Board of Directors & Executive Team
The Simon Youth Foundation Board of Directors is passionately led by chairperson Deborah J. Simon.
J. Michael Durnil, Ph.D., is the SYF President and CEO. Originally from Decatur, Illinois, Durnil took the helm at SYF in 2010. A longtime educator, his professional career includes experience as a university professor and administrator as well as executive positions at other national non-profit organizations. He holds a PhD in educational leadership and policy studies from Loyola University-Chicago and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Illinois State University. Read his complete biography. Reach Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-263-2361.
Kathy Battle is the SYF Executive Administrative Assistant, supporting the Foundation’s executive team. A long-time resident of Michigan, Kathy joined SYF in 2012. Her professional experience includes working with at-risk youth at community services organizations and serving as an executive assistant in government and health care. Kathy holds an MA in Administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ferris State University. Reach Kathy at email@example.com or 317-263-2361.
Julie Carriere is the SYF Senior Director, Education Programs, supporting student programming and the construction of new Simon Youth Academies. Hailing from the U.S. South and having lived all over the U.S. while growing up, Julie joined SYF in 2007. Her professional experience includes stints in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Louisiana State University. Reach Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-263-7648.
Eric Chamberlain, CAE is the SYF Major Gifts Officer, supporting the Foundation’s efforts in developing and executing external individual and corporate gifts. Hailing from Pennsylvania, Eric joined SYF in 2012. He has worked in the non-profit sector with two membership associations and public broadcasting. Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lycoming College and a Certified Association Executive distinction from the American Society of Association Executives. Reach Eric at email@example.com or 317-263-7716.
Della Lefevers is the SYF Coordinator, Education Programs, supporting all aspects of the Foundation’s education programs portfolio. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Della joined SYF in 2002. Her professional experience includes more than a decade in retail management and sales. Della is a committed volunteer working with other nonprofit organization, including Second Helpings, the Humane Society and Samaritan’s Feet. Reach Della at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-263-2423.
Thomas McAninch is the SYF Manager, Communications, reporting news on the Foundation’s website, blog and social media platforms while guiding other digital and print messaging. In addition, he provides media and public relations services and foundation collateral. His professional experience includes several years in the radio news industry in Arizona. Most recently, he was the Director of Communication & Public Relations for Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity. Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and communications from Arizona State University. Reach Tom at email@example.com or 317-685-7276.
Adjei Nortey is the SYF Advancement Associate, providing targeted research to guide the Foundation’s fundraising efforts as well as digital and print collateral design services. A native of Accra, Ghana, Adjei joined SYF in 2008. His professional experience includes 12 years of marketing and communication design as well as positions in the entertainment industries. Adjei holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism graphics from Ball State University. Reach Adjei at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-263-7639.
Anna Stephens is the SYF Administrative Assistant, Education Programs, supporting the Foundation’s Education team. Originally from Richmond, Indiana, Anna joined SYF in 2013. Anna graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Business Marketing. Her professional experience includes a variety of internships in event management, community relations and media relations. Reach Anna at email@example.com or 317-685-3089.
Amy Updike is the SYF Vice President of Finance and Administration, serving as the Foundation’s chief financial officer and human relations director for the Foundation. Originally from Indiana, Amy joined SYF in 2001. Her professional experience spans a variety of industries including retailing, insurance and hospitality. Amy holds an MBA with an accounting option from California State University-Hayward and a bachelor’s degree in home economics-fashion merchandising from Indiana University-Bloomington. Reach Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-263-2361.
Sarah Woodmansee is the SYF Advancement Administrative Assistant, supporting all aspects of the Foundation’s fundraising. A native of Indianapolis, Sarah joined SYF in 2012. Her professional experience includes a decade in print journalism and radio broadcasting. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Reach Sarah email@example.com or 317-263-2481.
Brandi Young is the SYF Senior Director, Advancement, serving as chief liaison to the Foundation’s corporate donors, including Simon Property Group, and facilitating a wide-range of nationwide fundraising events each year. A native of the Hoosier state, Brandi joined SYF in 2004. Her professional experience includes retail marketing and management with Simon Malls throughout the U.S. Midwest. Brandi holds a bachelor’s degree in sports marketing from Indiana University-Bloomington. Reach Brandi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-263-7694.