Board of Directors & Staff



Board of Directors

Kitty Cole 

Kitty Cole is member of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest and chair of the church’s Mission and Outreach Committee. Kitty has been a long time leader with Lake County United and serves on its Steering Team. Kitty was involved in the very early research and planning stages that brought W2C into existence. She also was a member of the Strategic Planning Team.

Liam Connell 
Liam Connell is a member of Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, a board member of Episcopal Charities and Community Services, and was a member of the W2C Strategic Planning Team.

Chris Cornwall, Vice President 
Chris Cornwall is a CPA and Partner with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Chris is a member of Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, and chair of the Finance Committee at the Church.

Tonya Glaze , Treasurer
Tonya Glaze is an accountant with the YWCA in Waukegan with over 20 years of accounting experience from various companies and industries. She is the mother of 4 students in W2C. Her oldest son, Micah, is enrolled at Millikan University. Tonya was a member of the Strategic Planning Team. Tonya is also a member of Waukegan Community Church and a long time leader with Lake County United, serving on its Steering Team. In addition to her work with W2C, she serves various organizations such as National Association of University Women and First Tee of Greater Chicago at Foss Park Executive Board.

Dr. Charmaine Harris 
Dr. Charmaine Harris is the Head of the College Studies Program at Waukegan High School. Dr. Harris has had a 20-year career in education and has a son at WHS. She is making exciting changes in the high school and brings an excellent perspective to W2C.

Wayne Machnich 
Wayne Machnich is a Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois graduate. He is on the SIU Foundation board, was SIU alumni of the year, and helped developed SIU’s Masters Program in architectural design. He has worked closely with Jack Schuler and the Schuler program, and just stepped off the board for the Waukegan Public Schools Foundation, which he had served president of for close to 20 years. He is an architect and partner in LegatArchitects in Waukegan. Wayne is a Lake Bluff resident.

Mary Ellen Modlin, Secretary 
Mary Ellen Modlin is a Team Manager with Abbott Laboratories. Mary Ellen has been an advocate for W2C from the beginning and participated on the W2C Strategic Planning Team. She is a resident of Waukegan, a graduate of Waukegan High School, and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waukegan. Mary Ellen also volunteers in a variety of roles at her church, St. Paul’s Lutheran in Waukegan, Illinois. She currently serves as Council Secretary, Finance Director, and as a mentor for middle school aged youth. She has a degree in Economics from Barat College, Lake Forest, Illinois.

Dr. Laurie Richter 
Laurie Richter is an author of Put Me In, Coach and The Recruiting Companion, which she wrote after working with her own children on college athletic scholarships. Prior to becoming an author, Laurie ran a market research consulting firm and worked for 10 years for Quaker Oats Company in the market research department, ranging from Research Analyst to Research Director. Laurie holds a PhD Educational Psychology University of Texas at Austin. Laurie is an active volunteer with W2C as a coach for a W2C junior. She is a Lincolnshire resident and a member of North Shore Unitarian Church.

Rev. Eileen Shanley-Roberts 
Rev. Eileen Shanley-Roberts is the Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Waukegan. She has been with W2C since its earliest planning and research stages and is a member of the Lake County United Steering
Team. Eileen holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (B.A. and M.A.) and Episcopal Divinity School (M.Div.) and has been an educator for over 20 years with classroom experience on both the high school and university levels. Eileen and her husband, who is also an educator, reside in Waukegan with their school age daughters.

Dr. Meredith Smith
Meredith Smith is the Senior Scientific Director of Risk Management at Abbott Laboratories where she developed and implemented a global strategy for risk minimization for multiple products. Meredith was previously Director of Risk Management and Health Policy at Purdue Pharma. She holds a PhD in Public Policy Health Administration from New York University and earned a MPA in urban affairs and policy analysis from the New School for Social Research. Her undergraduate degree is from Barnard College, Columbia University. Meredith was a member of the W2C Strategic Planning Team.

Dr. James Summers 
James Summers joined Abbott in 1983 and currently serves as divisional vice president, Neuroscience and Pain Research in the Global Pharmaceutical Discovery organization. In this capacity, he leads a research organization of approximately 275 scientists located in Abbott Park, Illinois and Ludwigshafen Germany. Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Denison University and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Harvard University. Jim was a member of the W2C Strategic Planning Team. He is a Libertyville resident and a member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church.

Mary Sue Welch, President
Mary Sue Welch is a Partner and actuary at Aon Hewitt, a global human resources consulting firm. She consults on all aspects of retirement plans in both the pension and retiree health care areas. Mary Sue is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and an Enrolled Actuary. Mary Sue graduated from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. She is a Libertyville resident and member of Libertyville United Methodist Church where she serves on the Staff Parish Relations Committee. Mary Sue is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Lake County, IL.


Elyse Danckers, Executive Director
Elyse Danckers, has been involved with W2C since planning began in 2008. She works to develop workshop content and presenters, oversees the tutoring program and works with community organizations to develop volunteers , advisors and funders. Prior to joining W2C she was in management consulting and has extensive experience in developing and implementing strategic plans.

  • 4 years as an independent consultant for large international and small business clients
  • 10 years with an international legal publisher as Director of Business Development and Acquisitions (6 years) and Manager Strategic Planning (4 years)
  • 4 years in management consulting specializing in market strategy and productivity improvement
  • 6 years in sales and consulting in the banking industry
  • 2 years as an instructor in a business college (Wiesbaden, Germany)
  • MBA, University of Chicago, BA Mathematics, Northwestern University

Laura Rios, Program Manager
Laura Rios, has been with W2C for two years.  She has five years of community organizing experience and is fluent in Spanish. Her background in professional management equips her to meet with families each month to build relationships and ensure academic goals are being met. She has trained over 400 community leaders to engage local citizenry in neighborhood improvement strategies.

  • 5 years as Organizer with Reclaim Lorain and 2 years with Lake County United
  • 15 years in communications and sales/marketing services as Manager Communications and Manager Technical Communications

Hillary Thomas, Program Associate
Hillary Thomas is a 2012 graduate of the University of Michigan with a BA in Psychology.  She has extensive community service experience, including elementary school literacy tutoring.  She is fluent in Spanish and has studied in Chile.  Hillary is a Julian Intern in the Episcopal Service Corp.


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