The Strategy & Design Team Biographies

JEAN ABINADER

Managing Director, IdeaCom, Inc.
Senior Advisor to the Moroccan American Center
Facilitator

Jean AbiNader is a management consultant, cross-cultural coach and trainer, trade association and corporate executive, and human resources professional with over 35 years of experience in policy analysis and development, international business, and public affairs. He is a proven leader and communicator who has enabled corporate and government clients from the US, Europe, and the Middle East to define strategic options for growth and development and achieve results through integrated management and communications strategies.

As a management consultant, Jean focuses on strategies for companies, associations, and organizations in challenging domestic and international environments. His training/coaching programs include: leadership and opportunity, the dynamics of managing change, and strategic planning. Professional interpersonal skills mentoring includes: negotiating across cultures, cross-cultural management, global project management, and a variety of communication skills.
Mr. AbiNader has a master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh where he also completed post-graduate study in Organizational Communications.

He is the Managing Director of IdeaCom, Inc. and Senior Advisor to the Moroccan American Center, a group of three NGO’s that promote relations between Morocco and the United States. He previously served as head of operations for a major US news company and as senior executive in a number of corporate and advocacy organizations.
Jean AbiNader is a well-known speaker, university lecturer, and specialist on international policy issues who continues to advise clients on strategic growth strategies, international marketing business development, and project implementation strategies. He has lead a graduate seminar on US-Arab marketing issues at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and a senior level negotiations course for the Executive MBA program of Al-Akhawayn University’s campus in Casablanca. He lives in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area.

SUSAN FREDMAN, ASID

Founder & CEO, Susan Fredman Design Group
Interior Design

Creating designs of distinction for 35 years, Susan Fredman, one of Chicago’s most prominent residential interior designers, is founder and CEO of her namesake firm, Susan Fredman Design Group. As one of the largest residential design firms in the Chicagoland area, Susan Fredman Design Group has earned a national reputation and established full-service offices in Chicago’s River North and Michigan’s Harbor Country. The firm’s retail arm — Susan Fredman at Home –includes a distinctive collection of home décor items sold at stores attached to the design studios and via a robust Web site.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Fredman is widely recognized as a leader in the Chicago design community and beyond. Her work has garnered the attention of media outlets including Traditional Home, Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, Chicago Home + Garden, LUXE, CS, CS Interiors, HGTV, Fox-TV and NBC-TV among others.

As a result of her firm’s extensive pro bono projects, Fredman was motivated to create Designs for Dignity, through which existing non-profit spaces are transformed through pro bono design services and in-kind donations. Her dedication to the non-profit sector earned her national recognition by Traditional Home magazine, which honored her as one of six recipients of the 2009 Classic Woman Award. She was also recently honored by Today’s Chicago Woman as one of the 100 Making a Difference 2011.

IRA HARKAVY, PhD

Associate VP and Director, Netter Center for Community Partnerships
University of Pennsylvania
Advisor, Genesis Academy Research Team

Ira Harkavy is Associate Vice President and founding Director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania. An historian with extensive experience building university-community-school partnerships, Harkavy teaches in the departments of history, urban studies, Africana studies, and city and regional planning. As Director of the Netter Center since 1992, Harkavy has helped to develop service-learning courses as well as participatory action research projects that involve creating university-assisted community schools in Penn’s local community of West Philadelphia.

Executive Editor of Universities and Community Schools, Harkavy has written and lectured widely on the history and current practice of urban university-community-school partnerships and strategies for integrating the university missions of teaching, research, and service. His recent publications include: Dewey’s Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform (Temple Press, 2007), which he co-authored with Lee Benson and John Puckett, and The Obesity Culture: Strategies for Change. Public Health and University-Community Partnerships (Smith-Gordon, 2009), co-authored with Francis E. Johnston.

Harkavy also served as consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help create its Office of University Partnerships and is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. Harkavy is a member of numerous boards, including ; the Advisory Committee of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and the Advisory Committee for Government Performance Assessment (AC/GPA) at the National Science Foundation; Widener University Board of Trustees; the International Consortium on Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy (US chair); Coalition for Community Schools (chair); and Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (co-chair). He is the recipient of Campus Compact’s Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning (2002), the University of Pennsylvania’s Alumni Award of Merit (2004), a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant (2005), and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Heritage Award (2006); and, under his directorship, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships received the inaugural William T. Grant Foundation Youth Development Prize sponsored in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Children, Youth and Families (2003) and a Best Practices/Outstanding Achievement Award from HUD’s.

Harkavy received his B.A. and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

STACY KEACH

Actor

A graduate of University of California, Berkeley, the Yale School of Drama, and England’s London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art where he was a Fulbright scholar. Stacy has won three Obies, Best Actor Tony nomination and The Helen Hayes Award, the prestigious Millennium Recognition Award for contribution to classical theater, A Golden Globe, Best Actor Emmy nomination for his TV performance in Hemingway and Lifetime Achievement Award by the San Diego Film Festival. Alongside Harold Ramis, he will narrate our human-interest documentary chronicling GATC’s Saffron Caravan ensemble’s journey and global impact. He also sits on the GATC Advisory Board as Artistic and Music Theater Consultant

HELEN J. KESSLER, FAIA, LEED FELLOW, LEED A.P. BD+C

President, HJKessler Associates
Sustainability Consultant

Ms. Kessler is President of HJKessler Associates, a sustainable design, LEED, energy efficiency and commissioning consulting services founded in 2003. With over 30 years experience in sustainable design, she has had a leading role on over four dozen LEED projects, including most of the LEED rating systems. Projects include K-12 schools, office, college, university and life safety facilities, commercial interiors and many other project types.

Ms. Kessler is a Board member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Illinois Chapter, directs its education programs, was on the Greenbuild host committee and was a voting member of the national LEED for Commercial Interiors Core Committee. She is past co-chair of the AIA Chicago Committee on the Environment, chaired the Energy Code Committee, which created Chicago’s first energy code, and was a voting member on the ASHRAE committee that created Guideline 0 – The Building Commissioning Process.

Ms. Kessler is a frequent speaker and author on sustainability topics and regularly teaches various courses, including “Sustainability in Construction” at Northwestern University where she is an adjunct professor, “Green Building – The Nuts and Bolts for Contractors,” a program which she co-created for the USGBC Chicago Chapter and Wilbur Wright College, as well as lighting economics for IESNA Chicago. She has written hundreds of articles on green building, energy efficiency and solar energy and has given hundreds of presentations on these subjects. Ms.Kessler has received several awards, including the USGBC Illinois Chapter Intent to Matter award, the Illinois Real Estate Journal Women in Real Estate Impact award and Alumnus of the Year, The University of Arizona Honors College. LEED/Sustainability consultant — selected projects:

• Exelon Headquarters Project, Chicago, award-winning 250,000 sf commercial interior, LEED Platinum certified – both 10-floor initial project and 1-floor addition
• Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston, award-winning 30,000 sf new synagogue, LEED Platinum certified
• Mark T. Skinner Elementary School, 100,000 sf prototype elementary school, achieved LEED for Schools Gold certification.
• Westinghouse High School, 240,000 sf new high school for Chicago Public Schools, first Chicago high school to achieve LEED Gold certification.
• Brighton Park I Elementary School, 100,000 sf elementary

NEETA KOLHATKAR

Journalist

Neeta Kolhatkar, a senior journalist and columnist from Mumbai, has over 23 years of experience across sectors including conflict, violence, policy, financial, national and international politics, infrastructure, and especially coverage of peripheral communities and groups. She has also worked in various media from television and print to social media and other diverse portals.
She strives to strike a balance by being current while adhering to the basic ethics, believing deeply that “in journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right,” as Ellen Goodman so aptly put it.
She has interviewed many powerful decision-making persons of national and international stature. The need to portray certain realities through different forms of story-telling in an ever-changing world motivates her to lend a platform to those whose voices need to be heard.

Neeta is the co-founder of an Indian youtube news channel and is active on social media for raising issues on critical global issues. In the past year, her columns and video stories have been selected by both Zite.com and CNN International. In 2008, she won the Mumbai Mayor’s Award for bringing prestige to the city through journalism.

Neeta was selected for the US Ambassador’s Fellow program in September 2002 and completed the Rotary International Peace and Conflict Resolution certificate course at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. With her unique perspective, equipped with her Masters in Social Work, Neeta has used media-advocacy tools in her journalistic profession. She has also worked with various non-governmental organizations in a voluntary capacity.

For the past two years, she has been teaching various aspects of journalism at the graduate level at St Andrew’s, Swami Vivekanand and Lalalajpatrai College. She has also conducted workshops on peace media and journalism and has educated herself more fully with workshops on peace journalism. A multi-faceted person, Neeta involves herself in numerous activities apart from academics including, social work. She has won many scholarships including the National Open Merit Scholarship and reached state level athletics in the field of javelin throw and basketball.

FREDERIQUE LEHOUX

Project Manager, Pacific Islands Geoscience Commission
Experiential Learning Curriculum Development

Born and raised in France, Tunisia and Central Africa, Frédérique Lehoux is a graduate of the Lycée Bouchardon, University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her 12 years of experience in the management and coordination of relief and development programs, include 6+ years in field postings with sectoral expertise in disaster risk management and conflict resolution. She currently serves as the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission Project Manager supporting disaster risk reduction in the Pacific Overseas Countries and Territories.

From 2005-2009, she was the Oxfam Australia, Pacific Humanitarian Coordinator managing all of Oxfam’s Pacific human security program (budget of A$ 3 million) with provision of technical advice to Oxfam’s Pacific country offices/head office and civil society organizations in disaster management and conflict resolution. Her frequent travels took her to the Pacific region, including Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji where she developed extensive networks and built partnerships with regional and national disaster and conflict management players, including governments and United Nations agencies. She focused on capacity building of local and international staff in disaster preparedness and response including governmental disaster agencies. Following the 2004 Sri Lankan tsunami, she contributed to the development of program strategies and project proposals for response in Sri Lanka and developed financial and activity monitoring systems to ensure adequate monitoring, reporting, and donor accountability.

Prior to that, she worked for CARE USA for the Congo in Action for Peace Program, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. In her capacity as Grants Manager for their peace and reconciliation program she worked at removing obstacles to reunification of DR Congo and facilitating transition towards democracy. The program approach was to fund local, regional or national initiatives that showed strong potential for community integration, conflict resolution and inter-ethnic reconciliation. Funded by the United States Office of Transition Initiatives, she managed a portfolio of grants totalling in excess of US $6 million grants to local and international organizations. She also provided training to beneficiary organizations in conflict analysis and resolution programming as well as project and organizational management to ensure good working relationships with key stakeholders (including Congolese civil society groups, donors, government officials, rebel movement leaders, and the private sector.)

From 2001-3, she functioned as the International Rescue Committee’s, Umbrella Grant Manager, in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, where she developed and managed a two-year war recovery & civil society strengthening program in South Kivu Province. Through the provision of sub-grants to local NGOs, this program responded to humanitarian/recovery needs in health, food security, and income generation, strengthening the capacity of civil society groups and leading them towards sustainability. Funded by the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for US$ 1 million, she was responsible for development, start-up, planning and overall management of programs/ project design, including evaluation of humanitarian situation and of needs of local NGOs. This not only included project staffing assessment and recruitment as well as direct supervision of 7 national staff and local/international consultants, but also included participation in relief and recovery efforts following the 2002 eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano in Goma.

For CARE USA In Port-au-Prince/Gonaives, Haiti, she served as Assistant Regional Director, managing and coordinating CARE programs in Northwest and Artibonite regions of Haiti, in conjunction with the Regional Director from 1999 – 2001. The regional portfolio included a mix of disaster and development projects in maternal and child health nutrition, infrastructure rehabilitation, education, and school feeding. (Regional annual budget of US$ 7 million with 250 staff and 8,000 metric tons of food.) As a member of CARE Haiti’s Senior Management Team, she led the development of CARE Haiti’s Disaster Preparedness Plan.

Prior positions included Fellow/Program Officer for CARE USA in Madagascar where she developed a 5-year food security/water & sanitation program, began a start-up of field activities which included the set-up of a sub-office in the urban slums of the capital city. She also coordinated gender training for CARE Madagascar staff with inclusion of gender-sensitive programs and contributed to the development of CARE Madagascar’s five-year strategic plan. Her earlier positions included: consultant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Office of Evaluation and Strategic Planning in New York and research intern for the Office of the President of the Czech Republic, Foreign Policy Department in Prague.

She is bilingual in French and English and conversant in German with working knowledge of Haitian Creole and Swahili.

LARRY LIFSON

Executive Vice President, Culture Exchange Academy

Larry is a business-development executive with a track record of growing businesses, establishing strategic partnerships, culture change, and overcoming perceived insurmountable obstacles. He has over 30 years of experience in the retail, wholesale, and promotional-products industries. He developed and implemented multimillion-dollar cost-savings programs and operational efficiencies, resulting in significant productivity and process improvement. He has experience in branding and licensing, and his supply-chain background enabled him to travel internationally and work with people of many cultures, always establishing tremendous mutual respect and rapport. He works with executives at all levels of corporations such as Macy’s, 1-800FLOWERS, Live Nation, and Disney, and is effective at getting potential partners to see the benefits of a relationship. He delivered multimillion-dollar programs for Fortune 500 retailers such as Walmart, Staples, Target, and Office Depot, resulting in a turn-around wherein large customers went from potentially ceasing all business with the supplying company to naming the company Supplier of the Year. This transformation not only played a significant role in the billion-dollar-plus company’s survival, but also resulted in tens of millions of dollars of additional business. Larry changed the culture and expectations of the company, and significantly strengthened customer and supplier relationships. Larry was a founding member, board member, and officer of a major industry trade association. He holds a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is a member of the Kellogg Innovation Network Global community.

WENDY MACGREGOR

Vice President of Sales, AOL, Central Region

(Biography currently being updated)

STEPHANIE PACE MARSHALL, PHD

Founding President/President Emerita, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Educational Consultant

Stephanie Pace Marshall is the Founding President and President Emerita of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy®–the nation’s first three year public residential institution for high school age students academically talented in science, mathematics and technology. She was also the founding president of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools in Mathematics, Science and Technology, and was a president of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), one of the world’s largest international education associations. Today she is internationally recognized as a pioneer and innovative leader and teacher and an inspiring speaker and writer on leadership, learning and schooling, STEM education and talent development, innovation, and the design of generative and life-affirming learning organizations.

Dr. Marshall has worked in every level of education: superintendent of schools, a district curriculum administrator, a graduate school faculty member, and an elementary and middle school teacher. She earned a B.A. from Queens College, M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University of Chicago, and she received four honorary doctorates in science and in arts and letters.

She is the author of over 35 published journal articles, an author for the Drucker Foundation’s series Organizations of the Future, an editor and author of Scientific Literacy for the 21st Century, and a contributor to Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U. S. High Schools. She is featured in the book, Leaders Who Dare: Pushing the Boundaries and is the inspiration behind the novel, Smart Alex, a story of an adolescent girl talented in mathematics. Her book, The Power to Transform: Leadership that Brings Learning and Schooling to Life, received the 2007 Educator’s Award from The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for her leadership, including the Distinguished Service Award from the U. S. Marine Corp, the Woman Extraordinaire Award from the International Women’s Association, the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Loyola University of Chicago, the Damen Award from the Graduate School of Loyola University, and the Pioneer Award from the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

Dr. Marshall received two resolutions from the Illinois General Assembly for outstanding contributions to Illinois education, and she was elected into the Illinois Hall of Fame and into the inaugural Hall of Fame of Chicago Women’s Today. The Chicago Sun Times selected her as one of the ten most powerful women in education and one of the 100 most powerful women in Chicago. She was recognized by the R J R Nabisco Corporation as one of the nation’s most innovative educational leaders and by the National Association of School Boards as one of North America’s “100 Top School Executives.”

At the invitation of Mikhail Gorbachev, she became a member of the State of The World Forum, an international “think-tank” designed to study and resolve issues impacting global sustainability. President William Jefferson Clinton invited her to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a non-partisan cadre of “the world’s most influential leaders committed to strengthening the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence.” Her current CGI work involves a partnership with Toronto-based Free The Children to build and equip the first residential secondary school for girls in the Masai Mara in Kenya, which will open in 2011.

She is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers, and Commerce in London, England and serves on the board of the Queen Noor Jubliee School’s Foundation in Amman, Jordan, and several other foundation and corporate boards in the United States. She is a Trustee of the Society for Science and the Public, a member of the Advisory Board of Games for Change, and a charter member of the Advisory Board for AECT’s Initiative FutureMinds: Transforming American School Systems and The Innovation Council of Chicago. She serves as an advisor to The Thornburg Center for Space Exploration, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency’s Plan for Higher Education, and the American Psychological Association’s Study of the Impact of Specialized Public High Schools of Science, Mathematics & Technology.

Dr. Marshall is a member of numerous corporate and civic groups in Chicago including the Economic Club, The Commercial Club, The Executives Club, and The Chicago Network. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Tellabs, Inc. and Sentry Insurance, and is a member of the Tellabs Foundation, the IMSA Fund for the Advancement of Education, and is a Vice-President of The Fry Foundation in Chicago. She continues to consult with national and international foundations, policy leaders and practitioners as a “thinking partner”—helping to move possibilities to practice.

As a result of her achievements, she was inducted into the Lincoln Academy of Illinois and was designated a Laureate of the Academy, the state’s highest award for achievement that “contributes to the betterment of mankind.”

RICK PROHOV

Founder, Prohov and Associates (Environmental Law)
Sustainability and Experiential Learning Curriculum Development
Bio currently being revised

MICHELLE SAKAYAN

Architect, Sakayan, Inc.

A native of Washington, DC, Michelle has lived in Chicago for the past 18 years. She completed her architectural undergraduate degree at Miami University of Ohio in 1988 and went on to receive a Masters of Architecture from the Catholic University in 1993, after working for 3 years in Washington, DC for Angelos Demetriou Architects.

Michelle received her Masters of Architecture with an award of distinction for her Thesis titled “Place of Shelter for the Displaced”. This project challenged the architect’s role in the event of a natural disaster and launched her view of architecture as a social act. It has been a motivator in all her work since.

Michelle began working at Nagle Hartray Architects in Chicago in 1993 and became an Associate Principal in 1999, working there until February 2007. During her 14 years at NHA, Michelle managed and specialized in K-12 education projects fostering long term relationships with top independent schools in Chicago; the culmination of her career at NHA was as the US architectural liaison and project manager for the 26-building campus of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

Michelle’s extensive experience and passion for K-12 school design, community projects and socially responsible work resulted in the creation of the consulting firm Sakayan Inc. Sakayan Inc. opened in March of 2007 driven by a primary focus and commitment to creating inspiring learning environments for children and educators. Dedication to listen and understand the unique mission and needs of each school is at the core of Sakayan Inc. Offering a range of services tailored to the client, Sakayan provides support in design, programming, planning, development, feasibility, reorganization, management and realization of educational and socially responsible projects.

G. LEE SALMON

Executive Coach and Organization Consultant, Learning for Living, LLC

Mr. Salmon is widely recognized as a leader who helped introduce executive coaching across the federal government as an important and successful tool in developing leadership. He has over 22 years of experience working in federal government, and for over 16 years has coached political appointees and senior executives at the highest levels throughout government. In working with numerous agencies, he has helped develop their coaching programs and integrate them into existing leadership development activities. In his last 10 years in government, he created and developed a highly successful coaching services practice in an internal government consulting organization, the Federal Consulting Group, within the National Business Center in the Department of Interior.

Mr. Salmon has worked with numerous government agencies and departments, including the Departments of Treasury, Interior, Agriculture, Justice, Education, Commerce, Health and Human Service, Transportation, Veteran Affairs, and Defense. He has also worked with agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and a number of private sector companies.
Mr. Salmon is certified at the PCC level by the International Coach Federation and is certified in the suite of assessment instruments from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), several emotional intelligence instruments, the Leadership Circle Profile and the MBTI. He was formerly on the Board of Directors for the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations and Chaired its Advisory Board. He earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Physics from UCLA and California State University Northridge, and a graduate certificate in Organization Development and Change Management from Johns Hopkins University. He is a contributing author in several books and journal articles on coaching to develop emotional intelligence. He is an expert blogger on the intersection of coaching and leadership for the government focused website www.govloop.com

KENNETH SCHROEDER, FAIA, ALA

Founder/Senior Principal, Schroeder Murchie Niemiec Gazda-Auskalnis Architects

Ken Schroeder is the founder and senior principal of Schroeder Murchie Niemiec Gazda-Auskalnis (SMNG-A) Architects. Prior to founding the firm in 1976, he was a partner at Hinds, Schroeder and Whitaker where he participated as partner-in charge of design on several award-winning projects. He is a founder of the loft movement in Chicago and has over 30 years experience in adaptive use of loft structures. Cobber Square and Burnham Plaza as well as other recent work have been recognized for excellence with numerous awards and frequent notice in national and international publications.

Ken is a former Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois/Chicago, where he taught for 25 years and remains as Professor Emeritus and Alumni School Board Member. In 2005 he received the UIC Partner Award, the highest award for an alumnus of UIC. To further enhance the learning experience of students, he established the UIC Kenneth Schroeder Versailles Scholarship Fund, which allows a UIC student to study abroad in Versailles, France. Ken has lectured at numerous universities and his design work was recognized by his Fellowship in the AIA in 1991. His drawings and work are in the collection of the Art Institute and The Chicago History Museum.

In SMNG-A’s current role as PBC Design Architect for Elementary Schools, Ken has directed the SMNG-A team in the preparation of test fits and conceptual design transfer packages for over 17 recent target LEED silver schools, including four recent projects for which the firm was the Architect of Record. He brings a vast knowledge of urban contextual design, school programming, City of Chicago Zoning, conceptual planning, PBC procedures, and educational lessons learned. Three of the AOR projects have been certified LEED Gold and have been awarded the following:

2011 Chicago Building Congress Merit Award Finalist for New Construction Chicago
Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School
2010 Association of Licensed Architects Silver Design Award
Langston Hughes Elementary School
2009 Association of Licensed Architects Gold Design Award
Mark T. Skinner West Elementary School
2009 The Richard T. Driehaus Foundation Award for Community Design, Third Place
Langston Hughes Elementary School

Ken continues the award winning design work on the Firm’s projects of all scales and sizes.

JENNIFER SOBECKI IIDA, Allied ASID

Executive Director, Designs for Dignity

Jennifer Sobecki joined Designs for Dignity in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design and concentrations in communications and marketing. Her experience includes residential showroom management, working as an independent interior designer, and most recently nonprofit management. As Executive Director, Jennifer oversees the fiscal aspects of the organization such as grant writing, event management, and donor solicitation. Additionally, Jennifer works in conjunction
with the marketing committee and board development committee. Over the past five years, Jennifer has increased the operating budget of this organization threefold. It is her hope along with the board of directors that Designs for Dignity will continue its reach on a national level in the near future. In her spare time, Jennifer works with several organizations including The Human Rights Campaign, and The Greater Chicago Food Depository. Her passion for design and giving back to the community make her role as Executive Director a perfect fit.

PROJECT OVERSIGHT

Artworks Community Art Studio—Community Art Studio
Gilda’s Club—Counseling Center for individuals affected by Cancer
Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor—Afterschool program for youth
Jazz on the Boulevard—Mixed income development with affordable housing
The Leland Apartments—Affordable Housing development 157 units
Neon Youth & Residential Services—Shelter for formerly homeless youth
Zacharias Center—Sexual Abuse Center

WENDY STERNBERG, MD

Founder & Executive Director, Genesis at the Crossroads

Wendy is the creative engine behind GATC’s mission and vision. She designed all programs to date and oversees production and implementation of performance/artistic programs, arts-education and humanitarian initiatives worldwide. She developed the current Executive and Advisory Boards as well as the developing Youth Board and currently conducts search efforts to bring in new board members and staff. As the consummate networker who facilitates all local, national and international community partnerships and global outreach, she masterminds and oversees all organizational development, including business plans and sustainability/strategic plans with the aid of consultants. Sternberg is responsible for branding of GATC and its relevant communications, integrating the efforts of GATC’s public relations firm, graphic and web designers, documentary filmmaker, photographer and information technology team’s social networks. She develops and coordinates the research team for the Genesis Academy for Global Leadership and speaks on behalf of GATC at local, national and international symposia. A participant in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), she created a CGI commitment to build the Genesis Academy as a scalable global model for peace education.

Under her leadership, Genesis boasts over 100 award-winning programs, internationally-acclaimed by the United Nations, The Kennedy Center, Rotary International, The King of Morocco and the US Department of State. For her work on GATC, Wendy has been featured numerous times as a guest on WBEZ/NPR, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and UN Radio, appeared as a guest on CBS, ABC 7 & Channel 5 News Chicago and has been the subject of numerous articles from The Chicago Tribune, to The LA Times and The Bangkok Post. Rotary International selected her as one of 22 world leaders for their 2009 Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. She was featured as a Woman to Watch in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine and named one of the 10 Jewish Chicagoans of the Year as well as a 2011 Charles Bronfman Prize Nominee. In 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of World War I, she was selected along with 59 other global activists to be a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow and participate in an international consortium on the transformational power of arts and culture to shape our society worldwide.

Sternberg practiced primary care internal medicine for 20 years and was Teaching Faculty at Northwestern University Medical School for 14 years. She is a medical consultant for domestic and international health initiatives impacting conflict zones and intractable health issues. In 2014, she was named the Founding Director of the Division of Peace-building at the UCSD School of Medicine Center for Mindfulness. Her medical career informs the healing aspects at the heart of Genesis at the Crossroads’ global efforts.

TERRA TOLLEY, PhD

Director of Experiential Learning, Genesis Academy for Global Leadership

Terra Tolley is an instructor for New Century College at George Mason University, as well as a recent PhD Student at George Mason’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Tolley is an avid environmentalist, field anthropologist, and HIV/AIDS activist. She has worked in the areas of anti-human trafficking, refugee rights, health education, outdoor experiential learning, environmental peace building, and is currently the Business Development Coordinator at OZ Systems International. She spent much of 2005-2010 conducting damage evaluations in the Gulf of Mexico assessing the social and economic impacts associated with Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and the BP oil spill. She is a co-founder of the Balkans Peace Park Photography Project and a Shinnyo Peace Fellow. Tolley is currently working on the fifth volume of Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace and leading conflict resolution and leadership programs internationally. Her regions of expertise include Central and Eastern Europe, East Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and natural resource conflict in the US. Her PhD research/thesis addresses Genesis’ work in the Bedouin community.

AMBER WEBB

Director, Business Development, Womenetics Chicago

Amber has spent her career helping clients develop business solutions across a variety of industry sectors. Currently, she is freelancing through her company ROM Strategies, a marketing and sales consultancy focused on getting return on marketing dollars spent. Her current client projects include business development and client relationship management for enterprise accounts in the Midwest, including Fortune 500 healthcare, transportation, logistics and consulting companies. Her career progression includes global marketing and business development leadership roles in pharma, diagnostics, consulting, healthcare insurance exchanges and consumer packaged goods. Her corporate experience includes roles with Fortune 100 companies including Abbott, AON, Baxter, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and ITW. She has a passion for Spanish and her favorite international roles involved covering Latin America. Her non-profit volunteer experience has included board membership with Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) and advisory roles with both GATC and The Fuller Center for Lake County. She has been a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). Amber graduated from Northwestern University majoring in Chemistry. She holds an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg in both Marketing and Healthcare Administration.

LYNNE WEISS

Strategic and Business Management Consultant

From 1995-2000, Lynne served as for NY-based Viacom as Nickelodeon’s Senior Vice President where she built and launched an online business to sell Nickelodeon, Simon & Schuster, and third party books, toys, software, and apparel. She generated major off-air opportunities for programs such as Blue’s Clues and Rugrats by working with Nickelodeon’s creative, programming, and consumer products groups. She implemented successful co-marketing programs with QVC, Paramount Parks, and iVillage and worked on the team to develop and launch Noggin, Nickelodeon’s first educational cable channel. As the President of Simon & Schuster Learning Products Group she created a School to Home business to extend the company’s educational products into consumer markets via direct marketing, internet, and retail channels. She served as a member of the management team responsible for the sale of Simon & Schuster’s educational publishing business to Pearson plc. for $4 billion. In this capacity, she worked directly with the Chief Executive Officer to evaluate new acquisition and investment opportunities across a broad range of consumer, educational, and technology companies.

From 1988-1994 she served multiple roles at Spinnaker Software Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts including Chief Operating Officer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Manager Advertising and Public Relations. In these capacities, she not only grew the consumer software business from $9 million to $130 million in five years, but also led the development of company strategy and ran day to day operations including marketing, sales, product development, international and customer service. She successfully integrated newly acquired companies including: Softkey International, Wordstar, Software Publishing PFS:Business, and Power Up! Software (The company to ultimately acquire Broderbund and The Learning Company before being sold to Mattel for $3.6 billion in 1999). She also created the first consumer software distribution model with software pre-loaded on personal computers and available for sale in over 15,000 retail stores.

Other positions included Account executive for Boston-based Wilgus Advertising and Financial and Operations Auditor for GTE International out of Belgium.

She received her masters in business Administration from Boston University and the University of Brussels. Her undergraduate studies were at American University, Northeastern University in Boston, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was recently profiled in Harvard Case Study 393-085, David Seuss and Lynne Weiss.

ROBERT WOLCOTT, PhD

Co-founder and Managing Partner, Clareo Partners
Kellogg Professor
Strategic Planning and Business Development

Robert Wolcott is the Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) and a Senior Lecturer of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He teaches corporate innovation and entrepreneurship for Kellogg in Evanston, Miami and Hong Kong (with HKUST). Formerly a Visiting Professor at the Keio Business School (Tokyo, Japan). Advisor to NORDEN, the Nordic Innovation Center, Nordic Council of Ministers, Oslo, Norway, and a member of the Global Technology Council of Kraft Foods, Inc.

His book, with Dr. Michael Lippitz, Grow From Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation (McGraw-Hill) launched in October, 2009. Wolcott’s work has appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review, The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, BusinessWeek, The Financial Times (UK/European Edition) and The New York Times. He is a frequent speaker at events worldwide.
In 2003, Wolcott began leading the Kellogg Innovation Network, created as a key program within Professor Mohan Sawhney’s Center for Research in Technology and Innovation. The KIN’s annual summit, KIN Global, takes place in late Spring and includes leaders from around the world from business, government, academia, non-profits and the arts who collaborate around issues of significance for their organizations and for humanity.

Wolcott also co-founded and serves as Managing Partner of Clareo Partners LLC, a corporate strategy and innovation management consultancy specializing in new business creation and growth (www.clareopartners.com). Subsidiary Clareo Capital owns equity in companies in social enterprise and luxury markets. Clareo’s headquarters, Clareo Studio, created in partnership with Herman Miller, Inc., serves as a collaboration space for special events, corporate off-sites and performances dedicated to innovation, entrepreneurship, social awareness and general inspiration.

Wolcott received a BA, European and Chinese History; and an MS and Ph.D., Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. He and his wife, Ada Yung, have two young daughters and reside in Chicago.

Information Technology Team:

GATC was invited to participate in a DePaul University Graduate School Practicum on User Experience Design this past Winter and with the brilliant work of Carl Duffield, Sravan Kachavarapu, Pradeep Nayar and David Prahl, our Academy now has a social media strategy roadmap to raise 21 million over the next three years. It is a multivariate analysis of all of the potential end-users of GATC and our future Genesis Academy, their likely technology habits and their country/region-specific IT issues along with an overlay of an implementation guide to put it all into practice. Kachavarapu will be implementing the entire strategy along with our new technology company Youtech & Associates; we are also entering GATC and our Academy in a competition to have Motorola Mobility design an app specifically for GATC.

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