Chicago Management Team
Ryan Evans – President and Director of Test Prep
Ryan began his tenure with Minds Matter as a test prep instructor in 2014. He graduated from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in business and earned his J.D. from DePaul University. When not helping Minds Matter students maximize their standardized testing potential, Ryan is a trial attorney in Chicago specializing in medical malpractice and health care defense.
Caitlin Gillis – Director of Senior Program
Caitlin joined Minds Matter in 2014 as a mentor and transitioned to the role of Director of Senior Program in 2016. As a graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, she’s an avid Tar Heels fan and lover of all things from the South. Outside of Minds Matter, Caitlin works in marketing at a startup and is also an Affiliate Board Member of the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
Tim Blasius - Director of Senior Program
Tim joined the Chicago chapter of Minds Matter in 2015 with a belief in education as a means to overcome inequalities, and has transitioned to the management team in the role of Director of Senior Program in 2018. He holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. As a Chicago native, Tim is an avid local sports fan and enjoys staying active through a variety of athletics. He currently works for Mars Wrigley Confectionery as a Global Program Manager.
Charles Barkley - Director of Junior Program
Charlie has been volunteering with Minds Matter since 2017 and is thrilled to join the management team as Director of the Junior Program in 2018. A higher education admissions professional, Charlie is the Assistant Director of Enrollment Management at the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. Charlie earned a master's degree in English from Oregon State University and attended the University of Kansas for his bachelor's degrees in English and Art History.
Christine Tran-Gillespie - Director of Junior Program
Christine has volunteered with Minds Matter since 2017 and is delighted by the opportunity to serve as Director of the Junior Program. As a first generation American, Christine understands the value Minds Matter brings to students’ lives and how pivotal mentorship can be in transforming a life trajectory. Christine double majored in Finance and Accounting at Baylor University and currently works as a data specialist in the Financial Services industry.
Bo Won Koo - Director of Sophomore Program
Bo joined the Chicago chapter of Minds Matter in 2018 with a passion for education and mentorship. He is now serving the Minds Matter organization as a Director of the Sophomore program. Bo obtained his Bachelor’s and Master's degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently works for KPMG's consulting practice, specializing in financial transformation.
Matt Padberg – Director of Sophomore Program
Matt began volunteering for Minds Matter as a mentor in 2015. He now serves as a Director of the Sophomore Program in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Geosciences and currently works in sales effectiveness consulting. Matt is passionate about helping students succeed & achieve their goals by giving them the right education & tools. He enjoys running, travel, and live music.
Rong Lai – Director of Summer Programs
Michael Bongiovanni – Director of Summer Programs
John Marshall – Director of Test Prep
Brendan Griffin – Director of Data & Analytics
Brendan joined Minds Matter in 2016 as a member of the Associate Board where he worked with the events team for two school years. In 2018, he joined the Data & Analytics committee and is excited to harness the power of data to drive the Minds Matter mission. Brendan graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in Industrial Engineering and currently works at Accenture as a Technology Consultant.
Kristen Ignaczak – Director of Data & Analytics
Eric Mintzer – Director of Volunteers
Eric has been a mentor for Minds Matter Chicago since 2014. He joined the management team in 2017 after his first mentee went off to college. Eric studied Economics at Williams College and is now a trader at Gelber Group.
Alyson Gonzalez – Director of Social Media
Alyson started with Minds Matter Chicago in 2018 as a mentor and joined the management team in 2019 as Director of Social Media. Through her year of service with Public Allies Chicago, Alyson became immersed in postsecondary preparation work and grew her passion for ensuring positive outcomes for every student through equitable access to resources. She received her Bachelor's from DePaul University and currently works as a graphic designer at Chicago Public Schools.
Abby O'Neill – Director of Technology
Abby joined Minds Matter as a mentor in 2018 before joining the management team. Abby has a BS in Computer Science from Fordham University and works as a data engineer at Allstate.
Clara Tse – Director of Alumni
Clara joined Minds Matter after learning about this organization from a friend who mentored at the New York chapter. In her six years with the organization, she has served as a mentor, Director of Senior Program, and Director of Alumni. She graduated from Northwestern University and received her Master in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She currently works at a healthcare consulting firm, specializing in revenue cycle improvement.
Sylvia Yu – Director of Finance
Sylvia initially learned about Minds Matter through a college friend who volunteered with organization's San Francisco chapter. She was impressed with her friend's dedication to helping his mentee succeed and wanted to make the same impact. After moving from California to Chicago in summer 2016, she joined Minds Matter Chicago as a mentor and served on the Associate Board from 2016-2018. Sylvia earned her B.S. from the University of California, Davis. She currently works with British Petroleum's renewable energy trading business. Outside of work, she enjoys longboarding, snowboarding, and golfing.
Ted Kang – Director of Corporate Fundraising
Ted joined Minds Matter in 2018 as both a mentor and member of the Finance team. He now serves as the Director of Fundraising, and helps oversee the chapter’s fundraising strategy for corporate, charitable foundation, and individual donors. Ted always had a passion for volunteering and firmly believes in advancing the mission at Minds Matter. Ted graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor's degree in Finance. He is currently an investment banker for a boutique investment bank in Chicago. As a California native, Ted enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and attending music festivals.
The Associate Board oversees the fundraising efforts of Minds Matter of Chicago and is comprised of two committees: Corporate Fundraising and Event Planning.
Corporate Fundraising Committee
Ted Kang - Director of Corporate Financing
Gian Paulo Sese
Becky Sulentic - Director of Events
Amanda Caldwell - Subcommittee Head
Eileen Jowlowski - Subcommittee Head
Brendan Griffin - Subcommittee Head