Heiberger Family: Walking the Talk
Involvement with Umoja has truly become a family affair for the Heiberger family. John Heiberger, currently Chief Strategy Officer at The PrivateBank, was introduced to Umoja by our CEO, Ted Christians.
Ted and John were Leadership Greater Chicago Fellows in 2008 and spent that year learning about the challenges facing Chicago. Both John and his wife, Lara, initially got involved by volunteering at T3 (Training-To-Transitions) events and attending Spring Fling. After hearing Ted and Lila speak about our mission with so much passion, the Heibergers knew that they wanted to get more involved. John joined the Board of Directors in 2011. As John says, "I was honored and humbled when Ted approached me about joining the Board and hope that I can add even a fraction of what I’ve already gotten back." Just a few years later, Lara agreed to take on the incredible leadership role this year as the 2014 Spring Fling Chair. She has even brought their daughter, Maddy, in on the work as a Spring Fling Committee member and their younger son, Cole, plans to help with Spring Fling preparations as well.
Umoja fits with the Heibergers’ overall commitment to their community. John and Lara are involved in myriad ways supporting Chicago. As they explain, "We generally give of our time and resources to local organizations in the Chicagoland area that focus on supporting families and education. We particularly gravitate toward organizations like Umoja where we can get directly involved. The common denominator is that our relationships are with staff members that are dedicated and caring."
The Heibergers' commitment extends well beyond being a part of Umoja's leadership. John and Lara truly walk the talk when it comes to their commitment to young people and their futures. Both of them have been volunteers at T3 for multiple years and John's role at The PrivateBank has led to the company committing summer internships to Umoja alumni. One of these alumni is fellow Board member, Jimmy Harvard, whose internship became full-time employment. Working with alumni like Jimmy has inspired John and The PrivateBank. As John describes it, "My hope is that in the next five years we can expose twice as many students to the Umoja way. The more people that have access to Umoja’s services will mean that more success stories like Jimmy’s will exist in the world. This makes things better for all of us. Even if Umoja alumni don’t end up working for The PrivateBank, they often wind up working for The PrivateBank’s more than 3,000 commercial and small business clients throughout the Chicagoland area. Umoja’s work is very important to the community."