Association House is proud to announce the addition of a new member to our Board of Directors, Kathleen Smith, VP, director of business transformation at BMO Harris Bank. Kathleen continues the rich history between Association House and BMO Harris. As a member of our board, she will provide leadership and insight for the execution of our efforts of being a community resource to Chicago through educational, vocational and health programming.

For more than five years, Kathleen has supported Association House as a member of our Special Events Committee, which plans our annual Faces of Hope Benefit. In addition, she has assisted with various volunteer efforts and in-kind drives for initiatives throughout the year.

Shortly after her addition to the Board of Directors, Kathleen highlighted what inspired her to take the next step in furthering Association House’s mission.

What originally drew you to Association House?
I was intrigued by the mission to support individuals and families in their journey to increase their knowledge and learn new skills on the path to becoming self-sufficient. I think there is a tremendous amount of empowerment that comes from being self-sufficient that is felt for generations.

How has your experience with Association House created a larger desire to assist the organization?
I was initially introduced to Association House by Cindy Ullrich, a fellow board member. I became part of the Special Events Committee and assisted with planning the Faces of Hope Benefit as well as various other events. Through participation in these events, I gained a deeper understanding of the mission of Association House and was able to witness the amazing work and impact the staff had on the people they served in the community. Through these experiences, I was motivated to take on a more consistent role in support of Association House.

What is your favorite detail to tell people about Association House who are unfamiliar with the agency’s work?
I really enjoy telling people about the impact that Association House has on the people and the community it serves. The high school graduation and the stories shared at the Benefit are just a few examples of the amazing accomplishments of some of the participants supported by the Association House; they are an inspiration to everyone!

What do you hope to bring to the Board of Directors as a new member?
I am hoping to be able to continue to support the mission of Association House alongside the staff and fellow board members; perhaps bringing in a different perspective and new ideas around how to grow Association House both deep and wide with expanded outreach in the community.

To learn more about our Board of Directors, contact Sarah English, development director, at 773.772.8203 or