Mark J. Doyle, B.A. '79, Language and Communications
Mark Doyle is the managing member of Prairie Avenue Advisors, a Chicago-based strategic consulting firm with deep political roots in Washington and Chicago, who has spent the last 16 years cultivating and nurturing business and political relationships across the country. Doyle earned his B.A. in Literature and Communication from Illinois Benedictine College in 1979.
Doyle was the director of advance for President William Jefferson Clinton’s first successful bid for the White House in 1992 and went on to serve as a deputy director of presidential personnel in the White House. Additionally, during his tenure in the administration, he served as the director of special projects working on the administration’s health care initiative.
Doyle always maintained a political presence in Washington and, in 2006, was approached by U.S. Senator Joseph Biden to help him prepare for his 2008 presidential bid. For two years, Doyle travelled full time with Senator Biden as his travelling political director and as part of his national finance team. During the 2008 General Election and through the Presidential Transition, Doyle travelled with the Vice President-elect and maintains a close relationship with him.
In 2010, Doyle was engaged by the United States Army as a subject matter expert and deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months as part of Task Force 2010, the anti-corruption task force stood up by Admiral Mullen. He has written about the Afghanistan operations for the Chicago Tribune and is a frequent guest in Chicago on their flagship radio station, WGN.
After returning from Afghanistan, Doyle founded Rags of Honor, the only custom silkscreen operation in the country devoted to hiring homeless and chronically unemployed veterans. Rags of Honor and their sister company, Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe, have combined to hire 78 at-risk and homeless veterans since opening their doors. He is a former director at Prairie Community Bank in Marengo, Ill., a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Patrick High School in Chicago, a board member of the Illinois Brain Injury Association and a high school football coach.
Tanjia M. Coleman, Ph.D. has more than 18 years of experience working as a senior-level human resources and organization development professional in non-profit and Fortune 100 companies including Microsoft, Starbucks, Tribune Company, Whirlpool, Sears and Motorola.
Currently, she is the chief human resources officer at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, the oldest and largest women’s organization in the region. As the CHRO, Coleman introduced cultural transformation and talent management initiatives as an instrument of business transformation that is advancing strategy and operational outcomes at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.
Prior to this role, Coleman was the senior director, human resources at KinderCare Education where she was responsible for 20,000 employees and 1,100 locations. During her tenure, KinderCare Education went from one of the most disengaged companies to being on Gallup’s list of 37 Great Workplace Award winners.
Coleman earned her Ph.D. in Organization Development in 2016 from Benedictine University. In 2014,she received the Best Student Paper Award from the Academy of Management. She went on to receive the Best Paper Collaboration Award from the Academy of Management in August 2016. Coleman also holds a Master of Science degree from Loyola University and a Bachelor of Science degree from DePaul University along with various leadership and organization development certifications.
Coleman’s titled chapter “Role Modeling as an Alternative to Mentoring for Career Development Outcomes in Organizations” is included in the 2018 volume of Leadership and Role Modeling: Understanding Workplace Dynamics.
Coleman is active in several HR and OD organizations including the Academy of Management, Human Resources Management Association of Chicago, Society of Human Resources Management and the Organization Development Network.
Coleman deeply believes in the importance of philanthropic work and is affiliated with a number of local and national organizations. She has earned several awards throughout her career and is often asked to speak nationally and globally highlighting her expertise in organizational and leadership development.
Thomas R. Huberty, M.D. is a native of Aurora, Ill. and completed high school at Marmion Military Academy. He continued his education at St. Procopius College, graduating in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. He subsequently attended the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln College of Medicine in Chicago.
After completing his internship in general surgery at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City, Huberty returned to the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago where he completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery in 1979. He then returned to Aurora and began private practice, founding Castle Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Huberty was the senior and managing partner there until his retirement in 2010.
For nearly thirty years, Huberty has been involved in healthcare governance locally, regionally and across the state of Illinois. He is currently chair of the governing board for Amita Health’s Chicago hospitals.
Tom and his wife, Trudy, married three months after college graduation and will celebrate their 50th anniversary later this summer. They have two children, Nicole and Matthew, who have blessed them with three granddaughters, with a fourth grandchild due in April.
Their lives have been enriched by their travels to many corners of the world, including every continent except Antarctica. Besides travel, their hobbies are golf and the world of fine wines.
As Tom reflects, “It all began with the foundations laid by my family and with my education at Marmion and SPC. I will be forever grateful.”
Hon. Richard M. Pajtas attended St. Procopius College from 1961 to 1963, when he transferred to Michigan State University. He earned his Juris Doctor from Detroit College of Law (now the Michigan State University College of Law) in 1970. He practiced law in the mid- Michigan area until 1976 when he started a new trial practice in Charlevoix, Michigan.
In 1984, Pajtas was elected to the 33rd Circuit Court for Emmet and Charlevoix counties. Pajtas presided over the Charlevoix County Circuit from January 1, 1995 until his retirement on January 1, 2015. In Michigan, the Circuit Court is a court of general jurisdiction, handling the most serious criminal cases, civil disputes, domestic relations and other matters.
During his career on the bench, Pajtas was selected by the Michigan Supreme Court to serve in various capacities including the Michigan Justice Project Committee, the Jury Management Workshop, the Family Law Division Implementation Task Force and the Judicial Information Systems Advisory Commission.
The Michigan Justice Project was a yearlong endeavor designed to study the existing judicial system and make recommendations to the Michigan Supreme Court for reform and reorganization. Pajtas has been a lecturer on case flow management for the Michigan Judicial Institute, assisting both new and experienced trial judges to operate courts fairly and efficiently.
Pajtas served, by assignment, 12 one-month terms on the Michigan Court of Appeals to help with the backlog of cases. He continues to accept occasional assignments to trial courts in need of assistance. He has served on the boards of directors of the Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce and Northern Michigan Mediation and is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus.
The retired judge and his wife, Dana, of 53 years reside on their farm near Charlevoix. They raise grass-fed beef cattle and enjoy riding horses. Both serve as lectors at St. Mary of Assumption in Charlevoix. They are blessed with two sons and four grandchildren.
Anthony G. Rainey graduated with a B.A. in Physical Education from Illinois Benedictine College in 1976. He also completed his Master’s in School Administration at Chicago State University and earned a Theology endorsement from Concordia University Chicago.
Rainey has been involved in education for 43 years, teaching and coaching grades PK-12 and serving in multiple administrative roles. He was the principal of Luther High School South from 1999-2009 and is now an emeritus Lutheran Church Missouri Synod administrator. For 10 years, he has served as athletic director, dean of students and physical education and health instructor at Benjamin E. Mays Academy in Chicago Public Schools.
Rainey has earned many accolades throughout his career including the Chicagoland Lutheran Educators Foundation Teacher of the Year Award for Excellence in teaching, the Wendell Phillips High School Hall of Fame Alumni Award and Concordia University Nebraska’s Honorary Alumni Award. He is published in the Educational Resources Information Center and the Abraham Lincoln Library oral history section for Illinois Track and Field.
Rainey has been featured in the sports columns of the Chicago Tribune, Southtown and the Sun-Times. He was named Illinois Cross Country and Track & Field Coach of the Year, Illinois Football Coach of the Year, Illinois Basketball Coach of the Year and the district Athletic Director of the Year for Illinois. He has led high school track teams to three state championships with numerous runner-up finishes. He is also a certified official in football, basketball, track & field and cross country and served on the Illinois High School Association Board of Directors.
Anthony and his wife, Vivian, live in Chicago and have been married for 37 years. They are blessed with three daughters, Dionne, Anna and Kaya, along with two active grandchildren, Gabriel and Caleb. They are members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chicago where Rainey serves as church elder.
Stacy Jo Barber graduated from Benedictine University in 2006 with a B.A. in Studio Art and went on to earn her Master’s in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. Upon graduating, Barber continued her clinical work as a counselor and art therapist at the Youth Campus in Park Ridge,IL; the Counseling Center of Lakeview; and New Horizon Center School for children with severe developmental disabilities and autism in Chicago. While at New Horizon Center, Barber developed a partnership with the Ed Paschke Art Center, which allowed her clients to create a large mural (a recreation of Ed Paschke’s Americani), which is now on permanent display at the center.
From 2013 to 2017, Barber worked as an adjunct professor at Benedictine University, where she taught both Introduction to Art Therapy and Drawing courses for the undergraduate departments of Fine Art and Psychology, as well as an Art Therapy course for the Master’s program in Clinical Psychology. In 2015, she co-coordinated an exhibition for her art therapy students at Lisle Savings Bank, giving students an opportunity to share their work with both the Benedictine and local communities. In 2014 and 2016, Barber exhibited her own artwork at the Benedictine University Art and Design Faculty Biennial shows.
Barber currently lives near her hometown area in Dixon, Ill. with her husband of 10 years, Scooter, and their three young children. She provides clinical counseling and art therapy services at her private practice, Roots & Wings, in downtown Dixon. Barber continues to create and exhibit her own personal artwork, which ranges from photorealistic oil painting portraits to more exploratory and expressive abstract pieces. Her passion is utilizing art and creativity to weave together the intricacies of the human experience, expressing the unique story and emotionality that accompanies each of us along our life’s path.
Emily Bleeker graduated summa cum laude from Benedictine University in 2002 with a B.A. in Elementary Education. While teaching kindergarten and coordinating the gifted and talented program for Lisle District 202, she discovered her passion for writing after introducing a writer’s workshop to her students. She soon found a whole world of characters and stories living inside of her own mind. It took a battle with a rare form of cancer to give her the courage to share that amazing world with others.
Bleeker is now the best-selling author of four novels including Wreckage, When I’m Gone, Working Fire and The Waiting Room. Her books have reached over a million readers. She is a two-time Whitney Award finalist, a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and was recently listed as one of the top 100 Kindle authors of all time. She also attends conferences and literary festivals and enjoys extending her love of teaching to those with a passion for writing. She is currently writing her fifth novel, which will launch in early 2020.
Bleeker lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her four kids and a growing menagerie of animals. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), performs with a local improv troupe and embraces her newfound addiction to running. But more than anything, Bleeker loves stories. She loves to read them, watch them, listen to them and most of all—write them down and share them with anyone who will listen.
Aaron D. Clevenger, Ed.D. serves as the dean of international programs for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is charged with articulating and implementing the university’s vision for comprehensive internationalization, including increasing international student recruitment, improving international student success and promoting global citizenship to all students, faculty and staff. Clevenger supervises International Admissions, Study Abroad, International Student & Scholar Services, The Embry-Riddle Language Institute, International Student Experience and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. In addition, he serves as the university’s Fulbright Scholar liaison.
Clevenger is an adjunct professor teaching organizational behavior, social justice and ethics & social responsibility. He has led study abroad programs to Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Romania, Hungary and Brazil. Clevenger has twice co-led the Global Service Initiative in Negril, Jamaica, guiding 20 students each year in helping to build or upgrade elementary schools. He is scheduled to lead the third of these mission-style trips in June 2019.
A sampling of Clevenger’s campus service includes co-chairing the Embry-Riddle Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) Quality Enhancement Program, serving as a member of the NCAA Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee, chairing the campus Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee and volunteering on numerous hiring committees.
Clevenger volunteers as the 2019 local arrangements coordinator for NAFSA Region VII, is a member of the 2019 NAFSA Academy for International Education and serves on the International Board of Directors for Delta Upsilon International Fraternity. Clevenger has published and conducted research in areas of character education, leadership education, experiential learning, motivational theory and reflective pedagogy.
Clevenger graduated with a B.A. in Interpersonal Communication and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. He earned his Doctorate of Education in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University in 2014.
Tim Keeley graduated from Benedictine University with a B.B.A. in Marketing in 1999. He also earned his M.S.Ed. from Northern Illinois University in 2014. While at Benedictine, he was a member of the swim team and achieved All-American status. Keeley represented the Eagles in three NCAA Division III national competitions. He is also a proud member of the Benedictine Athletics Hall of Fame and holds several school records that will likely never be broken.
Keeley is currently the chief school business official at Addison School District 4 in Addison, Ill. In this capacity, he is responsible for all financial and operational aspects of a 4,000 student, Pre-K to eighth grade school district. Being able to utilize the business and leadership skills learned at Benedictine to provide support to teachers and students makes his profession especially rewarding.
He has been in school business for over a decade, working with several area school districts. He has also served in various roles within the Illinois Association of School Business Officials during this time. Prior to discovering this unique profession, Keeley’s post-graduate employment included a wide variety of positions, including head coach of the Benedictine University Swim Team and industrial sales representative.
Lisette C. Mojica, J.D. is a 1994 graduate of Illinois Benedictine College, where she majored in Political Science with a Pre-Law concentration and minored in Literature and Communications. She is also a 1997 graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Mojica worked as a prosecutor and assistant state’s attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for 19 years, where she handled felony cases including crimes ranging from narcotics offenses to sexual assaults and murders. In 2016, she joined the Law Department at the City of Chicago, where she worked as the deputy supervisor and the city prosecutor. At the Law Department, she supervised over 30 attorneys in the Legal Information & Prosecutions Division, including traffic prosecutions at the Daley Center; City ordinance violations at five municipal branch courts; administrative notices of violation prosecutions at the Department of Administrative Hearings; and Freedom of Information Act litigation in Chancery Court.
In July 2018, Mojica was sworn in as an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. She currently sits in the Sixth Municipal District in Markham, Ill., where she has a floating assignment, including cases regarding traffic matters, parentage matters, domestic violence matters and misdemeanor cases.
She is active in the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois. She also regularly participates in Women Everywhere, an annual volunteer project that provides direct services to women and children in need, through the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.
Rachael L. Narel
Ph.D., '17, Organizational Development, M.S., '09, Management & Organizational Behavior
Rachael L. Narel, Ph.D., CISA has spent over 19 years in the IT and software fields, having experience in virtually every functional area of an organization through both team and leadership roles. Her diverse background includes organization development; change management; strategic planning and process improvement; product management and marketing; new product development; and customer service, sales and support.
Narel is a two-time graduate of Benedictine, earning her M.S. in Management & Organizational Behavior in 2009 and Ph.D. in Organization Development in 2017. She is currently an assistant professor in the M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior program at Benedictine. In addition to teaching both in the classroom and online, she continues to pursue research in the areas of organizational agility and thriving. She has presented papers at the Academy of Management, Midwest Academy of Management, Southwest Academy of Management and Irish Academy of Management. She has contributed articles in the Organizational Development Journal and OD Practitioner as well as chapters in books related to the field. She is the membership chair for the International Society for Organization Development and Change and serves on the ODC committee for the ODN.
In practice, Narel is a solution strategist at Peters & Associates, where she partners with clients and prospects to understand business vision, goals and challenges. She then works with them to uncover business solutions and technology that will help immediately and in the future with a focus on user adoption and change management practices. She is a regular presenter at industry events and conferences.
Narel is the co-director of the Chicago West Suburban chapter of ChickTech, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing networking opportunities for women in technology as well as free STEM programs for high school girls. She is also committed to supporting the efforts of PAWS Chicago, a no-kill shelter for animals, through fundraising and running as a member of TEAM PAWS.
When she is not advocating for her patients in Washington, D.C., you will find Lisa Nijm. M.D., J.D. serving as a board-certified corneal, cataract and LASIK surgeon at the practice she founded, Warrenville EyeCare & LASIK. After graduating from Benedictine University summa cum laude with a B.S. in Health Science, Nijm completed a post-graduate education that combined her interests in patient care and health care policy advocacy. She pursued a highly competitive six-year M.D., J.D. dual degree program at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and School of Law, which only admits two students per year.
After completing ophthalmology residency at UIC and a top-ranked corneal & LASIK fellowship at UC Davis, Nijm worked in underserved regions of central Illinois. She established a much-needed cornea clinic in Lincoln, Ill. and became the first surgeon in central Illinois to perform all-laser LASIK surgery.
Nijm was the first resident representative on Illinois Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the youngest member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) OphthPAC committee. She is the current (and youngest) president of Women in Ophthalmology (WIO), an international organization dedicated to the education and advancement of women ophthalmologists.
She is also a clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at UIC Eye and Ear Infirmary and a director of the Osler Ophthalmology National Board Review course, having taught over 2500 ophthalmologists to date. She is a recognized expert and published author in advanced technology cataract surgery, dry eyes and LASIK and has been invited to speak at many national and international meetings. She serves on the editorial boards of three ophthalmology publications and is a highly requested ophthalmic consultant. Nijm has received numerous awards and honors for her work, most recently the AMA WPS Inspirational Physician Award, AAO Achievement Award and Northwestern Medicine-CDH 50th Anniversary Heroes in Medicine. Her goal is to serve her patients and those around her as a compassionate, Catholic physician, just as her devout parents inspired her to do so.
Tom Ruginis grew up in Lisle, Ill. He attended school (preschool through college) in Lisle but currently lives near San Francisco, California.
Ruginis graduated from Benedictine University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology. After Benedictine, he followed an indirect path to become an entrepreneur. He worked as a research associate in a colon cancer lab and, in his first year, generated a first-author paper identifying a potential protein marker for colon cancer. He started a Ph.D. program in Pharmacology at the University of Illinois-Chicago with a focus on blood vessel growth in tumors, but he left after two years. Ruginis then became a lead salesperson for Midwest Scientific, a lab supplier in the Midwest.
He quit that job when he was diagnosed with a painful chronic disease, Psoriatic Arthritis, which has few-to-no treatments to manage pain and inflammation in the joints. The phrase “be your own boss” started to resonate with him.
Having held a variety of jobs in the sciences, Ruginis recognized a major problem for scientists—there is a gross lack of transparency in pricing for lab supplies and equipment. Scientists waste a lot of time shopping and often overspend on supplies. Driven by his commitment to improve the happiness of scientists and the quality of their research, he created HappiLabs in 2012. His goal: to help them focus less on supplies and more on science.
He created a “software as a service”-type product, the Virtual Lab Manager, which offers scientists remote support for a variety of tasks with an emphasis on shopping for and purchasing lab supplies. HappiLabs has since grown to 14 employees, manages $32 million in lab spending and serves labs all over the country.