ThinkFirst Welcomes New Staff

The ThinkFirst Foundation would like to introduce two new employees!

Susan Crotty, pictured on left, is the Program Development Manager, Traffic Safety, responsible for developing and enhancing ThinkFirst teen and parents of teen driver traffic safety programs. Susan has a passion for transportation safety and excels at building partnerships and turning networking into relationships..  Prior to joining the ThinkFirst Foundation to work on the new Illinois Department of Transportation teen and parent roadway safety grant, she worked for the National Safety Council for five years.  After finding success in her previous business development role, Susan was tapped to spearhead the new strategic initiative to eliminate roadway fatalities by 2050 called Road To Zero (RTZ) with the United State Department of Transportation, including the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In just two years, she grew the RTZ coalition to over 800 organizations, published a comprehensive national report with Rand Corporation outlining how to achieve zero roadway fatalities and oversaw $2.5 million in Federal Safe System Innovation grants.  She is also a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.   

Susan is a graduate of Michigan State University. She served three terms (12 years) as an elected official on the Naperville 203 Board of Education stewarding nearly $3 billion during her tenure. Last year she was a finalist for the Professional Women In Advocacy for Excellence in A Federal Issue Campaign, she was the Distinguished Service Award of Excellence from the Illinois Chapter of National School Public Relations Association and in 2012 won the Influential Women in Business Award from the Daily Herald Business Ledger.  In 2017 Susan was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of Excellence from the Illinois Chapter of National School Public Relations Association.  She and her husband of 26 years have three grown children and two adopted shelter dogs.  In her free time, she likes to hike, bike (always with a helmet on), garden and visit National Parks.

Kathy Carey (second from left) is the Chapter Development Manager, responsible for developing new ThinkFirst chapters through a grant from General Motors. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from Northern Illinois University. Her career has been compassionately invested in wellness, fitness, prevention, and helping communities and individuals be their best selves. Kathy first contributed with ThinkFirst more than 20 years ago with a local Chicago suburban chapter - then run by Debby Gerhardstein. Prior to taking on her new role with the ThinkFirst Foundation, Kathy worked in hospital-based Community Education for more than ten years, creating and teaching curriculum for adults and children, and co-managing a staff of 27 wellness instructors. She also worked for ten years in corporate wellness as a Certified Health Coach, empowering employees in making thoughtful lifestyle choices related to disease prevention.

Kathy enjoys spending time with her three grown children and two grandkiddos. She is a fiber artist in her free time, and enjoys sports, kayaking, and the beauty of nature.

Also pictured, Debby Gerhardstein, RN, BSN, MA, Executive Director, and Rocco Armonda, MD, Chairman, ThinkFirst Board of Directors.