Veronica Cardinale Ellinger
Chief Executive Officer
Veronica Cardinale Ellinger is a seasoned professional with a rich background in business operations, sales, and leadership development, backed by over two decades of experience. Serving as the current Chief Executive Officer at Brain Balance she is responsible for creating long-term value for the organization by advancing key growth strategies, including optimizing operations, accelerating franchise sales, and expanding program offerings.
Prior to her current role, Veronica held significant positions at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, where she served as the Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Franchise Experience. During her tenure, she played a pivotal role in the growth of the world's largest independent IT training company, overseeing operations across North America and supporting franchisees in over 35 countries. Her commitment to cultural excellence and executive coaching is evident in her focus on building rapport, developing business plans, and ensuring franchisee profitability. As a servant leader, Veronica emphasizes influencing others to be the best versions of themselves.
Veronica’s leadership journey also includes roles such as Director of Franchise Support Operations at Big Frog Franchise Group and Vice President of Sales and Operations at The LASIK Vision Institute. Throughout her career, Veronica consistently demonstrated the ability to create impactful operational strategies, implement scalable models, and foster positive organizational cultures. Her expertise extends to budget development, P&L oversight, and effective team management, all contributing to her success in driving organizational growth and excellence.
Chief Operating Officer
Mike has more than 22 years of experience in sales and operations in the education industry. His extensive experience focuses on building customized, industry-specific sales processes and philosophies. He has a proven history of improving sales/enrollment departments in corporations and as a result, has earned national recognition for his innovative sales presentation systems. Prior to joining Brain Balance, Mike held several Senior Vice President level roles at companies such as Education Corporation of America, Kaplan, Medtech, and Concorde Colleges. Mike also served as the Chief Operating Officer at Medtech.
Chief Financial Officer
Kim Malandrino is an accomplished senior executive leader with a focus on driving revenue and operational improvement. She has over 18 years of financial and operational experience and is well versed in accounting management, financial planning, budgeting and analysis and operational optimization with the goal of driving revenue and cost-effectively achieving results.
Prior to joining Brain Balance, Kim led accounting, finance, HR and operations for startup Total Attorneys for 15 years, including the due diligence process resulting in the sale of the company to Internet Brands. During her tenure, she worked across multiple lead generation companies to streamline efficiencies, integrate data into strategic initiatives and improve profitability.
Kim is a University of Illinois alumni and has her Masters in Business Administration and Masters in Accountancy. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and three small children. Seeing how Brain Balance has a direct and powerful impact on individual lives and witnessing the positive change the program has is what motivates her on a daily basis.
Chief Programs Officer
Dr. Rebecca Jackson comes to the role of Chief Programs Officer as an industry authority on the topics of development, cognition, and brain health. She has over 15 years of experience at Brain Balance working with both kids and adults. Her depth of knowledge and passion comes from a strong foundation of education, research, and years of experience in driving change in the brain that translates to improvements throughout life.
Dr. Jackson has published research on the topics of improving cognition, development, and well-being, and is a frequent media expert guest. Prior to joining the Brain Balance corporate team, Dr. Jackson served as the Executive Director of three Brain Balance centers, personally overseeing more than 1,000 students' progress through the Brain Balance program.
Dr. Jackson graduated from Life University as a Doctor of Chiropractic in 2001 and holds additional certifications as a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist and as a MindSet Safety Management Behavioral Trainer. She is passionate about creating and delivering programs that increase awareness, understanding, and change in the lives of kids and adults seeking to improve their lives.
Senior Vice President of Technology
Thu Vo is an accomplished leader in the education management industry. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in delivering technology solutions, driving operational excellence and growth, and optimizing and transforming IT operations.
Thu has vast knowledge in information systems, as she began her career successfully designing and deploying enterprise-wide solutions to sales and support users across North America and Europe. Prior to joining Brain Balance, she held roles as Executive Director at Kaplan Higher Education and Education Corporation of America, where she was instrumental in driving company efficiency and effectiveness by leading a variety of automation, process improvement and business intelligence initiatives. Most recently, Thu successfully revitalized and implemented a company-wide Customer Relationship Management system at ECPI University, delivering unmatched business solutions to over 22 locations resulting in increased productivity and contributing to company savings and growth.
Thu is a graduate of Northern Illinois University’s College of Business and enjoys spending weekends with her family and cheering on her kids at their various sporting events. She admires Brain Balance’s mission in helping children reach their potential and is proud to serve their community by enhancing the lives of others through continuous improvement and innovation.
Vice President of Digital Marketing
Jenn Irwin is an experienced marketing leader with a focus on performance and growth strategies and has a passion for driving results through data. She has over 17 years of marketing experience and is well versed in search engine marketing, user experience, conversion rate optimization and marketing automation and technology with the goal of driving efficiencies and revenue.
Prior to Brain Balance, Jenn led digital marketing and conversion rate optimization for Adtalem Global Education. During her tenure, she worked across a portfolio of education and ecommerce companies to strengthen brands, increase leads and improve profitability.
Jenn began her career in hospitality and franchise management and also has experience in the publishing industry. She is an Iowa State University alumna and lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two children. Helping individuals reach their full potential is her mission and has seen first hand how the Brain Balance Program can change lives as she is a Brain Balance parent herself.
Vice President of Branding and Public Relations
Karen Russell brings over 20 years of brand-building and business leadership experience to the Brain Balance team. She has a long track record of creating transformational digital and integrated campaigns that lift awareness, reputation, and engagement for organizations across agency and client-side environments.
Most recently, Karen was responsible for brand development, content creation, and omnichannel activation for three of the leading universities within the Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE) portfolio. Throughout her career, she has worked on large, global brands and start-ups alike across multiple sectors including education, healthcare, and professional services.
Karen holds a B.S. in journalism with a specialty in advertising from the University of Kansas. She calls Chicago home with her husband and two children where she enjoys exploring the city, cycling, and performing music.