We spoke with Christina Hovestadt, Executive Director of the Rashad Jennings Foundation, Susan Braun, Chief Executive Director of the V Foundation, ran down the top plays in sports philanthropy, and brought you new MVPs in this month's edition.
Sara Olson is a Community Relations Assistant for the Chicago Blackhawks. She assists in various fundraising efforts to support Chicago Blackhawks Charities. She runs the in-game silent auction and assists with additional fundraising activities including Blackhawks Beard-a-Thon, in-arena drives, the Keith Relief benefit concert, and Four Feathers Golf Outing. During the 2015-2016 season, Chicago Blackhawks Charities raised over $2.2 million that was distributed via grants to local nonprofit organizations. Sara also works on executing league-wide initiatives including Hockey Fights Cancer and Hockey is for Everyone.
In 2013, she graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Prior to working for the Chicago Blackhawks, she worked as a Program Manager for a local non-profit running leadership and volunteer programs for middle and high school students. She also spent summers during college as an intern for the Peoria Chiefs Minor League Baseball team and Make-A-Wish Illinois.
Sara has always had a passion for philanthropy and sports, so the opportunity to work in a position that allows her to fundraise for a team charity and work closely with the Chicagoland community was a perfect fit.
Informed by her upbringing, Colleen is passionate about education and equity. She grew up in the Midwest in a household anchored by her mother, a public school teacher for over 30 years.
Colleen graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota in the spring of 2006 with degrees in Global Studies and Spanish. She spent the last 11 years serving in a variety of roles with Playworks, during which she developed a strong belief in the power of play to bring out the best in everyone. She currently serves as the Playworks Illinois Executive Director.
In the fall of 2006, Colleen started with Playworks Maryland, serving as a program coordinator for one year and as a program manager the next year. She then moved to Playworks’ San Francisco office where she supported Playworks schools throughout the SF Bay Area. In 2011, Colleen launched programming and opened the Playworks Illinois office as the region’s program director.
Colleen sees the value of youth empowerment and developing the whole child, striving to bring opportunities to more kids in Chicago to develop social and emotional skills necessary to succeed in today’s world.
Colleen is a New Leaders Council Chicago 2016 Fellow, and currently serves as a Curriculum Co-Chair on the executive board. She also volunteers as a career coach with Posse Chicago and was a community representative on the Local School Council for Pulaski International School. She is also part of the Bucktown Community Organization.
When she’s not fostering safe, healthy play on the 4-square court, you can find Colleen at a farmers’ market, traveling with her spouse Adam, walking her two puggles, and running on the 606.
pro sports communications
Katrina Younce is the managing director of PRO Sports Communications, a full-service agency helping brands use sport as a platform to drive business growth while creating positive social impact.
With more than 15 years of corporate and agency experience, including communications positions at top tier media companies like NBC Universal and G4 Networks, Katrina oversees the firm’s key account teams. In this role, she is responsible for creating and refining communications and digital strategy, streamlining client service processes, and monitoring best practices and new tools in the ever-changing landscape of PR and digital marketing.
Katrina has led account teams for global organizations and sports teams as well as start-ups and non-profits. Recent clients include, World Bicycle Relief, a global nonprofit and social enterprise mobilizing people in developing countries through the Power of Bicycles and enabling students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs to access education, healthcare and greater economic opportunities; Good Sports, a national nonprofit dedicated to reversing the declining youth sports participation rates by providing new sports equipment, footwear and apparel to kids in need; and Team Novo Nordisk, a global team of athletes with diabetes, including the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team.
She began her career at The Lippin Group, one of the leading independent entertainment public relations and marketing firms in the world. Over the course of three years, she rose to Senior Account Executive and worked on high-profile accounts like, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, People’s Choice Awards, Paramount Network Television Productions and Wolf Films.
In her free time, Katrina volunteers at the Orangewood Children & Family Center and is training to become a mentor to foster youth who may need help preparing for college or a career.
Katrina is a graduate of The University of Montana with a degree in Communications Studies. She currently resides in Orange County, California with her husband and their very energetic five-year-old daughter.
founder & ceo
Susan McPherson is a serial connector, cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert. She is the founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focusing on the intersection between brands and social good, providing storytelling, partnership creation and visibility to corporations, NGOs and social enterprises. She’s a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit and Forbes and has 25+ years experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications. She is a featured speaker at industry events including Net Impact, Center for Corporate Citizenship's Annual Summit, DLD Women, TOA Berlin, and Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy's Summit. Susan founded and hosts the bi-weekly #CSRChat on Twitter.
Currently, Susan invests in, and advises women-led technology start-ups, including ZADY, TheLi.st, Lover.ly, News Deeply, Hint Water, Apolitical, Arlo Skye, GoldBean and The Muse. She serves on the boards of USA for UNHCR, Girl Rising, The PVBLIC Foundation, and the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and previously served on the board of Bpeace. Additionally, she is a member of the MIT Solve Women and Technology Leadership Group and serves as an adviser to several nonprofits, including Girls Who Code, She’s The First, The Adventure Project, and The OpEd Project. Susan is a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador and was named as one of 40 Women to Watch Over 40, Fortune's 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter, Elle Magazine's Top 25 Women on Twitter and Fast Company's 25 Smartest Women of Twitter.