The Diversity committee planned many great events last year including a Dim Sum meal, a tour of the Mexican Fine Arts Museum during the Day of the Dead exhibit and an annual Diversity Celebration at the Hot House. Volunteers are welcome to join the committee to plan new and annual events. If you are interested in joining this committee please contact the Club office at 312.922.4663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NDCC Celebrates Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, the Notre Dame Club of Chicago proudly highlighted some amazing Black Domers in the Chicago Community. Photos and excerpts of bios were featured in the weekly e-newsletter each Friday of February.
Featured Feb. 6th
Ronald J. Irvine, who recently passed away (Dec. 2014) was a long time resident of Lake Forest, IL. Ron received a bachelors degree from the University of Notre Dame, and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg, Ron had a successful career in Healthcare Marketing with noteworthy accolades from Ciba-Geigy and Searle. He had a passion for entrepreneurship, and was the Founder and CEO of Irvine Consulting, Inc. From 1987 through 2014, his entrepreneurial ventures included successful engagements in market research, product marketing/development, and healthcare policies where he positively impacted numerous organizations. He was later an advisor and board member of AirVentions, Inc. Ron was also extremely active in the community, and sat on the Lake Forest Hospital Board of Directors from 2004 to 2007. In addition, Ron was a “Connecting-Link” in North Shore (IL) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated. Lastly, and perhaps his fondest passion, was his involvement with the Notre Dame Alumni Association, and the Black Alumni of Notre Dame (BA of ND) organizations, where he provided key leadership and mentorship to all. Ronald Irvine is survived by his wife Jacqueline and sons Philip (also ND alum) and Spencer.
Collete English Dixon
Featured Feb. 13th
Collete English Dixon is a Principal, Transactions for Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI), a business unit of Prudential Financial. She is a co-leader of PREI’s national investment dispositions program. Since 2008, she has completed the sale of more than 150 investment properties for a total investment value exceeding $6.8 Billion. From 1996-2008, during which she received approval for more than $2.9 billion of transactions, Ms. English Dixon was responsible for sourcing wholly-owned and joint venture real estate investment opportunities in the Midwestern markets covering all property types, including office, multi-family, hotel, industrial and retail properties.
Ms. English Dixon is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, a Past President (2011) of CREW Network, a Past President of CREW Chicago, Past Chair of the CREW Network Foundation, a full member of ULI and Assistant Chair of the Urban Development Mixed Use Council-Purple. She is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Chicago School of Real Estate at the Walter E. Heller College of Business Administration, Roosevelt University and serves as Chair of the Advisory Council for the Goldie Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative. Additionally, Ms. English Dixon serves as the Global Coordinator for Prudential Real Estate Investors’ Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. She was named one of the 2014 Top 50 Women in Commercial Real Estate in Chicago by Bisnow, a 2011 Woman of Influence and a “Legend” in 2013 by Real Estate Forum magazine and received honorable mention as 2011 Female Leader of the Year from Commercial Property Executive magazine.
Featured Feb. 19th
Natascha Neptune earned her Mechanical Engineering degree from the University Of Notre Dame in 1999. She is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company where she works on innovation projects for the company . Her function involves design, detailing, applying mechanical engineering theories, developing concepts, managing projects, and collaborating with associates and vendors. Natascha worked on the design prototype packaging machine Wrigley uses to produce its “5” brand. She has also worked on the “Orbit” packaging machine as well as the Wrigley Brands we love, such as the “5-stick” Big Red, Juicy Fruit, and Extra brands. She is part of their Develop Engineering (DE) Group. Natasha received her Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. She also has served as the Regional Director for the Black Alumni of the University and is involved with the Chicago Club Of Notre Dame. Natascha is an active participant on the Kenwood Conservation Committee in her local community, and also participates in 4th Ward activities. Natascha helped coordinate the club’s first year of participation in the Bud Billiken Parade for 2014. She enjoys volunteering, traveling, acting/voiceover, and singing. Natascha is originally from Danbury, Connecticut.
2011 ASME member Awards: 2010 nominee for Wrigley’s Innovation Functional Award: Exemplary Leadership
Jelani McEwen Torrence
Featured Feb. 27th
Jelani McEwen is a native Chicagoan, who returned home after college to better his community. The son of a social worker, Jelani understood at an early age the importance of giving back and working to uplift those in need.
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2005, Jelani embarked on a career in the education sector by becoming an AmeriCorps volunteer in Boston Public Schools as a tutor and mentor for at-risk youth. Upon returning to Chicago, Jelani began teaching public speaking and writing at Urban Prep Charter Academy’s first campus in Englewood. Looking for a large impact on young peoples’ lives, Jelani left the classroom to lead the Issues to Action program at Mikva Challenge.
Mikva Challenge is a local non-profit which seeks to create the next generation of civic leaders by engaging high school students in politics. Jelani trained hundreds of teachers in the fundamentals of community organizing and supported over 5,000 students in their activist projects. While at Mikva, Jelani also created several programs which enhanced youth voice on Chicago’s political scene. For example, The Project Soapbox public speaking tournament launched in 2008 and continues to this day. Project Soapbox teaches students how to draft persuasive speeches and refine their oratorical skills. Each year thousands of students deliver speeches on issues such as gang violence, healthy lunch food, and gerrymandering in their high schools.
After four years with Mikva, Jelani again had the hunger to achieve greater scale in his impact and left Mikva to attend the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration (SSA). While at SSA Jelani studied social policy and how it is influenced by human development and the environments in which it is implemented. This course of study led Jelani to become an Education Pioneers fellow with Chicago Public Schools where he worked on teacher evaluation policy. This experience led Jelani to take over the Pathways to Accelerated Student Success Program (PASS) at Harper and Marshall high school.
PASS is a dropout recovery program focused on supporting students who have left the juvenile justice system, are teen parents, or simply need extra support to graduate from high school. Under his leadership, the PASS program has created an innovative workforce development program which focuses on careers of high interest to students. Each week, students leave the classroom to learn fashion design, digital media marketing, and mobile app development. These experiences help students develop plans for the future and see themselves in a different light. Recently, Jelani’s work was recognized by the Chicago Defender, who selected him as a Man of Excellence for 2015. Jelani McEwen’s career in public service is only just starting, and as he looks on to the future he dreams of running for office someday.
Jelani lives on the south side of Chicago with his wife Tessa (Garcia) McEwen (ND ‘05) and two children Via and Quest.