Associate Board

Whether you’re a musician, concert-goer, or avid music listener, Merit’s Associate Board welcomes young professionals who believe in the transformative power of music education. 

The Merit Associate Board (Merit AB) is committed to furthering the Merit School of Music’s mission to remove barriers to high-quality music education. We are a group of Chicago-area young professionals who volunteer our time, expertise, and resources to support Merit and its students. Associate Board members strive to develop themselves as model philanthropic leaders and next-generation advocates for the musical arts.

Members support the school by: 

  • Collaborating with students to enhance their personal growth and help prepare them for the future 
  • Growing our Associate Board by bringing diverse perspectives and skills to Merit 
  • Working to develop new sources of support to meet Merit’s mission and provide financial aid to students 
  • Increasing public awareness of Merit by serving as ambassadors for its mission and impact

Get excited about supporting music education BY:

FUNDRAISING

Help host the Associate Board’s annual fundraising event that helps keep the cost of programming affordable for all Chicago families. Check out the photo gallery from last year’s Play On benefit concert at City Winery.

associate board events play on

VOLUNTEERING

Volunteer with Merit students to support music learning, enhance personal growth, and prepare students for the future.

associate board leadership institute

NETWORKing

Work with a diverse group of Associate Board members at regular meetings, participating in a committee, and building your network through board social events throughout the city.

associate board networking

Meet Merit’s Associate Board

Executive Committee

Catie Wloch Davis Bancorp

Chair

Catie Wloch, Davis Bancorp

What I love about the Merit Associate Board: The Merit Associate Board provides an opportunity to engage with a diverse group of young professionals with similar interests. Whether its attending a student performance, roaming the bustling halls of Merit on a Saturday, or planning a benefit concert in Chicago, there’s a ton of variety & we have a blast together!

Nishad Parmer Loud Capital

Vice Chair

Nishad Parmar, LOUD Capital

Why music education is important to me: Music has been in my family for over five generations and it’s made a major impact on my life around discipline and the ability to develop a mind that drives creativity in everyday life. I consider it my “professional hobby.”

McKay Harline Mayer Brown

By-Laws Chair

McKay Harline, Mayer Brown LLP

I would love to have dinner with: My favorite violinist, Hilary Hahn

What I love about Merit: Merit provides opportunity for Chicago students – and it’s an opportunity to learn and grow and engage in a powerful medium that can enrich a young person’s life.

Jake Schnur Fifth Third Bank

Finance Chair

Jake Schnur, Fifth Third Bank

What I love about Merit: The dedication to providing students in the Chicago-area access to music education

An artist I’d like to have dinner with: Ginger Baker

Allison Fox Aon

Fundraising Co-Chair

Allison Fox, Aon

My favorite composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

Why music education is important to me: Music education is important to me because I believe it teaches balance, perseverance, and the importance of commitment.

Tyler Groharing JPMorgan Chase

Fundraising Co-Chair

Tyler Groharing, JPMorgan Chase

My most significant musical experience: Marching band performing in the London New Year’s Day Parade

My favorite song: Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”

John Kalil Amazon

Member Relations

Co-Chair

John Kalil, Amazon

What I love about Merit: The incredible talent that exists in each student and the happiness music education brings to them. It is palpable in the students’ energy in and around the school.

I would love to have dinner with: Elvis

Annette Sayre West Monroe Partners

Member Relations

Co-Chair

Annette Sayre, BrainStation

My favorite song: Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

What I love about the Merit Associate Board: The enthusiasm and creativity that each board member contributes and the fun events we host each year to support Merit!

Nicole Allen
Jenner & Block LLP – Chicago

Alexandra Armada
Northwestern Hospital

Lori Bravi
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

Fred Carmean
@properties

Luis Catalan
@properties

Angie Chiesa
American Red Cross

Tucker Deeter
Wenk Aviation Insurance

Jamal Elam
Encore Event Technologies

Jerald Gary
Community Capital Investment Partners LLC

Jacob Gehl
McDonald’s Corp

John Thomas Lang
Amount

Debbie Liner
Bank of America

Eduardo Lopez
Closerlook

Terrance McKinneyᴬ
Toast – New York

Pamela Meadowsᴬ
University of Illinois at Chicago

Emily Meier
Deloitte & Touche LLP

Michelle Michelini
University of Chicago

LeRoy Ousley, Jr.
Moody’s Investor Service

Geoff Rothman
Salesforce

Andrew Scroggins
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Tom Seversonᴬ
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Joshua Sultan
Barker, Castro, Kuban & Steinback, LLC

David Ubriaco
Johnson Controls

Matt Wloch
JPMorgan Chase – Private Banking

‘Tine Zekis
Chime

SUSTAINING MEMBERS

Tammy Adams
AT&T

Matthew Hanna
CIT Bank

Sara Kobaissi
Deloitte & Touche LLP – Chicago

Mary Pat Kohberger
Deloitte & Touche LLP – Chicago

Cathleen Marine
Aon

María Luisa Paúl

Rachel Pawlisz
Kaplan Higher Education

Colleen Walter
United States District Court for Northern District Illinois

James Walter
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

ᴬ Merit Alum

Frequently asked questions

Fill out the below form to get started. We’ll be in touch with more information and to get to know you better!

All Merit AB members are required to attend monthly board meetings, serve on a committee, act as an ambassador for Meritvolunteer with Merit studentsattend Merit fundraising eventsgo to social events and Merit concerts as available, and fulfill the annual $500 board member give/get commitment. 

Fill out the Merit AB interest form to learn more. Someone from the Associate Board will reach out to you to talk with you about your interest in joining, answer your questions, and connect you with a current Associate Board member who can tell you more about their experience on the Merit AB. 

No, you do not need to be a musician or a classical music expert to join! The Merit AB is open to young professionals who love music and have a desire to meet like-minded individualsare interested in giving back to the community, and are eager to spread awareness about the importance of making music education accessible to all. 

No, there is no deadline to join the Merit Associate Board. Our membership is rolling, so you can join the Merit AB at any point during the year.

Start by filling out this short form. We’ll follow up with more information on joining the Associate Board and to get to know you better. The final step will be to complete the full member application and make your new member donation of $100 upon approval to join the board (which counts towards your annual $500 give/get commitment).