Across The Table Team

Photo Credit: Kathleen Virginia Photography |

Lauren Grossman

Founder and Executive Director

Lauren Grossman grew up in suburban Detroit and felt very lucky to grow up in a very diverse community and have friends whose families came from countries all over the globe. After attending college at Indiana University, Lauren moved to Chicago where she taught at Kelvyn Park High School on Chicago’s Northwest Side. While teaching she co-founded and ran the student camping club and the student volunteer program, both which she found incredibly fulfilling and gave her the opportunity to connect with her students in a deep way, outside of the classroom. In 2003 Lauren founded Broadtree Adventures, a nonprofit outdoor education and youth-led social change nonprofit for Chicago’s teens. All of these experiences led her to role as the founder and Executive Director of Across the Table! 

Lauren, her husband David, along with their two boys and dog, chose to live in Evanston for its diversity, progressive culture, the beautiful lake and its walkable neighborhoods and they have been blown away by the cohesive and engaged community they now feel so lucky to be a part of. She is thrilled to contribute to the many fun things to do in Chicago and the Evanston communities!


Julie Hacker

Board Member

Living in Evanston is for Julie, living in “the best of all possible worlds.” It is a city which places an emphasis on diversity and dialogue. With this in mind, she is proud to serve as a board member of Across The Table.

Julie is a practicing architect and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture. She is a partner in the firm of Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects LLC located in Evanston, Illinois.

Her residential work has been published nationally and internationally and is the subject of a book “Transforming the Traditional,” published in 2009. She has lectured and served on architectural award juries nationally as well as mentored young architects.

She is an Evanston native. She grew up in Evanston, attended public schools and, after graduate school, moved back to Evanston to start her family. She has served as a board member for Chiaravalle Montessori School in Evanston and is currently a Preservation Commissioner for the City of Evanston, helping to rewrite the Guidelines for Preservation.



Lois R. Beznos

Board Member

Lois is passionate about how Across The Table’s conversations address the basic and universal human need to communicate feelings and ideas. She knows that in today's culture, there cannot be enough opportunity to bring together diverse individuals who break down barriers between ethnic, religious, age, economic and geographic differences through conversation. For this reason, she is excited to be a part of the leadership of Across The Table who has come to be recognized for its importance in providing gracious and meaningful occasions to bring diverse individuals together to discover and understand their differences and their similarities.

Prior to Across The Table, Lois joined the Chamber Music Society [CMSD] of Detroit Board of Trustees in 1987 and served as its Chair from 1988 through May 1998 and its President from 1995 to December 2010. Under her direction, the CMSD more than quadrupled its budget and subscription base and completed its Van Dusen Endowment Challenge, thus achieving its first endowment fund, a pivotal new fundraising direction for the organization. 

She oversaw policy decisions and daily operations and was artistic director. In her capacity as President, she formed collaborations with the Wayne State University Department of Music, Detroit Country Day School, the Cranbrook Educational Community and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History.

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1555 Sherman Avenue
Suite 107
Evanston, IL 60201


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