Lynda Schueler, MPAExecutive Director
Lynda has devoted the past two decades of her career to helping men, women and families transition from housing crisis to housing stability. As Executive Director of Housing Forward since 2001, Lynda has led the formation of a comprehensive solution to homelessness. Her leadership has enabled the agency’s growth from a $450,000 a year shelter provider to a $8.5 million agency offering a full continuum of housing, services and prevention programs in addition to safety-net services. Over the years, she has formed numerous collaborations whose expertise and resources have guided hundreds of Housing Forward clients on their paths toward self-sufficiency. Lynda is a founder and current board member of the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County and a founding member of the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition. She has received awards of recognition for her advocacy and service work from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Housing Action Illinois, West Cook Y, the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township, the Maywood Chamber of Commerce and named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Oak Park Rotary. She has Masters Degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Illinois State University.
Jane Houle, MBAChief Financial Officer
Jane Houle has been the Director of Finance & Administration since 2018 and the CFO since October 2020. She is responsible for financial management strategy at Housing Forward including direct responsibility for the agency’s accounting, finance, forecasting, budget, strategic planning, oversight of all public contracts/agreements, financial compliance, and risk management. Jane has over three decades of experience in accounting and financial management. Prior to joining Housing Forward, Jane was Consulting Manager for the nonprofit practice at Net at Work, coordinating the support and training of over 500 organizations using the Abila MIP accounting software. She was also a founding partner and senior advisor with 1st Choice Advisors, a software consulting firm focused on nonprofit organizations. She has also served as acting CFO for a number of nonprofits in the Chicago area and spent 5 years on the financial staff of a social service agency. Jane has a BBA from Western Michigan University and an MBA from DePaul University. She has been an active volunteer with organizations in the Chicago area serving youth, fair housing and the economically disadvantaged.
Chris Martinez, MBA, CFPChief Operating Officer
Chris Martinez joins the Housing Forward team as Chief Operating Officer, bringing with him more than 25 years of corporate operations, technology, and program management expertise. Most recently, Chris was managing director at Oakbrook Solutions, where he aligned people, platforms, and processes to support growth and change, and led the strategic management consulting practice for wealth management and family office clients. Prior to consulting, Chris held leadership roles with The PrivateBank, Wilmington Trust, Bingham Legg Advisers, and Webster Management Group.
Chris has a BS in computer science from The University of Southern California, an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and is a Certified Financial Planner™. He is dedicated to housing and human services and is a member of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity Chicago as well as and longtime volunteer at Catholic Charities of Chicago. In addition to volunteerism, Chris keeps active swimming, biking, and running (as a triathlete and guide for paratriathletes) and playing tennis.
Erik JohnsonChief Development Officer
Erik Johnson brings more than two decades of non-profit leadership experience to his role as Chief Development Officer, where he provides strategic and operational direction for Housing Forward’s fundraising and communication strategies and development activities. Erik has significant experience leading successful development teams as Vice President of Development at Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley and Vice President of Advancement. In addition to fund-raising, Erik is passionate about social entrepreneurship and has created two social enterprises. Prior to the development arena, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Vital Bridges and Executive Director of Community Response.
Erik has a Bachelor of Music and Business degree from Drake University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Business in Chicago. He has served on the Board of Directors of Michael Teolis Singers and AIDS Cycle, Inc., as well as in a wide variety of consultative and volunteer roles in the areas of HIV, housing, developmental disabilities and the arts.
Armando Smith, LCSWChief Program Officer
Armando Smith, Chief Program Officer, is responsible for providing leadership, direction, and oversight of Housing Forward's integrated service delivery system through six program areas – housing, services, employment, prevention, shelter and outreach. Armando has more than 35 years of leadership and counseling experience with prominent social service agencies such as The Night Ministry, Teen Living Programs and AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Most recently, Armando was Associate Director of Healthcare Clinical Operations for Vital Bridges, a division of Heartland Health Outreach. In that position, he was responsible for all program operations, quality assurance and improvement, outcome measurement and budget management. He is a part time staff at the Cathedral Counseling Center. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a member of the National Association of Social Workers. Armando, a native of Panama, is fluent in Spanish.