Featured Articles

Saturday, April 1

2017 NASW-Illinois Chapter Elections

The 2017 NASW-Illinois Chapter Elections will take place from April 130, 2017. Keep an eye on your e-mail on April 1st for a link to the electronic ballot. Be sure to have your selections prepared before opening the electronic ballot.


*denotes officer position


Two-Year Positions (2017–2019)


Cheri Sinnott (MSW, Washington University; LCSW) is director of the Illinois Service Resource Center, a statewide agency that provides behavior support for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or visually impaired. She is adjunct faculty instructor at College of Lake County where she teaches Introduction to Social Work, Introduction to Group Dynamics, and Introduction to Counseling. Additionally, she maintains a small private practice and is a member of the NASW-Illinois Chapter Private Practice Shared Interest Group (SIG).


SECRETARY (One-year term; *)

Lindsey Adams (MSW, Southern Illinos University, Carbondale; LCSW) started her career as adoption caseworker for both domestic and international adoptions, working with birth moms and adoptive parents. She was also family counselor for at-risk families identified by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). She then went on to work in the school system, in a K-12 unit school district, where she provided services to individual students and their families. She worked with different groups of students on self-esteem, including junior high school girls, and students K-8 in the special education setting. She also coordinated schoolwide programs on promoting positive behavior, drug awareness, and anti-bullying. Lindsey then went on to become family therapist for children and families in the foster care system. She utilized the knowledge and experience gained from these positions to open her own private practice in July 2012. She is an EMDR-trained therapist and continues to work with children, individuals, and families.


MEMBER AT-LARGE (Two-year term)

Sarah M. Gutierrez (MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago; LCSW) is clinical social worker and psychotherapist in the Department of Health and Aging at Rush University Medical Center. She has extensive experience working in interprofessional healthcare teams and is a committed advocate for the expansion of imperative mental health and social services for the residents of Chicago and across Illinois. She has been dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Chicago's most under-served communities through the provision of individual and group psychotherapy services, systems advocacy, and intensive case management in both community mental health and hospital settings. As a bilingual social worker, she is also able to provide crucial services in both English and Spanish. Her areas of clinical specialty include caregiver issues, chronic medical illness, and issues that impact the LGBTQIA community. She also specializes in the treatment of major depression, anxiety, PTSD, and complex and developmental trauma. Sarah also coordinates a variety of interprofessional trainings on the impacts that trauma, institutional racism, ableism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia, inequitable access to healthcare, and violence have on the holistic health and well-being of oppressed and marginalized communities.

Yvonne Hammonds (MA, Columbia University; LCSW) provided inpatient, outpatient, and administrative services to adults through the Illinois Department of Human Services. Later she provided social work services to emergency room patients while employed at Stroger Hospital. Through numerous assignments in these two institutions, she became engrossed in the issues affecting social workers who work with adult populations. In 2000 while operating under the umbrella of her own sole proprietorship agency, Yvonne provided three kinds of services: 1) therapeutic services to wards of the IDCFS, 3) behavioral consultation services to CPS, and 3) a full range of social work services to the Illinois Early Intervention Program working with families of infants age zero to three years old. Through her work in these three agencies, she became intimately aware of the issues affecting social workers who work with children.


MEMBER AT-LARGE (One-year term)

Ruth Lipschutz (MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago; ACSW; LCSW) is a licensed clinical social worker with postgraduate certification in ethics, mediation, Transformational Imagery (trainer level), hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). She received her MSW from the University of Illinois in 1978 and went on to complete the two-year postgraduate training program at the Institute for Family Studies at Northwestern University. She has extensive experience in the areas of ethics, addictions, school social work, community mental health, eating disorders, traumatology, program development and implementation, supervision, consultation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She has worked in English and Spanish with individuals, couples, families and groups. Ruth has presented workshops locally and nationally for over thirty years and has written numerous ethics articles for the NASW-Illinois Chapter. She has served as chairperson of NASW’s National Ethics Committee and participated in multiple ethics task force efforts. She currently serves as a panelist, consultant, mediator, and trainer for the NASW-Illinois Chapter Ethics Committee and serves as member-at-large on the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors. She has a private practice and offers ethics consultation and training to social workers.

Linda Strothman (PhD, University of Chicago; AM, University of Chicago; LCSW) is a seasoned clinician with background in policy, teaching, some research. Private practice since 1988 serving individual adults and children, couples, parent-child, and adult children-parent pairs and families. Consultation to social service agencies on foster care, children and parents casework, in-service training. Specialties include domestic violence, couples, sports counseling, child therapy. Former assessor of complex permanency planning situations for children in foster care. Former director of comprehensive domestic violence program affiliated with Hull House. Former director of Legislative Staff Intern Program serving minority students at Chicago State University doing program design, supervision of students in the field, and teaching Political Science courses for three quarters. Research on racial patterns in client-therapist pairs (master’s thesis), and patterns in domestic violence (PhD Dissertation). Published in domestic violence, bonding studies in permanency planning. Former State Legislative Intern followed by two years of freelance legislative work for individual legislators. Work included research, writing legislation, preparing witnesses to testify in committee for the ERA, lobbying appropriation bills successfully. Former computer programmer. Former Crossroads Africa participant assigned to West Africa.



Jordan Dobrowski is a master's candidate at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She has been serving as student liaison for the NASW-Illinois Chapter and her school since fall 2016. Jordan has spent considerable amounts of time abroad and is passionate about immigrant rights back in the US. Her previous work history includes positions with an anti-trafficking organization in Costa Rica, several youth development programs near her undergraduate university, a domestic violence shelter in rural Minnesota, and also socio-religious research in Costa Rica. Jordan is also trained as a yoga teacher and would like to learn more about body movement therapies and art therapy in direct practice with individuals. Eventually she wants to open a community healing center that would offer a variety of holistic services for both individuals and groups.

Sara Sauerhage is an MSW student at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. During the fall 2016 semester through spring 2017 semester, she held a graduate assistantship as the Saluki Food Pantry Coordinator. The Saluki Food Pantry first opened its doors to students who were experiencing food insecurities in August 2016; there Sara was a part of creating the tracking spreadsheets, applications, and operation procedures. She also holds her internship with the Student and Family Education Court which provides a trauma-informed approach. In addition to her internship and graduate assistantship, Sara Sauerhage is editor and publisher for Macaroni Kid Belleville, Illinois and Macaroni Kid West Saint Louis. She currently volunteers at the Family Readiness Group as an Assistant FRG Leader at her husband’s military unit. She also volunteers with the local Girl Scout troop. Before moving to southern Illinois in 2015, she owned and operated a licensed childcare business for over ten years and was the city event coordinator for the City of Lexington, Illinois, for five years.



Leyda Garcia is a BSW student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Despite vacing many hardships during her childhood, including countless uprooting and six years in the foster care system, her resilience and perseverance has allowed her to blossom academically and professionally. Early on as a child under 10 years old, Leyda became the default caregiver in her family. She credits this backdrop for providing her the motivation to play an active role in her community as she advocates for herself and others with similar experiences. Leyda currently serves as board member for both OMNI Youth Services and the Illinois DCFS Youth Advisory Board. She’s a James Scholar and aims to study abroad to research other countries’ social work systems. Wanting to defy dismal statistics of post-foster care success outcomes, Leyda plans to focus her future professional work on child advocacy, trauma-based child therapy, and social justice.

Kailey Rodriguez is a BSW student at Illinois State University (ISU). She has completed various and numerous volunteer experiences to better her community and has made a diligent effort to uphold and integrate the values of social work into her daily life. Ever since Kailey was accepted into the ISU Social Work Program, she has consistently strived to learn and gain experience related to her field of interest. With a lifelong desire to serve and aid populations affected by disabilities, Kailey completed an independent study as clinician for children effected by autism and as a parent support group leader at ISU’s Autism Program. She is currently completing a field placement at an agency that works to empower adults affected by developmental disabilities.



Christine Escobar-Sawicki (AM, The University of Chicago; LCSW) has worked in direct practice in child welfare settings for fifteen years as well as social work educator. In her role as field liaison, Christine interacts with agencies around the state and learns about the needs of social workers and the day-to-day challenges they face, particularly with the state’s budget impasse and drastic funding cuts. She has served most recently as member at-large on the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors. Finally, as a mother of a child with special needs, Christine has had the privilege of benefiting from the dedication and support of wonderful social workers who have truly made a difference in many ways. 



Jeff Zacharias (MSW, Loyola University Chicago; ACSW; LCSW; CSAT; CAADC) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), Certified Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CAADC), Board Registered Interventionist (BRI-I) and Registered Dual Disorder Professional (RDDP) with extensive clinical experience in both the mental health and addictions fields. Currently, he is owner/clinical director of New Hope Recovery Center located in Chicago. Additionally he is president of New Hope Counseling Center which is a group practice sparked by the work of New Hope Recovery Center. He also maintains a private practice in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. He has been working in the social work field since 2005. His primary areas of expertise include working within the LGBTQI community, all forms of addiction whether substance(s) or behavioral with individual clients as well as their partners, severe and persistent mental health issues, and trauma and its impact on holistic healing. He is a member of NASW, NALGAP, and NAADAC, and currently serves on the NALGAP Board of Directors. He has extensive experience speaking nationally and internationally on issues related to addiction and the LGBTQI community, most notably at NCAD, NAADAC, GLMA, SASH, IITAP, NASW-IL, NASW National Conference, and the NAMI National Conference. He has been featured on NBC, ABC, and WGN, and was recently awarded the 2015 NASW-Illinois Chapter Social Worker of the Year.



Kenna Dunlap Johnson (MBA, University of St. Francis; MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW) has worked as director of behavioral health for an Illinois critical access hospital, Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services, since 2011. During this time, she assisted the hospital in opening a geriatric intensive outpatient psychiatric program as well as started an outpatient behavioral health department, including tele-psychiatry services. Kenna also works as an instructor teaching mental health first aid through Mental Health First Aid USA as well as non-violent crisis intervention through the Crisis Prevention Institute. Previous experience includes inpatient psychiatric case management and therapeutic services with primarily children and adolescents. Kenna has also previously worked in private practice providing outpatient therapy to all ages. Professional interests include behavioral disorders in children, depression and aging, behavioral health leadership, integrated care, and telehealth. Kenna served as East Central District Chair on the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors since 2015.



Carol Fisher (MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW) has diverse experiences as a social worker, from developing women's programming, to running a child welfare program, to working in community mental health, to developing a thriving private practice of therapy, consultation, and training. Throughout she has been a devoted and active NASW member who firmly believes that social workers have a unique and valuable role in society.



Lynn R. Zakeri (MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago; LCSW) began her career as a foster family worker for the city’s hardest to place children at Kaleidoscope, Inc. During her MSW schooling, she interned at both Cook County Hospital and an elementary school. She was then hired as case manager at Chicago Public Schools (CPS) where she brought her school into compliance (met all legal CPS standards, on time, regarding special education) for the first time. She continued her career as a school social worker (SSW) for ten years (six of those spent as the lead SSW) in Evanston while beginning her private practice. Her private practice continued to grow, and Lynn developed expertise in motivational interviewing, trauma, addictions, anxiety, and depression. She never tires of finding resources for those in need. She has led several groups (social skills, transition to college) and, most recently, Brené Brown’s Daring Way and Rising Strong.



Kim Peek (MSW, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; ACSW; LCSW) has been a social worker since 1993. She enjoys being a social worker which has proved to be the most rewarding careers ever. Kim has experience working with adults, adolescents, families, and couples. She has done extensive work working in the child welfare system and with individuals that have experienced complex trauma. Kim is interested in advocating for the needs of her clients and helping them to help themselves. Kim has held a variety of positions in the field of social work including direct care, advocacy, management, consultation, and education.



Mary Abbott (MSW, Aurora University; LCSW) has devoted her career to working with children and families. She started her social work journey 25 years ago as a juvenile probation officer. For the past 20 years she has worked as a school social worker with the last five as department lead. She oversees 75 school social workers and provides guidance, support, and interventions to both novice and seasoned professionals. She has worked in all grade levels from pre-school to middle school. She has been instrumental in developing programming and policies that address meeting the social emotional needs of all students in an educational setting. She has served as coach at all three levels of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in both the elementary and middle school settings. Additionally she is adjunct professor at Aurora University Graduate School of Social Work. She also provides supervision to social workers seeking their clinical hours for LCSW certification. Lastly she has a small private practice in which she provides psychotherapy to individuals families and couples. Mary has a passion for trauma-informed care and building relationships with her clients. She believes in connection, genuineness, and caring in order to empower change.



Nancy Egger (MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW; ACSW) has a private counseling practice where she specializes in individual, family, and group counseling for adults, children, and adolescents. She has over 25 years’ experience in providing mental health services for the families of the Peoria area in a wide variety of settings, from community-based, in-home crisis intervention and follow-up, to hospital inpatient and outpatient services. She has provided educational and clinical supervision for staff in various inpatient, outpatient, and clinical education settings, locally and internationally. 

Posted on 04/01/17 at 06:59 AM


I think this is a great line up for the Board!

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.
  • 09-20-18

    East Central District CEU Event: Grief, Loss, and EMDR (Gibson City)

  • 09-20-18

    Calumet District Fall 2018 Networking and Social Event (Homewood)

  • 09-21-18

    LSW/LCSW Review Course 09.21.18 (Chicago)

  • 09-21-18

    SOLD OUT! Northeastern District Ethics CEU Event: Ethical Best Practice Q & A (Skokie)

  • 09-27-18

    LESS THAN 5 SPOTS! Chicago District CEU Event: Interrupting the Violence (Chicago)

Calendar »

Become a member of NASW today!


Visit the CEU Opportunities page to find free CEU events for NASW Illinois members!

Continuing Edcuation

Consider joining one of our social networking groups.