Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Serena is responsible for managing Aspire’s finances including general operations, controls, compliance, and tax filings.
Serena is also responsible for creating sustainable financial growth for Aspire, which she has learned can only be accomplished through transparency, quality, and financial excellence. Serena strives for financial excellence because she understands that it serves to benefit Aspire’s participants and to provide the highest quality of stewardship for those who donate to Aspire.
Before joining Aspire, Serena worked at EY, a large international auditing and consulting firm. Prior to that she was controller at Easter Seals, Inc., the headquarters of a national not for profit organization providing services for people with disabilities.
What is your key strategic goal for your role at Aspire? To grow Aspire’s financial strength so that Apsire can not only continue to provide services for those with different abilities, but also to expand those services.
What is your biggest challenge? With Illinois and Federal governments continuing cuts to social service organizations, we are constantly challenged to find ways to run more efficiently, effectively, and find new sources of funding.
What do you enjoy the most? Working with people who do not settle for the status quo. Aspire doesn’t just try to meet basic needs. It strives to be the future of not-for-profits by thinking differently and energizing all those around them both within and around the organization.
What is the most interesting fact of your bio? I used to be an outdoor nature lover who backpacked, rocked-climbed, and lived in Yosemite for a summer. My love for nature has slowly transformed into a love of community. Aspire is part of my community since I live a few miles away. Every day I wake up and I am thankful that I can feel passionate about what I do for a living and that I am contributing to an organization benefiting hundreds of people near my home.
What’s your all-time favorite book or movie and why? I am a sucker for a good mid-1800’s English coming-of-age novel and repeatedly read Jane Eyre. I love her passion and her unbending will to make something of herself while not compromising her values.
What is your favorite Twitter account to follow? I don’t follow Twitter. But I am avid listener of podcasts, such as Freaknomics.
One thing people wouldn’t know about you is: In my free time, I lead two Girl Scout troops. One, for girls in first grade, Daisys which has over 30 girls and another for third graders, Brownies which has17 girls. Contributing to society doesn’t end when I end my work day. By leading Girl Scouts, I am helping my daughters to understand the importance of giving back to our community.
If you had to guess, what are three traits your team members might use to describe you? Driven, passionate, and never satisfied with status quo.
In my spare time, I spend every moment I can providing quality moments with my three daughters. Together, we cook, create new crafts, look for new adventures in the Chicago area, and read.
On my playlist: Anything acoustic – classical music, blues, and coffee house music.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live and why? Paris! I love good food, beautiful buildings, and a society where living deliberately is an art.