Our Team

Joan M. Steltmann
Executive Director

Ms. Steltmann was appointed as Executive Director of Starlight Midwest in September 2010. Under her leadership, Starlight grew over 40% in 2011, launched Starlight Escapes in two new states, and expanded inpatient programming amongst its 150+ hospital partners. Prior to joining Starlight, Joan served as VP, Enterprise Advancement for Lake Forest Graduate School of Management where she held P&L responsibility for Development, Governance, Alumni Relations, and Community Outreach. Joan has 16 years of experience in global marketing, e-business, strategic planning, business development, and finance with IBM. She has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune. As Market Development Executive she was responsible for developing interactive, multi-media marketing campaigns targeted at strategic growth markets. Joan has been recognized as a Corporate Woman of Distinction by the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and was featured as Executive of the Month by Chicago Business Women magazine. An active community leader, Joan is Vice Chair of the Board for National Runaway Switchboard and chairs its Strategic Planning Committee. She is also past co-chair of the Women’s Board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois®, a former Director of the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce, a past member of the Donors Forum of Chicago Strategic Planning Committee. Joan earned an M.B.A. from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University and a B.B.A. (highest honors) Ross School of Business Administration, University of Michigan.


Emily Abbott
Program Coordinator

Emily joined Starlight Midwest in July 2012 as Program Coordinator. Her prior experience as program area director at Double H Ranch, a summer camp for children with chronic illnesses, fuels her passion for Starlight’s mission. Emily also draws from her event marketing background with Marketing Werks, and her not-for-profit leadership perspective as a Board Member for Do Your P’Art Foundation, to bring both Starlight Escapes family programming and Starlight hospital partnership programming across the Midwest. Emily holds a BA from University of Vermont.


Kate Burnham
Development & Operations Coordinator

Kate joined Starlight Midwest in March of 2014 as the organization’s Development and Operations Coordinator. Her previous experience working at the Boston University Community Service Center in event planning, volunteer management and fundraising, fully prepared her for this role with Starlight. After graduating with a BA from Boston University in 2012, Kate spent the year teaching English at a university in Ecuador. Her volunteer background in community development, abroad and locally alike, drive her commitment to the nonprofit community and Starlight’s mission.


Raquel Kruse
Annual Giving Manager

Raquel joined the Starlight Midwest team in March of 2014 as Annual Giving Manager. Having enjoyed working in development at the University of Michigan before graduating with a BA in 2012, Raquel continued working in university development in a leadership role in Annual Giving at Northwestern University. After establishing her development career in higher education, she chose to continue her career with a charitable organization whose mission truly excites her, and is thrilled to have joined the Starlight team. Raquel's experience as a fundraiser, her time spent working within Annual Giving, and her passion for helping kids drive her enthusiasm for Starlight's important work.