Our team plays an integral part in ensuring the organization is supported in all facets – from the back of the house, to our programs, and to our overall mission.

Leadership Team

Jackie BarajasDirector, Partnerships & Advocacy

Jackie is responsible for day-to-day administrative tasks and special projects to the Executive Director. She serves as the liaison to the Board of Directors and supports the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic plan. Prior to joining Horizons for Youth, Jacqueline worked at La Casa Student Housing, an initiative of The Resurrection Project, to support the persistence and graduation efforts of first-generation college students. Jacqueline became passionate about education while studying at Marquette University, where she earned her Bachelor of Art in Social Welfare and Spanish, becoming the first in her family to obtain a degree. Since Marquette, Jacqueline has remained in the non-profit sector advocating for stronger educational opportunities for folks of all ages.

Greg BorkowskiExecutive Director

Greg has spent his entire career working in Chicago’s non-profit sector. He began his career teaching kindergarten for two years with the Jewish Council for Youth Services before starting a fundraising role at the Golden Apple Foundation. In addition to the Golden Apple Foundation, he has held executive leadership positions at Ronald McDonald House Charities, Inc., Northwestern University and, most recently, DePaul University before joining Horizons for Youth as the Executive Director in the fall of 2020. While proud of the organizations and missions he has represented, Greg’s greatest professional satisfaction has come in roles that engaged directly with youth. He’s coached boys and girls high school soccer for more than 20 years at St. Benedict, Josephinum Academy, Lake View and Roycemore and has been part of the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy staff since 2011. Greg earned his Bachelor of Art from the University of Notre Dame.

Meghan ColganSenior Director, Program Services

Meghan is an integral part of the leadership team, working on key areas of management, mentorship, finance, and operations. She leads the program team in day-to-day operations, staff training, and development opportunities. She coordinates between the program and development teams for strategic initiatives and program evaluation. Meghan initially worked at Horizons for Youth from 2006-2010, spent some time working at nonprofits in the California Bay Area, and then returned to the Horizons for Youth team in 2014. Meghan has her Bachelor of Art from the University of Notre Dame and Master of Art in Social Work from DePaul University.

Lupe RuizDirector, Finance & Operations

Lupe is responsible for overseeing the financial strategic planning of Horizons for Youth and providing executive-level human resources support. She manages a wide range of complex and confidential administrative duties, directs the day to day operations and staff, and also oversees all internal control financial processes and reporting. Prior to joining Horizons for Youth, Lupe served for seven years as an Assistant Manager at The Children’s Place, managing payroll and scheduling for her team. Lupe is a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and holds her Bachelor of Art from Northeastern Illinois University.

Development Team

Amanda HasseSenior Manager, Special Events

Amanda serves as the Senior Manager for Special Events and is primarily responsible for the full planning and implementation of On Cloud Nine and No Ordinary Evening. Along with managing our fundraising events, Amanda directs our Young Professionals Board and co-manages our high school monthly outings. Prior to joining the team, Amanda worked with Heartland Alliance for seven years as the Special Events Manager. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Art in Advertising from North Park University.

Adriana MartinezManager, Data Strategy & Annual Giving

As the Development and Data Strategy Manager, Adriana is primarily responsible for the development and management of the Horizons for Youth database systems. She also provides support across the organization with data collection and reporting, manages the gift entry processes, and creates and implements strategies to further grow our fundraising efforts. She is a Horizons for Youth alumna and is excited to have the opportunity to give back to the Horizons for Youth community. Adriana holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Iavora VlaytchevaSenior Manager, Corporate & Foundation Relations

Iavora is responsible for managing corporate and foundation donor relationships, including grants, as well as some major donor relations, external communications, and general development growth. Prior to joining the team, Iavora worked with Common Threads Chicago as a grant writer, as the Office Manager at Ohio Citizen Action, and on several progressive political campaigns throughout the Midwest. Iavora holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration and Policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at DePaul University College of Law. 

Program Team

Teri FordSenior Program Manager, Post-secondary Success

Teri works closely with our high school seniors as they navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes.  Teri also works with our students upon graduation from high school to help them make a smooth transition into college, navigate the course selection process, and work towards obtaining internships during college and full-time employment upon graduation.  Teri is a first-generation college graduate herself and is passionate about providing support to Horizons for Youth students as they work towards their college degree.  Teri attended Illinois State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and DePaul University where she earned a Master of Education.  

Miriam GlennSenior Program Manager, Elementary

Miriam manages and advocates for elementary-aged students in partnership with their families for the Empower group. She also helps manage enrichment outings and parent workshops. Prior to joining Horizons for Youth, Miriam worked as a paraprofessional at CICS Bucktown, then served as the Special Ed Assistant at Kozminski Elementary School. Miriam holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Business from Columbia College Chicago.

Brent HamletProgram Manager, Middle School

Brent manages and advocates for middle-aged students and their families in the Explore group. Brent began pursuing a personal mission of having an impact on youth and families at a very young age. An Educator and Community Organizer with a little over 10 years of experience, he has worked with underserved families in a variety of settings; most recently directing and designing after-school enrichment programs. Brent received his Bachelor of Art from Alcorn State University in History and is currently completing a Master of Art in School Counseling from Chicago State University. He serves as a City Policy Scout with Workers Center for Racial Justice.

Jocelyn HernandezSenior Program Manager, High School

Jocelyn works closely with students and families to guide high schoolers through high school and transition into college. She helps run our College Bootcamp Program and works alongside partners for high school enrichment outings, among other responsibilities. Previously, Jocelyn volunteered for AmeriCorps as a Scholar Coach with the Schuler Scholar Program at RTC Medical Preparatory School in Chicago. She also has experience in implementing and overseeing social and emotional support programs for high school students. Jocelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts from Denison University in Communications and Spanish. She is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago.

Chanita Jones-HowardDirector, Academic Support Services

Chanita manages the academic support services for Horizons for Youth elementary and high school students. A National Board-Certified Teacher-Exceptional Needs Specialist, she joins Horizons for Youth after 12 years as a teacher-leader in Illinois’ traditional public and charter schools. She is passionate about education and improving conditions for children in Chicago from disadvantaged backgrounds. Chanita is a Horizons for Youth alumna and feels that there is no better place for her serve. She has a Bachelor of Science from SIU-Carbondale and a Master of Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Emma MitchellManager, Volunteer Engagement

Emma is responsible for recruiting and managing individual and group volunteers. Before joining Horizons for Youth, Emma completed an AmeriCorps service year at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, working with their Volunteer Engagement team. Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Emma found a second home in Chicago after moving to the city for college. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Leadership with a focus in Event Management from DePaul University.

Vanessa SanchezSenior Program Manager, Family Services

Vanessa is a youth advocate and family liaison for the Envision group and loves communicating and helping connect resources to her group. She also focuses on the Family Support Program, alongside her caseload. She started her career in non-profit management in 2010 and carries a background in public health reform, youth intervention, and prevention services including violence prevention, substance abuse, bullying, and sex education. Her non-profit experience includes community outreach, school-based prevention education, and compliance management. Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Illinois.

Board of Directors, 2020 – 2021


Jeff Wright
Managing Partner, Gold Leaf Capital

Vice Chair

John Skakun
Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Secretary – Operational

Anne Carey
Horizons for Youth Tutor, Former VP of Industry Advisory Services at Bank of America

Secretary – Administrative

Greg Borkowski
Executive Director, Horizons for Youth


Paul Bradley
Chief Data Officer, Waystar

Bernadette Broccolo
Partner, McDermott Will Emery

Patrick Collins
Partner, King & Spalding

Pat Doyle
Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

Bob Dunklau
Vice President/COO, OMI Industries

Chardai Johnson
Vice President-Commercial Banking, BMO Harris Bank

Ross Koenig
Chief Data Officer, Shore Capital Partners

Peter Leonard
Director of Student Assessment, Chicago Public Schools

Debbie Ludolph
Vice President, Cloud Solutions, Alight Solutions

John Philbin
Founder and CEO, Happy Work Spectacular Life

Chris Romans
Partner, Ernst & Young

Young Professionals Board, 2020 – 2021


Erin Moston


Mac Sullivan


Mollye Lent


Colin Houlihan

Recruiting Chair

Brandon Luebbehusen


Dylan Barnett

Emily Bedell

Yasmine Bennett

Alex Brekke

Dara Brody

Connor Brown

Isabela Carrasco

Madison Cerny

Luisa Chil

Nicole Deberry

Kathleen DeStefani

Hank DeTrempe

Jane Dickinson

Luke Dwyer

Jasmine Ferguson

Annie Flynn

Gordon Foley

Elena Granadino

Adam Grazer

Amanda Harbrecht

Colin Houlihan

Matthew Jipson

Bradford Kearbey

Greg Kester

Salvatore LaBarbera

Leo Latz

Kate Levine

Spenser Levine

Trevor Lu

Chris Majsak

Taylor Martell

Chris Mayor

Conor McAreavy

Rachel McDonough