Shanley
Program Director, Urban Initiatives

Sara is from Arlington, Virginia and earned a M.A. in International Studies with a focus in African Studies and sports-based youth development. Following her graduate studies, Sara joined the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club where she directed the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s sports-based childhood obesity prevention program. Prior to joining Urban Initiatives, Sara spent a year in Rwanda as the Program Manager for Kids Play International (KPI) where she managed their sports-based gender equality education program. Sara continues to work as a consultant with KPI with a specific focus on capacity building for their Rwanda program and the organization’s expansion to Cambodia. She is currently a Program Director at Urban Initiatives where she spearheads program and staff development for their Continuum of Programming.


Louise Sharrow
Market Operations Manager, Elevate Energy

Louise Sharrow is currently the Market Operations Manager at Elevate Energy, an organization dedicated to smarter energy use for all, through designing and implementing efficiency programs. Louise is particularly focused on delivering energy and water efficiency to multifamily affordable housing throughout the Midwest. She works with local staff and partners on program start up and operations, and facilitating collaboration across teams and locations. Additionally, she contributes to Elevate’s research on affordable housing and energy equity and serves on the Project Management Board. Before joining Elevate Energy,Louise worked with a variety of energy and sustainability focused nonprofit and government organizations in OH, MN, and IL. She completed her Master of Public Affairs at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, and her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Macalester College.When not working, she’s probably nerding out about Chicago architecture and restaurants, reading, or at a concert.


Ihssan Tahir
Executive Liason/public health RN, Zakat Foundation of America

Ihssan was raised by a refugee father and an African American mother. Coming from a multicultural and multi-religious family she understood her life was the true definition of intersectionality. Currently she serves as the Executive Liaison at Zakat Foundation of America (ZFA) a nonprofit humanitarian organization that deals with food access, education and healthcare initiatives in the U.S. and abroad. Operating in over forty country ZFA promotes projects that emphasize empowerment and sustainability in communities. Within the organization, Ihssan founded a program called Wellness Wednesday that offered blood pressure, glucose, HIV screenings and health seminars to the residents of the South Shore neighborhood in Chicago. Ihssan also serves on the board of RAHMA (Reaching all HIV+ Muslims in America) that promotes advocacy, awareness and education of HIV in Muslim communities.

Previously, she has served on the board of HEART Women & Girls, an organization that supports sexual health education and violence awareness in Muslim communities.Ihssan graduated from Chicago State University with a baccalaureate of science in nursing. Her specialization includes emergency and trauma nursing and she currently practices at Weiss Memorial Hospital. Her interests lie deeply within healthcare justice, accessibility and reform in marginalized and underrepresented communities. During her spare time she enjoys traveling, creative writing, reading novels and live music.


Bradley Troast
Operations Director, Tutoring Chicago

Bradley Troast is the Operations Director at Tutoring Chicago. He manages student and volunteer enrollment and the matching process. Bradley graduated from Northwestern University in 2009 with a BS in Communication. Prior to joining Tutoring Chicago in 2012, he was an Americorps VISTA in Washington, DC, working on a mentoring initiative. Currently Bradley lives in Lincoln Park with two golden retrievers. He enjoys watching old movies and trying new restaurants.


Terri Wilkerson
Quality Improvement Specialist, UCAN

Terri Wilkerson has worked in the non-profit sector, serving youth and families for a decade. Her most recent role is as a Quality Improvement Specialist for UCAN. UCAN serves some of the city’s most vulnerable youth and impacts the lives of 13,000 youth and families annually. In her capacity, she manages UCAN’s multi-million dollar Medicaid contract and implements quality improvement processes to maximize program outcomes. Additionally, she is responsible for organizing and facilitating the agency’s diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure UCAN is desirable place to work for people of all different backgrounds. She has served as the Chair for the Diversity & Inclusion committee and currently chairs LaVoz, a Latino affinity group.

Terri has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University and is a Council of Accreditation Peer Reviewer. As a native Chicagoan, Terri has invested interest in improving the state of the educational system which she believes would reduce the prevalence of violence in underserved communities. In previous roles, Terri has served as a Program Manager for Christopher House and as a Site Director for the Lakeview YMCA. Throughout her career, she has work with youth ages three to thirteen and has trained hundreds of staff, interns and volunteers on youth development best practices.


Jessica Wolfe
Associate Director of Artistic Programming, Fifth House Ensemble

Jessica serves as Associate Director of Artistic Programming to Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble, a chamber group dedicated to reaching beyond the perceived limits of classical music through boundary-breaking artistic, educational, and civic programs. With Jessica’s training in music and her work in community engagement, she leads original artistic program creation and successfully manages meaningful partnerships with cultural organizations, collaborators, educational institutions, and audiences of every type.

As an active musician, Jessica performs as Assistant Principal bassist of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra and has served in the Civic Fellowship with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In Jessica’s tenure as a Civic Fellow, she served as an arts ambassador, embracing the transformative power of music and using it to inspire others toward positive social change. Jessica planned and performed events to engage multiple communities through music, most notably leading a team of fellows to receive grant funding to implement a project in a community not currently connected to the arts. As a committed advocate of music education, Jessica has taught for Ravinia’s El Sistema program, appeared as a lecturer at DePaul University, and teaches bass students at DePaul University’s Community Music Division, Lyons Township High School, and nonprofit music school, Learn To Make Music. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, and a Master of Music degree from DePaul University.