Hero Image

Mission, History, and Leadership

Our mission: Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Navy Pier is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established in 2011 to maintain Navy Pier and oversee the redevelopment of one of the most important civic landmarks in the United States and one of the top-visited leisure and cultural destinations in the world.

In anticipation of the Pier’s 100th anniversary, celebrated in 2016, Navy Pier created The Centennial Vision, a framework for reimagining Navy Pier. Grounded in the noble principles of its founding designers, The Centennial Vision adds a visionary and contemporary lens for the future. 

Navy Pier’s mission is to be a world-class public place that celebrates and showcases the vitality of Chicago and provides for the enjoyment of Chicago-area residents and visitors year-round. Navy Pier manages Navy Pier within a business framework that provides for its long-term financial stability.

While looking forward to what is relevant for Chicagoans today, Navy Pier leadership is ever conscious of famed architect Daniel Burnham’s vision to transform the lakefront into attractive and useful public space for active recreation and social interaction – a source of pride and common ground that fosters a sense of community within the city’s diverse population.

Navy Pier’s objectives for the future remain consistent with Burnham’s enduring values for the ‘People’s Pier’ to be a place where local residents and visitors from around the world come to experience the natural beauty of the lakefront and Chicago’s magnificent skyline.


We strive to offer:

  • Exceptional service to our guests and partners
  • An authentic Chicago experience
  • An architecturally stunning environment offering access to extraordinary vistas of the lake, land and skyline

We aspire to:

  • Deliver high-quality experiences, cultural and educational programs and guest services
  • Cultivate a skilled, talented and motivated team
  • Best-in-class nonprofit operating standards and financial accountability

We aim to:

  • Embrace and celebrate a diverse community and workforce
  • Attract dynamic, inventive partners and collaborators
  • Offer affordable options and opportunities for engagement to all

We endeavor to:

  • Celebrate the Pier’s rich history rooted in the Burnham Plan of Chicago
  • Manage our assets and environmental resources with foresight and prudence
  • Engage donors and other stakeholders in our efforts


Navy Pier History

Historic Navy Pier is among the most visited destinations in the world. Since its reopening in 1995, the Pier has welcomed over 186 million guests, including a record-breaking 9.3 million guests in 2016.

Navy Pier has enjoyed a remarkable evolution. Originally designed for shipping and recreational purposes, the facility has evolved into a premiere entertainment and exposition center. Experience an interactive timeline of Navy Pier’s history at 100yearsofpier.com.

Watch WTTW’s documentary, Navy Pier: A Century of Reinvention.

Board of Directors


William J. Brodsky

Cedar Street Asset Management

Norman Bobins
Vice Chairman
Vice Chairman

Michelle L. Collins
Cambium LLC

Jennifer W. Steans
President & CEO
Financial Investments Corporation

Board Members

Lisa Konik Aronin
Board Member
Boys & Girls Club of Chicago

Douglas R. Brown
Civic Leader

John Bucksbaum
Bucksbaum Retail Properties LLP

Gisselle Castillo-Veremis
Consul General
Consulate General of the Dominican Republic

Gery J. Chico
Chico & Nunes

Larita Clark
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority

Nora Daley
Cultural Advisory Council/Former Chairman, Steppenwolf Theater

Marilynn Kelly Gardner

President and CEO
Navy Pier  

Sandra P. Guthman
Chair, Board of Directors
Polk Bros. Foundation

Jill Griebenow
Senior Vice President, Chief Account Officer
Cboe Global Markets

Brett J. Hart

Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority/EVP & General Counsel, United Airlines

Dean M. Harrison
President and CEO
Northwestern Memorial HeathCare

Roger J. Kiley, Jr.
Board Member, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority/Attorney, Roger J. Kiley, Jr. Law

Steven Koch
Managing Partner
Bowline Group, LLC.

Donna La Pietra
Executive Producer
Kurtis Productions

Richard Price
Executive Chairman
Mesirow Financial

Charles R. Matthews
President & CEO
Peoples Gas & North Shore Gas

Laura Martin

Michael G. O’Rourke
Signature Bank

Jorge Ramirez
Managing Director
GCM Grosvenor

Bridget Reidy
Executive Vice President, Corporate Operations

James R. Reilly
Former CEO
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority/Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Planning Council

Sandra Reynolds
Senior Vice President
IntraLink Global 

John Simpson
Broadhaven Capital Partners                    

John R. Schmidt
Mayer Brown

Smita Shah
Founder & CEO

Emily Heisley Stoeckel
Chairman of the Board
The Heico Companies and Heico Holding

Robin Loewenberg Tebbe

Michael A. Toolis
Vice President
Regional Business Leader, Buildings (US Central), Stantec

Kelly Welsh
The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago

Associate Board

Executive Committee


DeRondal Bevly
RubyRose Strategies

Dan Gibbons
Regional Director of Business Development

Vice Chair

Syreeta Harris Strickland
Director, Investment Banking Marketing
William Blair


Lilly Athamanah
Corporate Communications Specialist
Vivid Seats

Associate Board Members

Mike Axelrod
Grant Park Global

Jessie Biedron
B2B Communications Specialist

Sean Daly
Vice President, Asset Management
American Realty Advisors

Christine DeSousa
Assistant Director, Sales & Marketing
Illinois Restaurant Association

William Fritz
Vice President, Private Client Advisor
Bank of America Private Bank

Conor Gee
Lead Marketing Communications
Blue Cross Blue Shield

Heather Geron
Regional Account Executive

Ashley Hall
Managing Director

Alexis Hardy
Regional Partnerships Director

Matthew Hong
Director of Research, Power & Gas

Kristin Hurley
Compliance Analyst
Aon Service Corporation

Nekesa Josey
Legislative Coordinator
City of Chicago

Barret Kedzior
BKZ Consulting, Inc.

Ashley Kingsmill
Market Development Manager

Kathryn Kocanda
Vice President, Hedge Fund Services
Northern Trust

Jon Leach
Chico & Nunes

Nika Levando
Associate Director, Civic Engagement
University of Chicago

Jack Mullen
Private Wealth Advisor
Merrill Lynch

Qiana Nelson
Sr. Sales Manager, Residency Verticals

Jenee Page
Account Executive
Aon Risk Solutions

Danielle Parker
The Humanity Institute

Roger Payne
Director, Research Analytics
The Marketing Arm

Keri Ricci
Senior Manager, Destination Marketing
Hilton Hotels

Tod Reynolds
Executive Director
Chicago Match Race Center

Sydney Schubert
Associate Relationship Manager
Fifth Third Bank

Ross Thomson
Vice President, Commercial Banking
Signature Bank

Nick Vallorano
Associate, Government & Global Trade
Mayer Brown

Jake Wahler
Associate Principal
Eckenhoff Saunders Architects

Melanie Wang
Director Cultural Planning

Impact Reports


Navy Pier’s annual donor list includes individuals, corporations and foundations that generously support the Pier’s organizational, physical and programmatic transformation.

Click to Download: Navy Pier’s Contributors


Through efficient use of our resources, nurturing of our spaces and engagement with our guests, Navy Pier strives to have a positive impact on our natural environment. For more information about green partnerships, plans and progress, click here.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Navy Pier’s DEI committee Statement of Purpose:

Our goal is to help create an organizational DEI plan, which lives up to NP’s mission of being a world-class public place, and values of Excellence, Integrity, Inclusion and Stewardship. We hope to lead the staff, by way of example, into embracing a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization. With consideration of the Pier’s historic context, we’d like to discuss ideas in a safe and brave space, being the champions and liaisons of affirming and honest communication as a proactive change agent.

Doing Business at Navy Pier

Navy Pier, Inc. through Navy Pier’s Department of Procurement Services, contracts with various vendors providing a wide range of services from, but not limited to, landscaping, advertising, accounting services, construction and electrical. If you would like to be included within NPI’s vendor directory, please complete our on-line vendor application at navypier.diversitycompliance.com. This on-line application automates the process and allow vendors to submit their information and documents electronically. Upon acceptance by Navy Pier’s Procurement Department, vendors will be able to self-manage their company information.

If you want to know what business opportunities are available, please visit the Navy Pier website regarding contracting opportunities. NPI encourages minority and women-owned enterprises to seek business opportunities at Navy Pier. Find more information here.

Share This Page