President & CEO: Susan B Benton
Susan has worked with libraries and local governments for over twenty years. Her professional career has been dedicated to assisting city and county executives initiate and manage change in their organizations so that citizens and businesses are receiving the strongest possible services. She comes to ULC from her position as Research, Development and Strategic Partners Executive at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
Senior Program Manager, Edge: Lourdes Aceves
Lourdes comes to ULC from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), where she was a Compliance Analyst. In this position, she was instrumental in successfully launching Illinois’ Hardest Hit Fund Program (HHF), a federal foreclosure prevention program for the development of locally‐tailored programs to assist struggling homeowners. Prior to joining IHDA in August 2011, Lourdes was a Research Assistant for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in Chicago where she honed her skills as a community activist and organizer.
Finance & Administrative Executive: Katherine Behrens
Katherine comes to ULC from Educational Research Service (ERS), where she was the Chief Operating Officer. As COO, she directed all accounting and finance activities, prepared the annual budget, developed personnel policies and procedures, created marketing plans, managed library services, and monitored annual contracts. Katherine’s career has been focused on non-profits and helping educators use research to improve student achievement. She is dedicated to managing internal operations to allow the organization to provide the highest level of service to clients.
Project Manager: Mary Colleen Bragiel
Colleen has extensive marketing, PR, business development, and conference planning experience. Prior to ULC, Colleen worked with several consumer and healthcare companies on brand recognition, market research, and image consulting. To date, Colleen manages the planning and execution of forums, gatherings, and programs offered by ULC and its partners.
Strategic Initiatives/Program Development Executive: Angela Goodrich
Angela has dedicated her career to sustainable communities. Since joining ULC in 1999, she has helped to create national initiatives to advance learning and youth engagement, strengthen technology in libraries, develop emerging library leaders, promote and spread innovation and communicate the value of the public library in the 21st century. Prior to her current position, Angela was ULC's Finance/Administration Executive and managed ULC's financial and internal growth. Angela began her career focused on the power of story and community as the founding business director of two nationally recognized Chicago theaters - Lookingglass Theatre Company and Redmoon Theater.
Finance Manager: Christine Merzazada
Christine comes to ULC from Educational Research Service (ERS) where she was the Office Manager. She has over 15 years of experience working for a non-profit handling most of the accounting and financial activities for the organization. Prior to her last position, she was responsible for the publication fulfillment process as well as membership invoicing.
Senior Program & Communications Manager: Sheila Murphy
Sheila is a lifelong patron of public libraries and a professional whose career has been deeply enriched by working with libraries. She comes to ULC with extensive experience as a nonprofit program manager. Prior to joining ULC in 2011, Sheila was a Senior Program Officer with the Wallace Foundation where she designed and managed numerous multi-year initiatives in the areas of youth services/out-of-school time; adult/family literacy and the literary arts.
Senior Executive Assistant to the CEO: Danuta Sawicki
Danuta comes to ULC having refined her administrative skills working at various law firms, consulting firms and associations. She experienced the dot-com boom working as a project manager for two start-up tech firms. Earlier, she developed marketing strategies based on doing first-hand, qualitative market research. Her prior not-for-profit work experience includes managing the out-patient pediatric clinics of a major research hospital in Chicago. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago.
Director of Communications: Robert Shalett
Robert comes to ULC with over 20 years experience in communications, marketing and publications work in the philanthropic and healthcare sectors. Before joining ULC, Robert served at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, The Foundation Review, the Council on Foundations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Psychiatric Association.