President and CEO
Edgar Ramirez joined Chicago Commons in 2010 as Associate Executive Director. Edgar has experience as a community organizer in the Little Village neighborhood, working on issues such as youth and parent leadership development, green space improvement, and anti-violence campaigns. In 2008, Edgar became the Advocacy and Leadership Director at Erie Neighborhood House, where he was instrumental in organizing agency staff and participants on behalf of issues such as child care income eligibility, comprehensive immigration reform, and job development for youth. Edgar also served as an adjunct professor at Loyola University. He currently serves on Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s Latino Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors at The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and is a member of the Illinois Racing Board. Edgar holds a master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. Edgar was also selected as a fellow for the 2016 Leadership Greater Chicago Class and recently became a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.
Chief Financial Officer
Dottie Johnson was appointed Chief Financial Officer in 2018 and oversees all aspects of the finance department and facilities management for Chicago Commons. She joined Commons in 2012 and served as its Controller for five years prior to her appointment as CFO. Dottie has over 25 years of experience as CFO in the nonprofit sector. Previously, Dottie served as the VP & CFO Director of Finance and Administration at the Lawndale Business & Local Development Center where she established a Small Business Development Center and business incubator program. She has also served as the CFO and Director of Financial Consulting Services for Lumity and the Nonprofit Financial Center. She has published articles in trade journals, provided training, and consulting services to nonprofit professionals, on various topics in financial management throughout the country. She is a certified public accountant (CPA), and is a member of the Illinois CPA Society. Dottie earned her B.S. degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Murray State University.
Chief Development Officer
Julio Paz joined Chicago Commons in 2018 as Chief Development Officer and works closely with the executive team in driving the organization’s fundraising and communications strategies. Prior to joining Chicago Commons, Julio and his teams have generated more than $40 million in philanthropic and public support to expand the missions of innovative and entrepreneurial 501(c) (3) organizations. Julio has served in leadership positions at The Resurrection Project, Mercy Housing, and Project Exploration. Julio is a member and co-founder of the St. Ignatius College Prep San Ignacio Society, Chicago Law Project Advisory Board, and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Julio is passionate about community development, philanthropy, and partnerships as tools to achieve social justice. Julio holds a BA in English from the University of Chicago and is a graduate from the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy and Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative New Strategies Program. Julio is currently enrolled as a student in an MBA program at DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.
Chief Operating Officer
Beth Lakier, Chief Operating Officer of Chicago Commons is responsible for oversight of the IT systems and Senior Services and Early Learning programs at Chicago Commons. Prior to joining Chicago Commons Ms. Lakier was President of B.LAKIER CONSULTING LLC, utilizing her extensive experience in early childhood and not for profits to consult with a number of local Chicago not for profits. In her most recent role at an organization Ms. Lakier was the Executive Vice President for Child Development and Early Learning at One Hope United. She had oversight of the agency’s 12 child development programs, and the Healthy Families, Doula, Wings, and Success by Six Programs. Ms. Lakier has a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Early Childhood and Adolescence Development and a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, School of Social Services Administration. Ms. Lakier has worked as a manager in the early childhood field since May 1993. Work Life balance is important, and when not at work you can find Beth with friends on the lakefront biking, running and swimming to prepare for a half iron man or iron man race, or grilling with her husband and enjoying family time.
Senior Vice President of Senior Care
Cary Crawford began his career in senior care administration in 1994, as a branch manager for Home Care Personal Services, Inc. in Naperville, Illinois. He has held various leadership roles in the field, joining Chicago Commons in 2011 as the Director of Senior Care. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis on healthcare administration from Benedictine University, where he also obtained a Bachelors of Business Administration degree. Cary is a board member and past Vice President at Illinois Association of Community Care Programs Homecare Providers, an Advisory Committee Board Member and former Board of Trustees member for the Community Care Program, and a former trustee of the SEIU Healthcare Illinois Home Care & Child Care. Cary is also a fund member of the American Society on Aging.