The Admiral at the Lake Board of Directors
Our board is comprised of residents, civic leaders, and accomplished professionals.
Laura McKee is the Admiral Chairman. Laura taught math as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Central African Republic. She is the founding CEO of Autism Home Support Services, which provides services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) throughout Chicago, Denver, and Detroit. Laura has a degree in economics and computer science from Swarthmore College and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Her professional experience included Booz Allen, McKinsey, Sears, and the McDonald’s system.
Kate Bensen is an independent corporate director for MicroMetl Corporation, the leading manufacturer of HVAC accessories and equipment in the United States. From 2010-2020, she served as President and CEO of The Chicago Network. Previously, Kate led the nonprofit capacity-building practice for Conlon Public Strategies and was a corporate and public finance partner at the law firm now known as ArentFox Schiff.
Kate is a trustee of NewMusic USA and a director of the Chicago Club and the Arts Club of Chicago (Audit Chair). Kate is a member of the Commercial Club, Economic Club of Chicago, Council of the Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago, International Women’s Forum, Chicago Finance Exchange, and the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago (past Chair). She also chaired the board of the Grammy award-winning Eighth Blackbird Performing Arts Association. Her board work focuses on governance. Awards include the 2022 Celebrating Women in Innovation, the 2020 Women on Boards Champion of Women, and the University of Chicago’s Alumni Service Medal.
Kate holds an AB in economics from the University of Chicago and a JD from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.
Jordan is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and he is a Managing Director with Juniper Advisory, a Chicago-based firm that assists hospital boards with mergers, acquisitions and other forms of partnerships. He serves on the Board of the House Theatre of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Selection Committees for the Gus Hart Fellowship and Emerging Leaders Program.
Lauren Sivak is the Managing Director of 2nd Story, one of Chicago’s oldest storytelling organizations. She served on the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on LGBTQ+ Issues and was a member of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Arts & Culture Transition Committee. Lauren recently completed her third term as the Community Rep for Albany Park Multicultural Academy Local School Council and was previously the Vice President of Education for the North River Commission. Lauren is the recipient of the Harry L. Davis Executive Education Scholarship for Nonprofit Leaders through the University of Chicago and has two certificates in Nonprofit Management from UIC. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Nonprofit Administration at North Park University.
Justin serves as MPAC Healthcare’s VP of Operations, leading clinical operations, sales operations, marketing, and human resources. MPAC Healthcare, a post-acute care company, provides clinical programs to skilled nursing facilities focused on physical and mental healthcare. Prior to joining MPAC Healthcare, Justin worked at AIM Specialty Health, a subsidiary of Anthem Insurance, and was involved with the launch of Anthem’s Diversified Business Group, an entity focused on developing innovative solutions that improve quality and health outcomes for payers & members. Justin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from the University of Florida and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Chris Braier is Regional Vice President of Northern Indiana for Oak Street Health, a primary care organization working with Medicare-eligible patients, particularly those in underserved communities. Chris has over a decade of experience practicing medicine and is a Physician Assistant in Orthopedics/Neurosurgery at NorthShore University Health System. Prior to Oak Street Health, Chris worked as a Healthcare Management Consultant at Guidehouse as a partner to major hospital systems in the U.S. on operational effectiveness. Chris earned his BS from Lawrence University, Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Joan Bransfield, Admiral resident, has spent most of her adult life as a teacher and principal in the Catholic School System. She is currently a hospice volunteer, a volunteer with Catholic Charities, and serves as one of The Admiral’s Harbor Mates. She has had extensive experience working with and on nonprofit boards.
Ned has worked directly with the Thorek Board as CEO and previously as CFO. He also serves as a Board member of the Uptown Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Steering Committee of the Illinois Hospital Association Safety Net Hospitals. Nedd’s hospital and healthcare experience help keep The Admiral Board updated on healthcare issues generally and particularly as they pertain to Illinois and Chicago. As a service provider in the Uptown neighborhood, he has a good sense of community opportunities. He has a BBA in Public Accounting from Loyola and a Masters’s in Management from Kellogg.
Karen is currently the head of school at Chicago Friends School, which is the only Quaker school in the state of Illinois, and she brings perspectives from education, nonprofit management, and Quakerism to the Admiral board. She worked as a senior specialist in science curriculum for the American Institutes for Research and teacher development at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Learning Sciences Research Institute and at Northwestern University. She has authored more than 20 scholarly papers, book chapters, and conference presentations.
Irene Dumanis is the CEO of Weiss and the Chicago physician group. She brings 15 years of health care and financial experience to the organization and, in the CEO role, continues to bring more stabilization and cost-efficiency tactics to the hospital. Prior to this, Ms. Dumanis was the CFO for Technology Solutions in Bannockburn, IL. She has also served as CFO for Community First Medical Center in Chicago. She has held leadership finance positions for FDH Velocitel in Northbrook, Vista Health System in Waukegan, IL, and Lincoln Park Hospital in Chicago.
Melissa serves as the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Chief People and Culture Officer. Melissa is a trusted advisor, strategic partner, and respected coach to the senior leadership team and also supports the Association’s staff through her relentless and diplomatic advocacy for a fair and equitable workplace.
With more than 20 years of professional working experience, Melissa began her career in HR in 2004 at the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and, since then, has held several HR roles, including Senior Director of Human Resources at the National Safety Council for five years. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Resources from DePaul University.
As a professor of the Division of Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health and a Fellow at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), Naoko has engaged in research, teaching, and service in aging and health for 25 years. Trained in health services research and sociology, Naoko aims to improve the health of diverse aging populations and the quality of long-term care systems. She conducts research on global aging and health, focusing on social, cultural, policy and system factors that shape health and caregiving experience in aging individuals. Naoko is a Fellow of The Gerontological Society of America
Sarah Shirk earned an MPH with a concentration in gerontology from UIC’s School of Public Health and a BA from Swarthmore College. Her career has focused on health outcomes in the medical rehabilitation sector and academic research in the public health sector. Sarah has collaborated professionally with Kendal affiliates since her early career while working in community outreach at the Philadelphia Orchestra. She is a member of Oak Park Friends and is active in regional Quaker communities. For hobbies, Sarah enjoys singing in the Chicago Community Chorus and is training to compete in national Masters Track & Field Competitions.
Toni Smith is an alumna of Vassar College. She worked with the executive recruiting firm, Spencer Stuart, for 31 years, including 20 as Managing Partner of their Not-for-Profit practice. In that capacity, she worked with boards of nonprofits across the country (and some internationally) to help them find leadership for their organizations. While working, and since retirement, she herself has served in a leadership role on several nonprofit boards, including Lakeview Pantry, Executive Service Corps of Chicago, One Hope United, and Associated Colleges of Illinois. Toni is also an active volunteer with Steppenwolf Theater, the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, and Lakeview Pantry. She has been a resident at The Admiral since 2014.
Fred Wackerle was an executive search consultant specializing in CEO searches for over 40 years. He is the author of “The Right CEO: Straight Talk About Making Tough CEO Selection Decisions.” He is an emeritus Trustee of Monmouth College, an Emeritus Board Member of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and a Board Advisor of the Tucson Wildlife Center.
Carol is a seasoned business executive with 33 years of management experience in companies including GE and Bank One where she was SVP and General Manager of
Global Trade Services when she retired in 2000. Since retiring, she has done independent consulting in strategic planning, executive coaching and chaired nonprofit boards ranging from contemporary dance to affordable housing. As Chair of
Lakefront Supportive Housing, she led a strategic planning effort that resulted in its acquisition by Mercy Housing Inc, the largest U.S. non-profit provider of affordable housing, and recently retired from Mercy Housing’s National Board. Her areas of board
focus include strategic planning and financial sustainability, including serving as Treasurer and Chairing Finance Committees on several boards. She graduated from Marquette University and has an MBA in Marketing from Northwestern University.
The Admiral at the Lake Foundation
Foundation Board of Directors
Sarah Shirk earned an MPH with a concentration in gerontology from UIC’s School of Public Health and a BA from Swarthmore College. Her career has focused on health outcomes in the medical rehabilitation sector and academic research in the public health sector. Sarah has collaborated professionally with Kendal affiliates since her early career while working in community outreach at the Philadelphia Orchestra. She is a member of Oak Park Friends and active in regional Quaker communities. For hobbies, Sarah enjoys singing in the Chicago Community Chorus and is training to compete in national Masters Track & Field Competitions.
Carol was a Development professional for twenty-five years with major cultural and educational organizations in Chicago, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, and Center for American Archeology. For fifteen of those years, she was a member of the Development staff at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with responsibility for the leadership of fundraising and board activities. Carol received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Loyola University and attended Loyola University and Northwestern University for post-graduate studies. Carol was a previous Board Member for The Admiral at the Lake and has many years of volunteer experience at many local non-profit organizations. Carol continued as a part-time consultant for Lyric Opera and other not-for-profit organizations following retirement.
Charles Katzenmeyer is the Vice President of Institutional Advancement a the Field Museum. In this role, he oversees Museum-wide development, government relations, and a membership community of 50,000 households. From 2002 to 2013, Charles was senior vice president for external affairs at the Adler Planetarium. Previously, he was Chief Development Officer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Earlier in his career, he served as campaign director at the Field and held development positions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the American Bar Association, and Northwestern University, all in Chicago. Charles received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he also attended college. He was elected chair of the Development and Membership Professional Network of the American Alliance of Museums. Additional current volunteer commitments include House Corporation Board President for Delta Tau Delta Fraternity at Northwestern. Mr. Katzenmeyer is a past president of the Northwestern Alumni Association and a past member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He has been active in the past with AboutFace Theatre Company, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Chicago House, Social Service Agency, Cloud 42 Theatre Company, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Doorways (St. Louis, MO), Howard Brown Health Center, Inspiration Corporation, Roycemore School and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Renée N. Duba
Renée has enjoyed a successful career as a wealth advisor for over 30 years. She works with individuals, families, and business owners to provide financial solutions that build and maintain financial well-being. She strives to address all aspects of financial health and takes a holistic approach to financial management.
After studying music theory/composition at Western Illinois University on a full scholarship, Renée earned her B.A. in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago.
Gwen Cohen, Morgan Stanley Wealth Advisor and FVP, has dedicated her career to serving the financial needs of high-net-worth individuals, multi-generational families, and small business owners. Most recently, she was recognized as a 2016 MAKER at Morgan Stanley, an award that honors game-changing women leaders within the firm and the industry. Gwen has been profiled in various media outlets, including the Chicago Sun-Times, N’Digo, Chicago Defender, Chicago Metro News, Black Enterprise, Ebony magazine, and WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight.” In 2019, Gwen received the Egretha Award for financial empowerment. A strong believer in “giving back,” Gwen is a Board Chair of Roosevelt University’s College of Performing Arts, WTTW’s Advisory Council, and the Goodman Theatre Spotlight Society Advisory.
Jill Doherty is the Senior Director of Gift Planning at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. She has gained deep experience and expertise as a development leader at UChicago, Johns Hopkins University, and NorthShore University Health System. Her donor-focused work spans grateful alumni and patients. Previously, she held managerial roles in corporate and private banking for Chicago and Boston institutions, handling relationships with many continuing care and active living communities as well as healthcare, educational and cultural institutions. Jill is passionate about helping individuals and families to find philanthropic opportunities which will enable them to realize their dreams and goals. She volunteers with the Chicago Botanic Gardens, serves on the board of the Chicago Council on Planned Giving, and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Chicago.
Katie is a Vice President Wealth Management Advisor at TIAA. She works with individual and institutional clients to develop plans to address a broad range of needs, including retirement, investment, income and estate planning needs. Katie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Virginia Tech and has obtained the Certified Financial Professional (CFP®) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designations. Katie lives in Old Irving Park with her husband, daughter and Labrador retriever. During her free time, Katie enjoys traveling, dining out and listening to live music.
Phoebe Helm has spent more than 40 years in education, teaching and administering programs kindergarten through graduate school. The majority of those years were in community colleges, most recently including Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Vocational Education in the California Community Colleges Cahncellor’s Office; President of Truman College in Chicago, and President of Hartnell College in Salinas, CA. She has served on national and local boards including President of the National Association of Developmental Education; Chair of the American Cancer Society Chicago Community, and Secretary of the Park Tower Condo Association Board.
Shawn is an attorney and CPA with the law firm of Harrison & Held, LLP. He concentrates his practice on trusts, estates, charitable planning, and private foundations. Shawn is a graduate of Indiana University and earned his JD at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is an active member of the Chicago Estate Planning Council and the Chicago Bar Association.
Maureen is a Wealth Advisor at Doyenne Wealth Advisors, a women-owned holistic financial planning firm headquartered in Chicago that offers investment management advice as well as cash flow, tax, and estate planning services. Maureen is a CFP® professional and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in economics and German language. She is also a member of the associate board of the Merit School of Music in Chicago.
Peter is the Artistic Director and a founding ensemble member of Steep Theatre Company, a 22 year-old Chicago cultural institution that has been producing in the Edgewater community since 2008. As an actor, he has performed in numerous productions at Steep; worked with other Chicago companies including Steppenwolf, Writers Theatre, Route 66, Jackalope, and the Goodman; and has numerous TV & film credits. Pete served as a board member of the League of Chicago Theaters and is currently a member of the Lakewood Balmoral Residents’ Council. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and The School at Steppenwolf.
Jordan is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and he is a Managing Director with Juniper Advisory, a Chicago-based firm that assists hospital boards with mergers, acquisitions, and other forms of partnerships. He serves on the Board of the House Theatre of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Selection Committees for the Gus Hart Fellowship and Emerging Leaders Program.