#Free99 - Class of 2024

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BOARD MEMBERS

General Counsel, OCI Methanol

Bobby Owens

Executive Producer for Advertising Agency

British Randle

Project Administrator/Director at UCAN Chiacago

Erica Lehr

Educator

Holly Wilson

Programs Director and DEI Coordinator, Near North Montessori

Kandyce St Clair

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Lauren Parott

Organizational Leader, MSW

Monique Nicole

Deputy Director, Illinois Justice Project

Prentice Butler

Educator

Tanya M. Ramsey

General Counsel, OCI Methanol

Bobby Owens

Bobby L. Owens is an executive and C-Suite advisor with a  career aimed at driving strategic legal initiatives for global operations. As the General Counsel for OCI Methanol, Owens has over seventeen years of legal experience. His expertise spans across legal strategy development, corporate litigation, crisis management, and legal compliance, making him a pivotal figure in supporting growth and optimizing resource allocation. Owens’ career is marked by his role in establishing U.S. legal departments, managing complex litigation portfolios, and spearheading commercial agreements. His prior positions include serving as an attorney at Owens Moss PLLC, Counsel at Ryerson Inc., and Associate at Mayer Brown LLP. Owens holds a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan. His commitment extends beyond professional endeavors, including his involvement with Free Lunch Academy, the Houston Bar Association, and prior service on the Hinds County Economic Development Authority Board of Trustees.

Executive Producer for Advertising Agency

British Randle

As an advertising agency executive producer, British combines a passion for storytelling with a flair for global adventure. With a career spanning over twenty years in the automotive, pharmaceutical, and retail industries, she has orchestrated countless successful campaigns and productions, leveraging a keen eye for detail and a knack for innovation. She immerses herself in the vibrant tapestry of global stages, finding inspiration from the captivating allure of Broadway to the pulsating energy of concerts across the globe. When not crafting captivating narratives, you can find British jet-setting to new destinations, soaking in diverse cultures, and fueling excitement for the next journey.

Project Administrator/Director at UCAN Chiacago

Erica Lehr

A true Chicago transplant from Wisconsin by way of New Orleans, Erica Lehr is an experienced and results-driven professional who has carved out her career in the non-profit sector. She has a track record of successfully leading diverse teams and delivering projects on time and on budget.

Erica currently serves as Project Administrator/Director at UCAN Chiacago. UCAN builds strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education, and empowerment. Since the Civil War, UCAN has served the most vulnerable children, youth, and families, and has grown over 145 years into a premier social service agency serving over 10,000 individuals annually. Prior to her experience at UCAN, Erica has had a long professional career as a teacher in K-12 public Education including diverse learners and after school program coordination.

Before joining the Free Lunch Academy’s (FLA) Board, Erica served as a member of the staff as a Project Administrator for the organization. In her position with FLA, Erica played a critical role in planning, budgeting, and documenting all aspects of FLA programmatic endeavors.

Erica officially launched her non-profit career with City Year, an Americorp program where she was a Lead in the founding team in New Orleans, paving the way creating programs, partnerships, and diverse extra curricular activities that supported and provided much needed services to the Greater New Orleans community.

Erica’s professional certifications and degrees include: Bachelors of the Arts (BA), in Social Work, from University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee; and a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT), in Special Education/ Elementary Education K – 12th Grade, from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Educator

Holly Wilson

Holly Wilson is an experienced middle school teacher with over 13 years of dedication to education. Passionate about motivating students to succeed, she is committed to creating engaging learning environments where every student can thrive. Holly strives to instill a love for learning and empower her students to reach their full potential.

Beyond the classroom, Holly serves as a member of the board at Free Lunch Academy. In this role, she is committed to advocating for initiatives that promote equality, combat bullying, and create an inclusive environment where all students can flourish academically, creatively, and emotionally.

Programs Director and DEI Coordinator, Near North Montessori

Kandyce St Clair

Kandyce St. Clair spent 15 years in education, most recently as the Programs Director and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion coordinator for Near North Montessori. While there, she enhanced the school’s programs while helping to develop new equitable policies for the institution and functioning as a liaison for educational community groups. St. Clair is also the chair of the Chicago Black Alumni Council for Washington University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education and Spanish.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Lauren Parott

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Lauren Parott is Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over a decade of professional experience. She currently serves as the Financial Analytics and Revenue Manger for Paylink Direct. Established in 2006, PayLink Direct is known as the vehicle service contract industry’s largest financial services and transaction processor. Before joining the Free Lunch Academy’s (FLA) Board, Lauren served as a member of the staff helping to establish the foundations for the organization’s financial policies & procedures.

Lauren professional certifications and degrees include: Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), in Accounting, from Saint Xavier University; Master of Business Administration (MBA), in Financial Fraud Examination and Management, from Saint Xavier University; and a certification in Data Analyst from Cornell University.

Organizational Leader, MSW

Monique Nicole

Monique Nicole Caston, MSW, MSM, is a seasoned organizational leader with over 17 years of progressive experience spanning both public and private sectors. Throughout her distinguished career, Monique has adeptly navigated various industries, consistently contributing towards the funding and management of self-sufficiency and supportive programs tailored for vulnerable and underserved populations. Renowned for her visionary outlook and strategic prowess, Monique leverages her extensive network to forge impactful partnerships, thereby spearheading innovative opportunities while seamlessly bridging policy with practice.



Monique Nicole Caston, MSW, MSM

Phone:  (773) 339-5300

Website:  www.linkedin.com/in/moniquenicolecastonmsw

Deputy Director, Illinois Justice Project

Prentice Butler

Prentice Butler is a Chicago born civic leader who has committed his professional career in the service of others. His experiences as a South Sider forged his sense of community, commitment to justice and has been the foundation in his career in public service.

Prentice served as the Deputy Director for the Illinois Justice Project (ILJP). An organization that was created to spearhead reform efforts in the State of Illinois. Most notably, the organization was the convening agency that spearheaded the SAFE-T Act, the first of its kind legislation in the nation to eliminate the cash bail system in Illinois.

Before his most recent role at ILJP, he served as Chief of Staff for Sophia D. King, Alderman of the city of Chicago’s Fourth Ward. As Chief of Staff, Prentice worked with Alderman King towards attracting quality commercial and residential development, improving neighborhood public schools, enhancing public safety, and increasing transparency, efficiency, and accountability in the city of Chicago. While working for Alderman King he demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of city government, social media, and community engagement, which has expanded the outreach of the Alderman’s agenda and accomplishments. Prentice ran for office for the Fourth Ward Aldermanic seat in the 2023 election cycle. He came in second in his first ever attempt for public office.

Prior working for the city of Chicago, Prentice was a bankruptcy consultant at the Law Offices of Ernesto D. Borges Jr. P.C, a bankruptcy law firm in Chicago, Illinois for seven years. He provided financial consultations for clients from low- and moderate-income communities from across the city of Chicago. His work helped to expand the client base of the office and improve the professional reputation of the company.

Prior to that position, Prentice was a District Executive with the Chicago Area Boy Scouts of America. In that role Prentice was responsible for community engagement, fundraising, recruitment, and programming for the Chicago Area Council on the southwest side of the city and the surrounding suburbs. His direct engagement with community members was important to the region he was assigned, as he was able to bridge the gap between the changing demographics of the community.

A strong commitment to social justice and civic engagement is demonstrated through Prentice’s participation on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations, such as the New Leaders Council Chicago, SOUL (South-Siders Organized For Unity and Liberation), Hales Franciscan High School, and Free Lunch Academy (FLA). Also, Prentice was the Chicago Chair of Young & Powerful, an organization that was created in 2007 to engage young professionals in community service, professional networking, and civic engagement. Most recently, he was elected board chair of South East Chicago Commission (SECC). The SECC facilitates and supports economic development within the Southeast lakefront communities of Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, Washington Park, and Woodlawn.

He is committed to being involved in his community with his membership in the 100 Black Men of Chicago, a mentorship organization. This commitment to the betterment of his community also extends to his membership to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first collegiate fraternity established for African American men. Prentice was the former president of the University of Chicago’s Association of Black Alumni, an organization designed to foster a better community between Black Alumni of the University and the greater community.

Born in Chicago, at the historic Michael Reese Hospital, Prentice grew up in the South-Shore neighborhood on the south-east side of Chicago. He attended St. Philip Neri Elementary School and Hales Franciscan High School. Hales Franciscan High School is an all-male high school on Chicago’s south-side that was created to educate and train young black men for roles in leadership with a strong emphasis on social justice. He graduated from the high school in 1998 as the Valedictorian of his class.

Prentice attended the University of Chicago where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2002. Prentice also attended Loyola University Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in Urban Life Learning: Chicago Studies in 2007, while working full-time. The master’s program examined race, economics, and politics by using the city of Chicago as a paradigm to understand major cities in the United States. He recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Public Policy, also while working full-time, from the University of Chicago’s Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy in December of 2020.

In addition to those academic accomplishments, he has continued to improve his professional skills by earning a certification of Civic Leadership from the University of Illinois Chicago’s Institute For Policy and Civic Engagement; by completing the highly competitive New Leaders Council Chicago fellowship; and by participating in the Truman National Security Project as a 2015 Political Partner. In 2017, he was a fellow in the prestigious University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy. Then in 2022 he participated in Leadership Greater Chicago’s Signature Fellows Program.

He lives in Chicago’s Bronzeville community on the south-side of the city, where he has resided for the last 15 years, beginning in 2007.

Educator

Tanya M. Ramsey

Tanya M. Ramsey is a native of Chicago. She graduated from Grambling State University with a B.S. in Public Administration. Her love of children and education inspired her to continue her educational career and become a teacher and mentor. Ms. Ramsey has worked for the Chicago Public School System for 29 years and is looking forward to retirement. She has several Master Degrees; Reading (M.S), English (M.A), and Educational Leadership (M.ED.). Ms. Ramsey is also a co-author of a book;12 Shades of Breast Cancer along with 11 amazing writers. She loves children, traveling, and being a lifelong learner.

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