Board of Directors
Jamie Wildman is a Managing Director in the investment banking division of William Blair & Company, L.L.C. Jamie received his B.A. cum laude from Vanderbilt University and his MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Jamie brings significant financial and non profit experience to our Board. In addition to Bernie’s Book Bank, Jamie is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and the Gorton Community Center Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Craig is the Chief Operating and Financial Officer of GEM Realty Capital, a Chicago based firm investing in public and private real estate. He received his BS in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member of the board for Family Promise Chicago North Shore, which is dedicated to helping families with young children in homeless situations return quickly to permanent housing, and is a mentor with LINK Unlimited, which provides educational college preparatory opportunities for economically disadvantaged African American high school youth. Craig lives with his wife and two daughters in Wilmette.
Sara Granack is Sr. Director, Global Communications at W.W. Grainger, Inc., North America’s leading broad line distributor of maintenance, repair and operating supplies. She brings broad expertise in marketing, branding and communications to the Board and will play a key role in raising awareness of Bernie’s Book Bank. Sara received a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Urban Studies from the University of Toronto. She lives in Lake Forest with her husband Joe and two young daughters and is excited to involve her family in the mission and outreach of Bernie’s Book Bank.
Cynthia Cobb, SPHR is President/Principal of 3C – Cynthia Cobb Consulting, LLC, a human resources consulting firm dedicated to helping businesses and individuals achieve their goals. Known for respectfully connecting with others, process/results orientation, analytical skills, responsiveness, her zest for life, and ability to achieve work/life balance, her partnering approach is a valuable asset. Cynthia has previously served on the Boards of Directors for Center for Companies That Care and YWCA Lake County. A strong believer in volunteerism, her long-time community involvement also includes Girl Scouts and various ministries at her church. Cynthia is a voracious reader. As such, she is thrilled to join Bernie’s Book Bank on its journey to bring books to children. Cynthia is married and has a college-age daughter. She earned her BS degree in biomedical engineering and engineering management from Purdue University and a MBA from Indiana University.
Kirke Cushing, Treasurer
H. Kirke Cushing is a Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Mesirow Wealth Advisors, a division of Mesirow Financial. He has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, is a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner, and has served as a FINRA arbitrator since 2003. Kirke received his B.A. in 1993 from DePauw University. He is active in the 100 Club of Chicago and is passionate about volunteer work for the American Heart Association. Kirke believes that education and early intervention are key priorities in developing our youth and the minimum commitment needed to support the future of our communities; as such he is excited to be affiliated with Bernie’s Book Bank. Kirke lives with his wife, daughter and son in Oak Park.
Barrett Davie is a founder and former CEO of InStadium, Inc., the nation’s largest network of professional and collegiate sports media assets, spanning all major sports leagues including MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA venues. Barrett brings a proven track record of developing and executing business models, building executive teams and support staff, raising capital, and recruiting strong advisors to his position on the Board. Barrett received his B.A. in History at Tulane University in 1997 and his Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2001. Barrett led Bernie’s Book Bank board efforts for the Next Chapter Campaign.
Craig Collister is currently a Senior Partner at RoundTable Healthcare Partners, a leading healthcare focused private equity firm that he joined in 2002. Craig holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from The University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Craig is a member of the Boards of Trustees of both Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA and the Illinois Venture Capital Association. He lives in Lake Forest with his wife and three children, all of whom are avid readers. Craig was drawn to Bernie’s Book Bank because of its compelling mission and the opportunity it provides to expose his own children to philanthropic activities.
Rob Davis is a partner in DLA Piper’s corporate practice where he primarily focuses his work on leveraged buyouts and mergers and acquisitions. Rob received his A.B. in public policy studies from Duke University and his JD/MBA from the University of Georgia. Rob lives in Lake Bluff where he is an active member of his community (he currently serves as the vice president of the local youth baseball league and on various committees of his church). Rob and his wife Brooke (who is a pre-school teacher) have three children and all of them are avid readers – seeing his own children develop their love of books has made Rob committed to providing those same opportunities to other children by working to fulfill Bernie’s mission.
Tom Donovan is a Director in the Private Fund Advisory Group at Lazard. Tom received his B.B.A. in Finance from Southern Methodist University. Tom brings both financial and relationship development experience to the Board and will play a key role in the origination of new strategic partners. He is active in the community with a number of children’s activities and is a volunteer with Lurie Children’s Hospital along with being a member of the Men’s Annual Pro Am Committee. Tom has three young children and has enjoyed watching them quickly become avid readers.
Matt is the Senior Vice President – Marketing at Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: WTFC). With banking assets of more than $23 billion and more than 150 banking locations in Illinois and Wisconsin, Wintrust is currently the second largest bank group headquartered in Illinois. A 20-year veteran of Wintrust, Matt leads the 30 person Wintrust Marketing Team. Structured as an internal agency, this team supports all Wintrust brands and business lines, with messaging, strategy, creative, data, digital, media buying and production.
Matt earned Bachelors degrees in Journalism and Radio-Televsion-Film from the University of Texas at Austin and a Marketing MBA from Loyola University – Chicago. Matt is a Chicago Innovation Awards Board Member and previously served on the boards of St. Scholastica Academy, Irish Repertory Theatre and The Wilmette Theatre Education Project. He and his wife, Erin, live in Park Ridge with their three sons.
Julie Gish spent over 10 years working for the Boston Consulting Group, focused on Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail clients. Julie assisted Fortune 500 organizations on identifying and implementing strategic initiatives to position companies for long-term success. Additionally, Julie held internal BCG leadership positions related to client development, pricing strategy, and partner education. Julie holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Julie has also played a significant role in volunteering with community organizations. She has been very engaged with the Shedd Aquarium, serving as the Shedd Aquarium Council President and as a member of the Marketing Committee of the Board of Trustees. Julie currently serves as Chair of the Development and Marketing Committee for Elawa Farm in Lake Forest.
Chip Grace is a Partner with May River Capital, LLC, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm focused on lower middle-market industrial growth companies. Chip holds a B.A. from Duke University and a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. Chip brings financial and fundraising experience to the Board. In addition to the Bernie’s Book Bank board, Chip is also a member of the board of directors and Treasurer of No Greater Sacrifice Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that serves the children of our nation’s fallen and wounded Service members. Chip lives with his wife and two children in Lake Bluff, Illinois.
George Grawe is Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company. He is responsible for Allstate’s Staff and Retained Counsel Division. Allstate’s staff counsel operation consists of nearly 1,100 legal professionals who represent Allstate policyholders and the company in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Grawe received his B.A. from the University of Florida and his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law. He brings a wealth of experience regarding the management of large organizations that are expected to deliver outstanding service for their clients. He is excited to be a member of the Board and looks forward to doing all that he can to expand the gift of book ownership and reading to at risk youth in Chicagoland and beyond.
Peter Hunter is an Investment Assistant in the Brokerage Solutions department at Northern Trust Securities, Inc. in Chicago. In 2009 he received his B.A. degree from Denison University where he played varsity lacrosse. After graduation, he moved to New York City to begin his career in financial services with HSBC. He is actively involved in other nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to the education of at-risk youth throughout the Chicago region. Peter currently lives in Chicago. Peter is very excited about sharing his passion for reading by advocating the mission of Bernie’s Book Bank.
Rob W. Krebs directs daily operations at Dakota Systems, Inc., an IT consulting firm in downtown Chicago. He attended Bucknell University for his undergraduate studies and after 10 years working logistics for United Airlines received his MBA from DePaul University. Rob, his wife Amy and their three children live in Lake Forest. He is excited to be a new member of Bernie’s board and looks forward to playing an active role in allowing Bernie’s Book Bank to extend their outreach.
Whitney Lamberson is the Chief Administrative Officer of Consolidated Trading, LLC, a Chicago-based options trading firm. In 2002, she received an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University where she played golf. Whitney grew up in Lake Forest, but has been working and living in downtown Chicago for over 13 years. She is excited to join Bernie’s Book Bank’s board and looks forward to helping Bernie’s Book Bank become more engaged in Chicago.
Shelley Patenaude is founder and sole-proprietor of Shelley Patenaude Interiors. Shelley received her B.A. from Georgetown University with a major in English and Fine Arts. She lives in Lake Forest, IL with her husband and three children. Shelley is very involved with volunteer work and sits on the Founder’s Board of Lurie Children’s Hospital, the Women’s Infant Welfare of Lake Forest and other church and school sub-committees. Having grown up in a family of service, Shelley finds it very important to give back to the community. Bernie’s Book Bank is an essential piece of this equation. She was very lucky to have numerous books in her home as a young girl and values the gift of reading. Therefore, it is her goal to assist the team of director’s at Bernie’s Book Bank to reach out to more than just the greater Chicagoland area. “Every child should have a chance to read to succeed.”
David Raye is owner of The Goddard School Third Lake, IL. After two decades as an executive in the corporate world, David’s young children inspired him to dedicate his life to delivering high-quality education for infants, toddlers, pre-school and kindergarten children. The Goddard School has been rated #1 in Early Childhood education for 14 consecutive years by Entrepreneur Magazine and enjoys an excellent national reputation. David’s school opened in 2004 and quickly rose to be in the top 10% of over 440 Goddard Schools within the United States in all business, program, and health & safety categories. David earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University and an MBA in Executive Management from St. John’s University, New York. David lives with his wife and two daughters in Lake Forest.
In support of Bernie’s Book Bank, David started and leads an annual Book Drive with 18 Goddard Schools in the Chicagoland area. The success of the book drive inspired other Goddard Schools throughout the country to promote book drives which have already collected hundreds of thousands of books nationwide.
Cheri Reid is the owner of the Huntington Learning Center in Skokie, Illinois. She enjoys knowing that she is helping to educate the next generation of contributing citizens. She hopes to use her passion for education to further help students through Bernie’s Book Bank. Prior to Huntington, Cheri spent fifteen years in corporate finance. Her last position in the corporate arena was as a Vice President of Finance and Information Services at ATT. Cheri earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech, a Bachelor’s Degree from Clark Atlanta University in Mathematics, and a MBA with a concentration in Finance and Accounting from New York University. Cheri has two children in college. She lives in Northbrook with her husband, Al Reid.
Jonathan Sisler is the Chief Financial Officer for Chicago-based Coyote Logistics, one of the fastest-growing 3PLs in North America. Jonathan began his career in finance and accounting as a financial assurance consultant with Arthur Andersen, LLP. He holds a BS in accountancy from University of Florida and masters of accountancy from Auburn University. Jonathan lives in Lake Forest with his wife, Janean and their three kids. Jonathan feels fortunate to have experienced a robust education and watching his children learn to read and develop their own styles and fascination with literature has made a profound impact on him and fuels the passion for doing what he can to provide reading resources for all kids.