Meet the Staff


Editorial Team

Tamara O'Shaughnessy | Editor

When Tamara tells moms and dads she's the editor at Chicago Parent, they often remark that she must be the perfect parent. She's not. Not even close. What she is, though, is a mom who loves her three kids, Marty, Arlee and Zoe, so intensely it sometimes makes her heart hurt. She also loves putting out a magazine full of tips, articles and resources that helps other moms and dads. O'Shaughnessy spent 21 years working in daily newspapers, before joining Chicago Parent six years ago. Like so many parents, she struggles to keep work, home life with husband Bob and three very busy kids' activities in balance without losing her mind. Some days, she's successful; some days, not so much.

Email Tamara at

Hillary Bird | Managing Editor

A Midwestern farm girl, Hillary Bird is a sports writer turned mom turned Chicago Parent aficionado. With two young daughters, there's so much to learn and live and teach about being a parent in an age of Elmo, Mickey and Kindle. She graduated from Michigan State University—twice—and has worked at newspapers north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1995. She and her husband live with two kids, two cats and a grill on the South Side.

Email Hillary at

Katina Beniaris | Digital Editor

Born in Chicago, Katina Beniaris has always loved the city thanks to her mom finding the latest family fun attractions listed in Chicago Parent. She then spent her college years studying journalism at Loyola University Chicago and Northwestern University. When she’s not working, you can find her on the lookout for the next best brunch spot in the Chicagoland area.

Email Katina at

Events & Marketing Team

Carmen C. Rivera | Events Coordinator

Chicago native Carmen C. Rivera is the mother of two men and a fast-growing boy; as well as glam-ma to two princesses. She is responsible for Chicago Parent and Wednesday Journal, Inc.'s marketing and event initiatives. Carmen has attended DePaul University, where she studied journalism and communications—along with multimedia advertising and event marketing. She has also attended Loyola and Dominican Universities for continuing education and leadership programs. Carmen is a successful entrepreneur and journalist with more than 22 years in the media industry. When she's not planning the next big event, you might find her relaxing somewhere in the sun, with her family close by, or seated along the runway at one of Chicagoland’s emerging fashion designer’s shows.

Email Carmen at

Lori Smerz | Special Events Ambassador

Lori excitedly came on board the Chicago Parent Ambassador team almost three years ago. However, she had been a dedicated reader and follower of the magazine since her teaching days back in the late 90s, even pre-kids. Lori most enjoys attending the area festivals and fairs in Chicagoland, meeting readers, introducing new parents to the magazine and bringing crafts to the children. She now has a family of her own out in the western suburbs. 

Email Lori at

Advertising Team

Lourdes Nicholls | Sales Rep

Lourdes has been an employee with Chicago Parent for more than 20 years in various roles which have included sales, TV, radio and even company party planning! Her greatest accomplishments include her three children, the 2007 and 2014 Chicago Marathons and lifelong friendships. Life is never boring ... she loves learning new things about the Chicagoland area every day through her clients, friends and family.

Lourdes' sales territory focuses on the North Suburbs.

Email Lourdes at

Karen Skinner | Sales Rep

Karen has been with Chicago Parent since its purchase by Wednesday Journal more than 20 years ago. She brings with her a background in psychology and theater (which she claims is extremely useful in sales!). When she isn't hard at work for her eclectic and brilliant customers, she is probably annoying people with her camera or playing with her three grandsons.

Karen's sales territory focuses on the Northwest and Western Suburbs. In addition, she is the salesperson for all live theater performances.

Email Karen at

Christine Griffith | Sales Rep

A Chicagoan by way of Phoenix, Christine Griffith is the mom to two awesome teen boys and a somewhat younger daughter. Christine has more than 10 years in media sales and marketing working with both local and national partners. Christine spends her free time as most moms do: running her kids around to various activities, spending some occasional time with friends who are self-proclaimed Instagram foodies, and acting as an unofficial Joan Rivers and judging all award show red carpets from the couch.

Christine's sales territory focuses on the city of Chicago from Hyde Park to Diversey.

Email Christine at

Annette Coffee | Sales Rep

Annette joined Chicago Parent after six years on an editorial side. Outside of work, she keeps busy running her two active kids around. Having moved from out of state and gone through the process of trying to find places and things to do for her kids, she is excited to help connect families with businesses and resources.

Annette's sales territory focuses on the South/Southwest Suburbs and the far South Side of Chicago.

Email Annette at

Support Team

Mike Risher | IT and Digital Developer

Mike Risher is a Web developer for Wednesday Journal, Inc., where he has helped launch and re-launch several websites, including,, and Mike works in all aspects of Web programming -- server-side scripting, CSS, Javascript, XHTML, as well as teaching himself how to develop for mobile platforms. Currently he spends most of his time working on his new Web framework, codenamed Snowflake.

Email Mike at