In 2002, Sheahan joined UBS after a successful career at the Sara Lee Corporation. As Executive Director of Public Affairs, Sheahan has worked with the bank’s senior management to deliver on the promise of the UBS brand to give back to the communities where the bank does business. He sits on the bank’s global committee on Corporate Social Responsibility and has been instrumental in building strong relationships with community partners.
Through his work at UBS and through his public service, Sheahan has become a recognized leader in efforts to build a better Chicago. He has worked closely with Mayor Richard Daley on several landmark projects including Millennium Park and the Center on Halsted. He was most recently appointed to the Chicago Paralympics 2016 Committee. He also serves on the Boards of the Goodman Theatre and the Woods Fund of Chicago, a grantmaking foundation dedicated to increasing opportunities for less-advantaged Chicagoans.
In 1999, Sheahan was challenged by the Mayor to build a new center for Chicago’s LGBT community. In the ensuing eight years, Sheahan forged a unique and innovative partnership of grassroots organizations, government agencies, and leading businesses to build the new Center on Halsted. The campaign for the Center attracted more than 2,000 donors and raised more than $25 million. The environmentally friendly building is certified LEDE-Silver and houses the world’s most comprehensive LGBT center, integrating social services as well as educational, recreational and cultural programming. The Center has won a number of awards including the prestigious Richard H. Driehaus Community Development of the Year Award in 2007. Sheahan currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of the COH board.
A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Sheahan has served on nonprofit boards since he was 14 years old. In 1990 he graduated from Asbury College where he was elected Student Body President in his senior year. He paid his own way through college by founding a successful art business, A Touch of Kentucky, which featured the equine heritage of the Bluegrass State. While expanding his business to multiple locations, he earned an MA in Higher Education Policy from the University of Kentucky. In 1995, he was named an “Honorable Kentucky Colonel” by Gov. Brereton C. Jones.
In 1993, Sheahan left Kentucky for Chicago to begin doctoral work in Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His doctoral dissertation examined higher education accreditation and the definitions of quality. Since earning his Ph.D., he has integrated his interests in higher education and philanthropy by teaching courses on Nonprofit Management and Fundraising at Northwestern University and Spertus Institute.