Board of Directors

The people who formed Let it Be Us have a lot in common.

They are talented experts in foster care, guardianship, adoption, recruiting, marketing, media, public relations, education, and fundraising.  They are parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents.  They are an advocacy group for the adoption of foster children because they believe that every child deserves to have permanent, committed parents who will love them throughout their lives.

While Let it Be Us works in Illinois, their work is a scalable model to follow.

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Bob Noonan

Board Chair

Bob Noonan, the Let It Be Us Board Chair, is an adoptive father. He brings 30 years of corporate experience in the Telecommunications field to the Let It Be Us team. He has experience in operations, engineering, marketing, and sales and is currently a corporate officer as a Senior Vice President for a Fortune 500 company, ARRIS (ARRIS trades on the NASDAQ under ARRS). He currently manages well over $1 Billion in annual revenue.

Prior to his current role at ARRIS, Bob held leadership positions at many well-respected companies include Motorola, Tut Systems, US Sprint, Tektonic, and (2) of Tektronix’ companies – Grass Valley Group and VideoTele.com. Throughout his career, Bob has helped drive new markets that revolutionized industries including TV, digital learning, and IPTV. 

Bob received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical engineering (BSME) from UMass Lowell (formerly the University of Lowell) in Lowell, MA, and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.

Bob’s family includes Wendy, their 3 adult children, and now his two precious young sons adopted through foster care.

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Susan Stoga

Vice Chair

Susan Stoga, the Let It Be Us Vice Chair, brings more than 25 years’ experience in brand marketing and communications to Let It Be Us. As principal and co-founder of Carson Stoga Communications, a Chicago-based public relations and social media consulting firm, Susan’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, national associations, and franchisors.

Susan previously served as executive director of corporate communication for publicly-held Enesco, Inc., as public relations manager for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and also led the Illinois Bureau of Tourism’s PR efforts outside the U.S. while at Hill & Knowlton. She is an award-winning communication and media relations strategist, a frequent speaker, and resource on crisis communication and the importance of managing brand reputation and is often sourced by media outlets for her expertise. 

An adoptive parent, adoption advocate, and speaker on open adoption, Susan is the mother of a son and daughter. Prior to joining Let It Be Us, Susan spent more than 10 years fundraising and supporting marketing activities for Sunny Ridge Family Center, now a part of Holt International. In addition to serving as a board member for Let It Be Us, she is a member of the Barrington High School’s Fine Arts Boosters Board. Susan is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s journalism school and a frequent attendee of Iowa’s Writers Workshop.

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Kerry Miller

Treasurer 

Kerry Miller is the Treasurer and Founding Board member of Let It Be Us. She is well versed in 501(c)(3) financial reporting and communications and lends her expertise to Let It Be Us as well as Saint Anne Catholic Church in Barrington. 

Since she and her family joined Safe Families in 2010, she has become actively involved in the welfare and care of children in the foster care system. In addition to her involvement with Safe Families, Kerry is involved with FISH (For I Shall Help) and other various fundraising programs, in many capacities, through Saint Anne Church.

When her children were in elementary school, she held various positions including Treasurer of the Athletic Board and Home & School Association at Saint Anne School.  Her work experience is in Finance and Banking and holds a BS from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  

Kerry’s family includes her husband Steve and her two children. 

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Elizabeth Felice

Secretary

Elizabeth Felice, the Let It Be Us Secretary, brings over a decade of experience as an educator to Let it Be Us. Her work as an English teacher, reading specialist, tutor, and coach has provided a rich body of problem-solving experiences and a growing testimony to the power of educational empowerment. 

Through her experience as a high school educator, Elizabeth has learned that families come in endless varieties of function, and she is dedicated to providing the unconditional acceptance and support that only a family can offer to as many young people in need as possible. She is also dedicated to empowering the older children of foster care through the development of educational and life goals, and the encouragement and empathy that each individual deserves.  Elizabeth also has extensive experience with Individual Education Plans (IEP’s). 

Elizabeth holds a BS from Chicago’s DePaul University and an MA from Concordia University. Elizabeth is the mother of two children.

Larry Butz

Board Member

Larry Butz brings over 35 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience to Let It Be Us. Larry is co-owner and Founder of OEO Energy Solutions, a national leader in the LED industry, and his current role is General Manager.

He was previously Co-Founder and Partner at Daybreak Special Situations Fund and Portfolio Manager at Nite Capital. Larry developed sales and marketing expertise in past roles including executive search and also in the paper industry, with Kimberly-Clark and Scott Paper. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management.

Larry’s family includes his wife Mary Jo and their three daughters. Larry and Mary Jo are the founders of the Megan Patricia Butz Memorial Fund which supports the work of Let It Be Us.

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Eileen Gaete

Board Member

Eileen Gaete is a global strategist at RSM US, LLP, a leading accounting firm.  Fluent in Spanish, she is the mother of three and has been a licensed foster parent since 2017.

Eileen holds a master’s degree in International Management from Liverpool University in Liverpool, England, and a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Spanish from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Douglas Locke

Board Member

Douglas Locke has been a member of the Let It Be Us Board since 2015 after meeting Susan McConnell to discuss how to assist the youth in foster care to ensure their graduation from high school. Douglas has his BS in Psychology and MA in Administration and Supervision.

His background includes teaching emotionally and behaviorally challenged special education students in high school. As his career continued, Douglas became a Principal in Proviso township at an alternative high school for severely emotionally and behaviorally disabled boys. His career path led him to private placement coordination, staff development leadership and program innovation. And finally, into directing programs for special education students at four high schools.

He served as a member and then President of the Milton Township Committee on Youth. The committee provided youth services to needy families. Douglas was a member of the DuPage County Gang Task force looking for innovative ways to minimize gang activity. In retirement, Douglas became a CASA volunteer working with the Guardian Ad Litem and the court system in McHenry County, continuing his lifelong passion of supporting at-risk adolescents.

Participating with Let It Be Us, Douglas has been able to continue working with at-risk youth. Through mentorship, he has assisted youth as they leave the foster care system to become independent successful adults.

Douglas lives in Barrington with his wife Nancy for the past 34 years.

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Mark Mishler

Board Member

Mark Mishler brings over 35 years of corporate experience in the Specialty Insurance Industry and 20 years of military service as an Army Engineer Officer, to Let It Be Us.

He was the Chairman and CEO of Interstate National Corporation, President, COO, and Board member of The Warranty Group and served on the Board of Paylocity Holdings.  In addition, Mark is a current Board Member of Make-a-Wish, Illinois.

Mark was an early supporter of Let It Be Us, sponsoring the organization’s first fundraising events and providing much-needed support. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania’s Robert Morris University.

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Peter Schwarzbach

Board Member

Peter Schwarzbach is the owner of Vin Chicago, a unique chain of wine stores in the Chicago area. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Michigan, he brings over 20 years of business operations and management experience to Let It Be Us.

In addition to his leadership of Vin Chicago, Peter’s background includes work for Toyota in its manufacturing operations and marketing work in the semiconductor equipment industry. Peter enjoys spending time outdoors, running on the lakefront, and is an avid sailor.

Rick Smith

Rick Smith

Board Member

Rick brings 30 years of corporate experience in the Insurance Industry to the Let It Be Us team as Co-Chair of the Finance Committee. He has experience in finance, operations, and product development. Rick has been with Allstate Insurance for 30 years and is currently a Product Vice President responsible for managing nearly $3 billion in annual revenue.

Rick received a Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Business Analysis from Louisiana State University and an MBA in Corporate Finance from the University of Dallas.

Rick’s family includes his wife, Michelle, and their 3 adult children.

Brandon Verwijst

Board Member

Brandon Verwijst holds a degree in biomedical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is the Director of Engineering at Quadrant Technologies, where he oversees the development and manufacture of medical devices.

Although an engineer by trade, Brandon brings over a decade of experience as a teacher and mentor to children and young adults. Whether he is tutoring for the ACT, teaching guitar at Craven Academy of Performing Arts, or coaching at Chess2Children, Brandon’s mission is to teach children lessons that are not bound by classroom walls.

He has carried this mission into his work as an Educational Mentor with Let It Be Us, where he works with foster care youth to make a lasting change in how they see themselves in this world. He joins the board as assistant treasurer and has served as a mentor for Let It Be Us since 2015.

About Us

Advisory Board

Peter Yankala
Philips Menswear

Elizabeth Sherman, PsyD

Nadiya Ali
Arris

Bob Lee
Barrington Area Development Council

Connie Going
Adoption Advocacy Center