Our TeamMeet the people that make it happen!
Andy Duran has been the Executive Director of LEAD since May 2012. In the past 7 years, Andy has taken LEAD from a small community organization into a Nationally recognized prevention organization that offers programs and services all over the country. One of his biggest accomplishments is the development of Text-A-Tip, a 24/7 crisis text line that is now available to more than 10 million people. Andy speaks hundreds of times per year in schools, churches and communities across the United States.
Andy was recently elected to the Lake Bluff School District 65 Board of Education, where he is currently serving in his first term.
Coalition DirectorNate brings 7 years of experience in tech start-ups and over 15 years of experience in youth-led prevention. Nate has worked in start-ups and small businesses serving diverse clients, was employee number three at a premiere video game market research firm and shortly after graduating from college, Nate landed a job as a software consultant in Chicago.
Nate was first exposed to youth-led prevention in 2002 in his home town of San Ramon, California and continues to volunteer there. In 2016 he changed careers to work with Youth to Youth, an internationally known youth-led prevention program based out of Columbus, OH. Overseeing Youth to Youth’s tobacco grant, Nate coordinated prevention efforts with local organizations, guided teens in their development of counter-marketing materials, assisted local law enforcement with compliance checks, and was a key member of the summer conference staff.
Now, Nate is back in the Chicago area as our SpeakUP! Coalition Director. Bringing his wide breadth of experience Nate is excited to work with the SpeakUP! coalition to advance prevention in our unique community. He believes that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection, and that our continued efforts to connect people in crisis with the services and support they need will help reduce addiction throughout our community and country.
In his spare time Nate enjoys camping with his girlfriend Rachael and their dog Boomer and enjoys rock climbing and playing video games. Nate is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology.
Director of OperationsChristy has been with us since she started interning as part of her bachelors program in 2014. Since then she’s provided support as LEAD has transitioned to the organization it is today. From data entry to social media, to youth programming and community coordination, Christy has set much of our foundation.
Christy’s love for working with youth began in high school where she hosted events embracing students on the autism spectrum. Her events included group lunches, gym classes, and after school programming like bowling, karaoke and trips to The Lantern. She also worked as an school social work intern at Carmel Catholic High School
As a LEAD Intern, she worked with youth and coordinated after school activities, movie nights, and wellness week programming. For high schoolers she provided support for Freshman orientation and diversity education. While studying for her Master’s degree, Christy managed other interns, created content for conference presentations, and advised other organizations in social media best practices.
Today Christy curates our social media presence and designs most of our marketing and informational material. Her keen ability to plan ahead ensures we pull off effective and engaging community events. Christy continues to work closely with teens and advises our Youth Advisory Board, which she founded in 2015.
Christy enjoys LEAD’s ability to adapt to the needs of our community. While we are a substance use prevention organization, she loves that we provide training on Naloxone interventions, and even general mental health through Text-a-Tip.
Christy lives in town with her family and Hudson, one of our four-legged mascots. She enjoys photography, barbecue, and hosting parties. You can find, and eat, her amazing charcuterie boards at many of our events. Christy holds a Bachelors of Social Work from Carthage College and a Masters in Social Work from Aurora University.
Evaluation SpecialistMonika is a 15 year veteran of the corporate financial services industry with expertise in cash management, forecasting and investments. She served as the treasurer for the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Learning Disabilities Association, a non-profit for over 8 years and through that, connected with LEAD. Her detail orientation and proficiency with excel made her the perfect fit when LEAD needed an evaluation specialist.
At LEAD, Monika is our expert in keeping track of and reporting all that we do. From participant numbers to action plans, report writing to budgeting, she makes sure all of our numerical ducks are in a row, sharing our successes with stakeholders and community members. You can also catch her handling logistics behind the scenes of many of our programs.
In her free time Monika enjoys keeping up with the financial markets, cooking, baking, and traveling abroad. So far she enjoys Europe the most and is excited for her upcoming trips to Asia.
Monika believes it’s important to be involved in your community and to be committed to a good cause. She loves that LEAD is a prevention organization at the point when kids need it most. She’s seen firsthand how when a young person gets off course it can affect the rest of their lives. She likes that our work gives kids the foundation necessary to pursue whatever it is they want to do.
Monika and her husband have lived in Lake Forest for 22 years and have a son, daughter, and a mini goldendoodle. Monika has a Bachelors of Science in Finance from University of Illinois Champaign Urbana, an MBA from Loyola and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.