ANDREA-SHINDLERAndrea Shindler, Executive Director / Founder

Andrea Shindlerreceived her M.A. in Communicative Disorders from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and her B.A in Speech Pathology from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. Early in her career she worked as a speech pathologist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Later on she became Coordinator of the Speech Pathology Services in the Behavioral Neurology Unit at the Harvard Medical School (Beth Israel Hospital, Boston). Her interest in behavioral changes in patients with neurological diseases took her to Michael Reese Hospital (Chicago) where she worked as Research Associate in the Department of Neurology.  There, Andrea Shindler developed a curiosity based on patients who displayed remarkable artistic abilities despite brain damage that compromised ordinary communication by speech.

In 1991, inspired by the case of one young woman who developed unexpected artistic abilities despite having suffered a devastating stroke , Andrea Shindler founded The Foundation for Human Potential, a not-for-profit organization. It’s mission is to develop and implement unique teaching methods through collaboration with neuroscientists, educators, psychologists and artists, designed to maximize learning potential for children and adults. Andrea Shindler has conceived and directed 7 international symposia to date. The symposia explore the nature of creativity by examining the relationship between brain function and learning from an interdisciplinary perspective. The symposia attract eminent guest faculty in such fields as neuroscience, education, psychology, learning disabilities, cultural anthropology, sports, and the arts, all of whose abilities and personal attitudes in their work sustain and inform an interdisciplinary approach. The symposia presented until 2002, have taken place at The Art Institute of Chicago. The topics have been Art and the Brain (1988); Music and the Brain (1992); Dance, Sport, Movement and the Brain (1995), Emotional Intelligence, Education and the Brain (1997), Learning and the Brain: Myths and Realities (2000); Passion on the Job: The Brain and Innovation in the Workplace  (2002); Mental Health and the Brain: Implications of lifelong Learning(2007), occurred at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The basis for Shindler’s research interests and the symposia is the work of Howard Gardner, in particular his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. She taught his work at the Graham School of the University of Chicago.

Andrea Shindler’s  work on creativity was featured for the 1997 Encyclopedia Britannica Medical and Health Annual. She has also collaborated on several articles in neuroscience journals. During late 1998/early 1999, Ms. Shindler joined the staff of the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Department of Psychology where she assisted in a research project on social and emotional learning in schools worldwide.

Today, Ms. Shindler is working on the development of FHP’s upcoming Symposium, Inspirations: The Arts, the Brain, and Human Potential.

ELLEN-BERNSTEINEllen Bernstein, Vice President

Ellen Bernstein is a Chicago-based writer and editor specializing in medicine and health. For 22 years she was Editor in Chief of the Medical and Health Annual, an internationally distributed supplement to Encyclopaedia Britannica, for which she commissioned articles to and worked closely with top medical scientists and health professionals from around the world (including many Nobel laureates). She has written more than a dozen health-related articles for the Britannica Book of the Year as well as the encyclopedia articles “Health,” “Medicine,” and “Pharmacy” for Britannica’s online School Edition. Since 2004 she has been a medical editor at AbelsonTaylor, a Chicago pharmaceutical and healthcare advertising agency. She also edits Yoga Chicago magazine and the Journal of Ordinary Thought. She is an advocate for Chicago’s homeless community and serves on the Chicago Temple’s Homeless Ministry committee. She oversees the ministry’s provision of clothing and other needed items to about 150 homeless and indigent Chicagoans every week.

MICHAEL-SHINDLERMichael C. Shindler, President / Treasurer

Michael C. Shindler is Executive Vice President – Hotels & Casinos of Hard Rock International. At Hard Rock, he is responsible for all aspects of the hotels and casinos portfolio, including both development and operations.  Before joining Hard Rock in February 2010, he was the President of Four Corners Advisors, Inc., a hospitality transactions consultancy and advisory firm he established in June 2007.  Previously, his career path included stints with Las Vegas Sands Corp., Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Vail Resorts/RockResorts International, LLC, and two iterations with Hyatt Corporation in various capacities, as well as being Chairman of Hyatt Gaming. He also worked for real estate syndication firm, The Balcor Company.  Mr. Shindler began his career practicing law in Chicago.

Mr. Shindler is President and a member of the Board of Directors of FHP; he is also a member of the National Advisory Board of Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Advisory Board of Thayer Hospitality Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in investments in technology providers to the hospitality industry.  Mr. Shindler received a Juris Doctor from Washington University (St. Louis) School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina.

VIRGINIA-BARRYVirginia Barry, M.D.

Vice President / Secretary

M.D., University of Illinois

Virginia Barry is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Chicago. She received her medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine (1974), and completed psychiatric training at Michael Reese Hospital (1977). Since 1981 she has pursued her interests in understanding primitive mental states and the shifting organizations of the mind.

She is a member of the faculty at The Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago where she has taught courses on dreams, on special problems in psychoanalysis, and on the integration of neuroscience and psychoanalysis. Her publications reflect all these interests. In her spare time she writes fiction.