Meet The PYP Chicago Leadership

Shawna Radzik

Shawna is originally from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and currently lives in Winnetka, Illinois. After earning her M.S. Ed. degree from Northern Illinois University, she taught high school health and physical education before becoming a devoted step-mother of three and mother of two with her husband Mark. Currently, Shawna works as a travel consultant for Duffle & Compass, a boutique travel firm specializing international travel In her free time, Shawna serves on the North Shore Council of WINGS, Domestic Violence Service Provider. She is also an active member on the New Trier Fine Arts Association Board at New Trier High School. She has served as the Development/Outreach Secretary on the Executive Board of the Children’s Home & Aid Woman’s Board in Chicago. She actively raised funds to support three Early Childhood Centers located in Chicago and it’s suburbs that provide family education and childcare to families in need. Having co-chaired the organization’s 99th annual Woman’s Board Gala, she helped to raise over $700,000 to support its life-saving work. Shawna has also served on the Executive Board of her children’s preschool in Winnetka as Director of Communications and Registrar before moving on to become PTO President of her children’s elementary school where she oversaw and managed 30+ committees that supported school activities and student learning. She has also served as the Events Chair of the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds to enable Winnetka Public Schools to go above and beyond what tax dollars support alone. In her spare time, Shawna enjoys travel, exercise, reading and spending time outdoors with her family and dog, Rosie.

Amber Farashani

Amber was born and raised in Elgin, IL, before moving to Chicago after college, and eventually settling down in Winnetka with her husband, Ommid, and two children, Juliet and Kamran, in 2012. Amber has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Illinois State University and spent her early career working in a residential facility and therapeutic day school for troubled youth. A love of design and helping others eventually led to a successful real estate career with Coldwell Banker in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Amber and Ommid also launched RC Development in 2006 focusing on residential development in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago. After Juliet was born in 2008, Amber became a stay at home mom and began focusing on philanthropic endeavors. Amber worked with Pendersen-McCormick Boys and Girls Club, utilizing her social work background to mentor young people in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. After moving to Winnetka, Amber served on the Executive Board of her children’s preschool, ultimately serving as President of the Board from 2014 to 2016. As President, Amber restructured the Board and oversaw the hiring of a new Executive Director for the school. In addition to her work at the preschool, Amber served as President of The Alliance for Early Childhood, a collaborative community organization that supports and guides families and educators to nurture the healthy, well-rounded development of children from birth to age eight. Most recently, Amber served on the North Shore Board for the Northwestern University Settlement House, which fundraises to support the House In The Wood Camp in Delavan, Wisconsin. All proceeds from the annual House In The Wood Gala directly benefit this award-winning program, enabling more than 1,000 children from Chicago’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods to experience outdoor education sessions with a STEM curriculum during the school year, and residential summer camp. Amber also supports the Chicago Food Depository, various literacy organizations, and works with the PTO at her children’s schools.

Elizabeth Smartt

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Elizabeth has lived in various cities in the US. She started her professional career in LA as an actress. After valeting too many cars, she returned home to Philadelphia where she worked as a Spanish teacher and the Director of the Theater Department at an Independent School. She continued acting in local commercials and independent films. She transitioned to a position as a Community Health Educator and Facilitator for Kaiser Permanente in Washington, D.C. In her spare time, she performed weekly at the Washington Improv Theater. She served on several planning committees for their annual festival and fundraiser. She also volunteered weekly at Children’s National Hospital. In 2013, Elizabeth moved to Chicago to study at The Second City and pursue her stand up career. She has performed in Chicago’s Women’s Funny Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, and the LA Scripted Comedy Festival. Elizabeth has volunteered as a tutor for 11th and 12th grade girls with the Metro Educational Foundation, and she volunteered as a Mentor for the Chicago Scholars Foundation. Elizabeth formed her own public speaking consulting business, The Savvy Speaker, LLC in 2017. She uses her expertise to help her clients improve their public speaking, media presence, interview prep, speech writing, etc. In Spring of 2021, Elizabeth and her husband, Jason and their two-year old daughter Sadie moved to Winnetka, IL. As a mom, she’s doing less late-night sets and more early morning renditions of “Wheels on the Bus.” Currently, she is performing as part of Village Follies, a local Community Theater group in Winnetka. She also sits on the Women’s Board at Community House.