Meet the Team

Lumity has a dynamic work environment where learning and growing is part of our culture. We live what we teach! Our staff and contractors work hard to make an impact toward our mission, and have fun along the way. Meet the team of staff and contractors:

Kara Kennedy
Executive Director

Kara Kennedy has dedicated her career to nonprofits, ranging from health care, voluntary health associations, and youth-based organization. Kara joined Lumity in August 2009. She previously worked at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, American Lung Association of Metro Chicago (known as Respiratory Health Association of Metro Chicago), Alzheimer’s Association, and two community-based hospitals. Kara is a highly versatile professional with expertise in fundraising, program development and management, strategic planning, and organizational development.

Kara Kennedy on Networking for Social Good

Querube Della Cella
Relationship Manager
Querube joined Lumity in June 2017 and brings 15+ years of experience in the administration area. She most recently was an Executive Assistant/Communications to the owner and the CEO of Empresas Ecos, S.A. In 2006, she entered the nonprofit world by working for Plan International, an NGO that works to improve the living conditions of children in over 50 developing countries. Originally from Panama, Querube holds a Human Resources MBA and a BA in Humanities.
Charlisa Pugh
Director, STEMWorks

Charlisa, a native of Tuskegee, Alabama, learned at an early age the importance of education and access to career opportunities. She has spent her entire career as an educator, adviser, and advocate of education and career readiness skills. She has extensive experience in for-profit, non-profit and educational organizations, most recently with Junior Achievement of Chicago. Charlisa is passionate about supporting and enabling young people the opportunity to realize their fullest potential. She believes that the work being done by the team and partners at Lumity is not only important but vital to providing excellent outcomes for our most deserving youth. Joining the Lumity team in September 2020 as Associate Director for the StemWorks program, Charlisa is excited to be a part of this work.

Raheed Davis
Program Facilitator

Raheed joined Lumity on October 14, 2019. He is currently working towards a degree in Kinesiology and Recreation. Raheed graduated from UIC College Prep high school in 2012; then, joined the military and served for four years. After the military, he worked with several different companies before starting college. While attending the University of Illinois, Bloomington-Normal, he volunteered at the Baby Fold Hammit elementary school, working with children and high school students.  He also volunteered with the non-profit organization Amer-I-Can, which helps individuals reach their academic potential, and equips them with critical life management skills.

Raheed has always had a passion for working with youth—to Raheed they are the future. 

Caleb Neal
Relationship Manager

Caleb joined Lumity in March 2019 as a Program Facilitator and is committed to ensuring every student is prepared for a career in STEM. Caleb has positively impacted student achievement changing lives through his unique ability to foster meaningful relationships with a diverse population of youth. Caleb maintains a positive perspective on life, and shares his in-depth knowledge of “real world” experiences with students to mentor and motivate them to reach their highest potential. Caleb has been working in the non-profit and public sectors for the last six years. Most recently as a member of the school culture and climate team with Chicago Public Schools, where he also served as a dedicated Baseball, Football and Fitness Coach. Caleb is dedicated to working with underserved student populations to help youth from all backgrounds overcome barriers to gain experiences that can change their lives.

Cynthia Saucedo
Director, STEMPrep

Cynthia is a Chicago native, born and raised on the northwest side of the city. She graduated from DePaul University with a degree in Secondary Education in Visual Arts. Over the last few years, she has worked in classrooms working with young people in grades K-12 throughout the Chicagoland area and neighboring suburbs. Cynthia is passionate about working with young people and enjoys inspiring youth to own their success journey and make life what they deserve. Young people have a lot more power than they think they have; through Lumitys mission, Cynthia wants to empower youth to take charge of their success!

Tori Vazquez (they/them)
Clinical Services & Alumni Coordinator

Tori is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who joined the team at Lumity in September 2020. As a career social worker, Tori has experience working in homeless services, LGBTQ+ youth services, child welfare, community mental health, and immigration services. Tori is passionate about working with trauma survivors and is dedicated to supporting people of multiple marginalized identities as they heal, mobilize, and empower themselves in oppressive social contexts. Tori believes in the power and impact of building collaborative, radically self-determined relationships with clients and is excited to support participants in our programs to exceed their goals and thrive.

Simone Smith
Program Facilitator

Simone, originally from Brooklyn, New York, is a proud educator of many years. She believes every student should have the opportunities to make decisions and choices with the resources they obtain during learning. Simone is passionate about helping young people learn and grow. Before joining the Lumity team, Simone led post-secondary initiatives at a Charter High school in Chicago. Her mission in life is to make her mark on the world by growing the minds and hearts of young people.

Simone obtained her Bachelor's degree from Delaware State University, Master's Degree from Northwestern University, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at DePaul University.

Jeff Sklenar

Jeff may be an accountant, but he has decided his career should add up to more than dollars and cents. After serving in the Air Force, Jeff took his accounting skills to the corporate world, working for many years in the foodservice industry. After some life changes, Jeff assigned some new values to his time. He began working for nonprofits, including a Chicago-based children’s literacy agency and a healthcare policy organization, before coming to Lumity. His experience with the accounting challenges of nonprofits is very valuable to us, but what really matters is Jeff’s dedication to service. With every number he crunches, Jeff knows his hard work is adding up to something more valuable than money. It’s helping us pursue our mission.