Meet our Team


Dr. Sanita Tillman

Dr. Sanita Tillman serve as a Board of Director (Strategic Planning & Evaluation Chair) for Friends in the City Foundation.  Dr. Tillman received her M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Spertus College and her Ed.D in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University.  She has over 14 years with programs that improve the lives of youth and/or families.   In 2014 She started a program called 2Nspire1.  2Nspire1 is a mentoring program that assist high school students with obtaining their goals to attend college. Her mission is to expose high school scholars to their future by inspiring, influencing and nurturing their academic goals.


Codi Tranel

Codi Tranel is a licensed Social Worker with her Masters of Social Work Degree and a certification in Nonprofit Management from the University of Texas at Austin.  She has 10 years of experience working for youth-serving organizations and over 6 years of management experience. She also serves as the Chief Operating Officer for My Block, My Hood My City, a start-up non-profit focused on exposing youth to new career paths, cultures, and communities.  She joined the board because she is a firm believer in FITC Foundation’s mission and those who work so hard to achieve it.


Brandi Z. Burton

Brandi Z. Burton is an Assistant State's Attorney at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Her practice includes criminal and civil prosecutions. Brandi attended Spelman College where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Upon graduating from Spelman, Brandi worked as a College Counselor at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men- Englewood Campus. She later went on to earn her Juris Doctor at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

When Brandi learned about FITC and it's mission, she felt it was her duty to assist the organization. After a year of volunteering with FITC, Brandi knew that as a board member she would be in a better position to effectuate the goals of the organization.

Brandi is currently an active member of the Cook County Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association,  and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.


Andrea F. Serrano

Andrea Fernanda Serrano is the Individual Giving Manager of City Year Chicago. City Year is an education not-for-profit that places full-time tutors and mentors in high need schools. In her role, Andrea facilitates philanthropy with a deep passion for social justice, cultural awareness and community engagement. Andrea’s most defining attributes stem from her experiences as a birthmother. After placing her son for adoption in 2012, Andrea’s life’s work has been an arduous, yet hopeful, fight to create a better world for her son, one that she was not able to provide him when she gave birth. She shares her birthmom journey on adoption panels regularly to promote conversation and education on the birth parent experience.

Andrea serves as President of the Board of Directors for Friends in the City Foundation. She enjoys the outdoors, engaging in social justice conversations and is a lover of chimichangas. Andrea currently resides in Chicago.


Darius Nix

Darius Nix (Chalmers) is the Executive Director of Friends in the City Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Nix is the founding Executive Director and has been since 2014. Under his leadership the organization has provided after school mentoring programs for Chicago Public School District and Robbins-Posen School District. In addition to providing mentoring programs , Friends in the City Foundation has awarded its first scholarship recipient in 2016, and will continue to provide scholarships for years to come. Prior to the role, Mr. Nix worked as an educator at American Quality Schools, UNO Charter Schools and Chicago Jewish Day School, in Chicago. He also worked as a School Administration for Tech International Charter School, in New York City, and as an educator at Excelsior Classical Academy in Durham, NC. Mr. Nix holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Roosevelt University as well as a MBA and Graduate Certificate in Education Management and Leadership from Keller Graduate School.


Ms.Vergenia Shegog

Ms.Vergenia Shegog currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Friends in the City Foundation (FITC). Vergenia has served on the Board of Directors since 2016. Ms. Shegog is very passionate about education, which guided her decision to be a part of FITC. Her goal and daily ambition is to serve as a role model and leader who helps to orchestrate change and provide enriching educational opportunities for students within our city and beyond.

Ms. Shegog is currently an educator with the Chicago Public Schools. She has been an educator for over 17 years. She currently serves as a Board Member for the Local School Council, she is a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, and serves as Lead Teacher of the Primary Department at her elementary school. Ms. Shegog is committed to teaching and collaborating with students’ academically, helping them foster positive social relationships with their peers, instilling in them the importance of serving in their community and being drivers of change in their destiny.


Asia A. Black

Asia A. Black comes to the Friends in the City Foundation with a passion for serving youth in urban communities, non profit management and education. She joined the board because she believes in service and giving; in particular, she is fond of the unique resources and programs FITC brings to schools.  Asia holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from St. Olaf College and is completing certification in nonprofit management. Currently, she is the Development Associate at  Young Women’s Leadership Charter School located in Chicago. In this role she partners with the CEO and External Affairs Manager to develop philanthropic and fundraising strategies, and manages all special events, and create individual giving direct mail campaigns. Her responsibilities also include furthering the work of the development department by maintaining clerical, administrative and marketing and online collateral. As an Alum of the school, Asia also coordinates Alumni Relations. On her spare time she enjoys traveling, dining, reading and yoga.


Not Pictured : Ashante McClain and Felecia Staggers