The Cradle is pleased to announce the addition of four new members to the Board of Directors.
J’ai Brown serves as the HR Director for HUB International, leading the HR function for the Midwest-West division. In her role, J’ai is a member of the executive management team providing strategic insight and support across the Midwest-West division on all aspects of HR including employee relations, diversity & inclusion, talent acquisition, compensation, performance management, organizational design and career development. Additionally, she is the Executive Sponsor for the Midwest-West Diversity & Inclusion Council and a member of the organizing team for the HUB Women Network ERG. Prior to joining HUB, J’ai worked in roles of increasing responsibility in claims administration and human resources at Allstate Insurance Company before continuing her career in human resources at BMO Financial Group.
J’ai received her MBA and B.S. degrees in HR Management and General Management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has her PHR and SHRM-CP designations. She is the Secretary for Chicago SHRM and serves on the CareerSpring Regional Advisory Board. She is a 2020 Chicago Urban League IMPACT Leadership Development Fellow, 2019 Black Queens of Chicago, 2018 Wall Street in the Black Future Leader and 2016 Chicago Scholars 35 under 35 honoree. J’ai resides in Bronzeville with her husband, Frank, and daughter, Kylee.
J’ai shared the following regarding her connection to The Cradle’s mission:
I feel I can benefit the board through leveraging my experience working with various advisory boards and committees over the years in addition to my professional career in human resources. Personally, as an adoptee who was also in foster care, I seek to use my voice and perspectives to learn, grow, share, collaborate and contribute to the collective efforts and mission of The Cradle. This includes being an active advocate, champion and mentor for those seeking to find their voice; something I longed for when I was younger.
Sarah Van Steenburg is a legal recruiter for Major, Lindsey & Africa in Washington, DC. She is a trusted advisor and consultant for partners, counsel, and senior government officials. Sarah grounds her work in her philosophy that people excel when they find their tribe. She brings a highly-strategic, holistic, and relationship-oriented approach to her business.
Sarah is energized by being a connector and creating community. On a monthly basis, she brings together the metro DC Office Managing Partners of the AmLaw 200, called the Partners Leadership Forum, to confidentially share best business practices. She is also a long-time proponent of diversity and inclusion. Six years ago, she founded the WOC, a group for mid-senior career women of color attorneys, to create a supportive, uplifting intersectional community with the goal of increasing women of color in leadership positions.
Along with her two rescue pups, Sarah splits her time between a farmette outside of Charlottesville, VA and the Cleveland Park neighborhood in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the University of Virginia School of Law. Sarah is a dedicated yogi, writer, painter and newbie fan of podcasts.
Sarah shared the following regarding her connection to The Cradle’s mission:
I am a writer and like to write. I also have a law degree, although I do not practice. I am good with people, a connector, and do a lot of interviewing, coaching, and relationship building for my profession. I am very good at community building and make a good moderator. I tend to be a doer. I am a transracial adoptee and I believe that perspective may prove important to the Board and the organization.
Steve Whisdosh is a Tax Partner in PwC’s Chicago office. He consults with clients and engagement teams in PwC’s Mid-Central region on technical issues related to tax accounting methods and periods, including the timing of income and deduction, depreciation, inventory, and leasing. Steve also has significant experience implementing and maintaining technology solutions for clients with large fixed asset and leasing portfolios. Prior to his current role in PwC’s Specialized Tax Services practice, Steve served as the lead director on large multinational ASC 740 engagements.
Steve previously participated in a two-year tour in the Federal Tax Services group of PwC’s Washington National Tax Services practice. During his tour, he served as a national resource for consultation on technical and procedural issues related to tax accounting methods and fixed assets. He assisted with PwC’s edit of BNA U.S. Portfolio 572-4th: Accounting Methods - Adoption and Changes and co-authored an article on revenue recognition that was published in The Tax Adviser magazine.
Steve earned a B.S. in Business Administration, with concentrations in Accounting and Finance and a M.S. in Taxation, from Duquesne University. He is a member of the AICPA and a Certified Public Accountant licensed to practice in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Steve is also a member of the Duquesne University Accounting Advisory Council.
Steve shared the following regarding his connection to The Cradle’s mission:
As a father, I understand the power of love and influence that parents have in the lives of their children. Every child deserves the opportunity to live in a loving, safe and supportive environment. I believe that The Cradle’s commitment to support families through the adoption processs, but also to provide post-adoption support and education is unique and special.
George Wilkins is a Managing Director at JPMorganChase. He has been with the firm for over 20 years and manages teams in Chicago and New York focused on delivering liquidity and capital markets access for clients across a variety of market sectors. Throughout his career, George has forged lasting relationships and supported his clients in difficult market environments and has helped them grow to achieve their strategic goals.
George grew up in Evanston with his mom and two younger brothers, attending Saint Athanasius grade school and Loyola Academy. He has strong ties to the community and is the 3rd generation in Evanston - growing up a stone’s throw from The Cradle. George and his two high school aged kids love to escape to the mountains to ski, hike and mountain bike.
George brings not only his affinity for The Cradle and his community roots, but also his experience in helping enterprises grow. George has a Finance degree from Michigan State University and an MBA in Finance and Strategy from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
George shared the following regarding his connection to The Cradle’s mission:
As my children have gotten older, I have found myself with more free time than I’ve had previously. After spending most of my life in Evanston, I am eager to spend more time focused on giving back to my community and utilizing my leadership skills and business acumen to add value to The Cradle as a board member. I am excited about the new vision statement and expanded direction of the organization.