Leadership

Leadership is not a position or title, it is action and example.

Corporate Officers

Mike Bertrand, MSW, LCSW

President and CEO

Mike Bertrand is the President and CEO of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois. He joined LCFS in 2005 and has served as LCFS’ Northern Illinois director of children services, chief of children’s services, chief program officer and vice president and chief operating officer.

 

With more than 30 years of social-services experience, Mike has worked for the Department of Children and Family Services, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Hull House Association and United Healthcare Corporation.

 

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

 

He is passionate about ensuring that we never give up on a child and was a co-creator of the award-winning Regenerations Programs (2006) for dually-involved youth, which has produced successful and promising outcomes for children in the juvenile justice and child welfare system.

 

Currently, Mike is a board member for the Illinois Collaboration on Youth. Mike is also nationally active in both Lutheran Services in America and Social Current.

Beverly Jones, MSW, ACSW

VP and Chief Operating Officer

Beverly Jones has over 40 years of experience in Social Services that includes experience at the local, state, and national levels. Presently, Ms. Jones is Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois.

 

Prior to joining LCFS, Ms. Jones was the Deputy Division Director of Programs and Policy for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. Ms. Jones served as the Director of the Fulton County Department of Family and Children Services in Atlanta, Georgia. She served as the Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Learning and Professional Development with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Ms. Jones has served as the Director of the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services which was responsible for the provision of numerous family-centered services, including child protective services, family support, family preservation, foster care, and adoption. Prior to assuming that role, Ms. Jones was actively involved with the child welfare reform effort in Arkansas when Governor Clinton appointed her to a panel of national experts who reviewed the current service system and recommended changes. As a result of that work, she was asked to serve as the Chairperson of the Arkansas Child Welfare Compliance and Oversight Committee.

 

She has served in a variety of capacities including a senior field consultant for the Child Welfare League of America, a senior associate for the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Program Director for the Child Protective Services Program for the state of Maryland. Her career began with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services as a social worker, supervisor, training specialist, and district manager. In addition, she has been an expert witness for the states of Arkansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

 

Ms. Jones received her BA in Sociology from Douglas College-Rutgers University, a Master in Social Work, and a Post Master’s Certificate in Social Work Administration from the University of Maryland.

 

She has been a faculty member at the Universities of Arkansas and Maryland and has served on numerous national task forces and committees (e.g. the North American Task Force on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare of the Child Welfare League of America). In addition, she has served as a federal grant reviewer for the Children’s Bureau.

 

Ms. Jones has been a presenter and speaker at numerous national, state, and local conferences and her publications include “The Clients and Their Problems,” When Drug Addicts Have Children: Reorienting Child Welfare’s Response. 

Dhiren Shah, CMA, CPA

VP and Chief Financial Officer

Dhiren Shah is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois. For more than three decades, Mr. Shah’s passion and financial expertise has helped serve several nonprofits across Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Mr. Shah not only brings his financial expertise to his role, but also develops clear strategic direction and collaboration opportunities both internally and externally to further the mission and work. 

 

Prior to joining LCFS, Mr. Shah was CFO of Pillars Community Health, a federally qualified health center providing medical, dental and behavioral health in the LaGrange area. Mr. Shah also served as the CFO of Chicago Commons, a more than $30 million health and human services organization serving more than 3,000 people across the south and west sides of Chicago with an emphasis on Head Start services and Community Care programming for the elderly. Additionally, he also served as CFO of Francis W. Parker School and consulted with numerous other not-for-profit organizations. 

 

In 2017, Mr. Shah was awarded as finalist for the CFO of the Year as part of the Financial Executives International Chicago Chapter. He is a Certified Management Accountant and Certified Public Accountant. He is also a member of the Illinois CPA Society. 

 

Mr. Shah is on the national advisory board of Sewa International, an organization that serves those in distress, aids local communities, and promotes volunteerism. He also volunteers for Vivekananda Yoga University, which is the first yoga university outside of India focused on graduate yoga education and research.

Cheryl Wendt

VP of Advancement & Transformational Resources

Cheryl Wendt joined LCFS as the Vice President of Advancement & Transformational Resources in 2021. She is a nonprofit development executive with over 15 years of experience helping organizations that empower and support others. Prior to coming to LCFS, she was the Vice President of Donor Relations for Lutheran Life Communities (senior living communities) after having been with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra as their Chief Development Officer. Cheryl believes in building lasting relationships with donors and creating joyful giving opportunities for those who want to help make the world a better place.

 

Cheryl has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing & English from Elmhurst University. Other previous non-profit experience included being a past President & Board Member of Women Inspiring Mentoring, a Founding Board Member of Chamber Music on the Fox, and a recipient of Elgin’s YWCA Leader Award for Business & Professions.

 

On the personal side, Cheryl and her husband Chris were high school sweethearts and are both active members of Immanuel Lutheran Church & School in East Dundee. She has two grown daughters – Jessica, an 8th grade language arts teacher in District 300, and Lauren, a financial analyst for TCI Financial. Cheryl enjoys traveling, boating, dining out, all types of music, playing games with her family and hanging out with her giant rescue dog Josie.

Board of Trustees

Chair

Rev. William Geis

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Vice Chair

Rev. Jeffrey P. Howell

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Chicago

Vice Chair

Ralph A. Morris

Schiff Hardin LLP (retired)

Vice Chair

Anthony T. Stephens

Heritage Property Group

Secretary

Laurie Erickson

Blitzen Institute of Jewish Theological Culture

Treasurer

Melvin Faulkner

Voice of Care

Trustee

Rev. Dr. Paul E. Bacon

Bethesda Lutheran Church, Chicago

LCFS President & CEO

Michael A. Bertrand, MSW, LCSW

LCFS of Illinois

Trustee

Robert Blackwell

DCFS (retired)

Trustee

Christine Peggau

Chamberlain Group

Trustee

Rev. David R. Lyle

Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest

Trustee

Tamela Milan-Alexander

Access Community Health

Trustee

Wayne Price

LCMS Foundation (retired)

Trustee

Patrick Schott

Perkins Investment Management

Trustee

Tracy Stockard

Steak n Shake

Trustee

Gretchen Winter

University of Illinois

Trustee

Brenna Woodley

Sidley Austin LLP

Foundation Board

Chair

Donald W. Lohrentz

Nicor (retired)

Vice Chair

Marian E. Fick

Volunteer

Secretary

David Walz

Arcadia Financial Strategies

VP and Chief Financial Officer

Dhiren Shah, CMA, CPA

Trustee

Michael A. Bertrand, MSW, LCSW

LCFS of Illinois

Trustee

Melvin Faulkner

Voice of Care

Trustee

Beverly Jones, MSW, ACSW

LCFS of Illinois

Trustee

Jon K. Jurva

Schiff Hardin, LLP

Trustee

Bruce Meier

Information Systems Professional (retired)

Trustee

Ralph A. Morris

Schiff Hardin LLP (retired)

Trustee

Paul L. Rehmer

Allstate Insurance

Trustee

Patrick J. Schott

Perkins Investment Management

Trustee

Anthony T. Stephens

Heritage Property Group

Trustee

Gene L. Svebakken

LCFS of Illinois (retired)