The Team

Lisa Rosenberg, Executive Director

Prior to becoming an Executive Director, Lisa was a founding Board Member of The Kindness Connection. Lisa worked as a school social worker for several years and as an active volunteer in the community. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a MSW from Loyola University in Chicago. 

Shannon Valko, Program Outreach Manager

In addition to her work with The Kindness Connection, Shannon is the owner and creator of a Play Cafe called Little Beans Cafe in Lincoln Park. Shannon leads all marketing, branding, programming and partnership outreach for Little Beans. Prior to opening Little Beans in 2010, Shannon worked as an Account Director in the experiential marketing and sales field with a focus on strategy, client service, program execution and sales. With a focus on leading strategy and account relationships, Shannon has worked with big brands including Wrigley, Gatorade, Orbitz and more. Shannon has a BA from Indiana University and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago. 

Audrey Pam, Project Design and Operations Coordinator

Audrey has practiced art education and art therapy for over 20 years. She has worked in several settings with many different populations including children with special needs and adults with mental health illnesses. For the last several years, Audrey has taught art privately to school age children promoting creativity, problem solving and healthy self-esteems using a variety of art materials and projects. She has a BS in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MA in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Board of Directors

Mary Roth, President, Co-Founder

Mary teaches geometry at Baker Demonstration School in Wilmette and serves as a resource teacher in the math department of a therapeutic day school. She facilitates the secondary math/science practicum seminar serving undergraduate and graduate Northwestern University students. Mary earned a BA in economics and an MS in secondary math education from Northwestern University.

Pamela Allen, Social Media Director

Pam recently completed a certificate in Strategic Marketing, Corporate and Social Media Communication at Northwestern University. She has eighteen years of experience working in communication, including eight years on the editing staff at Lorne Michaels entertainment conglomerate, Broadway Video. She holds a B.A. in American Culture and a M.A. in Telecommunication Arts from the University of Michigan.

Nancy Dellamore, Director at Large

Nancy is currently active in several school related volunteer activities. She draws from 25 years of marketing, product development and company start-up experience. Her last position was as Vice President of Marketing at Seyfarth Shaw at Work, a start-up entity of the law firm Seyfarth Shaw. She holds a Marketing degree from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Syracuse University.

Suzanne Gayle, Director at Large

Suzanne taught 6th grade for the past 13 years. She coordinated The Kindness Connection for her school and instantly knew she wanted to play a role in such a wonderful organization. When she isn't spending time with her three young children, she is spending time volunteering in the community and tutoring. Suzanne has her BS in education from Bradley University.

Jean Halferty, Director of Corporate Programming

Jean comes to Kindness Connection with over twenty years experience in sales, product development and marketing. Prior to that she was a corporate attorney at a law firm in Chicago. Jean has held various roles in the community for various schools and athletic teams. Jean holds a B.A in Political Science and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Julie Lipford, Director of Special Projects 

Julie is the Owner/Photographer of Photos by Juliet and is currently pursuing a Masters of Social Justice at Loyola University Chicago. Julie’s prior experience includes Finance Systems Management position at Hewitt Associates, now known as Aon, as well as Financial Systems and Business Process consulting experience with a small start up company and Arthur Anderson. Julie is working on Special Projects for TKC including applying for Grants as well as the rollout of non-profit CRM software. She earned her Bachelors of Business Administration from Ross Business School at the University of Michigan.

Diane Phillips, Finance Director

Diane has been active in the community in various roles for schools, athletic teams and service organizations for many years. Prior to becoming a full-time volunteer she worked for 17 years as a Private Banker, most recently with Bessemer Trust Company. She holds a B.A. in Finance from Iona College. 

Ali Wenzke, Kind Kids Club Director

Ali is currently active in several school-related volunteer activities.  Prior to that she worked in marketing and analysis for a financial corporation and later for a real estate development company. Ali received her BA in French, Spanish, and Italian literature from Harvard College and a JD from Stanford Law School.  Ali has been a board member since 2015. 

Mark Wierzbinski, Strategic Partnerships Director

Mark has enjoyed a successful career in finance in several Chicago-based companies.  Besides his work with TKC, he has done volunteer work with children’s hospitals, literacy programs, and wellness initiatives. Mark holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  Mark has been a board member since 2014. 


Advisory Board

Stephen Allison

Lisa Axelrod, Co-founder

Marla Bagan

Dr. Molly Cinnamon

Laura Eilts

Eva Lu-Bonn

Julie Kennedy

Carol Murphy

Kristen Murtos

Felisha Parsons