After helping victims of domestic violence for about 15 years, Rebecca Darr is now on the front lines of expanding WINGS, or Women in Need Growing Stronger, into Chicago as well as nationwide.
The executive director of the domestic violence advocacy group, which has operations in Palatine and Rolling Meadows, is working with Chicago's Metropolitan Family Services and the Greater Southwest Development Corp. to build a 40-bed shelter on the city's south side. But her eye remains on the long term.
"We're in the middle of a five-year plan to go national," Darr said. "We want to identify other survivors who want to give back and help others in each city."
While the national program may become more real in 2016 or 2017, Darr continues to keep all of it in perspective, while the Chicago facility remains on target to open this summer.
The city had obtained a $1.8 million legal settlement regarding a gentlemen's club and will be using much of that money for the construction of the shelter, she said. Fundraising efforts, donations and applications for grants also aim to help fund the project, which could cost around $5 million, Darr added.
The facility, which will have about 40 beds, will accommodate commercial space on the first floor, which can help draw more income to help support their programs, she said. Plans call for a resale shop, similar to the ones located in Schaumburg, Palatine and Niles, as well as a coffee shop.
The facility will have suites to accommodate larger families, picnic and playground areas, all in a unlisted location to help the families stay safe, she said.
"Chicago was on our list for some day and some day is today," Darr said.
While the city gets about 500 calls a day from troubled families, a 40-bed facility may seem like a drop in the bucket, she said. But it's a start in the right direction.
And while the problem of domestic abuse continues, Darr doesn't feel overwhelmed. Instead, she continues the work because "it only takes one family to move away and later become successful" that makes it all worthwhile.
"It takes a lot for these women to talk about how they were torn up physically and mentally and how they can then talk about how this has changed their lives and how it's changed the lives of their children. That's what makes it all worthwhile. Ultimately, our goal is to put ourselves out of business."
Heading back to D.C.
Greg Brown, CEO of Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions, will traveling in coming weeks to Washington, D.C. again to meet with President Obama as they continue their work with the committee on immigration reform. And speaking of traveling, Mark Hacker, Motorola Solutions' general counsel, will be among the executives from 17 companies participating in a trade mission to Mexico City on Feb. 3-5. He'll be joining U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on her first trade mission.
Hot CEO opens more stores
Glenview native Megan Tamte, founder and CEO of Hot Mama, said a store will open in the Southport Corridor location in Chicago on Feb. 6. It's the eighth location in Illinois, but the first in Chicago. The company was founded in 2004 and caters to mothers, primarily over 40, who want to look trendy. The company now has 42 stores in 15 states. Tamte now lives in Edina, Minn.
Naperville resident Brian McElhatten has joined engineering and consulting firm, Arup, as associate principal and structural lead in its Chicago office. ... Elmhurst resident Michael J. Kudrna, president of Frato's Pizza in Schaumburg, said he recently hosted some members of the Chicago Slaughter Football team turned Chicago Blitz, including QB Juice Williams, for a fundraiser. It also featured Walter Payton's son, Jarrett Payton, who raised money for his anti-bullying charity, Jarrett Payton Foundation. The business also has been featured on WGN News with Marcus LeShock.
Brian Finn is the new vice president and director of strategic relationships at Protected Tomorrows, a special needs advocacy firm n Lincolnshire. ... Doctors and radiologists Elias Hohlastos, Ryan Hickey, and Andrew Blum, all members of the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, are part of the new interventional radiology outpatient clinic in Elmhurst Memorial Hospital's Center for Health. This new partnership aligns closely with the November 2013 opening of the hospital's Center for Cancer Care.
Julio Garcia-Munoz and Joanne Koutsovitis, who work at Zengeler Cleaners in Northbrook; Robert Zengeler Jr., manager of the Northfield store; and Michael Zengeler, the company's expert on stain removal all mark 40 years with the company. ... Carole Jo Fremouw is the new director of programs and events of The GOA Regional Business Association. The group also promoted Jamie Cheesebro to director of membership development.
Naperville resident Nicki Anderson is the new president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. She was the CEO of Reality Fitness Inc. in Naperville until she sold the business in 2012. She replaced Katie Wood, who was interim CEO and returns as executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance. ... Jason Ruban has been promoted to executive director of global sales for the Transportation Division at Midtronics Inc. in Willowbrook. ... Nelson Peltz, CEO and founding partner of Trian Fund Management L.P., has been added to the board of directors for Mondelez International Inc. in Deerfield
Jeff Gregory, managing broker and owner of Realty Executives Success with offices in Plainfield, Shorewood and Yorkville, is the new board chairman for Lisle-based Midwest Real Estate Data, the region's multiple listing service. ... Prospect Heights native and holistic health educator Danielle Mclaughlin is running the new Body Education fitness studio that opened in Arlington Heights earlier this month. ... Riverview, Fla.-based BlueGrace Logistics President and CEO Bobby Harris said the company will open an office in Oak Brook and will be hiring for 20 positions on Feb. 24-25.
Billy Teaford of Fincastle, Va., is the winner of the 2013 Electrician of the Year contest by Klein Tools in Lincolnshire. ... Evanston resident John Paul Graziano is now a producer at Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon.
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