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Spertus Institute Welcomes New Trustees

Spertus Institute Welcomes New Trustees


Spertus Institute proudly welcomes Barbara Grant Bereskin and Marilyn Diamond to its Board of Trustees

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership is pleased to announce the addition of two accomplished local leaders to its Board of Trustees.

Barbara Grant Bereskin is Principal and Founder of Lincoln Avenue Partners, a consulting business that provides strategic marketing services to law firms and professional services, investment banking, and private equity firms. Before founding her business, Barbara held senior marketing positions for international law firms, including Winston & Strawn and Jenner & Block, and served as National Director of Marketing for Grant Thornton's Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services.

Barbara’s familiarity with Spertus Institute goes back decades, to when her cousin Marvin Cutler served as Spertus CFO. She reconnected through a longstanding relationship with Spertus Vice President for External Relations Ellen Spira Hattenbach. Illustrating interconnectedness typical of Jewish geography, Barbara was once neighbors with both Ellen and Spertus Board Chair Peter Bensinger, Jr.—and their professional lives intertwined throughout their careers.

In addition to her new role on the Spertus Board, Barbara serves on the board of the Hillel Foundation at the University of Arizona, served on the Steering Communittee of the Business Council of The Goodman Theatre, and on committees at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and other local organizations.

Like her cousin before her, Barbara is a licensed CPA. She earned her undergraduate degree in accounting from University of Illinois and her MBA from the University of Chicago. She is excited to bring her strategic marketing counsel and range of business relationships to the Spertus Board, adding her talents to the Board’s already robust range of expertise.

Barbara lives in Glencoe with her husband Robert. They have one son, Jared, who attends the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is dedicated to their Center for Judaic Studies, just one of the things making his parents proud.

Marilyn Diamond also has a long relationship with Spertus Institute. A Spertus alumna, she received her MA in Jewish Communal Studies from Spertus in 1982.

Today Marilyn is the Honorary Consul General for Morocco in Illinois.

As if that isn’t impressive enough, she is on the board of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, and the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, and she chairs the American Board of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.

She and her husband Terry (grandparents of six) have traveled the globe. Their adventures have included climbing mountains in Africa, Mexico, and Bhutan. Terry, a founding partner of Method Capital LLC and former Chairman of Chicago's Talon Asset Management, quips: "We are on a very short list of Jewish-grandparent mountain climbers."

About her Spertus education, Marilyn said, “I enrolled at Spertus in 1976 because I love languages and wanted to study Hebrew. When I got here, I discovered an intellectual feast. Every faculty member I studied with was a giant in their field. I studied the Holocaust with Dr. Byron Sherwin (noted author and theologian), Jewish history with David Weinstein (Spertus President 1964-1980, later tapped by Elie Wiesel to lead the fundraising effort for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum), and Talmud with noted expert Dr. Martin Goldman. One of my professors was my cousin, Dr. Steven Nasatir (longtime President, Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago).”

She continued, “I could not be doing what I’m doing without the critical thinking skills I gained through Spertus and the hands-on experience. This institution is very close to my heart. I don’t know of any other place that fills the space that Spertus does. This is an entire institution that exists to educate, support, serve, and advance Jewish causes and community.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2019