MEET US

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SACC Chicago has 12 Board Members, one Executive Director and one Executive Assistant.

The board meetings are held once a month.

HONORARY DIRECTORS

Max Avall

Business Sweden

Max Åvall is since 2017 the Head of Chicago at Business Sweden. In his current role he leads a team of international business consultants with the mission and ambition to support Swedish and multinational clients with business growth, international expansion and strategic advisory and implementation. He is passionate about advising and helping Swedish clients reach their full international potential and succeed on the U.S. market.

Max has a background of 10 + years as a strategic advisor in the field of international business development and management consulting from e.g. Capgemini Consulting and Nordea Markets where he has worked in several industries but with extensive experience from the banking and financial services industry. He holds a Masters in Business and Economics from Uppsala University with a Major in Finance and Accounting.

In his spare time, he likes to spend time with family and friends, golf, ski and cook.

Charles Peterson

North Park University

Charles is the Dean of the College at North Park University in Chicago. North Park was founded by Swedish immigrants in the 1890s, one of six Swedish heritage universities in the United States. 

 

North Park University has exchange programs with schools in Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland. North Park also recruits degree-seeking students from Scandinavia offering generous  scholarships. Guest lecturers, performers, and artists from Scandinavia enrich the liberal arts, professional, and theological academic programs of the university. 

 

Charles often represents North Park to various Scandinavian organizations including the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, the Swedish Council of America, and the Swedish American Historical Society.

Karin Moen Abercrombie

Swedish American Museum

Karin Moen Abercrombie, Executive Director of the Swedish American Museum and Honorary Consul of the Consulate of Sweden in Chicago
Ms. Abercrombie has a financial and operational management background and was a management consultant for 15 years, until 2006 when she began at the Swedish American Museum. Ms. Abercrombie was involved with the Museum for about 10 years prior to her role as executive director, serving on the board’s exhibit committee during the creation of The Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration. She was a board member between 2003 and 2006.
Ms. Abercrombie was appointed Honorary Consul of Sweden in Chicago in 2019.

During the 13-year period that Ms. Abercrombie has been the executive director, the Museum has strengthened its position in the community and work with the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, SACC, SWEA, and many other Swedish-American local organizations. Her tenure has seen the renovation of the building’s lobby and façade, the purchase of a parking lot to increase ease of access to visitors, the replacement of the iconic Andersonville water tower, and the purchase of a neighboring building to expand the Museum’s cultural programming capacity.

Ms. Abercrombie serve on the board of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer and is past board member of Swedish Council of America, SWEA Chicago and Chicago Cultural Alliance.

OFFICERS

Thomas H. Thorelli

Chairman of the Board

Thorelli & Associates

Tom Thorelli is a Swedish-speaking US lawyer with over thirty years of experience working with small- to medium-sized Swedish companies in minimizing legal risk when doing business in the United States. The firm combines a broad range of expertise (with four lawyers located in the Chicago, Illinois headquarters) in the fields of intellectual property law, product liability preventive management, acquisitions, corporate law, contract negotiation, and immigration; all with small-firm attention to detail and customer service to create tailored legal solutions for its clients.
The firm’s clients range from high-tech startups to companies with software applications, telecommunications, medical devices, automotive and aeronautic industries, consumer products, security technology, consulting services, etc. Over the years, Thorelli & Associates has assisted over one thousand foreign companies in properly structuring their entry into the US. Tom has a close working relationship with many Chambers of Commerce located throughout Sweden. He is often invited to speak about an array of legal issues, including immigration, product liability preventive management, contract negotiations etc.

 

Carl Wiberg

President

Videojet

Carl Wiberg is originally from Goteborg and has studied in Stockholm, Frankfurt and Malaga, obtaining his M. Sc. in Accounting & Financial Management at the Stockholm School of Economics. After stints living and working in Denmark and Germany, he relocated to Portland, OR in 2010 and since 2014 he and his wife and daughter are Chicago residents. Carl has a diverse background working within mulitple industries such as renewable energy, chemicals and industrial printing. 

 

He works for Videojet, a Danaher company which is world-leading within the manufacturing of coding and printing equipment. Carl is responsible for driving sustainable profitable growth of the Videojet global supplies and parts businesses. 

 

In his spare time, he enjoys yoga, running and skiing. On occasion you can also find him enjoying the taste of a craft beer at one of the many fine breweries here in Chicago.

Vicki Paavilainen

Secretary

Skybridge Resource Center

 

Vicki is the Chief Operating Officer of Skybridge Resource Center (SRC) since 2006. As a senior management consultant, she offers strategic advisory support and financial analysis for Swedish companies with a new or established US presence. She provides leadership for and manages a team of contract CPA’s, Financial Controllers, and administrative support staff. This team provides comprehensive Backoffice accounting and support services for clients. Vicki has a BBA degree with a focus in Accounting and holds a certificate as a Certified Public Accountant. 

 

Her 35 years of experience has taken her across a wide range of industries which include manufacturing/processing, digital media, construction and technical services with both domestic and international businesses.

Michael Richter

Vice President of Finance

J.S Richter

Michael serves as managing director at 

J.S Richter; audit, tax and consulting. He is also managing partner of International Attest Solutions, providing similar services for US subsidiaries of French owned companies. Prior to this work, Michael had an 11-year career as an engineer, specializing in machine tools, process automation and controls design, having earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1987. He studied accounting at College of DuPage, and earned his CPA in 2000. He also carries the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) credential, and is a Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest.

Beata Krakus

Vice President of Programs

Greensfelder, Hemker & Gate, P.C.

Born in Täby, Sweden. After receiving her Master of Law (Juriskandidatexamen) from Stockholm University in 1997 Beata’s first position was as an associate with Magnusson Wahlin Advokatbyrå (then Dahlman Magnusson Advokatbyrå) at their newly opened Warsaw office. She was part of establishing one of the most successful and profitable offices within that firm. Her work consisted in assisting primarily Swedish clients in legal matters related to their Polish business ventures. 

 

After moving to the U.S., and after going back to law school for a Juris Doctor, received Cum Laude, from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, Beata started at as an associate with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP at the firm’s Chicago office and she has recently moved to the law firm Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. where she has continued her corporate transactional practice specializing in franchise law and distribution issues. 

 

Beata has been involved in many different aspects of SACC, from the Young Professionals Committee of SACC Chicago, and organizing the Entrepreneurial Days Committee for SACC Chicago in 2007, to serving on the board of SACC-USA and as vice chairperson for SACC-USA.

Carl Kallen

Vice President of Membership

Zebra Technologies

Carl Kallen is responsible for the market development and scaling of Zebra Technologies Enterprise Asset Intelligence (Enterprise IoT) Solutions across NA. Carl brings Zebra 20 years of advanced, international business development know-how from technology behemoths Samsung, Sony and Ericsson. During his previous tenure at Samsung, Mr. Kallen managed to effectively transform the B2B unit to a premium product and solutions division, increasing value-share sharply. Previously, he worked with Global Carrier Groups T-Mobile, Telefonica, 3 and America Movil in Senior Sales Management appointments at Samsung, Sony and Ericsson, winning multiple global and local excellence awards. Carl began his career with Procter and Gamble where he gained invaluable experience in consumer products sales and marketing management practices. 

 

Born in Venezuela, raised and educated in Switzerland, Spain and Sweden, Mr Kallen is a truly international business professional, speaking 5 languages, having lived in 7 countries and conducted business in 36, spanning four continents. 

 

Carl Kallen holds dual Bachelor’s degrees from Boston College in Economics and Spanish. He earned his Master’s degree from the Stockholm School of Economics in International Business and Economics and has been a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Hull.

Kitty Kurth

Vice President of Communications

Kurth Lampe Worldwide

Kitty Kurth is the President of Kurth Lampe Worldwide a strategic communications firm that has Chicago know-how with an international reach. For more than two decades Kurth Lampe Worldwide has provided public relations and consulting for campaigns, NGO’s and corporations in the US and around the world. Kurth is also the host of the Girl Pundits podcast. Kurth resides with her husband Kevin Lampe in Chicago. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.

Pontus Andersson

Vice President of YP

Business Sweden

Pontus is an Associate at Business Sweden where he helps Swedish technology companies with their journeys to the U.S. A recent transplant from Mississippi, he has spent the past 5 years helping local entrepreneurs and students grow their businesses while running his own startup or two. Pontus holds his degree from the University of Mississippi and spent a year abroad in Austria. In his free time if he’s not exploring new food options in Chicago, or attending pop-up events in the Loop, he can be found trying to revive a long dormant tennis career.

DIRECTORS

Janis A. Rueping 

Board Member

Swedish Convenant Health

Janis has had a long and rewarding career at Swedish Hospital, which recently joined the NorthShore HealthSystem. In addition to overseeing quality and risk, she provides administrative leadership for the Hospital’s patient safety, medical staff services, infection control, patient experience, survey readiness, ethics, palliative care and hospice, and pastoral care programs. She is a graduate of North Park College and more recently completed her graduate degree in nonprofit administration at North Park University. As a resident of the North Park community on Chicago’s north side, and a member of Swedish Hospital’s leadership team, she has a strong appreciation for the Swedish roots in her communities. She and her husband Frank have two adult children, both married, who live in Chicago and Holland, Michigan. Their family of six enjoys traveling together and spending time at their vacation home in northern Michigan. Janis joined the SACC-Chicago board in January 2012, and has served in several roles, including past President and Chair. She continues to serve as a member of the Lucia Luncheon Planning Committee and has an interest in strategic planning

Oskar Berg

Board member

Absortech, Inc.

Oskar Berg is the Regional Director Americas for Absortech, Inc. In this role Oskar is responsible for designing and implementing a multi-continent distribution network and supply chain solution for North and South America.

 

Oskar is relatively new to Absortech but brings 20 years of business development experience from his previous role as President of Combi Wear Parts, Inc. In this role he Initiated and launched North
American partnership with several external European parts supplier and secured dedicated distributing partners in the majority of North and South America. 

 

 

Oskar was born and raised in Sweden but moved to the United States and Chicago in 1999. He has served on the board of SACC Chicago in the past but due to family and work commitment he decided to step back for some years. 

 

Oskar holds an MBA from Depaul Kellstadt Graduate School of Business as well as a Master of Science Business degree from Jonkoping International Business School

Johan Billgren

Board member

inRiver

Co-Founder | EVP Operations inRiver

 

Johan has been one of the pioneers in the digital transformation taking place in product marketing. 2004 he was one of the Co-Founders of inRiver, a company leading the way in the area of Product Information Management. The company has been one of the drivers in the

creation of the rapidly growing PIM market and is today one of the global leaders in the space.

Prior to digital product marketing, Johan was instrumental in the scaling of Intentia, a Swedish Supply Chain Management software, from 50 to 4,000 employees.

Johan grew up in Malmö and attended his Master education in Industrial Engineering and Management at The Institute of Technology at Linköping University.

In early 2017, Johan moved to Chicago to facilitate the growth and expansion of inRiver’s American branch.

Katarina Stetz

Board member

 

Katarina Stetz is a Swedish cosmetic formulator, private label consultant & entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in the beauty industry. She has a dual master’s degree –in chemical engineering from Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm & in finance from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Katarina also have vast experience in management consulting, project management, IT implementations & supply chain management. She has lived and worked in Sweden, UK and the US and has great understanding of what it is like to start businesses on both sides of the pond.

SACC CHICAGO OFFICE

Gunn Johnsson

Executive Director

SACC Chicago Office

gunn@sacc-chicago.org

Gunn assumed the position as the SACC Chicago Executive Administrator in June 2010. With the support of the board, she manages the organization, its activities and trainees from Sweden. 

 

From 2002 to 2009, she worked for the Scandinavian Airlines. Prior to that, she worked at the Swedish Trade Council, which she joined in 2002. She has also worked for the Consulate General of Sweden, South African Consulate-General and United Way of Lake County. 

 

Gunn is born and grew up in Kristianstad, in the southern part of Sweden. She earned a Master’s degree in Home Economics from the University of Gothenburg. 

 

Gunn is married, has two children and one granddaughter, Emma. She enjoys interior decorating, gardening, travelling as well as sailing, skiing and other outdoor activities. 

 

Gunn has been involved with the Swedish-American community for many years. She has also twice served as a board member of SWEA, Chicago.

Julia Hellman Grybäck

Executive Assistant

SACC Chicago Office

intern@sacc-chicago.org 

Executive Assistant SACC Chicago


Julia Hellman Grybäck hold a degree in Business Administration from Stockholm University. She has also spent a year abroad as an exchange student at Waseda University in Tokyo where she studied a variety of courses in international business, management and finance. Julia is born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden and on her free time she enjoys horseback riding, skiing and exploring new restaurants. 


SACC Chicago


121 West Wacker Drive, Suite 618
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 257-3002
Email: sacc@sacc-chicago.org