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Darlene Arden is a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, author, journalist, blogger and frequent guest on the radio and television. Her passion for animals shines through everything that she does. A Voice Major who now “sings for the animals,” among her many awards are The MSPCA/AHES Media Award for her body of work and The Winn Feline Foundation’s Media Award. A former member and Director/Council Member of both Dog Writers of America, Inc. and the Cat Writer’s Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Darlene frequently interviews veterinarians, bringing the most accurate information to the public. She also consults with veterinarians concerning her clients’ pets and receives referrals from them. She has attended and spoken at an assortment of Veterinary Conferences.
A proponent of the One Health Initiative before it existed, Darlene all but begged medical doctors to attend veterinary conferences in order to learn about what would eventually reach human medicine. “If banging my head against the wall burned calories, I would look like a Supermodel.” She is excited about what OCSA can achieve. Darlene is additionally a member of the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians.
Photo Credit: Veronique Schejtman
Kathleen Blizzard is part functional medicine dietitian and part foodie with a side of side of hard core athlete. She is a born, raised and educated Iowa girl unafraid to question conventional practices and specializes in oncology, food sensitivities, metabolism disorders, and nutrition support. Over the past decade, Kathleen has treated thousands of patients in Colorado, Missouri, Texas, Germany, and Illinois. She runs a small business in Naperville and loves spending time with her family and her dog, Porkchop.
Mr. Karr served on the OCSA board from 2010-2013, and currently serves as a board advisor to OCSA and is on the board of a number of professional and civic organizations, including Project 120 Chicago. Mr. Karr has served as chairman of the board of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program and was a member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. He is a former board member of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association and the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.
He obtained his J.D. fro DePaul University in 1999, and his B.A. in Asian Languages and Literature, and an International Business Certificate from the University of Iowa in 1991.
Dr. Mahr was born and raised on a dairy farm in Indianola, Iowa. He received his veterinary medical degree from Iowa State University in 1971. After working as an associate in suburban Chicago for three years, he established, owned, and directed the Meadow View Veterinary Clinic in Geneva, Illinois, an accredited hospital member of the American Animal Hospital Association from 1974 to 2005. Following the sale of his practice, Dr. Mahr continued as a small animal practitioner, and served as chief executive officer of the One Health Commission from 2009 until his retirement in the fall of 2013.
As president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 2006 Dr. Mahr revealed a vision for a one health initiative whereby the veterinary medical profession assumed a major leadership role to establish a coordinated mechanism to facilitate collaboration and cooperation among colleagues in veterinary medicine, human medicine, public health, and ecosystem sciences with a focus on “One World, One Health, One Medicine.”
During Dr. Mahr’s presidency, the AVMA Executive Board took official action to establish the One Health Initiative by approving a recommendation from him to establish the AVMA One Health Initiative Task Force. He then served as the Project Director for the multidisciplinary national One Health Joint Steering Committee, which subsequently facilitated a transitioning process to the formation of the One Health Commission. The One Health Commission was officially chartered as an independent nonprofit corporation in Washington, D.C. on June 29, 2009.
In addition to the AVMA, Dr. Mahr has held numerous leadership positions in the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association and the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, as well as in many community organizations. He has received the President’s Award from the AVMA and the Veterinary Service Award from the Illinois State VMA. Dr. Mahr has been recognized by his alma mater with the College of Veterinary Medicine Stange Award for Meritorious Service in 2004 and the Iowa State University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009. He was elected a governor to the Iowa State University Foundation in 2010.
Peggy Fiedler Parfenoff joined WorldChicago (formerly known as the International Visitors Center of Chicago) as Executive Director in November, 2001. With a mission of promoting Citizen Diplomacy in Chicago, Peggy oversees the hosting of over 800 international delegates to Chicago each year through various US Department of State and other government sponsored exchange programs. Prior to WorldChicago, Peggy worked briefly in marketing at a local publishing company and was at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as Director of Development. She managed the fundraising activities for the Chicago Sister Cities International Program as well as the many arts and cultural programs affiliated with the Department. Peggy also worked as a newspaper reporter and at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC.
While at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Peggy earned her MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where she specialized in Public/Non-Profit Management and Marketing. Her international exposure started with a year spent studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, followed by many journeys throughout Europe, Russia and China. A native of Iowa, Peggy lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Christine is the Founder of Life With A Side Of Coffee blog and also works as a Social Media and Public Relations Consultant. She began her career as a Communications Intern at Chicago Sister Cities where she worked on a variety of public relations projects and events with influential leaders and international public figures. Since then, she’s worked for M Richards PR, now Page One Public Relations, and Wisecarver Public Relations where she began her involvement with OCSA. Most recently, Christine worked in the DKC Chicago office, an agency specializing in Public Relations, Marketing and Government Affairs. She worked with clients in almost every industry from hospitality and travel to tech and lifestyle. She additionally worked with the Social Media division of the agency where she found a passion for content creation and developing campaigns. Christine is passionate about OCSA’s mission after witnessing family members suffer from ovarian and breast cancer. She believes that with the right education and resources, beating cancer is possible and everyone should get that chance. She is a graduate of DePaul University with a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies. You can find her at home with her fur babies, cooking dinners inspired by her favorite cultures and chefs and finding the next best cup of coffee.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Claire Photography