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Board & Staff

Who We Are

Meet the Illinois CASA Staff

Illinois CASA champions children by supporting, uniting, and growing local programs to provide a court appointed volunteer advocate for abused and neglected children throughout the State.

  • Chief Executive Officer

    Mari joined the CASA movement as a volunteer advocate in 2012. Shortly thereafter, she joined the staff of CASA Lake County and moved to the State Office in October of 2017. With a background in resource development, Mari understands the complex and diverse funding and organizational development needs of the Illinois CASA network.

    Her previous non-profit experience includes serving as the Program Officer in Education at the Chicago Community Trust and working as the Board liaison at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She began her career in management consulting. Mari is a graduate of Stanford University and completed her graduate work at the University of Chicago.

    Mari lives with her family in Chicago, and you can find her at home in her kitchen or a yoga studio almost anywhere in Illinois.

  • Deputy Director

    Beatriz first joined the CASA family in 2015 at the local program level. Beatriz comes to the State Office after a tenure of over 4 years at CASA of Cook County. While at CASA of Cook County, Beatriz served in several different capacities including Advocate Supervisor, Internship Coordinator, Director of Programs, Interim Executive Director and Director of Operations. Beatriz understands the multitude of skills necessary to run a program, as well as the challenges faced by programs. Prior to joining the CASA family, Beatriz worked as a foster care case manager, foster care supervisor and clinical screener with Spanish speaking families involved with DCFS in Cook County and throughout Northwest Illinois. Moreover, Beatriz worked in the area of immigration, one of her other passions besides working with vulnerable children and families. Beatriz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Social Work from Loyola University Chicago, and a JD from Northern Illinois University College of Law. Beatriz is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Illinois since 2010.

  • Training Manager

    Libby joined CASA in 2009 at the local level sitting on CASA of Effingham County’s board, served as board president and later served as Executive Director for four years until 2016. During her time with Effingham's program she served as Southern Regional Representative for Illinois CASA. Libby holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Eastern Illinois University. Prior to joining CASA, Libby worked as a case manager for drug, mental health and veteran’s courts in Clay, Effingham and Jasper counties. She has served on the Fourth Judicial Circuit Juvenile Justice Council since 2014 and is currently a commissioner on Effingham City Council.

    Libby resides with her family in Effingham, IL. She loves to kayak and garden.

  • Quality Assurance Manager

    Karen joined CASA in 2017 as a volunteer advocate for CASA of Cook County. Her experience supporting families in Cook County ignited a passion for the cause, and Karen became a member of the Illinois CASA team in November 2020. Prior to joining CASA, Karen had extensive experience in the education sector. She has been a teacher, coach, trainer and quality assurance expert. She also has experience with board development, strategic planning and mentoring district personnel. Karen is excited to have a full-time opportunity to contribute to all the great work CASA is doing throughout the state of Illinois.

    Karen lives in Riverside, IL with her husband, Tom, and their three crazy dogs.

  • Grants Specialist

    Laurie joined CASA in 2020 as the Grants Specialist. A graduate of Concordia University, she has a background in non-profits with experience in event management, programming and grants administration. Laurie lives in Chicago where she enjoys exploring the city's robust restaurant scene and riding along the lakefront.

  • Education Liaison

    Vivian joined the CASA family in 2020. She joined us from DuPage County CASA where she was a long-time advocate volunteer. She is also a foster parent in DuPage County. Vivian most recently worked at the DuPage Regional Office of Education in Early Childhood Education with vulnerable children and their families as the Bilingual Parent Educator Supervisor. She has extensive experience in early childhood education and holds a Spanish dual-language Transitional Bilingual Educator Endorsement Pre-k to 12. Prior to finding her passion in early childhood education, advocacy, and human services, Vivian worked as Director of Human Resources with a focus on training and development. Vivian holds a Bachelor's degree in Global Hospitality Leadership and a Master of Human Services.

  • Data Administrator

    Administrative Assistant of more than fifteen years. Determined, confident and well-organized with extensive experience in supporting mid and senior level managers. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. I love to read and travel. As a mother of three, I was drawn to this position because of my love for children. I’m a highly approachable individual with a willingness to make a positive mark.

  • Program Administrator

    Michelle joined the CASA family in April 2022 as a consultant before becoming a full-time employee in August 2022. She was a MSW student completing her field experience in hospice care and working part-time as a therapist for children and families in DCFS. Michelle most recently completed her degree program. She has worked as an administrative professional for over 10 years in various industries, and in the last 4 years in hospital administration. Prior to finding her passion for child welfare, advocacy, and human services, Michelle worked as a Facilities Manager and Executive Assistant to the Vice President of a hospital in the City of Chicago promoting patient care leadership and healthcare advocacy for underserved communities. Michelle holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies, a Master’s degree in Media Communication & Technology, and a Master’s in Social Work.

  • National CASA
    National CASA
  • Illinois DCFS
    Illinois DCFS
  • The Office of Illinois Courts
    The Office of Illinois Courts
  • Illinois Attorney General
    Illinois Attorney General
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