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.
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 currently the Lookingglass Board Chairman after recently serving as the Lookingglass Board President. He served as co–chair of the 2010 and 2011 gglassquerades with Board members John McGowan and Frank Clark.
Joe is a senior retail executive with more than twenty years of retail real estate field execution and corporate management experience at the regional, national, and international level. In addition to site selection and acquisition experience, Joe’s core competencies include research, strategic planning, recruiting, team building, and operations. Joe is currently Managing Director with Jones Lang LaSalle responsible for Corporate Retail Solutions and business development in the Americas. Prior to joining Jones Lang LaSalle, Joe worked as a Regional Vice President with Hollywood Entertainment, Inc., owned a Burger King franchise in Central Illinois, and worked in Real Estate Corporate Finance for First Chicago Corporation.
Joe received a Masters in business administration, real estate development and finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelors 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.
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.
Thomas J. Connolly is Vice President, Facilities Development of Walgreen Co. He joined Walgreens in 1985 as Real Estate Representative and held the positions of Senior Real Estate Manager, Director of Real Estate, and Divisional Vice President of Real Estate prior to his promotion to his current position earlier this year. In his current capacity at Walgreens, he is responsible for Real Estate, Asset Management, Design and Engineering, Construction, and Facilities Management.
Tom serves as a member of the ICSC Government Relations Environmental Subcommittee, is a past member of the CLS Committee, and has served as the Tennessee State Retail Chairman. He has also been involved on an ongoing basis with the Gulf States Alliance program.
Tom is a member of the Metropolitan Planning Commission and The Urban Land Institute.
Tom received a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1982. He currently resides with his family in Chicago, IL
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 and now operates a small real estate company and functions as a private investor.
Al has two children, a daughter named Britt and a son, Scott.
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.
Tai Duncan most recently served as the Director and Corporate Liaison at Ariel Investments, a Chicago–based money management firm serving individual and institutional investors through mutual funds and separately managed accounts.
Prior to Ariel, Tai served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel at the City of Chicago Department of Law in the Labor Division, practicing management–side labor and employment law for the City departments. Since 2009, she has held the position of Head Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach at her alma mater, the University of Chicago Laboratory High School. In 2004, Tai graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in Sociology and a concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies. At Grinnell, she was on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and played one year of volleyball and four years of basketball. She was co–captain of the basketball team during her senior year and received Academic All–Midwest Conference honors as well as Second Team All–Midwest Conference Honors for athletic performance.
Tai is a 2008 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law, where she earned service honors, received the Dean’s Achievement Award, and served as Community Service Chair of the Black Law Student Association and an Associate Note and Comment Editor for The Journal of Gender, Race and Justice. Tai is president of the Lookingglass Theatre Junior Board, secretary of the Lab School Alumni Association Executive Board, an Advisory Board member of B.I.G. Baseball Academy, and a member of the University of Chicago Alumni Club.
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 Gaynor is a result-oriented Senior Executive at Marsh USA, Inc. with extensive experience in financial services organizations such as Nationwide, Inc., Biederman & Associates, Tandem Financial Group, and Oppenheimer & Company. Building corporate value is her expertise. Whether challenged to establish national sales and marketing initiatives, spearhead business development, lead start-up or turnaround efforts, or accelerate growth in a fast-paced organization, Kate consistently delivers strong and sustainable results.
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 co–owner and director of Richard Gray Gallery Chicago/New York, 1982 – present.
Paul was born in Chicago, and is married, with one child, who was a member of the Lookingglass Teen Ensemble. Paul is currently a Vice President of the Lookingglass Theatre Company Board of Directors.
“Theatre is one of the passions in my life. I have worked extensively 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. In the not–for–profit community I have been an active volunteer, committee member or served on the boards of The Peace Museum of Chicago, Habitat for Humanity, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Dealers Association of America, Francis W. Parker School, and the Abraham Path Initiative.
“Leading by example, our family subscribes to and attends Lookingglass, Steppenwolf, Goodman, and Shakespeare with frequent forays to other Chicago area theatre, dance and music as well as Broadway, off–Broadway and the occasional trip to London’s West End.”
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 one of today’s most gifted and effective senior communications executives. Currently senior vice president of global communications at the Hillshire Brands Company (NYSE: HSH). Jon has earned a reputation for transformative work at marquee companies including Hillshire predecessor Sara Lee Corp., PepsiCo, and Bally Total Fitness. Energy and creativity are ingrained in Jon’s DNA, who reveals himself as consummate storyteller, networker extraordinaire, brand vigilante, motivator, and philanthropist. Throughout his career, Jon has been a standout public relations strategist, driving brand-building, proactive campaigns while skillfully managing the crises that are an inevitable part of business.
In addition to serving on the boards of Common Threads, Gilda’s Club-Cancer Concern, The Adrienne Shelly Foundation and Lookingglass Theatre Company, Jon is an active member of Share Our Strength and Feeding America. He also serves on the Board of Athletes Against Drugs alongside his friend, entrepreneur Stedman Graham, Oprah Winfrey’s longtime partner.
A graduate of Rutgers University, Jon is now an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago’s Graham School, where he has taught an integrated marketing course since 2006. He also serves on the Board of Communications for the College of Charleston.
Jon’s talent and dedication have been recognized most recently with PR News’ Corporate Communications Person of the Year award for 2012, and with a Men’s Journal’s 2012 Men of the Year award. Happily married with three children, Jon’s favorite thing to do while not at the office is basking in the pleasant chaos of the Harris household.
Michael Jacobson is a Partner at Katten, Muchin, and Rosenman LLP where he is Head of the Commercial Finance Practice. His practice encompasses a wide variety of areas in of commercial finance, including senior, first lien, and 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 (2006–2012), The Best Lawyers in America (2010–2013), and Illinois Super Lawyers (2007–2008, 2013).
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.”
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 regarded as a pioneer in her field and an expert in creating and implementing strategic marketing partnerships, promotions, branding campaigns, and sales initiatives for live entertainment. She has worked in the top 20 US markets for more than 25 years. Current touring clients include: The Book of Mormon, Billy Elliot the Musical, Mamma Mia!, West Side Story, Blue Man Group, STOMP, Once, GHOST, Peter and the Starcatcher, We Will Rock You, Buddy The Buddy Holly Story, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, ELF The Musical, and A Christmas Story the Musical. Regional clients include: Los Angeles: Kodak Theatre, Center Theatre Group, LA Phil, Reprise Theatre Company, and Hollywood and Highland Center. Chicago: Hubbard Street Dance, Lookingglass Theatre, The Lyric Opera, Million Dollar Quartet, and Mario Tricoci Salons and Spas. Washington DC: The Washington Ballet, Strathmore Performing Arts Center, The Kimmel Center (Philadelphia).
Ms. Matalon is an active member of The Broadway League, where she has served as a co-chair for several 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.
Ms. Matalon is a graduate of Northwestern University. She lives in Chicago with her wonderfully supportive husband, remarkably beautiful and talented daughter, and cute as a button dog.
John McGowan is a wealth advisor who specializes in managing the financial complexities of individuals and families, including trust, investments, capital, and tax planning. In the past, John spent 16 years at Northern Trust where he was most recently the national practice leader advising LGBT clients on tax strategies for transferring wealth to loved ones and charities without the benefits of marriage.
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 serving as President of the Lookingglass Theatre Board of Directors, John is affiliated with Lambda Legal, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health Center, Our Fund, 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. 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 25 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.
“As I enter my 10th year of serving on the Board of Lookingglass, I continue to be struck by the level of collaboration that exists between the board, the staff, and the ensemble. I have served on a number of boards in my lifetime 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 a member of the management team that runs the day–to–day operations of the Private Wealth Management group.
Born in Chicago, she is married to 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 has volunteered for many years in a literacy program through WITS (Working In The Schools). She is also active in her children’s school PTA, chairing a National Arts Program for the last several years. 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 more than 25 years in the commercial real estate industry and most recently served as President of Advocate Commercial 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 Advocate, Bob was 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 for four years. 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 Michiguama Honor Society, 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.
“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.
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.”