Lou Leonardi Adds His Expertise to the Erie House Board of Directors
August 30, 2016 | Chicago, IL
Wintrust executive Lou Leonardi joined the Erie Neighborhood House Board of Directors earlier this summer, bringing with him 20 years of experience in the banking industry. As executive vice president of Beverly Bank & Trust Company, Lou works primarily with middle market clients in the commercial banking division of Wintrust.
“I was introduced to Erie House through a friend of mine,” he says, “and I’ve attended a couple of the annual dinners in the past.” That friend is Juan Gaytan, president and CEO of Monterrey Security and a strong advocate for the mission of Erie House. Lou was at the 2016 Future of Promise dinner last March when Juan presented the Community Leader Award to Wintrust president and CEO Ed Wehmer.
When describing his interest in joining the board, Lou says he is impressed with the role education plays at Erie House—both for children and adults—in Chicago’s immigrant community.
“That part of the mission appeals to me,” says Lou. “My in-laws moved here from Bolivia, so I’m very aware of the importance of finding areas and avenues to fit in.”
Lou also feels an affinity for the job skills training that occurs in the workforce development program at Erie House. He has served on the board of directors with the Calumet Industrial Commission and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, focusing on economic development and job skills training on the city’s South Side.
“They do a lot of work on the advocacy side as well as workforce training and economic development,” he explains, referencing some of the parallels found between the two organizations and the workforce development program at Erie House.
In addition, Lou has served on the board of directors for the Ray Graham Association, a DuPage County organization dedicated to empowering people with disabilities, for the past 15 years. He is also actively involved with the sports teams on which his four children play. “I keep pretty busy,” he says, laughing. “But all of it is very rewarding.”
Erie House executive director Kirstin Chernawsky is excited about the new addition to the board of directors. “Lou’s experience and insight will be tremendous assets for Erie House,” she says. “He has an obvious passion for education and workforce development, and his leadership skills developed in both the banking industry and the nonprofit sector will help advance the work of our board.”