Our Team

Our Team

Exchange Team

Susan Crown

Chairman & Founder

Susan Crown is a philanthropist and business executive with a strategic, results-oriented approach. She is Chairman and Founder of the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) and Chairman and CEO of Owl Creek Partners.

Unlike most foundations, the Exchange uses an approach that goes beyond traditional grant-making; it fosters partnerships and collaborations to create social change. SCE’s mission is to help people acquire skills needed to succeed and thrive in a rapidly changing, highly connected world. SCE is focused on two program areas: digital learning and social and emotional learning, building grit, empathy, and emotion management. The Exchange intends to add programs to cultivate other 21st century skills.

SCE is a leader in promoting social and emotional skills. In 2016, SCE published “Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social and Emotional Learning,” the first field guide for organizations aspiring to foster social and emotional growth in young people. The content was collected from experts of exemplary programs across the nation – and it is the first best practices field guide of its kind (which can be downloaded at no charge from SELpractices.org).

In the digital learning arena, SCE partnered with Common Sense Media to develop the rubric for a learning ratings system. SCE and Common Sense Media have rated more than 3,500 digital learning products. The system informs parents, educators, and others about the educational value of a specific digital product and what style learner might benefit most from its use.

Owl Creek Partners is a private equity company with focused investments in real estate, securities, and consumer products. Most investments are with firms owned or managed by women.

For nearly three decades, Susan Crown dedicated time and talent to social causes and the business world. As Partner of Henry Crown & Co, she helped manage businesses as diverse as oil and gas, defense, banking, cellular technology, and real estate. As Chairman of the Crown Family Philanthropies, she professionalized an ad hoc family process and spearheaded numerous initiatives including the celebrated Crown Fountain in Millennium Park and the Covenant Awards for leaders in Jewish education.

The first woman board member of Illinois Tool Works (ITW) – a multi-faceted manufacturing and engineering business with a market cap in excess of $30B – Ms. Crown now chairs its Executive Committee. She’s also a board member of The Northern Trust Corporation and a former board member of Baxter International.

Ms. Crown serves as Vice-Chair of Rush University Medical Center. She led a $1 billion effort to transform the medical center campus, including the development of Chicago’s first gold level LEED-certified hospital which in 2014 won the World Architecture Prize for best designed health care facility.  She’s a former Fellow of Yale Corporation and co-chaired the Yale Tomorrow Campaign. She’s a director of CARE USA and, in 2011, co-chaired its National Conference on Global Poverty, which led to legislative reforms.

Susan Crown graduated with honors with a B.A. from Yale University, earned an M.A. from New York University, and attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She lives with her husband, William Kunkler, in Chicago, IL. They have two children.

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Susan Crown is a philanthropist and business executive with a strategic, results-oriented approach. She is Chairman and Founder of the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) and Chairman and CEO of Owl Creek Partners.

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Exchange Team

Haviland Rummel

Executive Director

Haviland Rummel is the Executive Director at SCE, where she leads the organization’s strategy and grantmaking in digital learning and social and emotional learning. She has worked with a variety of nonprofits across sectors including cultural institutions, human service agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations. Prior to joining SCE she served as a senior consultant to nonprofit organizations in the areas of strategic planning and fund development. Haviland serves on the Advisory Board of After School Matters and the Metro Board of Metropolitan Family Services, one of Chicago’s first and largest human services agencies. She is a member of Net Impact, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Haviland holds an MBA in Strategic Management and Public Policy from George Washington University and a BS in Communications from Boston University.

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Haviland Rummel is the Executive Director at SCE, where she leads the organization’s strategy and grantmaking in digital learning and social and emotional learning. She has worked with a variety of nonprofits across sectors including cultural institutions, human service agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations.

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Exchange Team

Kevin Connors

Senior Director

Kevin Connors is the Senior Director at SCE, where he oversees grantmaking, leads new initiatives, and co-develops organizational strategy. Prior to SCE, Kevin served as the Founding Director of Personalized Learning at Chicago Public Schools. At CPS, he designed the nation’s first large scale implementation of the Personalized Learning school model. The $25M initiative impacted 125 schools and received national acclaim. He raised $6M, including a major grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and launched a nationally leading research study in collaboration with University of Chicago Urban Labs. In this role, Kevin oversaw all aspects of the initiative, including strategy, operations, programs, external partnerships, fundraising, grantmaking, policy alignment, and research and evaluation. Prior to CPS, Kevin wrote for Education Week and served as a Corps Member and High School English Department Chair with Teach for America in St. Louis. He began his career as a management consultant in the private sector. Kevin has been a regular presenter at local and national conferences, including ASU+GSV, iNACOL, and CoSN. He holds a B.S. in Business from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Education Policy & Management from Harvard University.

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Kevin Connors is the Senior Director at SCE, where he oversees, grantmaking, leads, new initiatives, and co-develops organizational strategy. Prior to SCE, Kevin served as the Founding Director of Personalized Learning at Chicago Public Schools.

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Exchange Team

Will McAneny

Senior Associate

As Senior Communications Associate for SCE, Will McAneny is responsible for engaging our key audiences, increasing our visibility, elevating the work of our partners, and enhancing our overall ability to communicate our mission. Will writes and edits blogs, articles, and newsletters, manages our website and social media platforms, and tracks and reports on the reach and impact of our public-facing communications. Before joining the SCE team, Will worked in communications for international nonprofits in South Africa, Ecuador, and the United States. Most recently, he served as Senior Communications Associate for Root Capital, a nonprofit social lender headquartered in Cambridge, MA that supports agricultural businesses across Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Will holds a BA in International Affairs from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

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As Senior Communications Associate for SCE, Will McAneny is responsible for engaging our key audiences, increasing our visibility, elevating the work of our partners, and enhancing our overall ability to communicate our mission.

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Exchange Team

Donna Heffner

Executive Assistant

Donna Heffner began her career in 1985 serving as an Executive and Personal Assistant to several entrepreneurs in Chicago. She also held the position as a Senior Staffing Consultant at two administrative staffing firms and operated her own company where she placed high level administrative support individuals at many leading businesses.  She is a graduate of Robert Morris College and holds a Certified Professional Consultant designation.

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Donna Heffner began her career in 1985 serving as an Executive and Personal Assistant to several entrepreneurs in Chicago.

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Board of Directors

Ryan Blitstein

Trustee

Ryan Blitstein is Director of Renewable Energy at the predictive analytics platform company Uptake, where he helped create the Energy business unit and now leads strategy and operations in wind power. Previously, he was an investigative reporter for publications including The New York Times, Fast Company, and BusinessWeek. He also served as founding President & CEO of the political reform organization CHANGE Illinois, and, from 2009-2012, worked closely with Susan and the board to launch SCE as its first Executive Director. He regularly speaks, writes, and advises on work at the intersection of ideas, markets, and social impact.

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Ryan Blitstein is Director of Renewable Energy at the predictive analytics platform company Uptake, where he helped create the Energy business unit and now leads strategy and operations in wind power. 

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Board of Directors

Jenny Jacoby Hurd

Trustee

Jenny Jacoby Hurd served as Executive Director of the Arie and Ida Crown Memorial (now called Crown Family Philanthropies) from 2001 through 2008. While at Crown, Ms. Hurd spearheaded the Foundation’s Education Initiative, a strategic program targeting areas of demonstrated need within Chicago’s public education system. Previously, Ms. Hurd was a management consultant with Bain & Company and The Wilkerson Group. She was recognized in 2005 in Crain’s Chicago Business’s “Forty Under 40” for her outstanding work in philanthropy.

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Jenny Jacoby Hurd served as Executive Director of the Arie and Ida Crown Memorial (now called Crown Family Philanthropies) from 2001 through 2008.

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Board of Directors

Jessica Malkin

Trustee

Jessica Malkin currently serves as Executive Vice President for Cresset where she leads strategic growth initiatives—including enhancing client experience, curating learning events, and expanding the firm’s national business, civic, and philanthropic engagement initiatives.

Jessica was previously the founding Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Ideas, as well as the founding Co-Director of the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship. A passionate connector, Jessica was a member of Crain’s 40 Under 40 in 2016, a list of Chicago’s “builders, thinkers and leaders who make us hopeful about our city’s future.” A recognized Disruptor Foundation Fellow through the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, Jessica sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago Ideas, Embarc, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School and the Susan Crown Exchange.

Formerly, Jessica served as Chief of Staff to Brad Keywell, founder and CEO of Uptake, an industrial AI software company that harnesses the power of data and predictive analytics. During her time at Uptake, the organization was recognized as a CNBC Disruptor 50, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and named as one of the hottest startups by Forbes.

Jessica lives in Chicago with her husband Josh, three daughters Josie, Blake, and Scarlett, and their two dogs Sadie (a Beagle) and Blue (a Goldendoodle).

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Jessica Malkin currently serves as Executive Vice President for Cresset where she leads strategic growth initiatives—including enhancing client experience, curating learning events, and expanding the firm’s national business, civic, and philanthropic engagement initiatives.

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Board of Directors

Paul Jansen

Trustee

Paul Jansen is an Adjunct Professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California and a Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company. During his 25 years with McKinsey, he helped initiate the firm’s practice in China/Southeast Asia, led the energy and natural resources practice on the West Coast, and co-founded and led the global nonprofit practice, now known as the Social Sector office. Mr. Jansen has particular expertise in strategy and organization design issues, public-private partnerships, public health, education, philanthropy and knowledge management. He serves on the Board of Care USA and is an advisor to Inside Track, Strive for College, Samasource, Imagine H2O, Aspire Public Schools and Norcob Capital. He is also a  member of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education.

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Paul Jansen is an Adjunct Professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California and a Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company.

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Board of Directors

Martha Minow

Trustee

Martha Minow became the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School in 2017 after serving as 8 years as the dean and 36 years as a professor there. An expert on human and civil rights, educational reform, and responses to intergroup violence, She has published over 150 articles and many books, including In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Educational Landmark; Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good; Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence; and Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion and American Law.  She led the policy dimension of a 5-year partnership with the federal Department of Education, addressing access to the curriculum for students with learning issues. She previously chaired the board of the Revson Foundation and currently serves as a trustee of the MacArthur Foundation.

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Martha Minow became the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School in 2017 after serving as 8 years as the dean and 36 years as a professor there.

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Board of Directors

Eli Evans

Trustee Emeritus

Eli Evans was born and grew up in Durham, N.C. and graduated from the University of North Carolina.

After a tour of duty in U.S Navy in the far east and graduation from Yale Law School, he served in the White House as a speech writer for President Lyndon Johnson.

He has been a senior executive with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and served as the first president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation  from 1977 to 2003 and is currently president emeritus. Under his leadership, the  foundation launched such creative ventures as the PBS series   Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (broadcast in 19 countries including Russia, and to 50 million viewers in the US); Rechov Sumsum, the Israeli Sesame Street and its American version Shalom Sesame; and Bill Moyers’ Genesis:A Living Conversation.

A well known Southern historian, Mr. Evans is the author of three books: The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South; Judah P. Benjamin: the Jewish Confederate; and The Lonely Days Were Sundays:Reflections of a Jewish Southerner.  Looking back at his literary career, Abba Eban, the renowned scholar and Israeli diplomat  said “the Jews of the South have found their poet Laureate.”

When inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, he was honored “for his dual contribution to American letters and as a philanthropist of uncommon originality and leadership.”

He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Covenant Foundation.

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Eli Evans was born and grew up in Durham, N.C. and graduated from the University of North Carolina.

After a tour of duty in the U.S Navy in Asia and graduation from Yale Law School, he served in the White House as a speech writer for President Lyndon Johnson.

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