George Karzas

Board Member

George Karzas owns and operates the Gale Street Inn restaurant in Jefferson Park. He is a past Chairman of the Board and past president and current board member of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce.

Other civic affiliations include Chicago Sister Cities, Chicago Gateway Green, and Saint Patrick High School.

Paul Botts

Treasurer, Finance Chair

By day Paul is executive director of a conservation organization in Chicago called The Wetlands Initiative; previously he was with the Donnelley Foundation in Chicago which funds both the arts and conservation.

In addition to serving as Treasurer of the Board of Directors, and Finance Committee Chairperson - he can be spotted sometimes around Chicago playing piano with a jazz trio.

Nancy Bowyer

Board Member

John Brahm

Secretary, Marketing Chair

Professionally John works in the Marketing and Communication field, but has found a passion in working with the Gift Theatre. John has been on the Board since 2011 and acts as the Secretary and Marketing Chairperson.

Lori Dimun

Board Member

Bryan Dowling

Board Member

Bryan joined the Gift’s Board of Directors in 2014. He builds, negotiates & maintains a new generation of partnerships between corporations, primarily arts organizations.

He designs and develops publishing, advertising, strategic planning, marketing, pitch & promotion for Media 8 Midwest.

Laura Gale

Chairman of The Board of Directors

Laura joined the Gift board in 2012, and her day job is as a digital marketing executive. Laura is the past Chairperson for The Gift Theatre’s Development Committee.

Shanna Karamaniolas

Manager of Fischman's Bar & Tavern

Born and raised in Jefferson Park, her mom still works at the public grammar school that her sisters and grandfather graduated from.

Jefferson Park holds a special place in her heart both with her business, and raising her family in the neighborhood. Shanna has committed herself to helping her husband build their business: Fischman Liquors & Tavern. 

“It’s fascinating how life somehow always leads you back where you started.” - Shanna Karamaniolas

Sharon Martwick

Board Member

Naveed Moosa

Board Member

Steve O’Brien

Board Member

Steve O’Brien began his career in the restaurant business at the age of fourteen. He is a classically trained chef who now owns three eateries in Chicago, named BRGRBELLY and BEEFBELLY. He has cooked for such people as former President Bill Clinton, famous musicians and other high profile people across the county

Jeff Perry

Co-Founder of Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Jeff Perry is an actor, teacher, and co-founder of The Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he has served as Steppenwolf Artist Director and has been an integral part to the founding of the School at Steppenwolf, where he continues to teach and direct. Perry has acted in—and occasionally directed—more than 40 Steppenwolf productions. His many acting credits at Steppenwolf include Balm in Gilead, The Time of Your Life, Picasso at Lapin Agile, 1990 Tony Award-winning The Grapes of Wrath, The Caretaker, and Streamers. In 2008 Perry was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.

Beyond Perry’s impressive accomplishments in theater, he has also seen success on the big screen and television. After moving to Los Angeles, Perry appeared in several films, including Remember My Name, A Wedding, The Grifters, Storyville, Wild Things, and The Human Stain. He also has numerous television credits, including his role as Inspector Harvey Leek on the crime drama Nash Bridges, and recurring roles on My So-Called Life, LA Law, Prison Break, and Scandal.

More recently Perry guest starred on Lost, Fringe, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He also notably played Meredith Grey’s estranged father, Thatcher Grey, on the popular drama Grey’s Anatomy.

Quay Tao

Board Member

Quay Tao, is the owner of Community Tavern, the Portage Park steakhouse that opened last year, and Cochinita Taco Co, a recently-opened neighborhood eatery.

Mike Valenti

Board Member, Business Owner

​Mike has owned and operated two retail stores in the Chicago area for 35 years. He has brought a conservative approach to his business ventures, while always thinking of long range solutions.

Shannon Wallace

Board Member

Shannon works in Marketing and Communications for Allstate and has been on the Board of Directors since 2011.