Board of Directors
ROW’s Board of Directors are medical, business and rowing professionals that have come together to make ROW possible through gifts of time, talent and resources. If you are interested in joining our board, please contact Fran Tuite, our Board Chair.
Fran Tuite, RMB Capital, Board Chair
Fran began her rowing career at Purdue University in 1976 and has been rowing in Chicago since 1988. Fran has rowed for and been a part of the Cincinnati Rowing Club, Chicago River Rowing and Paddling, Lincoln Park Boat Club and is the founder of the Buchanan Rowing Club. An accomplished athlete, Fran has been the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) Senior Women’s Doubles champion for 2010, 2011, and in 2012 set a course record on her way to receiving her third HOCR gold. She is a Master's Nationals Medalist many times over. Fran is a hedge fund manager at RMB Capital, a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Directors Circle, and a director of the Royal Treatment Vet Hospital. As someone who has seen friends and family suffer from the disease, Fran brings her love for rowing and passion to fight breast cancer to the organization as the current Board Chair and wants to see ROW® thrive as a resource for survivors.
Thomas G. Opferman, Dentons US LLP, Vice Chair
Tom began rowing in 2007 when a friend gave him a heavyweight training single. As a runner, it didn’t take long for Tom to fall in love with the sport of rowing. Since then, he has rowed a single in the 2010, as well as a mixed double in the 2011 and 2012 Head of the Charles Regatta. Tom is a member of Lincoln Park Boat Club and Buchanan Rowing Club. He is an estate and tax attorney, an adjunct professor at Northwestern Law School and volunteer for Deborah’s Place. In addition, he is also the general counsel for Episcopal Charities and Community Services. Tom brings his passion for the sport and genuine interest in making the world a better place to ROW®.
Nell Shuttleworth, Rowfit Chicago, Secretary
As a PAC-10 All-Conference Rower, Silverskiff Medalist, Head of the Charles Medalist, Ironman competitor, Boston Marathon Qualifier, CRASH-B Qualifier, and a CrossFit Regional Games Qualifier -Nell knows first hand the value of fitness and sport. For over 5 years, Nell owned a boutique gym in Chicago, which focused on small group exercise classes. Nell's goal for this gym was to give athletes an opportunity to gain self-esteem and self-assurance through daily physical activity. Now Nell focuses on helping athletes feel better about themselves physically through her clothing line; FOMO Active Wear.
Touched by cancer within her family, Nell joined the ROW® board because she believes in what exercise can do to change lives. “Rowing helped me to understand who I was as a person. I felt strong, independent and incredible when I was rowing and when our team was together, supporting each other and encouraging each other to work hard, I felt unstoppable. Being part of that team made me confident, self-assured and determined, in sports and in life.”
Dana Brink, Treasurer
Dana began rowing with the Chicago River Aquatic Center in 1991, appreciating the physical and competitive, as well as the social aspect of the sport. She would like to see more women have the opportunity to experience the benefit of rowing through ROW®, and joined the Board as the Treasurer in November 2013 to lend her efforts toward that goal. Dana has held various finance positions at not-for-profits including The Field Museum and Children’s Memorial Hospital, and is currently a Budget Manager for Chicago Public Schools.
David Skelding, Christian Brothers & Ignatius Chicago Crew
David has been involved in rowing since 2006, when his sons first participated in the junior rowing program of Ignatius Chicago Crew (ICC). He is currently a member of the executive committee and director, and served as president from 2009 to 2012, of Ignatius Chicago Crew. David serves on the ROW board as an advocate of our programs and our work with survivors, but also as a representative of our generous program partner, Ignatius Chicago Crew. David helps facilitate this mutually beneficial relationship between the two clubs, which have worked together closely since day one. David is Executive Vice President of Christian Brothers Investment Services, an institutional investment management firm which he joined in 1998. Prior to that, he was an equity partner in the Chicago law firm of Lord Bissell & Brook, where he practiced securities and corporate law. David has served on several not-for-profit boards. For many years, he has witnessed first-hand the many positive fruits of the sport of rowing and, in particular, the great work that ROW® does with survivors.
Jenn Gibbons, Co-Founder
Jenn founded Recovery on Water with Sue Ann Glaser in 2008. As a board member, a coach and the Executive Director of ROW®, Jenn has led the organization since its infancy. Jenn rowed at Michigan State University and began coaching in 2005 as the Men’s Novice Coach for Ignatius Chicago Crew. After volunteering with breast cancer patients and survivors at MSU, Jenn was inspired to start a similar program here in Chicago.
Jenn is on the Board of Directors for Ignatius Chicago Crew and an Advisory Board Member for Girls in the Game. Jenn is passionate about exercise for survivors and believes in the tool that exercise and the sport of rowing can be for patients recovering from cancer and other types of trauma. She continues to lead ROW today and hopes to build the organization so that it is a resource for survivors for years to come.
Michele Willmott, ROW advocate & breast cancer activist
Michele has been rowing for nine years at Lincoln Park Boat Club (LPBC), has raced three times at the Head of the Charles Regatta, and has won medals at Masters Nationals and multiple regional races. Michele is also a member of the Rio Salada Rowing Club and Berkshire Rowing and Sculling Society. Michele has served on the program committee at The Casino and served as Vice Commodore of LPBC. She has been involved with fundraising for Children’s Memorial, Williams College and The Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, MA. Michele is dedicated to improving the lives and fitness of ROW® members and passionate about the program's development so that it can be around for survivors for years to come.
Samantha Minc, MD, Vascular Surgeon, Rush University Medical Center
Sam began rowing in 1997 at Tufts University as a walk on. She immediately fell in love with the sport and “got sucked in for life”. After college, she rowed at Riverside boat Club in Boston for 6 years, where Sam sat on the board of directors and organized learn to row programs with the public school. She also had the opportunity to work with Holly Metcalf and the one in nine crew, volunteering with RowAsOne (similar to ROW in Boston) for a summer session, later to intern with them as medical student. Sam’s rowing career highlights include gold medals in the lightweight women’s 4x at Canadian Henley, the women’s lightweight 8 at Head of the Charles (also bronze another year) and multiple club nationals medals. She currently rows for Lincoln Park Boat Club.
Sam’s interest in breast cancer survivors stems from her background as an Ashkenazi Jew, where breast cancer was a very prevalent issue in her upbringing. Sam entered medical school initially wanting to be a breast surgeon, but it turned out that vascular surgery was her calling. After meeting Holly and seeing how empowering the rowing team environment was for these women, Sam was inspired to give back and join the ROW board here in Chicago.
Sam wants to create more opportunities for breast cancer survivors of all backgrounds to have access to rowing and to be able to pass that love of exercise and fitness to their daughters.
Sandra Kirmeyer, Partners in Loyalty Marketing, ROW member
Sandra has rowed with our team since 2011, when she joined as a novice who had never rowed before or played any team sport. She immediately fell in love with rowing as a full-body exercise and our team of very special women. Diagnosed in 2005 with breast cancer and again in 2007, Sandra used exercise to manage the effects of radiation, hormone therapy, and multiple surgeries. She believes exercise enabled her to recover from a life-threatening infection that followed her last surgery.
After her first diagnosis, Sandra looked for ways to serve others and began volunteering with Y-Me of Illinois where she helped manage its donor database, plan annual fundraisers, and open a new office with support services in Springfield, IL. Sandra served as Board Chair of Y-Me of Illinois. On ROW’s Board, she has responsibility for outreach to Chicagoland breast cancer organizations. When she is not rowing, Sandra is a consultant with Partners In Loyalty Marketing where she specializes in consumer research and marketing program evaluation.
Sue Ann Glaser, ROW Member & Co-Founder
Co-founder of Recovery on Water, Sue Ann has spent her 22 years in Evanston as a mom and community volunteer, active in local school classrooms and School Improvement Teams and on the boards of early childhood education, mental health, arts and civic organizations. Prior to moving to Evanston, Sue Ann was Chief Social Worker of Ob-Gyn and Outpatient Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where she specialized in all aspects of women’s, infants’ and couples’ health. She also maintained a small private psychotherapy practice.
Diagnosed in March 2007 with breast cancer, Sue Ann’s oncologist urged her to exercise as a way to mitigate side effects of chemotherapy and to reduce recurrence. When she read about a rowing team for breast cancer survivors, she felt this could be an antidote to chronically falling off the exercise wagon: a team, she thought, could provide motivation and support that she had trouble providing for herself. With no such team extant in Chicago, Sue Ann spoke with friends and acquaintance who had had breast cancer to poll their interest, and was in the process of trying to form a team when she crossed paths with Jenn, who as a crew coach at St. Ignatius, had the club’s support and equipment to use but no members. Recovery on Water was born 6 weeks later!
The purpose of the Recovery on Water Advisory Board is to provide guidance and consultation for the organization in various areas of expertise including, but not limited to: non-profit management, cancer-care for members, as well as coaching and program development. Additionally, Advisory Board Members shall serve representatives of the organization in all interactions with the community as advocates of ROW’s mission.
Charley Sullivan, University of Michigan
In his 20th season as a rowing coach, Charley Sullivan, Associate Head Coach of Men’s Rowing at the University of Michigan has coached rowing at the US National Development Team, collegiate, high school and club levels.
In the summer of 2013 Charley led ROW® BLUE, a rowing camp for women surviving breast cancer. ROW ladies were invited to attend the four day camp in beautiful northern Michigan, where members grew fond of Charley’s coaching, experience, and interest in helping survivors get the most out of the sport. Since ROW BLUE camp, Charley joined the ROW Advisory board and lends his experience and skill to the ROW coaching staff in creating the best rowing program for its members.
DENISE MONAHAN, MD, STROGER HOSPITAL
Denise grew up in Florida and moved to Boston where she attended Boston College. Following a few snowy winters she moved back to warmer weather and attended the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Denise stayed in Miami and completed her General Surgery internship and residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Unlike most Floridians Denise missed the snow and had always thought Chicago was a great city, so she moved once again for specialty training in Breast Surgical Oncology at Northwestern University’s Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Center.
Denise is currently on faculty at Rush Medical College and treats patient at John Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Her practice is devoted to diagnosing and treating patients with breast cancer. Denise has come in contact with so many patients who are afraid of exercising after surgery or don’t know how to begin. It is now well-recognized that exercise and maintaining a healthy weight is linked to improved outcomes and overall well-being. Her commitment to ROW® stems from her desire to encourage patients to stay active and to surround themselves with positive inspiration.