Resident makes it her mission to serve

Laurie McMahon never had a dog growing up. Neither had her husband, Bob. But they decided in 2007 that their Hinsdale household was ready for a four-legged addition.

"Bob did the research to find a breed that had a good disposition with families," said McMahon, whose three children are now grown. "He recommended a Welsh springer spaniel."

Sadly, Bob passed away in 2013. Now Ranger, the Welsh springer spaniel, is 12, and McMahon is thankful they took the pet plunge.

"Ranger makes me laugh and is a good companion," she said.

McMahon joined the Hinsdale Humane Society Board of Directors two years ago, and the role has been a rewarding one.

"I love the passion that the staff and volunteers have for what they do - caring for and finding forever homes for cats and dogs," she remarked. "It really permeates the whole shelter."

She underscored that praise in light of the fact that the humane society adopted out an average of 27 animals per week during the pandemic-fueled frenzy of 2020.

"(I'm impressed with) the caliber of the leadership team, their collaborative efforts in the wider shelter community and that they strive to really be a model for other shelters with their best practices," she said.

The oldest of six, McMahon studied at Northwestern University and stayed in the Chicago area for her professional pursuits. She counts her last job in investor relations with Northern Trust as her favorite stop.

"I loved working with executive management to communicate Northern Trust's story and unique business model to buy-side and sell-side investors," she said. "It was a dream job."

McMahon also served as a Hinsdale plan commissioner for several years, citing the Hinsdale Meadows project as one of the more contentious proposals the group reviewed during her tenure.

"The decisions are often not black and white, but sometimes a difficult balancing act between the involved constituents," she said.

Finding ways to give back is a way to demonstrate her appreciation of the place she calls home.

"It's gratifying to be able to contribute to the community in which I live. I have been fortunate. I worked into my mid-40s, and then switched gears to be with my family and to volunteer. I've met so many lovely people doing so many wonderful things for our community."

In 2018, she was honored with a Voice from the Heart award from Child's Voice, an organization that works to support students with hearing loss and their families.

An avid traveler, she looks forward to visiting the Arctic's unspoiled landscape this summer.

"I was inspired to plan this after a trip to Antarctica a few years ago," she said.

In the meantime, she and her humane society cohorts are gearing up for the Unleashed fundraiser Feb. 27 (see Page 22 for details).

"We hope it will increase the visibility of HHS, raise operating funds in a difficult year, and provide some virtual fun together."

- story by Ken Knutson,

photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean