Ernie A Arias
Ernie A. Arias is the Area Director of Sales and Marketing for the Park Hyatt Hotels in North America.
Arias is responsible for evaluating, implementing and leading sales, marketing and branding initiatives for these high–profile, luxury hotels in both the local and global markets.
In addition to studying at the University of Colorado at CU Boulder in business, Arias received Hotel & Restaurant Management certification at the Conrad N. Hilton College at the University of Houston. Throughout his career, he has been actively involved in industry organizations as a member of Meeting Planner International, National Business Travel Association, Professional Convention Management Association, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, American Society of Association Executives, and Association Forum of Chicagoland.
Arias has a passion for the theatre and arts and has been on the Lookingglass Theatre board since 2005.
Gerry Barad, Chief Operating Officer of Live Nation Global Touring, a division of Live Nation, the world’s most successful leader in the live entertainment industry, has been a music industry trailblazer for over 35 years. Gerry and his team have promoted and produced most of the top grossing tours of our time. Past and present clients include U2, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Barbra Streisand, Rush, Sting, Paul Simon, The Police, Neil Young, David Bowie, Rolling Stones.
His passion for live entertainment also extends beyond the world of Rock and Roll and Pop to the theatre world. An avid theatre patron, his appreciation of the arts came at an early age with his love for theatre, musicals, and old movies.
Originally hailing from the beautiful rugged west coast of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, Gerry has resided in Chicago since 2010. Gerry shares his passion for the music industry often and has had a major association with The Berklee College of Music in Boston for the past 15 years. He delivered the prestigious James G Zafris lecture in 2010 and is a frequent guest lecturer at the school. He plays an active role in the school’s fundraising initiatives including the implementation of a scholarship for students in financial need.
Joe has been a member of the Lookingglass Board of Directors since 2000 when he joined the Board as Chairman of the Facilities Committee and managed the construction and delivery of the Water Tower Water Works theatre. Joe is Lookingglass Board Chairman and was a co–chair of the 2010 and 2011 gglassquerades with Board members John McGowan and Frank Clark.
Joe is Managing Director of Solutions Development, Banking Industry Vertical Growth Lead and Chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Corporate Retail Platform. For Solutions Development, Mr. Brady works with leading companies banking, financial services and retail in all aspects of outsourced services. For Corporate Retail, JLL manages both high-growth new store rollouts and existing store portfolio management. Corporate Retail services include: Research & Strategy, store criteria and profitability analysis, transaction management, project management and store opening, facilities management, portfolio management and lease renewals, and development team planning and recruitment. Corporate Retail Solutions was created in 2009 when JLL acquired The Standard Group (TSG), where Mr. Brady was a founder.
Joe received a Master’s in business administration, real estate development and finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s of electrical engineering from Villanova University. He serves on the ICSC Government Relations Committee as well as a Trustee for The Nature Conservancy for Wyoming. Joe lives in Hinsdale with his wife Shannon and children Grace and Joey.
Leigh B Bienen
Leigh B. Bienen is a senior lecturer at Northwestern University School of Law and a criminal defense attorney whose areas of expertise include capital punishment, sex crimes, and rape reform legislation. She has published extensively in legal journals and taught law at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and at Boalt Hall, the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and D.C. and is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.
She is a member of the Illinois Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee and the Director of the Chicago Historical Homicide Project. This Project involved the analysis and exegesis of a hand written data set kept by the Chicago Police of more than 11,000 homicides in Chicago from 1870–1930. The original data set along with contextual and archival materials is available on an interactive web site, Homicide in Chicago, 1870–1930 (homicide.northwestern.edu). This Project has been generously supported by grants from The Joyce Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, The McCormick Tribune Foundation and Northwestern University School of Law. In 2009 she published a study of the cost of capital punishment in Illinois which played a role in the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois.
A graduate of Cornell University, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the Rutgers–Newark School of Law, she has worked as a journalist and an editor and published widely in TriQuarterly, The Ontario Review, Transition, and The O’Henry Prize Stories. A short play of hers was included in Winters’ Tales 1994, McCarter Theatre’s New Play Festival. In 2001 her first book length collection of fiction, The Left Handed Marriage, was published by Ontario Review Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
Tom Bolling is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of United Airlines in Chicago, Illinois. He joined the Board of Directors of Lookingglass Theatre Company in September 2014.
Tom leads United’s legal teams for litigation, regulatory, alliances, international, antitrust, competition, labor, benefits, intellectual property, environmental, health and safety. He is also responsible for administration of United’s Legal Department. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association Forum on Air and Space Law. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the International Aviation Law Institute at DePaul University in Chicago. In 2008, Tom was named Regulatory (Non-Financial Services) Individual of the Year at the Global Counsel Awards, which are sponsored by International Law Office in association with the Association of Corporate Counsel.
Tom received his A.B. degree from Columbia College of Columbia University in New York and his J.D. degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was elected to the Order of the Barristers. He also attended Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.
Tom lives with his wife, daughter and two dogs in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Tom’s daughter, who played Alice during Summergglass Camp, introduced her father to Lookingglass and the magical blend of exploration, discovery and transformation that is uniquely evident on the Lookingglass stage.
Richard is a member of the Litigation Practice Group of Clark Hill PLC. He has had more than 30 years of successful experience as a trial lawyer concentrating in complex and highly contested business, trust and estate, and employment litigation for businesses, including financial institutions, real estate and professional service providers, manufacturers and distributors. With this experience, he has been able to work with clients to provide strategic guidance to enhance protections to reduce the necessity of litigation and to enhance their positions should litigation be necessary. Richard has been selected to be an “Illinois Super Lawyer”; (Top Five Percent) in Business Litigation, Law and Politics – Illinois Super Lawyers (2005–2013) and as member of Super Lawyers Top 100 List (2012), as well as an “Illinois Leading Lawyer” in Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy and Workout Law (Commercial), Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2006–2013), and has received Martindale Hubbell’s highest peer review rating of “AV Preeminent.”
“I learned about Lookingglass through Ed Filer and Clark Hill’s on going seasonal sponsorship. Beyond that introduction, Lookingglass intrigues me because its presentations and its ensemble make one feel and wonder, rather than just being part of an audience.
“As importantly to me, Lookingglass is not the mere fancy of people with means. Rather, Lookingglass puts a premium on not only being an unequaled experience for actors and learners, but also to those who come to witness the products of all of the members of the Lookingglass Community. This is truly an exciting opportunity and I am gratified to be a part of it.”
Mr. Clark is the Founder and Managing Partner of Clark Enterprises Group LLC (CEG), an investment firm and holding company. Mr. Clark brings operating experience to CEG based on his 18 years in various sales, marketing and executive roles in corporate America.
He has extensive industry experience in printing, technology and telecommunications. During his successful tenure at RR Donnelley as Corporate Vice President, Mr. Clark created and operated the Alliance Markets Group, where he targeted several companies for mergers, alliances and acquisitions; driving enterprise wide growth.
Clark Enterprises Group combines experience and financial expertise to create a leading leveraged buyout firm of choice, with a global reach, offering world–class service and substantial growth opportunities.
Lester Coney serves as executive vice president in Mesirow Financial’s Office of the Chairman. He is responsible for originating and nurturing new business opportunities, and expanding and maintaining client relationships across the firm’s investment management, insurance, global markets and consulting divisions.
As a civic leader, Les has been actively involved in many organizations in support of the arts, civic betterment, and minority and ethnic issues. He is a trustee for many organizations including the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago and was named a life trustee for the Goodman Theatre. Les is a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, the League of Chicago Theatres, the Art Alliance Illinois and serves on the board of governors of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a member of the presidential advisory committee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is a founding chairman of Congo Square Theatre Company and currently serves as Illinois board president of Wades World Foundation.
Les was recently named the Happiness Club 2013 Honoree for his longstanding support of the Happiness Club and his contributions to the arts. In 2012, he was honored by the Chicago Area Morehouse Alumni Association for his contributions to the Chicago arts community and by the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for his contributions and leadership in creating alternative programs for Chicago’s youth. He was also honored by Kohl Children’s Museum for his continued efforts to connect communities and received the 2012 MVP Award from the Wade’s World Foundation. In 2011 he received N’Digo Foundation’s 2011 N’Corporate award and the 100 Club of Chicago and Apparel Industry Board’s 2011 Philanthropic Leadership Award. He’s the recipient of the 2008 Spirit of Achievement Award from Loretto Hospital, the 2007 Executive Leader Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Chicago, the 2007 King Legacy Award from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, and was awarded for Leadership in the Arts by the Arts and Business Council of Chicago in 2006.
Les earned a Bachelor of Science degree from George Williams University. He currently resides in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago.
Al is originally from the Kansas City area, where he began his career in the broadcasting business. He came to Chicago to join the Fox television station as its General Sales Manager in 1983, soon becoming its General Manager.
After a number of years at Fox, he was recruited by Fred Eychaner as partner/general manager at WPWR–TV 50. Al was instrumental in building the station from a small local concern to a large, successful business.
WPWR was known for its wonderful support of the arts and culture in Chicago, especially for small and mid–sized institutions such as Lookingglass Theatre Company, and Al was an original Board member of the WPWR Channel 50 Foundation, now Alphawood Foundation. The station was sold to Fox in 2002, after which Al retired from broadcasting.
Al has two children, a daughter named Britt who lives in the River North neighborhood of Chicago and a son, Scott, who lives in Berkeley, CA with his wife and two children.
Richard A Ditton
Richard A. Ditton is a Co–founder and Executive Vice President of Incredible Technologies. He has used his extensive technical development background to help grow the company to become the industry leader it is today. A key developer of hardware and software tools since Incredible Technologies inception, Ditton is credited with developing the first commercially successful online tournament system, and he continues to take an active role in the technical development side of the company. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics and a M.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University. Early in his career he worked for IBM as a designer of launch software for the Space Shuttle at NASA.
Kathleen B. Fanning, Chief Financial Officer, has 25 years of professional experience in financial
management and has practiced with large accounting and architecture firms. At AS+GG, she oversees the firm’s financial operations, human resources, information technology, day–to–day operations, strategic planning, investment portfolio and cash and risk management.
Before joining AS+GG in 2008, Kathy was Chief Financial Officer for DeStefano + Partners, where she was deeply involved in daily operations, serving on several committees that govern human resource and administrative operations of the firm. She was also the principal in charge of the firm’s information technology division, responsible for implementing, maintaining and upgrading all electronic information equipment and software.
Kathy spent 10 years at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where she served as Chicago office controller and firm–wide controller. Her career also includes tenures at American Hospital Supply Corp., American Hospitex Division and KPMG.
“I have been aware of Lookingglass and the progressive work it turns out for some time now, but have been drawn much closer by Board member Nancy Timmers. Nancy is a great ambassador! Her enthusiasm is infectious and has piqued my interest in being involved to help spread the word of Lookingglass!”
Ed Filer is currently a Partner at Freeborn & Peters and chair of their Construction Services Group. Ed also practices law in the area of banking, crediting rights, real estate, and corporate transactions.
Ed currently serves as Vice President of the Lookingglass Board of Directors.
Credits & Awards
J.D., University of Wisconsin (1991), with Honors
B.A., University of Michigan (1987)
Charlie has over twenty years of business software experience, encompassing systems engineering, product design and leading large–scale development efforts as well as broad sales and marketing experience.
Charlie is the President and Founder of Easy Ware Software Solutions, and the Integrated Software Advisor for Lookingglass.
Charlie holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1983) and a Masters in Management degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management (1990).
“I have been excited about the opportunity to join the board since approached. I have had a fond interest in theatre since 2002, when I attended a GNMAA luncheon where David Schwimmer spoke to the group about the values, visions, and community outreach Lookingglass prides themselves on. I was touched by the comments he made in reference to the theatrical environment in Chicago and the stepping stone that Lookingglass was striving to be.
“I come from a family of teachers of all sorts and appreciate the efforts needed to support and nurture a person’s growth; my uncle writes and directs children’s plays, is an actor and director of a children’s theatre in Iowa; his wife is also an actress and drama teacher; I have witnessed the confidence and creativity they instill in children and adults through acting, collaborating, and communicating, and find it to be very inspiring.
“Combining my feelings on the opportunities the theatre brings to people and my deep rooted pride for Chicago, I am thrilled to have this opportunity. I have attended shows at the theatre, though I have not been involved with any efforts or support in the past other than recommending Lookingglass to friends, family, and professional contacts, I look forward to having consistent interaction with the theatre and its teams. I am confident my involvement on a personal and professional level will add a different perspective to increasing community awareness, strengthening partnerships and increasing support.”
Kate is currently responsible for leading the Central Zone of Marsh Private Client Services. Her team of specialized professionals work with high-net-worth individuals and families to minimize risk and optimize wealth preservation by employing a comprehensive personal risk management program.
Prior to joining Marsh in 2007, Kate spent 11 years at Nationwide, Inc., where she was responsible for overseeing business development, national sales strategies, and account management and retention, as well as building strategic relationships.
Earlier in her career, Kate spent several years working on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, and Oppenheimer & Company, where she achieved top ranking trading positions, created and managed successful sales teams, and developed successful strategic partnerships. She was also a founding officer and a board member of Tandem Financial Group, a joint venture between Merrill Lynch and the Equitable Life Assurance Society formed to sell interest-sensitive insurance products.
Kate’s personal pursuits include board membership of the University of Chicago Women’s Board, the Chicago Finance Exchange, the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, the Chicago Service Club, and the Lookingglass Theatre. She is the chairman of the executive committee of The Primo Center for Homeless Women and Children, is a member of the Goodman Theatre Business Council, and is the 2014 Woman of Vision, Primo Classico.
Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and music from the University of Massachusetts.
A dynamic and seasoned real estate executive, Lee Golub is Executive Vice President of Golub & Company and has overall responsibility for the firm’s U.S. operations. With experience spanning more than three decades and all facets of commercial real estate, Lee brings a strategic and comprehensive approach to his oversight of Golub’s real estate development, acquisitions, finance, marketing, leasing, sales, and asset management activities. Under his direction, the company has risen to meet the challenges and opportunities of a steadily growing real estate firm, further enhancing Golub’s reputation as a major developer and investor in the U.S. and Central and Eastern Europe. An active participant in the Chicago business community, Lee continues to foster relationships that span all industries and provide significant value to the company overall.
Prior to joining Golub in 1987, Lee was a Commercial Real Estate Leasing Representative with Chicago-based Frain Camins & Swartchild, Inc. and earlier was a Commercial Loan Production Officer with BA Mortgage of Denver. Lee served major multinational corporations, professional firms, and smaller organizations operating in a wide variety of industries and diverse markets.
A graduate of the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, Lee serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association and Friends of Prentice Women’s Hospital of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He is an Illinois Real Estate Broker and a member of the Chicago Office Leasing Brokers Association (COLBA), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and the Chicago Development Council. He also is a long-time supporter of numerous charitable organizations.
Paul Gray is the Managing Partner of Richard Gray Gallery Chicago/New York, 1982-present. He has served on the Lookingglass Theatre Company Board of Directors since 2002.
“Theatre is one of the principal passions in my life. I have worked as a producer and co-producer in for-profit theatre before entering the art world and remain in awe of the magic wrought by writers, actors, directors, and everyone who makes their work possible.”
Born in Chicago, Paul and his wife Dedrea are very involved in fundraising for progressive education, a variety of political candidates, and for social and environmental causes. In addition to his position with the Board at Lookingglass, Paul is currently Chair of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago International Committee; member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Education Committee, member of the Human Rights Watch Chicago Committee; and is a founding board member of the Abraham Path Initiative.
Originally from New York, Lisa has made Chicago home for quite some time. Lisa trained as an attorney and specialized in securities and real estate law both in New York and Chicago. Lisa left the law to spend more time with her family. She has actively served on the boards of numerous community and arts organizations.
Lisa is married to Howard Green and has three children: Jeremy, Anna and Isaac.
Lisa became interested in Lookingglass through her children, who enrolled in Lookingglass programs in 1997. Her first Lookingglass production was Eleven Rooms of Proust and she has been a loyal fan ever since. She joined the Lookingglass board in 2000 and was honored to serve as co–chair of Theatre that Moves—The Campaign for Lookingglass from 2000–2003. Lisa served as Chairman of the Board at Lookingglass from 2006–2011. She serves as a National Council member of Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for American nonprofit theaters.
Jon Harris is the official Announcer for the Meredith Vieira Show which debuts in national broadcast syndication in September 2014.
Named one of the world’s top in-house communications professionals by the Holmes Report, Jon Harris served as Chief Communications Officer, Senior Vice President, Hillshire Brands (NYSE: HSH), where he oversees all aspects of integrated communications for the leading food company and its extensive line of high-quality brands, including Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Sara Lee, Aidells and State Fair. Harris is responsible for managing the company’s network of communications professionals and a multi-million dollar budget that includes corporate communications, employee communications and internal/external public relations. In addition, he serves as President of the Hillshire Brands Foundation.
Harris had previously served as Senior Vice President, Global Communications for Sara Lee Corporation, where he was responsible for leading marketing communications for the company’s core food and beverage brands and oversaw the spin-off of the company into two pure-play, publicly-held entities.
Prior to joining Sara Lee in 2005, Mr. Harris served as Vice President, Communications and Corporate Development for Bally Total Fitness Corporation, where he led media development, public relations, product placement and image marketing for the Company.
Previously, Mr. Harris led communications at OurHouse.com preceded by four years at Pepsi-Cola Company in Purchase, NY. Among his many roles at Pepsi-Cola Company, Mr. Harris served Senior Manager of Public Affairs and headed up communications efforts behind the Company’s core brands and marketing initiatives. Earlier in his career, Mr. Harris worked at Ketchum Public Relations and Medicus Public Relations.
Mr. Harris is an adjunct professor at the Graham School at the University of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Rutgers University.
Nancy Hoffman’s primary passion is art. She is the Owner of Gallery H in Three Oaks, MI. Nancy is a private investor, consultant, and curates private and personal art galleries.
Nancy came to Lookingglass through Board Vice President, Nancy Timmers and became a Cornerstone Watermark Society member in Fall 2013.
Nancy and her husband Shelly are lifelong Chicagoans who currently reside in the Gold Coast. She is a mother and grandmother. She and her husband’s first Lookingglass production was The North China Lover and it was love at first sight.
As a Lookingglass advocate, Nancy’s “mission is to expose her friends and neighbors to our amazing theatre in the castle on Michigan Ave.”
Michael Jacobson is a Partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP where he is Head of the Commercial Finance Practice Group. His practice encompasses a wide variety of areas in of commercial finance, including senior, first lien, second lien and mezzanine financings and structures. Mr. Jacobson’s experience includes issuer, lender and investor representation, cash flow and asset-based transactions, leveraged buyouts and build-ups, restructurings and workouts, addressing and negotiating intercreditor and subordination-related issues, equity co-investments and health care finance transactions for a broad range of institutional clients. He has been listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2006–2014), The Best Lawyers in America (2010–2015), and Illinois Super Lawyers (2007–2008, 2013 and 2014).
Michael graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA in finance and attended DePaul University College of Law, where he graduated with honors and was a member of the Law Review and elected a member of The Order of the Coif.
Dr. Elena Kamel is an Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. She is the founder and President of The Women’s Group of Northwestern, one of Chicago’s first all female Obstetric and Gynecologic practices.
“I have always had a love for the arts with a particular interest in classical music and opera. My exposure to Lookingglass Theatre Company has opened up so many doors and has sparked my appreciation for theater in Chicago. My involvement with Lookingglass has also been a wonderful opportunity for my family and colleagues in medicine to glean an exposure to the marvelous talent housed at Lookingglass. I love telling my patients, friends, fellow physicians about my experiences at Lookingglass and sharing my admiration for all the work Lookingglass does in the greater Chicago Community.
“My husband, Perry Lindsey Kamel who is a Gastroenterologist at Northwestern and three children share my enthusiasm for the theater and arts. Over the past several years, Lookingglass has played an active role in their lives. I look forward to combining my professional life empowering women with knowledge about their health care and playing an active role in their health care choices and enlightening them about the amazing artistic opportunities in Chicago and at Lookingglass.”
Lindsay Knight is the Marketing Associate at Chicago Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs and their innovative technology companies in Chicago and the Greater Midwest. She focuses on marketing, communication, events, PR and brand management for both Chicago Ventures and its portfolio companies.
Prior to Chicago Ventures, Lindsay acted as Vice President of CHOUmedia, a marketing and communications firm specializing in the intellectual property industry; and as Marketing and Events Coordinator at Ocean Tomo, an intellectual property merchant bank.
Lindsay has been a member of Lookingglass Theatre Junior Board since 2010. She has served as the Vice President of Event Production since 2011, overseeing the production of the group’s largest annual fundraiser, the Madhatter’s Ball. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Open Books Associate Board, a non-profit social venture that promotes literacy in Chicago and beyond. She graduated from Miami University with degrees in English/Journalism and Strategic Communication.
Rocque is a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., the investment banking division of JPMorgan Chase. He joined the firm in New York City in 2004 and transferred to their Chicago office in 2005. In this role he provides strategic advice to clients on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance issues, including capital–raising in the equity and fixed income markets.
Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Rocque was a Vice President with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York City, where he lived for 10 years. While in New York, his philanthropic activities included fundraising and committee leadership for Search and Care, an organization providing services to home–bound elderly in Manhattan. He began his career in 1991 here in Chicago, working with John Nuveen & Co., and was active in the Partners in Education student mentoring program.
Rocque graduated from the University of Michigan and also holds a degree from the Kellogg School of Management. He resides in the city of Chicago with his wife, Anne Rickert Lipford, and their young sons.
Rachel E Kraft
Rachel Kraft has been working in the arts for 25 years. Before accepting her position as Executive Director of Lookingglass, she spent 12 years as Director of Development for the Goodman Theatre. Working for Chicago’s oldest and largest nonprofit theater, Rachel led a department that raised funds for an annual campaign with a goal of more than $5 million, and oversaw the completion of the theater’s successful capital campaign raising $34 million in gifts and pledges. She also played an integral role in guiding the board development efforts of the board of trustees, including the cultivation, recruitment and acclimation of many of the high–profile members on the company’s current board.
Previously, Rachel served in development and marketing positions with the Arts & Business Council, Northlight Theatre, and the Chicago Dance Coalition. She completed a year–long Community Renewal Leadership Program through the A. H. Wilder Foundation in Minnesota and a summer Harvard Business School program in “Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management.” A member of the Alumnae Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women, Rachel has also participated as a mentor in a program initiated by the Illinois Arts Alliance. She is a charter board member of the Kindling Group, a nonprofit group supporting documentary filmmaking and a trustee of the Jewish Women Foundation of Chicago. Rachel serves as the Past Vice President of the Theater Communications Group and the Past Vice Chair of the League of Chicago Theatre, the local and national service organizations for theater.
Laura Matalon is the President of Allied Live, a full-service marketing-advertising-publicity firm catering to live entertainment. With offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., Ms. Matalon and her firm represent numerous Broadway shows, national tours, performing arts institutions, retail centers, and attractions throughout North America.
Ms. Matalon is an active member of The Broadway League, where she has served as a co-chair for four Road Marketing Conferences. She also sits on the Intra-Industry Marketing and Road Marketing Committees. Ms. Matalon was one of the first recipients of The Broadway League’s Outstanding Achievement in Road Marketing Award. Ms. Matalon actively participates as a lecturer at meetings and conferences including NAMP and the Commercial Theatre Institute.
John McGowan is a director at CTC | myCFO, a part of BMO Financial Services, where he and his team help ultra-affluent clients achieve their financial goals, care for their loved ones and provide a legacy for their charitable interests.
Prior to CTC | myCFO, John was at Northern Trust for 16 years where he most recently led a national practice specializing in managing the financial complexities of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) individuals and families where benefits of marriage may not be present. Prior to Northern Trust, John was a marketing director for 10 years at Thomson Reuters, the news and financial markets data company.
John holds his B.S. in Mathematics from Loyola University of Chicago, and his M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®).
In addition to being President on the Lookingglass Theatre Board of Directors, John is affiliated with Lambda Legal, Howard Brown Health Center, GLBT Community Center of Colorado, and the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas.
John lives with his partner, David Robbins, in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. He enjoys spending time hiking and skiing near their Colorado retreat, and helping Dave raise their terrier, Tater Tot.
“I was first introduced to Lookingglass Theatre when I saw Arabian Nights in the early 1990′s. The Lookingglass ensemble are master story tellers; there was magic and I was hooked. Great theater strikes those fundamental themes that come with living, and teaches me more about myself. When I reached that point in my life when I was in a position to give back, I was drawn to Lookingglass. I want everyone to have the opportunity to experience these stories.”
Dr. Mendelson is a cardiologist at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she has worked for twenty years. She directs the Center for Womens Cardiovascular Health of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Heart Disease and Pregnancy and Adult Congenital Heart Center. She is a member of the Northwestern Adult Congenital Heart Center. She also is co-director of the Marfan program.
A leader in the study of women and cardiac diseases, Dr. Mendelson is the founder and director of one of the largest programs for the care of women with heart disease during pregnancy in the country. She has also been an educator for the Cardiovascular Disease in Women to both professional and lay groups. She is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. She has served on committees of the local and national American Heart Association.
Dr. Mendelson is an associate professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She conducts research on heart disease during pregnancy, heart disease in women and adult congenital heart disease. She serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Children’s Heart foundation which reviews scientific grants for organizational funding.
Dr. Mendelson graduated from Loyola University Medical School in 1982. She went on to complete her internship and residency at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Cardiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, with a special interest in Nuclear Cardiology and Adult Congenital Heart Disease. She is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease.
Melinda McMullen has more than 30 years of experience in communications and community involvement at corporations, public relations agencies and the non–profit sector. Currently a public relations consultant, Melinda was previously head of communications for Chase, the bank previously known as Bank One, where her responsibilities included the Chase Foundation, media relations and employee communications.
Prior to joining the bank in 2001, Melinda spent six years in communications at IBM Corporation. Before IBM, Melinda was co–founder of Food From the ‘Hood, a student–owned business based at South Central’s Crenshaw High School that arose out of the Los Angeles Riots. Based at South Central’s Crenshaw High School, Food from the ‘Hood marketed salad dressings to more than 2,000 grocery stores. The company was featured in the New York Times, People Magazine, and the Washington Post, among others. In addition, it was the subject of a cover story in Newsweek and was the recipient of a $100,000 Angel Network Award from Oprah Winfrey. Additionally, Melinda worked for American Express, Edelman Public Relations, Burson Marsteller Public Relations and Ketchum Communications. McMullen earned her bachelor’s degree from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.
“During my more than 10 years on the Board of Lookingglass, I have continued to be struck by the level of collaboration between the board, the staff, and the ensemble. I have served on a number of boards in my lifetimes and Lookingglass stands out because it’s a place where we, as Board members, can assert our creative (as well as financial!) muscle to help Lookingglass achieve its mission of Collaboration, Transformation, and Invention.”
Jill Reznick Meier is a Vice President in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs & Co. She has served in many capacities in her years with the firm, and is currently the Business Unit Manager, responsible for the day–to–day operations of the Private Wealth Management group.
Born in Chicago, she is married to Jonathan Meier, a high school theatre director and has three rambunctious children.
Jill received her BA, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Minnesota. She is a member of the Goldman Sachs Chicago Women’s Network Steering Committee and and is an active member in the Illinois Theatre Association. She has also been active in her children’s schools, chairing a National Arts Program and introducing an arts integration program to the curriculum. Prior to her corporate life, Jill picked up grant writing skills with Manhattan Punch Line, an off–Broadway NYC Theatre and worked on new play development at the Cricket Theatre in Minneapolis.
Tom O’Neill is Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Energy Policy and General Counsel of Commonweatlh Edison Company (“ComEd”). Tom oversees the company’s regulatory policy and strategy and rates functions and also serves as the primary legal advisor to ComEd’s Board and senior management. ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately $33 billion in annual revenues. ComEd delivers electricity to approximately 3.8 million residential and business customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the State’s population. Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider with approximately $44 billion in annual revenues and more than 35,000 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets.
Prior to joining Exelon in 2001, Tom was a partner with the law firm of Jenner & Block in Chicago.
Tom has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois-Urbana and a law degree from Notre Dame.
“Personally, I am thrilled to serve on this Board. It provides a portal to the artistic world, which is very different from the world I live in day-to-day. Lookingglass continues to grow and expand and excite in every aspect and it shows on stage, backstage, and in the numbers. The Board is actively involved in and dedicated to the Theatre Company’s future and that is fulfilling to me. And we have fun!”
Bob Palffy has nearly 30 years in the commercial real estate industry and serves as President of Steinco Corporate Real Estate Advisors. He has practiced tenant representation for major corporations through a spectrum of services that includes leasing, subleasing, purchasing and build to suit. His additional experiences as partner, manager, and developer provide his clients focused insight in creating real estate solutions.
Prior to Steinco, Bob served as President of Advocate Commercial Real Estate Advisors and Executive Vice President and Co–Leader of the tenant representation division at U.S. Equities serving such diverse clients as Clark Hill PLC, Lookingglass Theatre and Southern Wine and Spirits. In 2004, Bob had returned to servicing clients full–time on a consulting and transaction basis after leading the Chicago region for Grubb & Ellis. He had previously been affiliated as a Principal at Tanguay Burke Stratton (now a part of Jones Lang LaSalle) in Chicago. Bob has represented companies in the acquisition or disposition of several million square feet, including Ernst & Young, LaSalle National Bank and Liberty Mutual among others.
Bob graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science and an MBA in Accounting and Finance. He is a member of the University of Michigan’s Order of Angell Honor Society, Past President of the Michigan Alumni Club of Greater Chicago, and a recipient of numerous awards and honors from the University, including the President’s leadership award.
Bob Lives in the historic Hutchinson district in Chicago with his wife Georganne. He has three children: Madison, who is a dancer residing in Amherst, MA; Kara, a junior at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO; and Dylan, a 8th grader at Lincoln Elementary’s International Gifted program.
“My interest in Lookingglass started simply from attending productions over the last few years. I’ve been looking for a theatre that invites and expects original work, takes advantage of three dimensional space (maybe some would say four dimensional), encourages its audience to look behind its curtains, and most importantly invests in education. Having been a dancer in college (and initially planning to major in theatre management), I am attracted to the physicality of Lookingglass productions as well as its international performers.”
Dr. Abbie Roth’s other Not–For–Profit Affiliations: John Frederick Oberlin Society of Oberlin College, Spertus Institute, Rush Medical College, Coalition for Abused Women and Children, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Credits & Awards
Education: Oberlin College Oberlin, Ohio Rush Medical College Chicago, IL.
Post-Doctoral Training: Rush–Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center Chicago, IL.
Darren Snyder has over a dozen years of private equity experience in addition to his six years in middle market lending and insurance. He currently serves as Partner in Prairie Capital, and is responsible for investment origination, due diligence, deal structuring, and negotiation. Darren also has portfolio management responsibility for Prairie Capital, with board responsibilities for over sixteen companies across Prairie’s five funds. Darren is currently a director for five portfolio companies, including Messenger, Pioneer Metal Finishing, Fortis, Plastimayd, and GPA.
Prior to joining Prairie, Darren spent six years working closely with privately–held businesses as a Vice President for American National Bank (now part of J.P Morgan Chase). While with ANB, Darren financed leveraged buyouts, venture backed firms, and managed a portfolio of middle market loans.
Prior to American National, Darren was a commercial underwriter for an insurance company, and owned and operated a family–held business. Darren has served on the board of the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC), and is a former President of the Midwest Region. He is also Vice Chairman and a board member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA), serving as Chairman of the legislative committee.
Darren graduated magna cum laude from Drake University with a BA in Economics. He received an MBA from the University of Chicago, and continues to be active with the university, guest lecturing in private equity classes and acting as a judge in the New Venture Challenge competition. Darren, his wife and three boys live in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. In addition to his responsibilities at Prairie, Darren sits as President on the founding board of Polaris Charter Academy, a free, public school option for K–8 children in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago.
“I have been to many Chicagoland Theatre Company productions including Court, Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Second City, Circle Theatre, Teatro Vista, Chicago Fusion (Producer, Development, Finance), Teatro Luna (Finance, Development), American Theatre Company, just to name a few. I always heard of the Lookingglass Theatre Company but I never had a chance to attend a production until I went to go see Lookingglass Alice. I was drawn to the production given it was something different re–telling a very familiar story but with a very different spin. I enjoyed the show so much I went three more times bringing family members and friends when they visited Chicago.
“Given how much I enjoyed Lookingglass Alice I began to do more research on Lookingglass and learned that a very good colleague of mine Ed Filer was on the Board of Directors and saw that in addition to great productions Lookingglass is a true member of the community as it supports the community in various ways. Many theatres do just enough to say they support the community that supports them but Lookingglass’ programs seem to be a little more comprehensive and numerous.”
Nancy began her career as a model at age 15. She progressed into acting and received her SAG card starring in an Oprah Winfrey Show commercial…before Oprah became Oprah. Nancy is an award winning feature filmmaker as writer, producer and director. Her film “Everything He Touched” won a gold Remi award from WorldFest Houston 2001.
Nancy co–chaired the Lookingglass gala gglassquerade for three years in a row with her dear friend and fellow Board member, Ernie Arias. Nancy is also on the Development Board of PAWS Chicago. Nancy also Co–chairs the Lookingglass Theatre Board Development Committee along with Board member, Darren Snyder.
Bill Vainisi is a Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Allstate Insurance Company.
Bill began his career with Allstate in December of 1985 and held various positions within the Law and Regulation Department. In January 1995, he served on the Catastrophe Exposure Team, charged with the responsibility of managing Allstate’s exposure to natural disasters throughout the United States. He returned to the Law and Regulation Department in December of 1995 and was appointed Assistant Vice President, Assistant Secretary & Assistant General Counsel in April of 1996. In this position, Bill was responsible for leading the Company’s regional counsel program. This staff of lawyers provides legal, legislative, and regulatory services to the entire Allstate field organization. In addition, Bill was responsible for the Company’s countrywide efforts in influencing public policy on behalf of Allstate’s customers, shareholders, and employees. In December of 2006, Bill was promoted to Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. In this position, Bill continues his role leading the state legislative and regulatory operations in the Law Department. In addition, Bill is responsible for the Public Policy Analysis and Development group as well as the State Filings group.
Prior to joining Allstate, Bill held various government relations positions with the National Association of Independent Insurers. Bill also served as Chairman of the Board of the Florida Insurance Council, as well as Chairman of the Board of the Florida Insurance Council’s Political Action Committee.
Bill graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and DePaul University Law School. Bill and his wife Janine are the parents of three sons and make their home in Inverness, Illinois.
Diane Whatton is Vice President of Community Affairs at BMO Harris Bank. Diane leads a team of regional community affairs managers with responsibilities across the country. She also manages the bank’s board placement and training program and nonprofit sponsorships in Chicago.
Diane came to Chicago to study at Northwestern University, where she earned a BA in Economics. While theater is not what brought her to the Windy City, it is one of the reasons she stays. She is a (long ago) graduate of both Player’s Workshop and The Second City Conservatory, and even attended Emeritus Board member Geoffrey Baer’s introduction to acting class!
Diane is a Board Member of both Lookingglass Theatre Company and Arts Alliance Illinois.
Char Whitaker is a Corporate Vice President of Motorola Solutions, Inc., and the lead IP counsel for Motorola Solutions. She is responsible for providing IP counsel in connection with Motorola Solutions’ merger and acquisitions, and legal counsel to various Motorola Solutions business operations. Char provided IP and legal counsel for the former networks, mobile devices and semiconductor businesses of Motorola, Inc. and was the lead IP transactions counsel in the separation of Motorola Mobility. Prior to joining Motorola Solutions, Char worked with the law firm of Spensley, Horn, Jubas and Lubitz, and was an engineering manager in the semiconductor industry. Char received her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University in San Francisco, and her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Char is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and in the states of Texas and Illinois.
“As a Chicago resident, I take pride in the rich legacy of the theatre arts in Chicago, and I would like to increase my support of Chicago theatre. I have had the pleasure of attending many productions at the Lookingglass Theatre and have always been impressed by the quality and creativity of each production.
“Specifically, I am impressed by the artistry of the Lookingglass ensemble and the manner in which the production staff constantly re–invents the Theatre. The diversity of the work also attracted me to the Lookingglass Theatre.”