The Junior Board exists to support Spark Ventures initiatives and spur on growth by connecting with young professionals in the Chicago-land area primarily through Young Professionals of Spark (YPS). Meeting every month, members work closely with Spark staff to raise funds and awareness, put on events and provide strategic guidance.
Brian Gloede attended Miami University (Ohio) and earned a B.S. in Finance from the Farmer School of Business. Following graduation in 2008, Brian joined KeyBanc Capital Markets as an investment banking analyst. After two years of living in Cleveland, OH, Brian returned to his hometown of Chicago and became involved with Spark Ventures shortly thereafter. In the summer of 2012, Brian travelled to Zambia to visit Spark's partner. Outside of the office, Brian spends his time travelling and expanding his horizons trying his hand at everything from kiteboarding to homebrewing.
Julia Styles attended the University of Wisconsin, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and Culture and a Certificate in Business in 2004, and a Master of International Public Affairs with a specialization in International Development in 2005. Since 2007, she has worked at North Park University as the Global Partnerships Coordinator, facilitating service-learning trips around the world. One of her favorite service-learning destinations is Spark Ventures’ partner Hope Ministries in Ndola, Zambia. Julia enjoys traveling, photography, food, fashion and art, making Chicago a fantastic city to call home.
Tara Allison graduated from North Park University in the spring of 2008 with a B.A in Sociology. During this time she developed a passion for social justice and was trained as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation. Following graduation she accepted a position doing events and program development for a large non-profit. She quickly continued on to complete her M.B.A with marketing concentration at North Park in 2011 while doing a stint as a celebrity nanny. Her current project is working to open new daycare centers for a growing childcare company in Chicago. Tara first became involved with Spark Ventures as a founding member of Spark's Junior Board in 2010. She is excited to return to the board for the 2012-2013 year! In her down time Tara loves to do yoga, see live music, travel, play on boats, do anything outdoors and spend time with friends and family.
Sara Blumenshine graduated from North Park University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education. In July 2011, she moved to Ndola, Zambia for six months where she worked as a Spark Global Associate. Her primary role there was as a Grade Six teacher with Spark’s sister organization Hope Ministries. Sara loves traveling, dancing, the Bears, and reading; especially to thirty or more Zambian students!
Danielle Borschnack graduated from Northwestern University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences. After graduating, she joined The Cambridge Group, a growth strategy consulting firm in Chicago. Danielle first learned about Spark through a YPS event in winter 2012 and has been hooked ever since. In her free time, Danielle enjoys traveling, rollerblading, weddings, and screaming songs at the top of her lungs.
Lesley Brindle graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a concentration in Corporate Strategy. Lesley’s participation in Vanderbilt’s Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement – a yearlong program through which she spent a summer studying and volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa truly “Sparked” her interest in economic development and poverty alleviation. Lesley received a Master of Accountancy in 2011 from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management and is now working for Deloitte & Touche LLP in their Enterprise and Risk Services area. Lesley’s passions include good music, great conversations, delicious food and spending as much time as possible outdoors.
Aaron Chaiken graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Law, Letters, & Society. After graduating in 2009, he joined The Cambridge Group, a management consulting firm in Chicago, where he worked until the summer of 2012. That summer he also traveled to Zambia and visited Spark's partner, Hope Ventures, in Ndola and Lusaka. Aaron was a founding member of Spark's Jr. Board in 2010, and is very excited to see it grow larger and stronger. Aaron loves camping, traveling, and following his hometown Atlanta Falcons. He is now working towards his MBA in the class of 2014 at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Leah Endalkatchew joined the Spark Ventures Junior Board in 2011.
Travis graduated from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business with a Finance Degree in 2009. He currently works as a mobile technology consultant at Solstice Consulting in Chicago and helped start Just Go Faster, LLC - an event production company specializing in multi-sport races. He has enjoyed volunteering and has been on the executive boards of University of Iowa Dance Marathon as the Executive Business Director and of University of Iowa RiverRun as the Co-Executive Director. Travis enjoys staying fit, playing tennis, and guitar.
Britni graduated from Purdue University in 2007 with a degree in electrical engineering and minors in management and economics. She currently works as an associate consultant at the Cambridge Group, a small strategy consulting firm in Chicago. While at Purdue, Britni participated in Engineering Projects in the Community, an organization that partnered with local organizations to complete not-for-profit engineering projects. She also spent time working in a orphanage in Brazil during one of her summers in college. In her free time, Britni is training for her first half marathon and perfecting her cooking skills.
Ryan Jeffery graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in the Spring of 2009 with a degree in Legal Studies and Environmental Studies. Upon graduating, Ryan joined the Chicago-based venture capital firm Lightbank for 2 years and currently acts as VP of Business Development for Belly. He has volunteered for several organizations, including the UW Children's Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, the US Forest Service and served as a member of the student athlete advisory committee in College. He enjoys northern Wisconsin, crazy weather, and someday wants to own a tea cup pig.
Steve graduated from North Park University with a B.S. in Business and Economics with a concentration in Economics. He is currently a Futures Trader at Chicago Board of Trade and the Assistant Men's Soccer Coach at North Park University. Steve went on one Transformation Trip through North Park University to Zambia. He has raised money for St. Jude's Hospital and volunteered at Swedish American Hospital and soup kitchens in Rockford. He ran the Chicago Marathon in fall 2009 and plans on running it again in 2010.
Lori Knapp joined the Spark Ventures Junior Board in 2012.
Jade graduated from North Park University with a B.A in Africana Studies and minored in Psychology and Theology. She is currently an Educational Resource Coordinator at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. Jade went on one Transformation Trip through North Park University to Zambia in 2007, and again on an Partnership Trip in 2011. Jade spent a year teaching in South Korea, and two years working in Chicago Public Schools for City Year, an AmeriCorps program. She plans on visiting Sparks’ next partnership in Latin America!
Jennifer graduated from Tulane University with a BA in International Development and Communication. She has over nine years of experience in fundraising and strategic partnerships for non-profits and universities. Her fundraising career began with the Tulane Athletic Fund during college. She went on to work for Make-A-Wish and a literacy foundation before completing her Master's in International Human Rights Law at the University of Sydney. She is currently a Development Manager of Corporate Campaigns and Grants for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Jennifer has previously worked and volunteered for organizations such as ActionAid Australia and Orphanage Outreach. She loves travel, photography, camping and hiking.
Gurbani graduated from the University of Illinois in 2010 with a degree in Accounting. Since 2010, she has worked for Aon, a brokerage and consulting firm, starting in finance then rotating into their strategy division. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to exotic destinations (whether it be for work or pleasure!), watching old Hitchcock films, cooking Indian food, reading with her youth buddy through the WITS (working in the schools) organization, and watching the Bulls beat the Celtics (and other teams)!