Our Team

Candace Thier, Ed.D.

Executive Director / Co-Founder

Candace Thier's Argosy University School of Business doctorate degree in organizational leadership is the capstone in her educational endeavors.Dr. Thier's non- profit leadership dissertation, guides her to strengthen the leadership of social and educational organizations toward fulfillment of their mission and to build a talented and prepared workforce.
She holds a master degree of arts for counseling psychology and is a licensed clinical professional counselor and obtained a child welfare specialist license. Throughout over 25 years of experience working in community based organizations serving youth and families, she has held multiple positions of leadership at one of Chicago's leading social service agencies including, clinical behavior program director, quality improvement director, and the director of child welfare for that organization.
Candace has been a presenter at the Teaching Society for Management Educators Conference. She loves research and is passionate about the education and welfare of disengaged students. She spent her earlier collage years playing competitive sports around the country and was training for an Olympic run in volleyball. Dr. Thier is a nature enthusiast, loves to travel, enjoys her family and friends and calls beautiful Lisle, IL home.



Sandra Harrison M.A., TRDV

Director Training & Development / Co-Founder

Sandra Harrison has work in youth services as a certified prevention specialist for more than 21 years. She has worked with high-risk youth providing substance abuse, teen pregnancy and violence prevention services. Harrison's career has spanned 30 years of working with children. She worked as a pre-school teacher prior to working with older adolescents in the Illinois State Board of Education's 21st. Century Community Learning Center and Department of Human Services' TeenReach programs. She currently facilitates training and development services for corporate, government and educational sectors.
An early childhood educator, Harrison later pursued an undergraduate degree in business administration and leadership. She is a graduate from Roosevelt University having a Master's Degree in Training and Development with a concentration on Instructional design. She is highly skilled in designing leader-led and Internet-based instruction. Mrs. Harrison established DVA Leadership and Development Training, a professional development consulting company. Her work has included human resources and professional development training for small non-for profit business. She maintains that telling isn't training and complex learning can be made simple. She continues to promote workplace professional development and leadership. Sandra Harrison calls Aurora home



Gail Holguin

Director of Operations / Co-Founder

Gail Holguin is a multi-faceted professional with more than 10 years direct service working with at-risk youth and families. She worked for ten years as a program manager for homeless and runaway youth in the Chicago area. Mrs. Holguin instituted a family preservation program to deflect youth from DCFS involvement. She collaborated with 26 Chicago police departments to provide services for youth toward minimizing juvenile justice involvement. Gail is currently managing business systems in a parochial setting. She has created efficiency systems in the business office, totaling substantial institutional savings annually. She is responsible for improving business systems to create low cost-high quality results. Gail Holguin holds a certification in assessment and referral systems. She has over 2000 clock hours in financial business management and accounting. Gail Holguin is married with two children and lives in Glen Ellyn, IL.



Our Organization

  • Leaders in Transformational Education (L.I.T.E.) is a 501(C)3 non-profit company.
  • L.I.T.E. provides results-oriented services to opportunity youth seeking pathways to their future. Leaders in Transformational Education is a company owned and developed by four diverse women with over 50 collective years working with community-based nonprofit organizations, specifically with opportunity youth and their families. L.I.T.E. services provide comprehensive experiential learning where young adults are key team members in the design of their individual plans. Our company completes comprehensive youth and family needs assessments. Youth and adults share in the development of goals and individualized wrap plans. Our programming fills a gap providing services to a target population that typically is left to navigate employment, self-directed learning and adult systems. Leaders in Transformational Education (L.I.T.E.) works with opportunity youth to identify challenges across multiple areas and designs mutually agreed upon plans to find pathways to reach future goals.
  • Leaders in Transformational Education (L.I.T.E.) strives toward a collective impact effort for opportunity youth and other pressing social issues. Our knowledge, skills, and experience position us into a place where we are selective about the projects and level of impact we have a passion to affect. Collectively, our passion is to create sustainable and effective programs to better the lives of disadvantaged populations. We know that collaboration across all sectors, building a network of strong trusted relationships, and believing in a shared vision is the backbone to eliminating gaps in education, creating employment opportunity, and giving a real opportunity to all.