Board Members

Kimberly Svevo-Cianci, Ph.D. - Co-founder, Past Chairman, Corp. President, Executive Director

As President of the Child Rights and Protection Consultancy-International (CRPCI) since 2008, she has focused on leveraging children’s rights (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) to strengthen protection of children from violence and maltreatment. Major consultation and training projects included Belarus, Colombia, Georgia, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa & USA, to leverage child rights and protection-related national policy-making to strengthen inter-sectoral CP services and systems. From 1995 until September 2008, Kimberly served as Executive Director, the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), with members in over 180 countries, working with UNICEF, WHO, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, NGO and government leaders. Fluent in French and functional in Spanish, she holds Masters and PhD degrees in Human and Organizational Development/Systems. 


Journal articles include: Co-Guest Editor role, with CRC Committee Chairperson Yanghee Lee, of theNovember 2009, January 2010 and December 2011 Issues of Child Abuse and Neglect: TheInternational Journal (CAN:J).

Batavia, IL - Term: Jan. 2012 to Jan. 2021

Col. Jake Wyatt, M.A. - Chairman

US Army (Retired); Owner/President of Wyatt Construction & MACS Mortgage - Jake is a Retired US Army Colonel, Master Aviator Pilot; who served 24 years on multiple assignments throughout world. He served in Vietnam and 1st Gulf War. He is a Graduate of National War College Industrial College of Armed Forces. Jake has his Master of Science in Transporatation Management from Florida Tech. and B.S. Business Administration, Economics and Marketing from University of Tennessee. He worked 11 years with Sean Robush & Co. as the National Manager of Home Delivery. After that he served as Vice President, Customer Care, at Genco Inc. where he managed 16 distribution centers for 6 years until retirement. After retirement, Jake is now the owner of Wyatt Consulting and MACs Mortgage Inc, Lakewood Co. 

St. Charles, IL - Term: Nov. 2013 to Jan. 2021

Karen Messer, M.S. - Vice Chair, Secretary

President and CEO, LeadingAge Illinois

Batavia, IL - Term: Jan. 2012 to Jan. 2021

Kyle Hempel, MBA - Vice Chair

Director-Sales, Apple Graphics; Sr. Designer, TV Access

Batavia, IL - Term: Jan. 2012 to Jan. 2021

Dennis Carr, M.A. - Treasurer

Dennis Carr is a retired telecom executive who worked for Ameritech and Belgacom as a Director, Vice President, and President. When Dennis moved to Brussels, Belgium he became the Chief Operating Officer of Belgacom. Dennis shared his huge experience with students, working as a mentor and supporting seniors to reach their graduation


Since being retired, Dennis has devoted his time to supporting and assisting his church, local charities, and service organizations.  He has served in numerous leadership capacities and Board positions, devoted to family and children support, including Salvation Army, Kane County Specialty Courts Foundation, Fox Valley Christian Action, Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation, and the Chicago Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  


Dennis also leads the fundraising efforts of Hosanna Lutheran Church for the “Rescue A Generation Christian Ministry” (Mendi, Ethiopia). 

Dennis’ hobbies include family, reading non-fiction, playing golf, fantasy baseball, and travel.  He and his wife Debra live in Geneva, Illinois. They have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

Geneva, IL - Term: July 2019 to Jan. 2023

Lynn Garner, Ed.D. - Board Member

Dr. Garner is the Principal at CPS-Langford Academy in  Chicago, IL. She has been an educator for many years and is committed to helping the children that she and her teachers come in contact with daily. Dr. Garner believes in ICDP and offers the group at her school to help those parents who desire to grow in supporting their children's education.

Chicago, IL - Term: Jan. 2016 to Jan. 2022

Mauricio Ortiz, J.D. - Board Member

Graduate Assistant at Career Services and NIU Law Student

North Aurora, IL - Term: Feb. 2018 to Jan. 2021

Char Rivette, MSW, LCSW - Board Member

Char Rivette has served as Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center’s Executive Director since 2009. In

addition to overseeing the operations of the not-for-profit entity, she facilitates the Multidisciplinary

Leadership Team housed at ChicagoCAC, which includes members of Chicago Police Department,

Department of Children & Family Services, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Cook County

Health and Hospitals System. During her tenure, the organization has grown by more than 50 percent

and expanded its building by 75 percent, allowing for expanded investigative services and support,

mental health services, outreach and prevention, and collaborative partnerships.

Ms. Rivette currently serves as the Chair of the Illinois Children’s Justice Task Force, and she is on the

board of Changing Children’s Worlds, a not-for-profit organization focusing on strengthening parenting

to prevent abuse. In addition, she is active on the statewide and national levels in collaborating with

other leaders within the children’s advocacy center movement to advance the cause and increase the

positive impact of their work.

Ms. Rivette holds more than 25 years of experience in the field of child abuse and mental health,

beginning her work in direct clinical services to abused and traumatized children. Prior to her arrival at

ChicagoCAC, she served as Chief of Program Operations at Little City Foundation. She also held positions

at Our Children’s Homestead and DuPage County Health Department. Ms. Rivette earned a master’s

degree in social work from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and is a licensed clinical social


Chicago, IL - Term: Jan. 2012 to Jan. 2021

Matthew Sperry, J.D. - Board Member

After attending Illinois Wesleyan University and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Matthew B. Sperry graduated Cum Laude from Stetson University College of Law with his Juris Doctor. Since then, Matthew has been a dedicated advocate to all of his clients and is passionate about protecting their rights in every case that he takes on.

Matthew has successfully defended and represented clients in both criminal and immigration law, in addition to personal injury, litigation, and family law. From reducing felonies to misdemeanors, to obtaining status for a client who entered the country without inspection, and even retaining custody of children in a child abuse proceeding, Matthew will avidly pursue the best possible outcome for each of his cases on the clients' behalf.

Chicago, IL - Term: Jan. 2019 - Jan. 2023

Sonia Velasquez, M.A. - Board Member

Former Executive Director of the ECLT Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland. Member of the National of Association Counsel for Children. 

Chicago, IL - Term: Feb. 2018 to Jan. 2021

Monica Woodson, MBA, MSM - Board Member

Monica Woodson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Albany Park Community Center, Inc. 

APCC helps individuals, families, groups and businesses in the Albany Park neighborhood and city of Chicago succeed through diverse programs, education and social services.Woodson specializes in non-for-profit organizational development, performance management and driving operational excellence. ​​She was appointed CEO in 2017 by the APCC Board of Directors and brings more than 15 years of executive leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector to this position.

Chicago, IL- Term: Sep. 2019 to Jan. 2023

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Tel. 630-909-9411

411 Stevens Street,

Geneva, IL 60134

A 501(c)(3) Organization,

FEIN 45-4135014

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