Ines Kutlesa, MA, LCPC, Chief Executive Officer has been with Guardian Angel Community Services since 1999. Kutlesa earned a BA degree in Psychology and a MA degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. She is licensed through the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Kutlesa is also licensed through the Department of Child and Family Services as a Child Welfare Specialist/Licensing Supervisor. She’s held membership with the Kiwanis Club of Joliet since 2005 and has served as its President. Ines is the current President of Agencies United and serves as an Executive Officer on the United Way of Will County Board of Directors.
Kutlesa began her career at Guardian Angel Community Services as Groundwork’s Program Supervisor in September of 1999. Before being appointed Chief Executive Officer, Kutlesa was promoted to various positions including Director of Groundwork, Director of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance, Senior Program Director, and Chief Operating Officer. Kutlesa has continued to further her training and education and has been a Peer Reviewer with the Council on Accreditation since 2005. Kutlesa earned a Certificate of Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Michigan State University in 2009 and the University of St. Francis, Social Work Club & Phi Alpha Honor Society, presented her with the 2010 Community Service Award at an honorary induction ceremony into the Social Work Club & Phi Alpha Honor Society.
Prior to coming to Guardian Angel Community Services, Kutlesa served as a Research Consultant at the University of Illinois at Chicago on an international study on Genocide, Psychiatry and Witnessing, researching the traumatic impact of violence on Bosnian Civilian Survivors of War. Kutlesa presented research findings in Montreal, Canada, at the Annual Post Traumatic Stress Studies Conference on the topic of “Adolescent Survivors of Human Rights Violations. Kutlesa is a first-generation American of Croatian descent, and her background in clinical psychology and ability to speak the Croatian language made this rewarding experience possible.
Kutlesa attributes her success over the years not only to hard work and ambition, but as a result of being raised in a very strong, loving and supportive family.
Carlette Scott, MA, LCPC/LPHA, has more than 20 years of experience working to help individuals live their fullest life. The bulk of her experience has been in child welfare, where she has worked directly and indirectly with children and families. She received her Master’s Degree in counseling in 2001 and has provided individual, group, and family counseling for children, adolescents, and adults with chronic mental health issues, family separations, and significant trauma histories (i.e., sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect) Carlette has provided Clinical Supervision and oversight to Master’s and Bachelor’s level Clinicians, as well as numerous Interns. She is trained in Attachment, Regulation, and Self-Competency (ARC) Trauma Model and has been a part of numerous other trainings and conferences related to Motivational Interviewing and CBT-Trauma Therapy. Carlette is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and is also licensed by the State of Illinois as a Direct Child Welfare Services Employee. She is certified in Child Endangerment and Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP), Child and Adolescent Needs Assessment (CANS), and 402 Licensing. Carlette also has training and experience in Medicaid Rule 132. Carlette has also ventured out of the child welfare arena to provide clinical and administrative oversight and collaboration with several homeless programs, working to identify gaps in clinical services and implementing plans to bridge deficits. Carlette approaches her clinical and administrative responsibilities with the goal of discovering a client’s strengths and helping them utilize their strengths to create positive changes within their own life.
Kurt Miller, MBA joined the GACS team in November of 2013. He earned a BA in Accounting before earning his MBA from University of St. Francis. Kurt has over 19 years of non-profit financial management experience and currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for GACS. He resides in Minooka and has three grown children.
Pat Belka earned a BA in Public Administration from Governors State University and is a certified Professional in Human Resources. She is a member of the national Society for Human Resources Management, the Grundy Will Human Resources Association, and the Council for Working Women. Prior to coming to GACS, Pat has 13 years of human resources generalist experience in both for-profit and nonprofit corporations, including a domestic violence shelter. Pat is married and has two grown children.
Jane Ukleja, BA just celebrated her 5th year at Guardian Angel Community Services. She started out as the Development Specialist and now currently holds the position of Fundraising Operations Manager. Her main role is organizing the biggest fundraiser for the agency, Angelica-Dancing With Our Local Stars. Jane earned her BA from Eastern Illinois University. She spends her free time with her husband and 3 children.
Jane Jungles has been with Guardian Angel Community Services for 12 years. She currently serves as Officer Manager and supervises Administrative Assistants at GACS. Jane has over 25 years of office, clerical, data entry, payroll, human resources, and accounts payable experience. Her education is from Moraine Valley Community College. When Jane is not the glue holding the offices together she is active in Pug dog rescuing.
Rosemary Kern, MSEA began at GACS in August of 2012. She brought to the agency 30 years of experience in special education administration. Rosemary currently serves as Program Director for Dillard Harris Education Center. Rosemary earned her BA at Illinois State University, and her MS was from Governors State University.
Angela Plunge has been with Guardian Angel Community Services for 9 years. Angela currently serves as Children’s Program Supervisor and holds a para professional certificate in education. She also assists with the Dillard Harris Educational Center. Angela enjoys working with children and making an impact in their lives.
Erin Cohan, MSW began at GACS in 2012. She brought over 14 years of child welfare experience with her including working for other private child welfare agencies as well as the Department of Children and Family Services. Erin currently serves as Program Manager for the Foster Care Program. Erin earned her BA in Psychology at Eastern Illinois University and her MSW from Governors State. Erin serves on the Local Area Network (LAN) Committee.
Jennifer Nye, BSW, ICDVP, worked at GACS for 2 years as a Case Manager in the Groundwork Domestic Violence Program and has recently returned as the Program Coordinator in Suzy’s Caring Place Transitional Living Program. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois in 2013. Before working for GACS, she interned for the agency in the Groundwork and Suzy’s Caring Place programs. After leaving the agency for a brief time in 2014, she continued her work in domestic violence. Jennifer began working for another shelter doing community outreach an education before returning to GACS in August of 2014. She is also currently the GACS Groundwork Liaison at Joliet Junior College, helping to provide domestic violence services and education for students on campus. Jennifer is also an Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional.
Donna Plier, MS has been with GACS for 15 years and currently serves as the Program Manger for Sexual Assault Service Center, Exchange Club Program, as well as the Partner Abuse Intervention Program. Donna earned her Bachelor of Arts degree as well as her Master’s degree in Criminal/Social Justice from Lewis University. Donna serves on the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) Executive and Program Committee and Chairs the ICASA Personnel Committee.
Deborah Meeker, LCSW, ICDVP has been with GACS for 10 years. Deborah began as an intern in the Groundwork Domestic Violence program in 2003. Deborah currently serves as the Supervisor of Counseling and Advocacy in the Groundwork Domestic Violence Program. She is also a counselor in the Foster Care Program. Deborah earned her BA in Family Studies from the University of Kentucky and her MSW from Aurora University. She has served on the Will County Take Back the Night Committee as well as the Family Violence Coordinating Council. Deborah is an Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional.
Alexandra Shloss, MA, has worked at GACS for over 3 years, beginning as a Counseling Intern in the Sexual Assault Service Center (SASC) and then staying on as counseling staff in SASC, specializing in child and adolescent counseling. Prior to working at Guardian Angel, she worked for 14 years as a high school Teacher, first in traditional education, and then in special education at a therapeutic day school, specializing in working with students with autism. She has also worked as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional at St. Mary of Providence in Chicago, where she created and implemented individualized habilitation plans for women with various levels of disabilities. She has also worked as a Qualified Behavioral Health Professional, counseling people with profound social and emotional disabilities. She also has a long history of volunteer work with the elderly in the community. She currently serves as the Program Manager for Adult Protective Services.