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Award Honorees 2021 Executive Service Co

Press Release: Prestigious 2021 Philanthropic Award Winners Announced


CHICAGO, Press Release Published April 6, 2021


The Executive Service Corps is the premier nonprofit consultancy with the mission of making nonprofits successful. To achieve our mission, we provide consulting, coaching, and professional services to over 150 nonprofit organizations impacting 1.2 million people each year. The Executive Service Corps is proud to have the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Approval.


Each year the Executive Service Corps bestows its prestigious philanthropic awards on exceptional leaders in the nonprofit community.


“One of the great joys of my job is getting to honor those who are excelling in the nonprofit industry. Each year’s honorees are the best of the best, and 2021 is no exception. I congratulate them all and everyone who gives their time, talent, and treasure to make this community a better place,” says Executive Service Corps President and CEO Rachelle Jervis.


This year the Executive Service Corps is pleased to announce the following award recipients.


Philanthropist of the Year Award: Michael and Donna Thompson

The Philanthropist of the Year Award is given to the person or persons who have made a significant financial contribution to the nonprofit community. “The Executive Service Corps has been a very important part of my life and I bleed ESC blue so I want to continue to ensure that the services it offers are around for a long time to come,” says Mike Thompson.

President of Management and Technology Resources, Michael Thompson is a consultant specializing in the design of programs linking compensation to performance. Prior to that until 2002, he was Managing Director of Frederic W. Cook & Co., with responsibility for the Chicago office. Mike has also previously held human resource management positions with three major corporations. Some of Mike's ESC clients include Oswegoland Park District, Turning Point Community Mental Health Center, Journeys from PADS to HOPE, Information Technology Resource Center, and Illinois Council of Orchestras. An anonymous client feedback from a recent Executive Service Corps (ESC) client stated, “Mike is wonderful, very responsive, communicates well, goes above and beyond helping to find solutions." "Excellent! Outstanding leader." "ESC exceeded expectations. The team was excellent and responded well to our unique needs and interests while also leading us through a meaningful strategic planning process."


Philanthropic Lifetime Achievement Award: Donald Dew, President/CEO at Habilitative Systems, Inc.

The Philanthropic Lifetime Award is given to a senior professional with a career in the nonprofit field who successfully led organizations, improved their community, and gave back to the sector as a whole. "For so many in our community, trauma and tragedy has been an unfortunate reality of life.  For over 42 years, Habilitative Systems, Inc. (HSI) has provided opportunities for those served to experience enriched lives and achieve their highest human potential.  We value servant leadership, and it lies at the very core of our mission," said Donald Dew.

Donald J. Dew is President and CEO of Habilitative Systems, Inc. (HSI), a vital Chicago-based behavioral health and human services organization providing programs and services for thousands of children and families with special needs. Since his appointment in 1990, HSI’s budget has increased from $6.5 million to approximately $9.5 million in 2020, signaling a significant increase in services to Chicago area residents during an adverse economic period. Mr. Dew is a member of the International Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities Board of Trustees, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Black Social Workers, and Academy of Certified Social Workers. He was the past Presiding Chair of the inaugural African American Family Commission under Governor Edgar, a board member for Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital Board of Directors and UIC Department of Disability and Human Development.


Nonprofit Consultant of the Year Award: Joan Parrott-Sheffer, Engagement Manager, Executive Service Corps

The Nonprofit Consultant of the Year Award is given to a different nonprofit consultant each year based on the number of pro bono hours they give to charitable organizations. “I love being a part of the Executive Service Corps.  I work with amazing colleagues, now friends, who deeply care. Together, we help clients change the world,” declared Joan Parrott-Sheffer.

Joan brings both experience and expertise in strategic planning.  She has led strategic planning engagements for not-for-profit organizations with 1-30 staff members and $40K - $2M annual budgets. In her career she led the development of over 30 strategic plans for organizations as large as 60 people and a budget of $6M that provided direction for over 15,000 people. She leads the Strategic Planning Practice Group for ESC, responsible for ensuring ESC has the best processes, tools, and skills in strategic planning. Prior to joining ESC, Joan Parrott-Sheffer was Vice President Global Supply Chain for the Wrigley Division of Mars Inc., with accountability for manufacturing, engineering, quality, and food safety, environmental stewardship, and personal safety. In her career at Fortune 500 consumer goods companies, including Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., PepsiCo, Quaker Oats, and Procter & Gamble, Joan gained expertise and experience in leading organizations in creating strategic plans, developing individuals and organizations to new levels of performance, and analyzing and improving operational performance. In addition to her career in manufacturing and supply chain, Joan gained experience in HR and organizational development roles. An anonymous feedback from a recent Executive Service Corps client stated, "Joan and her team met or exceeded expectations throughout every step of the process. She was professional, incredibly timely, and tirelessly 'herded the cats.' She delivered amazing goals, scorecards, agenda, and follow-up materials. Generally speaking, I can't say enough good things about the team and working with them was a blast."


Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award: Mike Bertrand, President and CEO, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois

The Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award is given to one nonprofit chief officer who excels in leading their organization past challenges to exceptional success.

“I am privileged to lead an amazing group of professionals here at LCFS of IL. The strategic plan developed with us by the Executive Service Corps has served as our road map during these unprecedented times. I am honored to receive this award on behalf of all my colleagues,” said Mike Bertrand. Mike was nominated by Kathy Lietz.

Mike Bertrand is the President and CEO of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois. He joined LCFS in 2005 and has served in various roles during that time. With more than 30 years of social-services experience, Bertrand has also worked for the Department of Children and Family Services, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Hull House Association and United Healthcare Corporation. Bertrand has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He is also active both locally and nationally with The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Lutheran Services of America and is on the boards for the Illinois Collaboration on Youth and the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School.


Nonprofit Civic Leader of the Year Award: Sejal Shah-Myers Executive Director at Springboard Foundation

The Nonprofit Civic Leader of the Year Award is given to a nonprofit chief who excels in leading their own organization and magnificently improves both the nonprofit sector and community. “I’m so inspired by the work of nonprofits and have been for more than 20 years. Never have I been prouder to be a part of the sector than during the last 14 months. Against the most difficult odds, nonprofits have pivoted and persevered in creative and courageous ways. They are needed now more than ever. Wrapping nonprofits in support--be it financial, as advocates, or by boosting their capacity--can go a long way towards a more equitable future,” shared Sejal.

Sejal Shah-Myers is founder of SSM Philanthropic Consulting, LLC and has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She offers a unique “360 degree” point of view having worked as a fundraiser, as a consultant to nonprofits and corporations, and as a grantmaker. Sejal has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Bradley University and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from North Park University. Sejal has been asked to serve on panels and teach on the topics of grantmaking and philanthropy at DePaul University, Loyola University, North Park University, and Northwestern University. She serves on several grantmaking review panels and Chicago Foundation for Education teacher project selection committee.


Nonprofit Board Member of the Year Award: Katie Tuten, BandWith Chicago (BWC) Board Member and Owner of the Hideout

The Nonprofit Board Member of the Year Award is given to an outstanding nonprofit board member who provides exceptional volunteer service on a charitable organization board. Katie was nominated by Sheila Moller.

"This is a great honor to be recognized for this award. The support and guidance that Executive Service Corps provided BandWith and our Board was invaluable. Executive Service Corps provided us with the necessary tools, research materials, one on one guidance that enabled BandWith to jump start our organization. ESC liaisons were generous, kind, supportive and knowledgeable," shared Katie Tuten.


The Executive Service Corps will acknowledge these exceptional honorees as part of their annual event, Turn the Page on 2020. The event will be held via Zoom on Thursday, April 29, 2021, 11:30 AM – 1:15 PM CST. You can purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or donate at


"These nonprofit leaders are true heroes of society.  We at Executive Service Corps are proud to support them in their missions and we are pleased to honor them at the Celebration of ESC, Turn the Page," stated Jeanne Mayes, event chairperson and Executive Service Corps board member.


“Our annual event is such a wonderful time to recognize 6 well deserving nonprofit leaders.  Each represent the kind of organization that ESC’s work supports and why it’s critically important to support ESC at our upcoming event,” said Wendy Kritt, Executive Service Corps board chairperson.


Press Release Contact: Jeanne Mayes,, +1 (312) 880-7734


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