By The Hand’s Board

At By The Hand, we are proud to have a board who cares about students deeply. They believe in our mission to provide abundant life–mind, body and soul to students across Chicago.

“Bringing underprivileged children the message of Christ, physical help and nourishment, and assisting in their intellectual development is surely consistent with what Christ asks of His followers.” —Tom Sawyer, Chairman

Tom Sawyer


AT&T Attorney (Retired)

“As a follower of Christ and lover of Chicago, intervening in the lives of young Chicagoans who are in critical need of such intervention is a great way to be part of The Solution.”

Sawyer remains active as a licensed attorney after retirement from Seyfarth Shaw LLP. This enables him to provide legal advice to By The Hand Club For Kids on a pro bono basis—as well as Christian organizations, such as The Moody Church, where he serves as the vice-chairman of the Elders and a trustee on the Church’s Executive Committee. Sawyer has a JD from Indiana University School of Law and a BS from Indiana State University. He also has four daughters, whom he and his wife, Jodie, homeschool.

Carol Simpson

Vice Chairman

Attorney, Carol Simpson Law Offices

“What I appreciate most about how By The Hand creates The Solution in these kids is how unconditionally they love and how comprehensively they nurture.”

Passionate about serving God and love for kids, Carol Simpson relishes the opportunity to use her experience as an attorney, accountant, and business owner on behalf of By The Hand. As the principal of Carol Simpson Law Offices in Greenville, SC, and board member of the Greenville Rotary Club, the Greenville Literacy Center, and Greenville Girl Scouts, she is very involved in her local community. However, she feels being involved in By The Hand has shown her that all the stuff she can do “pales in comparison to just showing up to be a part of what God is doing at By The Hand.”

Christine Parker


Attorney, Law Office of Christine A. Parker

“These students are a part of The Solution. They are breaking the cycle of poverty, broken families and hopelessness and succeeding in school—and life. Witnessing that transformation first hand has been a tremendous blessing to me.”

Passionate about providing children from disadvantaged backgrounds with hope and light, Parker applies her experience as an attorney and school director on behalf of By The Hand. She holds a JD and MBA from William & Mary School of Law and School of Business and a BS from Trinity Christian College. She currently directs a private hybrid school and is actively involved in Safe Families for Children, World Relief, Compassion International, and serves on the board of her church’s Adoption Fund. Parker loves how By The Hand not only gives kids hope for a successful and fulfilling life, but the tools to realize those hopes—and a deep and loving community. She and her husband live in Chicago and have five children—two biological and three adopted. She is part of The Solution.

Mark Sauer


Senior Strategic Account Manager,, Inc.

“I believe strongly in the way that God is working through By The Hand, and it is a privilege to be able to serve.”

Mark Sauer has been a board member with By The Hand since 2006 and a passionate advocate for the ministry. He is quick to spread the word about the successes of our kids—and how they are The Solution to Chicago’s inner-city challenges. Professionally, Mark is the Regional Vice President for the Service Cloud business within Salesforce, Inc. Before that, he was a Vice President at Mattersight Corporation and a Director at Siemens and Siemens Enterprise Communication. Mark serves as an elder at the Village Church of Barrington. He has an MBA in marketing from the Stephen Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a BA in marketing from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

James Fellowes

Chairman, Fellowes

“Being part of The Solution takes remarkable courage—then and now—to bring about reconciliation, establish equality for all, and help our kids lift themselves from their circumstances.”

Fellowes was about to graduate from college when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 1968. The tragic event opened his eyes to the inequality of under-resourced neighborhoods and motivated him to become a teacher on Chicago’s West Side. It was there that he first experienced the joy of “making a difference in young people’s lives.” After teaching, he joined the family business, Fellowes, Inc., continuing his commitment to making a difference through Christian ministry, scholarships, third-world poverty and fine arts. James serves on the board of directors for Crossway Books, Culver Academies, and City of Hope (cancer research). He and his wife love hearing the kids’ dreams for the future and feel privileged to be a part of giving these kids a fair shot in life.

Jose Gomez

Agency Owner, Allstate Principle

“My parents were always encouraging my friends to stay in school and think about higher education. I was able to witness the difference from those that became The Solution.”

With a love for helping people, Gomez became an Allstate agent in 2006, opening his agency later that year. He and his team take pride in helping and serving their clients in both English and Spanish, and are active members of their communities. Having grown up with a mother passionate about kids and their education, Gomez is especially interested in causes that help under-resourced kids. He says that “All the other programs focus on education, and that is worthy, but no other program combines the mind, body, and soul like By The Hand.” Gomez holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Northern Illinois University. He and his wife Maria live in Chicago, close to their daughter.

Nancy Hanson

Teacher, Naperville Community School District (Retired)

“I love working with kids and being able to work where we can talk about our faith. God transforms lives. Through education, He can change lives. Education is one of the most effective ways of breaking the cycle of poverty.”

Nancy Hanson loves serving God by caring for His children as a board member and volunteer for By The Hand. She draws from her experience as a teacher to help support By The Hand’s staff and team leaders and is proud of how By The Hand stewards the resources they are given, maximizing their use in making The Solution possible. She also serves on the board of trustees for North Central College and the board for the Michael Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. She holds a BA in education from North Central College and an MA in reading education from Northern Illinois University.

Sharon Hickey-Kozek

Founder & Owner, Lincoln Park Preschool & Kindergarten

“High-quality education is crucial to their academic, social and emotional development. All children have high potential, yet not all children are given the opportunity. Regardless of their zip code, every child deserves access to high-quality education.”

A leader and expert in Early Childhood Education, Hickey-Kozek founded the nationally accredited Lincoln Park Preschool and Kindergarten in 1993 and has opened 3 locations in the city. LLP strives to nurture curiosity and inspire a love for learning while emphasizing character development and academic excellence. Sharon is committed to coming alongside organizations whose passion and vision is to lift up orphaned and vulnerable children—locally and globally. Lending time, talents and resources, Sharon and LLP are helping to make The Solution possible.

She and her husband Bill, who is the President, Truck and Parts at Navistar, live and attend Church in Chicago with their three children whom they adopted in 2017. Sharon earned her BS in Early Childhood Education from Bowling Green State University.

Brian Musso

Managing Partner, Promus Capital

“By The Hand Club is profoundly impacting thousands of Chicago’s most precious children. Partnering with By The Hand not only helps young people capture a vision for their lives, but also provides the resources and loving support necessary for them to successfully pursue their dreams and fulfill their God-given potential. By The Hand is making The Solution possible.”

Brian serves as a managing partner of Promus Capital. Prior to co-founding Promus Holdings in 2006, Brian was president of Accelerated Athletics, a sports performance enhancement company dedicated to training elite high school, college and professional athletes. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1998. He was an All-Big Ten football player and a member of the Wildcats’ Big Ten Championship teams in 1995 and 1996. He went on to play wide receiver for the New York Jets. Brian currently sits on the board of directors of Old Florida National Bank and Harvest Consumer Insulation, Inc. He is one of the founding board members of Chicago Hope Academy, a private Christian high school for inner-city youth. He lives in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife Heather and his sons John David and Jordan Chase.

Roy Patterson

Community Relations Director, Moody Bible Institute

“I love children. And I am very concerned about the issues they face. When you are part of By The Hand, you are helping to make The Solution possible by sharing biblical life skills with the children. I love the emphasis on education, salvation and creativity.”

Roy Patterson is the Community Relations Director at Moody Bible Institute (MBI). In this role, Roy is helping to strengthen relationships with churches, pastors and ministry partners, and facilitate racial reconciliation in Chicago. He was the station manager for Moody Radio Chicago for years, and continues to host three nationally syndicated programs, Celebration of Praise, Music for Sunday and Urban Praise. Roy is a preacher, praise and worship leader and vocalist—and has a passion for the body of Christ united through worship and sincere fellowship.

A graduate of Moody Bible Institute and Trinity International University, Roy has served as a youth leader, senior pastor and substance abuse counselor. He has been married to his wife, Lynette, for over 30 years and has three children.

Gilbert Russell

Director of Business Development, ASAP Pharmacy, Inc.

“The times in which we live now and the future of our existence globally demand that we make our youth a priority. This can only be achieved by instilling in each one life-sustaining disciplines, principles and truths that will equip them to make the decisions necessary to make a fuller quality of life on this planet for all.”

Gilbert Russell has a deeply personal connection to the kids at By The Hand, as he was one of them—an under-resourced kid growing up in 60’s Chicago. Just like By The Hand does now, someone came to him and offered him a way out in the form of mentorship. He credits them with “showing [him] the world” and giving him the inspiration he needed to define his future. He now strives to be a mentor and a visual model to the kids at By The Hand so they can achieve whatever they put their minds to, despite how heavily the odds appear to be stacked against them.

Keith Searles

Owner and Founder, Urban GIS

Keith Searles is passionate about ministry and youth mentoring, using his many skills to help organizations like By The Hand as well as kids he mentors. Professionally, he is President and Founder of Urban GIS, a consulting firm that provides Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services, bridging the gap between IT and engineering. With 20 years of industry experience, he is also an accomplished trainer and public speaker. He maintains strategic partnerships with other firms in related fields, such as GIS, IT, Engineering, Planning, Surveying.

Keith holds an MA in Biblical Studies from the Moody Bible Institute and BA in Civil Engineering with a minor in International Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is currently receiving his GIS Certificate from Penn State University.

Julius Wilson

Manager, Avaya (Retired)

“I love seeing kids learn about Christ and grow in their faith. The Solution.”

Wilson has served on the board of By The Hand since it became a 501(c)(3) organization. A longtime elder of Moody Church, Wilson holds an MA from Moody Bible Institute and BA from the University of Illinois.