Who We Are
Literature for All of Us uses books and writing to facilitate circles of connection, healing, and growth in the face of social inequity. By inviting participants to explore the transformative power of their own voices, we help build resilience.
- Literature as a means to make connections, and discover strength and meaning in our lives
- Writing as a way to access our voices, share our stories, and free our imaginations
- Shared learning and dialogue in safe environments of mutual respect
- The inherent strengths of individuals, families, and communities
- Equity and social justice
We envision a world where everyone, regardless of race, class, culture, or gender identity, has opportunities to access their voices, embrace meaning in their lives, and imagine possibilities for the future.
Senior Program Officer
Book Group Leader
Senior Book Group Leader
Program Operations Director (Interim)
Book Group Leader
Elise Mackevich Salchli
Finance and Administration Manager
Vanessa Álvarez joined the Board of Literature for All of Us in 2019, moved by the way the LFAOU model helps participants use their personal stories to find their voice. Vanessa’s own natural gift for storytelling forms the foundation of her professional life, in which she creates strategic digital marketing and communications plans for entrepreneurs, businesses and nonprofits, both in English and Spanish. A committed Chicago native, Vanessa’s love for her city and its people leads her to be a catalyst for its communities. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago and an M.A. in Organizational & Multicultural Communication from DePaul University. And she is a fan of summertime in the CHI and salsa – the kind you eat.
Emily Argentine is a native of Ohio who joined the Board in 2018. She will be assisting the Finance Committee and Corporate Giving. She works with financial institutions to mitigate money laundering opportunities and enhance risk compliance methods. She is also a certified SCUBA diver and enjoys going to the theater as often as possible. She is a lifelong bookworm and chatterbox who loves to share the joy of reading and is excited to be working with LFAOU to share this passion for reading with Chicago and the surrounding communities.
Shanquinnell Bullock is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who transitioned into the corporate healthcare world 9 years ago, after spending 14 years working in a non-profit. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Human Services and Counseling, and a Master’s of Science Degree in Human Services Counseling, both from National-Louis University. Shanquinnell is a firm believer in the power of growth and learning through individual connection: one person to another. She is passionate about helping others by using her own life experiences to guide her teaching and training on the job, in her blended family, and now with the board of LFAOU. Shanquinnell was born and raised on the West side of Chicago. Seeing the opportunity of working with Literature for All of Us as part of her life journey, she joined the Board of Directors in 2020. Shanquinnell looks towards this experience to help mold her own passion for the arts.
Marlene DeFrates is a career educator. Currently, she is the Director of Diverse Learning, providing guidance to Special Education teachers and students. Previously, Marlene served as a mentor and coach in university settings and recently served as a school administrator. Marlene spent the first 14 years of her career teaching Language Arts and Science in Chicago. Marlene’s love for research and how to improve teaching motivates her to continue learning. She is a Chicago native and joined the LFAOU board in 2020.
Tiffany Gore is a career educator. For the last 18 years, Tiffany has worked in a variety of capacities within and for Chicago Public Schools including teacher, professional development specialist and workshop facilitator. Currently, Tiffany serves as a high school assistant principal. She is an active member in other nonprofit organizations where she works with developing youth leadership and preparing youth for post-secondary education. She has her own educational consulting firm, founded her own scholarship foundation, and co-partners with other affiliates to provide training and development to educators and those of other professions. She joined the Board of Directors of Literature for All of Us in 2020.
PAUL N. KELLER
Jimmy Lee Lard
Jimmy Lee Lard is an Urban Filmmaker and Screenwriter who works to bring the often untold stories of marginalized populations to light. Additionally, Jimmy has worked in Corporate Learning and Development for over two decades where he designs curricula and oversees adult education programs. A native of Chicago, he has a strong background in community service lending support to community and youth organizations and facilitating community development workshops. Having majored in English at DePaul University, he believes people can use literature to help to shape, change, and reflect on their own lives. Jimmy joined the board of Literature for All of Us in 2020.
Danielle Leber joined the LFAOU board in 2020. Since her start at a nonprofit literary journal to her current role in publishing for nonprofit associations, she has long been dedicated to creating excellent content and education that brings new concepts and ideas to people from every walk of life. Danielle holds degrees in fiction writing, journalism, and publishing. A resident of Chicago for 15 years, Danielle is an avid bookworm and enjoys exploring the city’s amazing parks and restaurants with her husband, Adam, and basset hound/golden retriever mix, Chet.
NEWLIN O. WOLLASTON
Marilynn J. Cason
Carol Lynn Connell
Howard S. Dubin
Keri Holleb Hotaling
Susan K. Kaden
Lisa E. Lewis
Leslie J. Millenson
Ann Ohlrogge Johnson
Eileen L. Share
Denise Philip Winter
Erika L. Sánchez
Barbara A. Shapiro
“BOOK GROUP MADE ME FEEL LIKE SOMEBODY. MADE ME WANT TO BE SOMEBODY.”
— Nicole Williams, Book Group Alum