Leadership

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RON ONESTI

President

Memberships

National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

Casa Italia

Italian American War Veterans Museum

A bit about Ron

President, Ron Onesti was born on Taylor Street in Chicago and has been with the JCCIA since 1981. He is a proven leader with ties to many Italian American organizations nationwide and locally, as the newly elected President of The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, a Director of Casa Italia and a Director of the Italian American War Veterans Museum. His platform plan for the JCCIA is based on greater communication and building unity among the Italian American community. He writes a regular column in the Daily Herald newspaper and is a successful entrepreneur as owner of two iconic music theatres, The Arcada and Des Plaines Theatres, seven themed restaurants, a boutique hotel and a family amusement park. He has been awarded the Cavaliere honor from the Republic of Italy, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and many other community awards.

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LISA RYAN

First Vice President

Memberships

JCCIA Women's Division

Sicilian American Cultural Association

 

A bit about Lisa

A current Chicago resident, Lisa (Bottalla) Ryan was born and raised in Chicago in a strong Italian American home. Her father, Aldo, immigrated to the United States when he was a boy with his family from Termini Imerese, Sicily. Lisa notes the history of her ancestors and culture is significant to her because "family is the heartland of your heart." La Famiglia e` la patria del cuore.

 

Lisa Ryan is a proud member of the JCCIA and is currently serving 2 terms as 1st Vice President. During her tenure, Lisa coordinated the first Italian American Heritage Month breakfast at City Hall with the Mayor and City Council elected officials. She was proud to participate in the Columbus Day Parade as a marshal and an officer. Lisa also assisted with the organization of the inaugural JCCIA St. Joseph's Day Table and continues to be instrumental in the fight for Columbus Day.

 

She produced the first Italian American Heritage Month celebration calendar and seeks out additional ways to promote our heritage. "Together, we will succeed in keeping the stories and voices of Italian Americans heard. We'll celebrate not only during October, Italian American Heritage Month, but holidays and important dates throughout the year."

 

Throughout her life, Lisa has volunteered and served on the boards of various organizations. Currently, she works full-time for the City of Chicago as Chief of Staff to an Alderman. Lisa resides on the far northwest side with her husband, Tom. Their two sons, Zach and Anthony, live together, and regularly come home for Sunday dinners.

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SALVATORE CAMARDA

Second Vice President

Memberships
Maria SS. Lauretana Society of Altavilla Milicia in Chicago: Officer, Deputazione

A bit about Salvatore
Tech entrepreneur, Salvatore Camarda, grew up steeped in the Italian community of Chicago. His father, Joe Camarda, has been president of the Maria SS. Lauretana Society for over 50 years and is currently the longest-running president in the society’s history. Established in 1900, the Maria SS. Lauretana Society is one of the largest and oldest Sicilian organizations in Chicago and was one of the original affiliate organizations of the JCCIA.

Under his father’s guidance, Salvatore grew up with a strong sense of service to our Italian community in Chicago. From early on, Salvatore and his brothers became active members and worked on various committees including that of the Feast of Maria SS. Lauretana, celebrated every Labor Day weekend, which is famous for its Volata or Flight of the Angels.

Salvatore is co-founder and CEO of MeetApp North America, a leading global event technology company with headquarters in Chicago and Stockholm, Sweden.  As a 20-year tech industry veteran and a recognized leader in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and User Experience (UX) for digital products, Salvatore has conceptualized and developed many digital products for various organizations including United Airlines, GE, Apple, Microsoft and more.

A professional speaker specializing in audience interaction and engagement, Salvatore’s keynote speeches and educational webinars have been used by organizations like Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Meeting Planners International (MPI) and the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP).

Salvatore’s goal in joining the JCCIA is to help create a stronger “digital first” strategy while effectively growing our organization’s base and reach; a critical component in maintaining our Italian identity, heritage and traditions.

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Cav. Uff. LYN “LINDA” SCOLARO

Third Vice President

Memberships

Italidea-Midwest: Ente Gestore

American Association of Teachers of Italian-Midwest: Co-President

Osservatorio di Chicago

JCCIA Women's Division

IAET

SADIA

A bit about Lyn

Cav. Uff. Lyn "Linda" Scolaro has been an educator for 39 years; teaching Italian at the high school level. The daughter of Veneto parents, Mary (and the late Attilio) Scolaro, Cav. Scolaro holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Italian from Rosary College (Dominican University), a master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Roosevelt University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Aurora University.

Lyn has represented high school educators locally, nationally, and internationally.  Her passion for Italian education has helped local students take part in many high-profile activities along with local and international internships. Her passion also helped many students earn tens of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships.

A regular presenter at conferences and symposiums, Lyn has represented the Italian profession on Capitol Hill for two years.  She has also contributed to various publications including the Fra Noi, Il Canguro of the A.N.E.A, the book “Italians in Chicago,” and to the North American supplement of the Italian pedagogy journal In.it.  She was also recently featured in Chicago Voyage Magazine

Among other recognitions, Lyn received the Distinguished Service Award from the AATI North America, the Shining Star Award from Mt. Prospect, the Heart of Gold Award from Arlington Heights and the Cardinal Bernardin Humanitarian award in the field of Education from the JCCIA, Person of the Year from SADIA (2019), and she will receive the 2020 DaVinci Award by the Order Sons of Italy in America in 2021.

Professoressa Scolaro received the Ordine della Stella d'Italia, Cavaliere recognition, by the Italian Government in 2019 and is proud to be of dual citizenship. Her passion has always been to bring the richness of Italia into our homes and into our lives.

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STAN KUCZYNSKI

Secretary

Memberships

Chicago West Suburban Unico: President

A bit about Stan

Stan Kuczynski is currently President of the Chicago West Suburban Chapter of Unico and is a professional retirement planner at Hammer Retirement Services.

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FRANK DIPIERO

Sergeant at Arms

Memberships

Casa Italia: Director

Little Italy Cenetta

A bit about Frank

Frank Di Piero is no stranger to serving the Italian American Community in Chicago. As host of “Keepin’ It Real with Frankie D,” Frank began his Italian American Podcast to help spread the knowledge and history of our culture through his “Italian American Moment.”

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CHRISTINA CALIENDO CERAMI

Treasurer

Memberships

Society of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel: President

A bit about Chris

Chris Cerami’s enthusiasm for the Italian American Community began at a very early age.  Her father, Joseph De Serto, was extremely invested in the Villa Scalabrini project, ACIM (American Committee on Italian Migration), was one of the founders of the JCCIA, and was decorated twice by the Italian Government.

Chris grew up surrounded by Italian Heritage and Italian American Pride.  Chris served as the Marketing Director for Casa San Carlo and served on the board of Casa San Carlo-Villa Scalabrini; pulling her deeper into service of the Italian Community. Chris was instrumental in the procuring of Shrine status and in the eventual Papal Incoronation of the statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Melrose Park.  

Chris been a member of the JCCIA for over 40 years and has served as an officer for the past 12 years.  She’s been a professional Chicagoland real estate broker for the last 40 yearswith her office based in Melrose Park.  

A proud mother of 3 children and 5 grandchildren, Chris feels she has been privileged to be surrounded by her Italian American culture and tries to instill that pride in her children and grandchildren.

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PASQUALE D. GIANNI

Avanti Group President

Memberships

Avanti

A bit about Pasquale

Pasquale Gianni has been appointed to lead the JCCIA youth initiative. His maternal grandfather and mentor, the late Dominic DiFrisco, served as President Emeritus of the JCCIA. Most recently, in 2019, he stepped into his grandfather’s shoes to serve as master of ceremonies for the JCCIA’s coveted Dante Awards. An attorney by day, Pasquale proudly works in the labor movement for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He is also a partner in his family’s fourth-generation office furniture manufacturing business, Gianni Inc. Ultimately, his vision is to create greater youth involvement and to foster ethnic pride and awareness amongst his contemporaries.

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ROSE MARY RANALLO

JCCIA Women’s Division President

Memberships

JCCIA Women's Division

A bit about Rose Mary

Rose Mary Ranallo is the chief financial officer and manager of her family businesses, NS Builders and Arno Decorating. Rose Mary is the current President of the JCCIA Women’s Division since 2008 and has served as a committee member for the Columbus Day Queen contest and The JCCIA Women’s Division Impresa Award Luncheon. Additionally, Rose Mary has also held the position of treasurer of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, and has chaired the Women's division Italian Heritage Ball and Cotillion as well as its Scholarship Benefit Dinner and Fashion Show.

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JO ANN SERPICO

Executive Director

Memberships

Cavalier of the Republic of Italy

JCCIA: President from 2005-2010

JCCIA Women Division

Calabrese in America: President from 2004-2005

Casa Italia: Vice Chairman

Italian American Veterans Women’s Auxiliary #4

Italian American Women’s Organization

 

A bit about Jo Ann

Jo Ann Serpico’s passion for the community comes naturally and considers herself blessed to be able to serve her community.  Her father, Joseph R. Salerno, was a founder of the Italian Welfare Council; the forerunner to the JCCIA. Jo Ann was raised with pride in her Italian heritage and a deep love for Italian traditions and values.

 

Jo Ann attended Marquette University and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science. Aside from her extensive history of serving the Italian community, Jo Ann also served as a Leyden Township Republican committee woman, a village of Elmwood Park trustee, and a registered sanitarian with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A widow of an Elmwood Park firefighter, Phillip Serpico, Jo Ann is a proud mother of three sons: Philip, Joseph and Christopher. She’s also a proud grandmother of four grandchildren: Joseph, Philip Anthony, Tylor and Ella.