Our Team

Meet the people that make it happen!
Andy Duran

Andy Duran

Executive Director

Andy Duran has served as the Executive Director of both LEAD and the SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition since May 2012. Equipped with years of experience working with youth and a new approach to drug prevention, Andy has developed LEAD into a nationally recognized organization that offers trainings, workshops and technical assistance for organizations all over the country.  Locally, through the efforts of the SpeakUP! Coalition and its community stakeholders, substance use rates have declined by record margins.

In addition to working for years in the Archdiocese of Chicago in various roles with youth, Andy also served as the Executive Director of the Peacebuilders Initiative – a dynamic and unique leadership development program based on the South Side of Chicago that trains youth for advocacy and leadership around a variety of social justice issues, including substance abuse prevention.

In addition to his non-profit experience, Andy has worked as a marketing and social media consultant for organizations of all types and sizes.  Over the past 2 years, Andy has spoken in 20 states in the areas of youth development, drug prevention, social media, coalition development and mobilization, prescription drug prevention strategies, medical marijuana and more.

Andy is passionate about the lives of young people, and about the adults who serve them.

Andy lives in Lake Bluff, IL with his wife Lisa, and their two young daughters and hopes, that under his direction, LEAD will continue to develop into a model prevention organization that other communities across the country can follow. Prevention Works!

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Sonali Patel

Sonali Patel

Coalition Director

Sonali Patel, our Coalition Director, is a recent graduate of Benedictine University’s Master of Public Health program with concentrations in health education and promotion, health management and policy and epidemiology.
Sonali has experience working with youth, parents and schools to help expand how youth look at health within their communities. Coming into LEAD as a new team member, she hopes to apply what she has learned through her experience at the Lake County Health Department and to expand her knowledge of the Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood  communities.
Sonali strongly believes that, if given the opportunity, youth have the ability to impact their lives and the lives of their peers. As she begins her work with LEAD and the SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition, she hope to be able to bring together various sectors of the community to work cohesively and build sustainable programs and relationships.
Mike Ragen

Mike Ragen

Community Health Specialist

Mike Ragen, was born and raised in the Morgan Park/Beverly neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. He graduated from Mount Carmel High School in 2007 and Northern Illinois University in 2011 with a degree in Health Science. I am currently a graduate student at DePaul’’s School of Nursing, anticipating graduation in November 2015 with a Masters in Generalist Nursing. Eventually, I hope to become a Nurse Practitioner. It was seeing the impact my family members and neighbors had on those around them that motivated me to make a difference in people’s lives by becoming a Nurse.

In my short time at LEAD, it has been amazing to be surrounded by passionate and caring individuals that want to make the community a better place. My time at LEAD has been fundamental to my understanding of community and the needs of the community. As LEAD’’s Community Health Specialist I have learned that the needs of the community are unique to
the community itself. To make an impact in a community, we must address what is important and valued by the community members. It is important to learn what is happening in the community and to have honest conversation with our children. As a Community Health Specialist, I will strive to understand the problems of our community members and deliver a message that everyone can internalize.

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Christy Grum

Christy Grum

Director of Operations

Christy Marinic originally joined the LEAD team as an undergraduate intern in the spring of 2014.  Christy has recently graduated from Carthage College with a degree in social work.    She spent the past year working as a social work intern at a local high school.  This experience as well as her education, have deepened her knowledge and passion for helping others.  Next year, Christy will attend graduate school to obtain her masters degree in social work, with a concentration in school social work.  Christy has assisted the staff at LEAD with many projects but is shifting her focus to the development of youth programs.  Christy believes the youth have a strong voice and are capable of making healthy choices.  She hopes to foster and develop positive youth development programs to promote healthy, safe, and successful relationships.  Christy’s goal is to empower, engage, and educate the young individuals in our community.

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Danielle Franzese

Danielle Franzese

Director of Policy and Outreach

Danielle Franzese recently joined LEAD as the Director of Policy & Community Outreach after graduating from Miami University, Ohio with a double major in International Studies and Latin American Studies. She also was Project Kids Network’s Chapter President aiming to improving the lives of underprivileged youth worldwide through immersion and cultural exchanges, joint collaborative ventures, advocacy, and leadership development. Her prior experiences focused on educating herself on world affairs through choice courses and intriguing lectures while volunteer programs have fostered her resolve to help at-risk children and communities. She was raised in Barrington IL and has participated in humanitarian opportunities for as long as she can remember.

Danielle aided in the foundation, and then interned with the nonprofit organization Live4Lali, a nonprofit organization aiming to raise awareness of substance abuse and reduce harm. As an Intern she was actively involved in local and state level policy development & implementation, education, and community outreach. Danielle aims to bring these experiences into practice at LEAD to expand positive, sustainable change initiatives. Danielle seeks to facilitate progressive growth within local and expanding communities through didactic means and by extending support through LEADs efforts.

In addition, Danielle is a certified Naloxone administrator and trainer and is willing to facilitate training sessions within the surrounding areas.

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If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

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