Skip to main content
HomeBoard of Directors

Board of Directors


Linda Rockwell - President
Eleanor Taylor - Secretary
Judy Witt - Treasurer

Ellen Alexander
Kendall Alexander
Nancy Bashook
Ifaat Bosse
Kristin Gover
Marla Johnson
Jacqueline (Jacki) Kimel
Barbara Kovel
Joan Lakebrink
Irving Miller
Marguerite O'Connor
Kate Paz - Ex Officio

Advisory Council

Charlotte Bishop
Nancy Flowers
Kim Hand
David Jacobson
Audrey Thompson


Linda Rockwell - President

Linda Rockwell has been with JourneyCare (formerly Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter) for nearly 17 years. She currently serves as the organization's Veterans Program Coordinator, overseeing services to veterans in hospice care in a 10-county area in northeastern Illinois.
Linda's career experiences include frequent public speaking, screening volunteers and working with service providers, patients and families.  In addition to WiseUp, she serves on the board of directors for Lake County Honor Flight and Lake County CaregiverNet and is a member of the Lake County Veterans & Family Services Community Partners Network.

Eleanor Taylor - Secretary

After attending several universities, Eleanor received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. She earned an MS (cum laude) in health care management, a nomination for Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and election to Sigma Tau Delta, Honorary English Letters Fraternity. Eleanor earned Certification in the American Health Information Management Association.

She held positions as Director of Medical Records/Health Information in several hospitals, and in a for-profit health plan in Chicago area with 19 health centers. In each of these positions her responsibilities were various, but included staff, systems, policies and procedures, and maintenance of accreditation standards. She was also a Principal Associate in a healthcare company providing consultative services nationwide. 

Her Board experience includes past membership on the Vestry, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church as well as years of experience on her condo Board – several years as member at large, two years as Secretary of the Board and three years as Board President.
Eleanor has been a member of WiseUp for about 7 years.  Conversation with a neighbor, who was a member, piqued her interest in the organization. The opportunity for volunteer service appealed to her, since she was considering retirement. Eleanor was a volunteer driver for several years and has volunteered for friendly visiting and English Conversation Partners. She also volunteered to help with WiseUp’s, Taste of Evanston, as well as the Annual Benefit of 2017 and 2018.  Eleanor enjoyed the play reading group, Sunday movies, Current Events, Brain Study course, and various potlucks, poetry readings, and sing-alongs. 

As she reviews her participation in the Village over the past several years, she realizes how it has enriched her life and how many new friends she has made. She hopes the Village is here for years to come and, having received so much, she feels that she should help in some way to ensure that it continues for those coming after her. One way to do that is to serve in whatever capacity she is able, including service on the Board of Directors beginning in 2019.

Although she lives in Evanston, where WiseUp began, she is interested in helping spread word of the Village movement to other locations where seniors may benefit from the support of those who are like-minded.

Judy Witt - Treasurer

Judy joined WiseUp and the Board as Treasurer in 2017. She worked for the City of Evanston in Human Resources for 32 years with 25 years as Director of Human Resources. Judy has significant participation in the multi-disciplinary functions of budget development, customer service and strategic planning.  

Her consulting/volunteer experience includes: working with various municipalities; Board member of Evanston Community Foundation; Chair of Leadership Evanston Steering Committee; Board member of Child Care Center of Evanston; and volunteer at North Shore Hospice and WiseUp. She attended Boston College, M.Ed., Counseling Psychology and Boston University, B.A., Psychology

Judy’s interest in WiseUp lies in her curiosity about what “aging” is in this time, how people are going about being “successful” at aging (whatever their definition of successful is), and how to help make our communities great places to be at any age! She is chair of the Finance Committee.

Ellen Alexander - Board Member

Ellen J. Alexander has a B.A. (University of Michigan), M.A. (French, University of Illinois) and JD (DePaul University).  She initially moved to Chicago to work for Encyclopedia Britannica and its French publication.  She then moved into management training at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) where, in part as international liaison officer, she prepared briefings for US State Department visitors (i.e., the Soviet delegation needed to learn about concrete for their upcoming Olympics preparation). While at HUD, Ellen attended DePaul Law School.  A year post-degree, she was hired as Assistant 
Corporation Counsel by the City of Evanston.  Her next and final career move was to train as and become an independent labor arbitrator.   
During the course of thirty years, she traveled to several states and held permanent appointments with the City of Detroit Police Department and Police Union, the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Teachers Union as well as various other state unions and agencies.  Ellen retired in 2016.  She volunteers as an interpreter for an asylum seeker immigration support group and is working with a group of Evanstonians seeking to save and operate an Evanston Community Lake House and Gardens (Harley Clark mansion).

Kendall Alexander crop

Kendall Alexander - Board Member

Kendall Alexander, attorney and counselor at law, is a California native, and has lived all over the US in a dozen different states throughout her lifetime. She's had an interesting patchwork career of jobs, from professional actor and singer to massage therapist to office manager to personal and executive assistant to conference planner to contracts and grants specialist to nonprofit liaison for a government-run university. In her mid-40s, Kendall decided to go to law school, also earning her master’s in Accounting along the way. Since graduating with her JD and passing the bar (the worst two months of her life), she has practiced in estate planning, which she truly loves, and views as a continuation of her life’s path of being of service to others in varying capacities over time. 
Kendall loves to travel and is always planning that next exotic trip. Throwing great parties, going to movies, knitting, and spending time with friends are some of her favorite pastimes. Kendall and her husband Robert belong to and are active in the Chicago Curling Club, OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association +) where Kendall is on the Board of Directors, a neighborhood wine tasting club, and a variety of other groups that keep them busy exploring new activities and enjoying life. Kendall and Robert look forward to getting to know the WiseUp family and being a part of the village. 

Nancy Bashook - Board Member

Nancy Bashook joined WiseUp in 2013. Her work experience includes being Convention Manager for Kiwanis International and Director of Member Services and Continuing Professional Education for the Illinois CPA Society. For the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, she directed a department responsible for accredited continuing medical education activities for surgeons.

Community involvement includes three years as chair of Beth Emet Synagogue’s Social Action Committee, where she launched a soup kitchen now in existence for 15 years.  She was secretary of Interfaith Action of Evanston and chaired the IAE Annual Vision Keepers Dinner for five years. For four years, Nancy served on the League of Women Voters of Evanston board and as an observer of the Planning and Development Committee of the City Council. She was chair of the WiseUp Governance Committee for two years and was the chair of the Program Committee from 2016-2019. She was Secretary of WiseUp’s Board from 2016-2018. Nancy is currently on the Program Committee.

She believes in the Village concept and the opportunities to connect with others in social and educational settings.

Ifaat Bosse Board Photo

Ifaat Bosse - Board Member

Ifaat Bosse, CPA, is founder and president of Bottom Line Financial, a daily money management firm primarily  serving the needs of the senior population. The firm focuses on helping seniors complete their daily financial and administrative obligations, supporting them in areas such as bill payment, budgeting, and tax organization. In addition, the firm focuses on financial advocacy ensuring that clients maintain the systems that will protect them and their estate. Areas of advocacy include a focus on estate plan monitoring  and estimated tax payment monitoring.

Ifaat holds an undergraduate degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois in Urbana and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago. She is a CPA with experience in public accounting, non-profit, and the private sector.

Kristin Gover - Board Member

Kristin Gover currently works as Director, Communications at the Academy of General Dentistry in Chicago. Her prior work experience includes Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations at JourneyCare (formerly Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter). She has experience working and marketing for seniors. Kristin graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Communications. Kristin joined WiseUp’s Board in 2018 and is interested in working with WiseUp to update its communication and marketing the organization to the public. She lives in Evanston. 

Marla Johnson - Board Member

Marla Johnson joined WiseUp in 2010. A lifelong resident of Chicago and its suburbs, Marla has lived in Evanston for the past 21 years. A graduate of Northwestern University, Marla started a thirty-seven-year career at Leo Burnett advertising. She retired in 2000 as VP and Director of Broadcast Business Affairs.

Her experience in labor negotiations with actors and other media talent contributes to her current role representing the advertising industry as a Trustee on the Boards of the Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plans.

In addition to being a devoted CUBS fan, for many years Marla served as a volunteer driver for Meals at Home and has also provided various volunteer services for WiseUp and its members. She served on the Nominating Committee, chaired the Annual Benefit Committee for 2 years and is currently on the Membership Committee. She has been Vice President of WiseUp’s Board since 2017.

Jaqueline (Jacki) Kimel - Board Member

Jacki Kimel joined WiseUp in 2013. Her entire career was spent in the education of children who were deaf or hard of hearing. She started as a teacher, was involved in teacher training, became a supervisor and then the executive director of a public-school program covering the north and northwest suburbs.  She retired in 2003.

Jacki has volunteered as an English as a Second Language tutor for adults, as a Courtwatcher in Domestic Violence Court and on committees in many organizations.  She has been on a synagogue board, the board of a chapter of National Council of Jewish Women and on boards of organizations for adults with disabilities. She chairs WiseUp’s Membership Committee and is a super recruiter of WiseUp members. Jacki loves to travel, attend theater and movies, read, spend time with friends and family and bake. Jacki joined WiseUp’s Board in 2016.     

Barbara Kovel Board Photo

Barbara Kovel - Board Member

Barbara Kovel moved to Chicago in 1981 from Rochester, New York, where she was an urban planner for 12 years, to attend the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Subsequent to receiving her MBA in 1983, she worked at Rush University Medical Center for 13 years and was directly responsible for the treasury functions including investment management, cash management, and capital financings. Barbara received her license to be a Certified Financial Planner in 1997 and then worked at Harris Bank and J.P. Morgan as a financial advisor specializing in financial planning and portfolio management.

Barbara served on the board of the Chicago Finance Exchange, an invitation only organization comprised of senior women leaders in finance. She was elected to serve on the Advisory Board of the Rush University program in Health Systems Management and was also a member of the finance committee for the Rush Hospice. She has also served as a board member and treasurer of Senior Citizens Art Network.

Barbara retired from J.P. Morgan in 2013 and has been happily exploring all the things that one can do in retirement. Her core activities always include yoga and pilates classes, Italian language class, the WiseUP current events discussion group, and an art class/project. She lives in downtown Evanston. Barbara has been a member of WiseUp since 2016 and is a member of the Membership Committee. She joined the Board in 2019.

Joan Lakebrink - Board Member

Joan retired from DePaul University (PhD 1977, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, Vincent DePaul Professor Emerita). She served on the League of Women Voters’ Board as Secretary and currently chairs its Program Committee. Joan has written training and class outlines and curriculum. She volunteers at Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University and lives in Rogers Park. Joan joined the Board in 2019.

Irv Miller Board Photo

Irving Miller - Board Member

Irv was born in New York City and educated at New York University, Purdue University, and the University of Michigan.  He taught and administered programs in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering and served as a university administrator for almost 40 years at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU Tandon School of Engineering), University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Akron. He is the author of over 80 refereed articles and book chapters in science and engineering, over 200 abstracts and presentations, has edited and translated several monographs, and has received numerous science and engineering grants and awards. 

Since his retirement from engineering education in 2000, Irv has served as a commercial arbitrator (American Arbitration Association) and a consultant on nonprofit management (Executive Service Corps of Chicago).  A casual poet for most of his life, he began writing poetry seriously in 1995. His poetry has appeared in journals, collections and chapbooks, as well as on several websites. Irv has been a member of WiseUp since 2015 and is chair of the Governance Committee. Irv joined the Board in 2019 

Marguerite O'Connor - Board Member

Marguerite is a motivated professional with certified communication & leadership skills. She has 35 years of experience in funeral service, including advance planning, arranging & directing funerals; 9 years as a mortuary college instructor; and 23 years as a professional speaker. She is a sensitive and compassionate facilitator of support groups. Marguerite is active in community & networking and has presented educational programs nationally & internationally.

Marguerite co-authored a book to help people cope with grief, Grief Struck: When a Death Changes Your Life, 2005 and a book to help navigate change, Leading Change & Navigating Success: Bridging the Gap, 2008. She is a member of: American Association of University Women, 1988-Present, Past President Glenview Branch; Toastmasters International, 1995-Present, Past President Mt. Prospect Club; and WiseUp, 2017-Present. 

She has degrees from Loyola University (Chicago); Worsham College of Mortuary Science; and National Louis University. Marguerite has been a homeowner in Glenview for the past 30 years. She joined WiseUp in 2017, the Board in 2018 and is a member of the Membership Committee.