Ray Ward, Managing Director

The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association is happy to announce that Ray Ward has joined the organization as Managing Director. The Managing Director has an important role working with an active board and supporting their initiatives as well as supervising its employees and assuring maintenance and rental of the historic building near Downtown Oak Park.

Ray has lived various places but considers the Chicago area home. He spent many years in administration in the fitness world, and said "I was delighted to see an opportunity to return to my original interest, which is the arts." Ray has a background in film making, and was impressed with the many cultural offerings of the organization. He said "What struck me the most is how welcoming and nice everyone is." The members who interviewed him spoke highly of his flexibility, humor and ability to handle whatever needs to be done.

 John "Woody" Linton, Sales Manager & Executive Chef

John “Woody” Linton started cooking at the age of 14 in his hometown of Kenosha, WI. Upon graduation, he sought out Hyde Park to attend the Culinary Institute of America. His first landing was in Scottsdale, AZ, working at the award-winning restaurant Vu with Chef William Bradley. Following this milestone, John helped open The Alto Ristorante at the Hyatt Regency, Scottsdale. John has also worked at Lake Park Bistro in Milwaukee, the Bohemian Grove in Northern California, and seasonally at the Talon Lodge in Sitka, AK, as their Executive Chef.

Most recently he was the Executive chef of Hearth restaurant in Evanston (where he remains as a consultant). He helps out Venge Vineyards in Calistoga, CA, and is the Executive Chef for Oak Park Banquets at the Nineteenth Century.

Shawna Malato - Staff Accountant 
Shawna works as our Accountant. Shawna handles the bookkeeping and payroll. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While most work days she is at her desk crunching numbers, she has really enjoyed getting to know of the members and helping with their mission.
Shawna grew up in the North suburbs, where she now resides with her two children. 
 Becky GrajedaAdministrative Assistant 

Becky grew up in Claremont, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in music and American studies from Kenyon College in Ohio and her Master of Fine Arts degree in sound art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  In 2010 she studied in Prague and fell in love with the city. Much of her sound and performance work draws inspiration from Czech writers and visual artists. Her work has been shown or performed throughout Chicago, Los Angeles, in London, Prague, and Paris.  In 2014 she received a grant from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to document several of her performance works.

 She has supported her art career with a variety of jobs including in administration at arts and/or educational institutions, as a wedding planner, and as a chaperone for study abroad programs. She is super excited to get know everyone at the Nineteenth Century and put to work her skills from her past experiences.   

Ryan McClory, Event Manager 

Ryan McClory brings over 20 years of food and beverage experience and knowledge to the Nneteenth Century.  Ryan’s background in the industry include fine dining restaurant management, boutique hotel banquet captain, and private event and catering management. 

Ryan’s commitment and desire to provide the ultimate guest experience is marked through his attention to detail, excellent interpersonal skills, spectacular customer service, and his overall caring and genuine attitude. 

Ryan resides in the Oak Park area with his husband and two dogs. He’s a die hard Cubs fan and enjoys gardening in his yard and golfing in his free time.