Leadership | Junior Achievement of Chicago

Junior Achievement of Chicago LEADERSHIP

Sandy Daffé

Sandy Daffé – President and CEO

Sandy Daffé took the helm as President of Junior Achievement of Chicago in 1996 and now leads the largest JA organization in the United States. She joined JA in 1984 and learned the organization from the bottom up, steadily progressing in her career and responsibilities. Sandy's passion for student outreach, financial literacy, and economic education has been the driving force behind her successful 31-year career. Sandy received an honorary degree from Robert Morris University in June 2012 and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. Communications from Northern Illinois University. She is the Past Chair of JA Presidents Roundtable, a member of the Executives Club of Chicago and the National Society of Fundraising Executives.



Tom Staab

Tom Staab – Executive Vice President of Development and Operations

Tom Staab oversees development and operations of Junior Achievement of Chicago, which has a $7.5 million budget and reaches over 620,000 students. Tom started with Junior Achievement of Chicago as Director of Development in March of 1997. 

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Maria Ramos

Maria Ramos – Vice President of Central Operations

Maria Ramos oversees the city metropolitan program outreach and is responsible for 50% of student outreach for Junior Achievement of Chicago. Maria started with Junior Achievement of Chicago as the Latino Outreach Operations Manager in October of 1996.

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Maria oversees programming in the City of Chicago and in Suburban and Southern Cook County.

Terrance Guthrie

Terrance Guthrie – Vice President of Finance & Administration

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Derek Ernst

Derek Ernst – Vice President of Suburban Operations

Derek Ernst has been employed with Junior Achievement of Chicago since 1999 and has served in a variety of capacities, including, Operations Manager, Director of Operations, and since 2005 as Vice President for Western Suburban Operations. In Derek's current role as Vice President of Suburban Operations, he is responsible for managing a 11 county area.


Derek oversees programming in our Western Divison, Will CountyDuPage CountyNorthwest Indiana and our Northern Division.

  • "Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."

    -Junior Achievement Student

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