Before he became known for his barbecue sauce, Hecky Powell was the Executive Director of Neighbors at Work, a community economic development association in Evanston. After years of social service, he felt he could do more for the community by giving local kids jobs and teaching them a trade. He bought a restaurant at the corner of Emerson and Green Bay Roads in 1983, and Hecky's was born. To continue in the mindset of giving back, the Forrest E. Powell Foundation was founded in 1994, honoring the legacy of work ethic that built Hecky's Barbecue, and continues now with the launch of his newest initiative: The Evanston Work Ethic Program.
Carl La Mell, Board President FEP Foundation
Carl joined the FEP Foundation, run by his good friend Hecky Powell, in 2006 to be more involved in the Evanston community (and he loves the BBQ sauce.). Carl is the President/CEO of Clearbrook a not -for -profit organization providing services to intellectually/developmentally disabled children and adults throughout the Chicago area. He has created a number of work programs for the people Clearbrook serves and believes the WE program has same core values of providing people with a professional path while building self-esteem.
He has served on many local Board of Directors as well as President Obama’s Committee for intellectual disabilities. He is no stranger to trying to help people reach their full potential.
Nancy Baker, Executive Director
For the past ten years, Nancy’s personal and professional focus has been helping underserved youth gain access to their full potential. She is formerly the Program Director of Evanston Scholars and College Counselor for both LINK Unlimited and Chicago Scholars. Nancy has eight years' experience as a high school English instructor and an additional twelve years as a marketing professional for Boca Burger, Inc., Kraft Foods, and Arthur Andersen. Nancy holds business and humanities degrees from Michigan State University and a M.Ed. from Loyola University. She is the founder of the Chicago Area College Access Counselors and currently serves on the board of ArtRapids!, an art and education organization in Northern Michigan, and the Farther Foundation, a program that funds educational travel for underserved students. She enjoys being a mentor, writing and performing short stories, travel, and putting a pastry chef certification to use for family and friends.
Cheryl Y Judice, PhD, Board Vice President
Cheryl Y. Judice moved to Evanston in 1975 after graduating from Lake Forest College. She holds a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University, where she is a practicum instructor in Human Development and Psychological Services within the School of Education andSocial Policy. She has taught sociology, social psychology and African American studies at Lake Forest College, Northeastern Illinois University and Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the intersections of race, class and gender. Her book, Interracial Marriages Between Black Women and White Men, was published in December 2008. Prior to her current position at Northwestern, she was the director of a community-based adult educational organization in Evanston, Illinois, and she has served or continues to volunteer on numerous Illinois state and local boards concerned with cultural diversity and inclusion. Cheryl is married to Hecky Powell and together they have raised three adult sons, all graduates of Evanston Township High School.
Natalie Joy, Program Director
Natalie Joy, a native Evanstonian, received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and is currently working towards a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University. Prior to attending the University of Illinois, Natalie worked in youth development at the Evanston YMCA and the Fleetwood Jourdain Theater. During her time at UIUC, she was a member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity where she enjoyed volunteering and participating in community service events.
Patricia Vance, Mentor Coordinator
Pat has been actively engaged with the Evanston community for over 40 years. She served as Executive Director of CEDA/Neighbors at Work and Township Supervisor for the Town of the City of Evanston. Her professional occupation was launched working with youth at CEDA/Neighbors at Work. She was employed as the Youth Employment Coordinator and helped to connect youth with career opportunities and training. She holds degrees in Sociology from Southern University A& M College (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois). She has served on numerous boards. “I know that mentoring works, because I was mentored."
Laurie Kaplan, Director of Strategy and Student Persistence
Laurie, originally from North Carolina, has been a 23-year resident of the North Shore. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development for Curt’s Café. In addition, she has done consulting work with ReBuilding Warehouse, and has recently completed the Leadership Evanston Program. Prior to Curt’s, Laurie co-chaired a foundation committee which focused giving in Northern Cook County, where she realized her passion for supporting nonprofits, particularly those helping young adults in workforce and educational initiatives. Laurie had a corporate marketing career as a VP of Corporate Sales before moving with her family to the Chicagoland area. Outside of these endeavors, Laurie enjoys travel, reading, writing, cooking and walking the beautiful lakefront in Evanston!