Meet Our Team

With more than 40 years of experience, the people at Smart have helped nonprofit associations get the most from their budget. With expertise in all areas of association management, we’re able to provide you with the right level of service and support. We know your world because we live in it, too.

Take a moment to get to know our team. With offices in Chicago, we’re here, when and where you need us.

Jay Lyon | Principal

Jay has 30+ years of experience working with associations across a variety of disciplines. His efforts have earned a number of Gold Circle Awards from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), as well as from national associations.

Jay serves as Executive Director for our association clients, many of whom have been with the company for more than 10 years.

He previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA), as well as the Assistant Administrator of the Piping Education Council. He handled all communications programs for MCA, from the association web site to its public relations program and marketing materials. As Assistant Administrator for the Piping Education Council, Jay planned all Board of Trustees meetings and meeting materials for an organization with an annual budget of $2 million.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in communication from Northwestern University, where he has served as an adjunct instructor in the Undergraduate Leadership Program.

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Jill Andrada | Account Coordinator

Jill brings administrative and event planning expertise to the Smart Association Management team including:

  • Client relations management and support
  • Event planning and execution
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Volunteer recruitment
  • Community/member engagement

She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago.

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Karyn McGovern | Account Coordinator

Karyn has expertise in nonprofit management across all business functions, including program planning and implementation, multi-interest collaboration and communication, and detailed efficiency.

Before joining Smart, Karyn worked in administration and education for St. Matthias School in Chicago. She was responsible for …

  • Managing the compliance program for over 100 people including data collection and annual audits
  • Coordinating school-wide educational programming and identity training for staff, students and families
  • Directing facilities scheduling among multiple groups on short and long-term basis
  • Supporting principal in school-wide communication, event implementation and volunteerism
  • Collaborating with internal and external stakeholders/community members

Prior to that, Karyn served as Pastoral Associate/Director of Religious Education at St. Matthias Church in Chicago. Her role included programming (including recruitment and training), internal and external communications, staff and volunteer compliance/safety, office management and more. Before moving to St. Matthias Church, Karyn was an Elementary Education Teacher for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Karyn has a bachelor’s degrees in elementary education from the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN.

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Nicolette Marasa | Account Coordinator

Nicolette brings project management expertise and over 10 years of customer experience to our team including:

  • Client relations management and support
  • Event planning and execution
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Membership Acquisition

Before joining Smart, Nicolette worked for Crate and Barrel as a Corporate Sales Manager generating leads and facilitating projects for the design trade program. Prior to that, she was an Executive Assistant Intern for Keller Williams Realty. 

Nicolette has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Roosevelt University.

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McKenzie Merriman | Communications Coordinator

McKenzie has seven years of experience in nonprofit coordination and support, including program management, grant writing, digital content creation, gallery management and event coordination. Over the years, she has developed a diverse skillset which includes:

  • Website management
  • Graphic design
  • Copywriting
  • Event and program planning
  • Meeting facilitation

Prior to joining Smart, McKenzie served as the programs and development assistant for Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She has also served as a communications consultant for foundations in both Chicago and Cleveland. She has bachelor’s degrees from The Ohio State University in Journalism and English and a master’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Strategic Communications.

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Judie Prophete | Bookkeeper, Association Coordinator

Judie supports our Association clients in a variety of ways:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Management
  • Event planning and execution
  • Administrative services

Before joining Smart, Judie worked for the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA) helping the organization with special projects, and member relations. Prior to that, she was a Finance and Accounting Intern for MCA, and assisted with accounts payable/receivable along with annual budget preparation.

Judie is working toward her bachelor’s degree in accounting at DePaul University in Chicago.

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205.797.6278 |

3759 N Ravenswood Avenue, Suite 129
Chicago, IL 60613

Smart Leaders Start Here

Smart Association Management helps nonprofit associations work smarter and get the most for their money by keeping staffing costs in check so budgets can be used for things that matter most to members: benefits and programming.

Smart Association Management