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ESC's 2020 Nonprofit Advisory Council

The ESC Nonprofit Advisory Council provides guidance to ESC on: free professional education and resources ESC should provide to our nonprofit community (, consultant and executive coach recruitment, screening, and retention practices (, services ESC should and shouldn’t provide (, quality assurance efforts on ESC’s services (, and opportunities for ESC partnerships to better serve our community. Both ESC and our community thank these civic leaders for their service.


Karen Carney, MS

Karen Carney is Head of School at Chicago Friends School. Her career in education has encompassed many roles: educational leader and administrator, teacher, trainer, curriculum developer, designer, and researcher. She has worked in all levels of education, from kindergarten through post-graduate, and in settings as diverse as museums, schools and universities.  Karen has presented more than 40 conference sessions and papers regarding her work. Her vision of education is to create educational opportunities for everyone, regardless of background, and for children to grow into fulfilled, well-rounded, engaged, and responsible citizens of the world.  Karen is on LinkedIn at and on Facebook at

Kirstin Chernawsky, MS

Kirstin Chernawsky is just the ninth individual—and fourth woman—to serve as the executive director of Erie Neighborhood House, a 150-year-old social service nonprofit providing cradle to career resources to primarily immigrant families. She is a tireless advocate for the mission and brings with her a strong background in nonprofit administration and strategic fundraising. She is board treasurer for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and a board member with Susan G. Komen Chicago. Kirstin sits on Mayor Lightfoot’s Health & Human Services Transition Committee and was appointed by Mayor Emanuel to serve on the 2017-2019 Community Development Advisory Committee. Kirstin is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and a Class of 2019 Leadership Greater Chicago fellow.

Kirstin is on LinkedIn at

Natasha Egan, MA, MFA

Since 2011, Natasha Egan has served as the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP), where she was previously the associate director and curator since 2000. She has organized over 50 exhibitions with a focus on contemporary Asian art and artists concerned with societal issues, such as the environment, war, and economics. Natasha was a guest curator for the 2010 FotoFest Biennial in Houston; the United States pavilion curator for the 2016 Photo Dubai Exhibition; and was a guest curator for the 2019 Lianzhou Photography Biennial in China. Most recently, she opened an exhibition for the MoCP, titled “In Real Life,” that examines the real-world impact of computer vision—from the murky ethics of data collection and surveillance to the racial and gender biases that abound in facial recognition technology. Natasha has written essays for numerous publications and has taught in the Photography and Humanities Departments at Columbia College Chicago.  Natasha is on LinkedIn at and Instagram at

Irene Frye, MSW

Irene Frye is currently president of the Greater Chicago Area Retirement Research Foundation and the former vice-president of the Community Memorial Foundation. She has extensive experience in program development, community outreach and volunteer management.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Social Work, Irene has been lauded for her ability to assess employee issues as well as identify and assess organizational risks in the management of employee performance.  Irene is on LinkedIn at

Charles Grode, MA

Currently president and executive director of the Merit School of Music, Charles Grode also has 11 years of experience, in various administrative roles, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  In his current capacity, Charles oversees Merit’s nationally accredited music program by removing the barriers to music education that young students often encounter.  The Merit School of Music provides 125 experienced teaching professionals the opportunity to engage nearly 5,000 students annually in group and individual music instruction.  Seventy-five percent of Merit students receive financial assistance thereby enabling young musicians to achieve their full musical and personal potential. Charles is on LinkedIn at, Instagram at, and Facebook at

Colleen Harvey

Colleen Harvey has spent the last 13 years in a variety of roles with Playworks, during which she developed a strong belief in the power of play to bring out the best in everyone. She is currently executive director of Playworks Illinois.  Colleen is a Leadership Greater Chicago 2018 Fellow and a New Leaders Council Chicago 2016 Fellow. She also served as a curriculum co-chair on the New Leaders Council executive board from 2016-2018. She was a community representative on the Local School Council for Pulaski International School from 2015-2016. In addition, Colleen participated on the inaugural Leadership Council of the Laureus Sport for Good Chicago collaborative and is a charter member of the Playworks Strategy Council.  Colleen is on LinkedIn at, Instagram at, and Facebook at

Christa Hamilton, MBA

Christa Hamilton as spent nine years as chief executive officer and executive director of Centers for New Horizons, Inc., a nonprofit organization that assists children, youth and families attain self-reliance.  Currently overseeing the day-to-day operation of the organization, Christa previously served as director of New Horizons’ Workforce Development effort for more than three years. In addition, she serves on the Forbes Nonprofit Council and was the former regional procurement manager for Walgreens.  She served on the board of directors for the Reflections Foundation, was a Social Services Advisory Council member for the Illinois Department of Human Services, and a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.  Christa is currently a board member of the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition and an advisory council member for the University of Chicago Social Services Department. Christa is on LinkedIn at, Instagram at, Twitter at, and Facebook at

Dan Hostetler, MS

Daniel Hostetler is the executive director of the Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center, a free, behavioral, 501C3, outpatient, highly-innovative addiction treatment center that primarily serves homeless individuals and those formerly incarcerated. His education and experience come from the for-profit change management consulting sector and his knowledge of creative applications of proven, evidence-based solutions contribute to the organization’s goals of employment case management, counseling, and housing attainment.  Dan also spends considerable time as a volunteer in children’s hospitals, PADS shelters, and hospice facilities.  He holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management.  Dan is on LinkedIn at, Twitter at, and Facebook at

Rachelle Jervis, MBA

Rachelle Jervis is president and CEO of the Executive Service Corps (ESC), a 41-year-old consultancy with a mission to help make nonprofits successful. Before leading the ESC, Rachelle served as regional director, Illinois chapter director, and Chicago area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Rachelle was a founding member of the board of the Chicago Friends School. She has also serves on the board of directors of Aspiritech.  Rachelle uses her substantial social media following to promote inclusion, mental health awareness, and community engagement. Her proudest accomplishment is helping her late daughter overcome epilepsy and autism in order to learn how to speak. Her blog on the grief surrounding the sudden loss of her daughter, “Want My Baby Back,” has been read by thousands.  Rachelle is on LinkedIn at, Instagram at, Twitter at, and Facebook at

Rita Kahn, MS

Rita Kahn began her career as a human resources professional for General Motors in Detroit, MI. She spent 15 years in the corporate world working for GM, Whirlpool, and Synovate, in human resources and market research, when she decided it was time for a change. She earned her master’s degree in Education and taught high school for a brief time before making her way into the nonprofit world as a development professional. She led development efforts for the Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry before joining her current nonprofit, Chicago HOPES for Kids. In January 2019, she assumed the executive director role at HOPES, and is now focused on building the educational support and services infrastructure of the organization in order to reach more Chicago children experiencing homelessness.  Rita is on LinkedIn at

Barb Tubekis 

For the past 25 years, Barb has served as the executive director of The Volunteer Center, a community program designed to engage Northeast Metropolitan Chicago residents and philanthropic groups in service activities.  She has an extensive background in motivational communications and strategic planning.  Barb has also distinguished herself in fundraising and volunteer management as well as the design and editing of professional newsletters and programs.  She received the regional award from the Points of Life Foundation for her direct mailing efforts, and was also named Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 2010.  Barb is on LinkedIn at, Facebook at, Instagram at, and Twitter at

Brenda Weitzberg 

Brenda is co-founder of Aspiritech and has served as its executive director since 2008. Aspiritech empowers individuals on the autism spectrum to fulfill their potential through meaningful employment in quality assurance and software testing, vocations where the unique strengths of autism can be an asset. 

Brenda has a BA in psychology and special education with a graduate degree in administration. She has more than 40 years of experience in social service administration, most recently as director of North Shore operations for a Chicagoland nonprofit.  Throughout the years, Brenda has worked collaboratively to develop and implement innovative programs to meet urgent community needs including Camp STAR, an evidence-based summer treatment program for children with ADHD, ASD and related disorders.  Brenda is on LinkedIn at, Instagram at, Twitter at, and Facebook at

Jennifer Welch, JD

Jennifer Welch is the current president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.  In this capacity, Jennifer oversees an organization which served more than 66,000 patients across Illinois last year in 17 health centers (including ten in Chicagoland and seven in Central Illinois).  Prior to her work with Planned Parenthood, she was the first deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services. Other professional experiences centered in her work with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General where she was a policy director and the women’s policy advisor. Jennifer has been lauded for her expertise in the areas of health and human services as well as her efforts in the prevention of violence against women.   Jennifer is on LinkedIn at and on Facebook at

Carl Wolf

Carl Wolf has been the Executive Director of Respond Now since June 2006. During that time, he has expanded the agency to include SNAP Outreach, a Permanent Supportive Housing program, Rapid Re-Housing, and Housing Counseling services, as well as maintaining its Homelessness Prevention and Food Pantry work. He has worked in social services since 1998. His experience includes working with migrant farmworkers in job training and education services. He has also worked in job training programs in Gary, IN. Carl received his Masters in Social Work from IU Northwest in 2005, and his board experience includes previous service as chair of the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, as well as current membership on the boards of Sojourner Truth House in Gary, IN and the First Unitarian Church of Hobart, IN. Carl lives in Hammond, IN with his wife of twenty years and two teenage children.

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