Katie hails a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she had significant coursework and extra-curricular involvement in non-profit management and entrepreneurship. When she is not at her day job at Redbox, you can find her busy being a mom to her adorable nearly-two-year-old daughter. Otherwise, she is probably working on finances or developing meeting agendas for The Big Hearts Fund. She and her husband Chris have a spunky Labradoodle puppy named Lulu, who loves treats and snuggles.
Melissa is trained as an elementary school teacher, and currently works in corporate training. As such, her strengths lie in her organizational skills, patience, creativity, and in the development and implementation of rules! Melissa has a Masters degree in Educational Leadership, and has had experience in organizational management, worked on marketing committees, conducted fundraising, been on advisory counsels, written grants, and also has previous non-profit board experience. Melissa agrees she will run organized and efficient meetings should the chairman become “incapacitated”… (as is the job description of any good VP!) Melissa loves pets, and she will be the first to tell you that she grew up in a house full of animals… (think: ferrets, cats, dogs, bunnies, and brothers). She and her husband have a Miniature Schnauzer named Charlie, who does not understand why he was not immediately named board president. They also recently adopted an adorable terrier mix puppy named Roscoe, who specializes in cuddling.
Laura brings fifteen years of experience working for non-profit organizations. She has participated in organizational development, financial oversight, staff management, communications creation and production, event and fundraiser planning, leadership training facilitation, and collaboration with organizational stakeholders in her various positions over the years. Laura and her husband Chris have two sons, a preschooler and a first grader, and an enormous Siamese cat named Shumai, who is named for the asian dumpling he resembled as a little kitten.
Des is an attorney in Portland, practicing Intellectual Property law after receiving a J.D. from Northwestern University, and a Bachelors in Philosophy from Carleton College in Minnesota. He has significant experience and interest in non-profit sector and pro-bono work gained while interning in law school. In other news, Des loves cats and shares two of the little monsters with his boyfriend Alex. He grew up with several cats and a loyal Dalmation, Dino, who was born at a fire station near his home, adopted by his parents, and given to him as a Christmas present.
Jennifer joins BHF after working for several years in the Media/Marketing, Fundraising and Non-Profit sectors. Not too bad for a girl with a BA in Music Composition! Jennifer grew up in a household full of pets. In fact, her parents have never had less than 4 dogs at any given time (in addition to cats, fish, birds, rabbits and any homeless animal that crossed the front door)! While she currently does not have any “fur children” of her own because of apartment rules, she looks forward to adopting a cat or dog in the future. On a personal note, the work that BHF does is a passion project for her as she has lost a dog to heart health issues.