Board of Directors
Director, Awards – Kareen DiGiovanni
Director, Chapter Marketing & Public Relations – Dana Connelly
Director, Creative Services – Kari McLean
Director, Membership Communications – Kevin Prosise
Director, Membership Services – OPEN
Co-Director, Professional Development – Sarah Howell
Co-Director, Professional Development – Jim O’Reilly
Director, Sponsorships & Partnerships – Heather (Blondin) Natal, CMP
Director, Volunteers – Kristen Guzzardo
Director, Young Professionals – Carlin Twedt
Associate Outreach Manager
Kellogg School of Management
Amanda is dedicated to harnessing her passion for strategic communications to aid in the advancement of Chicago’s robust non-profit sector. She has experience in project management, integrated communications, public relations, content strategy and development, copy editing, event planning, and relationship-driven client service. In her current role, Amanda provides leadership in the planning and execution of events and communication efforts across the Kellogg Admissions and Financial Aid team. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, Public Relations and Advertising, where she served as President of the university’s chapter of IABC. Amanda has been an active participant in the Chicagoland non-profit community through more than 15 years of volunteer service.
President and Creative Director
ODA Creative Partners
Julia is an award-winning designer, creative director, project manager, and brand evangelist. She has more than 25 years in stakeholder and employee communications utilizing both print and digital media. Julia received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana. She is a member of AIGA, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and of the Women Presidents’ Organization.
Named 2017 PR News’ Rising Star 30 & Under, Dionne brings cross-cultural communication expertise and a strong understanding of change communications and employee engagement to Fortune 500 companies in the public/private sector. Since joining Gagen MacDonald, Dionne has channeled her skills on M&A initiatives for two leading Fortune 500 companies and a global pharmaceutical company, landing clients and her firm numerous awards. In addition to her thought leadership, Dionne serves as a passionate advocate for the importance of mentorship. A regular guest speaker at DePaul University’s Public Relations and Advertising program – her alma mater – she has helped numerous students make valuable business connections with key industry players. Dionne earned her M.A. in Public Relations and Advertising in 2014.
Communications and Diversity Strategist, University Faculty
Peg’s 20+ years of experience cover a broad range of communications disciplines from both a tactical and strategic perspective, and in both corporate and not-for-profit settings. Her primary disciplines include employee, member, executive, multicultural and customer communication, media relations, special event planning, volunteer management, community relations and audio-visual production for which she has received numerous awards. Her past experience also includes writing for local newspapers and hosting a public affairs talk show on WNUA and WGCI in Chicago. In addition, she has considerable expertise in business development as well as organizational development/behavior and is a skilled facilitator, meeting designer and leadership coach. Peg also teaches diversity and introductory/ overview courses (including writing, research, teambuilding, presentation skills) for the Chicagoland campus of the University of Phoenix. She holds a B.S. Degree in Communications/Social Science from Northern Illinois University and a M.A. Degree in Whole Systems Design/Organization System Renewal (focus: Change Management/Organizational Development) from Antioch University.
Senior Internal Communications Specialist
Kareen uses her broad background to consult and deliver on strategic and brand awareness communications, process improvement and change management. Her previous experience includes human resources management, benefits administration, training course design and facilitation, project management and web portal administration. She holds an M.S. in Management from National Louis University, and a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in English from Loyola University.
Director, Chapter Marketing & Public Relations
Corporate Communications Consultant
Dana is a senior communications leader focused on building employee engagement through communication strategies and tactics that strengthen employee connections to organizational objectives, senior leadership and the important role each plays in achieving success. Her experience spans management roles in internal, executive and marketing communications in health and wellness, telecommunications, higher education and health insurance.
Director, Creative Services
Kari (rhymes with safari) is a MarCom generalist who connects audiences with messages to drive understanding and action based on business goals and objectives. She brings a passion for finding new ways to get things done on a limited budget using a variety of strategies, tools and channels. Kari delights in the tools of our trade: print collateral, direct mail, website, social media, content curation and video. She writes, solicit articles and edits content. Kari especially enjoys scripting event remarks and creating clean PowerPoint presentations. Kari has been involved in IABC Chicago since spring 2008 and has recently joined the Lincoln Park Toastmasters Club. She earned an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University and a B.A. in Communications and Theater from Miami University.
Jim O’Reilly is a seasoned communicator with more than 30 years of experience ranging from broadcast news to public relations and business development. He currently serves as Executive Producer at AKA Media, Inc. Jim is a native of Philadelphia and graduate of Temple University.
With over 15 years experience in global corporate communications, Sarah has led teams for a Fortune 50 corporation, two international manufacturers and a DC-based trade association. She has placed numerous articles and thought leadership interviews in international media outlets and is recognized as a forward-thinking team leader. Sarah graduated from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, with a double major in Political Science and French and studied at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne in Compiègne, France. A native of Virginia, she enjoys getting to know Chicago and the Midwest.
Director, Sponsorships & Partnerships
Heather (Blondin) Natal, CMP
Senior Communications Specialist
DSM Functional Materials
For over 15 years, Heather has been working at international companies in Marketing and Communications. Her breadth of experience ranges from copywriting and graphic design to strategic brand management, internal communications, and digital media. In her current role, Heather specializes in event planning to ensure that each event is unique in its message and memorable for the attendee. She received her B.A. in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds the IABC’s Communication Management Professional (CMP) Certification.
Kristen is a Senior Consultant with ROC Group in Chicago where she acts as lead writer and project manager on a range of projects servicing diverse client organizations. She began her career in publishing and journalism, which led to opportunities in corporate change management and HR communications. Her areas of expertise include benefits and wellness, total rewards, change management, employee engagement and creative strategy for digital and mobile media. Kristen is a past winner of IABC Bronze and Gold Quill and Communicator awards.
Director, Young Professionals
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator
Carlin Twedt is an experienced marketing professional and the current social media marketer for Ragan Communications. He has a BA in English Writing and German spends his time traveling, writing and playing rec sports. He is a transplant of Pittsburgh, but has enjoyed life in Chicago for the past year.
An award-winning communicator, Cora Weisenberger is a content strategist adept in digital and traditional communications, with proven success of driving company messaging. In both corporate and non-profit environments, she has demonstrated ability in improving processes and building constructive relationships across departments. Cora has held a variety of communications positions including reporter, editor and editor-in-chief, and communications manager. She is the president of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, and volunteers with the In Her Shoes Foundation as its Senior Manager, Membership Communications. Cora has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism.