Board of Directors
Maggie Baczkowski is the Founder and Board Chair of Strides for Peace, a non-profit organization founded in 2014 to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence in Chicago. Strides for Peace works to uplift nonprofit organizations, supporting community-based programs and collaborations that work to saves lives across the city of Chicago. Since its founding, Strides for Peace has invested in building opportunities for over 40 Chicago-based nonprofit organizations to raise revenue, build capacity and collaborate.
Maggie is an influential leader who works to empower communities by inspiring action while remaining grounded in forming strategic partnerships to fulfill Strides for Peace’s mission. She believes everyone has a stake in stopping gun violence, and that by working together, all citizens of Chicago can be part of the solution to create a stronger, more resilient city.
In 2014, Maggie created the annual Race Against Gun Violence as a platform for nonprofit organizations to highlight their work and raise funds — further bridging the business community and grassroots organizations across the city of Chicago. Since its founding, the race has expanded to include organizations representing a broad spectrum of sectors and strategies that play a vital role in stopping gun violence.
Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Maggie has built a career in real estate in Chicago. She is currently a top producing real estate agent with @Properties, concentrating in the residential market. Her commitment to creating and providing equal opportunities is further exemplified by her passion for mentoring young women. She also works for the Bill Nygren Foundation, which focuses on Educational and Microfinance Organizations. Outside of work, she is often with family and friends.
Molly is an educator with 15 years of experience, working with inner-city youth at the primary level and having taught in Richmond, California, Chicago and London. With a background in fine arts, Molly received a BA from Barat College, followed by studio work in ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Molly currently lives in Chicago with her husband, Alexander, and their two children.
Jill has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area and has spent the last 11 years as a serious home cook and stay-at-home mom to her twin boys. Having taught at a private preschool in Kenilworth after college, Jill also worked closely with Abby Mandel in the beginning stages of Chicago’s Green City Market.
Jill fervently believes that all kids should feel safe within their own neighborhood and is grateful for the opportunity to help other Chicago moms ensure the safety of their kids through Strides for Peace.
Steve Johnson joined the senior living team at Ziegler in 1999. His primary responsibility is to serve the investment banking needs of senior living organizations in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana. His areas of expertise include the financing of start-up projects, campus repositionings, major expansions, and the workout of troubled facilities.
Most recently his focus has included advising senior living systems on growth through divestitures, acquisitions and new projects. Over the last twelve years, Steve has senior managed or co-senior managed more than 45 public debt offerings – raising more than $2.5 billion through a variety of diverse capital structures. In all of these activities, he has become a leading authority on the metro-Chicago senior living marketplace.
Prior to joining Ziegler, Steve had served as executive director of one of the nation’s premiere senior living organizations, Willow Valley Retirement Communities. For more than five years, he served as an evaluator and team chair for the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCARF-CCAC). Previously, he worked for a leading venture firm in the Silicon Valley of northern California. There, he participated in raising and managing more than $50 million of private equity in both the United States and Japan.
Steve received a M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Evanston, IL and a B.A. from Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.
Meeghan M. Nemeroff is an experienced attorney and business adviser with a concentration in representing financial institutions and corporations in mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, corporate finance, corporate governance and regulatory and compliance matters. Most recently, she held the post of Associate General Counsel and Managing Director for PrivateBancorp, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company, and its subsidiary, The PrivateBank and Trust Company. Previously, Ms. Nemeroff was Associate General Counsel and First Vice President for MAF Bancorp, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company, and its subsidiary Mid America Bank. She previously practiced law with Vedder Price P.C., a Chicago-based international law firm, where she represented a broad range of public companies and financial institutions.
Ms. Nemeroff received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and her Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois. She is admitted to the Illinois bar and is a member of the American Bar Association.
In addition to her work with Strides for Peace, Ms. Nemeroff is active in various civic and charitable organizations, including the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Chicago HELP Initiative.
Ellen Sandor is a new media artist, and Founder/Director of the collaborative artists’ group, (art)n with works in the permanent collection of the International Center of Photography, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and The Smithsonian Institution. In 1975, she received an MFA in Sculpture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an Affiliate of eDream, National Center for Supercomputing Applications at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, on the Board of Governors for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is a Life Trustee of The Art Institute of Chicago. In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and in 2013, received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award. Ms. Sandor is also co-founder of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection, and in 2014, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Lisa is an attorney who represents clients on residential and commercial real estate transactions, as well as general corporate matters. Prior to starting her own practice, Lisa was in the Real Estate group at Mayer Brown LLP from 2001 until 2008. Lisa subsequently served as in-house counsel at Corus Bank, where she focused on construction lending, and in-house counsel at Mission Measurement, where her focus was on commercial transactions and general corporate matters.
Lisa also serves on the Executive Board of the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation and also as Secretary of the IMD Guest House Foundation Board of Directors.
Donna is a Chicago resident and, following years of work in Corporate America, decided to pursue her dream of being her own boss. She now works as a personal organizer, managing and de-stressing the lives of her clients. As such, she never stops moving and finds herself on the go 24/7, helping clients, friends, or neighbors.
Donna also serves as Board President for her Condo Association. She was born and raised in Michigan.
Elizabeth hails from Cincinnati, Ohio but has been Chicago resident for 15 years and currently resides in Lakeview. Selling real estate with @properties for the past ten years, she is currently on the fundraising board for the One Acre Fund and is an active volunteer at the St. Thomas of Canterbury food pantry.
In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and checking out new restaurants. Elizabeth attended Ohio University and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity.
Roopa is senior vice president and head of institutional client services at Ariel Investments. Prior to joining Ariel in 1997, she worked in the non-profit arena for a Chicago-based fundraising consulting firm and at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Roopa serves on the advisory boards of the Gene Siskel Film Center and the River North Chicago Dance Company, and is a member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fashion Committee. In 2012, she graduated from the Fellowship Program of Leadership Greater Chicago, an initiative which educates and connects emerging leaders to support and strengthen the Chicago region.
Roopa is also a children’s book author who has created the Penny the Peacock® series. Her first book, Messy Penny, focuses on how true beauty comes from the happiness in one’s heart. The series is designed to promote and foster self confidence in children of all ages.