Our Team

Lori Smedley
Executive Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 702-6132

Lori is responsible for oversight of university-wide foundation relationships, Strategic Foundation Initiatives, and foundation operations and stewardship. Lori has spent almost 15 years in philanthropy and resource mobilization, serving organizations with a range of missions: public art (Philadelphia Mural Arts Program), public broadcasting (WHYY in Philadelphia), and international child and maternal health (GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance). Lori has a BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD.


Kathleen Bailey, PhD
Associate Director, Research Initiatives
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 702-6561

Katie utilizes her background in genetic research to identify and strategically promote the most innovative scientific projects at the University. She previously worked at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine where she facilitated partnerships across the country and she leverages that experience to build new collaborations within the University and beyond. Katie is a graduate of the University of Chicago, earning her AB in Biological Sciences as well as her PhD in Human Genetics. She also serves on the board of CHIentist, an organization dedicated to building connections between students, researchers, and professionals in Chicago’s life science ecosystem.


Thea McLean
Senior Associate Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 702-7570

Thea promotes innovative research, initiatives, and programs at the University of Chicago, working with selected high-capacity independent foundations, as well as local and regional foundations. Before joining the University, she worked in non-profit development, managing a diverse portfolio of foundation, corporate, and government funding and promoting intra-agency collaboration and visibility. She also acted as liaison within the non-profit community, convening stakeholders to address changes to federal funding mechanisms and city policies. In addition, Thea managed several academic grants for the University of Houston, and worked in publishing for both the anthropology division of Wiley-Blackwell and an e-book reader startup. A graduate of the University of Chicago (MA in the Social Sciences through the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences and BA in Anthropology), she welcomes the opportunity to harness her academic and development background to promote the University’s research and initiatives. 


Lindsey Rogers
Assistant Director, Research Initiatives
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 702-9184

Lindsey integrates her background in communication and business with her deep understanding of organizational funders to support complex, interdisciplinary projects across campus. She previously served as the Organization Prospect Research Analyst on the Foundation and Corporate Relations team. Prior to joining the University, Lindsey worked as a consumer analyst at Mintel, a market intelligence agency. In that position, she designed qualitative and quantitative surveys, wrote syndicated research reports, and offered strategic business recommendations based on analysis of primary and secondary data. She holds a BS from St. Cloud State University, where she majored in mass communication (public relations emphasis) and double minored in rhetoric/writing and marketing.


Melanie Sillas
Associate Director, Impact Initiatives
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 702-0986

Melanie brings her prior experience with managing institutional giving strategies to extend the University's organizational funding for impact initiatives in education, civic engagement, urban development and community development. Prior to joining the University, Melanie served as Senior Development Officer at the Chicago Urban League, where she had lead responsibility for the planning and execution of corporate, foundation, United Way and Government fund development activities. Melanie received a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a MS in Public Service Management from DePaul University and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from North Park University.


Kate Waimey Timmerman, PhD
Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 834-4817

Kate leverages her expertise in biomedical research and science communication to support initiatives – spanning research and practice – across the University of Chicago and its affiliates, including Argonne National Labs, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  She previously directed the Strategic Foundation Initiatives team and was a member of the Arete research accelerator at the University and served as the program director of the Oncofertility Consortium, a national initiative to explore the reproductive future of cancer survivors, which included co-editing the book Oncofertility Communication: Sharing Information and Building Relationships across Disciplines. Kate earned her BA and PhD in neuroscience from Oberlin College and the University of California at Davis, respectively.


Research, Analytics and Stewardship

Ilana Cohen
Senior Associate Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 702-2469

Ilana oversees research and analytics as well as stewardship for the Foundation and Corporate Relations team. She previously worked at the Harris School of Public Policy as associate director in Career Services and for the Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research. Ilana has a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.


Jillian Schuessler
Analyst, Data Integrity and Analytics
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 702-4719

Jillian is responsible for tracking, analyzing, and reconciling data on foundation and corporate giving. She ensures data integrity and works closely with offices at the University including University Research Administration and Sponsored Award Accounting. Previously she worked for the Little Red Door Cancer Agency in Indianapolis as data analyst and administrator. Jillian has a BA from Indiana University, where she majored in both anthropology and information systems with geographic specialization.


Meagan Trilnick
Associate Director, Organization Prospect Research
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
(773) 834-8006

Meagan develops information on organization prospects, contributes to analysis and strategy for organization fundraising, and works on stewardship for the Foundation and Corporate Relations team. Before joining the University, she worked as a non-profit grants consultant and ESL teacher while living abroad for several years. Previously, she worked in government relations at Carnegie Hall. Meagan has a BA in Political Science from Georgia State University and a MS in Arts Administration from Shenandoah University.