Young professionals working
in the community

Supporting Independent Futures’ vision
for individuals with disabilities.

Young Professionals Board

Young Professionals Board

The Young Professionals Board is a group of young professionals who raise funds and awareness for Center for Independent Futures’ mission. As part of our Young Professionals Board, members join a committee that aligns with their interests and strengths, including recruitment, finance, event planning, and development.

Since 2006, the Young Professionals Board has planned SPARK, our largest fundraiser, and hosted  social events to engage a broader audience with our community. To learn more about the Young Professionals Board and how to join, contact us at

Emmy Swift, Chair

Emmy works at American Family Insurance as a Sustainability Administrator. In her position, Emmy focuses on climate action, reducing American Family’s carbon footprint, and supporting environmental justice in our communities. Emmy has been part of our Chicago Marathon team for 3 years, and she chaired our SPARK committee for 2 years. 


Sarah Armour

Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. She is a passionate self-advocate who strives to educate her community about disability awareness. Currently, Sarah works as the Business Assistant at JJ’s List, an Evanston-based non-profit that spreads disability awareness to businesses and beyond. Sarah has been a member of the Center for Independent Futures community since 2010 and formerly served as a member of the Advisory Council.


Krista Canton

Krista works as a value analysis software consultant for large academic medical centers in the Midwest. She earned her bachelor’s degree in consumer affairs with a minor in business administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an Evanston native, Krista is passionate about giving back to the community where she was raised and ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity for a successful and fulfilling career.


Alex Finnegan

Alex earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Loras College and his master’s at DePaul University. While pursuing his CPA studies, Alex is working as a staff auditor at the accounting firm Prado & Renteria. Alex strives to make a difference in society by working to give people opportunities to contribute to their communities. He enjoys supporting Center for Independent Futures to help individuals with disabilities expand their networks and learn valuable skills.


Nestor Gonzalez

Nestor has been part of the Center for Independent Futures community since 2012. He joined the Young Professionals Board to help individuals with challenges see their full potential while developing his leadership skills for future career and personal opportunities. Nestor works at Whole Foods and also served as an ambassador at the P.A.C.E. Program, which he completed in 2010.


Loren Ketelson

Loren earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Sewanee: The University Of The South in 2017. She moved back to Chicago after college and is currently working on completing her masters in School Social Work from Jane Addams School of Social Work, while also working for Urban Autism Solutions. Loren has worked with Center for Independent Futures in the past as a fundraising intern, and she is excited to continue her involvement.


Headshot of Elizabeth LaChapelle

Elizabeth LaChapelle

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s degree at Indiana University. She was active with IU Dance Marathon in support of Riley Children’s Hospital and raised money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. As a Human Resources Generalist for Peapod Digital Labs, Elizabeth enjoys helping individuals find fulfilling careers while developing new skills. Elizabeth‘s brother-in-law, Matthew, receives support from Center for Independent Futures, and she is excited to support an organization so important to her family.


Participant award winner Matthew LaChapelle poses for portrait with hand on chin in front of teal background.

Matthew LaChapelle

There are many things that are important to Matthew as a Young Professionals Board member. He is very excited to be a person on the board with Downs Syndrome who can help advocate for all people with disabilities, showing his strengths and skills. I look forward to using my connections to help fundraise for Independent Futures, work as a team, plan fundraising events, and meet new people.


Connor Larsen, Marketing and Development Assistant

Connor Larsen

Connor graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a B.A. in communication arts, political science, and history. Before joining Center for Independent Futures, she volunteered her social media expertise for political campaigns and service groups in Seattle. Responsible for content creation and supporting development, Connor is dedicated to creating lasting change through sustainable solutions.


Aylla Lashaway-Mueller

Aylla earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Economics. She recently moved back to Chicago after spending four years in New York. Aylla is passionate in her job as a Financial Planner and in her extracurricular activities helping families achieve their goals. Aylla was inspired by the Center for Independent Futures dream after she attended her first SPARK event and looks forward to creating awareness for Center for Independent Futures around Chicago.


Matt Palmore

Matt graduated from the Professional Assistance Center for Education (P.A.C.E. Program) at National Louis University in 2005 and has served on the Center for Independent Futures Young Professionals Board since 2008. Matt currently works at Recycling Avenue, a not-for-profit organization that recycles small electronics. Matt lives in Evanston and is an active member of the community.


Alexandra Swift

Alexandra earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 2015. She then started her career in Boston as a data analyst. Alexandra is passionate about empowering individuals to enact lasting change in their communities. While in Boston, Alexandra became a founding board member of the non-profit political action group Indivisible Somerville. She recently moved back to the Chicago area and is thrilled to be more involved with Center for Independent Futures.


Adam smiles at past Something's Cooking fundraiser

Adam Wiser

Adam graduated from the P.A.C.E. Program in 2008, and has been part of Independent Futures since 2012. He currently works at Nordstrom Cafe, and has been employed there for ten years.  Adam is excited to participate on the Young Professionals Board and spread awareness of the wonderful programs that Independent Futures offers to help individuals live independently.


Andrew Sharp, Member at Large

Andrew earned his degree in accounting from DePaul University and works at Porte Brown, a public accounting firm with an office in Evanston. Outside of work, he enjoys playing cello with the North Shore Chamber Orchestra. He is excited to assist Center for Independent futures in their goal of supporting individuals with disabilities to lead full lives.

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