Playmakers Board

The Playmakers Board supports the overall mission and programs of Playworks Illinois. The Playmakers Board membership is comprised of professionals in the Chicago area community who are seeking philanthropic experience beyond basic volunteering. Members will gain hands-on experience in leveraging their individual expertise to effectively support the efforts of Playworks—cultivating and practicing skills that make a successful nonprofit board member.


 

Traci Saiz, Interim Chair


Director of Client Success, PowerPost

Traci leverages her marketing experience to help PowerPosts clients identify and execute a customized marketing strategy. By combining her business process and platform expertise with her clients’ vision, she enables clients to realize their full business potential. She continues to use these same skills to benefit Playworks through brand awareness, marketing efforts and the power of play! She has always given back to her community through various non-profits and coached AYSO soccer. Originally from California, she has made Chicago her home since graduating from Loyola with a bachelor’s degree in business and a concentration in marketing. In her free time, she loves traveling, watching sports, and enjoys being outdoors either running or hiking.

 

 

Mary Beth Johnson


Independent Consultant 

Mary Beth is the Philanthropy Officer for Spark Ventures where she manages donor relationships and services, ensuring that donors experience high-quality interactions that foster long-term engagement and investment. Prior to Spark, Mary Beth’s career path took her to Egypt where she co-founded an international service-learning organization, then to Evanston where she developed Rotary International’s first global strategic partnerships, and on to Chicago where she followed her passion for good food and community engagement at Whole Foods Market. You can find Mary Beth riding her bike around Chicago, experimenting in her community garden, and teaching yoga throughout the city. Having been an athlete and on teams most of her life, Mary Beth strongly believes in the power of play and is thrilled to support Playworks’ mission as a Playmaker.

 

Almira Goethe


Assurance Senior, EY

Almira grew up on the closed military base in the very center of Russia. Growing up in a very small community environment, school was very important to every kid in town. The teachers, school friends, and subjects were all that they knew. Almira spent her whole day at school since it offered a lot of activities before and after classes. She thinks her teachers realized that kids could not really get outside the borders of the town, and besides a little park and a school there was nothing else for kids. In school, Almira was in track and field team for seven years, the basketball team for three years, and also drama classes (she even went to the regional and international competitions for the performances).  She also took extra classes on algebra and English, along with biology and physics research teams, and participated in various academic competitions. Almira’s younger sister took another route, and she learned how to play an accordion, drums, guitar, piano, she was in several bands. Almira had very interesting school years, and it’s only because the school’s efforts allowed her to do that. She strongly believes that kids’ character evolves while in school, not only academically, but more importantly socially.

 

Mike Heaton


AVP Commercial Banking, Fifth Third Bank 

Mike has been involved with sports his entire life and believes the skills and habits he developed from years of playing on several teams have translated to success in his professional career. He is excited to join the Playmakers Board to help kids throughout Chicago stay active and form good habits and life skills in the process. Mike is a Commercial Banking Officer at Fifth Third Bank. He is responsible for managing the banking needs of privately held businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout Illinois and the Midwest. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan with a concentration in finance while playing football for four years and served as a co-captain his senior year. In his free time, Mike enjoys checking out local restaurants with family and friends, training for the upcoming Chicago triathlon, and following his favorite sports teams.

 

Kelly Patsavas


Senior Analyst – Industrial Engineering, United Airlines 

 

 

 

 

 

Libby Baker


Head of Organizational Development, Home Chef 

Libby Baker is the Head of Organizational Development at Home Chef, working closely with clients on a variety of organizational issues, including organizational health, organization design, and change management. She is passionate about helping companies realize the value of their human capital and achieve sustainable performance through organization health, as well as helping employees thrive and succeed in their workplace. Before joining Home Chef, Libby worked for McKinsey & Company for seven years, and prior to that as an ERP implementation consultant, assisting clients in their implementation of new PeopleSoft Financials systems. She graduated from Northwestern with a bachelor of arts in economics and French and has an MBA in international business from Georgetown University.

 

Alex Persha


Manager, West Monroe Partners 

Alex is a Manager in the Operations Excellence practice at West Monroe Partners, a mid-sized consulting firm headquartered in Chicago.  For the 7+ years he has been supporting the Chicago communities volunteering across various nonprofits and now an active member of the Playmakers associate board. Alex earned his Industrial Engineering degree from Purdue University (Boiler Up!).  He is enjoying his time living in the Chicago suburbs, spending time with his family & friends, travelling around the US and the world, and being an amateur at home chef (aka he really enjoys cooking and eating).

 

Patrice Whitfield


Behavioral Health Therapist, Alternatives, Inc. 

Patrice is a behavioral health therapist at Alternatives, Inc. She provides therapy sessions within Chicago high schools and under resourced communities. She enjoys working with youth to inspire growth and promote healthy social and emotional wellbeing. Patrice was an Americorps coach for Playworks Illinois during the 2017-2018 school year. She is happy to return to Playworks as a Playmakers board member to continue building safe and healthy play for Chicago communities.

 

 

Ashani Ranwala


Ashani works as an Account Manager for Google where she works with marketing agencies and businesses to manage day-to-day operations and build client relationships.  She attended Cornell University with a degree in Government. Education has always been important to her, and she is grateful for the opportunities that she was given through education and extracurriculars in South Carolina.  She was encouraged to join Playworks to support their mission of healthy play and do her part to bring leadership opportunities to young people in Chicago, as she was lucky to have growing up. Outside of work, she enjoys finding new ramen restaurants, dancing, and Chicago’s famous architecture boat tours.

 


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