Young professionals sharing a commitment

Raising Center for Independent Futures’ profile in the community while raising funds for worthy programs.

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

Anu Rajendran, Chair

Born in India and raised in Portland, Oregon, Anu earned her bachelor’s of science degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California before moving to the Chicagoland area. She works at GE Healthcare as an IT sales executive for ambulatory practices. Along with her experience in event management, sales, and healthcare, Anu brings to the board her passion for giving back to the community and supporting others.


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, 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 to 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 has worked at Jewel-Osco since 2012 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.


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. After graduation, she worked in an art museum, learning about new tools and refining her communication skills to work for not-for-profit organizations. Before joining Center for Independent Futures, Connor volunteered her social media experience for campaigns and service groups in Seattle.


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 in 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.


Andrew Sharp

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 enabling individuals with disabilities to lead full lives.


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 on 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.


Emmy Swift

Emmy works at Allstate Insurance in the Corporate Relations department. As part of the Corporate Citizenship team, Emmy works with Allstate’s nonprofit partners to grow Allstate’s strong community-centered reputation. Emmy’s greatest passion is environmental sustainability, and she works hard to integrate this in all parts of her life. Emmy has been part of our Chicago Marathon team, and is acting as co-chair for SPARK 2018. 


David Jacob, Board Liaison

With a background in architecture, technology, and operations, David is a long time resident of the Northern Chicago Suburbs. David received his bachelor of science in architecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Along with a passion for the non-profit sector, David also has a focus on sustainability. He hopes to use his breadth of experience to further the mission of Center For Independent Futures.


Bridget Samuels, Member at Large

Bridget was inspired to get involved with Center for Independent Futures because her sister is a participant in a similar program in their hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and she has seen how an organization full of passionate and energetic members can change the lives of people with disabilities. Bridget works for Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.


David Suchite, Member at Large

David is an alumnus of Evanston Township High School, where he worked with Center for Independent Futures staff in the Transition Program. After completing an internship at Center for Independent Futures, David joined the staff as Office Administrator. David currently works at Prevent Blindness in Chicago and is excited to return to the Center for Independent Futures community in a new role as a Young Professionals Board member.


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