You're viewing content specific to Chicago

Executive Directors

Jack J. Crowe

Executive Director at Year Up Chicago

Jack Crowe brings impressive experience to Year Up Chicago from the Cristo Rey Network where he was the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. Cristo Rey Network is the largest network of urban high schools in the country enrolling exclusively low-income youth. All Cristo Rey students work in a corporate work study program, which generates over $50 million per year from over 2,000 corporations. During his five year tenure, enrollment increased from 5,000 to nearly 10,000 students across the U.S.

Prior to working at Cristo Rey Network, Jack was a General Counsel of FBOP Corporation, a $16 billion bank holding company. Before joining FBOP, Jack was a litigation partner at Winston & Strawn where he handled complex corporate disputes. He clerked for the Honorable Ilana Rovner, a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Jack obtained a JD degree from Loyola University of Chicago and received a BA in English from Boston College. Following undergraduate studies, he taught at St. George’s College, a Jesuit high school in Kingston, Jamaica.

Read More

Chicago Board of Directors

Christine Kessler

Managing Director and Global Head of Client Delivery, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML)

Dan Seals

Vice President, Business Development at MPA Healthcare Solutions

Dan Seals serves as the Vice President for Business Development at MPA Healthcare Solutions.  He is responsible for leading the firm’s efforts around partnerships, marketing, strategy, and sales.

Dan has spent his career in both the public and private sector.  In the private sector, Dan served as a Director for GE Commercial Finance, where he worked on improving customer service and focus.  His efforts there contributed to double digit growth for his business unit, and ranked Dan in the top 10 percent of the company.  Prior to that he worked as Group Marketing Manager for Sprint, where he marketed $500 million in services annually.  He also worked in the field, training the sales force and executing product rollouts.


On the public sector side, Dan served as the second in command at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.  There he led an organization of 400 and authored the state’s Five Year Economic Development Plan.   He has also worked as an Aide to the Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce and served the U.S Senate as an Economics Fellow.  Dan has also taught public policy at Northwestern University.


Dan received his MBA from the University of Chicago and his Masters in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  He is fluent in Japanese.  Dan lives with his wife Mia and their three daughters.


Read More

David Martin

COO at SAI Advanced Power Solutions

David C. Martin is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of SAI Advanced Power Solutions. He is a highly experienced finance executive who delivers business results for growth-oriented companies by applying management expertise and disciplined investment principles. He provides leadership expertise to CFOs and finance executives at large to mid-sized firms driving operational excellence and improving profitability.

As the CFO / SVP of Business Development for the Sun-Times Media Group, Mr. Martin drove the development and execution of a business plan focused on improving market share through revenue and margin enhancement programs in a turbulent newspaper industry. Additionally, he implemented aggressive cost restructuring actions to eliminate 1,300 headcount from operations and reduced expenses by 50% over a four year period. These actions resulted in the successful sale of this distressed, liability-laden company to a group of local Chicago investors determined to continue the Sun-Times’ legacy of journalistic integrity.

As the CFO at Mid-America Overseas, Inc., Mr. Martin led the financial operations of this $120 million supplier of freight forwarding, logistics and customs brokerage services to the middle market import and export community. He also drove a 25% increase in revenues and a 100% profitability improvement over a two year period, and implemented a new accounting system which enabled improved management focus on operational performance and allowed MAO to reduce the cycle time to close its books from three months to five days.

Mr. Martin grew start-up operations in the areas of manufacturing and distribution, systems integration, and software technology during his time as the Divisional CFO, Multiple Business Units for Motorola, Inc. He expanded the $30M Radius Division to $400M in revenues within four years by achieving a 60% market share in the indirect channel for two-way radios. He also dramatically expanded both the North America and International divisions of the iDEN push-to-talk cellular infrastructure organization from $200M to $600M in revenues to become one of Motorola’s most profitable business units. In addition, Mr. Martin grew a technology start-up division to $30M in sales and 650 employees in the voice recognition and smart phone software space.

Mr. Martin holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Finance from Miami University of Ohio, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Leeds School, University of Colorado.


Read More

Jacqueline R. Campbell

Market Director – Wealth Management, JPMorgan Chase

Kelley Conway

Managing Director, Financial Services, Accenture

Kelley is a Principal (Partner) with Strategy&.  Kelley was raised in Pittsburgh.  After graduating summa cum laude in Chemical Engineering from Bucknell University, Kelley joined Accenture to gain broad experience while building technical depth.  Subsequently Kelley joined Booz Allen Hamilton in 2002 (now Strategy&) after completing her MBA at Carnegie Mellon.  Kelley had an anything-but-typical career trajectory in consulting, spending three years on the road, then constructing internal roles to start her family (Kieran, now 11 and Kaidan, now 9), moving back to client work and an accelerated path to Partner.  Kelley has led Strategy&’s North America Women’s Network and subsequently North America diversity, regularly contributing a diversity blog to strategy+business.  Kelley serves the Financial Services industry, focusing on business transformations that span strategy, operations and technology, and is the lead of PwC’s Fit for Growth platform for FS.

Read More

Marcus Payne

Vice President Quality, Food Safety & Continuous Improvement at Ingredion

Marcus A. Payne, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been a resident of the Chicagoland community for over 30 years.  A graduate of Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management Science and a Masters in Management degree from Northeastern’s Kellogg School of Management, Payne is employed by Ingredion Incorporated, formerly known as Corn Products International, as Vice President Quality, Food Safety and Continuous Improvement, North America.  Ingredion is one of the world’s leading ingredient solutions providers serving customers in over 100 countries across 60 industries. He has been employed at Ingredion for more than 25 years and has an extensive background in manufacturing management, quality and food safety systems development and continuous improvement/lean six sigma.  Prior to joining Ingredion, he worked as a Project Manager and Team Manager at Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Co. In addition, since 2004, Payne has been an Adjunct Professor at Trinity International University where he teaches undergraduate courses in business, non-profit management and organizational leadership.


His professional and service affiliations have included: American Society of Quality, Institute of Food Technologist, Institute of Validation Technology, INROADS, Promise Keepers, Junior Achievement, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the IDeaL Education Foundation and Vice President of the board of directors of ToolBank, Chicago. In addition, since 2014 Payne has served on the board of Year Up Chicago. He is the founding organizer and executive sponsor of Pack/Troop 350 of the Boy Scouts of America, working with 1st through 10th graders residing in Dolton, IL and surrounding communities. He is also an active member of New Life Celebration Church of God where he enjoys mentoring young adults.


Mr. Payne has been married for 26 years to Zefferine and is the proud father of 4 children, Marcus (20), Brandon (18), Nicholas (16) and Kayla (13).

Read More

Opal Perry

Chief Operating Officer, Technology and Operations – International at Allstate

Opal Perry is currently the Interim Managing Director of Allstate Northern Ireland and the Chief Operating Officer of the International Technology and Strategic Ventures organization at Allstate Insurance where she leads the integration of Allstate’s global technology and operations workforce across the U.S., Northern Ireland and India to maximize quality while minimizing cost and delivery time of key enterprise services and initiatives. Opal has over 20 years of expertise in building and growing global technology organizations across a variety of software engineering disciplines.


Opal is a United States Air Force Veteran and earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a double major in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and MBA degrees from the U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business and Columbia Business School. Opal joined the Year Up Chicago Board of Directors in December 2013.

Read More

Paul E. Purcell

Chairman, Robert W. Baird & Co.

Paul E. Purcell is Chairman of Baird and a member of the boards of directors of Baird Financial Group and affiliated entities, including Robert W. Baird & Co. He is also Chairman of Baird’s global private equity business, Baird Capital.

Paul joined Baird in 1994, became President & Chief Operating Officer in 1998 and President & Chief Executive Officer in 2000.  He added the title of Chairman in 2006 and served as Chairman, President & CEO until 2014.  From 2014-2015 he served as Chairman & CEO. Prior to joining Baird, Paul spent 22 years with Kidder, Peabody & Co., where he was a Managing Director and head of the Midwest Investment Banking Group.

In addition to his duties at Baird, Paul is co-chair of the board of Teach for America – Milwaukee and chair of the University of Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business advisory council. He also serves on the Alverno College board of trustees, the Cristo Rey Network board of trustees, the Greater Milwaukee Committee board and executive committee, the United Performing Arts Fund board and the Junior Achievement of Chicago board of directors. He is a member of the board of directors of RiverFront Investment Group, LLC, a member of the board of directors of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and former vice chairman, as well as the former chairman of the board of directors at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. He also served on the boards of United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Discovery World.

Paul received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (1971) and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (1969). He has received a number of prestigious recognitions over the years including, more recently, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Distinguished Corporate Alumni Award (2009), Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin Business Leader of the Year for 2012, Three Harbors Council Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen’s Award (2013), Milwaukee Public Library Benjamin Franklin Award (2013), Midtown Educational Foundation Reach for Excellence Award (2014), Medical College of Wisconsin Warren P. Knowles Humanitarian Award (2014), United Community Center “Friends of the Hispanic Community Award” (2015), and CFA Society Milwaukee Lifetime Achievement Award (2016).

Read More

Robert DiMeo

Managing Director & Co-Founder, DiMeo Schneider


Bob has authored and been the subject of numerous investment/retirement plan articles appearing in prominent publications including the Los Angeles Times, Crain’s Chicago Business and Pensions & Investments, and has taught courses on fiduciary responsibility and related subjects. He co-authored Asset Management for Endowments & Foundations (McGraw Hill), Designing a 401(k) Plan (Probus), The Practical Guide to Managing Nonprofit Assets (John Wiley & Sons) and Nonprofit Asset Management (John Wiley & Sons). Prior to co-founding DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C., Bob served as Vice President for Kidder, Peabody’s Institutional Consulting Group, where he chaired their 401(k) consulting effort. Bob obtained the designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) from the College of Financial Planning. Bob obtained his bachelor’s degree from Bradley University. He served on the Board of Directors for the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), is an Advisory Board and Finance Committee member for Catholic Charities of Chicago, a Board Member of the Special Olympics Illinois Foundation and served on the Governance Board for Notre Dame High School. Bob’s interests include music, working out and golf.

Read More

Terrence Thompson

IT Support, Global Spend Management at AON
Year Up Chicago Class 5 Alumnus

Terrence Thompson is a Class 5 alum who graduated from Year Up Chicago in July 2013. Terrence completed his corporate internship at AON, which is where he has worked over the past 4 years of his professional career. Terrence has grown and developed his career in the field of Procurement with a focus on IT related project implementations and purchases.


This past April, Terrence took the step in his professional career and has accepted a new job offer at HUB International Limited as their newest Senior Procurement Analyst in Chicago where he is responsible for the growth and innovation of their up and coming Procurement organization. He will also aid in leading sourcing projects in the Print, Shipping and IT areas while supporting his team and the Chief Procurement Officer. Terrence will continue to hone his relationship management skills at HUB to aide in maintaining business stakeholder relationships while supporting the firm’s M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) activities and while taking on and managing new supplier relationships.


Terrence is currently a senior at Indiana University majoring in Economics and is expected to receive his degree in 2018. Terrence is a member of The Society for Leadership and Success through the Indiana University chapter and was inducted in the spring of 2016. In parallel with pursuing his undergraduate degree, he has continued his involvement with the Year Up organization post-graduation by serving as Vice President on the Year Up Chicago Alumni Board from 2013-2015. Terrence is a passionate, ambitious and enthusiastic individual that is ready for the new opportunities that lie ahead in his educational and professional careers.

Read More

Tracey Benford

Partner at Goldman Sachs

Chicago Leadership Council

Amanda Dunnavant

Purchasing Analyst at Leo Burnett USA

Christopher Valentine

IT Administrator at Eris Exchange

Connor Sea

Senior Consultant, HealthScape Advisors

Denise Turner

Director, Finance & Compliance – Human Services at YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

L. Denise Turner has focused her career on working within organizations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. She is currently a Director of Finance & Compliance at the YMCA of Metro Chicago, where she supports both day-to-day management and strategic initiatives for the Youth Development Division. Previously, Denise held performance management and finance roles at several local government agencies, including the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Transit Authority.


Denise received an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Iowa and a MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is a founding member of Year Up Chicago’s Leadership Council and a lifetime member of Net Impact.



Read More

Jamie Fisher (Co-Chair)

Partner at Grund & Leavitt

Jamie Fisher is a partner at Grund & Leavitt, P.C.  Jamie’s practice is dedicated exclusively to the area of family law. She counsels clients in a variety of complex domestic relations issues to include prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, divorce, paternity, custody, visitation, spousal and child support and interstate and international jurisdictional disputes. Jamie has been involved in a number of significant trials and appeals to include cases involving the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which determines the state or country in which a custody dispute will be heard.  Jamie received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2002 from the University of Colorado, Boulder where she worked in the District Attorney’s Office as well as the Boulder County Public Defender’s Office.  In 2006 Jamie received her Juris Doctor from Chicago–Kent College of Law.  Jamie is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois, the State of Florida and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  In 2015, Jamie joined the Leadership Counsel of Year Up Chicago.



Read More

Jared Deane

Independent Consultant

Jason Cummings

Manager, Business Reporting at Health Care Services Corporation

Jason is a Finance Transformation professional in the Greater Chicago area.  He helps optimize business performance by improving process efficiencies and driving short-term and long-term strategic initiatives to ensure operational alignment with company priorities.  Jason has previously held roles in management consulting, financial services and entertainment industries.  In addition to Year Up Chicago, he remains civically engaged by serving the community through leadership roles in education and diversity-based organizations.  A proud father and former collegiate athlete, Jason enjoys making the most of his opportunities and leveraging his personal experiences to inspire and encourage others to be the best version (of themselves) they can be.  He earned his BS in Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA in Finance from Clark Atlanta University.

Read More

Joe Ragsdale, CFA

Manager, Fixed Income at The Boeing Company

Laura Jean Wagner

Associate at Korn Ferry

Marci McCalmon

Vice President of Customer Success at Arrow Payments

Marci McCalmon is the Vice President of Customer Success at Arrow Payments. She has been involved with YearUp Chicago since 2016 as a volunteer, mentor, donor and is proud to be on the Leadership Council. Marci has held leadership positions at Rippleshot and Peanut Butter in Chicago and ProService Hawaii in Honolulu. In 2014 she was awarded the Pacific Business News Women Who Mean Business Women to Watch award. She also serves on the advisory board for FinTex’s FinTech Women. She holds a BA from North Park University and enjoys long walks with her dog, Pippin.

Read More

Mark Karhoff

Founder, Ten Count Consulting

Mark Karhoff is a Management Consultant in the supply chain industry and Founder of Ten Count Consulting, LLC.  TCC provides clients guidance with project management, process improvement, supply chain IT solutions, DSCSA, Blockchain and other services.  Mark has over 20 years of experience in supply chain operations and systems. He has worked with over 30 clients and successfully completed over 40 projects in countries around the world.

Mark is married (Brenda) and resides in Chicago.  He has been a mentor with Year Up since 2014 and on the Leadership Council since 2017.

Read More

Michael Spector (Co-Chair)

Investment Analyst at Castle Creek Arbitrage

Michael Spector is an Investment Analyst at Castle Creek Arbitrage. Michael previously worked as an Investment Analyst at Scoggin Capital in New York City and Messner & Smith Investment Management in San Diego. Michael also worked at a start-up technology company and as an Investment Banking Analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Michael earned a BBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In late 2011, Michael co-founded Year Up Chicago’s Leadership Council and currently serves as the co-chair.


Read More

Pitchiah “Pitch” Balasubramanian

Director – Mortgage Business Technology, PNC Financial Services Group

Scott Perkins

Manager at Accenture


Scott Perkins has worked for Accenture for most of his career delivering IT solutions for Consumer Products and Manufacturing firms and then moving internally and building IT solutions for Sales, Procurement and Information Security capabilities.


He has enjoyed building his skills especially in packaged software implementations, understanding what the business needs and then shaping the software towards that.  It has given Scott a broad appreciation for the difficulties in delivering operationally stable IT and the proper investment that goes into that.  A key belief he shares is that understanding the business is key to building good IT.  As a means to that goal, Scott has particularly enjoyed career counseling to newer employees.


Quite naturally, this has led him to Year Up and the mentoring program, where he first got started.  From there, he lent his time for tutoring, plus helping out with interview prep, resume review, and the like.  As a member of the Leadership Council, Scott Perkins has had additional opportunities to help with fundraising events, and submitting ideas for curriculum enhancements.  He looks forward to continuing to be a part of the future growth of Year Up in Chicago.

Read More

Vince Williams

Manager of Member Engagement & Growth, Chicago Chamber of Commerce