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Eric Miller, JourneyCare Senior Director of Service Excellence

Eric Miller joined JourneyCare last December as Senior Director of Service Excellence.

Eric’s diverse career path has included leading a customer service marketing team for a major cellular company, founding a marketing communications agency and working in business development.

A self-professed farm boy from Michigan who found his way to Chicago after graduating from Alma College (MI), he met his wife, Sandra, within a month of moving to Lincoln Park, while attending an Arlo Guthrie concert at Ravinia. They have three sons: Jake, 21 and Johnny, 19, both students at DePauw University; and Eli, 15, a freshman at Loyola Academy. Sandra is part of the development team at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The Millers have lived in Evanston for 27 years.

Dennis Depcik

Born and raised in a lower-middle class family in the Bridgeport community of Chicago, Ill., Dennis was the third son of four children and had early aspirations of entering the priesthood. After completing four years at a high school preparatory seminary, he decided against the priesthood and worked for a year before enrolling at Loyola University of Chicago, majoring in English and Sociology.

Upon graduation from Loyola, Dennis entered the U.S. Army and completed Infantry Officer’s Candidate School (OCS). During his tour of duty, from 1965-68, he was assigned to the Armed Forces Courier Service at USAREUR Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany and delivered classified material throughout western Europe during the height of the Vietnam War.

He was honorably discharged in 1968 .It was during his Army tour of duty that Dennis began exchanging letters with the woman who would become his wife, his sister-in-law's kid sister, Mary (Maggie) Brown. Dennis and Maggie were married for 41 years when Maggie passed away.

His book, “Wouldn’t It Be Something,” was published in November, 2013. 

He continues to live in the northwest suburban community of Buffalo Grove, Ill., near his four children and six grandchildren.

Sharing Our Journey

Sharing Our Journey

The Marketing Communications department is responsible for the development, creation, and implementation of promotional materials for JourneyCare including brochures, newsletters, advertising, public relations,, social media sites, as well as internal communications.

The team is pleased to manage and contribute to this blog to help others gain a better understanding of the benefits hospice care, palliative care, and grief support by sharing inspirational stories, insights, and helpful information about the end-of-life journey.

Marketing Communications team members (clockwise from top left) Elisabeth Mistretta, Mark Guess, Lisa Encarnacion, Kristin Gover and Beth Dempsey. (Not pictured: Diane Bergan, Steven Jankauskis and Janice Lake.)

Amy O'Donnell

As Lead Volunteer Coordinator with JourneyCare, Amy O’Donnell focuses on building the capacity of the organization’s volunteer program, managing volunteer recruiting, orientation, communication and the database, as well as supervising the JourneyCare Juniors youth volunteer program.

Amy joined JourneyCare in 2011 as the Grants & Appeals Officer with the Foundation, securing over $1M through grant funding and direct mail appeals. Previously, she served as Development & Communications Officer with Countryside Association for People with Disabilities.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University. Amy is an avid runner, and admits her guilty pleasure is a gossip blog.

Dan Sterdt

Dan Sterdt joined JourneyCare in 2012 as a bereavement counselor. Through counseling, group therapy, ongoing phone outreach and educational presentations in the community, he provides support for families and individuals grieving the loss of a loved one.

A licensed professional counselor, Dan earned a master’s degree in Gerontological Counseling from Adler University in Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Goucher College in Baltimore.

A native of Poughkeepsie, NY, Dan is an avid sports fan. Although he loves his Baltimore Orioles, he is rooting for the Cubs to win
it all this year.

Kelly Fischer, BSN, CHPN, CHPCA, Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer of JourneyCare, Kelly Fischer leads and manages a comprehensive array of programs and services for the agency, with a focus on fiscal stewardship and providing excellent clinical care to more than 1200 hospice patients. 1100 palliative care patients and 180 pediatric patients daily. Kelly also oversees the evaluation of ongoing programs and the development of new ones as needs and growth of the agency demand. 

Previously, Kelly served as a consultant for hospice programs, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, evaluation and revamping clinical practices and programs while assessing strengths and weaknesses and transforming operations. Kelly utilizes innovative approaches to develop both individuals and teams. She also co-founded Bear Courage, LLC in Madison, WI, a statewide pediatric palliative care coalition. Kelly’s background includes leadership experience in clinical operations and developing collaborative partnerships for hospices, long-term care facilities and nursing homes. She previously was Director of Home Care Programs at Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care in Madison, WI, and Administrator with Sunrise
Senior Living.

A native of New York City, Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Grand Canyon University (AZ) and a diploma in nursing from Flushing Hospital and Medical Center School of Nursing in Queens, NY. Kelly is dually certified as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse (CHPN) and Administrator. She is an active member of the Hospice and Palliative Care National Association (HPNA) and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). Kelly was honored in 2011 with the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Award of Excellence for Pediatric Palliative Care.

Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque

Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque is a member of the JourneyCare Board of Directors and is the pastor of The Community Church of Barrington. In addition to her Doctorate in Practical Theology (Boston University), she holds a Masters of Divinity (Summa Cum Laude, Boston University) , a Masters of Education (Columbia University) and a Bachelor of Arts (Northwestern University). Rev. Zina currently serves as an active member of the Barrington Area Ministerial Association and as a member of the Boards of Directors for the Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs and the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago. She has served on the staffs of multicultural, urban and suburban churches, both large and small. Rev. Zina has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling, and support programs, and she has participated in many workshops, forums, and special religious programs. She has been involved with many civic and philanthropic endeavors, and she is in high demand as a speaker for many local and national organizations.

Kelly Sauter

Kelly Sauter is a VP of Business Development for Ketchum Public Relations and proud new mom to nearly one-year-old daughter Gemma. Her family has supported JourneyCare with their time, donations and talents for more than a decade.

Blog Posts:
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  • Nancy Kholamian

    Nancy Kholamian is a six-year JourneyCare volunteer. She is happily married and has worked both a freelance interior design consultant and as a stay-at-home mom with her three sons in Barrington, where she has lived for the last 27 years. In addition to her work with JourneyCare patients, Nancy volunteers with Willow Creek Church, Little Garden Club of Barrington and neighborhood groups. She also recently learned artistic metal welding at Harper College and hopes to devote more time to crafting metal in the New Year!

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