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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.
Tom Latourette owns his consulting firm, Latourette and Associates. He partners with two nationally recognized thought leaders , Skip Miller of M3 and Sunergos, LLC and provides transformational leadership for organizations looking to “change the game” inside their company or industry. He is also helping women veterans in transition through Sunergos’ Leading with Resiliency and Grace program.
With over 26 years of marketing, sales, and sales management experience, Tom is able to bring a unique, real world perspective to the numerous organizations and associations he’s involved with. One of the most successful non-profits has been the BTB Foundation, a 501c-3 that has raised over $385,000 for local families undergoing cancer struggles. Last year, their annual golf outing – Beat Tom and Bill, Beat Cancer – was attended by over 280 golfers and generated almost $90,000.
Bob recently took advantage of a voluntary early retirement package from United Airlines July 2013 after 30 eventful and rewarding years. He is currently in transition to a second career to guide him and his wife Karen to full retirement someday. Bob wanted to participate in an important opportunity to “pay it forward” in a volunteer capacity to apply his passion and experience to helping others and was “found” by OCSA November 2013.
During his time with United Airlines, Bob held a number of corporate and leadership roles in Information Technology; Technical Operations, Marketing; Cargo and Airport Operations, including Aircraft Routing. He also worked at O’Hare Airport in the Operations Control Center, Customer Service and Food Service. His well-rounded experience and exposure to such a wide variety of disciplines enabled him to understand the workings of the corporate world in a cross-functional, team and customer focused manner. Bob specializes in leading cross-functional teams to develop, improve, manage and deliver integral customer facing initiatives and products improving profitability, operating efficiency and customer satisfaction. Among his many contributions, Bob led program and project teams delivering an FAA Next Generation Air Traffic Control (ATC) application guiding aircraft on transoceanic routes to safer and more efficient airspace; Boeing 767 International Fleet Premium Interior Product Upgrade; Boeing 737/757 fleet Overhead Bin Expansion increasing usable customer storage and the Shuttle by United Interior Redesign Project; to name a few.
Bob has enjoyed the company of dogs and a cat since his childhood growing up in Brookfield, IL. He currently enjoys spending time with his wife and their big, lovable red Golden Retriever Henry and energetic, precocious field Labrador Maggie, along with taking advantage of travel benefits with United Airlines to see and experience all the world has to offer. He is an avid Chicago sports fan and a life-long Blackhawks fanatic from the Original Six days.
Bob achieved a BS in Business Management from Western Illinois University and is a graduate of Riverside Brookfield HS in what seems like a long time ago in some bygone era.
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.
Alyssa Paulsen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Health Science and a minor in Communications from Wheaton College. After receiving the Miss Illinois USA Ambassador title, Alyssa won the national title of USA Ambassador Miss 2012. She committed her year to community service and spreading her platform of “Inner Beauty and Positive Body Image,” and supported over a dozen charities. After surviving a two-year battle against Lyme Disease in high school, Alyssa is particularly passionate about helping others overcome any obstacles that may come their way. She has been to Guatemala and Haiti on medical relief trips, and supports over a dozen charities including the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization, Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation, American Diabetes Association, and Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Alyssa is currently the Communications Director at Northway Church in upstate New York, using her faith to inspire and motivate others with hope.
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
Kathy Kalesperis Smith is the Program Outreach and Development Coordinator of A Silver Lining Foundation. She has over ten years of development and fundraising in the non profit area. Prior to her position at A Silver Lining Foundation she was the Manager of Operations at the National Hellenic Museum. Her current charitable affiliations include, Friends and Family of South Loop School, Friends of Lincoln Park High School and the Koraes Alumni Association.
Kathy lives in Chicago with her husband and two sons.