Board & Leadership

"Power of the Group"


The CARA community is based on the concept of "Power of the Group". It is the entire CARA community that comes together to make our work possible and impactful.


As a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, CARA is led and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, as well as a variety of committees and member leadership groups.

Get involved by checking out our volunteer page.

Board of Directors

Kerl LaJeune
Jill Ciminillo
Tom Klimmeck
Jeff Zidell
Brace Clement
Board Member
Darren DeMatoff
Board Member
Erika Edmonson
Board Member
Tony Fiore
Board Member
Brett Geschke
Board Member
Dr. Patrick LaBelle
Board Member
Ann Marie Phaneuf
Board Member
Alexandrea Yeung
Board Member


Executive Committee

  • Chair: Kerl LaJeune (President)

  • Additional Members: Jill Ciminillo (Vice-President), Tom Klimmeck (Treasurer), Jeff Zidell (Secretary), Vacant (Past-President)

  • Charge: The Executive Committee includes the Board of Directors President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Out-going President, and at most two (2) other Directors appointed by the President. Subject to such limitations as may be imposed by the Board of Directors, these Bylaws and applicable law, the Executive Committee may exercise all of the authority of the Board of Directors at such time as the Board of Directors shall not be in session.

Nominating Committee

  • Chair: Jeff Zidell

  • Additional Members: Dan Daley (member), Ron Thomas (member), Vacant (Board of Directors)

  • Charge: The Nominating Committee prepares and maintains a slate of qualified candidates for all open directorships and the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The members of the Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the Board of Directors. The Nominating Committee shall consist of five (5) persons as follows: A Committee Chair, who shall be an officer who is not a candidate for any office; two (2) directors who are not candidates for any office; two (2) members of the corporation who are not officers or directors nor candidates for any office.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

  • Chair: Kerl LaJeune

  • Additional Members: 2021 committee members TBA

  • Charge: Provide equitable access to opportunities in organized running throughout Chicagoland, with a focus on expanding towards Chicago’s South and West sides, to engage in running, programs and events.

Development Committee

  • Chair: Darren DeMatoff

  • Additional Members: 2021 committee members TBA

  • Charge: Provides a centralized resource for donor giving opportunities. We create and ensure the success of fundraising initiatives advancing CARA’s nonprofit mission.

Racing Committee

  • Chair: Erika Edmonson

  • Additional Members: Nick Bensen, Lance Caldwell, Brett Geschke, Scott Mangum, Beth Onines, Doug Pearson, Brian Sweney, Jeff West

  • Charge: The Race Committee oversees the selection of races, scoring, and awards for the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit.

The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a non-profit organization committed to serving and advocating for the local running community. We are Chicagoland’s running club, providing accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social and volunteer. 

CARA, with over 10,000 members, is the nation’s third-largest running club, serving as the voice of local runners, as well as providing over 1,300 dates of programming and events per year.


Proud member of the Road Runners Club of America.

© 2020 Chicago Area Runners Association. Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 36-3054942​