Office team

Darcy L. Evon, Chief Executive Officer


Darcy brings a wealth of experience to the Village, including leadership roles at public and private universities, libraries, medical, technology, non-profit organizations and media companies. She is active in Chicago’s corporate and civic communities and serves on the boards of Ingenuity Inc., The Guild of the Chicago History Museum, The Kalo Foundation, and the Chicago Innovation Advisory Board. Darcy is a member of the Economic Club, Executives Club, and a variety of cultural and business organizations. She is an avid history buff and author who published Hand Wrought, an illustrated history of jewelry and metalwork from the Chicago Arts and Crafts Movement.

Callie Alton, Director of Membership & Engagement

Callie Alton

Callie began as a volunteer for the Chicago Hyde Park Village in 2020 and has previously worked as an educator and writer. As both a team member and volunteer, she is committed to building more equitable communities through developing intergenerational networks of connection and support. Callie received her BA in English from The University of Washington and has a Master’s in Literature from Trinity College Dublin. An avid reader and writer, Callie is passionate about all things literary and also enjoys the visual arts, cycling, and travel.

Laurel Baer, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Laurel Baerv175x175

A founding Village member, Laurel started volunteering for the Village shortly before it opened in June 2009 and became a part time staff member in 2010. She worked in marketing for nearly 40 years, in advertising agencies and as a sole practitioner consultant. In her current role, she helps shape strategy, planning and communications for most major Village initiatives. Her proudest accomplishment was founding Bottomless Closet in 1991, the first nonprofit free business apparel resource for women transitioning from assistance to work.

Megan Byrd, Director of Programs & Communications


Megan has enjoyed an eclectic career as a freelance writer, photographer, and event organizer. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and also studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Australia. She is a founding member of the international comic book publishing collective, Ladies’ Night Anthology and a former contributing writer for the Eisner award winning website Women Write About Comics. She is still an occasional comic book editor, and loves to share her passion for building community. Upon request, she will happily share photos of her family and cat.

Betty Dayron, Social Work Field Instructor


When Betty retired from a long clinical and administrative career as a Social Worker at Jewish Child and Family Services the Village was just beginning and so she joined. She remains an active volunteer and member. Since 2009 she has supervised more than 35 Village Interns from Loyola’s School of Social Work. She also enjoys travel, when sensible, spending time reading, doing Sudoko puzzles and is into Folk Music and the Blues.

Niki Fox, Director of Health, Wellness, & Member Services

Niki Fox

Niki joined The Village Chicago in 2015 as a social work intern and, as she’ll tell you, “just never left!” She earned her Master’s in Social Work with a specialization in healthcare from Loyola in 2017. Niki is inspired by connecting members to services, resources, and one another – drawing upon members’ experience and expertise just as they draw upon hers. She appreciates how the Village is adapting, building multigenerational relationships, and finding new ways to support mental and physical well being. In her spare time, Niki can be found reading too many books at once, cutting quilt squares, or cycling.

Sarah Grossman, MSW Intern

Sarah Grossman

Sarah is a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago in the MSW program. She is from San Francisco, where she earned her license as a Psychiatric Technician at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts in 2014. During her time at Gurnick, she interned at Vacaville Prison in the psychiatric unit where she gained a wealth of experience that informed her passion for working in the mental health field. Since then, she has worked as a Service Coordinator and Supervisor at Crestwood Behavioral Health, a mental health rehabilitation center in Northern California. Most recently, she decided to return to school to earn her master’s degree in order to better serve her clients in the future. Sarah has a deep passion for social work and social justice. She loves musical theatre, spending time with family and exploring her beautiful new home in Chicago.

Jen A. Hurd, Project Manager, Brain Health & Memory Loss


Jen is a graduate from Northeastern Illinois University and has been in the healthcare field since 2003. As a certified dementia practitioner, Jen has worked primarily in dementia care managing care units, providing education, running support groups and working collaboratively with the Pioneer Network. Her vision has always aligned with the idea of person-centered care, making it her mission to help cultivate communities that provide purpose, meaning and joy to people living with dementia. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her daughters, gardening, cooking and loves to be near any body of water.

Susan Wakula, Director of Finance, Administration & Development


Having returned to her home town to help her parents navigate their final years, Susan landed at the Village because its mission resonated with her recent lived experience — “I wish my parents would’ve had a place like the Village.” She received her undergraduate degree in Finance and MBA from Drake University and a Master’s degree in Religion and Ecology from Loyola/New Orleans. Susan has a rich and varied background in finance, working for financial institutions and non-profits, including religious organizations, youth services, and higher education.