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Expert Mentors

Our Expert Mentors are leaders from business, academic, social services and artistic organizations. They believe passionately that teens have a voice and need to be heard.

Asfa Malik Expert Mentor

Asfa spent her career focusing on sales, training and leadership development strategies in the consumer packaged goods industry. She is passionate about inclusion, being a role model for young women, especially those growing up in Middle Eastern communities, and overcoming adversity in the business world.

​I wish I had a mentor early in my career that would have given me honest and sage advice. I didn’t have strong female role models then and I aspire to be that for others now.

Barbara Jacobs, APR Expert Mentor

With more than three decades of providing advice and counsel to business, Barbara Jacobs has worked across the spectrum of communications, from advertising, marketing, and public relations to change management and organizational/HR communications.

She’s led engagements at Deloitte, for a variety of advertising/PR agencies (now folded into other larger entities), at strategic consultancies, and now as an entrepreneur. Over the years, her clients have literally covered the world of SIC industries, from CPG and consumer durables to chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

What are a few of Barbara’s passions?

  • Counseling and advising clients and JPP (just plain people) by listening and working together
  • Contributing to building a better world and
  • Creating a bit of beauty, whether through art or gardening, writing or acting, to add to life, among others.

Beth Kraszewski Expert Mentor

Beth is the founder and president of Purposeful Wealth Advisors and board member of The Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Beth began her career as a financial advisor at Northern Trust.

Wealth without purpose = emptiness.

Blaire Ashley H. Jesseph Expert Mentor

Blaire is a seasoned multi-lingual international business and sustainability professional and co-owner of Zero Waste Chicago.

Edward Prentice III Expert Mentor

As CEO and President of YEP Nation, Edward mission’s is to build a positive flow of media that is generated by the youth and is for the youth. By training them how to develop media for various projects, they will have the skills to develop positive media ranging from Music to 3D Animation, Virtual and Augmented Reality.

Falise Platt Expert Mentor

alise A foundation of education: BA/BS; MBA; JD and then a lifetime of learning and curiosity in the various paths, Falise has pursued in traditional and non-traditional roles.

Have held traditional employment in business consulting; healthcare; multi-family real estate; and service industry. Falisa is passionate about travel; Disney and paper crafting. She strives to help others understand and reach their dreams and goals.

​I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all stated by a mouse.

Jill Salzman Expert Mentor

Jill is the Founder of The Founding Moms, Professional Speaker, Author, and Co-Host of the Breaking Down Your Business Podcast. She loves inspiring other Entrepreneurial moms.

​You never know what sensational ideas might come out of these strange times.

Lindsey Wander Expert Mentor

As the Founder and CEO of WorldWise Tutoring, Lindsey holds the beliefs that if one teaches others how to learn, they are always in the powerful position of being able to help themselves.

Teach others to become lifelong learners.

Nancy Gold Expert Mentor

Nancy is a retired Chicagoland executive having held a variety of roles in accounting and finance. Her roles include being in charge of finance and IT departments at various companies. Nancy is currently supporting several startups with and enjoys making things such as knitting and crocheting.

“Keep your eye on the PRIZE” and be Happy with what you are doing” are key to the passion of successful people.

Paulette Huber Expert Mentor

Paulette is a successful executive in a variety of sales roles currently as a senior carrier consultant at Sandler Partner. She has always envisioned where she would be in 5 to 10 years and set goals appropriate to get there. Paulette understands that in order to work towards the end goal you need to know that it will be hard and challenging along the way and don’t give up. She is passionate about being outside in the warm weather and spending time to be on the beach.

​Set a goal for yourself, find a way to make it happen no matter what it is.

Rich Cohen Expert Mentor

For 20 years, Rich has been fearlessly dedicated to solving the challenging problems of packaging waste through innovation, research, and bringing real solutions to the market. Rich founded Elevate, the world’s first company focused exclusively on compostable packaging and labels. Rich is a member of USCC (US Compost Council) and is a founding member of The Corporate Compost Leadership Council.

​Together let’s fix the problems that the world will inherit, and let’s start today.

Sherry Winn Expert Mentor

Sherry Winn Is a Two-Time Olympian, National Basketball Coach of The Year, and Amazon Three-Time Best Selling Author. She is an in-demand internationally renowned speaker. She has written five books and founded The Winning Leadership Company.

The way to own power is to love yourself so much that nobody else’s opinion matters.

Steve Brooks Expert Mentor

At 12 years old, Steven created a job that had never existed. He started a bagel route, delivering warm fresh bagels to New York City apartment dwellers on Sunday morning. Ever since those early years, Steven Brooks has dedicated his professional life to finding creative ways to meet the needs of his clients and in 2009 launch a Video Marketing company, Guugos, that created a Video Business Card.

Sudeep Nadkarni Expert Mentor

Sudeep is an entrepreneur, turnaround executive, avid golfer, and father of two boys. He has worked & lived for extended periods in Europe, Asia & Africa. Sudeep has worked with a dozen fin-tech startups, applying technology to solve real-world problems.

It’s best to be interested than interesting.

Susan Fignar Expert Mentor

Susan Fignar, President of Pur*sue Inc., is a talent development trainer, consultant and executive coach having worked with college grads and students in the areas of professional presence, best business practices and business savvy. Susan is gifted at seeing potential in her clients and can quickly assess and uncover an issue, challenge or underdeveloped area and brainstorm practical and creative suggestions and solutions. Susan’s interests include working out, hiking, personal enrichment, tweaking new recipes, entertaining and seeking unexpected adventures.​

Do the best you can until you know better.Then when you know better, do better.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Vesna Arsic Expert Mentor

Vesna has over 25 years of global business experience in senior executive roles in marketing, strategy and business development. Vesna has also served as a consultant, writer and speaker in almost 50 countries.

In October 2000, she was nominated by Motorola and selected by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the “Top 40 People to Watch under the Age of 40”

Vesna is fluent in English, French, Serbian and has also studied Spanish and Italian.

​If you never try, you never had a chance.