Debbie Leoni is a professional speaker, trainer and “Fearless Living” coach and author who teaches personal development and positive change through the body, mind, and spirit. For over twenty years Debbie has championed the idea that physical health and inner courage through change are intertwined. As a trainer and coach for Elevate USA, she helps participants connect with practical, emotional, and spiritual life to heal past wounds, find purpose, and create a vision and action plan that can powerfully motivate them to achieve their long-standing goals.
Central to this “Fearless Living” philosophy is being mindful of one’s choices at any given moment, enabling the recognition of patterns and beliefs, and acting sensibly on the analysis of those actions. Debbie has extensive experience as a health-conscious personal trainer and recognizes the link between personal health and mental state. She has also worked as a therapeutic facilitator for struggling teens where she helped instill a sense of accountability, responsibility, teamwork, and self-reliance through high-impact educational workshops. Her leadership training program “Fearless Living” instructs participants in techniques to develop a deeper mindset for leadership that unfolds on a core mental level that enables strong decision making.
Debbie is the author of “I Am Fearless: 12 Elements of Fearless Living” as well as a contributing author for “Pure Wealth: 26 Crazy Ways to Profitability. Debbie’s training is impactful, unique, and well-balanced between practical advice, spiritual understanding, and physical accountability. Participants experience lasting positive results through personalized exercises, meditations, facilitated discussions, and internal processes that create accountability for the individual to their goals. Associations & Honors: International Coach Federation; Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva: Board Vice President, Membership Committee, Greeter, Worship Associate, Group facilitator for: “Meditation For Connection” meditation group; Community Emergency Response Team; Kane County Magazine 2015 Woman of Distinction; 2015 Inspiring Woman, Itasca Bank and Trust Company Women’s Initiative Education: Ford Institute of Integrative Coaching; American Council of Exercise Aerobic Instructor; National Academy of Sports Medicine; Master Integrated Coach from Ford Institute of Integrative Coaching; Spiritual Director; Resource Academy Leadership Coach; Resource Academy Family Coach; Yoga Studies Institute Yoga Instructor; Level II Reiki and Healing Touch Practitioner; Debbie attended Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. Debbie lives in Geneva, Illinois.
For more information about Debbie go to www.debbieleoni.com.
Deborah J. Hrivnak, Ed.D.
Dr. Deborah J. Hrivnak is a professional coach, and has been CEO and founder of MyCoachDeborah, Inc., since 2004. As a coach, Deborah works with small businesses, individuals and teams, inspiring and teaching them to leverage their strengths for greater productivity, engagement, and profits. Deborah received her coaching certification through The Academy for Coaching Excellence in Sacramento, California.
Deborah is the author of Get Off the Sidelines and Into the “Game” as well as a contributing author for Discover Your Identity; Real Stories by Real People to Inspire and Ignite Your Soul, by Sue Brooke, and RockStar Success Stories; Inspirational Stories of Success by Extraordinary “RockStars,” by Craig Duswalt.
Her prior leadership experience includes serving on the Board of Directors for South Central Nebraska Community Mental Health Center and the Chamber of Commerce. Deborah has also served for three years as President for her church. Deborah has received honorary recognition from Phi Delta Kappa and Pi Lambda Theta, in addition to receiving the recognition of Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In 1983, based on her notable work with special needs students, the Nebraska State Department of Education created a television documentary, Educational Alternatives for Handicapped Students. Deborah continues to provide support for special needs individuals and families through coaching, advocacy, and consulting in addition to her work with small businesses.
Before starting her own business, Deborah served as a special education administrator as well as working in human resources for a large corporation located in Omaha, Nebraska. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for Judson University where she teaches coursework in Education as well as Management and Leadership.
Deborah currently lives in Saint Charles, Illinois with her husband, John. She and John sing with the Elgin Master Chorale.
President – Elect
Peter A. James
Peter James comes to ICF-Chicago with more than two decades of leadership-laden experience stretching from his service within the U.S. Army to his current roles as a business coach and professor. A quick review of his background and credentials will show that he has served as the catalyst for successful sales and marketing, corporate education and training, and process redesign initiatives, complemented by high-caliber leadership qualifications and a proven track record in delivering value to all of the organizations and customers in which he has served.
Peter has been able to traverse the corporate landscape effectively and efficiently. Along with his strong communication skills and dynamic facilitation/public speaking style, one of his greatest strengths is his ability to coach executives and business owners through obstacles, barriers and hurdles. He does so by helping them breakthrough and overcome their obstacles, roadblocks and barriers in order to accomplish their career and/or business objectives.
Peter’s qualifications include an MBA with a Health Care Administration concentration, a current pursuit of his Ph.D. (Organization & Management), a certified business and a corporate coaching certification via the International Coaching Federation.
Cathy Carroll is founder and President of Legacy Onward, Inc., a leadership coaching firm that specializes in family businesses.
After growing up around her grandfather’s business, Cathy pursued a 20-year corporate career as an actuary at Hewitt Associates and a corporate executive at Sabre Inc., and United Airlines before leaving to run her father’s business. As President & COO of Pro Equine Group, she was responsible for five companies that manufacture and distribute equipment serving the team roping market.
After turning the company around, Cathy left to start Legacy Onward, bringing leadership and executive coaching services to family businesses.
Cathy earned a leadership coaching certificate at Georgetown University, an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a BA at Boston College. She is also a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) in the International Coaching Federation, and is certified in Hogan Assessments and The Leadership Circle 360.
An active member of the community, Cathy serves on the Board of Just Born and the Advisory Board of Alper Services. Cathy is also the Chicago Chapter President of the Family Firm Institute and serves as Secretary of the ICF-Chicago Chapter. In the non-profit arena, Cathy is Chair of the President’s Advisory Council at St. Xavier University and is a founding board member of A Leg To Stand On. Cathy is based in Chicago, IL.
Wynne Lacey, (ACC, CPC, ELI-MP, CDTS, CDPS) is a former professional sports dancer/cheerleader turned Universal Cheerleader for Team Human. After training in Life/Performance Coaching through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), Wynne was pulled to go on a deeper journey to become what she light-heartily refers to now as an “Enlightened Cheerleader.” As a life-long student, Wynne combines 21st-century coaching with ancient, philosophical studies. This unique perspective allows for even the superficial world to teach her about the meaning of life and our evolving, collective, human potential.
Board of Directors
Director of Programs
Arika Clark is an iPEC Certified Professional Coach working toward her Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credentials. She currently focuses on coaching people trying to balance their work and personal life. In addition she works with clients to improve time-management and self-care.
Arika has owned and operated her own business for more than 20 years. As leader in the field, a critical mentor- for more than 15 years, Arika understands both the theory of business and the practical application of helping others reach their potential.
Arika received her Master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Illinois and teaches at Moraine Valley Community College. Arika resides in the city of Chicago.
Deborah Gray-Young is an award winning and highly regarded advertising professional. She is a former vice president, media director of the leading multicultural marketing communications firm. Over the course of her career she has lead cross-platform strategy and investment teams on major Fortune 500 brands including Toyota, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, American Family Insurance, General Mills and McDonald’s.
Among her many accomplishments, Deborah wrote strategic recommendations that helped launch 2 cable television networks and a nationally syndicated PBS program. She has also been instrumental in helping several digital publishers find their footing and establish themselves in the marketplace.
Highly regarded by colleagues, peers and clients, Deborah is known for her strategic foresight and ability to connect the dots. She has a keen eye for what will work and what won’t. She is frequently sought out by CEOs, network and content producers, print and digital publishers and advertising sales executives for her point of view and counsel on concepts and actual program and content offerings. Her insight has been sought by major business and industry trade publications including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Black Enterprise and more.
She also has a proven track record for improving client engagement and satisfaction. In addition, Deborah has been lauded for her development of young professionals and helping them to grow and find a successful path in the advertising industry or other endeavors.
Deborah is the former chairperson of the 4 A’s Multicultural Media Committee. In 2017, Deborah completed 11 years of service on Nielsen’s External Advisory Council where she provided insight and counsel to Nielsen’s executive leadership on workforce diversity and retention and advocated for affordable data for small media companies and advertising agencies.
A certified executive coach, Deborah is the author of YOU 3.0: A Guide to Overcoming Roadblocks for Professional Women of Color and The Young Professional’s Handbook, a primer for young people entering the professional workforce. Both are available on Amazon, Kindle and BarnesandNoble.com.
Based in Chicago, Deborah is now bringing all of her experience, expertise, knowledge and wisdom to the marketplace to better assist media companies, content producers and agencies with getting client ready as well as developing their teams of emerging leaders to be effective and successful.
Lou Ness holds a Masters in Mediation and the Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching Certification (ORSCC). Lou completed basic coaching certification through The Academy for Coach Training in Seattle, Washington earning her ACC. Lou is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and has recently completed an interim contract as the supervisor for the Rockford Police and Fire Department Chaplains Division. Lou is also a Veteran having served in the USArmy. Credentialed in Critical Incident Stress Management and Crisis intervention, Lou feels called to edgy hot environments. “Conflict is the place where transformation has the most potential,” says Lou, “I love helping people become masterful with conflict.”
As a long-time community, activist Lou was driven towards coaching and more specifically systems coaching as a way to build a bridge between systems and marginalized groups of people. Her love of big challenges and risk taking led her to Co-Found Living Forward in 2005 with her long time partner and daughter. Living Forward offers unique services to large and mid Size companies, focusing on coaching and training curriculums that are co-created within the company fitting the special needs of their systems. To date curriculums include, Leadership Basics, Change readiness, Creating Intelligent Teams and Building resiliency in organizations. Her ORSCC work is the foundation for her work in relationship systems coaching, working with the third entity and the Voice of the System. Using these tools as a professional coach/training consultant for international, national and local companies, Lou enjoys the energy of agile organizations and those companies and individuals willing to take risks in order to make significant differences at work and at home.
In 2014, Lou walked from Rockford, Ill. to Washington DC (total miles 935.5) in 81 days, stopping in small towns across the Midwest and rust belt through Pennsylvania. She is currently working on a book and a one women story telling show in order to share the many stories that have transformed her life.
Lou is a long-time member of ICF and joins the ICFC board adding her experience working with volunteers to an already talented board. “It is a privilege to be joining the ICF, Chicago Chapter Board as Membership Director, I look forward to hearing from members. I know that together we will design something that will take the ICF Chicago Chapter into 2018 in ways we could never have imagined”
Anne is a results-focused, experienced coach with over 30 years of corporate experience serving Fortune 500 companies and large multi-national firms. As an experienced executive, with a background in Human Resources, Anne has been a trusted adviser to scores of C-Suite Leaders, Executives, and Managers, who wanted to attain higher levels of sustainable performance.
As Vice President of Human Resources, Anne provided leadership, data and insight that enabled organizations to attract and retain key talent. She also led Succession Planning and Talent Management efforts to identify and develop strong internal leaders, including by orchestrating networks of internal mentors, inside coaches, and external coaches to ensure progress against development plans.
Anne now utilizes her vast experience to provide one-on-one, confidential coaching focused on professional and leadership development through her firm, Career Advisory Coaching. Her coaching is best suited for executives (VPs, directors, senior managers) who are ready to make an upward career move and want to achieve higher levels of success. Anne’s approach to coaching focuses on identifying and closing skill gaps, identifying growth opportunities, and creating a career development strategy.