Board of Directors
Aquatic Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy
Mary Khoury has been a freshwater ecologist with The Nature Conservancy since 1995. She currently is part of the science team supporting the Conservancy’s work to conserve the freshwater ecosystems of the Great Lakes Region. She has led priority setting and strategy development efforts in the Upper Mississippi River Basin as well as in the intermountain states. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Mary completed a Master’s of Science in stream ecology at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Mary is a graduate of Yale University, where she majored in History and Studies in the Environment. Mary is a native of the Midwest, born in St. Louis, and has lived in Chicago for 17 years. She currently lives in downtown Chicago with her husband, Rob Khoury, a financial industry entrepreneur, and their two children, William and Eloise.
Independent Software Architect/CTO
Joe Arden started his career as an engineer; designing, building, and programming computer-aided test equipment used in the manufacture of microphones, mixers, and data communications equipment. He received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. After working for a few years and getting restless with the lack of diversity in his job, Joe went on to get an MBA from DePaul University and made a career change into the world of consulting. Working for both Andersen Consulting and Deloitte Consulting, Joe was able to utilize his technical knowledge and business acumen to help his clients change to be more successful. After six years in consulting, Joe decided to reduce the risk of travel and being away from home. Joe left consulting to work as an IT manager and CTO for three different start-up firms in Chicago. Joe is married and is the proud father of three beautiful girls. He enjoys cooking, gardening (watching the weeds grow), reading, yoga, tennis, and bike riding.
Executive Director, Green City Market
Melissa has been Executive Director of Green City Market in January 2015. She brings more than nine years of experience in small business and non-profit development, most recently as Managing Partner of MJF Partners, LLC. Prior to founding MJF Partners, Melissa was the Executive Director of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. As Executive Director she brought her passion for independent business and community building to Lincoln Square and created a sense of place that helped to transform the Lincoln Square Community. Melissa is a skilled and experienced executive with a proven track record of creating a successful business climate balanced by strong values of sustainability and community. This experience is utilized as she partners with non-profits and businesses to maximize resources and opportunities to exceed their goals. Melissa has her Masters in Human Resources from Loyola University and is a graduate of the Institute of Organization Management from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
VP Marketing, GM, Office Designs
Adam works as VP Marketing, GM, for Office Designs in Northbrook, Illinois. He previously worked as Director of Digital Marketing for Walgreen’s Corporation in Chicago. Adam also teaches Internet Marketing as an adjunct professor in the marketing department at DePaul University. Adam lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his wife Gabriela and their two young children.
Adam received his bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois. His curiosity in the Internet began in 1993 when the university gave all new undergraduates mandatory e-mail addresses. This requirement sparked a pursuit to learn all things Internet related, and he successfully cultivated the HTML language on his own. After graduating with honors, Adam set his sights on The Marketing Store Worldwide (TMSW) where he developed and implemented an HR intranet site. This led to a project of producing and overseeing two websites for the McDonald’s Corporation. Adam then worked on the network of travel agencies for Abercrombie and Kent, a luxury world tour provider. He progressed to Hammacher Schlemmer, the world's oldest catalog, and managed paid keyword search, affiliate, and email marketing. Adam eventually landed at DePaul University where he worked as a web-master for the College of Commerce, while also studying for an MBA in Marketing and Finance. After procuring his MBA, Adam worked for Resolution Media, a boutique agency in Chicago specializing in SEM.
Ava George Stewart
Attorney & Owner, Law Office of Ava George Stewart
Owner, The Gentleman Farmer
Dominic is a British artist, traveler and, together with his wife Jessica, founder/owner of The Gentleman Farmer, at which he is also Head Farmer. He is an active member of the Steering Committee for CRAFT (Collabroative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) of which The Gentleman Farmer is a member. In addition, Dominic is a performing artist, working extensively in theater, television & radio in London and Chicago. He spent over five years sailing and backpacking throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, North America, Asia and Australia.
Linguistic Editor, IBFD
Constance is a linguistic editor and lawyer. She is a Rockford native and was educated at Loyola University (B.A. Honors, French and Political Science). She studied abroad twice, once while an undergrad (Nice, France) and once while in law school (Paris, France). Following law school, Constance lived and worked in Amsterdam for two years, where she worked as a linguistic editor at an international tax publishing company. Constance returned to Rockford in 1998 and resumed work as a linguistic editor.
Constance is an active volunteer in the community. She is an adult volunteer leader in the Learning Center’s Roots & Wings Youth Leadership and Urban Gardening Network. She serves on the national advisory council for Rooted in Community, which hosts an annual conference attended by Roots & Wings youth leaders and serves as an umbrella organization for groups engaging underserved and at-risk youth in food justice work. She is a member of the Local Foods Work Group at the University of Illinois Extension--Winnebago County, and is on the planning committee for that group's Local Foods Conference in Rockford. She is also active with the Extension in Winnebago County as a Master Gardener and Master Composter. She is the president of the Rock River Valley chapter of Wild Ones, a group dedicated to educating people about the benefits of using native plants and natural landscaping in their gardens.
Founder, Barrington Natural Farms
Cliff McConville is the founder of Barrington Natural Farms, a diverse “pasture-farm” located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago that produces grass-fed beef and raw milk, as well as pasture-raised chicken, pork, and eggs, in addition to organically-raised vegetables, fruits, and wildflower honey. Prior to pursuing his passion for sustainable farming, Cliff served in a variety of executive positions in the insurance industry, primarily in sales and marketing management. He holds a B.S. degree in Economic Geography from the University of Idaho, and a MBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin.
President, Grace Funeral Home
Kristan is a Licensed Funeral Director in Illinois and Wisconsin. She co-founded Grace Funeral & Cremation Services in Rockford, where she serves as President. Kristan obtained her bachelor’s degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service from Southern Illinois University.
Kristan was raised in the Chicago suburbs. Her parents kept a huge garden that the family used mainly for food and, occasionally, as a place to punish she and her siblings with hours of endless weeding! Kristan eventually overcame her hatred of gardening and incorporated many of the practices she learned as a child into her own household. Kristan is now married to her best friend and business partner, Bob, and is the proud mother of three witty and charming boys— Nate, Gabe and Eli. Kristan and her family live in Loves Park where they share a tiny house with three guinea pigs, an overly excited cattle dog appropriately named Dingus, and a cat named Thunder Bug.
Farmer and Founder, Angelic Organics Farm
Executive Director, Angelic Organics Learning Center
Tom is the founding Executive Director of Angelic Organics Learning Center (AOLC). Tom joined the Angelic Organics CSA in 1994 and became Executive Director of the Learning Center in 1999. Tom oversees the Learning Center’s strategic planning with the Board of Directors, builds partnerships, and manages the staff team. Tom is a founding member of the Farm Beginnings Collaborative, serves on the steering committee of the Upper Midwest Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), and was appointed Director of the Illinois Local Food Farms and Jobs Council by the Illinois Governor in 2010. Prior to working for the Learning Center, Tom worked 15 years in international economic and social development with the YMCA of the USA international group and the United Nations in Costa Rica and New York. Tom is a Kellogg Fellow and holds an MA in International Affairs from George Washington University, and a BA in Liberal Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.