Alicia Gonzalez, Founding Executive Director
Alicia is from Chicago (Pilsen and Little Italy communities) and is the Founding Executive Director of Chicago Run. She helped launch Chicago Run as the first staff member in 2008 and has built and led the organization to its current size of serving over 17,000 students in 43 Chicago Public Schools in 28 low-income neighborhoods across the city – a 750% program participant growth and a 450% budget increase. Prior to Chicago Run, Alicia served as the head of Hispanic Business Development for First American Bank, where she oversaw the expansion of private-public partnerships in the Latino community. Alicia’s roots are in the community and prior to working in the private sector, she held positions as a community organizer and youth development program director in both Chicago and Boston. In addition to Chicago Run, she serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy, and is also on the Board of Directors for Heartland Alliance Human Care Services, the Advisory Board for Good Sports Foundation, the Board of the Chicago Life Science Consortium and the Enlace Legacy Board. Alicia is a recipient of the 2016 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition Community Leadership Award, the recipient of the “Latina Entrepreneur of the Year (2012)” from the Chicago Latino Network, a recipient of the "35 Under 35 Chicago Leadership" Award (2009) from the Community Renewal Society, and the "2009 Emerging Health Leader" from the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group. Most recently, Alicia was a part of the 2016 Aspen Institute Health Scholars program and was selected to participate in the 2016-2017 German Marshall Memorial Fellowship program. Alicia is a graduate of Stanford University Business School’s Non-Profit Executive Leadership Program, a fellow in the 2013-2014 American Express NGEN Fellows Program with the Independent Sector, a Fellow in the 2011 Leadership Greater Chicago Class, and a fellow in the 2012 Latino Leadership Academy with the Latino Policy Forum. Alicia graduated with honors in Latin American History from Brown University. An avid runner herself, Alicia has completed seven marathons since 2004, including qualifying and participating in two Boston Marathons. Alicia lives in Humboldt Park and in her spare time enjoys yoga, hiking, art, and politics.
Alex Landberg, Deputy Director
Alex grew up in Northern California. He graduated with a degree in marketing from California State University, Chico, where he also ran track. After graduation, Alex worked in the special events department at Major League Soccer in New York City, but it was his passion for coaching that lead him to a career in sports-based youth development. Alex has been coaching for more than 10 years, and has been with Chicago Run since 2011. He is part of the Up2Us National Training team and also serves on the America SCORES Chicago Development Board.
Colleen Hentschel, Office & Finance Manager
Colleen grew up in Michigan and attended Indiana University. She graduated with a degree in Kinesiology with minors in Business and Music and later earned her Master of Arts in Teaching. Upon graduating, Colleen interned at NBC in corporate fitness and then worked in various corporate fitness centers presenting health seminars and developing health initiatives, personal training, and instructing spinning, kickboxing, and various group exercise classes while training for and running two half marathons. After volunteering with By the Hand, an afterschool tutoring program in Cabrini Green, Colleen felt inspired to join TFA in 2009 as a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Healthy Lifestyles teacher on the south side of Chicago and has since then, co-coached Girls on Track and continued in the classroom as both a preschool and 2nd grade teacher. Colleen loves living in Chicago and exploring its many amazing restaurants, spending time with her family, and traveling the world.
Lauren Shirk, Communications and Creative Design Manager
Lauren was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from Ohio State University in 2010, she spent a year in London attaining her Master’s degree in Art Business. She moved to Chicago in 2012 to work at a fine art auction house. She realized her interest in non-profit work while volunteering for a community-based organization on the North West side of Chicago. Lauren participated in several high school sports and has continued to keep up an active lifestyle, running several races in Chicago. She completed her first marathon in 2017 as part of Team Chicago Run. Lauren is passionate about Chicago Run's mission, and enjoys being able to combine her interest in creative design with her fundraising experience and enthusiasm for fitness. Lauren lives in Bucktown and enjoys hiking, yoga, and traveling.
Debra Michaels, Development Manager
Debra is a native New Yorker and graduated in June 2009 from Northwestern University with a BA in Psychology and Political Science. Debra has spent her career in fundraising, volunteer management and community engagement at local Chicago area nonprofits. She joined Chicago Run in August 2016, after spending nearly 6 years at Cara, an organization that helps individuals secure quality employment. She has experience managing a major gift portfolio, leadership boards, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, marketing/communication, and leading the volunteer and engagement strategy for scaling nonprofits. Debra is an active member of the Chicago nonprofit community, and currently serves on the Social Enterprise Alliance Program Committee, and is earning her MBA at Chicago Booth in the part time evening program. Debra has a passion and love of building partnerships to empower individuals and communities. Debra brings tremendous enthusiasm for Chicago Run’s mission, and as the Development Manager focuses on raising critical funding and developing meaningful relationships to support the strategic growth of the organization. Debra is an active yogi, dancer, and spin enthusiast.
Casey Fennell, Marathon Charity Team Coordinator
Casey was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She attended DePaul University for two years where she developed a love for running and the city of Chicago. She finished her undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Urban Studies. After graduating, Casey moved back to Chicago and spent the past four years working at local nonprofit organizations, including Chicago Run and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. She just completed her third marathon and is an RRCA certified running coach. She enjoys supporting the runners of Team Chicago Run as they train for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon while giving back to Chicago students. Casey lives in Lincoln Square and enjoys running, yoga, and spending time with her dog.
Kim Lutz, Grants Manager
Kim grew up in Chicago’s southern suburbs. She attended the University of Illinois where she studied political science and earned her masters degree in human services administration from the Spertus Institute in Chicago. She enjoys running, walking, yoga and cooking healthy meals. Kim lives in the Northcenter neighborhood of Chicago with her family.
Crystal Hassinger, Program Director
Crystal grew up near St. Louis, MO. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in Sport Management and an emphasis in Business Development. Crystal has spent her career working in sport related industries with a focus on using sport as a tool for youth to develop social and emotional learning skills. She joined Chicago Run as Program Director in 2017, after spending more than three years with the Chicago Fire Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. With the Chicago Fire Foundation, Crystal played an intricate role in expanding programming by 150%, establishing a young professionals board, and assisting the Foundation in winning multiple grants and awards such as the Beyond Sport, Sport Team of the Year. Crystal has always been passionate about sports and has a strong belief that skills and lessons learned through sport translate into the classroom and real-life settings. She grew up a runner, participating in both cross country and track and field and has finished two Chicago marathons. In her free time, Crystal enjoys being active outdoors, volunteering, and exploring new local restaurants.
Ryan Greguske, L.A.C.E. Up! and Running Mates Program Manager
Ryan grew up in Germantown, WI, a suburb to the northwest of Milwaukee. After high school he went on to attend the University of Minnesota and earn a degree in Physiology. At the U of M, Ryan developed a true love for helping various Minneapolis/St. Paul communities by participating in non-profit work, volunteering, and student organizations. In addition, Ryan enjoyed coaching youth basketball and discovered that seeing kids develop their skills on and off the court is a really amazing feeling. Ryan lives in Lincoln Park and enjoys his free time by running, playing hockey and basketball, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Rashada Anderson, Up2Us Coach
Rashada was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where she attended Sheboygan South
High school. After high school, she went on to attend Concordia University of Chicago earning a
Bachelors degree in Exercise Science and Coaching. During her time at CUC she was on the woman’s NCAA Division III Track and Field Team where she competed as a Sprinter. She is currently the boys head high jump and assistant sprints coach at Oak Park River Forest High School. Rashada has always been passionate about Track and Field and loves being a coach. She is also excited to be a part of the Chicago Run team and to be working with youth throughout Chicago. Rashada loves coffee, rollerblading, and spending time with family and friends.
Erin McIntosh, Up2Us Coach
Erin was born in Oak Park, IL and attended Oak Park River Forest High School where she ran Cross Country and Track for all 4 years. She went on to study Sociology/Anthropology and Spanish at St. Olaf College and had the opportunity to study abroad in both Ecuador and Spain while there. She continued to foster her love for running on the St. Olaf NCAA DIII Cross Country and Track teams. Throughout her time in college, Erin was the president of Supporting Special Needs Club, played Ultimate Frisbee, and worked with immigrant families through the Community School initiative. She is excited to be on the Chicago Run team to work on developing positive, effective, and sustainable habits in the youth of the city. Erin is still living in Oak Park and enjoys riding her bike, going to farmers markets, and dancing to fun music.
Patrick Miller, Up2Us Coach
Patrick was born and raised in Branford, CT racing competitively as a swimmer throughout the majority of his childhood. Around the age of 14 his family moved to Boston, MA where he developed a passion for outdoor/indoor track & field. Patrick attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst graduating with a BS in Public Health and a minor in Sociology. After that he went on to pursue a Masters’ degree in Public Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. During this time Patrick developed an interest in combating the childhood obesity epidemic through evidence-based practices addressing the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of health. Patrick has recently moved to the Chicago area, residing in the Lakeview area, working at Chicago Run where he can apply what he’s learned in a real world setting. In his free time Patrick enjoys trying new coffee spots, and spending time with friends doing fun outdoor activities like hiking and running! Patrick also hopes to become certified as a group fitness instructor in the near future.
Matthew Champa, Chicago Run Coach
Matthew is a USATF and RRCA certified running coach and holds MA, Ed.M degrees in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. He is a Certified Wellness Coach with over 15 years of counseling/advising experience. He founded Strides: Wellness and Run Coaching in early 2017 to support people with their health and wellness. When he’s not coaching clients, he can be found at Nike Running Bucktown where he works as a NRC Pacer and Community Champion. Coach Matthew is an accomplished marathon/ultramarathon runner and an active member of the running community which includes coaching, pacing, event planning and product testing.