Carla R. Gutierrez was born in Toluca, Mexico and lived in Ixtapan De La Sal, Mexico until the age of four, when her family moved to the United States. Carla was raised by her single mother and older sister in Waukegan, Illinois. Upon graduating from Waukegan High School, Carla attended College of Lake County. She took night courses part-time while working full-time and participating in the Latino Alliance Club, where she met her husband and some of their still good friends. In 2012, Carla was a recipient of the Latino Coalition scholarship which allowed her to continue her studies and graduate Summa Cum Laude from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 2013. Just a year later, Carla graduated Summa Cum Laude from Jane Addams College of Social Work at UIC with a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Health & Urban Development. During her time at NEIU, Carla was an active member of the Alliance for Student Social Workers and Phi Alpha Honor Society.
Carla is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker employed through Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago as well as Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. At Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, Carla serves as a Medical Social Worker and member of the Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care interdisciplinary team. Through her employment at Catholic Charities, Carla currently serves as the Program Director for CC Renews, a program that provides counseling and case management services in Lake County and Chicago. Carla previously served as the Program Supervisor for both the Family Self-Sufficiency Program as well as The Community Center at Catholic Charities through which Carla proudly became the first Latina, bilingual/bicultural Supervisor within her department. Carla has previously worked with the Family Self-Sufficiency Program as a Case Manager and Employment Case Manager providing supportive services to single parents working towards self-sufficiency. Carla has also served as the Medical Case Management Liaison and Case Manager for the HIV/AIDS Program at Catholic Charities. In this capacity, Carla worked offsite at Lake County Health Department and met with clients who were newly diagnosed with HIV and/or were not engaged in case management services. She participated in the Lake County Stands Against Stigma Coalition, which aims to erase the stigma often associated with HIV/AIDS in Lake County. Carla also facilitated a weekly HIV Spanish Psychosocial Support Group as well as a Spanish LGBTQ Support Group. Carla provided individual mental health and substance abuse counseling to Spanish-speaking clients through Catholic Charities’ Behavioral Health Services.
Carla continues to live in Lake County with her husband and two dogs. As a first-generation college graduate and previous recipient of CLULC scholarship, Carla recognizes the importance of giving back to this community. Carla has a strong passion for helping others and is committed to addressing the needs of her community. Carla is tremendously humbled and enthused to serve on this board.