The Conservation Center is proud to announce the founding of an Advisory Board in 2004. Advisory Board members hail from a diverse array of backgrounds and offer a wealth of different perspectives on the development of The Center.
Chairman, Norman Bobins Consulting, LLC (NBC)
Norman R. Bobins is chairman of Norman Bobins Consulting, LLC (NBC), which provides financial consulting services to various clients. Prior to founding NBC in 2008, Mr. Bobins spent 40 years in banking. He began his career at American National Bank and Trust Company in 1967. In 1981, he joined Exchange National Bank, which was acquired by LaSalle Bank. He retired from LaSalle Bank Corporation as chairman, president and chief executive officer in 2007.
Mr. Bobins currently serves as the non-executive chairman of The Private Bank and Trust Company and non-executive chairman of the board of Transco, Inc. He also serves on the corporate boards of AAR CORP., Nicor Inc., RREEF America REIT II, Inc. and Sims Metal Management Ltd. In addition, he is a past president and current member of the Banker’s Club of Chicago and is a member of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, The Economic Club of Chicago and The Financial Services Roundtable.
Mr. Bobins has served as a member of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago since 1995. He is chairman of the board of trustees of WTTW Communications, Inc. and vice chairman of the Auditorium Theatre Board. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Brain Research Foundation, The Field Museum, The Newberry Library, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. In addition, he is a Life Member of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Mr. Bobins has also received numerous awards including the 1992 Human Rights Medallion from the American Jewish Committee, the 2003 University of Chicago Graduate School of Business’s Distinguished Corporate Alumnus Award, the 2004 Arts Legend Award for an Advocate from the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation, the 2005 Harvard Business School Club of Chicago Business Statesman Award, the 2007 Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Daniel H. Burnham Distinguished Leadership Award and the 2007 Lincoln Academy of Illinois’ highest award the Order of Lincoln.
Principal, Machrie Enterprises, LLC
Machrie Enterprises provides expertise and extensive connections to growth businesses, venture capital, and growth equity funds. Ellen Carnahan is an experienced advisor, board member, and venture capital investor. At Machrie, she serves as a director of technology companies BPX Inc. and Talent Drive LLC, and The Conservation Center. She also is an Advisor to WMG Capital, which makes later stage investments in and acquisitions of technology-based service companies, and Ceres Venture Fund, a venture capital fund dedicated to funding high growth companies located in the Midwest in their early stages of growth.
She joined William Blair Capital Partners (WBCP) in 1988 after ten years of management experience in the software and financial services industries. During her 20-year tenure as a private equity/venture capital investor at the WBCP funds, she led the technology investment team and generated top returns. She is recognized as “one of the 100 most influential women in Chicago” by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Ms. Carnahan has served on the boards of directors of over 25 public and private growth companies. In addition to her private boards, she currently serves as a director of Integrys Energy (NYSE: TEG). Prior to her venture capital career, she was Vice President of Marketing & Planning at SPSS, a then-$30 million applications software company, and Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis at Trailer Train Company, the largest operator of railroad flatcars. Ms. Carnahan is a CPA and holds a BBA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
She is active on many civic and charitable boards. Among them are the Illinois Venture Capital Association (Chair), the State of Illinois Technology Development Account (TDA I) fund-of-funds, the Governor of Illinois’ Economic Recovery Commission, TiE Midwest, The Chicago Network (FY ‘07 Chair), and Communities in Schools Chicago.
CEO, CCI, Inc.
Martin Z. Craig is an entrepreneur, investor and Chief Executive Officer with successful operations, private equity, banking and merger and acquisitions experience. Over the last 25 years, he has pioneered, grown, and led business in the life sciences, services, technology, consumer and industrial sectors. His strategic vision and excellent communication, team building, operations and implementation skills have earned him various awards and honors.
Mr. Craig serves on the Boards of private and publicly held companies, and numerous professional and civic organizations, including: HHL Financial Services, Inc., a Welsh Carson Portfolio Company; ORI, a mutual fund company, Gore Bronson Banks, Argent Healthcare Financial Services, Inc., a GTCR Colder Rauner portfolio company; and RMG, Inc., a Pegasus Financial portfolio company, and other charitable and political directorships.
Chairman and CEO, The Old Mountain Company, Inc.
Marshall Field V has a long history of contribution to civic enrichment in the Chicago area. He is or has been a member and President of the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute, the Executive Committee of The Chicago Community Trust, the Terra Museum of American Art and the Field Foundation of Illinois. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Field Museum of Natural History, on the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, an Honorary Director of the Lincoln Park Zoological Society and a Governing Member of the Board of Advisors of the Brookfield Zoo. Old Mountain is his private investment company but he also is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, a major real estate developer.
CEO, AXA Art Insurance Corporation
Christiane Fischer was named Chief Executive Officer of AXA Art Insurance Corporation in January 2004 and also became President in June of 2006. Prior to that, Fischer served as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Communications of the company.
Before Joining AXA Art in January 2000, Fischer served as the General Manager of Corporate Information and Reporting at Daimler-Benz North America Corporation in New York.
Before relocating to the United States in 1989, Fischer had worked in the Finance Department of Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart. She started her professional career in the Customer Service Department of Bank of America in Frankfurt.
Fischer was born and raised in Germany. After receiving her Abitur, Fischer completed a program as Foreign Language Correspondent, with a focus on industry and commerce. In addition to her studies in Germany, Fischer studied economics and marketing at the New York University’s Department of Economics.
Fischer serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Noguchi Museum and on such Advisory Boards as The Conservation Center and the Appraisers Association of America.
Fischer lives in New York with her husband and their three daughters.
AXA Art is the only specialty fine art and collectibles insurance company in the world providing tailor-made coverage for private and corporate collections, museums and exhibitions as well as galleries.
Partner, Horwood Marcus & Berk
Throughout his forty-year career, Mr. Glick has relished solving complicated and unusual legal problems for his banking and corporate clients. For example, he stepped in to assume leadership of a troubled bank after its president was removed from his position by federal banking authorities, and he took operational control of a foreclosure-threatened racetrack. He also has been involved with finding remedies for the troubled loans of several banks. He was also responsible for representing the interests of the Securities and Exchange Commission in cases proceeding under Chapter X of the Bankruptcy Act.
Mr. Glick has taught business and real estate law at Michigan State University and federal income tax, transportation, insurance and general business law at Humboldt State College in California. He speaks frequently to members of banking and credit associations and provides them with advice on avoiding the problems that have entangled their peers at other financial institutions.
CEO, Marilyn Katz Communications, Inc.
Marilyn Katz is the founder and president of MK Communications, Inc., a public relations firm which combines public policy goals with organizational strategies that bring public support and program realization. Ms. Katz founded MK Communications in 1982 combining public policy goals with organizational strategies that brought public support and program realization. She is the recipient of numerous awards for films and campaigns, and has received grants from both the Carol and Ping Ferry and Russell Sage Foundations for policy-related research projects. Ms. Katz is also the author of numerous articles and a book, The Glass House Tapes (Avon, 1973). She is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago and sits on a variety of boards and voluntary organizations.
Managing Director, The Chicago Corporation
Mr. Lear has more than thirty years experience in investment banking specializing in providing corporate finance advisory services to middle market companies about how to maximize the value of their enterprises. Specific experience includes private placements, public offerings, and mergers and acquisition engagements on both buy- and sell-side. His industry background includes medical services, communications and entertainment, energy, transportation, financial services, printing and publishing.
Prior to co-founding The Chicago Corporation, Mr. Lear had been the Managing Director of FOCUS LLC, a firm specializing in M&A and private placement advisory services to private and closely held middle market companies.
President of Lakewest, Inc., Founder of Belgravia Group, Ltd. and Partner of Ruttenberg & Ruttenberg
David W. Ruttenberg is the President of Lakewest, Inc., the Founder of Belgravia Group, Ltd. (real estate development companies), and a Partner in the law firm of Ruttenberg & Ruttenberg. For more than five decades, Mr. Ruttenberg has been actively involved in the development of residential, retail and commercial properties principally located on the north side of Chicago.
Mr. Ruttenberg is an active member of numerous Chicago area civic and charitable organizations. These activities include his role as a member of both the Cornerstone Advisory Council and the Executive Committee of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association. Additionally, he serves as a lifetime trustee of the Francis W. Parker School and former Board Chair, past trustee of the Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital, the Marwen Foundation, the Erikson Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of Northwestern University School of Law. He was the past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chicago’s SSA #23 (a Special Service Area for North Clark Street).
His honors include the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from Northwestern University School of Law Small Business Opportunity Center, the Key Legend Award from the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago, the Outstanding Achievement in Real Estate from The Realtors Commercial Alliance of the National Association of Realtors, Men of the Year Award from the Men’s Book Magazine (Modern Luxury Media), and the Commercial Forum Impact Award from the Chicago Association of Realtors. He is also a nominee for the 2010 Hall of Fame Award from the Chicago Association of Realtors.
Senior Managing Director and Chief Economist, Mesirow Financial
Diane Swonk is a senior managing director and chief economist for Mesirow Financial, a diversified financial services firm based in Chicago. As one of the most sought-after economists in the world, Diane is called upon by policymakers and business leaders from Washington to Tokyo. Diane joined Mesirow Financial after 19 years with Bank One Corporation and its predecessors, most recently as director of economics/chief economist and senior vice president. During her tenure there, Diane designed the bank’s regional model, published several nationally acclaimed studies, managed the Corporate Economics Group and published her first book: The Passionate Economist: Finding the Power and Humanity Behind the Numbers. In addition, she serves as a Clinical Professor for DePaul University’s highly-rated evening MBA program.
Jack Guthman’s practice encompasses a wide range of activity before state and local boards, commissions, the Illinois General Assembly and the Congress of the United States. During his career, he has represented clients in hundred of negotiations with and public hearings before government bodies. His experience includes 17 years as a member of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals, the last 12 of those years as its Chairman.
Although his practice is broad-ranging, a substantial portion of his work has consisted of representing developers requiring zoning changes and other relief which is a precondition to the development process. Mr. Guthman has acted as zoning counsel for the developers of more than 40 million square feet of major Chicago properties. Projects which gained approval under Mr. Guthman’s leadership include substantial developments such as Dearborn Park and Cityfront Center, tallest building, and numerous other mixed-use, commercial and residential buildings.
Among his more specialized assignments were representation of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago Orchestral Association, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and Columbia College’s Media Production Center in the zoning and landmarks processes relating to their new construction and expansion of existing facilities. He was responsible for gaining a Planned Development Ordinance for Chicago’s Millennium Park and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, as well as the approvals required by the Chicago Children’s Museum in its efforts to relocate to Millennium Park.