Peggy Parfenoff, President
Peggy has been leading WorldChicago since 2001, meeting emerging leaders – young and old – from all over the world and sharing our amazing city of Chicago with them. Citizen Diplomacy has become a way of life for our team, as we welcome over 800 international visitors to Chicago each year. Peggy is a board member for Global Ties U.S., the national network promoting Citizen Diplomacy nationwide. Before joining WorldChicago, Peggy worked at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as Director of Development. While at the Department of Cultural Affairs, she earned her M.B.A. from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. International travel is her passion, meeting our visitors back home in their countries within Europe, Eurasia, South America, Cuba, and China!
John Baum, Vice President
John has been with WorldChicago since 2006. As Vice President, John works on business development initiatives, grant compliance, and oversees WorldChicago’s exchange portfolio which includes the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, Youth Leadership Program, Professional Fellows Program, and a variety of other exchange programs. Before moving to Chicago, John completed his M.A. in International Relations with a specialization in International Economics at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall. He is originally from Northeast Ohio and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Dayton. John’s passion for international exchanges is born out of a curiosity of other cultures and a strong belief in the importance of the development of effective institutions in developing countries as a means to alleviating global poverty. John lives in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood with his wife and daughter.
Maria Krasinski, Director of Programs
Maria began volunteering with WorldChicago in 2009 and joined the staff in 2012. Working on Youth Leadership, Professional Fellows, and International Visitor Leadership Programs, she has the privilege to meet not just leaders from around the world, but also amazing hosts and students here in Chicago. A native of western New York, her interest in cross-cultural exchange was sparked living with a host family in France in high school. Her curiosity about the world has since led her to explore all seven continents, particularly through the lens of arts and culture. Prior to WorldChicago, Maria worked with Street-Level Youth Media, Chicago High School for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and the Oriental Institute Museum. She was also a 2012 Fellow in the U.S. Department of State’s Young Turkey Young America program. Maria holds a Master’s in International Relations and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, where she also earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology & Human Development with a Visual Arts minor.
Abbey Jennings, Director of Outreach
Abbey is the Director of Outreach at WorldChicago. She is responsible for marketing, social media, membership, event planning, fundraising, and overseeing the internship program. She formerly was the personal assistant to Actress, Director, Playwright, and Philanthropist Regina Taylor. Prior to that she worked as the Committees and Special Programs Coordinator at The Executives’ Club of Chicago. She served as an AmeriCorps volunteer as the Marketing, Parent and Outreach Coordinator at Passages Charter School, a division of Asian Human Services. She was also a LeaderCorps member with the AmeriCorps State Program at this time. One of her most inspiring experiences was teaching English as a second language in Shanghai, China. Abbey has volunteered for a variety of nonprofit organizations. She truly believes in the importance of the nonprofit sector and strengthening international relations, and is passionate about fostering cultural, educational, and professional exchange. She has a Master’s in Public Administration from Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in Political Science from Lake Forest College.
Donna Sadlicki, Director of Operations & IT
Donna has been with WorldChicago since 1998. In addition to bookkeeping and technology Donna is also program coordinator for Community Connections and Open World Leadership programs. Before coming to WorldChicago, Donna was the Artistic Director of The Opera Factory in Chicago. Her passion for WorldChicago’s mission of citizen diplomacy has led her to travel extensively to international destinations such as Jordan, Israel, Georgia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Turkey to name a few. As a classically-trained singer she performed for the International Committee for Artists for Peace for honoree Carlos Santana. Donna majored in Music Performance at Eastern Illinois University.
Chelsea Kendall, Program Coordinator
Chelsea Kendall recently joined WorldChicago through a one-year University of Chicago Public Interest Program fellowship. As Program Coordinator, Chelsea is responsible primarily for planning and scheduling programs for visitors coming to Chicago through the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Prior to joining WorldChicago, Chelsea interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Agricultural Development Initiative and at the Endeavor Group in Washington, D.C. Chelsea holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Chicago.