The Awakenings Foundation Crew!

Staff | Board Members | Committee Members | Awakened Volunteers
Joy Airaudi

Joy Airaudi

Board President & Awakened Artist Grant Program Committee Member

Joy Airaudi graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a BA in International Relations in 1989.  She received her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1992.  She has fought for justice and fair and compassionate treatment for survivors of domestic and sexual violence for over twenty years. 

She has volunteered with Rape Victim Advocates for over twenty-five years as a volunteer medical advocate, educator and board member where she set policies and developed programs and trainings for the largest freestanding sexual assault center in Illinois.  She worked as a prosecutor in Cook County for seven years, where she focused on domestic violence and sexual assault cases. 

Joy also designed and conducted trainings for police officers, attorneys, nonprofit staff and volunteers and the general public as the Program Attorney for the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime where she published the article “Making the Connection between Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking” in the journal Juvenile and Family Court Justice Today.

She worked with congressional staff to improve national anti-stalking legislation and with local agencies to draft House Bill 3423 to grant appellate rights to incarcerated domestic violence victims.  She has been doing pro bono work with local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies in conjunction with the ABA Subpoena Defense Project to assist them in protecting client confidentiality.  She was the recipient of Sarah’s Inn’s 2015 Together Strong Award for her work on behalf of domestic violence survivors.

Joy has been the Chair of Awakenings’ Board of Directors since August 2016.  She works as an administrative law judge and arbitrator.

Kellie Walters

Board Member

Kellie Walters graduated from DePaul University with a baccalaureate in Sociology in 2001. She then spent two years working as a domestic violence counselor in an emergency shelter before enrolling in John Marshall Law School beginning in January 2003. During that time she was an intern at the John Marshall Fair Housing Legal Clinic for four semesters and spent several semesters employed as a legal research assistant. In 2006, Walters graduated John Marshall and enrolled in Northwestern Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon to receive her L.L.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. During that time, she wrote her L.L.M. thesis on the oil drilling in southeast Nigeria, its effect on the Ogoni tribe and the ongoing litigation. She also taught seminars at the Portland Community College about the relationship between Environmental Law and Human Rights. Upon returning to Chicago, she worked with the Civil Rights Center litigating cases involving police misconduct until they closed their doors in 2009.  Ms. Walters started a solo practice focusing on state civil litigation, bankruptcy, and transactional law. Ms. Walters joined the Board of Directors for the Awakenings Foundation in November 2016.

Lizzie Aubrey

Board Member

Lizzie Aubrey has been the Access Services Manager at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Flaxman Library since 2003. Her focus is on mentoring students throughout their college experience, providing art research assistance to the community, and strengthening the information literacy skills of students, staff, and faculty. A native of the South Side of Chicago, Lizzie has also volunteered with Hosteling International, Treehouse Humane Society, and the Newberry Library. Lizzie joined the Awakenings Foundation board in 2017.

Melanie Schikore

Awakened Artist Grant Committee Member

Bio and Photo Coming Soon.

Sydney Maier

Board Member

Sydney graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she majored in communications and minored in theatre and psychology. She currently works as a Client Success Manger at NeonCRM, providing software solutions to nonprofits. Previously, she spent several years working at a nonprofit for animal welfare, and has been active in arts organizations throughout the north side of Chicago. She enjoys running, yoga, and plenty of (vegan) cake.

Photo Coming Soon.

Jean Cozier

Jean Cozier

Founder

Jean Cozier is the Founder, President, and Artistic Director of Awakenings Foundation. Read her full bio here.

Laura Kinter

Laura Kinter

Associate Director

Laura Kinter serves as the Associate Director of the Awakenings Foundation. She holds a B.A. in Film and English from Vassar College and moved to Chicago from Philadelphia. Laura has gone through the 40hour sexual assault crisis intervention certification. She is active in Ravenswood community building, and in her spare time tends to her dashing pet tortoise, Mr. Darcy.

Torrie Flink

Torrie Flink

Director of Resources

After nearly 25 years serving as Executive Director and CEO of Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center, Torrie launched her own consulting firm, Social Action Advisors, Ltd. in December 2012. She utilizes her expertise and draws upon her cherished relationships to guide organizations, such as Awakenings, in determining their greatest potential for making a real difference through their charitable giving. She enjoys biscuits and spending time with her grandchildren.

Jeri Frederickson

Jeri Frederickson

Project Manager

Jeri comes from a longstanding freelancer background in nonprofit and commercial organizations on the administration and production end of theatre and writing. She began at Awakenings as a volunteer and has gone through the 40hour sexual assault crisis intervention certification. She has two monsters, deemed to be cats, and an affinity for people, coffee, and motorcycles.

Ali Behrens

Ali Behrens

Associate Board Member

Ali is a member of the Associate Board of the Awakenings Foundation. She has a B.A. in Communication with minors in Art and Gender Studies from Elmhurst College. She currently works at the Shedd Aquarium and spends her extra time petting puppies and fighting inequality.
Ariana Erickson

Ariana Erickson

Associate Board

Ariana Erickson

Ariana Erickson holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from DePaul University where she graduated with highest honors. Ariana completed a major in International Relations with a specialization in Human Rights, as well as a secondary major in Peace, Justice Conflict Studies and a minor in Spanish. She serves as the Chief of Staff at RefuSHE, an international NGO that serves to protect unaccompanied, orphaned, and separated refugee girls and young women from throughout East Africa who now live in Nairobi, Kenya.

LaShanda Nalls

LaShanda Nalls

Awakened Artist Grant Committee Member

LaShanda Nalls, Ed. D, is the Director of Trauma Therapy at Rape Victim Advocates. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, who earned her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology at the Illinois school of Professional Psychology. She also received her Doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology with her dissertation focused on the Experience of Childhood Incest Among African American  Women. With over 12 years of experience, her clinical work has always involved working with survivors of sexual assault in which she has a great passion for. Her journey began as a clinical intern at C-4 Quetzal Center, it became clear to her that working with survivors and their families would be an integral part of her professional work. While at C-4, she provided individual and group counseling services to survivors and their families as they recovered from sexual abuse. After earning her Masters degree, she was eager to continue the work, joined the RVA family and became the Adolescent/Adult counselor. In this capacity she worked to develop and maintain the quality and accessibility of counseling services for adolescent survivors of sexual violence and their families. LaShanda believes that a positive and trusting relationship is the foundation of effective therapy. She combines in-depth understanding with a survivor-centered individualized approach to healing. In addition to the provision of services she is also involved with training other professionals and the public about issues pertaining to sexual violence and oversees the counseling Internship Program.

Katie Kirkenmeier

Katie Kirkenmeier

Awakened Artist Grant Committee Member

Katie Kirkenmeier earned her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology: Art Therapy from the Adler School of Professional Psychology, now Adler University. Katie is currently a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Licensed Art Therapist (ATR). Katie currently works as the Clinical Educator and as an Art Therapist at Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center in their Skokie location. In her role as a clinician, Katie works with children, adolescents, and adult survivors and significant others of sexual abuse. As a clinical educator, Katie works in the community to help train other professionals in working with survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault.

Nick Hancock

Nick Hancock

Associate Board Co-Chair

Nicole hails from a small town in Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Studio Art from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. After relocating to Chicago, Nick has primarily developed and worked in operations management in the service industry. He spends his free time reading and exploring/travelling.

Grace DeSant

Grace DeSant

Associate Board Co-Chair

Grace DeSant

Grace DeSant, Associate Board Co-Chair, is originally from Southern California and is an active theatre, performance and burlesque artist in the Chicago area. She strongly believes in the healing power of art, and wishes to help as many fellow survivors find and develop safe spaces to express their truths.

Chloe Eastburn

Chloe Eastburn

Associate Board Secretary

Chloe Eastburn

Chloe Eastburn, Associate Board Secretary, recently graduated from Depaul University with a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is an intern for the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline, and cannot wait to get started working with the folks at Awakening’s. In her spare time she can be found lost in an 80’s themed Spotify playlist, and spending time with her friends she feels grateful to have.

Allison Carvalho

Allison Carvalho

Associate Board

Allison Carvalho is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Geography and Masters Degree in Sustainable Urban Development. She works on affordable housing policy at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Intersectionality Development at DePaul University’s Vincentian Community Service Office. Catch her a week behind on her word of the day calendar or riding her bike without a helmet on.

David Blixt

David Blixt

Associate Board

David Blixt

David Blixt is an award-winning author and actor living in Chicago. An Artistic Associate of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival and Resident Stage Combat Instructor at the Chicago High School For The Arts, David spends his days exploring classic theatre and history, then writing about them. He is very lucky his wife and children put up with him.

Courtney Kirkham

Courtney Kirkham

Associate Board Member

Courtney Kirkham recently relocated to Chicago from St. Louis, MO to finish her undergraduate degree in International Business, with a focus on Japanese Culture and Language.  She is an alumna of the Alpha Phi Fraternity where she found a passion for organizing events and fundraising.  In her spare time, Courtney loves to explore the outdoors and travel with her dogs.