2020 Cohort

Jillian AgdernJillian Agdern

Jillian Agdern is an Associate Principal at Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, where she works on complex urban developments and high-rise buildings in Chicago and around the country. Guiding initial design concepts through to finished construction makes Jillian excited to go to work every day. In addition, she is particularly focused on advancing green design in order to protect our environment.

Things are equally busy outside the office, raising three young daughters together with my husband in Northbrook. Whenever there’s a spare moment, you’ll find Jillian tinkering around in the kitchen. She can’t wait for the warm weather to get back out gardening and golfing. Jillian is also passionate about her involvement with various Jewish organizations, including Jewish National Fund and JUF.

Hillary CoustanHillary Coustan

Hillary Coustan is a partner in the Chicago office of Massey & Gail LLP, a boutique law firm focused on complex litigation. Before joining Massey & Gail LLP, Hillary worked as an associate at Sachnoff & Weaver Ltd. (now Reed Smith LLP) and as a partner at Agrawal Evans LLP in Chicago. In addition to her law practice, Hillary taught disability law and education law for several years at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

Hillary lives in Evanston with her husband, Charles, and two sons. She is a former Board member of Beth Emet Synagogue and is currently serving as a site supervisor for Beth Emet’s weekly soup kitchen.

michelle greenburgMichelle Lawner Greenburg

Michelle Lawner Greenburg serves as the Associate Vice President, Planning and Allocations at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation. Michelle started at the Jewish Federation in 2005 as a Planning Associate and over the past fifteen years has taken on a series of roles within the Planning department including working with lay and staff leadership to annually allocate more than $19 million in funding to affiliated Jewish education and continuity agencies such as JCC Chicago, Hebrew Theological College, Keshet, Spertus, four youth movements, four young adult engagement organizations, fifteen day schools, and the Associated Talmud Torahs. Prior to working at JUF, Michelle spent seven years working in the Planning and Allocations department at the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas in Social Work Administration. Michelle is also a graduate of the Spertus Institute and Northwestern University Certificate in Jewish Leadership program and was a participant in Brandeis University’s Kaplan Seminar for Emerging Jewish Professionals. She was a recipient of National Hadassah’s Judith Epstein Memorial Award for Young Leadership after serving as a Chapter and Group President of the Greater Kansas City Hadassah Chapter and holding several Regional Hadassah portfolios.

kate kramerKate Kramer

Kate Kramer is a native of the Chicago northwest suburbs and was raised in a deeply traditional, Zionistic and community-centric household. Kate is a graduate of Solomon Schechter Day School and Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago. During her formative years, she was involved with NCSY, JSU, Keshet and Yachad. After high school, Kate spent her first 2 years of college studying in Israel. Upon returning to the States, she moved to New York City to attend Touro College/Lander College for Women where she received a B.A. in Sociology and Communications. She then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from Touro College, where she received a Student Leadership Award.

Kate’s community involvement has been heavily focused on Jewish outreach and education. While living in New York City, Kate spent seven years working for Touro College and the Lander College for Women Studying Housing in various roles. During those seven years, she also volunteered for a variety of Jewish organizations, including: Midwest Senior and Junior NCSY, New York NCSY, Summer NCSY, JSU and Aish Hatorah.

For the past three years, Kate has been serving as the Human Resources Manager for All-Stat Portable X-ray. Kate’s community involvement focus has continued since moving back to Chicago. She has volunteered for many organizations, including The Shabbat Project Chicago and its Challah Bake, Bnos Tzion, J-Life/RAJE and AMIT.

tami levyTami Levy

Tami Levy is a real estate agent at @properties, based out of Highland Park and Bannockburn/Deerfield. As part of Lotzof Malk Residential, she specializes in residential real estate in the North Shore of Chicago. Tami brings 12 years of experience as a Business Owner to @, where she quickly grew her company to be the leader in the marketplace with #1 market share. Working in Sales, Customer Service and Management, Tami has utilized all of these skills to help build her Real Estate Business from the ground up to establish personal relationships with her clients, understand their needs and deliver success aligned to their objectives.

Tami was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and moved to the US when she was 13. She studied at The Ohio State University and finally made her way to Chicago where she received her Juris Doctor at Chicago Kent College of Law. She developed a strong interest in working with people and soon founded her own successful business. Working with people is her passion and with her outgoing personality, engaging enthusiasm and unrelenting drive to deliver excellent service and guaranteed customer satisfaction, Tami will be an asset to anyone looking to buy or sell a home.

What sets Tami apart is her keen eye for design and her ability to help home buyers envision themselves living in their new space. Her passion for interior design is an asset to all of her clients.

Tami has lived in the Bannockburn/Deerfield area for over 20 years and has excellent knowledge of all of the surrounding suburbs. In her spare time, Tami enjoys spending time with her husband and three beautiful children and their dog Foxy.

jennifer loebJennifer Loeb

Jennifer Loeb is Manager of Operations for Columbia College Chicago’s English and Creative Writing Department. But before running an academic department, she ran radio shows and movie sets. She was assistant producer for WBUR’s Car Talk, a Peabody-winning, call-in radio show broadcast weekly on National Public Radio (NPR) stations. After completing the esteemed Directors’ Guild of America (DGA) Assistant Director’s training program, she was second assistant director on several TV shows and movies in New York and Chicago. Her 10 year old daughter recently exclaimed, “Mommy, you are like Barbie, you have so many careers!” A native of Milwaukee, and a product of Jewish day school, she earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a focus in communications, psychology and Hebrew from the University of Michigan. Outside of work Jennifer has many leadership positions with her synagogue board, including chair of its Family Programing Committee and member of the Finance, By-laws and Hiring committees.

marilyn magesMarilyn Mages

Marilyn Mages is a content marketing professional who has provided strategies for communications departments to ensure consistent messaging and improved user engagement. Her experience spans being part of the corporate communications teams for UL, the world’s oldest safety company, and multiple associations such as the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Academy of General Dentistry, Independent Cosmetics Manufacturers and Distributors and the American College of Healthcare Executives. This has given her a breadth of knowledge to develop customized content for different audiences and media.

She has facilitated the production of blogs, newsletters (print and electronic), social media, public relations, finding authors/contributors, writing ads, annual meeting content and jump-started a development/giving program. As well Marilyn has focused on the creation and development of email campaigns with an open rate of at least 30 percent. She has supervised website redesigns, improved social media engagement and trained new users on back-end management systems to update websites content. She was team leader for selecting a new association management system. Evaluating results from Google Analytics, Marketo, (email management and lead management) and other email programs, she is able to determine how to manage content and what topics are trending per KPIs.

Marilyn holds a Master’s in Writing from DePaul University and a Bachelor’s in English.

liz robertsLiz Roberts

Liz Roberts focuses on providing comprehensive real estate services to a variety of clients, primarily corporations with global real estate holdings. Liz’s focus on global portfolio solutions allows her to work with clients to shape real estate strategy and then implement that strategy to create real savings and new opportunities for corporate growth.

As a global account manager, she oversees the transaction management, reporting, lease administration and overall process to ensure the goals of the portfolio are met. She has managed multiple portfolios for global Fortune 500 companies with various real estate holdings worldwide and specializes in working with companies whose real estate portfolios include a variety of asset types, including office, warehouse, manufacturing, and R&D facilities.  This work includes large complex transactions for both office and industrial product, including portfolio dispositions, headquarter restructures, and sale/leasebacks.  Currently, Liz is also a part of Cresa’s Industrial Services National team.

Prior to joining Cresa, Liz was with Newmark Knight Frank Smith Mack in Philadelphia.  There she developed the Corporate Services platform for the Philadelphia office, managing multiple corporate real estate portfolios.

Liz has executed transactions in cities and countries such as Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Miami, London, Toronto, Singapore, Germany, Argentina, Australia, China, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico among many others.

laurel van allenLaurel Van Allen

Laurel Van Allen is a Senior Managing Director at Coherent Economics, a boutique economic consulting firm where she leads the finance practice. She helps lead her organization, execute the firm’s strategy, develop business, and facilitate growth for members of her team.

As a consultant, she is passionate about solving complex problems, and she helps her clients by offering sound advice using economic principles and rigorous empirical analysis.  She has addressed complex issues concerning finance and economics in a wide range of litigation and regulatory proceedings including disputed mergers & acquisitions, appraisal litigation, securities and ERISA litigation, patent disputes, breach of contract claims, price fixing allegations, and a broad range of matters stemming from the financial crisis.

Laurel has extensive experience consulting for both plaintiffs and defendants on such matters as securities litigation, where she has analyzed market efficiency, causation, and damages. She has assisted clients involved in disputes involving mergers and acquisitions by assessing economic evidence, sales process, management incentives, and valuation.

In addition to providing consulting services on countless matters, Laurel has been retained as an expert on valuation and damages issues in several cases.

Prior to joining Coherent Economics, Laurel was a Vice President at Compass Lexecon.  She received her M.A. in economics from the University of Chicago.  Laurel and her husband and three sons are members of Moriah Congregation in Deerfield, Illinois, and her two oldest sons attend Solomon Schechter Day School in Northbrook, Illinois.

wendy weissmanWendy Weissman

Wendy Weissman is the Manager of Foundation & Corporate Relationships at JCC Chicago. Here, she is responsible for a breadth of grant-related activities including foundational research and the management and development of the agency’s grant process. In this role, Wendy works to increase the capacity of JCC Chicago to secure capital from private, corporate and government funders. Prior to moving to the Chicagoland area in the summer of 2018, Wendy worked as the Assistant Director of the Community Relations Council at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in Virginia Beach, VA and as the Membership Director at the New Orleans JCC. While starting out in the financial sector at major corporations like General Electric and ING Group, it wasn’t until after completing her MBA in 2014 and getting involved in the New Orleans Jewish community that she realized her career would ultimately shift. She became involved in the local Jewish community through various committee work, and soon realized her passion and love of this work could turn into an occupation. For the last five years, Wendy has enjoyed growing professionally in the Jewish nonprofit sector.

Outside of work, Wendy enjoys exploring her new city with her husband, Brad, and two boys, Nathan and Louis. She has a newfound love of Chicago summers after experiencing her first-ever midwestern winter!

hillary wenkHillary Wenk

Hillary Wenk was born in Manhattan and raised in a suburb 45 miles outside New York City. She is a graduate of the State University of New York – Binghamton with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Hillary started her career in fundraising for the Westchester County NY chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. When she and her husband moved to Illinois, Hillary stayed home for ten years to raise their two daughters. Once the girls were in school full-time, she returned to work with JCC Chicago.  First as a part-time administrative assistant, and then full-time as the Program Coordinator for the Arts + Ideas Department, playing an integral role in coordinating the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival.

In 2018, Hillary completed her Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus Institute.

Hillary is married to her husband, Brian, of 25 years. They have 2 daughters, Brooke, a junior at The Ohio State and Shaina, a high school senior who will be attending the University of Kansas in the fall. She enjoys reading, crocheting, cooking and snuggling with her 13-year-old cockapoo, Miley.

lena goretsky wintersLena Goretsky Winters

Lena Goretsky Winters is a trial lawyer with over fifteen years of experience handling matrimonial law cases.  After graduating from Northwestern Law School, Lena practiced family law at some of Chicago’s premier family law and litigation firms.

In 2013, Lena formed Winters Family Law Firm, which has since developed a reputation for delivering outstanding results.  Lena’s mission is to serve clients with compassion and understanding while delivering optimal results

Lena has extensive experience in all types of domestic relations issues, including but not limited to divorce, child support and maintenance, allocation of parental responsibilities (custody), and allocation of marital and non-marital assets.  Where appropriate Lena helps clients reach a negotiated resolution.  That said, Lena offers her clients maximum leverage as a lawyer willing and able to take cases to trial.

Lena speaks and publishes regularly on family law-related topics.  She is an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University School of Law teaching trial advocacy skills.  Lena gives back to her community and regularly assists low in come clients pro bono. Lena is also on the board of directors of Deerfield Family Theater and lives in Deerfield, IL with her husband and her three daughters.

Fellowship Criteria

Women inPower is open to female leaders across all industries, for- and non-profit. To be considered for the Fellowship, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Jewish woman or woman who works for a Jewish agency
  • Live in the Chicagoland area (city or suburbs)
  • 15 years or more of work experience
  • Seeking career advancement in the next 5 years
  • Open to exploring new ideas and perspective
  • Uncompromising in commitment to professional advancement
  • Eager to learn new strategies for professional and personal success
  • Willing to share experiences and insights with the cohort of Fellows
  • Committed to participation in the 12-month Fellowship


Jodi S. Cohen
Reporter, ProPublica

Stacey J. Dembo
Managing Attorney at the Law Offices of Stacey J. Dembo, LLC

Pamela Handmaker
Sr. Director, Product and Innovation, Voluntary Benefits at Trustmark

Marci Horowitz
Global Client Director, Dun & Bradstreet

Rebecca Howard
CEO, Paylink Direct

Debra Siena
President, Midtown Athletic Clubs

Candice Silver
Vice President/Assistant General Counsel at J.P. Morgan Chase

Steering Committee

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot
Mayor of the City of Chicago; Honorary Co-Chair, JCC Chicago’s Women inPower 2020 Steering Committee

Danielle Claman Gelber
President and Executive Producer, Acoustic Productions, Inc.

Addie Goodman
President/CEO, JCC Chicago

Alison Gutterman
CEO/President, Jelmar

Gerri Kahnweiler
General Partner, InvestHER Ventures

Lisa Reisman
CEO Azul Partners Inc & Co-Founder MetalMiner

Phyllis Tabachnick
Managing Director, J.P. Morgan

Women inPower Includes:

Regular meetings:
Gathering regularly over a period of 12 months

Cross-sector mix:
Connecting women from different backgrounds and industries

Skill building:
Providing opportunities for self-growth and learning

Peer-to-peer mentoring:
Creating the space where women guide and support each other—either peer-to-peer or by matching women with more senior mentors

Socializing and friendship:
Offering fun events that allow for shared experiences and lasting connections


Please contact Elizabeth Abrams at eabrams@jccchicago.org for more information.