2017 Board of Directors
Frances Baxley, M.D.Medical Director
Erie HealthReach Waukegan Health Center
Frances Baxley’s clinical experience includes providing primary care for underserved communities in San Francisco and rural New Mexico, and continuity and walk-in care at NorthShore University Health System. A Fulbright alumna, she earned a medical degree from Harvard and completed her residency in Family and Community Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. She currently works for Erie Family Health Center as medical director of the Erie HealthReach Waukegan Family Health Center. She is board certified in family medicine and is fluent in Spanish and German. Dr. Baxley joined the board of the Healthcare Foundation in 2016.
Luis A. BerronesAssociate Judge
Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois
Appointed in 2007, Judge Luis Berrones, who currently serves in Chancery, has presided over bench and jury trials in both the criminal and civil divisions. Prior to joining the Nineteenth Circuit, he was a partner in the law firm of Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP, where for more than 20 years he focused on complex litigation involving commercial and product liability. While in private practice, he also served as an arbitrator in Cook and Lake Counties’ Court Annexed Mandatory Arbitration Programs. Judge Berrones joined the board of the Healthcare Foundation in 2017.
Rev. Mark A. Dennis, Jr., M.Div., M.Mus. (Vice Chair)President and CEO
Before joining the YMCA in Evanston, Mark Dennis served as senior pastor of that city’s historic Second Baptist Church and as president of the Evanston-based Alford Group, a national consulting firm focused on strengthening organizations in the not-for-profit sector. In addition to his many years of professional experience with foundations, faith-based groups, and social service organizations, he has served on the boards of North Park University, Metropolitan Family Services, and the Charitable Advisory Commission of Illinois’s Office of the Attorney General, among others. A resident of Evanston, Rev. Dennis joined the Foundation’s board of directors in 2016.
Mary Dominiak, Ph.D., M.B.A., RN (Chair)Trustee
Village of Antioch
Before joining the faculty of Loyola University Chicago’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, where she was assistant professor and founding director of the Undergraduate Health Systems Management Program, Mary Dominiak held the position of global director of marketing for a business unit of Baxter Healthcare Corporation. A trustee of the Village of Antioch, she also serves on the Leader Council of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls and is a founding member of the Antioch Area Healthcare Accessibility Alliance (AAHAA). Dr. Dominiak joined the Foundation’s board of directors in 2011.
Carolina Duque, M.A.Civic Leader
A founding member of the Alliance for Human Services, Carolina Duque has served the Spanish-speaking community of northern Lake County for more than a decade. She was executive director of Mano a Mano Family Resource Center and in 2011 earned the Lake County Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leader Award. She is a former member of the Round Lake Area School Based Health Center Advisory Committee and IL Rte. 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council. She joined the Foundation’s board of directors in 2015.
William A. Ensing, Esq.Ensing Law Firm, LTD
William A. Ensing has practiced law for more than 25 years, specializing in estate, wealth protection, and business succession planning for private and corporate clients. The author of numerous articles, he is a two-time past chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Asset Protection Committee and lectures extensively on the subject in the United States and abroad. Mr. Ensing joined the Healthcare Foundation’s board of directors in March 2008 and became its chair in September 2010.
David Hatton, CFP (Treasurer)Senior Financial Consultant
First Midwest Financial Network
With more than a decade of experience in the insurance and financial services sectors, David Hatton provides individual investment advice through First Midwest Bank, where he is an investment sales manager, and through his own consultancy, HFS. He has a B.A. in political science from Ball State University and served for eight years in the U.S. Army. A resident of Grayslake, Mr. Hatton joined the Foundation’s board in 2014.
John L. Joanem, Esq.John L. Joanem & Associates, P.C.
John Joanem has practiced law in Waukegan for approximately 20 years. Having received his primary and secondary education in Waukegan, Mr. Joanem attended University of Illinois and Pepperdine University School of Law before returning to Lake County to start his law practice. His practice provides a range of services in family, criminal, real estate, personal injury law, and civil litigation. He has served as General Counsel for Waukegan Township and for Moraine Township. A past member of the Lake County Urban League and a former Court Appointed Special Advocate for juveniles, Mr. Joanem joined the Foundation’s board in 2008.
Nadine A. Johnson, CTPVice President/Treasury Management
First Midwest Bank
Nadine Johnson has more than 18 years of banking experience, joining First Midwest Bank in May 1995. A graduate of Columbia College of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she earned her M.B.A. from Webster University. Ms. Johnson received her certified treasury professional certification in 2007 and is an associate member of Illinois Government Finance Officers Association. She has been a member of the Foundation’s board since 2008.
Magdalena McElroy, R.N., LCSWPsychiatric Nurse and Clinical Social Worker
Lake County Behavioral Services
A bilingual therapist, counselor, and registered nurse, Magdalena McElroy has worked with adult and youth clients on issues as diverse as behavioral health problems and mental illness, co-occurring medical and psychological disorders, occupational injury, and sexual abuse. She is currently employed at Lake County Health Department’s Behavioral Health Services and maintains a private practice. McElroy received a bachelor of science from Alverno College and an MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She joined the Foundation’s board in 2015.
Laura Ramírez, B.A.Grant Portfolio Manager
Lake County Crisis Center (Known as A Safe Place)
Laura Ramírez is a lifelong resident of Lake County with over 15 years of experience in the Lake County non-profit sector, she holds a BA in psychology with a minor in social work from Wheaton College and is a graduate of the Illinois Latino Policy Forum’s Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academy. A former member of the board of directors of the Coalición Latinos Unidos of Lake County, she joined the Foundation’s board in 2015.
Maria C. Schwartz, M.S., BSN, RN (Secretary)Civic Leader
For nearly four decades, Maria Schwartz worked on the frontlines of patient care, holding positions of increasing responsibility in area hospitals and nursing facilities. Among those positions were assistant vice president of patient care services at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, director of acute care services and mental health and of medical-surgical services at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, and director of nursing services at Winchester House in Libertyville. Ms. Schwartz joined the Foundation’s board in 2013.
Casandra D. SladeSenior Vice President, CRA/Community Development
For more than 20 years, Casandra Slade has worked to improve economic stability and prosperity in low- and middle-income communities in Illinois. She began on the nonprofit side, implementing homebuyer education and post-purchase programs in Milwaukee and increasing affordable housing opportunities in Lake County. In 2004, she moved to the banking sector itself, launching successful small loan programs and helping shape effective community reinvestment and development initiatives. In her current role, Ms. Slade provides strategic guidance to Wintrust’s 15 community bank subsidiaries and a variety of community nonprofit organization partners. She joined the Foundation board in 2017.
Carol Sonnenschein, M.A., Ph.D.Consultant
A sociologist and geographic information system analyst, Carol Sonnenschein works to help governments and nonprofits understand local demographic, social, and economic trends. For 10 years at Chicago Metropolis 2020, she conducted research and analysis in the areas of development and transportation. She has worked to restore and protect the Des Plaines River watershed and taught at Loyola University Chicago. A longtime county resident, she has served on the boards of the Lake County Community Foundation, Liberty Prairie Conservancy, Lake County Affordable Housing Commission, and Metropolitan Planning Council Regional Development Committee. She joined the Foundation’s board of directors in 2016.
Angela Baran, M.S.Program Officer
Angela Baran holds a masters from DePaul University’s School of Public Service and has experience in healthcare grants management and development through her work with the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center. A life-long resident of Northeastern Lake County, she understands both the needs and assets of the community. She is committed to improving the health of the community through education and the provision of quality services. She joined the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County in 2011.
Meredith PolirerOffice Administrator
Meredith Polirer has held office administration and accounting related positions at a variety of corporations and nonprofit organizations, including P.M. Haeger & Associates, Delicious Cookie Company, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Michaels Arts & Crafts. She studied administrative office systems at the College of Lake County and holds a bachelor’s degree in technical management from DeVry University in Gurnee. She joined the Foundation in 2012.
Ernest Vasseur, M.T.S.Executive Director
Ernest Vasseur is the founding executive director of Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County and has spent most of his career in the nonprofit sector. While at the AIDS Pastoral Care Network during the 1990s, he supervised hospital chaplains of various faith traditions, educated religious leaders and their faith communities about compassionate responses to persons with HIV disease, led spirituality retreats and support groups for persons with HIV/AIDS, and helped to launch the first camp for families with HIV. In 1999, he moved to the field of philanthropy, becoming program officer, then senior program officer, with the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. There he developed significant expertise in healthcare access issues for low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations and oversaw the foundation’s humanitarian relief grants.