Ben serves as CEO and Executive Director of Imerman Angels and has been an active member of the Board of Directors for more than three years. He is also a 3-time cancer survivor and very active in local and national cancer organizations.
Most recently, Ben served as founder and Managing Director for Prospero Capital Management, LLC and as CFO of IQ7 Technology, Inc. Prior to those roles, he served as Partner and Portfolio Manager for Omega Advisors in NYC. Ben also has had a progressive career in roles with increasing responsibility at Orbis Investment (London/Bermuda), Goldman Sachs (NYC), and Oppenheimer & Co (NYC).
In addition to his professional successes, Ben has been actively involved in philanthropy throughout Chicago and nationally, serving in various board and volunteer capacities at Imerman Angels; PAWS Chicago (President, Development Board); Lurie Cancer Center (Northwestern); H Foundation (cancer research); Board 39 (young adult cancer survivors); Mercy for Animals; Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs; Harvard Business School, Class Treasurer; Above and Beyond (addiction center); City Homes of Orleans; and Mott Children’s Hospital.
Ben earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School(graduating as a Baker Scholar) and Juris Doctor (JD) from Harvard Law School. He received his AB undergraduate degree from Princeton University where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics. Ben resides in Chicago with his three dogs, Simon, Dustin, and Bella.
Erin Leyden, a Chicago native, with a Master’s Degree in Information Systems, got her start in the nonprofit world after starting her own organization back in 2006 after her young son started having seizures, over 200 a day at times. Erin and her family soon started the American Epilepsy Outreach Foundation, a national organization created to raise epilepsy awareness and provide support to those affected by epilepsy and their families. Erin was recognized by People Magazine and Major League Baseball in 2009 as an All Star Among Us for her work in nonprofit and her community.
In 2010, Erin merged the organization with the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago to better serve the 130,000 individuals living with epilepsy throughout Illinois. As the Vice President of Development, Erin oversaw all of development including events, volunteers, outreach, and all aspects of marketing and communications.
Erin lives in Norwood Park with her three children and her husband, Patrick who is an instructor and sniper for the Chicago SWAT team.
Jeanne Long comes to Imerman Angels after a 30 year career at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She most recently served as SAIC’s Director of Community Partnerships where she was responsible for managing and directing projects that promoted SAIC’s profile in civic, corporate and cultural communities. Overseeing SAIC’s Creativity in the Workplace Program, which solicited philanthropic support, Jeanne placed over 1500 works of art by graduate and undergraduate students in corporate settings.
Jeanne witnessed her mother, sister, sister-in-law, and close friend experiences with cancer and is fueled by their bravery to help others dealing with the disease. She is passionate about spreading the mission of Imerman Angels worldwide.
A believer in volunteerism, she has served as a board member on the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust and the Irish Georgian Society. She currently is a member of SPRED (Special Needs Religious Education) and is a catechist for the children’s liturgy at St. John of the Cross in Western Springs.
Jeanne graduated from Trinity College, Washington, D.C. with a B.A. in Art History. An avid runner, she has completed multiple marathons and resides in Western Springs with her husband and daughter.
Vanessa was 24 years old when she was diagnosed with late stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She started volunteering upon remission with Imerman Angels as a Mentor Angel in 2011, then a Cancer Support Specialist in late 2012. She was promoted to Office Manager and Volunteer Manager in 2013. Since taking on the operations role in 2014, she’s employed strategic measures that led to doubling the number of volunteers and was integral in the creation and implementation of the Ambassador Program. She enjoys working with passionate volunteers and being a part of the organization’s strategic growth and planning to create impactful connections between fighters, survivors, and caregivers.
She graduated from the University of Iowa where she double majored in Business and Spanish. Prior to working at Imerman Angels, her employers ranged from national banks to city politicians. Her struggle with cancer and rehabilitation afterwards influenced her to change trajectories and follow a more meaningful path.
Vanessa has been a participant with Twist Out Cancer’s Brushes with Cancer, First Descents, and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She has also been featured in Chicago Athlete Magazine.
Dave comes to Imerman Angels after heading the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Charity Program where he worked with the over 150 not-for-profit organizations that fielded teams for this event raising over $15 million dollars for these charities each year. He has been involved in the event planning arena through his work at the Chicago Marathon as well as through consulting on other Chicago area events including numerous 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons as well as stair climbs and golf tournaments. As an endurance athlete himself and a proud “middle of the packer”, Dave will be managing Team Imerman Angels. Dave is excited to be working with the many Team Imerman Angels athletes as they look to reach their goals and help Imerman Angels in connecting more and more individuals.
Dave graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in History and Political Science and is an avid college basketball fan cheering on his Golden Eagles each winter (and, hopefully, into the spring). Dave also received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and an LL.M. in healthcare law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Dave and his family live in Chicago’s Smith Park neighborhood.
Jackie has been a caregiver to multiple loved ones, including her mother, who lost her battle with lung cancer in 2004. These experiences have shaped her to care passionately about our mission. She has been a part of the Cancer Support Team since 2012, assisting those who are fighting cancer themselves or helping caregivers become better armed to help their loved ones in their battle. She has helped train many new mentors and strengthen the partnerships we have with other cancer support organizations. She and her daughter have been volunteering with American Cancer Society’s event, Relay for Life, since 2005. Both as a team captain and a committee member, she sees this as another way of spreading the word and helping others so that they do not have to face cancer alone.
Jackie graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Her work experiences include animal training, customer service and teaching. Her diverse background has proven to be beneficial in this position.
Christina is from Venezuela and moved straight from Caracas to Chicago in January 2013 while looking for new life experiences. In 2007, she majored in Business Administration and received a diploma in Marketing from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas. Prior to Imerman Angels, she has experience working for Consumer Package Goods Companies in their accounting and marketing departments.
Christina has been touched by cancer multiple times as the caregiver to her mother and grandmother who both are survivors of breast cancer. She joins Imerman Angels as a bilingual Cancer Support Specialist and looks forward to helping us expand our reach into the hispanic community.
Being from South America, Christina loves to go to the beach and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Megan joined Imerman Angels as a cancer support specialist in April of 2013. She maintains an active role in the matching program and also coordinates with the Livestrong Foundation, cancer partner organizations, and volunteers. Her strong will and determination to assist those in need of support stems from her long association with childhood cancer. Megan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at birth that metastasized and recurred 3 times. She has now been cancer free for 21 years.
Megan is a 2012 graduate of DePaul University and holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Psychology. She has participated in a number of charity events, such as Wings of Mercy and Make A Wish Foundation. Megan is an active advocate for volunteering, mentoring teens and young children who are facing cancer struggles at summer camps. She has also interned as a volunteer coordinator and assisted physician services at Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Her positive energy and perseverance to achieve the best quality of life is present in her everyday life. In addition, Megan has a strong compassion for animals and has adopted a four-year-old husky/beagle mixed breed dog named Blue, who serves in official capacity as the mascot for Imerman Angels.
Ambreen is no stranger to cancer. She was diagnosed with late staged Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was 19 years old. Since entering remission in 2011, she has been an active volunteer with Imerman Angels and recently joined the team at a full-time capacity as a Cancer Support Specialist.
She has experienced cancer from both sides, not only as a survivor, but also as a caregiver to her father who passed away from liver cancer in 2015. Though her experiences have been difficult, she sees them as stepping stones that have enabled her to reach out and help others struggling through the same thing.
Ambreen studied Biology at Loyola University Chicago and is passionate about making healthcare more accessible to underserved populations. It is this passion that inspired her to spend a summer in Honduras where she worked in a medical camp providing free healthcare to those who normally have access to none. Born and raised in Chicago, she loves spending time on the lake. She enjoys biking, hiking and spending as much time outdoors as humanly possible. When she isn’t out seeking adventure, she can be found curled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.
Blue is a four-year-old husky/beagle mixed breed dog and is a companion and service dog to Megan Alexander, cancer support specialist at Imerman Angels. Blue is the official mascot for Imerman Angels and her main duty is to inspire joy and happiness throughout the organization. While employees are busy with their duties, Blue is there to lend comfort and unconditional love.
Always ready for a hug or a treat, Blue is a constant reminder of how animals can bring out the best in everyone. Her beautiful blue eyes and vibrant personality bring a quick smile to all who meet her. Blue is very gentle and respectful of anyone, especially with a disability, and is strongly capable and protective in her role as a guide dog.
In her free time, Blue is very active in the Chicago area; playing at the dog beach, running alongside Megan on the bike paths on Lake Michigan, and making friends in her neighborhood.
Two of Blue’s favorite things are leftover chicken and squeaky toys.