Board of Directors

Vallie Szymanski
Executive Director

Click here for bio

Carolyn Ascher, Board President
Owner, ME Project Management

As the former owner and operator of Amlings Interior Landscape, Carolyn spent her time managing client needs, creating interior and exterior landscape designs. She also spent 10 years in the Disaster Recovery Industry for Data Base, Inc. She has taken those same skills and launched her new company ME Project Management specializing in Hospitality, Legal Firms & Corporations, Exec Temp, Relocation, Facility Re-Fresh, Sales/Marketing Consulting, Event & Meeting Planning

Carolyn has supported OCSA since 2012 and has co-chaired the annual OCSA Golf Outing for the last 3 years and is know as “Super Volunteer” for the Annual Dog Walk. Her engaging personality, “can do” attitude and personal one-on-one involvement in our fundraising events enchants everyone she meets and enables us to “get the word out” on the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Carolyn also serves on the Board of Directors of The Magnificent Mile Association and is a member of their executive team as Event Chair.

Carolyn has been married to Bartlett, IL dentist, David Ascher, for 25 years. They have two daughters, Madison and Lauren, and two dogs, Bear and Moose.

Brian Hall
Brian Hall Design Group
683 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, Il 60642

Brian Hall owns and manages a Chicago based web development and graphic design company. The company has over 20 years of design experience in a wide variety of industries including real estate, hospitality, food service, manufacturing, public policy and consumer products with additional expertise in both conventional and web marketing communications. Current and past clients include Hyatt Corporation, United Airlines, BP Products North America, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Chicago Sister Cities International Program and The American Cancer Society. Core competencies include print design, web development and commercial photography.

Denise E. Harvill
Chairman Emeritus, Vice President Human Resources, Express Jet Airlines, Atlanta, Georgia

Kristin L. Junkas, DVM
Wright Animal Hospital
265 S. River Road
Suite 2500
Des Plaines, IL 60016

Dr. Kristin Junkas, Chief of Staff of Wright Animal Hospital in Des Plaines Illinois, grew up in Minnesota and now resides in Saint Charles, Illinois. She received her undergraduate degree at Luther College in 1992 and then attended Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, earning a DVM degree in 1996. After completing a small animal rotating medicine and surgery internship at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Junkas performed 18 months of oncology residency training at Illinois as well. As part of her educational requirement, she published the article “Treatment of Canine Lymphoma with COPLA/LVP” in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Junkas then joined the staff of Melrose Park Animal Hospital in 1998 where she practiced as an associate and managing veterinarian until joining the Wright Animal Hospital team in 2005.

In order to pursue her interests in general oncology and surgery for companion animals, Dr. Junkas moved to the Chicago area. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Illinois Veterinary Medical Association, Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, American Academy of Feline Practitioners and the Veterinary Cancer Society. She participates in educating pet owners and fellow veterinarians about treating pets with cancer and is a board member and secretary of the women’s Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness (OCSA) Organization in Chicago, for which she chairs the annual OCSA Dog Walk.

Dr. Junkas is dedicated to providing personalized care with compassion and consideration of both the owner and their pet. Her medical interests include oncology referral practice, laser and cosmetic surgery, and advanced soft tissue surgical procedures. She participates in community activities such as career days with local schools, annual topic seminars with K-9 clubs and special interest organizations.

In her spare time, Dr. Junkas loves spending time with her family, three children and her pets – a Siamese cat, mini-lop rabbit and freshwater aquarium fish. She enjoys both knitting and crocheting as well as traveling with her family.

Kurt E. Klepitsch, DVM
Gateway Veterinary Clinic
3226 W. Main Street
St. Charles, IL 60175

Kurt has been married for 23 years to his wife, Gail,  who is also a practicing veterinarian. They met at the University of Illinois while attending veterinary school. He has 2 children, Ethan and Sidney. Sidney has shown an interest in working with animals as well.

His areas of interest outside of work include golfing and wood working. He also likes to spend his summers working in his vegetable garden. Dr. Klepitsch is a die-hard White Sox fan. He tries to get to a game or two if there is time and weather permits.

Alexis Newman, DVM, CVPP, EMT
Partners & Paws Veterinary Services
560 Ogden Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532

Dr. Alexis Newman received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University in 1998. She has a special interest in police and working K-9s. She has worked with them for many years and understands the needs of the K-9, the handler, and police departments. Her passion for police dogs and their handlers led to the successful launch of Partners and Paws Veterinary Services in 2013. Prior to that, she had spent her career in Specialty Referral hospitals, as an Intern, then as an Emergency and Critical Care Director, followed by Medical Director of two specialty hospitals. She also enjoys working with sporting groups, rescue groups and ‘civilian’ dogs and cats.

She is the oversight veterinarian for the Illinois Task Force 1 and oversees the care for the search and rescue dogs. She completed her certification from the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and became a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) in 2014 and was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in 2017.

Dr. Newman has authored veterinary articles for Police and Working Dog magazines since 2008 and frequently instructs in K-9 first aid and tactical care to local police K-9 handlers, other working dog groups, and paramedics and is a popular speaker at various national working dog conferences.

Dr. Newman is a founding member and current board president of the 501c3, MARK-9 (Medical Assistance for Retired K-9s). She is a member of several veterinary organizations including the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization promoting their innovate Veterinary Outreach Program (VOP). She has served on the board of directors for the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association from 2005-2013, including two terms as past president.

Bryan Pieper
Partner & General Manager
Minuteman Press – St. Charles
1574 East Main Street
St. Charles, IL 60174

Bryan Pieper serves as Partner & General Manager at Minuteman Press in St. Charles, Illinois and Vice President of Blooming Color. Recognized as one of the leading printing groups in the United States, Minuteman Press – St. Charles offers a full complement of printing and marketing services using state-of-art equipment, including an Indigo 7000 digital offset press, as well as extensive capabilities with traditional offset, wide format, and web-to-print solutions.

Prior to beginning his career at Minuteman, Bryan spent nearly 10 years as Director of Sales & Marketing and Manager of Field Operations for a national insurance loss control firm where he led a team of sales professionals and amassed a client base of nearly 500 property and casualty insurance carriers.

Bryan is an avid railroad fan and photographer, and for several years throughout high school and college published a feature magazine dedicated to Midwestern railroad operations.  Bryan also served as Vice President and Treasurer of the Chicago Central Railroad Historical Society and Production Director of the Illinois Central Historical Society.

A 2000 graduate of North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, Bryan earned degrees in Management and Accounting, and ran for the college’s NCAA Division III National Champion cross-country and track & field teams under legendary coach Al Carius.

Julian C. Schink, MD
Vice President of Integration & Improvement
Spectrum Health Medical Group
648 Monroe Avenue, NW; Suite 115 | MC 999
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Julian (Skip) Schink is Vice President of Integration & Improvement, for Spectrum Health Delivery System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system based in West Michigan. He is an experienced leader with a long history of operational experience in Women’s Health and Oncology. As the Executive leader of the Nexus initiative within Spectrum Health, Skip is responsible for evolving the model of care placing the patient at the center of an integrated delivery system functioning on a single standardized electronic medical record. Skip joined Spectrum Health in 2013, as the Chief of Women’s Health for Spectrum Health Medical Group, where he provided new direction to the women’s health team. His progressive changes included: incorporating midwives into the delivery model, expanding prenatal care by implementing a Centering Pregnancy program through the March of Dimes, and revolutionizing the impatient care of postpartum patients to include a “do not disturb” before 8am program. The Women’s Health team expanded significantly under Skip’s leadership adding new Core Faculty, gynecologic oncologists, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and the West Michigan Ob/Gyn practice. In October of 2015, Skip advanced to his current role as Vice President.

Prior to arriving at Spectrum in 2013, he served as the Medical Director for the Robert H. Lurie Clinical Cancer Center at Northwestern in Chicago, where he was also the John & Ruth Brewer Professor of Gynecology and Cancer Research. In that role he conceived and oversaw the creation of the Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care, a 22,000 square feet stand-alone multidisciplinary center devoted to the holistic care for women with breast or gynecologic cancer. Skip continues his scientific investigation as the principal investigator of an NCI sponsored international trial, GOG/NRG 275. He also has over 125 publications in oncology and women’s health. He served as Vice President of the Society of Gynecological Oncology in 2008.

Marcy  Twardak
Corboy & Demetrio

Marcy A. Twardak is the Chief Administrator and Financial Officer of Corboy & Demetrio, P.C., a nationally renown litigation firm. She has spent all 32 years of her career as a law office professional at C&D, managing finances of the firm as well as human resources, new business, and marketing through client communication. She is involved in decision making for all non-client related issues, including technology and website development.

Marcy received her bachelors in Finance & Economics, Accounting and Spanish at Mundelein College, Chicago, Illinois. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Bob, a Battalion Chief of the Chicago Fire Department.

Philanthropic/Community Service
> Board Member, Women’s Council of St. Ignatius College Prep
> Board Member, Leader Council for Mercy Home for Boys & Girls
> Member, St. Joseph Seminary Board of Advisors
> Chair, Alumni Board of Mundelein College – assists in promoting the college’s ongoing relationship with Loyola University and promoting continued interest in the history of Mundelein College.
> Chair, Board of the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness (OCSA)
> Secretary, Philip H. Corboy Foundation
> Chairperson, “Friends of Saint Gall” – Saint Gall Paris
> Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago (since 2005)
> Treasurer, Judge Mary K. Rochford Campaigngs: Judge 2007, Appellate Court Judge 2010
> Treasurer, Judge Eve Reilly Campaign, 2015-2016

2015 Mother Mary Frances Clarke Award – The Immaculata High School Alumnae Association (recognition of leadership and lifetime achievements)

Peter Weber, MS, CAE
United Benefit Advisors

Peter Weber, was named President of the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) in July 2017. UBA is the nationals leading organization of independent benefit advisors who are bound by a code of conduct to actively cultivate, validate and share wisdom with busy benefit decision makers nationwide who want peace of mind through trust in knowing they are making informed choices in a complex marketplace.

Weber has previously serviced as the CEO of multiple organizations, including more than 12 years for the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA).

At ISVMA, Peter demonstrated innovation, vision and skill at developing strong bonds with veterinary students and young professionals. By interacting with the students from their first day of orientation through graduation, he successfully connected veterinary students with the commitment to participate in organized veterinary medicine.

Peter was recognized by ISVMA as an innovative leader with the 2006 President’s Award for sustained dedication to the advancement of veterinary medicine. In 2008, his dedication to the veterinary school was also recognized with the Special Service Award of the Veterinary Medical Alumni Association at the University of Illinois for outstanding service to the College and the veterinary profession. In 2009, he was named Executive of the Year by the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives (ASVMAE).

Peter graduated with honors from Knox College with a political science major. He obtained his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. He has returned to both schools as an instructor and guest speaker.

In his private life, Peter enjoys spending time with his wife Laura, family and friends. His interests include ornithology, wildlife photography, sports, theatre and concerts. He played lacrosse and baseball in college and continued playing baseball into his mid-thirties.

Kelly Wisecarver
Wisecarver Public Relations, LLC

Kelly Wisecarver, Public Relations

Prior to founding Wisecarver Public Relations, Kelly was founder and principal at two boutique public relations firms, wkpr, LLC and Sage Marketing & Public Relations, Inc. For over 25 years, Kelly has focused on diverse elements of marketing, advertising, public relations for her employers and clients. Today, her firm serves clients in industries ranging from hotels, restaurants and food suppliers, to consumer products, association promotion and non-profit.

Her clients have included both national and regional clientele including PetAg, Inc., merci Finest Assortment of European Chocolates, Unger Meat Company, The Signature Room at the 95th, Piazza Bella Trattoria, numerous Chicago hotels including Hotel Cass, Hotel Felix, the Amalfi Hotel Chicago, Doubletree Chicago Magnificent Mile, Knickerbocker Hotel, and retailers including Bloomingdale’s first stand-alone Home & Furniture Store.

Prior to opening her first firm, she served as director of marketing at Chicago’s Sutton Place Hotel. There, she managed a re-branding campaign, media relations, advertising and sales for the property’s restaurant, catering services and hotel. Her career has also included roles as vice president of an award-winning advertising agency that specialized in real estate promotion, and managing corporate communications for the first company in the world with an AIDS vaccine in human clinical trials.

Today, Kelly serves as an executive committee member and board member for The Magnificent Mile Association. In her free time, she is an avid traveler, a freelance writer and photographer.