Friends Board

Friends of the Forest Preserve District Board

The Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is our fundraising foundation and accepts financial donations on behalf of all forest preserve facilities, restoration projects, wildlife support, and educational programs and events. 


Board Chair Diane Addante


Diane Addante has served in numerous officer positions with the Lombard Junior Women's Club and the General Federation of Women's Club for nearly 30 years and is still involved with both organizations. She is currently Illinois conservation chairman of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. She has more than 37 years of experience in accounting, community work and volunteering.


Board Vice Chair Bob Watt


Bob Watt is a retired managing director and partner from a Chicago-based financial-consulting company. He brings many years of experience in leadership, corporate sponsorship, and community partnership to his service. Watt is a longtime volunteer with the Forest Preserve District and its Willowbrook Wildlife Center. He also serves on the Bloomingdale Park District Foundation and volunteers with Dujardin Elementary School and the College of DuPage.


Board Treasurer Ashley Guest


Ashley Guest is a senior accountant at Calamos Investments. Her experience as a certified public accountant supports the Friends’ finance committee with its financial planning, analysis and reporting. She has a bachelor of science degree in accounting and an MBA in accounting, both from North Central College. She enjoys running, hiking, biking and kayaking in DuPage forest preserves.



Board Secretary Carl Schultz


Carl Schultz has a degree in horticulture and a science-based background relating to plants, their cultivation and landscapes. Schultz is a former Forest Preserve District of DuPage County commissioner and an avid nature lover. He operates a horticultural consulting service.



Board Member Brian Battle


Brian Battle, a director at the Performance Trust Companies, is recognized nationwide as a financial market expert who provides valuable insight on issues related to liability management, mortgage securities, the municipal market and taxable bonds and is a frequent on-air commentator. He joined Performance Trust in 2005 as a trader and underwriter. Prior to Performance Trust, he began his career at American National Bank and then spent a decade at Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson, Inc.  His 30 years of experience in analyzing, underwriting and trading are beneficial to the Friends’ fundraising and investment goals. 



Board Member Penny Chanez


Penny Chanez is the executive assistant at the DuPage County Health Department and chairs the Department’s Work Life Committee which focuses on employee wellness. She is an advocate for the environment and open spaces and the importance of nature for health and well-being. A former member of the Lombard Junior Women's Club and the General Federation of Women's Club, she held various leadership positions and has served her community as a volunteer and leader for over 20 years.



Board Member Karyn Charvat


Karyn Charvat is the executive director of PowerForward DuPage, an organization that represents over 400 electrical contractors throughout DuPage County. Charvat also serves on the boards of Choose DuPage, Chamber 630 and the Naperville Rotary After Dark Club, where she also serves as Sergeant-at-Arms and Membership Chair. She is also an active member of the board of directors for the General Federation of Women's Clubs, headquartered in Washington, D.C. She brings more than 27 years of experience in advertising, marketing and public relations to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District board.



Board Member Larry C. Larson


Larry C. Larson retired from College of DuPage as a supervisor in library computer resources and printing services and an adjunct instructor in graphic arts technology and desktop publishing. Larson served on the college’s Classified Personnel Association as a board member and Annuitants Association as a communications committee chair. He volunteered with WFMT 98.7 FM, assisting with membership drives and participating in a matching challenge. He has supported the Friends of the Forest Preserve District as a donor and volunteer since 2013.



Ex-Officio Member Jeff Gahris


Commissioner Jeff Gahris of District 4 was elected to the Forest Preserve District board of commissioners in Nov. 2020. A 30-year resident of DuPage County, Gahris has been an active volunteer for numerous organizations, including the Sierra Club's river Prairie Group, the DuPage Clean Energy Coalition, Illinois Solar Energy Association, and Citizens Climate Lobby.