Chicago Professionals for Parkinson's Research

Founded in the fall of 2011, the Chicago Professionals for Parkinson's Research is a group of professionals committed to raising funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  Members have diverse backgrounds spanning different professions including business, architecture, law and academia.  Many members have been directly impacted by Parkinson's with a family member, close friend or loved one currently battling the illness.  While the group is committed to raising awareness for Parkinson's, it also serves as an informal support network for each of its members.  Please visit the link if you'd like to learn more about the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The group hosts two annual events, Find Your Fox & gala event Party Like a Fox, attracting over 400 of Chicago's movers and shakers.  The group is also involved in Team Fox Marathon events via volunteering, as part of the cheering section or running for the cause. 

Meet the 2015 Board Members

With support from over 40 Chicago area members, the 2015 Board Members hold active positions within the Chicago Professionals for Parkinson's Research.


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Sam Bettis

Sam has been working in drug discovery in pharmaceutical and academic settings for over 12 years. He obtained his B.S. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.S. in Biology from Saint Louis University. He currently runs a high-throughput screen laboratory at the University of Chicago. Sam's father was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1996 and is excited to contribute to Team Fox's efforts. Sam lives in Chicago with his loving wife and daughters and enjoys photography, travel, and being an amateur foodie.


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Gayle Wolski Keller

Gayle  born and raised in Glen Ellyn, IL achieved a Master's Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University and obtained a Bachelors Degree from Indiana University. She loves Chicago and currently resides in Elmhurst with her husband. Having a passion for sales and technology, she is a Microsoft sales consultant and has been in the advertising / marketing field for over a decade. Parkinson's Disease became a reality and hit close to home when Gayle’s Father was diagnosed with PD. He is in his final stages of this terrible disease and what better time than now to continue to spread awareness about PD and increase our involvement in Chicago. In her spare time, Gayle enjoys cooking, collecting wine, dancing, being outdoors, spending time with her godchildren, friends and family and making people laugh.


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Vanessa Rollings Giannis

Vanessa has over 15 years of experience working with public and privately-held businesses in the areas of finance and accounting, most recently with Sandbox Industries. She is a Certified Public Accountant. Vanessa earned her M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from Northwestern University and her B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame. After her father was diagnosed with PD, she became involved in fundraising efforts for the MJFF. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.


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Steffi Lentz

Passionate about the mission of the MJFF, Steffi became involved in the fundraising efforts early in 2012.  She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Accounting and Finance and is working on completing her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  Steffi is a Strategic Financial Manager at Berlin Packaging. Despite growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Steffi is an avid Packers fan.   In her free time can be found enjoying the outdoors, spending time with her family and cheering on her favorite sports teams with friends.


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Jonathan Lively

Jonathan was first touched by Parkinson's when his aunt was diagnosed almost 15 years ago.  His father was diagnosed in 2008.  Both of his beloved family members are living full and active lives thanks to the efforts of their doctors and each of their stubborn refusals to slow down.  Professionally, Jonathan is a Shareholder at the law firm of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney.  He and his firm proudly support Chicago Professionals for Parkinson's Research as a pro bono client.


Kelly Rath

Kelly manages the campus recruiting efforts for the Central Region of Deloitte. After obtaining her bachelor's degree in Business Administration Management and Communications from the University of Northern Iowa, Kelly moved from her home state of Iowa to Chicago and has worked in recruiting and event planning for over 12 years. Kelly's grandmother suffered from Parkinson's, and in 2011, her mother was diagnosed with PD and recently lost her battle in April 2014. Kelly became involved in the Chicago Professionals when looking for an outlet to proactively find a solution surrounding this disease. Kelly lives in Chicago with her husband and loves traveling, trying new restaurants and adventures, and is always up for a game night of any kind!

 


Bridget Russell

Bridget, a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, graduated from Rosemont College with a degree in Mathematics and has spent the last 15 years in the airline industry working on the logistics side of the business.  She is currently Cargo Manager, Midwest for Cathay Pacific Airways. Bridget's mother Marian was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1988 at the age of 44.  In 2003, Bridget founded the Marian C. Bell Foundation in support of her mother and they continue to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's research through fundraising events, donating all of the $350,000 in proceeds to date to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.  Bridget continues her efforts in Chicago as a founding member of Team Fox Chicago and Party Like A Fox annual event.  She has also completed the New York and Chicago marathons for Team Fox.  She resides in Chicago with her husband Bill and daughter Lucy.