Board of Directors and Staff

Founder and Board Chair

Debbie Flader is the Director of Clinical Outreach at the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, where she has been employed for 12 years.  Debbie’s focus is to provide linkage to clinical care for children and adults with epilepsy.  Debbie’s 20 plus years of experience in epilepsy make her a staunch advocate for those impacted by the disorder.  Debbie co-founded CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, the largest funder of epilepsy outside of the government in 1998, and has recently been awarded the Sara Stubbelfield Award by the Epilepsy Foundation of America for her tireless efforts to make a difference in the lives of people with epilepsy.

In 2012 Debbie Flader founded the 501c3, Angel Wings Foundation, dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults with epilepsy through independent living in the community.

Treasurer

Jill Gattone is a Registered Nurse and holds a Masters Degree in Education from National Louis University in Chicago.  She currently works as an industry consultant and manages the Studio E Art Therapy Initiative, a partnership between Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals and the Epilepsy Foundation.  Jill served as Nurse Clinician at Rush Epilepsy Center for 11 years. She also served as Director of Education at Rush, assisting patients in their pursuit of education and understanding of epilepsy. Jill and her husband, Phil, have four children. Their oldest son, Philip, has epilepsy.

Board of Directors

Michael Smith, MD – Rush University Medical Center

Dr. Smith is the Director of the Rush Epilepsy Center where he has been a member since 1986.  There he leads a team of epileptologists who work closely with neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, physiologists, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists.  The practice specializes in the treatment and diagnosis of epilepsy in children and adults.  Dr. Smith is a Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush Medical Center and Senior Attending Neurologist.  Dr. Smith is board certified in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology and received his MD from Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL.

Dr. Smith is also the Medical Director of the Alexian Brothers Health Network Epilepsy Center in Hoffman Estates, IL.

Dr. Smith is the chairman of the Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago and is a past Board Member of the Epilepsy Foundation of America’s National Board of Directors.

Irene O’Connor is the Office Manager of the Rush University Epilepsy Center in Chicago.  Irene is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with epilepsy, in her workplace and in volunteer efforts with Angel Wings and the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago.  Irene holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and has served in her current position for twenty-five years.

Ryan Flader is an assistant editor at Harpo Studios in Chicago.  Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Video with a concentration in editing.  Ryan is the recipient of the 2003 UCB Keppra Family Scholarship, offered to college students who have made impact in the community through a personal connection with epilepsy.  Ryan has served on the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago annual walk committee and is the brother of an adult with refractory seizures.

Kathy Clark is the parent of a son with epilepsy. She has been actively involved as an epilepsy advocate for over ten years and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those impacted by seizures. Kathy is a volunteer at the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago and is committed to erasing the stigma attached to seizure disorders.

Michael Rensch is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa and a Masters of Business Administration from North Central College in Naperville. Michael has been involved with the Angel Wings Foundation since 2013 and the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago since 2007. He has two sons who have epilepsy.

Staff

Becki Flader serves as Executive Director of Angel Wings. Becki has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Millikin University. She brings passion and dedication to Angel Wings and is inspired daily by her sister Noel. Becki is dedicated to serving those impacted by seizures and works tirelessly to develop relationships with other epilepsy organizations to create more awareness and a better understanding of seizures and how they can impact an individual.



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