Our People

Learn more about our dedicated staff and boards that make up Erika’s Lighthouse.

Our Staff

Our staff is an amazing, hard-working and dedicated group who develop and implement programming to educate communities about teen depression, break the stigma that surrounds mental illness, and promote mental health in teens.

Heather Freed, L.C.S.W.

Executive Director

“It’s an incredible feeling to know that you are part of a social movement that will change the lives of children and families for generations to come.”

Heather joined the Erika’s Lighthouse team in 2007 upon graduating from Lake Forest College with her B.A. in psychology and communications.  After taking time off to complete a Masters of Social Work program at Loyola University Chicago, Heather returned to us in 2012 as the Director of Programming and Communications, and in 2015 became our Executive Director.  Heather oversees the day to day operations of Erika’s Lighthouse, ensuring that our programming is in line with our mission.

Heather’s background includes work with youth, families and schools.  She is a licensed therapist and has experience in prevention, crisis intervention and community outreach.  Heather is energetic and passionate about mental health issues and strongly believes in the importance of teaching our children about good mental health.

Contact Heather at heather@erikaslighthouse.org or call 847.386.6481 ext. 101

Juliann Carlson

Marketing and Development Manager

Juliann Carlson, M.A., is our Marketing and Development Manager. She joined Erika’s Lighthouse in 2018. In her role, Juliann is responsible for the marketing of our school programs for depression education and coordinates our development/donor initiatives. She graduated with a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University in 2017 and holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Elmhurst College. After spending several years at other nonprofits and corporations, Juliann is excited to bring her experience to an organization working to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and raise awareness of adolescent depression—a cause she is very passionate about.

Contact Juliann at juliann@erikaslighthouse.org or call 847.386.6481 ext. 102.

Kristina Kins

Director of Program Development & Operations

In her current role, Kristina manages the development, evaluation and operations of Erika’s Lighthouse programs, as well as ensuring the programs and operational goals are aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. She joined Erika’s Lighthouse in 2016 as a graduate intern and joined the team full time in 2017 as Director of Outreach & Development. After spending many years in the business and finance sectors, Kristina changed career directions and is excited to be working with an organization working to spread the importance of good mental health through education. She obtained her Master of Social Work degree, along with a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Philanthropy, from Loyola University Chicago. Kristina graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with a BA in sociology.

Contact Kristina at kristina@erikaslighthouse.org or call 847.386.6481 ext. 105

Peggy Kubert, L.C.S.W.

Director of Education

“I am excited to represent an organization that provides hope to so many young people and families.”

Peggy is a licensed clinical social worker, addictions counselor, student assistance trainer and parent educator.  She has a Masters Degree from the University of Chicago, and an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University.  Peggy has been with Erika’s Lighthouse since 2006, developing our programming and working with schools to implement our programs. Peggy is passionate about providing consultation, support and training to students, educators, parents and health professionals to help young people lead healthy, happy and productive lives.

Contact Peggy at peggy@erikaslighthouse.org or call 847.386.6481 ext. 103

Jennifer Lande

Office Administrator

Jennifer joined our staff in April 2016.  She received her B.A. in speech communications and a minor in psychology from North Park University in Chicago.  Jennifer has been working in the non-profit sector since 2003, and she brings her experience in fundraising, donor relations, database management, and business operations to us. Jennifer enjoys spending her free time with her family, enjoying outdoor activities, and all of the culture Chicago has to offer.

Contact Jennifer at jennifer@erikaslighthouse.org or call 847.386.6481 ext. 104

Shira Lichtenstein

Social Media & Events Coordinator

Shira joined Erika’s Lighthouse in 2015 as a member of the Lighthouse Council while completing an online Master’s program in psychology at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology, with a concentration in children and adolescents. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in social work at The University of Chicago. After Shira’s involvement on the Lighthouse Council, she joined our staff in 2018 to oversee social media communication and uses different platforms to help spread our message and promote our depression awareness programs. She also provides support for all of our primary events throughout the year. Shira’s background includes working with families, schools and adolescents. She plans to receive her LCSW and become DBT certified, which she has already started training for. Shira is passionate about mental health issues and strongly believes that given the right tools and resources, anyone can improve their mental health.

Contact Shira at shira@erikaslighthouse.org or call 847.386.6481  ext. 106.

Our Boards

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is made up of ten members who oversee the mission and governance of Erika’s Lighthouse.

Meet the Board of Directors

Lighthouse Council

Our Lighthouse Council is a group of members who are actively involved in advocating for Erika’s Lighthouse in our community and raising funds for our programming. Fill out the interest form to learn more.

Meet the Council Members

Professional Advisory Board

Our Professional Advisory Board includes both educators and experts in mental health who provide us with their expert guidance on issues surrounding teen depression and mental health.

  • Penny Powers Beitler, M.S., L.M.F.T.
  • Robin Bluestone-Miller, L.C.S.W.
  • David C. Clark, Ph.D
  • Dan C. Daly, M.S.
  • Tom Golebiewski, Ph.D, L.C.S.W.
  • Lauren Gumbiner, M.S.W.
  • Jason LaHood, PsyD
  • Deborah Lazar, M.L.S.
  • Melissa Perrin, PsyD
  • Alec Ross, L.C.S.W.
  • Father Charles Rubey, L.C.S.W.
  • David Schreiber, M.D.
  • Dan Schwartz, Ph.D., Ed. D., Principal
  • Sharon Weingarten, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.

Young Adult Board

Our Young Adult Board is composed of post-college members who host activities to raise funds and awareness about teen depression and mental health among their peers.  Contact us to learn more.

  • Alexandra Perraud (Chair)
  • Rolando Montoya
  • Jessica Jones
  • Amy Hrad
  • Benny Mathew
  • Lucy Mahoney
  • Jesseca Hutchins
  • Spencer Schiele
  • Danielle Spiekhout

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Your donation helps let adolescent depression sufferers live happy, normal, and full lives.

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