Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of Catherine Cook comprises members of the school community— both current and former— who have demonstrated personal or professional experience in a variety of areas that are important to upholding the mission of the school, shaping its strategic future, and supporting the Head of School in their ongoing leadership of the school’s day-to-day operations. Occasionally, expertise from outside the community is invited onto the Board for a specific initiative or purpose. Board composition is evaluated annually as new members are nominated and existing members roll off upon completion of their terms. The average tenure of a trustee going forward is expected to be 4-7 years.
- Flavio Arana, Co-Chair
- Roger Liew, Co-Chair
- Tom Valentine, Vice Chair
- Karen Dahlquist, Treasurer
- Janeen Hayward, Secretary
- Ellen Kellogg, At-Large
Flavio Arana is Founding Partner of Meridian Psychiatric Partners, LLC, a multidisciplinary mental health private practice group with offices in Chicago, Evanston, and Lake Forest. He earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and completed his psychiatry residency at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he also served as Chief Resident. Flavio specializes in perinatal psychiatry, the care of women with mental health issues before, during, and after pregnancy.
Flavio has been a member of the Annual Giving Campaign Cabinet and served as co-chair from 2015-2017. He has been an active member on the Diversity Committee and also served as a Room Parent.
Flavio and his partner, Matthew, live in Lakeview with their two sons.
Roger Liew is the CTO of ShopRunner, a membership program providing millions of members with free 2-day shipping from America’s top retailers.
Previously, Roger spent 15 years in the travel industry. He served as Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Orbitz from 2010 until its acquisition by Expedia in 2015. As Orbitz CTO, he led global engineering and customer service. He rejoined Orbitz in 2009 as Group Manager of the Intelligent Marketplace, establishing the machine learning and big data teams. From 2004 – 2008, Roger was a cofounder and CTO of G2 SwitchWorks, a venture-funded travel technology company, that provided the first alternative distribution network for airline tickets.
Roger was the first software developer of Orbitz and co-led the development team to 90 software engineers from 2000 to 2004. His early career experience ranged from developing software for cell phones at Motorola to leading the development of the first web presences for Cars.com and Victoria’s Secret while at web consulting company, Neoglyphics.
Roger serves as an advisor to kCura, MediaMath and Journera. He is a founding member of the Illinois Tech Computer Science Advisory Committee since 2010, a mentor at Impact Engine, and is a Trustee of the Catherine Cook School.
Roger studied Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Chicago. He lives with his wife, Suzie, and two children in Chicago.
Tom Valentine is Vice President of the International Group of YMCA of the USA. Tom leads Y-USA efforts to strengthen collaboration between the US and the global YMCA movements with a presence in 120 countries. This includes efforts to strengthen US YMCA engagement with newcomer-immigrant communities in the US, the coordination of financial and technical support for international YMCA partners, the organization of global Youth-Led Solutions Summits and the mobilization of philanthropic support for global YMCA youth and community initiatives aimed at advancing progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Tom joined the International Group of YMCA of the USA in 1996. Tom has over 30 years of international development experience in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. He has extensive experience leading and/or managing collaboration with a wide range of YMCA partners including the United Nations, United States Agency for International Development, AmeriCorps/VISTA, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Knight Foundation, Margaret Cargill Philanthropies, Delta Air Lines, Viacom, Salesforce, the Sierra Club and Wells Fargo. Prior to coming to the YMCA, Tom worked with Catholic Relief Services in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi. Tom holds a Masters’ Degree in International Development from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Georgetown University. Tom speaks French, Spanish, Amharic, Arabic and Kiswahili.
Karen Dahlquist is a Senior Vice President in the Healthcare Commercial Banking team at Capital One. She oversees a team that underwrites loans for acquisitions and leveraged buyouts and manages a portfolio of healthcare companies across the United States with loans that total over $1.0 Billion in aggregate commitments. Karen has over 20 years of financial experience in underwriting and risk management for loan portfolios in diverse industries and in various investment structures. Before joining Capital One’s Heathcare team, Karen previously led teams at GE Antares Capital and Heller Financial specializing in commercial lending to middle market companies in conjunction with transactions for private equity and institutional investors.
At Capital One, Karen is a co-lead for the Chicago Chapter of the Women's Business Resource Group, EmpowHER. The EmpowHER organization promotes recruitment, retention and advancement of women at Capital One and beyond through events, programming and networking opportunities. Karen is also a member of Capital One’s Asian Business Resource Group, Origins, which is focused on growing and developing Asian leaders, as well as facilitating a corporate culture that promotes diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Karen earned her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, with concentrations in Finance and Management & Strategy. She also holds a bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Karen and her husband, David, live in Lakeview with their three daughters, two current students and one Alumni.
Janeen Hayward is the Founder of Swellbeing, Inc., a parenting consultancy helping parents nurture happy, healthy children and families. Her work is grounded in child development, interpersonal neurobiology and a whole child perspective. She cares deeply about emotional wellbeing and has a strong interest in social-emotional learning as a best practice to help children flourish.
Janeen holds two BA degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Janeen’s background includes community-based trauma work, school-based therapy and private practice consultation on a range of child-development related issues. Janeen also partners with corporations large and small to provide workplace wellness programming.
Janeen has been active in the Catherine Cook Parent Association since joining the community in 2013. She has served as co-chair on both the Parent Education Committee and the Community Cares Committee, as well as serving as the Parent Association Executive Committee Treasurer. She and her husband live in Old Town with their daughters; her eldest is a proud alumna of Catherine Cook and her youngest is a current middle school student.
Ellen Kellogg is a Founding Partner and Chief Strategy Officer for Nyssa Care, a women’s wellbeing company based in Chicago, IL. Her work for Nyssa involves connecting the dots between consumer, brand, and business objectives in order to architect and execute the company's growth plans as an emerging consumer goods and content brand. She started her career in investment banking and transitioned to brand management after business school. She spent 5 years at the Wrigley/Mars company managing brands and portfolio strategy across the Candy Confections and Gum businesses. Afterwards, she transitioned to a brand design agency where she led innovation and growth strategy projects for both emerging and legacy brands.
Ellen earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with a concentration in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT.
She brings marketing, brand, and strategic growth expertise to the Catherine Cook Board of Trustees as well as the Cook school spirit of her two children, Meryl and Charlie. Her husband Nat is an active member of Catherine Cook's Annual Giving Campaign Cabinet. They live in Roscoe Village.
- Jennifer Christiansen
- Carrie Cochran
- Nathan Davis
- Kelly Dietrich
- Alanna Higgins Joyce
- Julian Perlmutter
- Linda Suleiman
Jennifer Christiansen has dedicated her career to education where she has held key roles and executed projects for public, private, and parochial schools. She is currently the Lead Instructional Coach at Skinner West School where she provides valuable resources and training that are grounded in data-driven, research-based practices designed to uplift curriculum quality, instructional practices, and the overall social-emotional development for a Chicago Public School that consistently ranks among the top elementary schools in the state.
Jennifer began her career in the classroom, where she had the privilege of teaching primary and secondary students at public and parochial schools. She is committed to developing thoughtful, relevant curriculum that empowers students to discover and amplify their voices; the inclusion of diverse perspectives and resources that allow every student to see themselves in a celebrated light; and nurturing every young person’s unique passion.
To address lack of funding for art education within Chicago Public Schools, Jennifer co-founded Gallery 111, a not-for-profit that provides arts exposure and education in core subject areas. She has developed the founding curriculum for private schools and related curriculum for multiple theaters and museums. Jennifer’s entrepreneurial passion project is Voca11, a movement designed to help adolescents find their voice and amplify it.
Since 2021, Jennifer has served as a parent SEED facilitator at Catherine Cook School.
Jennifer earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University and received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Augustana college.
A passionate runner, you can find Jennifer on the 606 trail close to her home in Humboldt Park where she lives with her husband, Scott, their three boys who are current students or alumni of Catherine Cook, and their faithful golden retriever, Deakon, who never feels like he gets enough attention.
Carrie Cochran is an Account Executive at A&E Networks where she works with agencies and clients on linear and digital media campaigns. Prior to joining A&E Networks, she spent 10 years working at Viacom in their New York and Chicago offices. During her career, Carrie has also been employed at Everyday Health and POPSUGAR and helped launch Kin Community’s ad sales office in NYC.
For Catherine Cook, Carrie has served as Co-Chair of the Annual Gala as well as Co-Chair of the Community Cares Committee. She has also participated in Catherine Cook’s Ambassador program and acted as a Room Parent for the past several years.
Carrie received her B.S. in Advertising from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and resides in Lincoln Park with her two daughters, Emilia and Charlotte, who attend Catherine Cook.
Nathan Davis is a Partner in the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins LLP where he advises private equity firms and their portfolio companies on complex mergers and acquisitions and other transactions, as well as general corporate matters. Nathan is also a member of the firm’s Diversity Leadership Committee.
Nathan received his JD from the University of Minnesota Law School and his BA from Azusa Pacific University and lives in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood with his wife Kami, two sons who attend Catherine Cook, and their Bernedoodle.
Kelly is the founder and CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC), the largest Democratic training organization in the country. He’s worked in Democratic politics for more than 20 years on dozens of Democratic campaigns across the country.
Originally from Missouri, Kelly lives in Chicago, IL with his wife, 5th grade daughter who attends Catherine Cook, and dogs, Tulip, who is allegedly part cat, and Olivia Benson, a mini golden-doodle puppy who has yet to solve a real crime. Beyond work, Kelly is a diehard Kansas Jayhawk and an avid poker player. He also serves on the board of directors at his local park, Sheil Park. This is where he “plays” basketball, which according to his wife can only be loosely considered a hobby. Even with all these interests, Kelly remains committed to making sure high quality tools and training are available to any Democrat who steps up to run for office, work on a campaign, or make their community better.
Dr. Alanna Higgins Joyce is an attending pediatrician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, caring for hospitalized children and newborns. She is also Clerkship Director in Pediatrics where she oversees medical student programming and assessment. In this role Alanna works with faculty, staff and administration across several institutions for the training of medical students in patient care settings. Alanna is an Associate Professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; she has published and spoken nationally in the areas of medical education, faculty feedback, and curriculum development.
Alanna holds an MD and an MPH from Tulane University and completed residency training in Pediatrics at the former Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. A proud Teach For America New York City alumna, she has a Master of Science in Teaching and experience teaching middle-school science. Alanna earned her bachelor’s degree in cognitive science from Northwestern University.
Alanna is a lifelong ballet dancer and lives in the Ravenswood neighborhood with her husband Tim and three sons, two of whom attend Catherine Cook.
Julian Perlmutter, Global Portfolio Manager of listed real estate strategies, joined Brookfield Asset Management in 2012. Prior to Brookfield he served in a similar capacity at Cohen & Steers Capital management in New York and Hong Kong, as well as Co-head of Morningstar’s US real estate research platform. Julian currently serves on the Catherine Cook Board of Trustees Finance and Real Estate committees.
Julian received a B.B.A in finance from Loyola University of Chicago in 2003, and was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2007. Julian lives in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood with his wife Monique, two children who both attend Catherine Cook, as well as a boisterous Dachshund.
Dr. Linda Suleiman is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacements at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She also serves as the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In her role as associate dean, Linda is responsible for the recruitment, retention and development of underrepresented faculty and residents/fellows across Northwestern, Lurie Children's Hospital and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. Linda is an Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery and Medical Education and has published nationally and internationally in the areas of health equity, medical education and robotic total knee and hip surgery.
Linda holds an MD from Howard University and completed her residency training at Northwestern. She went on to subspecialize in adult hip and knee reconstruction and replacement at Rush University. Prior to her education in the US, Linda is originally from Somalia and later immigrated to Canada where her parents and siblings currently reside. Linda is an avid soccer player and lives in Lincoln Square with her husband, Quentin, and her daughter, who attends Catherine Cook.