Meet the Gerry’s Cafe Board of Directors
One of our greatest resources is our board and the dedicated members serving as our directors. The common bond they share is that of their commitment to our mission, vision and core values in creating new job opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Natalie Griffin, Co-Founder and Board President
Natalie is a former Special Education teacher and saw a need for the students who graduated from the school programs to have more employment opportunities in our community. After researching other businesses with a model to employ adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, she set out with Co-Founder Amy Philpott to create Gerry’s Cafe as a gathering place of joy that welcomes and includes all people; a place that empowers our exceptional employees, helps them feel valued and earn a fair paycheck.
Amy Philpott, Co-Founder and Board Vice President
Amy is a Real Estate Broker in Arlington Heights, IL with The GetBurbed Team of @properties. Amy joined the drive and partnered with Natalie Griffin to bring the idea and concept of Gerry’s Cafe to the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. Amy’s background in management, retail and restaurant operations is a driving force in creating Gerry’s Cafe to be a viable and successful operation in our community. Quality food and service is a critical success factor for any restaurant operation. Amy’s experience is paramount in the cafe design and creation for our future employee’s success and livelihood.
Mary Ann Jahrling, Secretary
Mary Ann is an original board member, joining the board in 2018. She serves as secretary and on the Human Capital and Development Team and the Site Search Team. After 38 years Mary Ann retired from education. She continues to substitute teach and volunteer at area schools. Mary Ann enjoys working as an advocate for individuals with diverse abilities and is eager to see Gerry's Cafe, its employees and volunteers be an integral part of the community.
Brian Milligan, Treasurer
Brian joined the Board in 2021. He serves as the Treasurer. Brian has over 35 years of financial experience, including over 20 years operating as a CFO for privately held services companies. He has also served in many leadership roles as a volunteer with local community groups. Brian loves Gerry’s Café since it provides an opportunity to enable adults that are not historically provided the chance to perform meaningful work and at a competitive wage. Gerry’s Café lifts up these joyful adults and celebrates all of their special gifts.
Colin H. Gilbert, Board Director
Colin is a resident of Arlington Heights. He is a partner at the Law Firm of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew and Apicella, LLC. He is also the owner of Tuscan Market and Wine shop located in Downtown Arlington Heights. Colin attended Hersey High School, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Chicago Kent College of Law. He is very excited to be part of the Gerrys organization that will bring joy, happiness, and employment opportunities to so many.
Chris Nisbet, Board Director
Chris is the Manager at Heritage Tennis Club with the Arlington Heights Park District. She is honored to be able to work with the amazing people in our community that are determined to build a workplace that will provide job opportunities where all people with different abilities are supported, included and celebrated!
Jack O’Neal, Board Director
Jack joined Gerry's Cafe Board of Directors in January, 2021. Currently, Jack serves as the Associate Principal of Specialized Schools in Township High School District 214, with The Academy at Forest View and LIFE Transition Program. As an educator and school leader, Jack is committed to enhancing opportunities for all students and people with disabilities. Gerry’s Cafe will be a lasting example in our community as a place of joy, acceptance, and amazing energy. Jack is thrilled to be part of this expansive and collaborative effort across our community
Joe DeMarco, Board Director
Joe joined the Board in 2021. He currently serves as the Vice President of Global Sourcing and Procurement at Stericycle, and lives in Green Oaks with his wife and two daughters. Growing up, Joe had a disabled brother and was inspired by his parents’ dedication and commitment to his care. As a Board Member of Gerry’s Café, Joe brings the same dedication and enthusiasm to the continued success of our mission.
Greg Burns, Board Director
Greg Burns recently retired from the Allstate Insurance Company after a 36-year career. Greg spent much of his career in HR along with time in Claims, Business Insurance, and Transformation. Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of South Florida and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Greg is married to Kate and has three adult daughters. Greg’s interest in Gerry’s Café is driven by his deceased brother Jeff, who was born with Down Syndrome. Greg’s passion is to continue his brother’s legacy by paying it forward for those who are developmentally disabled.