A.S.K. For Help Foundation Board
President & Founder – Olivia Katamanin
Olivia grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and after graduating from Highland Park High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. She is now an M.D. candidate at the Chicago Medical School.
Olivia founded A.S.K. For Help in April of 2021 following the tragic passing of her brother Alan. Since then, she continues to be a mental health advocate all while growing the foundation and furthering its mission of making talking about and seeking help for mental illness and suicidal ideation less taboo.
Vice President – Julie Smolansky
Julie Smolansky is a Ukrainian-American businesswoman. She is the CEO of Illinois-based dairy company Lifeway Foods. She has served on the boards of the Anti-Defamation League, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and is currently on the board of the A.S.K For Help Foundation. Smolansky has also been active in the conversation about sexual violence. She has supported several documentaries covering the violence against girls in Muslim-majority countries. She is also the co-founder of Test400k which is a non-profit dedicated to eliminating the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the U.S. and stop violence against women. She continues to spread awareness and serves as a mental health advocate in and beyond her community.
Secretary – Kiana Stern
Hi! I’m Kiana Stern and I am very honored to be on the board of the A.S.K. For Help Foundation. I have my Bachelor’s in Psychology and mental health has always been a topic that I have been very passionate about. Olivia is one of my very best friends and I am very proud to stand by her side, as she has created this wonderful foundation, which has educated and benefited so many. I look forward to continuing to grow and expand this foundation to continue to support, educate, benefit, and help our society!
Treasurer – Lena Katamanin
Lena is the loving mother of three; Olivia, Alan, and Dimitri Katamanin. Lena has a nursing degree from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. Her passions include growing the A.S.K. For Help Foundation in memory of her beloved son. She is a mental health advocate and an active wellness enthusiast.
Volunteer Manager – Mickalla Johnson
Hi there! My name is Mickalla. Before starting with the A.S.K. For Help Foundation, I spent some time building my background in the tech industry. I’ve spent some time learning the in’s and out’s of I.T., as well as spending some time in customer success and project management roles. Growing up, I was interested in sports, reading, fishing and baking. During that time, I developed a deep sense of purpose in helping those around me. This was something that I had seen my dad and grandma do, and that spirit of giving was passed down onto me. Working with a foundation, especially one centered around the focus of mental health and healthy habits has been a goal of mine for many years. Depression and anxiety was something that I had struggled with. Through the process of overcoming it, I knew I wanted to help others through the cause as well. After college, I wrote out a vision board for my future goals which included being involved in the push towards greater mental health. As time passed, I was fortunate enough to come across the A.S.K. For Help Foundation which aligned exactly with my values and goals. I’m happy to join the team as the volunteer manager of the foundation. I am looking forward to sharing many more steps of growth to come!
Newsletter Creator – Pauline Simon-Alban
Hi, I’m Pauline Simon-Alban. I have a pre-doctoral in Plant Sciences however, I found a deep interest in designing and content creation and writing. I did not want it to just remain an interest so I worked on this interest of mine and trained myself in these fields to turn this into more than just a pass time – to become a professional. And that brought me here to volunteer with the A.S.K. for Help Foundation. Volunteering with A.S.K. for Help Foundation has been a delight since the day I joined. Their mission and vision is concrete and noble. The management is absolutely understanding, patient and they prioritize the health and the overall well being of all those who work here. A.S.K for Help Foundation serves as a perfect example that a workplace can be both professional while being stress-free at the same time. This is definitely an ideal and safe place to work where each of their employees are valued equally with no differentiation, whatsoever.
Director of Finance – Jack Irwin
Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, Jack Irwin moved to Chicago after graduating from the University of Notre Dame to work as an auditor. He discovered the A.S.K. For Help Foundation through a chance meeting with its founder, Olivia Katamanin, and felt an immediate connection with the foundation’s mission to destigmatize mental illness and encourage others to address their mental health. Jack asserts, “Mental health itself is a challenge that each of us faces on a daily basis. I believe that we should all strive to create a culture where individuals recognize the importance of mental health and have the resources needed to live a healthy life.” By volunteering for the Ask For Help Foundation, Jack hopes to reinforce a positive culture shift where all individuals feel empowered to face their mental health challenges head on.
Social Media Marketing – Yumna Siddiqui
Yumna graduated in 2022 from Loyola University Chicago with a B.S. in Biochemistry. She has enjoyed all kinds of activities relating to art since childhood. Since then, she has been a choreographer for a dance team at Loyola, a graphic designer for multiple organizations, and a painter in her free time. She currently works as a dental assistant and hopes to one day be a dentist herself. She values mental health and finds art to be her therapeutic activity that adds balance in her daily routine. Once she heard about the A.S.K. For Help Foundation, she loved their mission of raising awareness for mental health, especially suicide. She knew she could utilize her graphic design skills to make a positive impact regarding mental health.
Grant Writer – Bailey Igoe
Bailey joins our volunteer team as a Grant Searcher/Writer. He currently works as a Sales Development Representative with a company called SalesHive but he has a long list of experience working both in direct and indirect services for a wide range of non profit organizations in various cities, many largely focused on serving the homeless. Bailey even minored in Nonprofit Management while attending school at Appalachian State University! He believes that many of society’s current systemic issues can be directly attributed to a lack of resources for mental health. This among many personal experiences in both work and life is why he felt inclined to volunteer with our organization.
Community Outreach – Elizabeth Gousios
Hi! My name is Elizabeth Gousios. I recently graduated from the University of Illinois where I studied Kinesiology on a pre-PA track. I am very passionate about the A.S.K. For Help Foundation as I have personally struggled with depression and anxiety and understand how difficult it can be to ask for help due to all the stigma surrounding mental health. Being a part of this foundation allows me to do everything in my power to help others and spread the word that no one is ever alone and that there are people who care tremendously!
Grant Writer – Julia Isaeva
Hi! My name is Julia and last year I graduated from the Special Pedagogy program at my University in Moscow. My experiences provided me with the opportunity to learn about the value of diversity, inclusiveness, and initiatives that may assist everyone in realizing their potential and be a catalyst for their healthy growth and development. Being a part of the A.S.K. For Help Foundation means doing right by other people by sharing and spreading the same values, supporting mental illness topics and those who are struggling with their mental health. Taking care of yourself is okay and sometimes people just need to ask for help.
Social Media Strategy – Krish Shah
I’m Krish, a rising second-year Neuroscience major with Disability Studies and Spanish minors on the pre-medicine track, studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. I have a passion for philanthropy and medicine, which fosters my endeavors and career path. Some of my hobbies are basketball, traveling, and EATING! I am a major foodie thriving off of the diverse eateries within the Chicago suburbs and Los Angeles area.