President and CEO
Edgar Ramirez joined Chicago Commons in 2010 as Associate Executive Director. Edgar has experience as a community organizer in the Little Village neighborhood, working on issues such as youth and parent leadership development, green space improvement, and anti-violence campaigns. In 2008, Edgar became the Advocacy and Leadership Director at Erie Neighborhood House, where he was instrumental in organizing agency staff and participants on behalf of issues such as child care income eligibility, comprehensive immigration reform, and job development for youth. Edgar also served as an adjunct professor at Loyola University. He currently serves on Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s Latino Advisory Committee and several neighborhood planning groups. Edgar holds a master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. Edgar was also selected as a fellow for the 2016 Leadership Greater Chicago Class and recently became a member of Chicago’s Economic Club.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Carman Weathington joined Chicago Commons in October 2014, and has been a leader in human resources since 1989. Carman began her leadership in HR at Advocate Health Care in 1992 were she served in several leadership roles. After leaving Advocate, she led HR at several quality driven organizations, The Family Link, Britannica.com, Vanguard Healthcare – MacNeal Hospital, Independent HR Consultants, and The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Prior to taking the helm at Chicago Commons, Carman led the HR department at LEARN Charter School Network. She is employee focused, culture sensitive, compliance driven, promotes best practices and values the input and feedback from managers to create a customer focused and friendly HR function. Carman has experience in creating an HR department, establishing workflows, create performance feedback systems, successful skilled base talent acquisition, on boarding and retention strategies.
Chief Financial Officer
Dottie Johnson was appointed Chief Financial Officer in 2018 and oversees all aspects of the finance department and facilities management for Chicago Commons. She joined Commons in 2012 and served as its Controller for five years prior to her appointment as CFO. Dottie has over 25 years of experience as CFO in the nonprofit sector. Previously, Dottie served as the VP & CFO Director of Finance and Administration at the Lawndale Business & Local Development Center where she established a Small Business Development Center and business incubator program. She has also served as the CFO and Director of Financial Consulting Services for Lumity and the Nonprofit Financial Center. She has published articles in trade journals, provided training, and consulting services to nonprofit professionals, on various topics in financial management throughout the country. She is a certified public accountant (CPA), and is a member of the Illinois CPA Society. Dottie earned her B.S. degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Murray State University.
Chief Development Officer
Julio Paz joined Chicago Commons in 2018 as Chief Development Officer and works closely with the executive team in driving the organization’s fundraising and communications strategies. Prior to joining Chicago Commons, Julio and his teams have generated more than $40 million in philanthropic and public support to expand the missions of innovative and entrepreneurial 501(c) (3) organizations. Julio has served in leadership positions at The Resurrection Project, Mercy Housing, and Project Exploration. Julio is a member and co-founder of the St. Ignatius College Prep San Ignacio Society, Chicago Law Project Advisory Board, and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Julio is passionate about community development, philanthropy, and partnerships as tools to achieve social justice. Julio holds a BA in English from the University of Chicago and is a graduate from the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy and Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative New Strategies Program. Julio is currently enrolled as a student in an MBA program at DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.
Chief Operating Officer
Beth Lakier, Chief Operating Officer of Chicago Commons is responsible for oversight of the IT systems and Senior Services and Early Learning programs at Chicago Commons. Prior to joining Chicago Commons Ms. Lakier was President of B.LAKIER CONSULTING LLC, utilizing her extensive experience in early childhood and not for profits to consult with a number of local Chicago not for profits. In her most recent role at an organization Ms. Lakier was the Executive Vice President for Child Development and Early Learning at One Hope United. She had oversight of the agency’s 12 child development programs, and the Healthy Families, Doula, Wings, and Success by Six Programs. Ms. Lakier has a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Early Childhood and Adolescence Development and a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, School of Social Services Administration. Ms. Lakier has worked as a manager in the early childhood field since May 1993. Work Life balance is important, and when not at work you can find Beth with friends on the lakefront biking, running and swimming to prepare for a half iron man or iron man race, or grilling with her husband and enjoying family time.
Senior Vice President of Senior Care
Cary Crawford began his career in senior care administration in 1994, as a branch manager for Home Care Personal Services, Inc. in Naperville, Illinois. He has held various leadership roles in the field, joining Chicago Commons in 2011 as the Director of Senior Care. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis on healthcare administration from Benedictine University, where he also obtained a Bachelors of Business Administration degree. Cary is a board member and past Vice President at Illinois Association of Community Care Programs Homecare Providers, an Advisory Committee Board Member and former Board of Trustees member for the Community Care Program, and a former trustee of the SEIU Healthcare Illinois Home Care & Child Care. Cary is also a fund member of the American Society on Aging.
Vice President of Education and Program Operations
Andrew Krugly oversees operations, curriculum and staff training for Commons’ early education and adult education programs. His past roles include serving as the Director of Education at the Ounce of Prevention Fund for the Educare Learning Network, and serving as a successful elementary school principal for over seventeen years. In his role as principal Andrew was a vanguard in behavioral and academic reform. He led sustained implementation of systemic change including: the integration of a Spanish immersion program, the shift in the Special Education service delivery model to one of inclusion, and the implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RtI). As a nationally recognized presenter and consultant he has spoken around the country on the use of data for continuous quality improvement in early education, high impact early childhood education instructional strategies, and PBIS. Andrew has a Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education both from the University of Illinois, and is a past recipient of Kohl International Teaching Award.