Why Trellus?

A trellis is a structure that gives plants access to light, air, and space to grow. Our organization serves as a support system for refugees and immigrants arriving in the United States. Our job is to remove barriers and allow people to choose their own path as they flourish. We’re not offering a transactional service — instead, our community is the backdrop that encourages progress. We changed the last two letters of the word “trellis” to highlight this unity…it’s all about US. When a garden thrives, the trellis isn’t the focus…instead, it’s all about the beauty of the blooms.

Our Vision

To live in a world where all immigrants, refugees, and underserved communities have equal access to opportunities and face no barriers to full participation in life. We strive to build a community where diversity is celebrated, and all people are treated with dignity and respect.

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower immigrants, refugees, and underserved communities to thrive by removing barriers and providing supports that create opportunities for life.

Our Values

Our core values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide our organization’s behavior, decision-making, and culture. They include:

  • Embrace Community
  • Advance Opportunity
  • Bolster Learning and Growth
  • Honor Diversity
  • Foster Collaboration
  • Champion People


We have deep roots in the refugee and immigrant communities. Forty-five years ago, a remarkable group of men from Cambodia responded to the plight of those escaping internment camps in Vietnam and arriving in Chicago. Their work established the foundation of what would become Asian Human Services and later Trellus. Since then, we’ve expanded our reach to support families arriving in the US from all over the world. We remain clear on our mission to remove barriers and provide supports that ensure opportunities for life.

Leadership Team

Rebecca Creighton


Chris Shue


Eric Lindstrom


Anna Falcon

Director of People & Culture

Cat Savino

Director of Behavioral Health

Michael Stewart

Principal, Passages Elementary School

Ali Tarokh

Director of Policy and Advocacy

Gianna Sheppard-Howell

Director of Early Childhood

Justin Hochstetler

Associate Director of Community Health

Armend Sahatqija

Manager of Community Outreach and Relations

Damira Jakupovic

Youth Workforce Development Program Manager

Mohammed Altinawi

Adult Workforce Development Program Manager

Wendy Neal


Marilyn Okoye

Employment Engagement Manager

Hollis Rabin

Behavioral Health Lead Counselor

Marina Mason

Behavioral Health Lead Counselor

Mandy Gearhart

Associate Director of Workforce Development

Erica Hernandez

Assistant Principal

Board of Directors

Michelle T. Cronin

Strategy & Finance Professional

Charles Hempfiling

C.A Hempfiling & Associates

Manuj Lal

PwC, PatientPoint Enterprise

John Hrisney

Principal, Arthur Anderson (Retired)

Steve Moy, CFA

Wealth Management Professional
Northern Trust

Jyoti Nigam

Senior Vice President | COO Practice
Excellent | Asset Management Northern Trust

Mark Hansen

Education Consultant/Retired

Financial Report

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