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President/CEO

Gilbert Fonger

Gilbert Fonger joined Marklund in February, 2011, as president and chief executive officer, after serving for more than 20 years in a number of positions in the nonprofit field. As chief development officer at Little City Foundation in Palatine, he oversaw all fundraising, marketing, communications and business development. Prior to Little City, he held various executive positions with the YMCA of Metro Chicago, and served as a pastor for more than 10 years. He had also served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Fonger earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern in 2006. He also holds a master’s degree from Duke University and an undergraduate degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He was awarded the certified fundraising executive credential through CFRE International in 2007, and was recertified in 2010.  He and his wife Paula have a daughter, Jacquelyn, with special needs, and a married son, Kyle.  Contact Gil Fonger at 630-593-5500.

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Chief Financial Officer

Kudus Badmus

Kudus Badmus is responsible for the organization’s overall financial management, including budgeting and reporting. He also oversees the Support Services department and the Information Systems function. Kudus joined Marklund in 1996 and has held a range of positions in the Finance Department, including Accounting Supervisor, Finance Manager, and Director of Finance. He was promoted to the position of CFO in 2011. Kudus holds a bachelors and an MBA degree (with concentration in Accounting) from Roosevelt University, Chicago. He lives in Algonquin, with his wife; they both raised four adult children. His children, fortunately still live in the Chicagoland area. In his free time, Kudus enjoys mentoring young adults and volunteering to serve the underprivileged in various capacities. Contact Kudus Badmus at 630-593-5500.

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Chief Development Officer

Heather Graves

Heather Graves joined Marklund in May 2011 as Chief Development Officer, and has held several nonprofit fundraising positions over the past 20 years. Those organizations include the Community House in Hinsdale, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Camp Barnabas. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and received her MBA from Oklahoma State University. Heather was awarded the certified fundraising executive credential through CFRE International in 2012, and was recertified in 2017. She resides in Naperville with her family, and enjoys running marathons and spending time with her children in her spare time. Contact Heather Graves at 630-593-5500.

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Administrator, Marklund Philip Center, and Director of Therapy

Gunjan Patel

Gunjan Patel has been with Marklund since 2004. She graduated from University of Illinois with a bachelors degree in Science in Biology and from Northwestern University with a Masters degree in Physical Therapy. Her background consists of working and managing therapy departments at a variety of hospitals and out-patient settings in the Chicagoland area. Currently at Marklund, Gunjan holds a LNHA license, and enjoys being both the Administrator for the Philip Center in Bloomingdale as well as Director of Therapy for all sites. Contact Gunjan Patel at 630-529-2871.

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Administrator, Marklund Wasmond Center

Shelley Lewis

Shelley Lewis has been involved with the Marklund Wasmond Center (formerly Little Angels) her entire life. She was three-years old when her parents, Pat and Bob Wasmond, opened their home to children with special needs. She grew up working in the facility in every capacity taking over in 1979 as the Administrator. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelors degree in Nursing. She started her nursing career in the Burn Unit at Loyola University before being called home to the family business. She is proud to carry on her parent’s legacy under the Marklund Family. Contact Shelley Lewis at 224-523-7530.

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Director of Education

Paula Bodzioch

Paula Bodzioch has been at Marklund since July 2014. Prior to joining the team at Marklund Day School, she worked in a public school setting for 13 years. In the public school arena, she was a special education teacher, student resource team leader, special education department chair and assistant principal of curriculum and development. Paula has a bachelors degree from Benedictine University and a master’s degree from St. Xavier. Contact Paula Bodzioch at 630-307-1882.

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Director of Government Relations and Community Support

Lois Sheaffer

Lois Sheaffer has enjoyed a rewarding career with Marklund since the early 1980s, having worked as a certified recreation therapist, nursing home administrator, and director of children’s services. She is currently the National Director and Master Trainer for Marklund’s REST (Respite Education and Support Tools) Program, a national respite training program for volunteers and paid respite-care workers. In addition, Lois is a registered lobbyist and serves as the Director of Government Relations and Community Support for Marklund. She has been active in the Illinois Respite Coalition and served as its president for 5 years. Lois has a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of caregivers, and volunteers who discover the joy of connecting one-on-one with care recipients. Contact Lois Sheafferr at 630-397-5655.

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Director of Human Resources

Joan Rubino

Joan Rubino has worked for Marklund for 24 years, always within the Human Resources Department. Joan started off as the Human Resources Designee for the Marklund Children’s Home (now called the Marklund Philip Center). Over the years, she became the Human Resources Manager and was responsible for the Human Resources function throughout the organization. She was promoted to Director of Human Resources in 1998. Previous to Marklund, Joan worked in the HR Department at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn. Contact Joan Rubino at 630-593-5500.

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Director of Marketing and Communications

Dawn Lassiter-Brueske

Dawn Lassiter-Brueske joined Marklund as its Director of Marketing and Communications in July of 2011. Previously she had worked in PR with Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois, after working for many years in the public relations and media fields. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Loyola University. As a freelance writer, she has published several articles for both trade and mainstream media. A near lifelong resident of the St. Charles area, she is proud to give her time to her community, having served on boards with the St. Charles United Way, St. Charles Girls & Women’s Softball Association, STC East Drill Team Boosters, and most recently, as the president of the board of directors for the St. Charles Library Foundation. She also volunteers at the Field of Dreams Equine Rescue and Adoption Center.  Contact Dawn Lassiter-Brueske at 630-593-5500.

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The Marklund Board of Directors is made up of a group of volunteers from the suburbs and Chicago area who are committed to advancing the mission and vision of Marklund. Having diverse backgrounds, the Board members bring to the table experience from various business sectors, service organizations and personal connections to the developmental disabilities arena.

2017 Board of Directors

Duane Fitch, Chair
Frank Murnane Jr., Vice Chair
Mike Herlihy, Treasurer
Jeff Risch, Secretary
Jim Armbruster, Chair, Development Committee

Jeffrey Blanchette
Howard Brandeisky
Carie Carney
Bill Dolen
Maria Dombrowski
Carol Donahue
Gerry Estes
Dan Foley
Brian Little
George Webster
Jack Zimmerman

Parents and guardians of clients are welcome to attend but are asked to notify Mary Kobbeman, Executive Assistant, at 630-593-5472, in advance of the meeting date so that an appropriate amount of time is allocated at the start of the meeting for this purpose.

The Board meets six times per year. 
Board meetings begin at 7 p.m.
Meeting dates for 2018 are as follows:
– Jan. 25, April 5, May 24 (Finance Committee only)
– June 28, Aug. 17 (Board retreat), Oct. 25.