MEET OUR ASSOCIATE BOARD

John Azpeitia
John Azpeitia is a Managing Consultant with Navigant Consulting’s Government Healthcare Solutions unit. He has more than 10 years of strategy and management consulting experience including engagements related to Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act , and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Health Information Technology , Health Information Exchange , and the Health Insurance Marketplace. Prior to Navigant, Mr. Azpeitia served as a Senior Policy and Program Management Consultant with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and developed, monitored and interpreted policies and processing standards for the Blue Cross plans. Previously, Mr. Azpeitia worked with both state and local education agencies on school-based Medicaid reimbursement programs while at Public Consulting Group and Deloitte Consulting. He has worked on healthcare-related engagements with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), including previous work with CMS on the Affordable Care Act's premium stabilization programs, and with agencies, insurance plans and hospitals on public programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). John earned his Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor of Arts, Government, from Georgetown University.

Jessica Bargnes
Jessica M. Bargnes graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She then attended Loyola University School of Law where she received her JD. She then joined Scariano, Himes and Petraraca, Chtd. as an Associate Attorney where she served as general counsel for numerous suburban school districts. In that role she bargained teacher contracts, negotiated administrator contracts, and litigated claims filed against school districts. Ms. Bargnes provided education and employment law counseling to the school districts and conducted training sessions, handled harassment and misconduct investigations, drafted motions, position statements, employment agreements, policies and employee/student handbooks, settlement agreements, and legal opinion letters. She is currently a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and both the National and Illinois Councils of School Attorneys. Jessica left the firm in 2012 to stay at home with her then 9-month old, and is now working at home caring for her almost 4-year old and almost 2-year old where her days are mostly spent building forts! She is also active in the St. Clement Parish and in the Smart Love community.

Stephen Jackson, JD
Mr. Jackson received his Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law and his B.A. in organizational management from Concordia University Chicago. He has held marketing management positions in the fields of educational publishing, information technology, hospitality, and commercial/retail sales. Additionally, as a practicing attorney he has provided legal representation to disabled adults and children, and he was a former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney in the Child Protection Division of the Juvenile Justice Bureau. Steve is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Concordia University Chicago where he leads classes in Employment Law, Communications, and Organizational Ethics. From 2012-2014 he served as Co-Chair of the annual Smart Love Scholarship Gala, “Little Feet, Big Fun.”

Emily Carroll
Emily B. Carroll, received her M.A. in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, and her B.A. in Psychology and English at Smith College. Mrs. Carroll was a Clinical Supervisor at the Juvenile Protective Association and previously served as Program Manager for the Smart Love Parenting Center. She was Program Coordinator of the Emergency Housing Program at the Stone Institute of Psychiatry of Northwestern Memorial Hospital for seventeen years and the Senior Social Worker in adult inpatient psychiatry for eleven years. She has also provided family counseling at United Charities of Chicago, Madden Mental Health Center, and the Court Referral Unit. Mrs. Carroll volunteers for several organizations and has presented at numerous conferences and has several publications. She has taught social work interns from Loyola University Chicago and the University of Chicago, as well as interns, medical students, and residents of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Robert Carroll
Robert Carroll's thirty year career in healthcare began in 1977 with the decision to work in a field with the greatest scope for incorporating the ideals and insights of intrapsychic humanism. After receiving a B.A. in History in 1978 from Roosevelt University in Chicago, he received a M.A. from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. From 1980 until 1988 he practiced as a clinical social worker on the inpatient units of the Institute of Psychiatry of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. There he saw how the business forces shaping insurance coverage for mental illness had become a pervasive and distorting influence on psychological treatment, theory, and practice. This led to a strong interest in the business structures shaping healthcare in the U.S. After earning an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago in 1990, he was a hospital planner at Little Company of Mary Hospital and then a strategic financial planning consultant to hospital and physician organizations throughout the U.S. for thirteen years.

Anne Crees
Anne Crees is a current Smart Love Preschool parent with a deep interest in issues around parenting and child development. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Iowa. Currently, Anne is a Sales Executive at Aetna Insurance developing and cultivating relationships with key constituents and focused on profitable growth of brokers serving middle market clients. She is a subject matter expert on the legal requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Anne is a lead presenter at broker education seminars and internal trainings, and she is a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states. Anne previously held the role of Senior New Business Processor for Destiny Health from 2001-2004. There she served as the company’s first Spanish translator, translating legal documents, medical history information, marketing brochures, medical questionnaires, and PowerPoint presentations. As Destiny’s New Business Representative on implementation teams Anne was responsible for timely and accurate integration for all large groups including enrollments, system entry, data collection, implementation, and activation.

Samantha Dimas
Mrs. Samantha Dimas earned a Master of Elementary Education from DePaul University and holds a Type 04 elementary education certificate. She received her BA in Sociology from George Mason University. Mrs. Dimas taught eighth grade science in a challenging school environment on the west side of Chicago. In addition to teaching, other responsibilities included being the grade level chair, coaching athletics, before and after school tutoring and organizing and planning end of the year trips. She also worked with the administration to find and implement a project based science curriculum for the school and assisted in interviewing potential candidates for new positions. Prior to her role as a teacher, Mrs. Dimas worked for a consulting firm where she performed various roles, including project coordinator for the computer forensics group. In 2002, while working on a consulting project in Nashville, TN, she had the opportunity to volunteer in a local elementary school's literacy program. This experience changed Samantha's mindset and she immediately enrolled in DePaul's Master of Education Program. After teaching for several years, she decided to stay home and raise her two boys. She learned about the Smart Love philosophy when her boys attended the preschool.

Alison Gehle
Alison Gehle, M.D., is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she received her Bachelor of Science and M.D. degrees. Dr. Gehle performed her internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, and she is board certified in pediatrics. Alison is currently a pediatrician with Lakeview Pediatrics. She has extensive teaching and mentoring experience to her credit and has generously volunteered her time as the chair and co-chair of several charity events, a teen mother education project, and as camp counselor at a children’s camp for ventilator-dependent children. Alison affiliated with Smart Love in 2011 when she and her daughter participated in the Toddler class. Her daughter then attended Smart Love’s preschool. Alison’s two year old son continues in the Toddler class at Smart Love. Alison and husband Mani are also avid Michigan football fans. Go Blue!

Jeremy Guenther
Jeremy Guenther is a Senior Tax Manager at Exelon Corporation specializing in corporate taxation and has been with the company since 2008. Prior to working at Exelon, Jeremy worked in corporate taxation in public accounting and the private sector. Jeremy is a CPA with a BS and MBA from Michigan State University. While at Michigan State University, Jeremy was a member of the Division I soccer team, and captain his senior year. In his free time he enjoys participating in triathlons, snow skiing, golf and travel. Jeremy was introduced to Smart Love in 2011 – 2014 when his daughter attended preschool, and has been involved with the school at various levels since then. Through his first-hand experience, Jeremy has seen the benefits that Smart Love provides both its students and its families, and looks forward to sharing that with other families in the Chicago area.

Alina Haber-Kovach
Alina Haber-Kovach, Principal, MAHK1, LLC.  Haber-Kovach founded MAHK1, LLC as a result of her passion for helping organizations achieve their goals.  She uses a proactive approach to getting things done with her primary focus being the people side of change. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as provided business transformation services to businesses and non-profits. Haber-Kovach holds an MBA from The University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.

Judy Maritato
Judy Storey Maritato is a senior market research professional with a core focus on the hardware / home improvement / construction industries. Judy is the Executive Director of Research Dynamics, a research consultancy specializing in business-to-business and industrial market research encompassing diverse methodological and analytical approaches. Ms. Maritato holds a degree in sociology from University of Illinois-Chicago, and an M.B.A. from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Jeffrey Sadowski
Jeffrey Sadowski brings his great depth of not-for-profit leadership expertise to Smart Love Family Services. He currently holds the position of Director of Philanthropy for Vandercook College of Music where he manages Vandercook’s fundraising, events, donations, grants, and programs to increase the college’s brand awareness and resources. Previously, Jeff was the Vice-President of Club Operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago. There he oversaw all operations including finance and development of the 19 clubs that serve youth throughout Chicago and also served as the Club’s media spokesperson. Jeff also held the positions of Regional Director and Club Director handling a variety of fundraising and community outreach programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs before moving into the role of Vice-President. Jeff was also a Park Supervisor (McGuane Park) for nearly 10 years with the Chicago Park District and supervised a staff of about 90 full-time and part-time employees. Jeff earned his MBA from Loyola University in 2010, and his BA in Business Administration, Marketing & Management Track, from Saint Xavier University.

Tanya Stippich
Tanya Stippich grew up in Wisconsin and lives with her husband and 5-year old daughter in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago. Tanya graduated with a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She practiced law in Chicago for 8 years before completing a post-graduate program in fashion design at the School of the Art institute of Chicago. She currently works at home taking care of her daughter. She enjoys art, fashion, yoga, running at the lakefront, movies, and having dance parties with her daughter. As a mother of a Smart Love preschool graduate, Tanya knows the benefits of the Smart Love approach firsthand. Her daughter blossomed during her two years at the school.

Tatyana Vayl
Tatyana Vayl has extensive experience in budgeting, forecasting, financial modeling, communications and project management. She is currently an Operations Manager for Accenture responsible for a global travel budget of $2B and development of analytics, reporting tools, processes, communications, and management of a team of analysts responsible for tracking savings and cost reduction. Previous assignments at Accenture included Sales and Pricing analytics and reporting, and enterprise workforce cost classification modeling. As a financial analyst, Tanya helped lead the conversion of Accenture’s legacy financial system to SAP and the set-up of the organizations’ business structure in SAP including hierarchies, cost centers, profit centers elements and projects. Tanya is well-versed in financial reporting, business modeling and forecasting, development of analytics and reporting tools, complex data gathering and analysis, and project development and implementation. Ms. Vayl received her MBA in Strategy, Execution and Valuations from DePaul University in 2005, and earned her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Economics and Chemistry at Lake Forest College.

Maria Wimmer
Ms. Maria Wimmer holds a post-secondary degree in business administration/social from Bavaria, Germany and gained international experience at various locations in Germany, Switzerland, and the United States. Her second passion is music, and she studied violin at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago in the early 90’s. After her return to the United States in 2001, she then lent her talents to early childhood music education. Maria is a mother of three and delighted to bring her skills to Smart Love.

Markus Wimmer
Dr. Markus Wimmer, PhD is Professor and Associate Chairman in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center. He further teaches in the Bioengineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Markus Wimmer studied mechanical engineering with a focus on testing and materials at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. He received his diploma in 1992. After a post-graduate year in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Andriacchi at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center (Chicago), he started as a Research Associate at the Hamburg University of Technology and worked towards a PhD degree in biomechanics under the supervision of Prof. Erich Schneider. In 1997, Markus Wimmer moved from Germany to Switzerland and started to work at the AO Research Institute in Davos, where he focused on bone and joint related work. He returned to Rush University in 2001 to improve cartilage regeneration and joint replacement procedures. Markus has three boys (15, 7, and 5). Both of his younger boys participated in Smart Love program starting as a toddler and finishing ready for Kindergarten.



Smart Love Family Services • Chicago, Illinois • P:773.665.8052 • E: contact@smartlovefamily.org
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