HERE IS WHAT OUR Advocates SAY

Each of our Advocates on this page represents a strand of the ropes you see depicted throughout our website. They intertwine their knowledge and rely on each other for strength, support, and understanding benefiting them both personally and professionally. 

 

If you want to grow and help others, you belong here and we encourage you to get involved and become a part of this rope. We offer services at no charge or at nonprofit pricing for those that qualify. Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, you too will be an advocate for Charmm'd.

Advocate TEAM

Chamber of Commerce

TERRY DASON

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WINNETKA-NORTHFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Website

"Leaders may think that using Charmm'd during difficult times is valuable. It is during the good times that have proven incredibly valuable to our organization as I learn ways to develop as a leader while not in crisis."

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Education

ADAM HARRIS

HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS AND STORYTELLING

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"Since joining Charmm'd I have found a new sense of empowerment in my career and personally. I belong to and meet with my Communications Peer Advisory Group once every two months for a few hours, and I look forward to those meetings with all of my being. These peers of mine have become meaningful friendships. They are my biggest cheerleaders who push me to follow my genius and passion of public speaking. They know who I am as I feel comfortable and excited to express all my thoughts and emotions with them. Since joining Charmm'd I have become a better leader in my role as a professional and in life."

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MARCIE FAUST

PRINCIPAL,

SOUTH PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

Website

"As I transitioned into my very first school leadership position, I was lucky to have joined the Charmm'd Principal Group where I instantly made deep and meaningful connections with other school leaders. School leadership can be isolating, but with the support of Charrm'd, I always felt as though I had a group of colleagues to turn to who faced similar challenges to me. In recent years, I have grown to appreciate this group even more as we navigate our schools through the unpredictable challenges of a global pandemic. The ideas, experiences, and advice shared by my Charmm'd principal colleagues have made me a stronger more empowered school leader. I am forever grateful for my involvement with Charmm'd."

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DR. CATHERINE WANG

SUPERINTENDENT, 

GLENCOE SCHOOL DISTRICT 35

Website

"While time is precious, each opportunity to meet with a Charmm’d coach or a Peer Advisory Group has provided insight to support more intentional work in our schools. Taking the time to pause, reflect, and learn from other community leaders always leaves me energized. Charmm’d has provided partnerships and support while inspiring me to lead with a greater sense of purpose. Thank you!"

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DR. JEAN SOPHIE-HEAD

RETIRED SUPERINTENDENT/ STATE TEACHER/PERA EVALUATION TRAINER/NORTH COOK INTERMEDIATE SERVICE CENTER COACH AND  PRINCIPAL AND SUPERINTENDENT MENTOR, CONSULTANT FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING AND PERSONNEL

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"Charmm’d has provided me opportunities to network and grow with "like" peers that are in leadership and a part of community organizations. It has allowed me time to reflect and gain an understanding of myself and the local community by meeting with other leaders in both formal and informal groups. I have strongly encouraged the leaders in my organization to take part in the leadership offers that apply to them. The professionalism of the Charmm’d leaders as well as the "out of the box" thinking has been a valuable resource in my work!"

Dr. Jean Sophie, Lake Bluff School Distr

Faith

DUAYNE MEYER

SENIOR MINISTER,

NORTHFIELD COMMUNITY CHURCH

Website

"Charmm’d has given me the opportunity to gather with, and learn from, colleagues working in sectors of the not-for-profit world that are different from my own and yet who are confronted with many of the same challenges.  Charmm’d has been and is a source of new ideas and perspectives that inform the what, how and why of the work I do in my setting. The staff are deft facilitators and coaches, engendering collegiality and trust among group members.  My experience has been informative, enjoyable and helpful both professionally and personally."

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Library

MIKAEL "MICK"

JACOBSEN

DIRECTOR, 

LAKE VILLA DISTRICT LIBRARY

Website

"I have found Charmm’d to be a perspective-widening organization which has helped me understand the aspirations, concerns, and mindsets of leaders of non-profit organizations throughout the Northern Suburbs. It is simple (and feels safe) to stay inside your field’s echo chamber, but hearing unvarnished opinions and truths from admirable and accomplished community leaders has helped me personally and has helped me guide my organization to better serve my community. I am always pleased to spend time with the Charmm’d organization be it through group meetings or individual coaching. I highly recommend working with Charmm’d!"

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MONICA DOMBROWSKI

DIRECTOR,

WINNETKA-NORTHFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT

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When I first joined my leadership club, I was new to the area and trying to figure out how to best navigate some of the sticky situations that I’d inherited when I took my job. I found a group of colleagues at Charmm’d that were able to offer suggestions, listen and provide feedback as I worked through issues, and remind me that the community needs the skills and expertise that I bring when things got tough. In addition, the book we read—and subsequent workshop that grew out of it—provided me with new skills that can be applied in every area of my life and deepened my sense of compassion for myself, and for others. So grateful to have had this experience!

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ANDREA LUBLINK

COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING MANAGER,

PALATINE PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT

Website

"Being a part of a Peer Advisory Group has been an enlightening experience. Through our open and honest conversations, I’ve learned from other non-profit marketers and been able to apply some of that knowledge in my own career. Along the way, I’ve gained more insight about myself and what motivates my workstyle. It’s good to know I’m involved in a group that can share some of the same victories and challenges."

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Municipal

ROB BRILL

DEPUTY CHIEF, WILMETTE FIRE DEPARTMENT

Website

"Over the past several years, The Charmm’d Foundation has had a profound influence on the professional development of many members of my organization, myself included. The Peer Advisory Groups regularly produce stimulating discussions relevant to today’s workplace challenges. The networking experiences and personal coaching were invaluable in my professional career."

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TODD NAHIGIAN

MANAGER, CROYA

Website

"Charmm'd helps me to look at my leadership skills and determine ways to best handle difficult situations. I am more confident as a leader and I offer better advice to other leaders. I am consistently making connections with other leaders in local communities, and I continue to be a liaison for other leaders to meet when I see an opportunity for them to grow."

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BRIAN LAMBEL

FIRE CHIEF, 

VILLAGE OF WILMETTE

Website

"As a new fire chief with limited fire administrative experience, I looked for all opportunities to collaborate with other professionals, both inside and outside of the fire service. I was also looking for a mentor outside my organization. The Charmm’d Foundation was able to provide all of these needs. I often find myself reflecting on my personal discussions from my coaching sessions to guide me through the many tough decisions I need to make each day. I truly believe that my experiences with Charmm’d have guided me and increased my capacity to provide solid leadership during the COVID pandemic. I look forward to future participation in a Peer Advisory Group and other programs offered by Charmm’d."

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ADRIANA ORTIZ

CLIENT SERVICES DIRECTOR, ZION TOWNSHIP

Website

"I have had the opportunity to work with The Charmm’d Foundation staff since October 2018. Working with The Charmm’d Foundation has helped me grow my leadership skills personally and professionally. It has opened so many doors for leadership development.  I’m currently a part of the Charmm’d Foundation Advisory Board, Peer Advisory Group and coaching services. Being part of these groups has connected me with other leaders and I’m thankful for the relationships, networking and the connections that I have built among other leaders. I’m more confident as a leader of my community and I continue to strengthen my leadership skills to make myself an even better leader. The Charmm'd Foundation's commitment to help others with leadership development is enormous. My experience has been excellent and I will continue my leadership journey with them by my side."

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CHERI NEAL

TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR, 

ZION TOWNSHIP

Website

"Being involved with Charmm’d has assisted me in more ways than I can articulate. Having a passion for relationships and collaboration, I always felt like a misfit. Charmm’d has helped to change the culture of my community so that I finally fit in! We get more done in one meeting in Zion than we used to in a year because of how Charmm’d has assisted leaders across the community."

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LEISA NIEMOTKA

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES MANAGER, 

CITY OF PARK RIDGE

Website

"Leadership is a lifelong evolution – an ever changing process. The Charmm’d Foundation creates an essential space for the building of strong leadership foundations that are flexible and resilient. They do this by both focusing on an individual’s strength and talents, while harnessing the power and collaboration of the group. I come away from every peer advisory group session revived and in awe of the leadership talents of the people around me. It connects me to a higher purpose, both personally and professionally."

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Website

"I learned of the Charmm’d Foundation from colleagues at other local governments. Personal and organizational assessments, coaching, peer groups, The Leadership Academy, and The Summit have all provided several important and valuable experiences for myself and our team’s leaders. The networking and spontaneous exchanges outside the formal structured programs are equally valuable and welcome. The mix of participants from the not-for-profit sector and local government is another hidden gem of Charmm’d. The diversity of these participants and perspectives is a key to its success. Charmm’d programs offer me a way to help build the team using many voices."

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BRENDA TOSCANO-RODRIGUEZ

PERMIT SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE, VILLAGE OF ROUND LAKE BEACH

Website

"While I had to take an emergency leave out of the country, I came back to work with messages from The Charmm'd team reaching out to me about a leadership program I had been signed up for by my former supervisor and had no idea about it. I remember going to the first meeting and being intimidated - not really knowing what I had been signed up for. Half a year later, it is easily one of the most amazing things anyone could have done for me and I am incredibly grateful for it. Since joining the organization, I have learned so much and have been able to apply what I have learned to my everyday life, both professionally and personally. I have never felt more comfortable approaching others, having difficult conversations in the workplace (and personal life), understanding different personality types, and how to work with others. My experience with Charmm’d has been truly remarkable and the people I have met have been nothing but wonderful. I am excited to continue to develop and grow my leadership skills with Charmm’d!"

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Nonprofit

MARLENE DODINVAL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR-CHICAGO, JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

Website

"I have great appreciation for the work of the Charmm'd Foundation and have seen firsthand the transformative impact of their programs. As a member of a senior leaders Peer Advisory Group (PAG) that started just before the pandemic, the group provided a reliable and supportive sounding board through uncertain times. I have also served as a mentor in the Charmm'd Leadership Academy and am now serving as a PAG leader for professionals who completed that program."

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ED HEISER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,

NORTH SUBURBAN BUEHLER YMCA OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO

Website

"The opportunity for professional and personal development through the resources and network of Charmm’d are invaluable. By collaborating with fellow non-profit and public sector peers, I have gained a stronger understanding of my community and improved my ability to produce positive outcomes for those I serve. Additionally, Charmm’d provides a “safe space” to address unique issues and challenges that impact non-profit and public sectors. I am a better leader today because of the opportunities and experiences Charmm’d provides."

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JOELLYN STOLIAR

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, 

MAOT CHITIM OF GREATER CHICAGO

Website

"The experiences I have had with Charmm’d could only be described as awesome and inspiring. I am surrounded by leaders in my field who have continued to encourage me to reach my potential. Through collaboration and respect, we support one another in challenges and successes. I am honored to have the opportunity to be part of this network."

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PETER BOWER

MARKET EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, 

ALSAC/ST. JUDE

Website

"I have had the opportunity to work closely with The Charmm’d Foundation for several years. This organization is like no other! Their commitment to helping develop leaders and strengthen communities is bold and ambitious – and they do it so well. I am thankful for the relationships I’ve built with other leaders through Charmm’d and the personal learning and growth that they have made possible."

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WILLIAM HANSEN

NC AREA EXECUTIVE

GREATER ASHEVILLE, NC

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"I have gained a better sense of my role as an executive director. Specifically, I have engaged more people in the creative work of planning activities and events which results in greater community impact. I have also improved my collaborative leadership skills by engaging in difficult conversations, listening more effectively and, at the same time, balancing the need for input with holding staff accountable for decisions that I alone have to make."

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DEBRA PUCE

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT,

RAGDALE

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"The network of terrific nonprofit professionals I have built during my connection with Charmm’d in the past two years has been invaluable to me both professionally and personally. In 2018 I joined a Peer Advisory Group (PAG) which is a special, confidential space for a diverse group of nonprofit leaders to transparently share experiences, ideas, feedback, and perhaps most importantly – offer each other support. These conversations help grow emotional intelligence and an openness to new ideas and best practices. This helps me immensely in my role as a nonprofit fundraiser to build collaborations, partnerships and relationships. Executive coaching has also helped me learn how to get out of my own way to be a better nonprofit leader and to map out a course for growth.  My coach has really helped me stop to think about what kind of a leader I want to be and what I want to create for the future. Charmm’d provides a wealth of resources for nonprofit leaders to connect and grow!"

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AMY WAGLIARDO

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GORTON COMMUNITY CENTER

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"When I joined Gorton as the new ED, I was fairly new to the area and also new to being an executive director. Connecting with Charmm’d helped me build my network quickly and provided resources for me to help me do my job better. The team at Charmm’d is so professional and really know how to listen – this leads to meaningful connection in many different ways. I am so glad to be connected with Charmm’d!"

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JOEL WILLIAMS

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY LAKE COUNTY

Website

“The Charmm’d Foundation has helped me grow as a leader and a person. There are times where the role of Executive Director can seem very lonely, and the networks and connections I have gained through Charmm’d give me an opportunity to explore ideas and solutions with others in similar situations. Couple that peer support with the outstanding services the Charmm’d staff provides, it not only helps me grow, it allows me to bring that back to other managers and staff, helping them grow stronger in their own individual leadership.”

Joel Williams

Parks and Recreation

GEORGE ALEXOFF

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTHFIELD PARK DISTRICT

Website

"The Charmm’d Foundation has provided me a forum of leaders outside my community who have been able to provide me with a fresh prospective of how they deal with leadership within their communities and their agencies. I have taken this information and been able to apply what I have learned to help me better navigate through the partnership opportunities here in Northfield. Through this, my agency has been able to provide more for the community with less, by utilizing existing community resources in a more collaborative way."

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CRAIG CULP

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NSSRA

Website

"I have had the opportunity to work closely with The Charmm’d Foundation for several years. This organization is like no other! Their commitment to helping develop leaders and strengthen communities is bold and ambitious – and they do it so well. I am thankful for the relationships I’ve built with other leaders through Charmm’d and the personal learning and growth that they have made possible."

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MARILYN KRIEGER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,

ZION PARK DISTRICT

Website

"The culture change work we have done at the Zion Park District, as a cohesive team, to meet the diverse needs of our community was done with the help of Charmm'd. The Charmm'd staff and community leaders I have come to know in groups helped me and my team to be more intentional and thoughtful of the global impact of our decisions and actions. I am a better mentor for the staff from the skills learned about leadership and accountability."

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LIZ COX

SUPERINTENDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES AND RISK MANAGEMENT, WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT

CHARMM'D LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CO-FACILITATOR

Website

"Charmm’d has given me the wonderful opportunity to collaborate and learn from other professionals who are passionate about service and leadership.  I look forward to every Peer Advisory Group meeting because my takeaways always include thoughtful and insightful feedback that helps me continue to hone my leadership skills.  I ultimately see Charmm’d as a “call to arms” for community leaders to rise up and create positive change in the world."

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DANI CZARNIK

RECREATION MANAGER, NSSRA

Website

"Charmm’d has been such a wonderful resource for me both professionally and personally. Charmm’d has provided me with a network of leaders to learn from and grow with. The Charmm’d staff continues to provide well-designed programs which allow me time to reflect on my leadership style, team dynamic and constantly pushes me to evaluate and develop my leadership skills for the future."

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LINDSAY THOMAS

MANAGER OF DISTRICT OPERATIONS,

WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT

Website

"I am so thankful to have been nominated to be part of the Charmm’d Leadership Academy, which was my main introduction to this amazing group! When I think of Charmm’d, I think of an organization that provides a variety of opportunities for learning and growth, both personally and professionally. The individuals and mentors I have connected with have provided me with invaluable insight and guidance in numerous areas surrounding leadership, which I hope to take and apply throughout my career. I look forward to continuing to build my leadership skills and passing on advice and mentorship to others."

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