Transforming Lives Through Music
President & Artistic Director
Jennifer re-joins The People's Music School after over 10 years with Bain & Company, where she was a Principal and most recently the Global Director of their Strategy and Innovation practice based in New York. As such, Jennifer managed large-scale client engagements and firm investments, working with executives of Global 500 companies and private equity funds on their most critical issues and opportunities.
Prior to Bain, Jennifer led strategy, marketing and business development efforts for PepsiCo, Inc. in both the US and Asia-Pacific. She began her career in the non-profit sector as a faculty member at The People's Music School, where she was highly influenced by the revolutionary access to music envisioned by founder Rita Simó. She subsequently led community outreach and engagement work with the Longy School of Music (now part of Bard College) and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
Jennifer has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy with honors from Northwestern University, and a Master's degree in Education from Harvard University. She is also an accomplished pianist, having studied with premier musical talent at such institutions as the Aspen Music Festival, and won honors from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA ARTS), Society of American Musicians, and Stravinsky Awards International.
Chief Operating Officer
Alli joins The People’s Music School to finally combine her love of music with her passion for education. Alli comes to this role from A Better Chicago, where she spent four years helping to build a venture philanthropy fund for the Chicago region. As Managing Director + Head of Programs, Alli developed the grantmaking strategy, built a portfolio of high-performing nonprofits, and supported the leaders of those organizations as they defined and executed their growth plans.
Alli began her career as a consultant at Bain & Company before transitioning to the social sector. After Bain, she joined Mission Measurement, where she led engagements with nonprofit and foundation executives to measure and communicate the impact of their work.
Alli earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Grinnell College. As the daughter of a music teacher, she started piano early and has played ever since. She now enjoys watching her two kids explore piano, violin and conducting.
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
B.A. in Mathematics and Economics
Part of the TPMS team since 2015
I play piano
Favorite musical genre Classical
Most admired musician Debussy
Dean of Learning & Teaching
Uptown Academy Director, Natalie Butler grew up in Miami, FL and tried studying voice, violin, and cello before deciding upon the clarinet as her primary instrument.
Natalie received her Bachelors of Music Education from Florida State University and shortly thereafter moved (in the middle of winter, no less) to Chicago to begin her career as a music educator. She took a break from teaching to pursue and receive her Masters of Music from Northwestern University and later successfully completed the process to become a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood Music.
Natalie spent over thirteen years teaching general music and band to students in grades pre-K-12 in the Chicago Public Schools while continuing to study clarinet privately and performing both clarinet and voice. During this same period Natalie has conducted, presented and published her research on the national and international levels.
Natalie currently resides in the Bronzeville neighborhood and enjoys reading, baking, salsa dancing, and spending time with her family and friends.
Director of Development
Renee Davis, Director of Development at The People's Music School has a passion for music, children and fundraising which led her to TPMS, where she oversees efforts to increase awareness and fundraising to support the growth of the School. Prior to joining the TPMS team, Renee worked in the development offices at Lurie Children's Hospital and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Renee has a Masters in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University, and B.A. in Communications from Miami University of Ohio. She currently lives in Western Springs with her husband, two children and boxer dog, Abby.
Director of Community Programs & Strategic Initiatives
Carolyn Sybesma has been a key member of the leadership team at The People’s Music School in Chicago since 2013. As director of community programs and strategic initiatives, Carolyn oversees program development, builds strategic partnerships within the Chicago community, and develops strategies for program evaluation, performance opportunities, and organizational growth.
Carolyn began her career in music education and program development in South Korea, where she designed and implemented music curricula and music education programs for ESL schools throughout Asia. She then gained extensive experience in the arts non-profit sector in Chicago, working in programs and marketing at the Merit School of Music, the Center for Community Arts Partnerships, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Carolyn holds a BA in music and an MAM in arts management from Columbia College Chicago. A classically trained pianist and certified early childhood music teacher, Carolyn has enjoyed teaching piano and early childhood music classes for over 10 years.
Student, Family & Alumni Affairs
Lilly Torres was born and raised in Chicago and has worked at The People's Music School for fourteen years. Lilly has played an active role in the exponential growth of the school over the years on so many levels – from balancing the workload of an increasing staff and faculty to the adoption of new technology. She is proud to see how many important milestones have been reached and enjoys her role as resident historian.
Even though she wears many hats in the organization including the day to day operations of the school her favorite part is being the liaison between the school and the hundreds of families that come through the schools doors every year.
When Lilly is not working she is at her home on Chicago's South Side with her husband Ivan of 17 years and her two children Joshua 4 and Meleena 10. Lilly enjoys drawing, crafting and cooking.
Program Manager, Uptown Academy
Program Manager, Albany Park
Program Manager, SLAM
Development & Program Coordinator