MEET OUR COMMITTED BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Debra Vines- Founder/CEO

Debra is Founder and CEO of The Answer, Inc, was married to husband/Co-Founder James Harlan for 35 years before he passed away May 14, 2018 ; has 2 children Mark and Jason.

Jason who was diagnosed with Autism when he was 18 months, thus beginning the journey. As the mother of a son with Autism, she understands the joy, pain, and frustration that can mount with having a child that has special needs. So in response to her own questions and need for support, she founded The Answer, Inc., in 2007.

Mrs. Vines has is a Certified Advocate and has served within various communities and with several organizations, including: 4th District Asst. Majority Leader Senator Kimberly Lightford’s Women Committee, Erickson Institute 2018 Fellow, Member of AAABNA, Peer Reviewer for the Department of Defense (Autism), Board of Director & Executive Bellwood Chamber of Commerce and the host of The Answer Inc Show.

Her greatest accomplishment has been to watch the families that she has aided reach milestones that were once told to them as unobtainable.

Suzanne Williams

Suzanne Williams is a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist with a diverse background in serving children with communication disorders.  Her clinical interests lie in the area of social/pragmatic language intervention approaches for children on the Autism Spectrum.  Suzanne earned a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, andMaster’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology   from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Syracuse University.  She has two children aged 17 and 20.

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Christopher J. Parker - President

Mr. Christopher J. Parker is known throughout the western Chicagoland area as one of the leading African-American male bankers working in low to moderate income communities. Currently he is the Vice-President and CRA Commercial Lender for Proviso Community Bank (Wintrust Financial Corp.) He has had a successful tenure of leadership within Community Banking for the past 16 years. Community banking has lead him to realize his passion for people and their financial success. Civically, Mr. Christopher J. Parker serves as Chairman of the board for the Proviso-Township Regional Chamber of Commerce, Bellwood Chamber and The Answer Inc. For over a decade, he has served his local church, Redeem Church of God in Christ Ministries, as deacon and financial administrator. He also serves as a member of the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club.

Christopher J. Parker has set out on a mission to help the local community in areas of economic and community development with an emphasis on financial responsibility. He is a very proud supporter of The Answer Inc. Agency and look forward to leading it towards becoming a million dollar non-profit in order to help more families impacted by Autism.

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Jacqueline Burgess–Bishop - Vice Chairwoman

Jacqueline Burgess–Bishop’s professional career spans over 35 years and incorporates leadership, consultant advisory and entrepreneurial roles in multiple segments of the health care industry.    Jacqueline is the CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois and leads the mission to change the trajectory of kidney disease and promote kidney health through education, prevention, services and empowerment.  Her professional experience includes leadership positions within the Ambulatory Division of Cook County Health, the Illinois/Lakeshore Division of the American Cancer Society and Habilitative Systems, Inc.(HSI),  She is an INROADS alumnus, where her corporate placement and early careerist experience occurred at Rush University Medical Center.    

Jacqueline is board certified as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).  Ms. Bishop is a Fellow since “96” of Leadership Greater Chicago (LGC) and member of the Leadership Fellows (LFA) Advisory Board.  Jacqueline serves on the boards of national and local health care professional organizations.   Her passion for volunteer leadership service on behalf of persons impacted by disabilities is reflected in her current roles as an Advisory Board member on the Disabilities Fund of the Chicago Community Trust and as Board Vice President for The Answer Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on services and advocacy for persons with Autism and other developmental disabilities for the Near West suburbs and targeted communities in Chicago.  Jacqueline has an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from the  Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern.  

Her “heart” for persons with disabilities emanates from experience and cherishing the gift of her younger son Nicholas (Nicky), diagnosed with Autism and Epilepsy.  Jacqueline and her husband Marc are also are the proud parents of Nicky’s older brother, Marc ll.


If you are simply looking for some "good works" to support in your community, you have come to the right place. We invite you to "Be a part of the Answer" today - because it is contributions from thoughtful committed citizens like yourself, that allow us to fund our programming efforts and continue to provide much needed resources, activities, and outlets for Children and Parents of Children with Autism and other Developmental Disorders.  

Click the "Open Your Heart to Autism" button below and we will be sure to send you a special thank you gift as a small gesture of how much your donation means to The Answer Inc and each and every mother and child that make up the community that we serve.

Forever Hopeful,

Debra Vines, CEO