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Origami Works Foundation seeks to help Chicagoland's most impoverished citizens overcome barriers to earning a living. We remove obstacles to employment and make opportunities more visible. We work with community-based organizations, educational institutions, employers, and government agencies to identify opportunities to enable people to work. Then we partner with appropriate organizations, and fund and often staff and execute projects to meet our mutual goals. 

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Dani Houchin
Executive Director

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Dani's commitment to addressing workforce issues across Chicagoland is palpable and it inspires the people around her.

January Miller, Embarc

Dani (she/her) is the Executive Director and Managing Trustee of Origami Works Foundation. Dani spent most of her career as a management consultant, helping organizations of all kinds and sizes enhance the performance of their employees, through learning initiatives, change management efforts, and process improvements. Now she applies those skills to enhancing opportunity for Chicagoans seeking to overcome barriers to employment, opportunity youth, and first generation college students. 

A first-generation college graduate herself, Dani has a degree in Public & International Affairs from Princeton University, and a Masters in Instructional Technology from Columbia University. She also completed doctoral level coursework at Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy.

Tami (she/her) is the Program Officer at Origami Works Foundation providing support and direction on a variety of projects both past and present. She has spent her career in a diverse set of roles and sectors, including Office Management, Human Resources, and was the creator and proprietor of a small online crafts business for several years. Tami's unique career path has given her an ability to adapt and innovate, and she now uses that skill to help Origami Works Foundation succeed in its partnerships with Chicagoland workforce organizations.

Tami is a first-generation college graduate with a BA in Theatre & Dance from The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to her work with Origami Works Foundation she is a writer, performer, and advocate for the empowerment of girls and women.

Tami Hillberry
Program Officer

Allison Pearls

Allison Harju
Operations Manager

Allison (she/her) is the Operations Manager for Origami Works Foundation. Allison is responsible for many critical tasks that, when done well,  often go unnoticed. Her responsibilities include human resources, bookkeeping, payroll, benefits, compliance, grants administration, website maintenance and general operations. Allison is both a people person and a numbers person; she is creative and consistent, reliable and thorough.  

Allison earned her Associate in Arts from William Rainey Harper College and completed additional coursework in psychology, sociology & criminal justice. Allison has years of experience working behind the scenes making sure organizations run smoothly for employees, clients, and business partners. Allison is also a certified yoga instructor.


As the Directory Administrator at Origami Works Foundation, Whitney (she/her) ensures that the data in Talent Solutions Connector is up-to-date and she also supports the users of the directory. She is passionate about helping people overcome barriers to meaningful employment and connecting employers to resources to help them build their teams. Before joining Origami Works Foundation, Whitney worked as a project manager and business development representative. She now uses her organizational, writing and research skills to update and upkeep information and set data-related goals pertaining to Talent Solutions Connector.


Whitney has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. Along with her role at Origami Works Foundation, Whitney is a sports and pop culture scriptwriter, avid reader and aspiring gardener.

Whitney Wilson
Directory Administrator

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Becca Senatore
Directory Manager

Becca (they/she) is Directory Manager of both Talent Solutions Connector and Chicagoland CareerPathways at Origami Works Foundation. They direct and improve these projects' operations through their wide-ranging skill sets, with proven strengths in relationship management, data administration, communications and marketing, collaborative design, and systems thinking. They are passionate about economic equity and value-driven in all of their work at Origami Works Foundation.


Becca is a graduate of Princeton University with a BA in Slavic Languages and Literatures, focusing on the politics of Russian rap music. She is an avid reader, lifelong learner, and relentless defender of her New Jersey roots.

As Director of Operations, Ann (she/her) helps to foster a positive and productive culture at Origami Works Foundation. She works with individual employees and project teams to help incorporate our vision, mission, and beliefs into everything we do. 

Early in her career, Ann was a counselor at a group home for justice-involved teenagers. There she saw the many barriers they faced in education, (trying to enter) the workforce, and life in general. Ann returned to school to study how people and groups learn and develop. For over 25 years, Ann applied her knowledge and experience to software programs and more recently to workforce development programs.  Ann is a steadfast advocate for accessibility, inclusion, and equity for all - especially people who face barriers.

Ann B. Brownell
Director of Operations

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