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John Walden Named Chair of Cara’s Board of Directors

Appointment of eight new members brings diverse experiences to Cara’s leadership

Cara has formally announced the appointment of John Walden to Chair of our Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“We are honored to have John take lead of our Board of Directors,” said Maria Kim, President & CEO of Cara. “As we embark on our 30th anniversary year, we are in an exciting period of reflection and growth as an organization. Under John’s helm, we are primed to leverage a strong organizational foundation including diverse revenue sources, amazing board and staff leadership, a thriving mission, and three decades of insight to help employers and organizations across the country build a more inclusive economy. His appointment marks a new and exciting chapter for us.”

Walden is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Inversion, Inc., a strategy consultancy, and has been at the forefront of multi-channel, consumer-driven retail in the United States and United Kingdom for the past 20 years. He has held leadership positions in companies that include FTD Companies; Home Retail Group (UK); Best Buy Co.; and Peapod. Early in his career, Walden served as an executive for XL/Datacomp, Inc., the business led by Cara founder Tom Owens. He currently serves as Chairman of YO! Group, an Asian food and restaurant business operating in the UK and North America, and has chaired several other growth-oriented retailers.

“I am deeply privileged to serve as the new Board Chair,” said Walden. “This is a significant moment for Cara as we mark a milestone, while also looking to the future of this mission. Cara impacts thousands of lives each year and will impact countless more as our society awakens to the responsibility and reward of lifting up our most vulnerable people. I look forward to working with this Board, which is filled with a talented group of leaders, and the exceptional Cara staff and partners as we continue to scale and meet the growing demand for this work.”

Cara Board Chair John Walden and Vice Chair Andrea O’Leary

In addition, Andrea O’Leary, PhD, has been named Vice Chair to the Board. O’Leary is a Senior Director, Culture & Change for Aon Corporation and is responsible for the colleague experience and aligning culture with the values of the firm. She also is a strong advocate for Diversity Equity and Inclusion and leads a North America Black Business Resource Group Leadership team comprised of executive and senior leaders across Aon. Prior to Aon, O’Leary worked at CareerBuilder, LLC as a Human Capital external consultant and product leader. She worked closely with organizations across a variety of industries to understand their businesses and engage with them to create and implement human capital solutions. She also worked in a variety of other HR and consulting roles prior to CareerBuilder at United Airlines and International Survey Research. She has served on Cara’s Board of Directors for two years.

New members to Cara’s Board of Directors (top row l to r) Laura Beebe, DeRondal Bevly, Regina Cross, Julie Owens Burns, (bottom row l to r) Steve Quirk, Brent Rasmussen, Wendy Raymer, and Ana Zanic

This appointment coincides with eight new members joining Cara’s Board in 2021, bringing a strong mix of leadership and industry experience. Among the new members are:

Laura Beebe (JLL)
Laura Beebe served as the Americas Corporate Solutions Lead for JLL’s Project and Development Services business. She had oversight of project management strategy and delivery with a focus on account profitability and growth of large dedicated corporate clients. One of Beebe’s biggest priorities in overseeing an organization of 1,600 project managers was helping JLL’s people get the most out of their careers as she built and cultivated a team of inspired, high-value employees. Beebe has more than 25 years of real estate and project management experience. Prior to joining JLL, she was a Project Manager for General Services Administration having responsibility for the administration and management of federal new construction and renovation projects with budgets up to $90,000,000.

DeRondal Bevly (RubyRose Strategies)
DeRondal Bevly is the Founder and Managing Director of RubyRose Strategies, a strategic communications boutique that specializes in creating platforms for the managing, marketing, and distribution of content that allows brands to directly engage with customers, stakeholders, potential partners, and new audiences. Possessing nearly two decades of combined professional and philanthropic experience, Bevly serves as a strategic communications advisor, working with clients to develop strategic messaging and collaborative communications that drive initiatives for their engagements. Deeply passionate about developing and leveraging relationships within Chicago’s non-profit and philanthropic community, Bevly focuses that passion into developing inclusive solutions and connectivity as a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2014), an Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation Leadership Lab Fellow (2019), while also currently serving on the executive committees of the board of directors for Forefront, the Navy Pier Associate Board, the Publicity Club of Chicago, and the Western Michigan Alumni Association.

Regina Cross (Goldman Sachs)
Regina Cross is a vice president within Goldman Sachs. She leads a team within the firm that works closely with family offices, foundations, and endowments to provide customized financial advisory, portfolio optimization solutions across all asset classes, and incorporates impact investing tailored to clients’ missions and values. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 2010, Cross was the brand CFO for the US Affiliate Neuroscience Business Unit of Eli Lilly and Company, which had revenues over $4 billion, and worked internationally leading project teams in Shanghai, Lima, and Vienna.

Julie Owens Burns (The Owens Foundation)
Julie Owens Burns serves as the Executive Director for The Owens Foundation, which provides grants and outreach to Chicagoland non-profit organizations that focus on alleviating poverty and providing hope and opportunity to those affected by poverty. Burns has served on The Thomas M. and Mary M. Owens Foundation Board of Directors since its inception in 1987. She currently serves the family Board as Vice President and Secretary. Other service includes Fundraising Committees and as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants from 2014 to 2018, and Board of Directors at the Emergency Fund (later All Chicago) from 2004 to 2015.

Steve Quirk (Quirk Family)
Steve Quirk oversees the strategy and deployment of initiatives for Trading at TD Ameritrade. He also serves as a member of the company’s Senior Operating Committee, which shapes the strategic focus of the organization. Quirk focuses on teaching the next generation of investors and has championed the creation of the TD Ameritrade U program to bridge the gap between academia and reality. He is often asked to comment on the markets and for insight into Retail client behavior and has been featured on CNBC, Fox Business, Barron’s, and The Wall Street Journal.

Brent Rasmussen (Visibly)
Brent Rasmussen is an accomplished executive and expert in business operations, human capital, and talent management. He is an experienced corporate advisor, board member, capital fundraiser, and acquisition and exit strategy manager with a proven track record in leading operations and sales during peak growth periods. As CEO and board member of Visibly, Rasmussen grew the company revenue from $50,000 in sales per month to $500,000 per month by increasing U.S. and International licensing partners from three partners to 40 within 15 months of being hired. At the same time, Rasmussen raised $10 million in new capital to support the significant growth of the company. Rasmussen is also a growth and employment expert who regularly shares his knowledge with national TV and radio, and speaks at various industry forums on a volunteer basis to discuss hiring trends and workplace developments.

Wendy Raymer (BMO Harris)
Wendy Raymer has been working in Corporate Social Responsibility for nearly 20 years and is accountable for executing BMO’s corporate philanthropy strategies and initiatives within the U.S. Raymer is an experienced manager with an expertise in developing an impactful CSR program, including strategy development, budgeting and oversight, impact measurement, leadership reporting, marketing and communications, employee engagement, and database management. Providing strategic nonprofit funding is the core of Raymer’s work. Weaving the ever-evolving needs of the community with BMO’s values and approach, she has directed millions of dollars in nonprofit funding to where it is needed most. Raymer’s skills in public/private collaboration and program analysis have provided her with an insight into the best practices and flexibility needed for authentic community impact.

Ana Zanic (Northwestern Medicine)
Ana Zanic serves as the Director, Talent Acquisition at Northwestern Medicine. She provides leadership over talent acquisition and onboarding and leads special projects and initiatives focused on applicant pipelines, diversity and inclusion, leveraging technology, and process optimization. Zanic is passionate about developing teams and future leaders that are true business partners and dedicated to inspiring purpose-driven outcomes. Over the past 20 plus years, Zanic has held a variety of roles both domestic and international at multiple organizations including, WorldCom, Pfizer, and Nestle, among others.

Returning Board members in addition to Walden and O’Leary for the 2021 term include: John Bennecke (True Partners Consulting LLC); Mark Carroll (Cognitive Capital, LLC); Bill Conroy (Conroy Advisors); Terry Diamond (Method Capital); Jeff Galowich (BlueHorizon Software); Andy Gloor (Sterling Bay); Anny Huang (Sidley Austin LLP); Katie Owens Mulcahy (The Owens Foundation); Tom Owens, Jr. (The Owens Foundation); J. Todd Phillips (Parson Partners); Patricia Provenzano (Bank of America Private Bank); Heather Ronnow (Kronos Foods); Rudy Smith (J.P. Morgan Private Bank); and Doyoung Yong (Deloitte).