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Reflecting on a Challenging yet Rewarding Tenure: Herb Horn Concludes Four Years as Board President

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

As my last two-year term as Board Chairperson ends, I reflect on the last challenging but rewarding four years leading the Board of Directors of the Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County.

I have been encouraged by the enthusiasm of our board members in maintaining the mission of our CAC as we navigated through some very difficult times. First, we accepted the resignation of our Development Director and subsequently hired her replacement. One year later, the Covid pandemic decimated our routine office procedures, reduced the number of mandatory reporters as schools closed, reduced the number of child abuse cases, and thereby reduced reimbursements from DCFS. Fortunately, with advanced knowledge from bankers on our board, we applied early for PPP loans which enabled us to maintain staffing throughout the pandemic.

As routines were returning to normal, Mark Parr, our Executive Director for 23 years, elected to retire. Our board rose to the occasion and organized a search committee which evaluated/interviewed over 30 applicants for a CEO position to lead our agency. This four-month process resulted in the successful hiring of Melanie Pignotti, who was the current Director of Forensic Advocacy Services at the CAC.

During the past year, Melanie has effectively dealt with significant changes in the CAC’s Director level staff, guiding the agency successfully. In concert with our board of directors, we’ve navigated some difficult financial issues, run highly successful fund-raising events, and brought on highly qualified new board members to carry on and assure success of our mission.

Our board is a mosaic of talented members that contribute in many ways to our success. On a personal note, I would like to give a special thank you to Billie Larkin for her support and guidance throughout my term. We are fortunate to have Roy Picciuca as our new board chairperson. Please join me by giving him the enthusiastic support I experienced. Our newly appointed executive committee and committee chairs are anxious to continue the momentum we have established.

I am continually amazed of the amount of hard work, dedication and enthusiasm shown by our professional staff and board members. I simply ask our supporters, board members and staff to always keep the most important mission of our agency as their top priority…helping children that have experienced abuse build resiliency to lead a healthy life. I am grateful and thank you for having the honor to serve as your board chairperson.


Herb Horn


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