Kate Bensen, chair
Neil Cohen, secretary/treasurer
Michael J. Maccaferri
Board Member Emerita
Tremaine Atkinson is the co-founder, distiller, and managing director of operations at CH Distillery. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego with an economics degree in 1987, Atkinson moved to San Francisco and became a passionate home brewer. Never one to choose the easy way, he taught himself fermentation science, yeast propagation, and all-grain brewing. Although he loved beer, he dreamed of making vodka, his spirit of choice. Atkinson moved to Chicago in 1998, and after a 25-year career in asset management, decided to start a distillery with his old friend Mark Lucas in 2012. He completed a distillation course at the Siebel Institute and delved into modern fermentation techniques used by distillers. The precision and efficiency Atkinson honed in the finance world lent themselves well to understanding the chemistry and thermodynamics behind making alcohol. CH Distillery was launched in August 2013 with the goal of becoming Chicago’s premiere grain-to-bottle vodka distillery. Prior to founding CH Distillery, Tremaine was Partner, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for LSV Asset Management, a Chicago-based institutional equity management firm with $80 billion in assets under management.
Kate Bensen joined The Chicago Network in April 2010 as Executive Director and became its President and CEO in 2013. Prior to joining the Network, Kate led the nonprofit capacity building practice for Conlon Public Strategies for two years, using her broad based experience in organizational development, growth and positioning to assist clients with strategic planning, visibility, governance, board development and fundraising matters. She also provided strategic counsel to clients on government relation’s matters. Kate has more than 20 years’ experience in working with nonprofits, as a lawyer, board member and nonprofit leader. Prior to joining Conlon Public Strategies, Kate served as Chair of the University of Chicago Women’s Board from 2004 to 2007, where she significantly enhanced this 47-year old organization’s membership, fundraising results, grant making efficacy and visibility among key stakeholders. Kate practiced law at Schiff Hardin LLP, one of Chicago’s leading law firms, from 1986 to late 2003, serving as a partner in the firm’s Finance and Public Finance Groups where she structured and managed complex, multi-party financing projects. Throughout her practice, Kate also counseled a wide variety of nonprofits on organizational, operational, restructuring and governance matters. Kate is involved with many civic and philanthropic organizations, and currently serves as a director of the Grammy award winning ensemble eighth blackbird and The Arts Club of Chicago. Kate is a member of the Economic Club, Chicago Club, International Women’s Forum, Executives’ Club and the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago (past Chair). She also serves on the President’s Advisory Council for Governors State University. In 2008 she received the University of Chicago’s Alumni Service Medal for her work in securing an Alumni House for the University.
Neil Cohen is a senior partner and has been practicing as a CPA since 1985. He works with many individuals and small businesses providing personalized services in accounting, tax planning, preparation, and IRS representation. Neil also provides financial planning, cash management, and investment management services for his clients. Neil is a graduate of Indiana University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society. He is also a Registered Investment Advisor Representative and Personal Financial Specialist. He holds a Series 65 investment license and is licensed to sell life insurance. Neil enjoys many outdoor activities including skiing, tennis, and hiking. He also enjoys traveling and spending time with his two children as much as possible. Neil is philanthropically driven and is involved with local and international charitable organizations.
Chris Cronin has been practicing and advising on cyber security risk and compliance for more than two decades. As a partner at HALOCK Security Labs, Chris works with organizations to help them understand their purpose and their security objectives to ensure that each supports the other, and that they remain in balance. His background in studying American History as a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University provided Chris with a deep understanding of the role that mission-based nonprofits play in public life and in legal arenas. Chris’ transition from nonprofits to information technologies was through the ACLU of Ohio as a database manager where doing a lot with a little became a necessary and core skill. Chris’ more recent work has helped define due diligence, reasonableness, compliance, and negligence in the courtroom, among regulators, and with technicians, business managers, and the boards of private and public organizations. Keeping a clear vision of core objectives and supporting excellence are a constant in Chris’ management approach. Chris lives with his wife Elisa and his son Nicolai in the Chicago area.
Steve Everett is Professor of Music and Dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois – Chicago, which houses four schools – Architecture, Design, Art & Art History, and Theatre & Music, plus the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and Gallery 400 contemporary art gallery. Previously, he was Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and director of the Music-Audio Research Center and the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence at Emory University in Atlanta, USA. He also served as Chair of the Department of Music, Director of the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Chair of the Faculty Council, and President of the University Senate. In addition he has been a visiting professor of composition at Princeton University and has been a guest composer at Eastman School of Music, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève in Switzerland, Rotterdam Conservatory of Music, and Utrecht School of the Arts. Many of his recent compositions involve performers with computer-controlled electronics and have been performed in twenty-seven different countries throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, including at IRCAM and INA-GRM Radio France in Paris, Re-New Arts Festival-Copenhagen, Orgelpark- Amsterdam, The Esplanade-Singapore, Korea Computer Music Festival-Seoul, Melbourne-Australia, Royal Northern College of Music-England, Amerika Haus in Cologne-Germany, Tokyo Denki University-Japan, Spark Festival of Electronic Arts, ICMC, Resonances Arts Festival-Paris, SEAMUS, New York Electroacoustic Music Festival, and Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Music Midtown in New York.
Ryan Fant is the Co-Founder and COO of Keen Home, a NYC-based technology company that develops proactive hardware and software solutions to protect and enhance your home’s core systems. Keen Home’s products provide homeowners with increased comfort, improved efficiency and a better maintained home. Keen Home has participated or been featured on Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt, Techstars, the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program and “Shark Tank.” Prior to founding Keen Home, Ryan worked as a management consultant and Six Sigma Black Belt with multiple Fortune 500 manufacturing companies. He received his MBA from NYU Stern where he guest lectures and continues to mentor student entrepreneurs. Ryan is a performing arts enthusiast, amateur foodie and an unfortunate Chicago Cubs Fan (wait ‘til next year).
Chris Joyce is a partner at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) based in New York City and he works with healthcare payer organizations across the US and internationally through a range of strategy, operations, and technology initiatives. He has deep experience across a variety of Healthcare Reform and regulatory topics, including public Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX), and the Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Chris also works with healthcare payer and provider organizations as they evaluate and execute a range of market entry, operational improvement, and payer/provider convergence activities. Additionally, Chris serves as a member of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Council.
Prior to joining PwC, Chris held executive positions at Accenture, Conseco, and Midway Games. Chris began his career as a speechwriter and ghostwriter for the former Prime Minister of England, Sir Edward Health, and was the ghostwriter for Sir Edward’s autobiography “Music, A Joy for Life” published in 1997.
Chere D. Lott has been a long-standing advocate of the arts, since she was an undergraduate at Carleton College. Her music and theater programming continued when she arrived at UCLA Law School where she served an integral role on the Student Committee for the Arts. While practicing law in Texas, Lott was an active member of the Cultural Arts Council of Houston (Houston Arts Alliance) ultimately elected as Vice President and chair of the Grants making Committee. She was also a Board member of DiverseWorks, a multi-disciplinary arts presenter in Houston and provided support to other non-profit organizations.
In addition to Eighth Blackbird, Lott is a Board Member of Autonomie Projects, an LA based non-profit that is committed to providing art exhibition opportunities and cultural programming for underserved artists of the diaspora. Passionate about music, Lott continues her flute performance studies at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts Music and performs regularly with a jazz group at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in downtown Los Angeles. Since retiring from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Lott has launched a private law practice specializing in elder law and probate. She lives in Los Angeles and Chicago.
Matt Pollack is the Vice-President of Strategy and Operations for iLoan, the Chicago-based, all-digital brand of personal lender OneMain Financial. Matt leads the “Big Data” team of data engineers and business intelligence analysts working to detect and prevent fraud, and optimize business processes. Throughout his career, Matt has worked on developing software systems that leverage data to tackle business challenges. Previously he was the SVP of Operations for Credit Interlink / Old Republic Credit Services a credit reporting agency and consumer mortgage data and technology provider. Matt is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (Computer Applications & Communications – Film Production) and received his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is involved with the Canine Therapy Corps, a non-profit providing animal-assisted programs to individuals in physical or psychological therapy, and the Illinois Saint Bernard Rescue. Matt has had a passion for music for as long as he can remember, and met his wife, Julie, playing in a cover band in college. To this day he remains a remarkably average guitar player.
Jamie Rubin joined Information Law Group as a partner in June 2011. Jamie is a media, promotions and intellectual property lawyer who works with clients to bring their advertising, promotional and entertainment campaigns from concept to execution. Jamie’s practice covers the spectrum of traditional and emerging advertising and entertainment issues. He works on national and digital advertising campaigns, celebrity spokesperson agreements, sweepstakes and user-generated content promotions, social networking and viral marketing matters, claim substantiation, mobile applications and beyond.
Jamie is a frequent speaker and author on new media topics and is recognized as a Leader in the Field for Media & Entertainment by Chambers Partners. Chambers has stated that Jamie “is recognized in the market for his expertise in marketing campaigns in both traditional and evolving media platforms. Client sources are effusive in their praise for his work, describing him as: ‘Strategic, smart, with a complete understanding of our business.’ He is also praised for his strong business acumen.” In 2011, Jamie was named one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 To Watch” by Law Bulletin Publishing Company, an impressive selection given the 1000-plus nominations Law Bulletin received in consideration for this accolade.
Jamie previously practiced as a partner in the Intellectual Property Group of Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon LLP in its Chicago office and before that with the Entertainment & Intellectual Property Group.
Tony Scott-Green is an award-winning composer of music for film, TV and media and has crafted original music for feature films, TV shows, documentaries, web series, marketing & advertising agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Originally from Scotland, he splits his time between Chicago and Los Angeles. He studied at Northwestern University and the Berklee School of Music.
In addition to media composing, his side projects include performing/improvising solo guitar and playing in the Western Swing band ‘The Howdy Neighbors.’
Peter Taub is a curator and arts manager with over 30 years of experience in developing and producing artist-centered projects. Among his current work is curating performances for Space Force Construction, a multidisciplinary project for the May 2017 Venice Biennale that marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution. He was the founding director of the performing arts program at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from 1996 – 2016, and developed the program into a leading presenter multidisciplinary dance, theater and music. He established the MCA Stage New Works Initiative to support artists in developing new works with creative residencies and commissions, and engaging audiences around the creative process. Some of the larger recent MCA projects he developed were with eighth blackbird, Forced Entertainment, Kyle Abraham, Manual Cinema and George Lewis/Catherine Sullivan. Taub cofounded the Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF), a consortium-led organization that supports artistic exploration and growth with funding and artistic guidance, and which has grown to be the region’s largest source of support for new dance development. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of CDF. From 1986-95 he led Randolph Street Gallery, an artist-run center focused on the work and ideas of artists, presenting a multi-faceted program of thematic exhibitions, performances, installations, and public art. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.
Board Member Emerita
Sarah Solotaroff Mirkin joined The Chicago Community Trust in 1990. As the program officer responsible for all of The Trust’s grants in arts and culture, Ms. Mirkin worked to support public radio and television, the public library and all major museums, performing arts, literature and arts education programs in Chicago. She built a lasting program for support of mid-sized and small arts organizations. In October of 2000 Ms. Mirkin was appointed Vice-President for Programs at the Trust, a role which she held until her retirement in 2007. At The Trust Sarah is particularly remembered for her role in the creation of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the launching of the Chicago Dance Initiative, and working with the Chicago Public Schools to create an Office of Arts Education, with a role equal to the other subject matter offices in the school system.
Ms. Solotaroff Mirkin also served as General Managing Director, Marketing Director, and Artistic Administrator at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra during the 1980’s. She worked as Administrator of the Minnesota Composers Forum, Editor for McDougal, Littell and Company, and University Instructor in English at the University of Minnesota and Mundelein College, Chicago.
Ms. Solotaroff Mirkin served on the board of Grant Makers in the Arts from 1997 to 2004 and as its President from 2001-2004. She served as a board member and President of CAPE, Chicago Arts Partners in Education. Currently she serves as a founding member of the board of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, where she was recently made a Life Trustee, as a board member of the Alliance Francaise de Chicago, and as a board member of eighth blackbird, a nationally known classical music chamber ensemble, specializing in contemporary music.
Among her many awards, Ms. Solotaroff Mirkin has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award from the St. Paul YWCA, the WCCO-AM Radio Good Neighbor Award and Outstanding Women of Minnesota for “Celebrating Women as Artists.” She received the Grantor of the Year Award from the National Society for Fund Raising Executives in 1999, and was named in the July 2001 issue of Today’s Chicago Women as one of the 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference. In September of 2015 she was given the first Distinguished Service to the Chicago Dance Field award by Audience Architects, the dance service organization for the Chicago area. Ms. Mirkin holds a BA in Music from Oberlin College, a BM in Piano from Oberlin Conservatory, and an MA in English from the University of Chicago.
She has written numerous program notes for concerts, published anthologies in non-fiction for students in grade levels 7-12 for McDougal, Littell Publishing Company. She is an author in a memoir anthology Weaving the Threads: Discovering the Patterns of Our Lives, which was released in 2013.
She was married to the late Dr. Bernard L. Mirkin, Head and Director of Research for Children’s Memorial Institute for Education and Research (CMIER), now a part of the Lurie Children’s Hospital. She has three children –Jennifer Solotaroff, Rachel Solotaroff, and Jacob Solotaroff – and four grandchildren, Esther, Joseph, Solomon and Joel.