2018-2019 ALUMNI CLUB OF CHICAGO BOARD of DIRECTORS
The board works to connect, celebrate, and represent regional University of Chicago alumni.
Akila Ally, AB'16
Akila moved from Dhaka, Bangladesh to attend UChicago and thus fondly refers to Hyde Park as her second home. She graduated with a BA in Biological Sciences in 2016, with a specialization in Neuroscience and a focus on social determinants of health. During her time in campus, worked at the Program on Medicine and Religion in UChicago Medicine and was ardently involved in the Neighborhood Schools Programs serving Woodlawn preschools. She was also involved in several health and service RSO's including MEDLIFE, Pre-medical Students Association, Phoenix Biology Club, APO, and volunteered with youth in the La Rabida Hospital. She served as the founding editor of Pulse, the College's inaugural pre-health magazine. Akila loved immersing herself in the music scene on campus and was co-founder of "Chicago Aag", UChicago's first South Asian fusion A Cappella group. Now, she works in public health grant management at the Cook County government while working on her pre-health certificate at Northwestern University. Akila continues to remain involved with the University through mentoring first-generation students. In her free time, you can find her camping out in bookstores, taking walks along the lake or attending concerts in 1 of the 77 neighborhoods in Chicago.
Thurston Bailey, AB'93
I most recently served as General Counsel for the US operations of Optiver, a global derivatives trading firm based in Amsterdam, where I worked for a little over 8 years. Prior to Optiver, I worked in private practice at Schiff Hardin (Chicago), Winstead PC (Houston) and Andrews Kurth (Houston) where I focused on labor and employment law and general litigation. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Chicago in 1993 and my Juris Doctor from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1998. In between college and law school, I was a financial analyst at Northern Trust Bank in Chicago. I currently serve on the Boards for the ACLU-Illinois, the Roger Baldwin Foundation (a foundation affiliated with the ACLU-Illinois), and Camp of Dreams. I previously served as Treasurer for the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Houston and volunteered as an alumni interviewer for prospective students for the College (while in Houston). I have also served on the University of Chicago reunion committees for my 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th year reunions.
Chastidy Burns, AB'08
Committee Chair, Governance/Bylaws
Chastidy received her AB with Honors from the College in Political Science with a minor in English Language and Literature and Creative Writing. During her undergraduate career, she was Vice-President of Chapter Development of Alpha Omicron Pi’s Phi Chi Chapter and a member of the UChicago Cheer Team. Chastidy earned a Juris Doctor at DePaul University in 2012, with a focus on Public Interest Law. She is licensed to practice law in both the State of Illinois and the United States District Court Northern District of Illinois, and is currently an Assistant Public Defender with the Cook County Public Defender. In her free time, Chastidy is very involved in the legal community, serving as the Corresponding Secretary of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, a Special Project Coordinator of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, and a member of the Just the Beginning Foundation Associate Board. She also regularly volunteers with DePaul’s Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program where she assists homeless individuals with expunging and sealing their criminal records.
David Burrus, MBA'92
Received an MBA from the Chicago GSB (now Booth) in 1992. In addition to his current stint on the Alumni Club of Chicago Board, he has served on the Booth Alumni Club Board, acting as Secretary, Assistant Treasurer, and President, and also contributed to the school's Task Force on Alumni Engagement. His professional background spans a variety of functions, including corporate international finance, acquisitions, distribution and planning, industrial product development and product line management. David has worked for nearly the past thirty years in both start-ups and established organizations, spanning industries from pharmaceuticals to aircraft parts to manufacturing. He travels internationally throughout Europe and Asia and recently applied to patent a new product.
Jasmine Davila, AB'98
Committee Chair, Communitations
Jasmine studied film in the College, from which she graduated in 1998 with a degree in General Studies in the Humanities. Professionally, she has worked in IT in the financial technology and marketing services industries. She joined the Board in 2014. In her free time, she participates in Chicago’s live lit scene as a writer and performer, blogs (occasionally), and tweets (prolifically) at @jasmined.
Jessica Ekhoff, JD'12
Jessica received her J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School in 2012. She has been practicing trademark, copyright, and advertising law at Pattishall McAuliffe, an intellectual property boutique, ever since. In addition to serving on the Alumni Club of Chicago Board of Directors, Jessica stays involved in the UChicago community by counseling start-ups at the Polsky Exchange about developing and protecting their brands, and by performing with The Hutchins Plan, a Revival-based improv team founded and led by her former Law School professor. Jessica is also active in the Chicago legal community, including serving on the Associate Board for Lawyers for the Creative Arts and the Associate Steering Committee for The Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law. When she’s not solving the world’s intellectual property problems or improvising scenes, Jessica enjoys keeping up with an ever-increasing list of podcasts, working on her golf swing, and planning her next international adventure.
Lisa Fan, AB’12, JD’18, MBA’18
Lisa Fan is a graduate of the College, Law School, and Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. A proud triple Maroon, Lisa is an active volunteer for the Alumni Schools Committee (ASC) where she interviews prospective students applying to UChicago. In graduate school, she served on Graduate Council where she organized social programming for the graduate student community. UChicago runs in Lisa’s family, and she is proud to say she is a third-generation Fan of the university (one day she decided to search the stacks to find her great-uncle’s PhD dissertation at John Crerar Library)! During the winter, Lisa loves to figure skate and has spent many winter days at Midway Rink. She works for an international technology company.
Kathleen A. Graham, MBA'02
Comittee Chair, Alumni Engagment
Kathy Graham earned an MBA in Analytic Finance, Econometrics, and Statistics from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is the Founder of The HQ Companies, Inc., a group of four firms focused on positioning the right professionals in the right positions to enhance corporate growth and career progression. Kathy is a member of the Chicago Finance Exchange, an invitation-only organization comprised of women leaders in finance; a Partner and Co-Chair of the Workplace Initiative for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Money Smart Week (a national campaign to increase consumer financial literacy), and is the Chicago Steering Committee Chair for 2020 Women on Boards (a national education and advocacy 501c3 organization with the goal of increasing the percentage of women on U.S. corporate boards to 20% or greater by 2020). She recently was appointed the Chief Marketing Officer for Private Directors Association (a national organization supporting best in class practices for privately held corporate board formation and governance) and is the Alumni Club of Chicago Committee Chair of the Alumni Engagement. There are a lot of ways for alums to become more engaged with their University—contact Kathy at email@example.com for more information.
Kweli Kwaza, AM'11
Kweli is the Founder and Executive Director of the Talented 10th College Prep and Career Mentoring organization. Since 1983 Kweli has led the effort in assisting inner city youth in navigating through the college admissions process. Talented 10th uses college students to mentor high school students with the goal of college attainment and is estimated that over 2,500 students have graduated from college since the birth of the Talented 10th. Kweli has also founded Club 21 (the 21st Ward Block Club Network) out of the need for neighbors to participate in reducing crime and beautifying their neighborhoods. Club 21 also serves as a platform for the Talented 10th college students to perform community service. To date, there are 120 Block Clubs participating in Club 21. Five years ago, Kweli started up the Young Inventors Program for 4th to 8th grade students. Although, the Young Inventors utilizes S.T.E.M. projects, the goal is to develop participant’s leadership skills. Kweli is also an entrepreneur with his company Life Savin Water, a filtered, clean, drinking water point of use cooler company. Kweli is a Fulbright Scholar to Kenya, when he attended Northern Illinois University for a BA in Political Science. While at Northern Illinois University he served two terms as the President of the Black Student Union when he was acknowledged for Who’s Who on College Campuses and many other leadership awards. Kweli has recently the 21st Ward Service Award for Exceptional Leadership in 2016. On July 9, 2017 he will be presented with another community service leadership award.
NaYoung Lee, AB’02
NaYoung graduated from the College with a degree in history with honors. She also earned MSt in Oriental Studies from Oxford and MPH with a focus on healthcare management and health policy from Dartmouth. In the fall of 2008, she joined the Alumni Schools Committee in Northern New England and continued her journey to Chicago. She became more active with the Alumni Club of Chicago and was elected to the Board in May 2016. NaYoung supports the Alumni Careers Committee in creating career networking opportunities for the UChicago alumni and friends in the Chicago area. She enjoys theatre, travels and swimming with a strong interest in helping alumni in career transitions.
Danika Manchester, AB’00
Danika received her AB in English Language & Literature and Latin American Studies from The College in 2000. While a student, she lived two years in Burton Judson and served two years as Resident Assistant at Max Mason House. When not working, studying, or sleeping on a pile of books, she enjoyed frequent visits to DOC films and ultimate frisbee pick-up games on the Midway. Since graduation she has worked in the barcode printing industry, currently as RFID Product Manager at FineLine Technologies. Danika interviews prospective college students for the Alumni Schools Committee and has enjoyed participating in a variety of alumni events including book clubs, dinners, lectures, and brewery and coffee roaster tours. She is six states shy of her goal to visit all fifty US States.
Brittany McGhee, MA'13
Brittany McGhee is the next generation officer at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. There she leads programming and engagement of the Council’s nearly 2,000 member Young Professionals Network. Prior to joining the Council, she managed an international young adult volunteer program through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Previously, she conducted quantitative and qualitative research at the University of Chicago on varying topics including gender, urbanism, and customary law in colonial West and Central Africa. McGhee holds a bachelor's degree in global studies from Loyola University Maryland and a master's degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. She also serves on the executive committee of the Auditorium Theatre auxiliary board.
Ronald Michael, AB’81, SM’84
Ron entered the college in 1977 through the early admission program, a pet project of controversial president Hutchins, after his third year in high school. Ron went on to graduate from the college in 1981 with an AB in Biological Sciences. He then earned a Master’s degree in Biochemistry at the University. Though asked to stay on for the PhD, he went on to medical school, and ultimately, a residency in neurological surgery at cross town rivals Illinois and Northwestern, respectively. He is a practicing neurosurgeon, restricting his practice to complex spine surgery and interventional pain management. Ron remains involved in University activities, especially lectures and events at the Oriental Institute. His interest in ancient history goes beyond the fact that beer was discovered by the Sumerians, in ancient Mesopotamia.
Charmaine P. Owens, ML'98
Committee Chair, Programming
Professionally, Charmaine is a Project Manager at Verizon. She graduated from the Graham School with a Master of Liberal Arts degree. Charmaine joined the Alumni Club Board in 2009, serving until 2015, and holding the positions of Volunteer Committee Chair and Programming Co-Chair. Rejoining in 2016 as Programming Co-Chair, Charmaine will continue to organize programs and help others in our continual quest to keep alumni, family and friends engaged. She is extremely passionate about volunteerism, especially youth based organizations. Charmaine is looking forward to continuing to work with University and other resources to build new partnerships across other University Alumni Club Boards and mentorship programs with the University Charter and neighboring CPS schools. If you have an interest in hosting an local Alumni event, you can reach Charmaine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremy Page, MBA'91
Jeremy is an attorney in private practice, concentrating his work in the field of international trade law. A Political Science major destined for a legal career, Jeremy realized at an early point that knowing more about "business" was essential to his success in his chosen career path. The University of Chicago and its evening MBA program beckoned and Jeremy has repeatedly put those many lessons learned to great use in supporting his clients in their global compliance needs. Illinois born (well, essentially) and bred, Jeremy is also a graduate of the University of Illinois's Urbana Campus (BA in Political Science, 1983) and the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (JD, cum laude, 1986). In addition to spending time with his family, traveling, buying (not so much reading unfortunately) books, discovering new music and supporting his favorite teams (Go Cubs, Hawks and Bears!) are his passions.
Christina Rodriguez, AB'99
Christina Rodriguez is Vice President, Product Manager of Bank Sponsorship Programs at Republic Bank of Chicago. She has developed a successful risk management career with over 17 years in the property and casualty industry at companies including Allstate and Aon. Christina holds a BA in Economics from The University of Chicago and an MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics from The University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently serves on the Darien Woman's Club resale committee where she is responsible for financial reporting. Christina enjoys reading, tennis and spending time with family.
John A. Smetanka, AB'71
Received his AB in Psychology with Honors. He also earned an MA´74, and PhD´77 in Social Psychology and Organizations from Harvard University. Previously, he has been active in the alumni club in Hong Kong, and worked with Stephanie Veit (International Alumni Relations) and local alumni in setting up a College alumni club in Singapore. He has participated in alumni events in London (International Day), traveled with University Alumni Travel to Japan with Professor James Ketelaar, and attended local events. John pursued an international banking career for more than 20 years and lived and worked in several countries in Asia and the Middle East including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Egypt and Dubai. Prior to moving to Asia, he held banking positions in the U.S. and was a university professor before embarking on his banking career. He is currently “retired.”
Tomas Sutrinaitis, AB'15
As a first generation citizen of the US, Tom is a proud graduate of The University of Chicago, where he studied Economics and Psychology. He was very involved on campus during his time at UChicago, having participated in Varsity Football, Greek life, UChicago Careers in Business, and acting as the President & Treasurer of the UChicago Sports Business Team. He also studied abroad for a quarter in Athens, Greece. Because of his commitment and dedication to his alma mater, Tom wanted to continue his involvement in the school by joining the Board of Directors of the Alumni Club. Tom currently works in the financial industry for J.P. Morgan, where he works in their Asset Management division. He is also a Co-Chair of the Midwest Committee of Hope for the philanthropic organization Help For Children. Tom spent his entire life in the Chicagoland area, having grown up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. In his spare time, he enjoys being physically active, watching sports, traveling, dining out, listening to alternative rock, and watching TV and film. His favorite sports teams are the Cubs, Bulls, and Bears. Tom also enjoys frequenting the various art museums & exhibits that the city has to offer. He enjoys being a perpetual student of life.
Julianne W. Voelker, MBA'87
Julie was born, raised and educated in Illinois. She holds a BS in Accountancy from the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana and she is a registered CPA. Julie earned her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and she and her husband enjoyed living in beautiful Hyde Park while she was pursuing her graduate degree. Her solid base in accounting and business has provided a strong platform throughout her career, which has ranged from internal auditing, credit analysis, financing, relationship management, project management and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance. After working in the financial services industry, Julie stepped out to raise her three children. In recent years, she has relaunched back to the workforce and is currently a management consultant for Harmer Financial Solutions, where she is providing her expertise in the areas of SOX compliance, finance, auditing and accounting projects. To the Alumni Club board, Julie brings her enthusiasm for the University of Chicago and her passion for relationship building. She is looking forward to working with board members to create and execute new and exciting ways to engage the alumni population!
Samia Wahab, AM '06
Samia has over 20 years of experience in the field of education. She is the Director of Education at Save the Water™ (STW™), a nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida and focused on water quality research and awareness. She oversees the Day in the Life of a Scientist (DILOS)TM program for middle school students and is currently creating innovative educational resources for the STW™ website. Samia is also the Founder and Director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis, a think tank focused on education research, practice, and policy issues. Previously, she worked as an Educational Consultant in the Chicago metropolitan area. As a consultant, Samia worked with administrators to create school improvement plans and facilitated professional development programs for teachers. She earned a Master of Arts in Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, a Master of Arts in Instructional Technology and Media from Columbia University in the City of New York, and a Doctor of Education degree in Curriculum Studies from DePaul University in Chicago. Her research interests include education policy and educational technology. In addition to her role as a member of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Chicago Board, she serves as the Social Media Chair on the board of the Chicago Women’s Alliance of the University of Chicago, an Auxiliary Board Member of the Columbia University Club of Chicago, and an Associate Committee Member of the Chicago Foundation for Education. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering as a spelling bee judge and a science fair judge.
Justin Weiner, JD'07
Justin Weiner is a 2007 graduate of The Law School, and is presently practices law as a partner at MoloLamken LLP. Justin’s practice focuses on complex business litigation, with a particular emphasis on litigation concerning patent litigation and financial matters. Prior to working at MoloLamken LLP, Justin worked at another Chicago law firm and also clerked for two other graduates of The Law School: The Honorably Frank H. Easterbrook and The Honorable Milton I. Shadur.