NIRI-Chicago Elects 2012-2013 Officers and Directors

Today, the members of the Chicago Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI-Chicago) elected seven officers and seven directors to its board for the 2012-2013 term.

“At NIRI-Chicago, our goal is to educate, engage and energize investor relations professionals in the greater Chicago area and build a sense of community among our members,” said incoming president Lisa Ciota, manager, investor relations, SunCoke Energy, Inc. (NYSE: SXC). “We achieve this goal by offering a comprehensive series of formal and informal programs and services designed to appeal to the diverse interests and needs of our members. The strength of the chapter’s programs and services was recently recognized by the national NIRI organization with the 2012 Best Overall Large Chapter Award.

“We intend to continue to build on our record of excellence,” Ciota continued, “as we wrap up our current program year and begin planning for 2012-2013. We already have several strong upcoming events scheduled, including a program on disclosure practices to be co-hosted with the Chicago chapter of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals on June 25, our annual golf outing at the Highland Park Country Club on August 22 and a full-day Investor Relations Workshop on September 10 at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile.”

The NIRI-Chicago Chapter board for 2012-2013 is comprised of the following members:


President: Lisa I. Ciota, manager, investor relations, SunCoke Energy, Inc. (NYSE: SXC). Ciota previously served as executive vice president and vice president-programs. She also led the chapter's sponsorship and webcast programs and has co-chaired past NIRI-Chicago IR Workshops.

Executive Vice President: Elizabeth M. Higashi, CFA, president, Higashi Advisors. This will mark Higashi’s fourth year on the NIRI-Chicago board. She served as vice president-programs for two of those years.

Co-Vice President-Programs: Lisa Meers, CFA, manager, investor relations, Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG). Meers previously led the chapter's sponsorship program. This will be her third year on the NIRI-Chicago board.

Co-Vice President-Programs: Janine Warell, corporate and investor communications consultant. This will be Warell’s third year on the NIRI-Chicago board. She served as vice president-communications for two years.

Vice President-Membership: Ruth E. Venning, director, investor relations, Hospira, Inc. (NYSE: HSP). During Venning’s tenure on the NIRI-Chicago board, she has served as chairman, president, executive vice president, vice president-programs and vice president-communications. She also has chaired five NIRI-Chicago IR Workshops.

Vice President-Communications: Maryellen T. Thielen, ABC, senior manager, financial communications, Allstate (NYSE: ALL). Thielen has held several positions on the NIRI-Chicago board, including chairman, president, executive vice president and vice president-communications. Thielen is an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC), a designation awarded by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

Vice President-Treasurer: Victoria Sivrais, senior vice president, FTI Consulting. Sivrais led the 2011 IR Workshop committee and currently is co-chairing the 2012 IR Workshop. This will be her second year on the NIRI-Chicago board.


Chairman: Steven D. Carr, J.D., CCEP, managing director, Dresner Corporate Services Inc. During Carr’s tenure on the NIRI-Chicago board, he has served as chairman, president and executive vice president. He holds a J.D. and is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP).

Director: Steven P. Eschbach, CFA, vice president, investor relations, Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG). This is Eschbach's fifth year on the NIRI-Chicago board. He served as vice president-membership for four years. Eschbach is the past president of the NIRI Rocky Mountain Chapter (2001) and past president of the NIRI Connecticut/Westchester Chapter (2006-2007).

Director: Christine J. Hanneman, principal, Professional Communications Specialists. Hanneman currently leads NIRI-Chicago’s sponsorship program. Previously, she served as vice president-treasurer for six years.

Director: Kevin P. Kelly, managing director, Morrow & Co., LLC. Kelly has served as chairman, president, executive vice president and vice president-programs and chaired the IR Workshop for three years. He currently serves on the chapter’s sponsorship committee.

Director: Larry Larsen III, principal, Sard Verbinnen & Co. This will be Larsen’s first year on the board.

Director: Patricia M. (Patty) Paul, principal, ButtonWood Associates. This will be Paul's sixth year on the NIRI-Chicago board. She has served as chairman, president, executive vice president and vice president-programs for two years as well as co-chaired the IR Workshop. Paul previously co-chaired a NIRI-National conference and served on the board of NIRI's New York Chapter.

Director: David Smith, managing director, capital markets & investor relations, Aviv REIT. This will be Smith’s first year on the board. Smith previously volunteered on the chapter’s membership committee.

The chapter also wishes to extend its gratitude by recognizing the directors who are departing the board:

William H. Pfund, vice president, investor relations, WMS Industries Inc. (NYSE: WMS). Pfund has been on the NIRI-Chicago board for five years and served as treasurer for four.

Michael A. Steele, CFA, senior director, investor relations, OfficeMax Inc. (NYSE: OMX). Steele served on the NIRI-Chicago board for two years.

About NIRI-Chicago

The Chicago chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI-Chicago) works to advance the practice of investor relations and meet the professional development needs of those engaged in the field. The members of NIRI-Chicago include corporate officers, consultants, service providers, academics and others involved in the practice of investor relations, a strategic management responsibility that integrates finance, communication, marketing and securities law compliance. NIRI-Chicago is one of the largest NIRI chapters in the United States and has been the recipient of several NIRI awards for large chapters over the years, including being recognized as Best Overall Large Chapter in 2012. More information is available at


Maryellen T. Thielen
(773) 677-0646
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