MEET OUR AMAZING PEOPLE

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.

Eva SchmidtDirector, Development

Eva serves as the Director of Development and is responsible for partnering with community leaders, corporations, foundations, and donors to build enthusiasm and generate targeted resources for Horizons for Youth. She leads the Development Team in day-to-day operations and strategic planning. Prior to joining Horizons for Youth, Eva spent most of her career in higher education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in a variety of roles for both the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. She also worked one season as a Customer Service Executive with the Chicago Blackhawks. Originally from Naperville, IL, Eva holds both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.


Development Team

Imani CardonaUrban Alliance Development Intern

Imani serves as our newest intern from Urban Alliance. She works with the Horizons for Youth Development Team to assist with executing fundraising and data strategies. She is excited to be working with us here at Horizons for Youth so that she can improve her work skills and build work experience for the future. 

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

Raven AllenProgram Manager, Elementary

Raven is responsible for managing and advocating for the elementary students in our Empower group. In addition to providing academic support to her group, she also manages enrichment outings and parent workshops. Raven has always had a passion for giving back to kids in the community. Prior to joining Horizons for Youth, Raven worked as a Lead Paraprofessional and Cheerleading Coach at Learn 8 Middle School for six years. Raven attended Columbia College Chicago where she received her bachelor’s degree in theater.

Gena BrowningIntern

Gena Browning is currently working as an intern and is also a Horizons for Youth Program Alumni. Prior to joining the team, Gena attended Eastern Illinois University and graduated with her bachelor’s in Human Services Program Administration. Currently, she provides support to the Senior Program Manager of High School Programs and is looking forward to learning new skills and strategies to help achieve her future goals. 

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.  

Brent HamletProgram Manager, Middle School

Brent manages and advocates for middle school aged students and their families in the Explore group. Brent began pursuing a personal mission of positively impacting youth and families at a very young age. An Educator, Community Organizer and Life Coach with a little over 10 years of experience, he is committed to an Abolitionist pedagogy and has worked with underserved families in a variety of settings; most recently directing and designing after-school enrichment programs on the South Side. 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 is a Fellow with Chicago United For Equity and was recently elected Vice Chairman of the Policy Steering Committee with Workers Center for Racial Justice. 

Jocelyn HernandezSenior Program Manager, High School

 Jocelyn Hernandez is the Senior Program Manager for High School Programs where she works closely with students and families. 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 B.A from Denison University in Communications and Spanish and is pursuing her master’s degree in Social Sector Leadership and Nonprofit Management from the University of Chicago.

Chanita JonesDirector, 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, 2021 – 2022

Chair

Jeff Wright
Managing Partner, Gold Leaf Capital

Vice Chair

John Skakun
Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Co-Treasurers

Chris Romans
Partner, Ernst & Young

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

Members

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


Young Professionals Board, 2021 – 2022

Co-President

Erin Moston

Treasurer

Mollye Lent

Secretary

Colin Houlihan

Social Chair

Alex Brekke

Recruiting Chair

Brandon Luebbehusen

Members

Ali Barranco

Brett Blum

Amanda Broadus

Titoriano Broadus

Mike Dow


Callie Forkenbrock

John Gizzie

Amanda Harbrecht

Cindy Hou

Rajesh Kalvakota

Zoheb Khan

Ashley Koltun

Mollye Lent

Jenna Nizamoff

Alyse Patrick

Maria Skorcz Roehmholdt

Hunter Smith

Mike Speranza

Johnny Sullivan

Mac Sullivan

Dan Teich

Courtney Thompson

Stephen Valencia

Kristin Zavertnik