Meet our team
We share a deep commitment to A Better Chicago’s mission, and our shared values are reflected in our relationships with each other, with our grantees and stakeholders and with our community.
External Relations Coordinator
Colin joined A Better Chicago in 2016 to support the development team. He has worked in various education roles over the years, from teaching elementary school in Chicago to assisting school board election campaigns in Nashville. He has also taught middle and high school students in France. Colin received his AB in public policy from Duke University.
Executive + Operations Coordinator
Sarey joined A Better Chicago in 2018 and serves as the executive + operations coordinator. In this role, Sarey is responsible for supporting the executive team, office operations and program team support. Prior to joining A Better Chicago, Sarey spent three years as an AmeriCorps member at Girls in the Game, working with elementary, middle and high school girls to help them find their confidence through fun and active sports, health and leadership programs. Sarey has a BS in Nonprofit Management from North Park University.
Chief External Relations Officer
Kelly joined A Better Chicago in 2016 and serves as its chief external relations officer. In this role, Kelly is responsible for leading A Better Chicago’s marketing, fundraising and co-investment efforts. Previously, Kelly was a portfolio director at A Better Chicago, in which she managed a portfolio of grantee relationships. Prior to joining A Better Chicago, Kelly spent seven years at Teach For America-Chicago, most recently as the senior managing director of partnerships. In this role, Kelly was responsible for managing relationships with key stakeholders, including district, charter and community partners. Earlier in her career, Kelly was a middle school teacher in Charlotte through Teach For America. Kelly holds a BA in history from Indiana University Bloomington.
Director of Portfolio Impact
Christy leads A Better Chicago’s data and evaluation efforts and oversees our sourcing process to identify high-potential candidates for investment. Before joining the A Better Chicago team in 2013, Christy was a high school teacher in Chicago through Teach For America. Christy is currently earning an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and holds an MA and a BA from Wheaton College.
Portfolio Growth Manager
Dani joined A Better Chicago in 2015 and is a member of the organization’s program team. Prior to joining A Better Chicago, Dani spent two years as an AmeriCorps Fellow at LIFT, working with low-income community members to combat poverty. Dani has a BA in gender and women’s studies from Bowdoin College.
Becky Panter Altman
Director of Development
Becky oversees fundraising and stakeholder engagement initiatives as well as internal development operations at A Better Chicago. Before joining the A Better Chicago team in 2014, Becky worked in development at Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University. Earlier in her career, Becky was an elementary school teacher in Memphis through Teach For America. Becky has a BA in history from Boston University.
Doug joined A Better Chicago in 2016 and serves as its president. In this role, Doug leads A Better Chicago’s grant-making efforts and oversees its strategic initiatives. Prior to joining A Better Chicago, Doug spent nine years with McKinsey & Company, where he was a senior member of the firm’s education practice. In this role, he advised foundations, nonprofits and school districts on a range of strategy, organizational effectiveness, and operations projects. Additionally, Doug helped to develop McKinsey’s Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool for nonprofit organizations. Earlier in his career, he was one of the first partners at The New Teacher Project, a national nonprofit organization focused on enabling excellent teaching in every classroom. Doug has an AB in psychology from Harvard University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Beth Swanson is A Better Chicago’s CEO. Prior to joining the team, Beth was the vice president of strategy and programs at the Joyce Foundation. At Joyce, she oversaw an annual grant portfolio of $50 million, provided strategic direction to all programs and drove foundation-wide innovation initiatives. Beth had previously served as Deputy for Education in the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, working collaboratively with education and community leaders to define the city’s education policy agenda from birth through college. Earlier in her career, Beth was executive director of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and worked at Chicago Public Schools with CEO Arne Duncan as director of the Office of Extended Learning Opportunities and then leading the district’s Office of Management and Budget. Beth is vice chair of the City Colleges Board of Trustees, board chair for Thrive Chicago, and serves on the Illinois P-20 Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American studies from Amherst College and a master’s in public policy from the University of Chicago.
Director of Communications + Engagement
Danielle leads the strategic communications, media relations and digital marketing efforts at A Better Chicago. Prior to joining the team in 2018, Danielle spent over a decade in Washington, D.C. working in nonprofit and advocacy communications. She has held positions at the American Diabetes Association, United States Senate, Bertelsmann Foundation and Nahigian Strategies. Danielle has been honored by her peers in the communications and public relations industry for the fifth year in a row with an appointment to the Washington Women in Public Relations Board of Directors and was elected to be the organization’s 2018 President. Danielle received her bachelor’s degree from Emory University, where she majored in sociology and minored in political science.
Portfolio Impact Associate
Laura joined A Better Chicago in 2018 and is a member of the organization’s program team. As the portfolio impact associate, Laura’s core areas of focus include portfolio performance analysis and sourcing and vetting grantee candidates. Prior to joining A Better Chicago, Laura launched her career as a strategy and operations analyst at Deloitte and was most recently a process innovation advisor at CVS Health. Laura earned a BA in public policy and economics at Vanderbilt.