Jazz Institute of Chicago

Jazz Institute of Chicago Staff

Lauren Deutsch, Executive Director

Ms. Deutsch served on the Board of Directors of the Jazz Institute for 14 years.  As a board member she helped produce and promote concerts, program the Chicago Jazz Festival, develop a high school jazz curriculum and negotiate a home at the University of Chicago for the Jazz Institute of Chicago's archives.  Ms. Deutsch's tenure as Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago began in 1996. Her background in community organization and the arts provided the impetus to develop programs in collaboration with a variety of small and large institutions, including the 12-year old JazzCity program, a collaboration with the Chicago Park District which provides access to high caliber jazz performances to communities all over Chicago, the Jazz Links teacher-partnership that provides in-school residencies and after school opportunities students to perform with and learn from jazz veterans, and in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs, the conception and programming of Millennium Park's Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz concert series.  In 2006 she began a partnership with a cultural arts organization in Poznan, Poland to program and present a 6-concert Made in Chicago festival and was commissioned to create and exhibit her music-inspired artwork..

In 2004 she was selected as one of the Chicago Tribune's Chicagoan's of the Year for her contributions to Chicago's cultural landscape.


Diane Chandler-Marshall, Education Program Director

A former member of the Board of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Ms. Chandler-Marshall received unanimous board approval for her new role with the organization. Her career in the arts community spans over 20 years as an arts administrator and advocate. Ms. Chandler-Marshall's work includes extensive experience with both local and national-level government, public and private organizations and non-profit arts agencies. In 1999, she was awarded the Music of the Heart Education Award by the National Association for the Recording Arts and Sciences, Inc. for her outstanding contributions to music and arts education.

Mekeda Johnson-Brooks, Communications & Marketing Director

Mekeda Johnson-Brooks is a marketing professional with nearly 10 years of experience.  She has been recognized for community involvement and managament of coroporate civic campaigns.  She joined the JIC team in the spring of 2012.


Alex Betzel, Operations Manager

A recent graduate of DePaul University Alex served as a summer intern and became Operations Manager and Membership Coordinator in September 2013. She keeps event production running smoothly, collects and analyzes data from events snd programs, manages the membership processing and events, and assists in all departments.


Lawrence Rocke, Event Production Manager and Book keeper

A former jazz impresario, Lawrence more recently owned a catering business. His job responsibilities include preparing financial reports, paying bills, filing tax and other pesky forms and arguing with vendors

Zakiya Powell, Education Associate

A graduate of our Jazz Links program, Zakiya is also an accomplished trombone player.  She assists in coordinating the Jazz Links Student Ensemble activities and other duties related to the Jazz Links Education program.  

Katie Ernst, Education Associate

Katie is a jazz bassist, vocalist, and educator.  Katie acts as the coordinator for the Jazz Links Student Council and is working to develop the NextGenJazz program to engage the young jazz musicians of Chicago.  Originally from Naperville, IL, she is an alumna of the Jazz Links Student Council and graduated from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY in 2011.   


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