The FHSR Board of Directors is comprised of parents of children with hearing loss, adults living with hearing loss and industry professionals dedicated to the Foundation’s mission of leveling the playing field for deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. Directors strive to assure that all children with hearing loss have the opportunity to attain the same level of education and social integration as their hearing peers. This Board believes in the intrinsic strength of children to be change agents in their communities through all they accomplish resulting in a positive impact on public perception of what it is like to live with hearing loss.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ELLEN BABBITT - DIRECTOR
Ellen Babbitt is a partner with the Chicago law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP, where she concentrates in counseling colleges, universities and not-for-profit organizations on compliance issues, including reasonable accommodation and accessibility issues arising under the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local anti-discrimination laws. Ms. Babbitt brings to FHSR not only a high level of professional experience but also a personal passion, as her daughter Laura Conway was born profoundly deaf. Laura received her first cochlear implant in 1994, at the age of nine; her other ear was implanted when she was just completing college. Laura has since completed law school, and she now serves as the ADA Coordinator for an Illinois university and as a member of the FHSR Associate Board.
In her capacities as parent and counsel, Ellen Babbitt has worked to increase technological and therapy support for children with hearing loss. She has previously led the FHSR Board as Co-Chair and held the position of Board Secretary.
HEATHER H. BENNETT, MBA, CDI.D - CO-CHAIR
Heather H. Bennett received an MBA from the University of Illinois and a Board Certification from Corporate Directors International. With over twenty years of experience in Marketing and as the CEO and founder of her business, Creative Brand Coach, Ms. Bennett advises her clients to improve their market share, return on investment, employee development and digital content to reach business and career goals through results driven strategies. Her book, Fun and Fulfilling Careers One Question at a Time, is an Amazon Bestseller.
Ms. Bennett currently serves as the Co-Chair for FHSR and spearheaded the FHSR Social Media plan including the FHSR Website and Blog inception along with Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook cross-marketing plans to drive an increased awareness of pediatric hearing loss. This laser focused strategic marketing strategy allows FHSR to reach more children and families who are living with pediatric hearing loss. Ms. Bennett also brings to the Board her passion as a mother of a daughter born with hearing loss who has received cochlear implants. She is the Board Co-Chair, a key member of the Education and Executive Committees, an advocate for all deaf/hard of hearing children, and a liaison to the FHSR Associate and Advisory Boards.
JIM BOROVSKY - DIRECTOR
Jim Borovsky has been a Director on the FHSR Board for over thirty years, and he formerly served as the FHSR Treasurer for over twenty years. He brings a wealth of experience to the Board through both his professional expertise and his volunteer endeavors. Mr. Borovsky is a senior partner at Gofen and Glossberg LLC, an investment counsel firm in Chicago that manages over $6 billion for a national clientele of individuals, retirement funds, foundations, and endowments. He is also a past Board Chair of the Chicago Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and a past Vice Chair of the Arthritis Foundation’s National Board of Directors. In addition, Mr. Borovsky served as treasurer and Executive Committee member of the Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation, and is a former Chair of Governing Members and a former Trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. He currently serves as a member of the finance committees of the national Arthritis Foundation and the Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation.
JENNIFER EVANGELIDES - DIRECTOR
Jennifer Evangelides is Vice President of Digital Sales for Discovery, Inc. With over 20 years experience in national advertising sales, Ms. Evangelides specializes in cross-platform video, streaming, digital and social marketing. In her current role, she leads a team responsible for driving revenue across Discovery's advanced advertising and programmatic assets for all US networks and platforms, including Discovery+, HGTV, Magnolia, Food Network, Cooking Channel, TLC, OWN, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, ID, Science Channel and Motor Trend Network. Ms. Evangelides marries both her professional media expertise and personal passion for hearing loss in her work with FHSR.
As a mother of a daughter who experienced hearing loss due to meningitis, Ms. Evangelides’ family has directly benefited from the programs funded by FHSR. This connection has propelled the Evangelides family to be one of the highest fundraisers for FHSR with the Move for The Kids 5k Walk through their team, Mal’s Pals. She has also served as a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Queens of All Saints United Parish Program. Ms. Evangelides brings to the Board extensive fundraising and community service work along with public relations / communication expertise.
CAREY GELFAND - DIRECTOR
Carey Gelfand first learned of the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Rehabilitation when her youngest daughter, Heather, was being treated at the Siegel Institute’s total communication program. Heather, born deaf in 1981, was diagnosed at 13 months at Children’s Memorial Hospital. The Siegel Institute, then fully supported by the FHSR, was the only total communication program in Chicago-land. Mrs. Gelfand was compelled to give back for the superior level of services provided and joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 1985, where she was active in fundraising and program development. Two years later she joined the Board of Directors and subsequently served as Foundation Chair for over ten years. During her Chair term, Mrs. Gelfand strove to make the Foundation’s programs available to as many children as possible. To further this goal, she was part of the leadership team that transferred the Foundation’s affiliation from Northwestern University to Children’s Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Gelfand is a Senior Vice President of New Business Development for Corporate Artworks, Ltd/Health Environment Art Services/Commiuncare Products.
DAVID GELFAND - DIRECTOR
David Gelfand brings numerous years of experience and active involvement in the not-for-profit sector to the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Rehabilitation. He has been a Board Director for more than ten years and previously held the role of the FHSR Board Secretary, allowing him to play an integral role in the guidance of the FHSR Board operations. Mr. Gelfand is an independent real estate managing broker/ investor and is a licensed attorney. Previously, he acted as Executive Vice-President of Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm. Mr. Gelfand serves on the Real Estate Property Law committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He has also dedicated his time to serving on the Board of the National Center for Wilson’s Disease and the Corporate Committee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Mr. Gelfand is an active member of the Eliot Society for Washington University.
ROBERT HANDLER - Director
Mr. Handler is a restructuring professional focused on managing financially and operationally distressed businesses. He has handled business reorganizations, bankruptcies, sales, acquisitions, mergers, receiverships, and assignments for the benefit of creditors across the country and in a wide variety of industries. Mr. Handler serves in the position of Board Co-Chair and brings to FHSR a personal dedication to providing support and programming for those experiencing hearing loss. Due to a necessary surgery Mr. Handler was left deaf in one ear and eventually decided on the BAHA device as his best alternative to living with single sided deafness. Through his personal journey, Mr. Handler was moved by the sizable community of hearing-impaired people who do not have the resources he had to make an educated choice regarding their hearing loss. As a beneficiary of the research and resources dedicated to assist people living with hearing loss, Mr. Handler is committed to supporting research and education, along with current and future technologies.
STEPHEN HALLENBECK - DIRECTOR
Stephen A. Hallenbeck, AuD, is an Audiology Manager at Phonak within the Audiology and Education team in Aurora, IL. In this role, Steve provides content and training development for a variety of practice channels within the field of audiology. Steve has a extensive history within the hearing care industry and has previously provided clinical services in private practice and hospital settings as well as consultative noise abatement services. He has a deep passion for audiologic education, has been a guest lecturer around the globe and has served as an adjunct faculty member for several AuD and hearing aid specialist educational programs. Prior to his audiologic education, Steve earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Elmhurst College in Music Business. He worked for several years as a performing musician and as a music educator providing private guitar lessons in a variety of styles for a wide range of ages.
Erik Kessler, CPA - Director
Erik Kessler is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal’s Transaction Advisory Group. Mr. Kessler brings more than twelve years of accounting, financial analysis and operational experience to the firm. He specializes in accounting and financial analysis for buy-side, sell-side and post-transaction matters for both private equity firms and strategic buyers. Specifically, he advises businesses on quality of earnings and cash flows, quality of net assets, working capital requirements and trends and purchase price adjustments.
Mr. Kessler has experience across a wide range of industries, including transportation, technology, distribution, general manufacturing, and retail. Mr. Kessler has coordinated and led over 250 engagements since 2007, managing across financial, tax, human capital, IT and operational professional service line teams.
Mr. Kessler has advised private equity funds including L Catterton Partners, Platinum Equity, Tailwind Capital, Wind Point Partners, Linden Capital Partners, Dunes Point Capital and J.H. Whitney Capital Partners.
Prior to joining A&M, Mr. Kessler was a Senior Associate with the Private Company Services practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked with high growth private clients to assess key performance indicators, analyze financial risk and provide audit reports.
Mr. Kessler earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Valparaiso University. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the state of Illinois and a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Illinois CPA Society.
DANIEL LOCKWOOD - TREASURER
Dan Lockwood is a First Vice President with Raymond James, where he advises corporate executives, business owners, retiree’s, and endowments on tax planning, estate planning, charitable giving, and investment management. Mr. Lockwood’s son, Luke, has congenital bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, which sparked a passion in him for helping families of Deaf and Hard of hearing children. In working with Luke’s teachers, speech therapists, and school administrators to provide him with the necessary accommodations to succeed in school, he realized how challenging the process can be for families trying to advocate for their child. It is for this reason he decided to join an organization with the purpose of educating teachers and parents on how to obtain the support and services in school which are needed by DHH students to flourish in their education. Dan currently serves as the Treasurer for FHSR.
PAUL LURIE - DIRECTOR
Paul Lurie brings to FHSR extensive experience developing, guiding and directing not-for-profit organizations. In 1966 he became a founder and general counsel of what is now the Chicago Architectural Center, a major Chicagoland cultural institution which saved Glessner House and created the impetus for preservation of Chicago’s architectural heritage. He co-chaired the capital campaign and was legal counsel to the non-profit Northlight Theater as it moved into its new home in Skokie, now one of the largest subscription base theaters in the Midwest. Currently, he is an advisor to Northlight and other major theaters on sound quality and captioning for persons with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants. He was a long time board member and served as Board Chair of The Family Institute at Northwestern University, a major research and teaching institution in the area of family relations. As a result of his own hearing loss, Mr. Lurie became active in the national Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), serving in many capacities was a board member for ten years and
currently is on a technology committee. Mr. Lurie has been an active member on the FHSR Board and is serving on the Education Committee. Mr. Lurie is a Retired Equity Partner at Schiff Hardin LLP in their Chicago, Illinois. He is also a professional photographer specializing in aerial photography
related to Climate Change issues.
ROBERT "RUDY" RADASEVICH - Co-Chair
Mr. Radasevich has nearly forty years of professional experience in Commercial Litigation and Financial Restructuring & Bankruptcy as an equity partner in the Chicago law firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LP. As a litigator, Rudy represents the firm’s business clients as plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial disputes before state and federal courts, arbitration panels and appellate courts throughout the country, including cases before the Supreme Court of the United States and the Illinois Supreme Court. Rudy also manages a comprehensive bankruptcy practice focused on the representation of secured creditors, creditors’ committees, trustees and defendants in adversary cases in business-related bankruptcy proceedings. In addition to his litigation and bankruptcy practice, Rudy provides “big picture” strategic counseling to businesses concerning a variety of risk-mitigation and operational matters, including corporate governance and fiduciary obligations, creating and implementing critical organizational policies, and developing and integrating cutting-edge information technology systems. Since 2013, Rudy has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in commercial litigation. Rudy has a strong personal connection to hearing loss having raised a daughter with severe hearing loss who is now a pediatric audiologist herself. This family legacy of addressing hearing loss related issues head-on influenced Rudy’s decision to join the FHSR Board, where he currently serves as the FHSR Board Secretary. Rudy brings a strong fundraising and volunteerism background to the Foundation, having served as a lawyer volunteer for Equip for Equality for the past decade and as Director for Nick’s Network of Hope since 2015. In addition, his vast experience in policy work and program evaluation makes Rudy a valuable addition to the Community Outreach & Advocacy Committee and the Nominating Committee
STEVE SALZMAN - Director
Steve applies his industry-specific experience to provide executive leadership to BuildUSA, which is a new business venture intent on bringing a new set of standards, workflows, and products to the building market. Additionally, he leads the Syntec Group specifically focusing on the areas of client and project development, partner collaboration, business development, and both technology and strategic planning in the healthcare sector.
Personal partial deafness, and a brother who is profoundly deaf, has led to a lifelong interest in the challenges and opportunities available to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
As Co-chair for 7 years Steve has been intimately involved in the resurgence of FHSR and the new programming and capabilities that FHSR is offering to the Chicago metro and Midwest market.
Lindsey Saxon - Director
Lindsey Saxon is a strategic healthcare marketing communications professional with more than 15 years of experience counseling companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, diagnostic, financial and technology industries. As an independent consultant, she partners with organizations and leadership teams to design and execute strategic marketing communications programs that help position her clients for their next phase of growth. Prior to starting her independent consulting business in 2014, Ms. Saxon served as Director of Communications of Nanosphere, Inc. (acquired by Luminex) a molecular diagnostic company, and before that, she served as Associate Director of Communications where she created and led internal and external communications efforts for the biotechnology company Advanced BioHealing, which became the Regenerative Medicine division of Shire Pharmaceuticals following its acquisition in 2011.
Ms. Saxon brings to the FHSR Board her professional experience combined with her passion for the deaf and hard of hearing community. As the mother of a daughter who was born with progressive sensorineural hearing loss and who received cochlear implants, Ms. Saxon’s family has directly benefited from programs funded by FHSR, such as the Music to my Ears program and the Hart Family Cochlear Implant Education program. Ms. Saxon also serves as a parent resource for families of young children with hearing loss and is Captain for Team Hear for Emma in the annual HLAA Chicago Walk4Hearing.
LOUISE HART - IN MEMORIUM
Long time Board Director, Louise Hart, passed away peacefully at the age of 99.
As a founding member of the Foundation for Hearing & Speech Rehabilitation (FHSR) in the early 1950’s, Mrs. Hart helped to shape the mission of the Foundation and provided an unmatched level of commitment to helping individuals who are living with hearing loss.
As a parent of a young deaf daughter at the time, she served as the first President of the Women’s Board as well as on two other occasions. Mrs. Hart was a skillful fundraiser and later joined the FHSR Board of Directors where she served in a variety of roles.
In 2007, Mrs. Hart provided the initial funding for a crucial support position, the Hart Family Cochlear Implant Education Coordinator at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. This position provides support for families of children who have been recently identified with hearing loss and are candidates for a cochlear implant and is the bridge out to the academic community playing a key role in the child’s education.
KRISTEN J. VAN DYKE - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Kristen J. Van Dyke, Executive Director, first joined FHSR thirteen years ago as a Board Director with a personal understanding of childhood hearing loss. Shortly after the birth of her son, Maxwell, she learned he was deaf. Since then, she has seen first-hand the benefits of cochlear implantation. In 2015, Ms. Van Dyke transitioned into the position of Executive Director. With a Masters in Public Policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago, Ms. Van Dyke brings both professional expertise and personal experience to the position. Driven by a keen focus on early childhood challenges due to income and health disparities, she works to create programs that address all the needs of children living with hearing loss.
JEAN GUTHEIM KAISER: Director of Communications and Events
Having spent more than 20 years as a managing partner in a small design/build firm in Chicago, Ms. Kaiser brings a repertoire of leadership, design and management skills to the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Research. Her lifelong commitment to children, education and advocacy made the move to FHSR seamless. Her multi faceted background makes her capable to handle the many different tasks needed in running a small Foundation. She is not afraid to take charge and handle any problems that come her way and pursues the opportunities that the non-profit sector brings. Ms. Kaiser’s experience and expertise in event planning, accounting, legal, financial and human resources, design and technology and her passion for public service makes her a great asset to FHSR. Besides the day to day coordination, her work includes the redesign of the website and keeping it updated, event planning including graphic design & coordination, coordination of all social media campaigns in her collaboration with Carlson Integrated.
Anna Tess M. ED -Education Coordinator
Ms. Tess is the new education coordinator for FHSR. Prior to joining FHSR, Anna was a school administrator and teacher at a school for children with hearing loss for eight years. She received her Doctorate in Special Education at Illinois State University, Masters in Educational Leadership from American College of Education, and Masters in Deaf Education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Having been born deaf herself, Anna was one of the first generation recipients of cochlear implants, receiving her first implant at the age of 2 and her second at the age of 19.
When she is not teaching children with hearing loss, Ms. Tess competes in marathons, spends time with her family, friends and dog.
Read more about Anna and the Education Coordinator Position in our Blog
Savannah Lee - Development and Database Intern
Savannah Lee joins FHSR as a Development and Database Intern. Savannah has recently completed her junior year at Indiana University Bloomington where she is earning her degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She is passionate about the vital role of the nonprofit sector in a functioning society and wishes to utilize her competencies for a greater purpose. Savannah is excited to join the FHSR team and contribute to the incredible mission that FHSR serves!
JEAN GUTHEIM KAISER - Director of Communications and Events
Having spent more than 20 years as a managing partner in a small design/build firm in Chicago, Ms. Kaiser brings a repertoire of leadership, design and management skills to the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Research. Her lifelong commitment to children, education and advocacy made the move to FHSR seamless. Her multi faceted background makes her capable to handle the many different tasks needed in running a small Foundation. She is not afraid to take charge and handle any problems that come her way and pursues the opportunities that the non-profit sector brings. Ms. Kaiser’s experience and expertise in event planning, accounting, legal, financial and human resources, design and technology and her passion for public service makes her a great asset to FHSR. Besides the day to day coordination, her work current work has included working on the redesign the website, graphic design and coordination for all events, website and social media campaigns in her close collaboration with Carlson Integrated.
LIFETIME BOARD MEMBERS
PATRICIA LIVINGSTON - LIFETIME BOARD MEMBER
Pat Livingston joined the FHSR Board in 1961, while a college student at the University of Michigan. Her mother, Dorothy Meyer, was one of the original founders of the Foundation. Mrs. Livingston fondly recalls the early years when lip reading classes were held in the basement of her parents’ house. During her tenure on the Board, Mrs. Livingston has served in many capacities including Chairman of the Board in the 1970s for three years. She currently serves on the Foundation’s Finance committee, while playing a key role in strategic planning and guidance and fund raising.
BE A PART OF IT ALL.
Join our Board of Directors.
Volunteering for a FHSR Board position is a wonderful opportunity for individuals with hearing loss, family members who have deaf or hard of hearing children and professionals in related industries to help shape the work of the Foundation. Our goal is to create dynamic programs that work to level the playing field for children in Illinois who are deaf and hard of hearing. Board work consists of a few hours a week and allows Directors to engage with other change agents dedicated to our mission.