On several of our past mailings, Senior Connections inadvertently omitted Jack Graber from our list of Governing Board members. Jack is a crucial member of our Board who has an important presence in our organization, and we deeply regret the omission.
Tom Smith is a Vice President with BMO Harris bank. He has over 25 years of banking experience in various roles including 11 years with BMO Harris. Tom presently serves as a credit officer for high net-worth individuals and business bank clients. Prior to this role, Tom served as a relationship banker with responsibility for managing a portfolio of not-for-profits including professional associations, healthcare providers and social service, cultural and religious organizations.
Governing Board Liaison, Advisory Council
Amy Tharpe started as a volunteer with Senior Connections in 2006. Every week for four years she visited Mary until she passed away at 102. Amy has always volunteered, but said that her time with Mary was some of the most rewarding time of her life. As a new board member, she hopes to increase community involvement with Senior Connections, organize events and fundraisers and enrich the experiences for both seniors and their visitors. Amy works in sales and she and her husband are new residents to Evanston.
Mary Ellen Viskocil
Jack Graber, born and raised in Evanston, is a recent addition to the Senior Connections Board joining in the fall of 2014. Jack one of 5 Adult children, is primary family caregiver of an Evanston older adult. He has personally coordinated and worked with 2 wonderful Senior Connection Volunteers visiting his Mother for the last few years, and has seen up close just how valuable a regular social companion visit can be for the well-being of our elders. Jack previously worked for over 25 years as a sales professional with AT&T Business Marketing and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Iowa, and has a Master in Public Administration from the University of Arizona. He looks forward to being a regular visitor with a number of local seniors, and also assisting in fund raising, event planning, office support, and enthusiastically expanding the reach and scope of Senior Connections whenever possible.
Michael (Mike) Otte is a lawyer in Skokie with specialities in elder law, Medicaid planning, living trusts, guardianship, Veteran’s benefits, probate and trust administration. He is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mike received his B.A. in Economics at the University of Iowa and his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, serving as associate editor on the Consumer Law Review. He lives on the northwest side of Chicago with his wife, Nia, and their three children.
A proud Canadian, Jim worked for General Motors in Windsor, Ontario for many years and had a window installation business on the side. Once he retired and moved to Chicago's North side he kept busy with a Kitchen Design business while also being a property manager. Jim joined the board in 2015.
John Peterson is the Managing Partner of Howe & Hutton, Ltd. He is engaged in the representation of not-for-profit and related organizations, and those in the travel, tourism, hospitality, incentive and meetings industry. John is a former Regional Director of the Federal Trade Commission, a former Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Trade and Professional Association Law Committee, and a former Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Antitrust Law Section Council. John advises and litigates in the areas of antitrust and trade regulation, as well as other matters affecting trade associations and professional societies. John graduated with honors from The John Marshall Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review. John is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Illinois; the Trial Bar of the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, District of Colorado, and Eastern District of Michigan; and the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals. John currently serves on the ASAE Legal Section Council and is Co-Chair of the 2013 Chicago Association Law Symposium Planning Committee.
Dawn B. Van Alphen
Dawn has been interested in seniors since her first job during freshman year of college when she worked at a retirement home for seniors in Windsor Canada. Dawn had a background in Health Sciences through her experience in nursing, and with an undergraduate degree in Dental Hygiene from the University of Detroit: Mercy School of Dentistry, this led Dawn to a natural progression towards Health Psychology and a holistic approach to patient care. Dawn completed her masters and doctoral and degrees in Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology with graduate placements at Tinley Park Mental Health Center, Cook County Hospital Pain and Diabetes clinics, and CAPS at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis.
Dawn’s dissertation was on “Psychosocial Predictors of Glycemic Control in Underserved Type-2 Diabetics”. Dawn gained Postdoctoral experience in private practice with additional independent research in the areas of Clergy and Rabbinical Sexual Abuse of Minors, MST (Military Sexual Trauma), PTSD and Complex Trauma. She is particularly involved in promoting awareness of the effects of childhood sexual trauma on adult males throughout the lifespan.
Currently her Clinical focus is on individual and couples therapy throughout the adult lifespan
Dr. Van Alphen has an office in the Streeterville area of Chicago and lives in Evanston with her husband and daughter.