Chief Executive Officer
WHY LITTLE CITY
“My personal dedication to Little City’s mission dates to when I first volunteered with my family in my formative years for the organization and when two of my cousins received Little City’s services. These memories are still vibrant and guide me today
I have spent most of my professional life doing what I can to help others in need. I served as the executive director of Team Up To Stop Bullying, a national coalition of 70 nonprofits focused on creating safer and more accepting environments for children and teens. I also had the great honor of serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, working to increase equality, accessibility and fairness in everything from economic policies to healthcare and under-supported mental health services.”
With a background in nonprofit, private sector, and government, Newman is the nexus of where a nonprofit leader leverages tremendous strength in relationships from multiple sectors. Bringing a collaborative, yet decisive, approach to working with complex and interconnected constituencies, Newman believes expertise and a passion for the organizational mission are essential for a strong working partnership. She is a leader known to move missions and initiatives forward and brings her deep commitment to equity to the forefront.
Previously serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Newman was the first woman in history to be elected to Illinois Third Congressional district. Serving in this role as a Congresswoman, Newman worked on bringing breakthrough national economic, healthcare, transportation, mental health, labor, technology, and small business strategies and solutions to over 85 diverse communities. Newman was Vice Chair of Communications and sat on the transportation and infrastructure committee as well as the small business committee. In addition to passing six bills out of the house and two bills signed into law to date, throughout her Congressional term, Newman was directly responsible for acquiring $350 million in appropriations funding for her district.
Earlier in her career Newman worked for multiple firms as a marketing agency executive and pursued many entrepreneurial ventures. Serving as Executive Director and Founder, Newman also established her own nonprofit, a national coalition of 70 nonprofits to combat bullying after one of her children was bullied. Through recognition of her work, Newman helped develop a curriculum and manual for anti-bullying systems which eventually made it to the White House level, where a Presidential executive order was established requiring all schools to implement anti-bullying programs.
Newman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Business Minor from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI.
Marie brings a lifetime of experience in community service and advocacy to Little City. She has always been passionate about making a positive impact on the world and has dedicated much of her time to volunteering for various causes.
She is a lifelong volunteer for immigrants, working families, homeless & marginalized communities, and the intellectual disability community. Marie believes in the creation of a fair economy as well as gun reform, working as a spokesperson for Moms Demand Action (IL). These groups and causes have driven her purpose and helped shape her leadership philosophy.
She was born in the Beverly neighborhood and now resides in the western suburbs with her husband, daughter, son, and their crazy beagle, Iggy. Her family is incredibly important to her and she values the time they spend together. Her focus on family led her to write a book titled “When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions” as a resource for parents who are navigating a difficult situation.
Aside from her work and advocacy, Marie loves gardening because she finds it therapeutic to get her hands dirty and see things grow. She’s also an avid Pilates enthusiast and appreciates the mental and physical benefits that come with regular exercise. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting, skiing, power walks, and hiking. Her diverse interests and experiences have shaped her perspective on leadership, community, and personal growth.
WHY LITTLE CITY
“I have always known that I wanted a career that was dedicated to meeting human needs through service to others. In joining the Little City family in 2003 I knew that I was coming to an organization whose history was deep and vast. I often share that the Little City mission encompasses and synchronizes (with only a few exceptions) the entire spectrum of human services including health, education, housing, employment and leisure/recreation services and supports.
As a human service practitioner my service at Little City has offered me numerous opportunities to advance the accessibility and availability of service through direct leadership, civic/volunteer engagement, education, health promotion and social change at all levels. From the beginning, Little City has been a welcoming and supportive community to me.
This experience has given me more than I could ever give back and has helped shape my leadership and character. When I have fallen, it has lifted me up and when I was weary it gave me hope and inspiration.”
Since 2003 Shawn has served as Executive Director of Little City Foundation. Selected for his outstanding ability to provide high-quality leadership and strategic direction, Mr. Jeffers tirelessly champions to attain equality and dignity for children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
He leads a volunteer board comprised of 40 of Chicago’s finest public and private sector leaders and paves the path for over 500 staff in providing groundbreaking, innovative service to hundreds of Illinois’ citizens with disabilities (in Palatine and throughout the Chicagoland region). Mr. Jeffers also manages the 60-year old, non-profit service provider agency’s $40 plus million operating budget.
With a public and human service career spanning nearly 50 years, Mr. Jeffers has held many significant executive leadership positions in both the governmental and nonprofit sector. A humanitarian in his own right, he has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Hope School in Springfield, Associate Director for the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Director of the Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center, the Assistant Director of the Chester Mental Health Center, the Unit Director of the Ludeman Developmental Center, the Diagnostic Team Supervisor for the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles, and a Program Coordinator and Counselor for the Illinois Youth Center.
Mr. Jeffers also teaches non-profit business management and leadership courses at Northern Illinois University.
Shawn received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Aurora University in 1975 and his Master of Public Administration from Northern Illinois University in 1982.
I am the proud husband to Barb Jeffers, and we have been married since 1981. We met while working at Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest where she was working as a Special Educator and I the Unit Director.
My pride and joy are my three children: two daughters, Nicole and Dana, and one son, Shawn II; and my two grandchildren Harrison and Leah.
I enjoy spending time with genuine friends – friends who rarely disappoint, who know my faults and love me more when I deserve it least. I treasure having and creating memorable moments with my family whether through shared travel experiences or everyday encounters.
I am someone who likes experiencing the outdoors and nature, changing of the seasons and the special holidays and events that each season brings. Throughout my life I have found joy in participating in competitive sports, exercising and productively burning off energy. My latest affinity is Bikram Yoga which helps me stay grounded and calm.
As a lifelong learner, I can easily get lost in a book or bookstore. I thrive through teaching and mentoring, and enjoy working with students, young professionals and youth. Innovation fascinates me! Those who know me personally and professionally know that I am always playing with the latest technology or gadget.
If you weren’t Executive Director at Little City, what would you most likely be doing?
“If I was not the Executive Director I would devote myself full-time to teaching. By nature I am a lifelong learner with a curious soul. I truly appreciate and love being actively engaged with others in the sharing of ideas and concepts, particularly when those interactions or exchanges lead to promoting good outcomes. Teaching has afforded me numerous opportunities to deeply connect with others. What good is knowledge and experience if you cannot share it, put it to use or give it away? Teaching drives me to learn more, do more and never miss a chance to make a difference – through my instruction, words and bits of personal wisdom I impart.”