BOARD OF DIRECTORS

U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis

Board Member

Danny K. Davis was chosen by the people of the 7th Congressional District of Illinois as their Representative in Congress on November 5, 1996. He has been re-elected by large majorities to succeeding Congresses. In the 116th Congress, Representative Davis has been reappointed to the Committee on Ways and Means where he serves as Chairman of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee and on the Trade Subcommittee. Congressman Davis is a member of several Congressional Caucuses including the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the Urban Caucus, the Community Health Center’s Caucus, the Congressional Sugar Caucus, the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Re-entry.

Congressman Davis has distinguished himself as an articulate voice for his constituents and as an effective legislator able to move major bills to passage. He has developed a unique and energetic style of communication and interaction with his constituents setting up dozens of advisory task forces to consider significant questions of public policy. He hosts several weekly television and radio shows which feature audience call in and produces regular written reports to every household in the district. In addition, he maintains weekly office hours in the district and is widely sought after as a speaker at conferences and events.

In the 116th Congress Representative Davis is resolutely committed to preserving our democracy, protecting social security, maintaining our nation’s gains in civil and human rights, women’s rights, voting rights, protection of the environment, consumer and labor protections, reducing inequality, and ensuring quality, affordable health care for all, while his focus on issues of job creation, poverty, health care, education, youth and criminal justice reform. Prior to his election to the Congress he served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners having been elected in November 1990 and reelected in November 1994. Previously, he served for eleven years as a member of the Chicago City Council as Alderman of the 29th Ward.

Before seeking public office Congressman Davis had productive careers as an educator, community organizer, health planner/administrator and civil rights advocate. He has received hundreds of awards and citations for outstanding work in the areas of health, education, human relations, politics and advocacy including six honorary Doctorate Degrees from well known Colleges and Universities. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and has spent time in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and in South and Central America.

Born in Parkdale, Arkansas, on September 6, 1941, Congressman Davis moved to the Westside of Chicago in 1961, after having earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Arkansas A.M. & N. College. He subsequently earned both Masters and Doctorate degrees respectively from Chicago State University and the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is married to Vera G. Davis, has two sons, Jonathan and Stacey, and is a member and Deacon of the New Galilee M.B. Church.

RICHARD D. DOERMER

Board Member

Richard Doermer was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1973 (B.A., Economics) and John Marshall Law School in 1977 (Juris Doctor) and is licensed to practice law in Indiana (1977) and Illinois (1979). In 1989 Mr. Doermer established Richard D. Doermer, Ltd. his own law firm, representing high net worth families in family law and is the author of “Transitions-Helping Children Through Divorce: A Guide for Parents.”

In 2010, Doermer founded McNabb, LLC. Which formulates, markets and distributes natural health/wellness products. In 2015, Doermer launched McNabb Technologies, LLC. DBA TouchCR, to develop a marketing automation platform for optimizing e-commerce sales of their consumer products. Doermer has been an active member of the Union League Club of Chicago for many years including Chairman of its Art Acquisition committee in 2004-2005 and 2014-2015; Chairman of the Art Committee’s Third Floor Gallery Committee in 2006 and 2007.

Doermer collects American art from 1910-1960. Doermer is an avid golfer, enjoys hunting, fishing and skeet shooting with his daughter, Caitlin.

LAURA GENTILE

Board Member

Laura Gentile was named ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Marketing in September of 2018. With this move, Gentile returned to her roots at ESPN, having started her career in Marketing in January, 2003. She and her team are responsible for developing and managing all aspects of the ESPN brand across all media and building upon a catalog of award-winning creative. Additionally, she is focused on expanding the brand’s reach to new audiences and sports fans.

Gentile has held a variety of strategic roles at ESPN, giving her a unique purview. Prior to becoming the SVP of Marketing, she served as SVP, Business Operations and Content Strategy, a role that included oversight of the business operations of the Content group and strategy development. Simultaneously, she continued to lead espnW and Women’s Initiatives at ESPN. She was promoted to senior vice president, espnW and Women’s Initiatives in November 2015.

Gentile was instrumental in launching espnW, ESPN’s first dedicated business built to serve women, which debuted in December 2010. espnW is now a multimedia business encompassing digital, social, television, films, mentorship programs and events such as The espnW: Women + Sports Summit.

Prior to researching and launching espnW, Gentile served as Vice President, Chief of Staff at ESPN. In that role, she worked directly with George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, on all aspects of the division’s business. She started at ESPN in the consumer marketing department, where she was responsible for driving the marketing ESPN Press Room U.S. direction for properties including the NFL,​SportsCenter, the NHL as well as ESPN25, ESPN’s year-long 25th anniversary campaign.

Gentile was named to the Forbes “Most Powerful Women in U.S. Sports” list in 2018, ranked No. 22. In 2017, Gentile was named one of the 2017 Multichannel News Wonder Women, and in 2016 was named a Women in Cable Television (WICT) “Woman to Watch.” In November 2014, she was one of 17 participants in the inaugural Women in Sports and Events (WISE) and Tuck Executive Education at Dartmouth’s Executive Leadership Institute, a program created specifically for the advancement and retention of female executives in the sports industry. In April 2013, Gentile received the Advertising Women of NY Changing the Game Paradigm Shift Award and WICT’s Signature Accolade for espnW’s Global Sports Mentoring Program. Gentile was named to the Women’s Sports Foundation Advisory Panel. Gentile was a fellow of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Class XVII, and was named to Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 Class of 2012 and an SBJ Game-Changer. Also in 2012, she was appointed to the U.S. Department of State’s Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, developed by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She honed her marketing and advertising skills as a senior partner, management supervisor at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Her team led the development of IBM’s e-business infrastructure campaign that earned the 2002 GRAND EFFIE for advertising effectiveness, a first in Ogilvy & Mather’s history.

A graduate of Duke University in 1994 with a double major in English and political science, she earned an MBA in Marketing and Organizational Behavior from Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management in 1996. While an undergraduate, Gentile garnered All-America and All-ACC honors in field hockey and was a two-time team captain. She led Duke to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament and was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary field hockey team.

EUGENE JONES, JR.

BOARD MEMBER

Not Just a Housing Authority but a Community Builder. After a month in Atlanta as the new CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority, Eugene Jones Jr. is stirring new life into an organization fraught with leadership turmoil, lawsuits and limited building activity of new affordable housing units for nearly a decade. In his first interview with the Atlanta Business Chronicle he stated, “We want to be aggressive,” said Jones, who added that the authority also is considering becoming its own developer where it would hire architects and general contractors. He is interested in any pilot programs, including modular homes, to build “better housing for less cost.”

Jones is globally recognized as turnaround/recovery expert delivering strong results while creating public/private business partnerships in this highly regulated housing industry. Jones has a proven track record spanning over 35 years of public housing leadership experience in management, public/private partnerships, operations, finance and governance in the public housing industry. Billion-dollar P&L responsibility for organizations requiring strategic planning, revenue management and risk management. Responsible for building over $3 billion of housing developments including leading the financing structures for these developments. Jones most recently served a four-and-a-half-year stint as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority. Former Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in a speech at the City Club of Chicago said of Jones, “The real measure of what Gene, the Board and his team have done in Chicago is that under his stewardship public housing was reconfigured from building housing to building a community.” “And that is what the true measure of Gene’s leadership. He realized that CHA of old was just housing, isolated, and basically only counting units. If you’re going to build a place where residents feel part of a neighborhood and a community, you have to have all the pillars that build a residential and retail economy – so a neighborhood where kids grow up and feel like a community.” “I think that the legacy that Gene has built as CHA is to re-invent, rethink, and re-imagine what a housing authority can be. It is not, by itself, just counting housing units, whether it’s CHA vouchers (the Section 8 vouchers) or how many units you build.

“But when you put those units around with all the other pillars that build a neighborhood and community, then you build something where the residents that rely on public housing become part of a neighborhood and community where they can raise their kids and their kids can go to school, go to an afterschool activities, go to a sports activity, get on the train and make it to school, and then have a grocery store, a coffee shop, and a restaurant in their neighborhood. And then you’re building neighborhoods, not housing. That is what we all aspire for just for ourselves.” “And Gene has taken the heart and interest of the residents to place and made sure that what they see in their neighborhood is like every other neighborhood, and they’re not isolated from it and distant from it geographically, psychologically, and physically. And he has done an incredible job at re-inventing and re-imagining public housing in Chicago.” Jones throughout his public housing service has demonstrated expertise in transformational leadership, business strategy, construction and development, bond issuance, operations, government relations–Federal, State and Local–and public policy, and building and managing high performance teams.

ABRAHAM, “ABE” THOMPSON

BOARD MEMBER

Abraham, “Abe” Thompson has extensive business consulting, business management, broadcasting, marketing, public relations, media entertainment and production experience.

Abe is known throughout the U.S. and abroad as a broadcaster, author, educator, businessman, business consultant, motivational speaker and producer. He is regularly called upon to deliver keynote speeches at events throughout the country. Abe is presently Managing Principal of Creative One Consulting, LLC, which provides event management, marketing, talent and sponsorship acquisition, event décor, lighting, sound, graphic design, multimedia, furniture and fabric. He is also President/CEO of Partnership Radio and an instructor in the Media Department at Kennedy King College. A successful businessman and consultant, Abe was formerly principal manager for Specialty Care, a health care out-source company which provides hospital management, physician and clinical management and training and education in the health industry. Abe was also formerly an instructor at Columbia College in both the Media and Broadcast Departments.

An Emmy Award-Winning Executive Producer and Producer, Abe has participated in the marketing of films and international events since 1991, including the Cancun Jazz festival, Sinbad’s Soul Music Festival in St. Martin and the Latino Film Festival. An icon in the broadcasting industry, Abe has served as Station Manager for WVAZ-FM in Chicago, Illinois, Chief Operating Officer of Silver Star Communications in Detroit, Michigan, Vice President and Station Manager at Gannet Company, Inc.’s WVON-AM and WGCI-FM.

A published author, his first book, My Thoughts, Your Book, Our Journey, for his son, Phoenix, was published in 2000. Passionate about serving the community and the educational needs of our youth, Abe served as Chairman of the 1984 UNCF Special Promotions Committee, as well as the UNCF Telethon, he is a past board member of the Emergency Fund for Needy People, Volunteers of America, Safe Foundation, Rainbow Push and Served on the Clear Channel Advisory Board. Abe has received numerous media and community awards.

He is currently a member of Rotary One, Board Member of the Christian Industrial League and A Safe Haven, as well as a member of the Board of the National Association of Black Screenwriters. He, his wife Angela and son reside in Oak Park, Illinois.

RICHARD GENTILE

BOARD MEMBER, FOUNDER

Rich Gentile began his career in network television as an NBC Page. He was a production assistant for the launch of the original David Letterman Show as well as serving several seasons with Saturday Night Live. His work landed him a slot with NBC Sports. He went on to log ten years with CBS Sports as a producer and director, where he earned nine national Emmy Awards, including four individual producer/director honors. His work became known for storytelling and made him the recipient of the Miller Lite National Women’s Sport Journalism Award, as well as awards from the New York Film Festival, the American Film Festival, and the Eclipse Awards.

He has produced venue coverage for 2 Olympic Games, produced lead-in and promotion pieces for 3 Super Bowls, 2 World Series, and 4 NBA Championships among others. He has been recognized for bringing creative flair and brand depth to network on-air promotions, setting a trend still evident today. Applying wit, prose and player interaction to this new promotional approach, Rich has shown an innate talent for directing light humor dialogue.

Having demonstrated this skill, Rich then founded Chicago based Black Sheep Stew and took the director’s chair, making commercials, Prime-Time programming and/or promos for The Coca-Cola Company, The National Football League, ESPN, ESPN Original Entertainment, ESPN The Magazine, Anheuser-Busch, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, The Big Ten Network, NBC Sports Network and Sports Illustrated Television (SITV) among others. BSS has a new focus on longer format storytelling and documentaries… hence the last name “Stew”.

A Chicago native, with four incredible children, Rich currently resides in Evanston, IL.