Board of Directors, AFSP Illinois
Alyssa Relyea, Chair, Women’s Outreach Committee and Volunteer Coordinator: Alyssa has been involved with the AFSP since the Overnight Chicagoland Walk in 2005. As a volunteer, Alyssa serves as the Chairperson for the Women’s Outreach Committee, a Survivor Outreach volunteer, a Chicagoland Walk Team Captain, Volunteer Intake Coordinator, and Survivor Group Facilitator. Alyssa’s passion for suicide prevention began in 1997, when she lost her twin brother, Andrew, to suicide. Having lost a classmate and uncle since then has strengthened her dedication to the cause. Follow Alyssa on Twitter @AlyssaRelyea1
Anne Gulotta, Co-Chair of the High School and Middle School Outreach Committee: Anne Gulotta is Senior Vice President at Northern Trust Securities, Inc in Chicago. Her two passions in life are suicide prevention and organ donation. Anne began volunteering for AFSP-IL in 2006 when she attended her first overnight walk in Chicago. Anne continues to participate in the Chicago Community walks, and is Co-Chair of the High School Outreach Committee. Anne resides in Barrington, IL, and lost her husband to suicide in 2002. She is a board member of HERE in Barrington Coalition dedicated to providing help, encouragement, resources, and education to promote mental health and reduce the occurrence of suicide and other harmful behaviors. Follow Anne on Twitter @GulottaAnne
Cara Levinson, Secretary: Cara Levinson’s 18 year old younger daughter died by suicide in 2007. She is a long-time participant in AFSP’s national Field Advocate program and is a top fundraiser in the AFSP Chicagoland walks. An attorney, Cara is currently working on a book of interviews with people who have lost someone to suicide. She is dedicated to removing the stigmas that still attach to suicide and mental illness and to supporting AFSP’s suicide research initiatives. Cara is a member of the AFSP Illinois Executive Board and serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors. Follow Cara on Twitter @CaraLevinson
Erika Barber, Co-Chair, Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk: Erika Barber became involved with AFSP in 2005, when she participated in her first Out of the Darkness Overnight. She has since served as a Co-Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk for the past several years. Following her sister Andrea’s suicide in 1983, Erika has strived to have a positive and supportive influence on survivors struggling with the effects of sibling death. Her publication,Letters from a Friend: a Sibling’s Guide for Coping and Grief,has been utilized in many therapeutic settings and grief support programs nationwide. Erika is a certified Child Life Specialist and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from National Louis University. In July 2015 Erika lost her father to suicide. She remains committed to suicide prevention and awareness opportunities and is a dedicated advocate of AFSP’s mission. Follow Erika on Twitter @ErikaBarber_
Judson Ely, Treasurer: Jud is Chief Financial Officer of POS Remarketing Group that is based in Wauconda, IL. He also serves as AFSP – IL Chapter Board Treasurer and has been involved with the AFSP as a volunteer since 2011. As a volunteer, Jud is on the Chicagoland Community Walk Planning Committee and serves as walk registration coordinator. Having lost a friend to suicide in 2004, he has a passion for raising awareness about suicide prevention and money for the Chicagoland walk. Follow Judson on Twitter @Jud_Ely
Megan Graf, Chair, Community Outreach and Education Committee: Meg Graf is the Chairperson of the Community Outreach & Education Committee in addition to serving on other Committees and Walking in the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk. Meg leads the efforts to organize a Community Education Event each year as well as the annual Research Connection Program. Meg is an active Board Member of the Illinois Chapter of AFSP. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegMGraf
Megan Pickell, Board Member: Megan has been involved with AFSP since 2008 as a participant/volunteer in the Chicagoland Community Out of the Darkness Walk. Joining the Board in August of 2015, she assists with planning the Chicagoland Walk and is involved with the Survivor Outreach Program. After losing her sister, Jamie, to suicide in 2007, having another family member attempt and other close family friends whom have lost parents, siblings or friends to suicide, Megan is very passionate about suicide prevention and promoting awareness of mental health issues in the community.
Dr. Richard B. Kirchhoff, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors: Dr. Kirchhoff works as a Pediatric Dentist. He has an extensive military background and is a retired Army Aviation Officer. He is the Co-Chairperson of the Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Rick continues to earn top walker awards at the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk. He also serves on the National Chapter Leadership Council and Chair the National Public Policy Council. Follow Rick on Twitter @Kirchhoff_R
Scott A. Langenecker, Board Member: Scott A. Langenecker, Ph.D. is a clinical neuropsychologist, Director of Cognitive Neuroscience and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Langenecker’s research and clinical work focuses on the translational cognitive neuroscience of mood disorders across the lifespan. His current work is focused on the late adolescent translational period in which risk for mood disorders is at a peak, and suicide risk is very high. He has been a walker in Out of the Darkness Community Walks since 2003. Dr. Langenecker joined the Board of Directors in 2015.
Sean Connolly, Co-Chair, LGBTQ Outreach Committee: Sean Connolly started volunteering with the AFSP after the 2013 Chicagoland Out of the Darkness Walk. His role with the Foundation includes: co-chairing the LGBTQ committee, serving as a policy field advocate, and participating in the AFSP’s national lobby days. He’s excited to continue to work with this group to bring hope and support to those in need across Illinois. Sean’s sister Alex died by suicide in 2013.
Steve Moore, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, Chair, Advocacy and Policy Committee, and Captain of the Race AFSP Team: Steve Moore, whose 19 year old son died by suicide in 2006, joined the board of the Illinois chapter in 2008. Steve is the chapter’s Co-Chair, a member of its Executive Committee, Chair of its Advocacy and Policy Committee, its representative on the Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance and Captain of the Race Team. He is on AFSP’s national Public Policy Council and a participant in AFSP’s Field Advocate program. He is also a facilitator for survivor support groups in a program run by Chicago Catholic Charities. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMoore1406
Staff Members, AFSP Illinois
Angela Cummings, Associate Director and Director and Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness Springfield Community Walk: Angela Cummings is the Associate Director the Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Angela was promoted to this role after her stellar work for suicide prevention throughout the state. Angela graduated from the University of Texas and has over 10 years professional experience including extensive nonprofit fundraising experience. Having lost a family member and a close friend to suicide, she is committed to the cause of suicide prevention. Follow Angela on twitter @AngelaPCummings
Courtney Collins, Area Director and Director & C0-Chairp of the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk: Courtney is passionate about making a difference and seeing an organization’s mission come to fruition through fundraising, awareness and teamwork. She has over ten years of experience in fundraising strategy and event management. Prior to AFSP, Courtney was the Associate Director, Events and Circle of Friends at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Courtney has also worked with other non-profit organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Brain Tumor Association and PetSmart Charities. Additionally, Courtney was a Coach Coordinator for the Chicago and San Francisco Out of the Darkness Overnight Walks in 2005. Follow Courtney on Twitter @ccollinsafsp