An Important Announcement from our Leadership



After more than 20 years on the Illinois Right to Life Board of Directors and the last 16 years as Board President, my time has come to an end. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve you and the unborn and vulnerable people of Illinois.

When I became board president, we did things very differently and we were struggling. I had a full-time job and was not able to spend as much time as the organization needed. Things were quickly changing. Social media was just beginning, and smart phones were new. One of our board members put together a plan for us that changed the path of the organization.

That was just the kick I needed.

While our mission didn’t change, our approach did. We hired a new executive director, built a new web site, started using social media, and launched new programs and outreach.  Since then, our reach and impact continue to grow and change hearts.

One the of keys to success for non-profits is term limits for board members. When we merged with Illinois Citizens for Life, we rewrote our by-laws and added term limits. I’ve been looking for someone who could take over as board president. Early this year as I was quickly reaching my term limit, Mary Kate approached me about her stepping down as Executive Director and becoming board president, my response was both relief and gratitude.  Mary Kate has been involved for 6 years both as a board member and executive director.

My goal has always been to build IRL and put it on a path so that the next president can take over and build on our work.  Mary Kate is the best candidate to do that, and the board agrees.

There is still much work to be done to turn Illinois pro-life.  I’m confident in the future of the IRL and am looking forward to seeing all the great work they will continue to do.

Thank you for your generous support over the years.

May God bless you,

Rosemary Hackett
Former President
Illinois Right to Life



Many of you have heard me say that working for IRL was and remains the best job I’ve ever had. When I gave birth to my son, I found myself feeling conflicted: stay in my role as executive director and reconcile the time I’d spend away him, or leave this job and this organization, which is so near to my heart and my personal mission.

I prayed for many months for the right solution before approaching Rosemary about the possibility of replacing her in her role. I truly believe that, together, we discerned this transition well. We both have peace and joy at the premise of this change.

Rosemary took a struggling organization and gave it life again. Her years as board president were some of the best years in IRL’s 55-year history. I say with confidence that, together, we did important work for the movement in Illinois. Her leadership will be sorely missed, and I’m very aware that I have big shoes to fill in her absence.

In conjunction, Jaclyn Cornell – our new executive director – is a welcome addition to our team. Jaclyn brings a decade of experience managing client relationships in advertising. She is well-spoken, passionate about the defense of human life, and ready to take on this new challenge as a leader in Illinois’ pro-life movement.

As we undergo this transition, my inbox is always open for your questions and concerns. My email address is [email protected].

I am excited for this new chapter for IRL, and I hope you are too! Thank you, from my heart, for your ongoing support of Illinois Right to Life. We are changing the tide on abortion in Illinois – and it’s all because of you.

For life,

Mary Kate Zander
Illinois Right to Life



To be a leader in defense of the most vulnerable has been a call I’ve felt compelled to answer for a long time. Through the grace of God’s perfect timing, I am thankful and honored to serve Illinois Right to Life as their new executive director. Getting to know Rosemary and Mary Kate throughout the past several months, I am humbled to be able to continue the work they have tirelessly put forth. I look forward to working alongside the board and the IRL team to ensure Illinois has strong pro-life guidance and an unwavering voice who will always stand in defense of life.

For the past ten years, I have enjoyed and successfully managed client relationships with businesses and prominent community partners and helped them achieve successful marketing and advertising campaigns. Connecting with people to help them grow and succeed in their endeavors has been what I’ve enjoyed most throughout my career. I look forward to building new relationships and listening and learning from those who can offer wisdom. I truly believe speaking truth in compassion and understanding is the most productive way to win over hearts in the fight for life.

I invite you to reach out and connect with me regarding any questions, thoughts or ideas you’d like to share as I transition into my new role. My email address is [email protected]. Thank you, truly, for your commitment and support of our organization. I am so inspired for the future of Illinois Right to Life – and cannot wait to work with all of you to ensure the inherent value of every human life is recognized, respected and unconditionally valued.


Jaclyn Cornell
Executive Director
Illinois Right to Life