Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) – Client Success Story

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. In November 2022, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ (CYSO) Board of Directors retained KEES as its nonprofit executive search partner. A comprehensive, national, search was launched attracting a talented and diverse pool of qualified leaders locally, domestically, and internationally. The Board of Directors ultimately selected Jennie Oh Brown from a strong group of finalists that came from multiple sub-sectors in classical, youth music, and music education.

The Hire

A celebrated artist, arts administrator, educator, and visionary, Jennie Oh Brown brings a wealth of experience and a wide-ranging skill set to her new position. Brown brings experience from Epiphany Center for the Arts, Ear Taxi Festival, Credo Flute, Wheaton College, and Elmhurst University. She also serves on the board of Chamber Music of America.

We are grateful for the dedicated committee leading the search efforts including Search Chair Brittany Viola (Former Attorney at Chapman and Cutler), Saurab Bhargava (Merge), Ross Bricker (Jenner & Block), Pamela Conroy, Bryan Miller (Leyden High Schools), Jennifer Myerberg (The Alvin & Louise Myerberg Family Foundation, Inc.), Angela O’Banion (Cook County Health), John Schladweiler (Schladweiler Associates, Inc., retired), and Hank Turner (Conagra Brands).

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams and dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public entity sectors. A woman-owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit

“Jennie is a force within the Chicago and national music scene, and we are thrilled to officially announce her as our next Executive Director,” said CYSO Board Chair Ross Bricker. “We were seeking a collaborative, innovative, and inspiring individual as our next leader, and we look forward to growing and flourishing with Jennie’s background and expertise. I am confident that her vision and skillset will propel CYSO to new levels, ensure it remains a best-in-class program available to all, and bring the enormous benefits that CYSO provides to students throughout Chicagoland.”

About CYSO

With a rich history dating to 1946, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) is committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering student musicians so that they may pursue personal excellence both on and off the stage. Bringing together young musicians from diverse backgrounds in a collaborative environment that develops self-confidence, teamwork, and leadership, CYSO provides one of the most comprehensive music training programs in the country that inspires both musical and personal growth. To learn more, please visit