i.c.stars Welcomes Gillian Downey as Chief Operating Officer

i.c.stars Welcomes Gillian Downey as Chief Operating Officer

Silicon Valley and Bank of America executive lends considerable experience and talent to i.c.stars leadership team

CHICAGO—May 24, 2016 Leading non-profit i.c.stars, which prepares inner-city young adults for tech jobs and community leadership, is proud to welcome Gillian Downey as chief operating officer. In this role, Downey will oversee expansion efforts, lead the new accelerator Enterprise Next and guide organization operations. Among her first tasks was orchestrating the inaugural Enterprise Next Pitch Night on May 19.

“We are extremely proud to welcome Gillian to i.c.stars,” said i.c.stars Board Chair Ellen Barry. “She brings technology and operations experience and talent that will take i.c.stars’ workforce training to the next level, helping us impact more inner-city young adults.”

Downey will play a significant role in the scaling of i.c.stars, as affiliate i.c.stars programs will launch in Milwaukee and Columbus this year. In Chicago, the social enterprise program has expanded through Enterprise Next, an accelerator for alumni businesses.

Downey comes to i.c.stars from the leadership team at Ubiquiti Networks, a Silicon Valley hardware manufacturer, where she was responsible for program management and operations on the global cloud team. She has built data warehouse and data management products at AbbVie, and led technology teams in new product development and agile adoption at Leapfrog Online. Gillian’s career began at Bank of America, spanning trade technologies and the architecture standards group to managing the team responsible for proof of concept projects. She also was a member of the bank’s global architecture review board, and created its Chicago mentoring program.

“I am so excited to join the great team at i.c.stars,” said Downey. “It is the perfect combination of technology, new learning techniques and mentoring in a fantastically collaborative environment.”

Downey has a degree in music from Roosevelt University and a certificate in project management from the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University. Chicago’s vibrant theater community keeps her out and about on the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee seeing plays and fostering new theater.

Commented i.c.stars President and Co-Founder Sandee Kastrul, “Gillian has been an i.c. stars volunteer of i.c.stars for many years and helped us build our first mentoring program. We are so happy to welcome her home.”

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About i.c.stars: Formed in 1999, i.c.stars is a Chicago-based non-profit organization and social enterprise that prepares young adults for technology careers and community leadership. Using project-based learning and full-immersion teaching, i.c.stars has trained more than 330 individuals in Chicago, and places 95 percent of qualified graduates in jobs. Alumni see their annual earnings increase by an average of 400 percent as a result of the program. In 2016, i.c.stars created Enterprise Next, a lean startup incubator and social investment fund to jumpstart alumni businesses. Learn more at www.icstars.org.

A Measurable Impact

Initial placement rate:
90%
Industry retention rate:
81%
College attendance rate:
55%
Alumni actively engaged in their communities:
72%
Average 12-month earnings before program:
$10,790
Average 12-month earnings after program:
$44,010