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

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.

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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.

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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

Rong joined Minds Matter Chicago in 2018 as a mentor to a sophomore student and took on the Director of Summer Programs position in 2019. Coming from an immigrant family herself, she understands the importance of education and the opportunities Minds Matter bring to help students succeed in the future. Rong earned her bachelor degree in Finance and International Business from Temple University and is currently working as a financial analyst for a tech start up.

Michael Bongiovanni – Director of Summer Programs

Mike joined Minds Matter in 2017 as a mentor and expanded his contribution in 2018 by joining the Associate Board. In 2019, he became the Director of Summer Programs, and helps oversee the chapter’s strategy for students continuing education through a unique summer experience. Mike has always had a passion for giving back in the local community. He graduated from Metropolitan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a minor in Economics. Mike currently works in Corporate Finance at Conagra Brands. Mike enjoys the outdoors, traveling and running.
Marshall, John

John Marshall – Director of Test Prep

John joined Minds Matter in 2016 as a math tutor before taking over as co-director of test prep in 2019. John graduated from the University of Chicago where he studied economics and statistics and currently works on the trading floor of the CBOE.

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.

Ignaczak, Kristen

Kristen Ignaczak – Director of Data & Analytics

Kristen joined Minds Matter in 2017 as a mentor in the sophomore class. In 2019, she joined the Data & Analytics committee as the Chairperson, and has been excited about getting data at the fingertips of the entire Associate Board and Mentors and Tutors. Kristen graduated from Purdue University with a BA in Professional Writing and currently works at Kraft Heniz as the Global Lead for Data & Analytics for Supply Chain.

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

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.

Associate Board

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

Monica Chen

Will Burns

Yelena Svetlichnaya

Eugin Lee

Spencer Oh

Gian Paulo Sese

June Huang

Kevin Phelan

Daniel D'Hondt


MBA Fellow

Nicole Smith


Events Committee

Becky Sulentic - Director of Events

Amanda Caldwell - Subcommittee Head

Eileen Jowlowski - Subcommittee Head

Brendan Griffin - Subcommittee Head

Mel Quigley

Katherine Schaaf

Sandie Xu

Tracy Kwan