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eliminating racism, empowering women

YWCA of the University of Illinois | 1001 South Wright Street Suite 203, Champaign, IL 61820 | Phone: 217-344-0721 | Privacy | YWCA USA |©2016. All rights reserved.

YWCA Board of Directors

Veonia Gross, President

Champaign-Urbana born and raised, Veonia served for several years with the ACCESS Initiative of Champaign County as a Peer Mentor, to teenage women. She began her journey with the Peer Ambassadors of the Champaign County Mental Health Center due to her own life experiences and took what she learned to heart, and has been an unofficial peer mentor ever since. Her interest in the YWCA follows easily from these experiences. While on the board her personal goal is to “help spread the word and open more people's eyes to what's affecting our community and how can we fix it. Starting with ourselves.”

Isak Griffiths, Vice President

CEO & Leadership Coach, AXIOI Inc.

Bringing great leadership experience to the YW board from being an Air Force veteran, to having her own leadership coaching business. As a past Director of Courage Connections, Isak sees the impact of violence on people’s lives every day. Isak considers reconnecting/re-engaging the YWCA with the community to be an important board goal. She says: “The YW is one of our community's best kept secrets. Yet, it is uniquely placed to bring together agencies, the University and the community to make UC more compassionate, more responsive, more collaborative, and more of a ‘So *this* is how you make things work!’ kind of community. And I very much want to be a part of making it happen.” Isak and her partner are raising three wonderful children, but they aren’t allowed to ride her motorcycle.

Lisa Clemons, Secretary

MSW Candidate, School of Social Work, University of Illinois

Originally from Springfield, IL and the surrounding area, Lisa moved to Champaign-Urbana in 2011. After a few years working in a runaway and homeless youth shelter - Roundhouse, which has since closed it's doors - first as a volunteer and then as a full time staff member - Lisa was moved to return to U of I in 2016 for her Master’s in Social Work, which is currently in progress. Concurrently, Lisa has been working as an online book seller in conjunction with Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners since 2015, helping to bring in revenue for the non-profit which provides free books to incarcerated people throughout Illinois.

Erika Kramer, Treasurer 

Director of Operations and Human Resources, Pixo, Inc.

Erika’s employer, Pixo, describes her as “motivational leader”, and she brings that leadership to the YWCA. Erika’s enthusiasm for the YWCA is clear to anyone who takes the time to talk to her, and she wants to generate “more awareness in our communities for the great work the YWCA does.” The YW’s most important work is to “reach and empower young women in our community, especially the unrepresented ones.” Erika holds an MBA from the University of Illinois. She loves to travel and immerse herself in different cultures. She is originally from Hungary and helps to bring a diverse perspective to everything she does.

Patti VerStrat

Humanities Professor, Parkland College

A long-time supporter of the YWCA, Patti is excited about joining the Board of Directors. Patti loves the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, and is eager to spread the word about it. She especially wants to support the YW’s efforts to reach more deeply into the wider community, and make women’s leadership development available to all women.


Amy Santos

Special Education Professor, University of Illinois

Amy brings administrative experience as well as a passion for meeting children’s needs to the YW. A seasoned board member and creative thinker, she wants to use her talents to connect the YWCA with individuals and organizations in the area to more deeply pursue our mission.

Jessa Barnard

Director, College of ACES Study Abroad, University of Illinois  

A graduate of United Way of Champaign County’s Emerging Community Leaders program, Jessa is excited to bring her passion for developing women’s leadership and achieving racial justice to the YWCA.  As she put it, she wants to “move the ball forward for an organization that is doing great work in our community.”

YWCA Staff

Andrea Rundell, Executive Director 

Andrea is unabashedly in love with the mission of “eliminating racism and empowering women.” Residing in Champaign-Urbana since 1992, and working as a professional in the nonprofit sector since 1998, she originally came to Urbana to work on a PhD in Philosophy, but was inexorably drawn to the high-stakes, lucrative world of local nonprofits. Andrea has worked on statewide healthcare advocacy, facilitated teen parenting groups, and been Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Champaign County. Most recently she served as the Director of Programs for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, and continue to be passionate about hunger in the US. She proudly served as Chair of the local Human Services Council and been a founding member of the Latino Partnership of Champaign County. 

Kate Ross, Campus Programs Coordinator

Kate is a University of Illinois alum, with a Bachelor's Degree in English and Master's of Social Work. She is a 15-year resident of Champaign-Urbana and is passionate about empowering women, destigmatizing mental illness, and dismantling systemic racism. In the past, she has served as a mentor for a teen parent through The GOALS Project and currently volunteers for Sistering CU, helping to assist families with new babies.

Denise Taylor, Community Programs Coordinator

Rebekah Raushcenberger, Bookkeeper