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The Generation J Leadership Council.

One thing we know about the members of Generation J, the Joffrey’s advocacy group for young professionals: we share a passion for dance.

Going on ten years now, the Generation J Leadership Council has put together events, hosted social hours, and even persuaded some of the Joffrey company members to join our little soirées to support the next generation of arts patrons.

We’d like to formally introduce the current leadership team and put faces to the names you’ll be hearing from in the coming months about the Joffrey’s and our upcoming events. Without further ado, here are your Gen J leaders for the Joffrey’s 2021–2022 season.

Carolyn Blessing

Leadership Council Co-Chair

Carolyn has been involved with the Joffrey in various capacities since she moved to Chicago in 2012, and now proudly serves as the Co-Chair of the Generation J Leadership Council. She has attended many events, performances, Galas, and Generation J gatherings and especially loves bringing friends and colleagues to the Joffrey’s Circle Salons which (in her opinion) are one of the best ways to get a behind the scenes look at the talent of the dancers and true phenomenon that is the Joffrey. By day Carolyn is a Partner at Locke Lord LLP, where she also serves as the hiring partner for the Chicago Office. Her legal practice focuses on Intellectual Property Litigation for biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Lauren Huefner

Leadership Council Co-Chair

Lauren has been a member of the Generation J Leadership Council since 2010 and is thrilled to serve as the Council’s Co-Chair. Lauren’s love of dance started at a very early age while pursuing her classical ballet training. She eventually performed with several ballet companies throughout the U.S. as a student and apprentice into her early 20s. Lauren currently teaches Pilates, yoga, and ballet and has a passion for helping young dancers and athletes. She is enthusiastic about spreading her love of dance and movement to the Chicago community and engaging the next generation of ballet patrons.

Rachel Bartunek

Events Co-Chair

Rachel has been a subscriber to The Joffrey Ballet since 2007, and joined the Joffrey Generation J Leadership Council in 2017. She takes pride in organizing events to bring young professionals together through their love of dance. Additionally, Rachel works at Lincoln International in mergers and acquisitions of consumer goods. She and her husband enjoy the thriving arts scene in Chicago and most nights can be found out at a theater, or walking their two dogs along the lake.

Sarah Shu

Events Co-Chair

Sarah has been a member of the Joffrey Generation J Leadership Council since 2017. From Wheeldon’s Nutcracker to Anna Karenina, she has organized the social events for current, new, and prospective Gen J members. During business hours, Sarah is a Digital Merchant for Walgreens managing the Beauty category. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and regularly teaches at studios around the city.

Jacqueline Lentz

Membership Co-Chair

Jacqueline’s involvement with The Joffrey Ballet began in 2015. Shortly thereafter, she became co-chair of the membership committee of the Generation J Leadership Council. Jacqueline’s passion for dance began at a very young age when she started her dance training. She trained in multiple styles and participated in competitive dance, varsity dance team, and a pre-professional company at Eisenhower Dance Center. Jacqueline is excited to share her passion with the next generation of ballet patrons. Professionally, Jacqueline is an Assistant Vice President in Corporate Lending at BMO Harris Bank. She is responsible for structuring transactions, conducting due diligence, and negotiating financing agreements, primarily for companies in the Food and Consumer industry.

Natalie Matwijiszyn

Membership Co-Chair

Natalie has been a member of the Joffrey Generation J Leadership Council since 2015. Natalie grew up dancing and her passion for the Joffrey was ignited when she had the opportunity to dance in the children’s cast of The Nutcracker. She has since attended many performances and events to support the Joffrey and has been involved with Generation J by managing and engaging members, attending Circle Salons and Generation J events. Natalie is a Finance Manager at Conagra Brands, Inc. where she focuses on financial planning and analysis for the Company.