Christopher E. Birck, B.A.'88, Business and Economics
Christopher E. Birck is the current Managing General Partner of Oak Street Investments, L.P., a Delaware-based venture firm, a position he has held since 1999. He has also served as Chairman of Arrowsight, Inc., a remote video auditing company, since 2001.
Birck graduated from Illinois Benedictine College (now known as Benedictine University) with a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Economics in 1988. He also earned his M.B.A. from DePaul University in 1993.
Birck worked at Tellabs, Inc., an electronic communications hardware company, from 1988 to 1999 in the finance department. He was the Director of Treasury upon his departure. A member of the founding family of Tellabs, Birck has been a member of the Tellabs Foundation Board of Directors since 2011. Established in 1997, the Tellabs Foundation has given millions over the last two decades to support strategic initiatives in education, health and the environment.
He is very active in the local community, serving as a member of the Naperville Heritage Society Board of Directors, including acting as Chair from 2008-2012. He is also a prior member of the Naper Settlement Museum Board. A proud IBC alumnus, Birck has been a member of Benedictine University’s Board of Trustees since 2014.
Birck has been married to Christine (Sterkowitz) Birck since 1991. They have three children, all in various levels of college. His interests include golf, music, reading and various Chicago professional sports teams.
Aimee J. Allbritton, Ph.D. is Vice President of Organization Development and Chief Learning Officer at Memorial Health System in Springfield, Illinois. Allbritton began her career as an educator in Educational Resources at Memorial Medical Center in 2000. She went on to hold roles as Director of Educational Resources and System Director of Organization Learning and Development from 2002-2009 and System Administrator of Organization Development from 2009-2012, until expanding into her current role.
Allbritton is responsible for strategic leadership of a comprehensive infrastructure that ensures the workforce has the needed knowledge, skills and abilities to achieve the organization’s desired outcomes. She is responsible for identifying, diagnosing and leading change among the health system’s structures, behaviors and processes.
She is active in community affairs as a member of Illinois Women in Leadership and has served on the Strategic Planning Committee for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois. She also volunteers at Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Health Fair, Memorial Medical Center Foundation’s Festival of Trees and is active in the education of pet therapy animals.
Allbritton is also active in healthcare and organizational associations including the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Association of Talent Development, the Organization Development Network, Benedictine University’s Strategic Planning Advisory Council and the Steering Committee for the National Center for Healthcare Leadership. She is a Registered Organization Development Consultant, as well as having earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources accreditation.
Allbritton earned her Master’s of Science degree in Management and Organizational Behavior as well as her Ph.D. in Organization Development from Benedictine University in Springfield. She has presented nationally and internationally as an expert on executive leadership transitions and has had her work published as well. She is currently working on a book for healthcare leaders to assist in executive leadership transitions.
Aimee and her husband, Chris, live in Springfield. She has two children, Micalister, a senior at University of Central Florida in Orlando; Caidin, a soldier in the United States Army; and two stepchildren, Andrew, a junior at the University of Illinois; and Carolyn, a junior in high school. They share their home with their two dogs, Sparkle and Sadie.
Richard C. Anderson, M.D. graduated magna cum laude from Illinois Benedictine College (now Benedictine University) with a B.S. in Biochemistry in 1988. He went on to earn his medical degree from the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria, Illinois and fellowship at Washington University’s Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
Anderson is board-certified in both surgery and thoracic surgery and practices with the Peoria Surgical Group. He serves on the medical staffs at Methodist Medical Center of Illinois and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. He also
Anderson has received numerous accolades and honors over his career, but he is most proud of his three Golden Apple awards for excellence in teaching. He has also been named the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria Department of Surgery’s Teacher of the Year 15 times.
He was re-elected as trustee of the Illinois State Medical Society in 2016. He serves as a Board advisor to the Medical Legal Council and to the Committee on CME Activities. Locally, Anderson belongs to the Peoria Medical Society, where he has served in numerous positions including two terms as president. He is a Fellow and Governor of the American College of Surgeons, former Vice President of the Illinois Surgical Society and a member of the American Cancer Society. Anderson has many publications to his credit, including articles, book chapters, papers and presentations, along with two clinical trials.
Anderson lives in Morton, Illinois with his wife, Becky. They have six children: Elle, Jake, Jack, Clayton, Josh and Jillian.
Born and raised on the southside of Chicago, Edward Dickson attended St. Anselm’s grammar school and Mendel Catholic High school prior to his enrollment at Illinois Benedictine College in 1975. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from IBC (now Benedictine University) in 1979. In 1999, he was inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame as a two-sport athlete for basketball and track. In 2015, Dickson was also inducted into Mendel Catholic’s Hall of Fame for basketball.
Following graduation, Dickson began a brief three-year career with the Campbell Sales Company. In 1983, he began a 25-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, retiring in 2008. During his tenure, Dickson worked significant administrative and criminal investigations in several field offices, including a Safe Streets Homicide Task Force in Washington, D.C., which had the highest homicide rate in the United States at the time. Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, he was transferred to the Counterterrorism Division where he supervised and provided executive oversight for numerous international terrorism, intelligence and counterintelligence investigations. Dickson ended his career as an Inspector and a member of the FBI’s Senior Executive Service.
In his post FBI career, he served as Director of Investigations at the Depository Trust and Clearance Corporation. There, he successfully implemented several administrative policies and operational protocols that effectively impacted security. He also successfully mentored several subordinates, resulting in higher roles within the Internal Security Department.
In 2012, Dickson was asked by the Governor of New Jersey to serve as the Director of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Among other duties, he was responsible for ensuring the state’s preparedness for adverse man-made incidents and natural disasters. During Superstorm Sandy, he led an effort which provided shelter to hundreds of at-risk New Jersey residents impacted by the worst natural disaster in the history of the state.
Dickson went on to serve as President of Investigations for New York-based MSA Security in 2014. He is now Vice President, Global Security for Johnson and Johnson, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
J. Michael Pressimone, Ed.D. is the 14th President of Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned his Ed.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University in 2013.
Pressimone’s higher education career spans more than three decades. He served as Vice President of Advancement at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina; and Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
He serves on the boards of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chaminade College Prep, Incarnate Word Academy Academic Affairs Committee and St. Joseph’s Academy. He has been an active voice in issues of diversity and racial justice. Pressimone has written in support of greater diversity and inclusion in both the news media and for his campus constituency. Each summer, he hosts a five week long series of conversations between white and black Catholics in St. Louis. He is active in the interfaith community working to promote harmony among all people of faith. In the wake of community unrest following the death of Michael Brown in 2014 and the Stockley verdict in 2017, Pressimone hosted gatherings of community leaders who were committed to exploring non-violent responses.
At Fontbonne, Pressimone is leading a transformation driven by Fontbonne Forward – a strategic plan for growth, excellence and inspiration. He is spearheading an effort to purchase a now closed Catholic high school property west of St. Louis which would more than double the University’s real estate holdings and expand its capacity for athletic programs and graduate and adult education. Other new initiatives at the University include: Fontbonne Promise, which provides free education to academically able students who lack the ability to pay, and an anti-sex trafficking certificate program for social workers, caregivers and first responders who deal with victims and survivors of trafficking.
Michael and his wife Cathy are active members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. They have been married for 36 years and are blessed with 12 children and five grandchildren.
Michael M. Alebich, D.O. graduated from Benedictine in 2007 with a B.S. in Health Science. He attended medical school at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois and joined the Primary Care Internal Medicine residency program at Stroger Hospital and Rush University Medical Center in 2011. After completing his residency in 2014, Alebich served as Chief Medical Resident at Stroger Hospital.
Alebich started his current role at Stroger as an Attending Physician in the Division of Hospital Medicine in 2015. His clinical roles include caring for acutely ill hospitalized adults, educating post-graduate physicians, mentoring and teaching medical students and performing non-surgical bedside procedures. His administrative duties include Associate Designated Institution Official, core faculty for the Internal Medicine Residency Program and Director of Medical Student Programs. He holds current academic appointments as Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush Medical College and the Chicago Medical School and has published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Alebich’s honors include Resident Teacher of the Year at Rush in 2014, Medical Student Teaching Award in 2015 and 2016, the Osler Award for Inpatient Medicine Teaching in 2016 and Keynote Speaker at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine Bridging Ceremony in 2017.
Alebich hopes to continue teaching throughout his career and looks forward to serving the underserved as a public hospital physician for the foreseeable future. He currently lives in Chicago and spends his free time cooking, learning photography, reading historical non-fiction and biographies and enjoying time with his family and friends. He played football for the Eagles and counts his three years with the team among the fondest times of his life.
Cindy Baranoski, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.N. is one of the leading pediatric special needs dietitians in the field, creating and working with the nutrition program and interdisciplinary feeding clinic at the regarded Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley Pediatric Medical Rehabilitation Center since 1999. She has helped children with special needs and their families receive nutrition support, which might not otherwise be realized, through her work with doctors, therapists, insurance companies and funding organizations.
Baranoski previously held positions at Benedictine University, Alexian Brothers Medical Center and The Quaker Oats Company. She is a preceptor with dietetic interns for numerous universities and routinely lectures at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her list of publications and citations is vast and includes professional journals, medical textbook chapters and numerous national and international speaking engagements.
Baranoski graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Benedictine University in 1995 and a Master of Science in Nutrition from Northern Illinois University in 1999. She holds a Pediatric Weight Management certificate from the Commission on Dietetics Registration and is credentialed by the Early Intervention System in Illinois. She is also a nationally registered and licensed dietitian in the states of Illinois and Connecticut. Baranoski was most recently the recipient of the distinguished Spotlight Award from Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley, whose nutrition program was awarded “Excellence in Service Innovation” from Easter Seals National. She received the 1995 Community Service Award from Benedictine University; Outstanding Graduate Thesis at NIU; and the Emerging Leader Award from the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Baranoski is certified in Ayurveda, Meditation and Yoga as a Vedic Educator through the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in California and has been a hairstylist in Oak Brook for 36 years. She lives with her newly retired husband and her bird and enjoys practicing yoga, meditation, hiking, seeing movies and traveling.
Grace M. Mirsky, Ph.D. earned her B.S. in Computer Science from Benedictine University in 2004 as well as her B.S. in Computer Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology the same year. She went on to earn her M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2008, both from Northwestern University, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Upon graduation, Mirsky worked at Northrop Grumman Corporation until 2014, when she became an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Benedictine University. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she conducts research with undergraduate students in the areas of machine learning, computer vision and robotics. She has co-authored 19 conference and journal papers as well as two book chapters.
Inspired by her father’s strong support of achieving her goals, Mirsky has sought to encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) throughout her career. In 2003, she participated in the Benedictine University mentoring program, which helped teach eighth grade girls about math and science. While interning at Argonne National Lab in 2003 and 2004, Mirsky volunteered for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, a program designed to encourage girls to develop an interest in STEM. In 2008, she served as an instructor in Northwestern University’s Summer Technology and Engineering Program, which introduced junior high girls to engineering through a variety of hands-on projects. During her time at Northrop Grumman from 2009-2014, she informally mentored a number of junior female engineers and interns. In 2017, Mirsky received an unrestricted gift from Google to create a summer robotics camp for junior high girls to introduce them to computer science. This camp, held at Benedictine University in June 2017, involved 27 sixth to eighth grade girls from seven different area schools.
Concentrating on consumer finance and protection laws, Brett J. Natarelli, J.D. handles a range of litigation matters and provides compliance advice relating to mortgage servicing issues. His clients include banks, mortgage servicers and other businesses with operations regulated by federal consumer finance laws.
Natarelli has defended clients in the context of consumer class actions and complex contested mortgage foreclosures relating to the Home Affordable Modification Program and the Mortgage Servicing Rule. He has also defended clients in cases involving the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), among other state and federal consumer protection statutes and regulations. He also led efforts to assist banks with all aspects of the OCC Consent Orders and National Mortgage Settlement implementation.
In addition to advising clients on complying with the various mortgage consent orders and federal and state foreclosure laws, Natarelli writes for legal publications on foreclosures, evictions and mortgage servicing. He has also represented corporate defendants in other types of individual and class action litigation, including asbestos-related product and premises liability lawsuits, breach of contract litigation and cases involving financial theft.
Natarelli is currently focused on assisting clients in repurchase and indemnification demands and related litigation arising from the sale or securitization of mortgages in the secondary market.
Since 2010, Natarelli has been a board member of the Illinois Mortgage Bankers’ Association, the oldest state trade association supporting mortgage bankers in the nation. In 2016, he was honored with a Best in the Business Award for his representation of mortgage bankers.
Natarelli is a 2005 alumnus of Benedictine University, earning a B.A. in Political Science. Since graduating law school, he has assisted Tammy Sarver, J.D., Ph.D. with the Benedictine University Mock Trial and Moot Court programs in various capacities. He was named Outstanding Coach in 2016 for his efforts.
Hallie B. Nester is the Senior Vice President of Marketing Communications, FMCG & Retail, North America at Nielsen. She leads the team responsible for driving the reputation of the Nielsen brand in the United States. She and her team build demand and close sales with clients, write and develop the Nielsen voice on thought-provoking industry topics, provide media with a useful measure of the market by way of Nielsen data and keep associates informed and engaged in Nielsen’s success.
Prior to her nine years with Nielsen, Nester did B2B and B2C marketing communications at a variety of companies, including YMCA of the USA, McDonald’s Corporation and Arthur Andersen. She is passionate about solving complicated business problems by using clear communication. Her favorite parts of her work are creating the story and tailoring the delivery mechanism and message by audience and call-to-action. She enjoys exploring new technologies that can make it easier to drive the message home in a fast-paced marketing communications industry that is always changing and evolving.
Nester holds a bachelor’s degree in writing and publishing from Benedictine University. A few years after graduating, she decided to go back to school and earned a master’s degree in managerial communications from Northwestern University.
She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband; daughters, Hazel, Olive and Ruby; and dog, Fiona.
Over the past 20 years, Torian Richardson has served as an international thought leader whose expertise rests in analytics; culture and people development; strategy; and stewardship. He is a lifelong learner who greatly values the experiences he has had working on four continents and journeying to over 70 countries. Richardson’s “inclusive why” is to inspire the genius in others to live valiantly so that potential is turned into impact.
Born at South Chicago Hospital to a family rooted deeply in Chicago's Southside, he is the product of a working-class, broken home. He lived all over the Chicago area, from west on 87th Street to Southside’s Gresham, Justice and the Aurora/Naperville area. What really shaped Richardson was not only life in these diverse neighborhoods but growing up in a well-intended yet abusive family during his formative years.
Richardson transformed a lackadaisical attitude into earning an NCAA athletic scholarship but ultimately lost it. Once he buckled down, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Benedictine University in 1999, fighting his way to becoming a first-generation college graduate. He also earned a Master of Public Administration in International Development from Tsinghua University in Beijing and graduated from leadership programs at Harvard Business School.
In the United States, he has held a variety of corporate leadership roles in finance, education and transportation with general management responsibilities of over $80 million. He has served as Chairman of the Board of GlobalMindED as well as a consultant with HBS Club of New York. In Africa, as Pearson’s Business Solutions Director, he was responsible for successfully building educational technology and service businesses throughout the African continent. Living in China for four years as an entrepreneur, Richardson founded Guanxi Universal and lectured at the University of International Business and Economics (Beijing) and Changchun Finance College.
He is currently leading the conversation on navigating uncertainty; access and inclusion; and stewardship through his podcast “Inclusive Why” and writing a book focused on breaking cycles of abuse called West on 87th.
Nirav Shah is following his passion for public health working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) in Washington, D.C. As a Public Affairs Specialist, Shah educates consumers about safe food handling behaviors to prevent foodborne illnesses. Apart from fulfilling his primary duties at the USDA, he represents FSIS at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Last year, Shah assisted numerous communities as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria barreled through Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, he triaged emails, provided updates to senior leadership and coordinated resources for supporting local, state and tribal areas.
Shah earned a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach in international business and marketing. He also completed his M.B.A at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and earned his Master of Public Health from Benedictine University in 2010.
He brings to the table an array of experiences, on both global and domestic levels. He was the Patient Services Representative for the American Cancer Society, North Shore Region, in Illinois. While fulfilling capstone requirements for his graduate studies, Shah travelled in the rural villages of Kenya to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and participated in a 2010 mission trip to Tanzania working at a convent in Njombe to give health check-ups to nuns residing in the community.
Shah is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having worked in Zambia from 2013-2015 on their Community Health Improvement Project. He was a second-generation volunteer based out of Nsadzu village focused on bettering the lives of people in his catchment area and as well as those in Zambia as a whole. Shah then started his career with the federal government with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In his spare time, Shah enjoys expanding his knowledge regarding public health as well as jet setting to various continents. His inspiration comes from both of his parents, Ashok and Smita Shah; his wife, Amee Mehta; and all his professors.
Brad Weyer graduated from Benedictine University with a B.B.A. in Finance in 2006. He is now the Senior Director of Business Insights & Analytics for McDonald’s USA. He currently oversees all business case development, forecasting, advanced analytics, strategic business consulting and revenue management for McDonald’s USA, a $37 billion business unit. He started as an intern for McDonald’s Latin America just over 12 years ago while he was going into his senior year at Benedictine. Over the years, Weyer’s career has allowed him to hold positions in International Business, Customer Analytics, Regional Insights, Consumer Insights, Menu Management, Business Strategy, Innovation and Revenue Management. Some highlights and accomplishments include turning around a low performing region to become a top five performer, launching more than five new products to achieve category growth goals, co-creating a new restaurant concept, developing pricing strategy and revenue management initiatives, building an advanced analytics department and being the co-architect of the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu that was just launched this year.
Although Weyer is a native Chicagoan, it wasn’t until he moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Washington/Baltimore Region of McDonald’s USA that he would meet his wife, Cassie. Brad and Cassie currently live in the western suburbs of Chicago with their three daughters, Madelyn, Catherine and Rosalynn, along with their beloved wheaten terrier, Chandler Bing.
In his spare time, Weyer enjoys serving at his local church where he is involved with biblical education for youth ministries, attending men’s bible studies and community groups. Growing up with three sisters and now having three daughters, Weyer is also proficient at painting nails, making pig tails and may or may not know the words of every Disney princess song.