Executive Service Corps' 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 (execservicecorps.org/training), consultant and executive coach recruitment, screening, and retention practices (execservicecorps.org/join), services ESC should and shouldn’t provide (execservicecorps.org/services), quality assurance efforts on ESC’s services (execservicecorps.org/feedback), and opportunities for ESC partnerships to better serve our community. Both ESC and our community thank these civic leaders for their service.

Lynda Schueler, MPA, Executive Director, Housing Forward

Lynda Schueler, MPA, has devoted nearly three decades to leading the formation of solution-focused programming intended to mitigate and end homelessness for those in the western suburbs. Lynda has served as Executive Director of Housing Forward since 2001, and her leadership has enabled the agency to grow from a $450,000-per-year emergency shelter provider to a $13M agency offering services that prevent, respond to and stabilize over 2,000 men, women and families who are experiencing a housing crisis each year. She has formed numerous collaborations, including cross-industry partnerships with MacNeal Hospital/Loyola Medicine and Cook County Health to provide medical respite services for those who are homeless and being discharged from a medical center. She is a founding member of the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition and a board member of the Alliance to End Homelessness in suburban Cook County. She was named an Oak Park Villager of the Year in 2020.

Lynda is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynda-schueler-5a6249b/.

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La Forice Nealy, President & CEO, Olive Branch Mission

La Forice Nealy is the President and CEO at Olive Branch Mission in Chicago. La Forice was born and raised in Chicago, IL. He graduated from Simeon High School in 1984, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Governors State University in 2007. La Forice has 32 years of nonprofit experience, and since 2017, he has been the dynamic leader of Olive Branch. He is as the organization’s first African American leader. His work has centered on building fiscal responsibility and organizational stability. His leadership has positioned Olive Branch Mission for future growth and expansion of services to the most vulnerable populations. Throughout his career, he has worked across multiple lines of business that have included operational and support roles. One of his proudest accomplishments is having been chosen several times to serve as director of multiple American Red Cross disaster relief operations across the country.

La Forice is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/la-forice-nealy-6771bb7.

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Janine Mileaf, PhD, Executive Director & Chief Curator, The Arts Club of Chicago

Janine Mileaf, Ph.D., is Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Arts Club of Chicago, a cultural hub for the city since 1916. An art historian, she has worked to emphasize the educational and community missions of The Arts Club, expanding its public arts programming and connections to local artists, while bringing evocative exhibitions to its gallery. Mileaf is a champion of challenging art, commissioning new work from a broad spectrum of practitioners including composers, choreographers, and architects, in addition to visual artists. Mileaf has served as interlocutor, critic, or juror for such institutions as the University of Chicago, Chicago Humanities Festival, Terra Foundation for American Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 3Arts, and the Chicago Artists Coalition. She is the author of Please Touch: Dada and Surrealist Objects After the Readymade, and co-editor of The Arts Club of Chicago at 100 and A Home for Surrealism: Fantastic Painting in Midcentury Chicago, as well as numerous articles and essays on interwar and contemporary art.

Janine is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/janine-mileaf-b22394142/.

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Kelli Haywood, MBA, Executive Director, Dream on Education

Kelli Haywood is Founder and Executive Director of Dream On Education, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides academic enrichment for high-achieving, low-income middle school students. Additionally, Kelli is the Community Impact Manager for Cboe Global Markets, where she is growing Cboe’s impact through community partnerships, employee engagement, and D&I on a national and global level. Kelli is currently an MBA candidate at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Kelli is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Prior to launching Dream on Education, Kelli worked in account marketing for Adidas and for Walgreens Corporate as a strategic planning analyst. Kelli also worked as Director of Corporate Development at the American Heart Association and as Community Leadership Corp Consultant for The Obama Foundation.

Kelli is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelli-haywood-9376b04/.

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Audrey Thomas, MA, Chief Executive Officer, Deborah's Place

Audrey Thomas is the CEO of Deborah’s Place, a nonprofit organization in Chicago whose mission is to open doors of opportunity for women who are experiencing homelessness. She held several positions in the organization, including COO, before being named CEO in 2004.  Audrey has over 35 years of experience in homeless services, including strategic planning, fundraising, board development, and program evaluation. Audrey earned an MA from DePaul University School for New Learning and completed the Executive Scholar Program through Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Nonprofit Management.  Audrey is a founding and current member of the Logan Square Cooperative, a limited equity housing cooperative dedicated to affordable housing in Chicago.

Audrey is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/audrey-thomas-4521b9a/.

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Julian Champion, MAFM, Executive Director, West Point School of Music

Julian J. Champion hails from the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He began his career developing community social services programs in North Carolina, with a concentration in spiritual and emotional care for the urban poor. Raised in a single-parent home, he became acquainted very early with the debilitating effects of poverty upon the mind and on communal life. He understands firsthand the struggles that many urban youth face. Determined to address this issue, he chose a career path in pastoral and social services, hoping to make a difference in the lives of others. His passion for music began at a very early age, but it was not until the age of 17 that he had the opportunity to play an instrument. Champion pursued his dream of establishing West Point School of Music to reach more youth through music. He believes that once a child learns to read and play music, they very well understand they have accomplished something great and that nothing is impossible for them.

Julian is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/julian-j-champion-49a35444/.

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Jennifer O. Maddox, VIBA, Executive Director, Future Ties

Jennifer O. Maddox was born in Chicago and raised on the South Side. Jennifer graduated from Corliss High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois, Circle Campus. She is currently working in the CPD’s Juvenile Intervention Support Center. As a result of this passionate conviction, she founded a 501(c)3 organization in 2011 called Future Ties, which provides afterschool and summer programs to increase the academic achievement of the youth who attend. Future Ties also works to equip parents, youth, and teens in the Woodlawn community, primarily residents of Parkway Gardens Apartments, with the workforce development skills needed to be competitive in the workforce. Future Ties is a safe place where the residents of Parkway Gardens can come and experience love, support, and protection from the violence they face daily. Jennifer has received much recognition for her work in the community, including being selected as one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes for 2017 and one of Chicago’s 20 most inspiring Chicagoans of 2018.

Jennifer is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/future-ties-551211b6/.

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Dan Hostetler, MNM, Executive Director, Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center

Daniel Hostetler is the executive director of the Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center, a free, 501(c)(3), and highly innovative outpatient behavioral 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 contributes to the organization's goal of providing the highest level of clinical recovery care that's available to those who cannot afford to pay for it. The center has been recognized locally and nationally with awards such as NAADAC's Organization of the Year, IAAP's Program of the Year, Chicago Innovation Award, and Best and Brightest Companies to Work For (both in Chicago and nationally).

Dan is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/danhostetler/.

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Amanda Levinson, JD, MPH, Development Consultant, Arden Child and Family Services

Amanda Levinson, JD, MPH, launched her consultant practice in 2017. Her clients include NPOs dedicated to the arts, human services, and the environment in Chicagoland and nationally. Amanda earned her Juris Doctorate from UIC Law School in Chicago and her Masters of Public Health and Carolina Graduate Certificate in Innovation for the Public Good from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in North Carolina. Her work has been published in the journal Health Promotion Practice, and she is an honorary member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. Amanda served on the board of directors for Illinois Partners for Human Service, currently works with Arden Shore Child and Family Services in Waukegan, and has worked with NPOs in Chicagoland since 2002.

Amanda is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandalynlevinson/.

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Rachelle Jervis, MBA, President and CEO, Executive Service Corps

Rachelle Jervis is honored to serve as President and CEO of the Executive Service Corps, the premier nonprofit consultancy with the mission of helping make nonprofits successful. Before leading the Executive Service Corps, Rachelle served as regional director, Illinois chapter director, and Chicago-area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Rachelle serves on the board of Aspiritech and was a founding board member of the Chicago Friends School. She is passionate about inclusion and mental health awareness. Rachelle is mother to the late and lovely Constance, and she is the author of Want My Baby Back. Her proudest accomplishment is helping her late daughter overcome epilepsy and autism in order to learn how to speak. Rachelle is a frequent speaker on a wide range of topics, including speaking at the dedication in her daughter’s memory at her alma mater, Cherry Preschool. In her leisure time, Rachelle enjoys reading and volunteering for charitable causes.

Rachelle is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachellejervis/.

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Kenneth Hobby, MBA, President, Cure SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy)

Kenneth Hobby is President of Cure SMA. He leads the organization’s work to develop treatments for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the number one genetic cause of death for infants, by merging an impassioned grassroots mission with a sophisticated industry incentivizing drug development model. Kenneth brings an industry and marketing background to this family- and patient-focused organization. Prior to joining Cure SMA, Kenneth worked at Pharmacia and deCODE genetics. He has an MBA from Kellogg.

Kenneth is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kenneth-hobby-a33299/.

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Vershawn Sanders-Ward, MFA, Artistic Director & CEO, Red Clay Dance Company

Vershawn Sanders-Ward is the Founding Artistic Director and CEO of Red Clay Dance Company, and is currently a candidate for Dunham Technique Certification. In 2015, 2018, 2020, and 2022, NewCity Magazine selected Ward as one of the “Players 50” awardees. Her choreography has been presented in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, and internationally in Toronto, Dakar, and Kampala. Vershawn is currently on faculty at Loyola University Chicago in the Fine and Performing Arts Department, and has received choreographic commissions from Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, Knox College, AS220, and the National Theatre in Uganda. Her upcoming site-specific choreographic project, Rest.Rise.Move.Nourish.Heal, set to premiere in 2023, was selected for a 2021 National Dance Project Award from NEFA. As an arts advocate, she serves as a board member of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, and was selected to attend the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit for Emerging Global Leaders. Sanders-Ward has had the pleasure of gracing the cover of DEMO, Columbia College Chicago’s alumni magazine, and the Chicago Reader!

Vershawn is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/vershawnsandersward/.

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