Our dynamic leadership team is actively engaged to strengthen CHIL's impact, extend our reach, and maximize our capacity to serve those in need.
Susan Reyna-Guerrero, LCSW
Chief Executive Officer
In June of 2021, the Covenant House Illinois board of directors concluded their search for a new Executive Director, hiring Susan Reyna-Guerrero. Susan is a seasoned administrator and leader with more than 30 years of social service experience, all of which have been spent in the Chicago community. Prior to joining Covenant House Illinois, Susan worked as Chief Programs Officer at Children’s Place Association. In this role, Susan was responsible for the operations of the organization’s domestic programs, including the Early Learning Center, Family & Community Services, Foster & Adoptive Care and the Residential Center. She spent 17 years of her time at Beacon Therapeutic Diagnostic and Treatment Center as Chief Executive Officer and then President and Chief Executive Officer. She has been an independent practitioner providing clinical consultations, trainings, and individual psychotherapy since 2017. Susan has dedicated her career to focusing on helping to systematically advance the issues surrounding homelessness, and its resulting impact on children’s mental health, physical health and overall well-being. She is a graduate of Loyola University (MSW) and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In February 2022, she was appointed by J.B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois, to the Community Advisory Council on Homelessness where she represents the youth provider sector.
Jennifer Nelson Seal, MSHRM
Chief Operating Officer
Jennifer Nelson Seals comes to Covenant House with over 27 years of not-for-profit management and executive leadership experience. She has been nationally recognized by the National Health Care for the Homeless for her strong leadership and ability to manage high risk-populations, forging strong relationships with hospitals, managed care organizations and community partners. Prior to joining Covenant House, she helped establish The Boulevard of Chicago, a medical respite center for homeless individuals. Serving as CEO for 17 years, helping to bridge the gap for vulnerable homeless populations, advocating for services, and bringing awareness about homelessness Nationally. Jennifer has served on various boards, committees and task- force with All Chicago, National Health care for the Homeless, National Coalition for the Homeless, Service Provider Commission, Center for Health and House and more. Mrs. Nelson Seals has a certificate in Executive Management in Nonprofits, holds a Master of Science in Human Resources Management from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Robert Morris College.
Chief Program Officer
Betsy Carlson joined the Covenant House Illinois team in January 2024. Prior to joining the CHIL team, Betsy was the Director of Youth Programs at The Night Ministry, another youth homeless service provider in Chicago. In this role, Betsy was responsible for operation of the Youth Programs department, including a youth outreach team, emergency shelter, interim housing program, transitional housing programs for individual youth and for pregnant and parenting youth, and the agency's partnership with the Flexible Housing Pool for youth. She also spent ten years working at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter (now Lincoln Park Community Services), an agency serving unhoused single adults through a continuum of programs.
In addition to work focused on housing and homelessness, Betsy has also worked with Reading Is Fundamental, a national children's literacy organization and The University of Chicago as a field instructor for social work students - at both institutions, Betsy developed and provided training to budding teachers, mentors and social workers. She also served as the Vice President of Programs and Operations at The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award USA, where she was a part of the start-up of a new national office for the youth development program. Betsy's career has allowed her to participate in the dreaming, planning and implementation of programs to provide supports and skills for vulnerable populations. Betsy has her BA in English and Mathematics from Augsburg University and her MSW from the University of Chicago.
Director of Finance
Chris has worked in the field of Finance for over 20 years and brings a great set of skills and experiences to Covenant House. His work stints include time in Banking, Financial Planning and Analysis, and Controllership roles. His most recent experience was at a non-profit, where he provided financial leadership to turn around the organization and put it in a sound financial position. Throughout his career, Chris has been known as a solid leader of financial processes, budgeting, and financial stewardship that helped organizations reach their goals. He looks forward to helping Covenant House Illinois as they move into their exciting growth phase to help more youth in the Chicago area!
Director of Development
Johnpaul is an accomplished non-profit professional with nearly two decades of development experience under his belt. With a background in literary arts, community outreach and advocacy, his career has exposed him to wide range of people and organizations. He joins the CHIL leadership team after spending two years in the development department working on CHIL's capital campaign. Intimately familiar with the organization and mission, and with a strong background in securing resources for some of Chicago's most vulnerable populations, Johnpaul is excited to bring his experience and passion to bear on providing essential services to our region's young people struggling with homelessness.
Johnpaul attended Kent State University as both an undergraduate and graduate student, where he studied English Literature and became heavily embroiled in the perilous world of underground poetry. Narrowly surviving a cascading crown of sonnets, Johnpaul moved to Chicago in 2003, where he lives with his wife, daughter, and irredeemably naughty dog.
Director of Clinical & Supportive Services