Betsy Brint was born and raised, and still lives in Highland Park, IL. She loves her community and believes in giving back. Betsy served on the Highland Park Human Relations Commission for six years, two of them as its chairman. An avid proponent for teen sex education and women’s health, Betsy volunteered at Angels (Links) as an itinerant health educator in north shore schools, and also at their teen sexual health clinic.
As a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, Betsy worked in the hospitality industry with Hyatt Hotels and TCA. In 1990, she married her husband David, and together they raised three children, Karly, Zachary, and Alan. Betsy and David founded the Foundation for Retinal Research in 1997, the year they found out their youngest child was born blind. Betsy served as a national member of the board of NAPVI, the National Association of Parents of Visually Impaired and is still a member of the Associate Board of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Between 2004 and 2011, Betsy and her sister Sally co-hosted a nationally syndicated radio show called “Walking on Air with Betsy and Sal.” Betsy currently works as an active broker with @properties in Highland Park. Betsy, her husband and their perfect golden doodle live most of the time in Highland Park, and leisure time in Park City, Utah. While Betsy is not busy selling real estate or raising money for the HPCF and the other causes she cares deeply about, she is bugging her daughter and son-in-law to consider making her a grandma. If they should read this, they should consider it a not-so-subtle hint.
Laurie Levin is a member of Highland Park Community Foundation’s Executive Committee and has been on the Board since 2013. She previously served on the Highland Park Traffic Commission and held Board positions at Music of the Baroque and Urban Gateways.
Laurie is a founding partner of the law firm of Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll, LLP in Chicago, specializing in real estate, finance and corporate transactions. She graduated from Fordham University School of Law, where she was Senior Articles Editor of the Law Review, and worked at Milbank Tweed and Patterson Belknap in New York before moving to Chicago in 1986. In Chicago, she spent ten years as an associate and then a partner at Hopkins & Sutter before forming Fox Swibel.
Prior to practicing law, Laurie was a concert pianist, having graduated from The Juilliard School with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Laurie resides with her husband, Robert, and has two children, Daniel and Rachel.
David Israel has lived in Highland Park almost his entire life. Along with his wife Amy, he is raising his family of three children in Highland Park. He works as a Wealth Advisor with Mesirow Financial, also in Highland Park, for the past 24 years. At Mesirow, he helps individuals, families and small businesses achieve their financial goals.
David earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also received a Certified Financial Planning designation for the College of Financial Planning.
David is excited to give back to a community that has given so much to him as a member of the Highland Park Community Foundation Board of Directors.
Eric has lived in Highland Park for nearly all of his life. He is the Chief Executive Officer and President of First Bank Chicago/First Bank of Highland Park. He is also currently a board member of several other local nonprofits and previously served as President of the NSSD112 Board of Education. Eric spent many seasons coaching local youth football, baseball, and soccer. Eric says he is “proud to be part of the HPCF, providing dignity and opportunity to all of our neighbors.”
Sofia Alvarez is a proud board member of the Highland Park Community Foundation and
passionate about giving back to the community that offered her family so much upon their arrival.
Sofia is a relationship management specialist fueled by genuine interest, compassion, and providing excellent service. Before moving to Highland Park, she worked in higher education as an admission and advising professional at North Central College and DePaul University. In Highland Park, Sofia took a position at Highland Park Community Nursery School & Day Care Center (aka – HP Community), a local not-for-profit preschool, assisting parents in finding the best school for their child. As their Family Development Manager, she helped oversee enrollment and retention and organize family events and fundraisers.
Today, Sofia works as a Human Resource Specialist at Glenbrook High School District 225 and resides in Highland Park with her husband, Pablo, and their two daughters.
Peter has been in the investment industry for over 30 years and currently serves as a Director and Senior Portfolio Manager at Bartlett Wealth Management. Prior to that he was a Managing Director at Lodestar Investment Counsel, LLC and a Principal with the investment management firm of Cedar Hill Associates.
Peter earned his undergraduate degree from Kenyon College and his law degree from the John Marshall Law School. Peter has served on the Highland Park Community Foundation Board for ten years where he has led the Investment Committee and is a past Chairman. He is also a Trustee of the Charles M.R. Shapiro Foundation.
Bobbie is the Director of Family Focus Highland Park. As a resident of Highland Park, she has been an active volunteer for many local schools and community organizations and has served on a number of other boards. Bobbie says she “joined the HPCF Board in order to continue the work that the HPCF does to support the agencies that fill needs in our community and to provide a point of view from the nonprofit perspective.”
Taryn is the HPCF’s ALC. Soon after returning to her hometown to raise her family, she learned about the organization and saw an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact it has in Highland Park and Highwood. Building the sub-group that focuses on community service and community building is definitely one of her passions. She professionally works in the beauty industry and is raising two children in Highland Park with her husband, Doug.
Alyssa Knobel is a communications consultant. She provides marketing and communications services to business, government, political campaigns, and not-for-profit agencies. She serves as the Director of Communications and Government Relations for the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic. Alyssa began her career in advertising at McCann-Erickson – NY.
Alyssa is a former two term Highland Park City Councilwoman. She is a co-founder of the Highland Park Career Exploration Program for high school students and the Art at City Hall Program. Alyssa worked in support of the community as City Council liaison to various business groups, human service groups, and School District 112. Prior to her election to the City Council, she served as Chair of the City of Highland Park Business & Economic Development Commission.
Alyssa volunteers for numerous civic and charitable organizations and has chaired several political campaigns. She is an elected Moraine Township Precinct Committee person, Personal PAC Vice Chairperson, and Highland Park Community Foundation Board Member.
The Highland Park Community Foundation honored Alyssa in 2018 with the Jack Blane Community Service Award and Jewish Council Youth Services (JCYS) named Alyssa as a Director for Life in May 2014.
She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership (IWIL), Board of Directors of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Highland Park Alliance, and State of Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (ICHIP) Board.
Alyssa holds a BS in Communication from Boston University and is a 2012 graduate of the IWILTA Program. She and her husband Jeremy and two children reside in Highland Park.
Cookie Anspach Kohn is pleased to be a member of the Highland Park Community Foundation as it seeks to address so many of the goals of what is most important to her and to work with a wonderful board and organizations to ameliorate the unmet needs of Highland Park and Highwood.
She attended Highland Park schools before attending Duke University (AB) and receiving an MA from Northwestern University. She taught school in Arlington Heights.
Board memberships have included Highland Park Community Nursery School and Day Care Center, Tri-Con Child Care Center (founding member and secretary), School District 107 and 113 (board member and president), Chicago Planned Parenthood, various Highland Park ad hoc committees, various boards of Duke University including the Executive Committee of the Duke Annual Fund (chairman), the Duke University Board of Trustees, the Duke Board of Trustees (executive committee), Board Liaison to the Athletic Council, and Chairman of the H. R. Committee of the Board of Trustees. Cookie is a current member of the Duke University Library Advisory Board and serves on the Advisory Board of Northwestern University School of Education and Socal Policy.
Cookie is co-director with her husband, Henry, of Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc., Highland Park.
Her family of two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren are great reasons, she believes, for doing whatever she can to make this a better world.
Tom has been working as a high school teacher and administrator for over 25 years. Tom began his career teaching Social Studies and ESL at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois. After teaching for several years Tom spent a year in Costa Rica where he taught English and created an adventure-based travel study course for high school students that integrated Latin American history and culture, environmental science, Spanish and physical education. Upon returning to the United States, Tom was the Director of Bilingual Education and an Assistant Principal at Highland Park High School.
In 2014 Tom became the Principal of Highland Park High School and coordinated the school’s rollout of 1-1 technology for students, oversaw a three-year referendum construction project and led the design and implementation of the school’s dual language program which stands today as one of the few high school dual language programs in the State of Illinois. As a public school administrator, Tom faces the challenge of meeting the ever-increasing needs of students with constantly diminishing resources. To tackle this challenge Tom connects his schools to community partners– including corporate, small-businesses and nonprofit organizations–who share a passion and commitment for serving the community’s youth. The school-community partnerships Tom has helped create have provided a wide variety of high-quality education, athletic and artistic enrichment programs to hundreds of children in the Highland Park/Highwood communities.
Tom is currently the Principal of Libertyville High School in Libertyville, Illinois.
Julie holds a BS Degree in Management from Tulane University, an MBA with a concentration in Finance from The University of Chicago, and received her Certified Public Accountant License. Her prior work experience includes managing assets for family offices as well as numerous years of experience in all aspects of Real Estate as a consultant to home builders, developers, and investors. Julie and her husband, Coby, have three grown children who were raised in Highland Park.
Craig is the CEO and owner of Arway Confections (Chicago, IL) and Long Grove Confectionery (Buffalo Grove & Long Grove, IL), and is a twenty-five year resident of Highland Park. Craig grew up in Deerfield (class of 1986) and was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1990). Craig has been married to Monette since 1993, and together they raised four amazing kids (Ellee, Alex, Rachel, & Eli). The Highland Park Community Foundation’s message “Give Where You Live” resonated with Craig, and he joined as a board member in 2018 in an effort to make additional impact for those in need within our own community. Craig is also a current board member for The Peanut Tree Nut Processors Association (PTNPA), The Chicago Candy Production Club, and an Ambassador Board member of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. Craig also serves as a mentor for Buffalo Grove High School’s. Entrepreneurship Program as well as NextLevel Exchange, a mentoring program for minority-owned small businesses. Craig is also active with a number of local and national charities.
Jon Levey is the President of Highland Park Bank & Trust (HPBT), a member of the Wintrust community banking system, where his responsibilities include guiding the growth of the bank and representing the bank within the Highland Park community. In this role he utilizes his business acumen and expertise in the integration of entrepreneurial vision with financial and human capital management to achieve winning results for his clients. Levey is a 20+yr resident of Highland Park.
A sought-after thought leader within the business community, Levey has spoken on the topics of green/sustainable business, social enterprise, green building/valuation, entrepreneurship, and small business finance at the Social Enterprise Alliance’s annual summit, Green America’s Green Festival, the Good Food Family Farmed Financing & Innovation Conference, GreenTown Oak Park, Chicago Association of Realtors, the Appraisal Institute, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s Energy Efficiency Finance Forum, to various colleges, universities and high schools including often at Highland Park High School within the business and entrepreneurship classes and is a trusted local advisor to many local area businesses. Jon holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he was a recipient of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurial Fellowship Internship and also received his BA, from Northwestern University. He is also a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and an Illinois Managing Broker.
A strong proponent of community service, Levey is active in many HP/HW community groups and organizations and has been a frequent guest lecturer at HPHS for various business and entrepreneurship classes. He is a past recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year award from RE/MAX Northern Illinois. He is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of The Standard Club and a former President of the Club. Levey is also member of the Board of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for the Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest region, an Executive Board member & Chair of the Investment Committee for the Highland Park Community Foundation, an Advisory Board member for Community Partners for Affordable Housing, a member and past-chair of the Charities Committee and past-Treasurer for the Highland Park/Highwood Rotary, and an active member of both the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown HP Alliance. He was also asked by the Mayor of Highland Park to serve on the city’s 150th Anniversary Steering Committee and has previously served as a past member of the Community Advisory Board for the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, a Board member of the Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Advisory Board member for the Posse Foundation – Chicago, Board member for the North Shore Center for Performing Arts Foundation, Board member and past President of Jewish Council for Youth Services, Board member for the Friends of Morton Foundation, Board member and Chair of the development committee for Delta Institute, and a past member of the Advisory Council for both GreenTown Highland Park and GreenTown Chicago, as well as the Good Food Family Farmed Financing & Innovation Conference. He further volunteered his lending expertise to serve on a loan committee tasked with distributing federal funds to businesses seeking to relocate to Chicago’s Green Exchange while hiring economically challenged work forces.
Caroline Mead is a renewable & sustainability energy professional having over 14-year’s experience in the industry. As Director of Power Marketing for ENGIE North America, Caroline is responsible for marketing, negotiating, and contracting utility-scale renewable projects including wind energy, solar energy and battery storage facilities across the U.S. and the Canadian provinces. Caroline is passionate about mitigating climate change impacts and is focused on supporting utilities and Fortune 500 companies to source renewable energy purchases to decrease reliance on fossil fuels and create a better more sustainable future for future generations.
Caroline and her wife, Piper, moved to Highwood 10 years ago where they raise their two boys who attend Oak Terrace Elementary School. Caroline is also a member of the Highwood Planning & Zoning Commission, helping shape the future of the town development. Born and raised in suburban Kansas City, Caroline earned her undergraduate degree from William Jewell College where she was a scholar athlete in softball.
Caroline is passionate about the Highwood & Highland Park community and thrilled to be a part of the Board to have a local impact on the organizations that make our community so special.
Hard to believe, but I have been a resident of Highland Park for 45 years! My husband Stanley and I have raised our 3 children, Matthew, Judy and Peter in Highland Park. They have attended the schools in District 108, 112, and High School District 113.
Additionally, I have been a teacher for 50 years, in various capacities, grade levels, systems.
My background is in the field of Learning Disabilities, beginning in the primary grades, then nursery school for Mom and Me classes, on to private tutoring, building my learning and skills in areas of cognitive development, organization, and higher level problem solving as a partner with Dr. Donalee Markus, PhD. Add in teaching Sunday School at Am Shalom. During those years I was an an active volunteer in the Jewish Community through the Young Women’s Board, the Women’s Division, Jewish Children and Family Services and the Response Center as well as PTA committees in HP.
And once our last child reached junior high, I returned to full time work as a Special Education Resource teacher and Advocate at Highland Park High School. As my extra curricular responsibility I had the wonderful opportunity be a sponsor for Key Club and immerse myself with a group of outstanding students to reach out to the community with a full slate of service projects. Continuing my teaching career after retirement from HPHS, I spent 5 years at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, mentoring, advocating, and supporting students with Special Needs.
Along the way, I connected with United Way of Highland Park to continue my community involvement, learning first-hand about the wide range of needs and many social service agencies in HP/Highwood. So, it’s no accident that I finally found the Highland Park Community Foundation in 2013!
Nancy Mills is a strong advocate for social causes and educational equity. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the Highland Park Community Foundation (HPCF), JUF/Jewish Federation and Noble Schools, the leading charter school network in Chicago. As the chairman of the HPCF board from 2018-2020, Nancy led the organization through a transformational period where both grant dollars awarded and fundraising revenue more than doubled. She is also a founder and leader of Baker College Prep charter school. Other recent nonprofit work includes volunteering as a court advocate for victims of domestic violence through A Safe Place and acting as a lead coordinator of Focus on the Arts at Highland Park High School. In addition to her philanthropic involvement, Nancy was a longtime advisor on Corporate Strategy and Branding for Medline, focusing on enhancing employee experience and effective customer communications. Nancy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She and her husband Andy have three grown sons.
Cristina is the Director of Regulatory Policy and Intelligence, Japan, Emerging Markets, and Australia. As such, she represents AbbVie on trade association working groups and meetings, developing and maintaining effective relationships with AbbVie SMEs and trade association staff involved in influencing regulatory policy for the regions. She has lived in Highland Park since 2016, loves our community, and is passionate about giving back to it.
Jamie joined the Highland Park Community Foundation in 2018 and brings deep experience in philanthropy and community outreach.
Jamie is the Executive Director of Schools and Programs for Alumni Relations and Development at Northwestern University. In this role, she leads the teams that fundraise for Northwestern’s non-degree conferring units, including Student Affairs, University Libraries, Financial Aid and the Block Museum of Art, as well as the Parent Giving program.
An alumna of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Jamie spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist before joining Northwestern’s development team in 2009. She serves as the liaison to the board of Northwestern Hillel and is a member of the Youth and Family Community Committee at North Shore Congregation Israel. She lives in Highland Park with her husband, Mark Muller, and their three children.
Jonathan is a nationally published editorial cartoonist and illustrator whose art can be found on the pages of the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, American
Bystander and other national and regional publications, as well as on his own website, www.spontoonist.com. Jonathan is also a real estate developer, investor and business consultant with multiple property holdings in the community.
Jonathan is married to his lifetime friend Robin (Kreiter) who he met on the day
she moved next door to the Plotkin family on South Deere Park Drive in Highland Park. They were both 3 years old. They are the proud parents of four extraordinary children including Noah, Oliver, Alexander, and Pearl. Three grandsons, Arlo, Jonah and Gabriel and their newest cousin, granddaughter Charlie, represent the 5th generation of family to live in Highland Park starting with their great-great grandparents Oscar and Pearl Plotkin who moved to Highland Park in the 1930’s.
In 2009 Jonathan was appointed by the Mayor of Highland Park to serve as Chairman of the Highland Park Roundtable Business Advisory Group. In 2015 he was awarded the Mayors Award for the Arts in Highland Park.
Jonathan completed two terms as Chairman of the Cultural Arts Commission of Highland Park before moving on to take a seat on the Board of The Art Center Highland Park where he served in multiple capacities for over 10 years including two terms as Board President. He is currently a Board Trustee of the Chicago High School for the Arts Foundation (ChiArts). He teaches creative writing and art as a volunteer with Chicago Help Initiative at their location in the Catholic Charities facility on LaSalle in the City. Jonathan holds degrees in political science from The George Washington University and an MBA in Strategic Planning from Northeastern University in Boston.
The Drawing Board: www.cartoonists.com
David Reich joined the HPCF Board in 2013 and served as Board Chair from 2020 – 2022. Before becoming Chair, he served as Vice-Chair for 2 years and Secretary of the Foundation for 3 years. He has been a valuable member of the Executive Committee and Grants Committee since 2015. Born and raised in Highland Park, David is a partner at the law firm of Lawrence Kamin and works closely with family and small to midsize businesses to manage their corporate needs as well as assist business owners and individuals with their estate and succession planning. Mr. Reich has also been an active community volunteer, serving on the Board of Directors of the Modestus Bauer Foundation and the Israel Cancer Research Fund for more than 20 years. Deeply committed to the Highland Park/Highwood community, David is pleased to bring his experience and leadership skills to the Foundation.
Joe works at the intersection of digital media, technology and public policy. He is the Executive Director of the non-profit Digital Restaurant Association, an independent coalition of restaurants advocating for a fair and sustainable restaurant technology ecosystem.
Prior to leading the Digital Restaurant Association, Joe was Chief Revenue Officer of Publicis Groupe Performics, one of the largest digital media agencies in the world managing over $5 billion in media in 57 cities across the globe. Before that, Joe was Deputy Social Secretary at the White House in the Obama Administration creating arts and cultural events including the State Dinners for Mexico, China and Germany, and the nationally televised, Emmy-nominated White House Music Series. He also served as Director of Surrogates at Obama for America, and the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee. By combining powerful analytics and data with influencer content, Joe helped create the largest grassroots online community in history.
Joe is a fifth-generation Highland Park resident. His father, Alan, was one of the five founders of the Highland Park Community Foundation. Joe also served several terms on the Highland Park Historic Preservation Commission. Joe is a founding board member of Cool Globes, a non-profit organization established to raise awareness of global warming. Launched in Chicago, Cool Globes’ public art exhibit has travelled to 16 cities, 7 countries, 4 continents, and has been translated into 9 languages reaching over 10 million people. Joe is also on the Board of SkyArt, a non-profit arts organization providing the only free art center in the City of Chicago. SkyArt offers a broad range of visual art programs to young people ages 5-24 at SkyArt Studios in South Chicago, and a large network of partnering schools reaching over 3200 youth every year on the south and west sides.
Joe is an avid snowboarder, tennis player and political junkie who married his college sweetheart and is a devoted father to their two beautiful, talented and brilliant daughters.
Karen joined the Highland Park Community Foundation in 2016, as she believes strongly in giving back to her community.
She has volunteered for several different programs, including helping students to improve their reading and comprehensions skills, teaching Nurture’s nutrition and wellness curriculum designed for children in the District 112 elementary schools, Co-Chairing the Art Night Committee for Highland Park High School Focus on the Arts, as well as coordinating fresh grocery bags for Oak Terrace School’s monthly food delivery program on behalf of Moraine Township.
Karen and her husband Richard have lived in Highland Park since 1993, where they raised their two children Michelle and Matthew, and their dog Lily.
Amy was born and raised in New York and is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Loyola University School of Law. She and her husband, Andy, have lived in Highland Park since 1996. After practicing law for 8 years, Amy retired to raise her 4 children. She became active in their school PTOs and was, most recently, President of the Highland Park High School PTO. She was also a member of the PTO’s Discretionary Committee that grants funds to various school organizations. Amy is currently a mentor for College Bound Opportunities and is a member of the Human Rights Advisory Board for the City of Highland Park. Amy is very excited to be a part of the Foundation and help fulfill its mission to help those in need in the Highland Park and Highwood. community!
Don is married to Linda (nee) Seessel of Memphis, TN and has lived in Highland Park since 1951. Don attended Highland High School and the University of Illinois.
Don is President of Stewart-Miller Inc., a cash meat broker based in Deerfield, IL.
He has two children, a son Greg who is married to Debora Hecht and lives in Chicago and a daughter Missy Feldman, married to Chad Feldman who lives in Highland Park. Don has two granddaughters.
Don was the past Chairman of Meat Imports Council Organization of America and a past member of the Cattleman’s Beef Board. In addition Don was on the board of JCYS for many years and have stayed active with them as an alumni. He was on the traffic commission of the City of Highland Park.
Ali Barnett is the Ambassador of Strategic Relationships at Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center (ZCenter), where she is responsible for major fundraising initiatives and raising awareness to end sexual violence and help survivors heal. After working in the private sector, Ali joined ZCenter as Director of Development and has been with the agency for over six years. Ali has led numerous events for ZCenter and has represented the organization in television, radio, and newspaper interviews.
She holds a BS in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University, is an Illinois-licensed producer of life, health and accident insurance, and has completed training in sexual assault crisis intervention.
Ali is committed to supporting underserved causes, and in addition to her work at ZCenter, she has proudly served on the HPCF Associate Leadership Council to support the local community.
Joey Bleiman, is a native Highland Park resident, proud to be married to another Highland Parker, and raising three wonderful kids in this amazing community. Joey is proud to have been a member of the ALC since its inception.
Joey works in marketing and advertising, currently at VidMob.
I have been a Highland Park resident my whole life, and I loved having the opportunity to raise my kids in this amazing place.
I am drinking the Highland Park Kool-Aid! My wonderful wife is Sarah and we have two kids, Max & Grace. Max will be a Sophomore at Highland Park High School and Grace will be in 8 th grade at Edgewood Middle School in the fall of 2023.
We love Highland Park for its fantastic downtown with lots of shopping and dining options, the beaches, Ravinia, the nearby Botanic Gardens, parks, schools, and natural beauty!
I have always been in the service industry, and I enjoy exceeding expectations! I am a real estate investor and broker, with a large team of great agents that I manage. I also operate the Skokie Valley Laundry & Cleaners in Highwood. I love my work, and it is very rewarding working with clients to buy or sell their home and navigating through a very challenging process with them.
I love music, singing, dancing, playing ping pong, paddle ball, jet skiing, dining out with fam, and going out with friends. I have been to over 200 concerts. I love live music!
It is a privilege to be on the ALC Board of the Highland Park Community Foundation and giving back to help the less fortunate in our community and to strengthen our community as a whole. It was also very special to play a large role in bringing our community together after the events on the 4 th of July.
Ashley Kelly oversees Sponsorship and Engagement Marketing at Allstate Insurance Company. Prior to Allstate, Ashley worked on the agency side, directing top sports and entertainment marketing partnerships and consumer promotions for a variety of brands like Motorola, Kraft and Mondelez.
Ashley was raised in Highland Park and has always been a strong advocate for community and supporting one another. After graduating from University of Michigan, her and her husband Mike, returned to Highland Park where they currently live and are raising their 2 children.
Taryn Kessel serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and is also the founding member of the HPCF’s ALC. Soon after returning to her hometown to raise her family, she learned about the organization and saw an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact it has in Highland Park and Highwood. Building the sub-group that focuses on community service and community building is definitely one of her passions. She professionally works in the beauty industry and is raising two children in Highland Park with her husband, Doug.
Lisie Mehlman Kuchar is a newer member to the HPCF ALC. Born and raised in Highland Park, upon moving back to start a family, she was eager to join an organization so committed to making a meaningful difference in the immediate community. Lisie works in affordable housing finance and enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and three poorly-behaved labradors.
Simon Leibovich is the President of Elevate Creative Group and has a substantial background in the digital services industry. He holds over 25 years of valuable experience in project and team management, web development, digital marketing, advertising and content creation.
Outside of work, Simon is dedicated to his roles as a husband, father, and Highland Park community member. He is incredibly proud to have grown up there, and now raises his own family in the same place. Simon finds it both an honor and a privilege to be able to further serve his community by being a member of the Highland Park Community Foundation.
Emily moved with her two sons and husband, Scott from Chicago to Highland Park in 2018 and hasn’t looked back. A Cleveland native, Emily knew her husband and his four brothers cherished their memories of growing up in Highland Park and wanted that for her own children. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the people and places in our unique community and she quickly found her way to the Highland Park Community Foundation ALC Board.
Emily is passionate about supporting the individuals that make up Highwood and Highland Park and The Highland Park Community Foundation’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that all members of our community feel welcome and have the opportunities and support they need to thrive.
Heather had a career practicing as a social worker and volunteer coordinator for JCFS working in and for underserved communities. Heather always had a passion for helping organizations raise money or supply volunteers if needed in order to have ability to accomplish their goals. Heather loves being a part of the HPCF, as she gets to fulfill her passion of helping out underfunded organizations in her own community.
Jeffrey Weil joined the HPCF with a desire to help his local community. Jeffrey is the founder and president of November Capital, a national real estate company. He holds a BA from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and a law degree from the Chicago Kent College of Law. He is also actively involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Rett Syndrome Research Trust.
Jennifer Aiello, LPC, is the Social Services Coordinator for the City of Highland Park Senior Center. She began her work with the City in 1995, as a part-time Youth Worker at the former Firehouse Youth Center and at the Senior Center, while pursuing her Master’s degree in Human Services: Counseling. During her work with the City, Jennifer’s involvements include participating on the Character Counts! Steering Committee, mentoring for the police department’s Peer Jury program, and co-leading the Highland Park Dementia Friendly advisory group.
Jennifer resides in Glenview with her husband and three active and talented children. She volunteers with the Women’s Guild through her church and has a passion for mindfulness, yoga and the Golden Girls.
Jim is an alderman with the City of Highwood. He earned a Computer Science degree from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His career has focused in the areas of information technology and change management consulting, and he currently works in the property and casualty insurance industry.
Jim and his wife Lucy have lived in Highwood for over 20 years, raising three children who participated in the District 112 Dual Language program at Oak Terrace Elementary School, Northwood Middle School, and Highland Park High School.
Jim was first elected to the Highwood City Council in 2005 and served a four-year term. Jim rejoined the Council in 2017. He also represents the City of Highwood as a member of the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association Board of Directors.
Debby joined Township High School District 113 in 1996. She served as the Math Lab Supervisor at Highland Park High School and a math teacher at Deerfield High School before serving as the Math Department Chair at HPHS in 2008. She assumed the role of Interim Principal in July 2018 and was selected to serve as Principal of Highland Park High School in the spring of 2019. Throughout her career, she has supported many programs that benefit District 113 students, staff and the community. Specifically, she has acted as the liaison for Working Together, one of the programs sponsored by the Highland Park Community Foundation, which provides families of Highwood and Highland Park with access to cultural and recreational activities.
Kevin Ryan, EdD, is the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning at North Shore School District 112. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve student growth and success. His work focuses on implementing Illinois state learning standards. He works with teachers on the development of aligned standards and assessment practices to help them determine how to approach instruction. Dr. Ryan has been an instructional leader for many years, most recently serving as the director of 21st-century learning, curriculum, and instruction with Kildeer Countryside District 96. Dr. Ryan received his EdD from Illinois State University in educational leadership, his master’s degree in educational leadership from DePaul University, and a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College in business administration.