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Every Day is a Gift and So is Compassion!

June 13, 2017 Dear Friends and Colleagues, Hello and welcome to the fifth edition of Jane Network News. This month we celebrate compassion and we have some exciting news and updates for you. Enjoy this edition and happy reading!

Every Day is a Gift and So is Compassion!

The month of June brings the gifts of summer and of course Father’s day. My father, Tony, passed away suddenly at the young age of 63. He was a gift! He taught me communications, public relations, and marketing before anyone knew the terms. My father embodied the word compassion and he led by example and made it his life’s work to be empathetic and treat people with respect. He made friends easily and talked and got to know everyone. My ability to converse with anyone is a gift from my father. I am proud that these qualities my Dad possessed were passed down to me. My son Christopher inherited that gift too and he gave me the gift of “learning to listen”! And I know that I also inherited my father’s gift for “the gab”. Just ask my brothers and sisters. Another wonderful gift! Run Into Summer!

In 1992, The Eventors were hired to promote a run and walk event for the Leukemia Research Foundation. My connections with Jim “Skinny” Sheahan, the Executive Director of the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office of Special Events and his staff including Tom Gray, David Kennedy and Jen Kramer led me to become involved with many of the participatory runs and walks that took place during the summer. The June “Run for the Zoo” was sponsored by United Airlines, in July “The Race to Taste 5K” was held during the wildly popular “Taste of Chicago” and at the time the Chase ®Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile race was held in early August. That same year, I met my friend Mike Kolodny who at the time was working with a group of volunteers to raise funding and awareness for the Leukemia Research Foundation, a volunteer not-for-profit organization working to eradicate Leukemia. The organization sponsored a weekend run in Lincoln Park to help support the cause. When I became involved we moved the event to a Thursday evening to attract more runners and it was held along the lakefront at the Chicago Yacht Club. The run had about 300 participants and by moving it to the weeknight it tripled in participation. The 23rd Annual Jim Gibbons 5K (now named in honor of it’s sponsor ABC 7, it’s late colleague, Investigative Reporter Jim Gibbons who passed away from the disease) will be held on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 6:25 pm in Grant Park and has over 2,500 participants. Mike and his brother Jeff and their late parents Ann & Morris Kolodny have spent a lifetime working to cure Leukemia. They lost their brother and son Zachary to the disease when he was only 15. The Kolodny’s personify compassion. Through their company, Hallmark & Johnson Property Management, Mike, Jeff, his wife Sheri and family are a major sponsor of the event. Curing leukemia was Morris and Ann Kolodny’s quest in honor of their son. Mike and Jeff carry on their family tradition of being compassionate and they are the most generous people I know. Recently, Jeff has developed early onset Parkinson’s disease and he has found some relief in joining a new program that helps with mobility: Rock Steady Boxing. Along with Jeff’s daughter Stephanie Sadoff, I plan to organize a fundraiser for Parkinson’s disease and the Rock Steady Boxing program in Chicago. Check out the video of Jeff participating in a class in Florida. Click here.

Left to right: Jeff, Jane, and Mike

A Tap Dancing Boxer

Boxing doesn’t seem like a compassionate sport, but it brings some benefit to people who suffer from this debilitating disease. Over eighty years ago my father was taking boxing lessons in the YMCA in Madison, Wisconsin. During a boxing workout he happened to notice a class in tap dancing. He liked the sounds and the artistic form of tap dancing and decided to combine his boxing moves with a tap dancing routine. A radio interview he conducted in 1937 tells of the beginning of his dancing career. Skipping rope and incorporating dance steps led to a family dance tradition that continues to this day. My nephews Charlie and Tony Canepa recorded a radio interview my dad did to talk about his early days of boxing and tap dancing. Who knew that he would evolve into a tap dancing boxer and then go on to meet and marry my mother and form a family of 13 and a professional dance troupe, The Dancing Canepas. We still do the Waltz Clog tap dance with a jump rope! To learn more about The Dancing Canepas, visit

The Leukemia Research Foundation Dedicated to Conquering All Blood Cancers

The Leukemia Research Foundation (LRF) prides itself in the recognition it has received from Charity Navigator, an award that has been bestowed on them for many years. They are also known for the fact that 81 percent of every dollar raised supports world-wide research for a cure to all blood cancers, to support patients in the local community through financial assistance and to fund educational programs. The Wolff-Berger and Croft Kolodny Chapters merged in 1996 and the Kolodny’s created their chapter in October 1984. The various chapter incarnations have held many events and activities over the years, and raised an astonishing total of $3.2 million. A good friend and lifelong Leukemia Research Foundation supporter, Scott Kroman passed away recently. He was a generous man, had an appreciation for the arts, music, dancing and food. Scott was devoted to trying to find a Leukemia cure in memory of his cousin he never knew, Stuart Jay Wolff. If you see a LRF coin canister or coin card at a gas station or a convenience store, make a donation and call the foundation at 847- 424-0600 to tell them the location. Scott and his late Uncle Hy placed canisters all over Chicago and suburbs and never kept track of where they were placed! For more information on the Jim Gibbons 5K, please visit or

Photo Caption: Dollie Galter Compassion: Be Kind, For Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Harder Battle

Let’s talk about compassion. Where does compassion lead? It is my hope that compassion is passed on to future generations and to people who need to be on the receiving end. During my long career in special events and public relations I have met many people. My running race promotion career led to Chinatown’s late George J. Cheung and his wife Celia; race organizers and promoters; Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Dr. Noel D. Nequin, the leading pioneer in utilizing running as a form of cardiac rehabilitation; and the late philanthropists Dollie and Jack Galter. These were some of the most compassionate people I have ever met. Dollie and her husband Jack met and married at a young age and between the two of them they had about $24. After a lifetime they amassed $33.5 million dollars and made charitable donations of more than $100 million to hospitals, non-profit organizations and the arts. Jack was a professional drummer, playing with many jazz greats, including Benny Goodman, Danny Alvin and David Rose. In the heart of the Depression, he started several companies, the Spartus Corporation became one of the largest clock manufacturers in the country. He founded the Galter Corporation a large real estate development and investment firm. Jack invented many trinkets and items for the ordinary everyday man including an electronic razor. They owned the famed tri-angular building at the corners of Lincoln Park West, Clark & Dickens. The Galters rented the first floor to a young entrepreneur Rich Melman who opened RJ Grunts! Dollie said that whatever Jack touched turned to gold. Dollie met many of my brothers and sisters and had the pleasure of meeting my mother. For a woman who had millions of dollars she thought my mother, Alberta “was the richest person she ever knew”, because of the love and devotion my siblings and I shared with her. Dollie like others who have access to millions felt that ‘people only liked her for her money!’ That was not the case with my family, we all enjoyed her company and liked her because she was incredibly kind and had a great sense of humor. It was my honor to be her friend and I lovingly called her “Mrs. Got-Rocks”. But it was my hard earned money that bought us gas for road trips to just go for a drive, or to attend my son Christopher’s hockey games. And she spent many a Sunday evening having barbeque dinners at my home. And she loved going to the car wash! People ask me what she gave me and I replied ‘her friendship’. We were soulmates and despite the difference in age we had many things in common. I was moved when I found out that she wrote my name as the person that she went to for emotional support on a medical form. Many of you know where Dollie and Jack left their millions – to people in the medical field. Dollie was in awe of people who were able to help save someone’s life, made medical improvements, conducted research and invented things. Through The Galter Foundation, they supported many organizations: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Galter Pavilion, the library for the Northwestern University Medical School, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, The National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, the Yacktman Pediatrics Hospital (formerly with Lutheran General Hospital) and now with Advocate Medical Group and Share-Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. Swedish Covenant Hospital was her favorite because she liked the qualities, character and compassion of the employees. Noel Nequin and George Cheung were the pioneers and instrumental in the founding of the Galter Life Center and the revitalization of Albany Park. Through these friends I had the privilege of befriending the Galters. When I end my semester at Columbia College Chicago I give some advice to my students. I tell them that I want them to have a wonderful, successful and happy life. I tell them to go out into the world and to be nice! They hopefully have learned compassion from the not for profit work we do for our final exams – “Jammin With Jane.”

Jen Fleming Jones

As a 2000 graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Jen obtained a degree in Marketing Communications and shortly afterwards started working in the catering and event planning business. After nine years of events, Jen decided to pursue her lifelong dream of working with animals. Since she was a little girl, Jen dreamed of helping animals. After graduating from Joliet Junior College with a Associates degree in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology, Jen successfully passed her national board exam to obtain her professional designation CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician). Jen moved with her husband Greg to Miami where she worked with all the animals in the zoo as the Zoo Hospital Veterinary Technician. Afterwards, she was offered a position at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where she was able to foster relationships with not just the fantastic animals who live there but the people who help forward the message of conservation of wildlife in Chicago and around the world. I am proud of Jen and her accomplishments since graduating Columbia and I am in awe of her career moves.

Christina Cordova-Herrera

Christina Córdova-Herrera is a 2006 graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Communications, with a concentration in Public Relations. As the Communications Manager for Online and Spanish Media at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago for almost six years, she shared the stories of those impacted by homelessness, hunger, and poverty. In her current role as the Program Associate for Benefit Chicago (, an investment fund created from the collaboration between the MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and Calvert Foundation, she manages community outreach, marketing, and communications. She assists in communicating and addressing the difficulty of access to capital for social enterprises, small businesses, and nonprofits in the Chicago area. It has been my privilege to be a friend and mentor to Christina throughout her career. Christina is very excited that the Jane Network is coming together, and has been an advocate since the beginning, often saying, “Everybody knows Jane!”

Yasmeen Muhammad

Yasmeen Muhammad graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2015, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing Communication with a concentration in Advertising. During her last semester at Columbia, she enrolled in my special events class, which had a significant impact on her life and future. The special events class not only taught her about organization and team work but also it introduced her to the art of event planning, allowing her to be a part of city events. Currently, Yasmeen serves as the Communications and Fundraising Coordinator at Heartland Health Centers (HHC) , a federally qualified health center serving Chicago’s north side. Her responsibilities range from designing outreach materials to coordinating events and fundraising opportunities. The Heartland Health Center mission believes healthcare is a human right. They provide affordable and comprehensive primary health care through 15 locations in Chicago and last year provided 19,000 patients with a medical home.

In Memory of Compassionate Friends

Herb M. Kraus was a dear friend and colleague and also a lifetime member of the Publicity Club of Chicago. Herb recently passed away at 95 and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His daughters and granddaughters gave wonderful, heartfelt tributes to him at the funeral. Herb taught public relations at Columbia College Chicago for nearly 30 years. A finer man and friend you will never meet.

Jon S. Bjorgvinsson was my son’s grandfather. At 91 he lived a long life filled with friends and far flung interests. He was always curious, supportive, nurturing and caring to Christopher. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland and immigrating to the United States in the 1950’s with his wife Margret, and their two sons, Vidar and Gisli. According to Vidar, “we will all miss his resolve and his compassion.” Jon was an exceptionally kind and compassionate father-in-law and grandfather to my son, Christopher. He was another gift to us in this life.

Graduating this year? Planning your next career move? Want to maintain your personal and professional connections? Let Jane help! Email us your story and we'll help connect you to the right person, who can connect you to your future!

Social Media Social Hour!

We're socializing and social media'ing at Kiki's Bistro on Monday, June 26 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Bring your smile and business cards for networking. Dinner and drink specials will be offered. RSVP to or call 312.217.JANE (5263). Special Event: Join us for Bastille Day on Friday, July 14 – Make your reservations today! Kiki's Bistro 900 N. Franklin Street Chicago, IL 60610 312.335.5454

Looking forward to seeing you soon! Jane E. Canepa President, The Eventors, Inc. 312.217.JANE (5263)

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