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 17,500 students in 50 Chicago Public Schools in 32 low-income neighborhoods across the city. 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 Instituto Del Progreso Latino and Heartland Alliance Human Care Services. Alicia is a recipient of the 2017 Crain's 40 Under 40, 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, and art.
Alex Landberg, Deputy Director
Alex has been coaching and managing youth sports programs for 16 years, focusing on creating positive environments in which youth can feel safe and thrive. He is part of the National Training Team for We Coach and Up2Us Sports, and serves on the junior board at America SCORES Chicago. Alex ran track at California State University, Chico where he graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and also attended the Nonprofit Management Program at Northeastern University in Boston. Alex has been with Chicago Run since 2011.
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 a member of Team Chicago Run. Lauren is passionate about Chicago Run's mission, and enjoys being able to combine her creative design and fundraising experience with her enthusiasm for fitness. She is also the marketing chair for the Urban Gateways Associate Board. 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 five 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 youth. Casey is currently pursuing her MSW at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She lives in Lincoln Square and enjoys running, yoga, and reading.
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.
Matthew Champa, Chicago Run Part-Time 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.
Jose Saldaña, Up2Us Half-Time Coach
Jose was born and raised in the Little Village neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. He attended Little Village High School where he was involved with Soccer, Track and Field, and Cross Country. After high school, he attended Malcolm X college where he earned his Associate in Arts degree in Business and Economics. While at Malcolm X, he ran on the Cross Country team and made it to Nationals. Now, Jose is pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. His passion for exercise and sports led him to join the Chicago Run team where he hopes to encourage children to run and live a healthier lifestyle. Jose is especially thrilled to be able to give back to the community he grew up in through Chicago Run.