Our Board

Adelante is governed by a Board of Directors representing expertise in various sectors of healthcare, finance, engineering, technology, medicine, and business management.

Michael Meehan, Chairman

Mr. Meehan brings Adelante Center an extensive senior level business background encompassing Operations Management, Sales & Marketing, Distribution, Customer Service (Call Centers ), Cost Containment/Process Improvement, and Human Resources. He has been very active in assisting various non-profit organizations such as the Chicago Lighthouse, where he currently serves as the Board Chair of the Chicago Lighthouse Industries, and SchoolRise, a K-12 educational customized consulting organization. He is also a Commissioner on the Lake County Housing and Community Development Commission. Mr. Meehan lives in Mundelein with his wife Maureen and their two children.

Dr. Myla Patterson-Smith, Treasurer

Dr. Myla Patterson-Smith is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 15+ years of progressive experience in healthcare and biotechnology. She has a proven track record in product commercialization and developing growth strategies. She is currently a Senior Franchise Manager at Abbott Laboratories and the mother of two daughters. She holds a PhD in Biomedical Science from Meharry Medical College and a MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

James Miller, Secretary

James L. Miller is the founder JLM Ventures LLC. Miller has twenty years of real estate experience in residential, retail and office. Miller has additional experience raising public and private funding, acquiring distressed debt and negotiating complicated workouts with multiple layers of public and private stakeholders. Miller holds a BSE in Civil Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Miller is based in Chicago, and is a licensed real estate managing broker in Illinois.

Topiltzin Gomez, Director

Topiltzen was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and came to Waukegan with his family at the age of five. In 2014, he co-founded the Waukegan Technology Institute, a student-driven high school computer science education program in Waukegan. Currently, Topiltzen leads community partnerships for Honeycomb Credit, a startup loan crowdfunding platform In his free time. Topiltzin trains for 5K runs and dances Mexican Ballet Folklorico. Topiltzen is a graduate of Waukegan High School and Yale University BA in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. ​

Derek M. Barber

Derek M. Barber currently serves as president of eduQuest Chicago, which has within its portfolio The Cambridge School, Cornerstone Leadership Academy, New Hope Academy, Cambridge Camp, STEM Technology Camp and The Quest. Previously, Derek served as the executive director of The Cambridge School, which he founded and organized as the first faith-based, private independent classical school in Chicago, Illinois.

Derek holds a Masters degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Bachelors of Science degree from Purdue University.

Derek currently resides in Chicago, Illinois with his family.

Ken Barber, Executive Director

Ken Barber is the Founder and Executive Director of Adelante Center for Entrepreneurship. Ken served 10 years in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. After his military service, he went on to hold leadership positions in banking, corporate finance and several start-up businesses. He was COO of Seattle based non-profit Wear Blue: Run to Remember, director of the Lake County Tech Hub Incubator at Greater Waukegan Development Coalition, and the past Executive Director of Illinois Joining Forces, a veteran focused non-profit based in Chicago. Ken currently serves as President of the Board of Highland Park based non-profit, Kids Rank and is a Director on the Chicago Advisory Board of Good Sports, a Boston based non-profit.

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Adelante Center for Entrepreneurship
420 West Clayton Street
Waukegan, IL 60085

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 Adelante Center for Entrepreneurship is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit program focused on creating wealth and jobs in communities with economic challenges.
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