Kevin Conlon co-founded Conlon & Dunn Public Strategies in 1998 with former Democratic National Committee Chairman David Wilhelm. He offers clients a unique understanding of the public arena derived from over 30 years of experience in law, government, venture capital, and non-profit organizations. Kevin’s background and relationships give him a unique ability to assist clients at all levels of government and in the business, civic, and nonprofit communities, which has earned him recognition in Crain’s Chicago Business list of “Who’s Who in Chicago Business” since 2005.
Kevin has played leading roles in numerous political campaigns, including serving as Illinois State Co-Chair for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns. During President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, Kevin was national co-chair of the Obama Leadership Circle and a member of the national and Illinois finance committees (one of top 100 fundraisers nationally). In 2004, he served as Illinois state chair and vice chair of the national finance committee for Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. He has also worked in strategy and finance roles for dozens of congressional and state-level campaigns. Kevin’s campaign work led the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association to select him as the recipient of its first annual Party Builder Award in 2017.
Prior to the formation of the firm, Kevin practiced labor and employment law for 15 years and served in federal, state, and local government. During the Clinton administration, he was appointed by President Clinton to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Expanding Training Opportunities. He served as Rich Township Democratic Committeeman for 14 years and Rich Township Supervisor for nine years, after becoming the first Democrat in 130 years to be elected to lead the township. Kevin has also been a member of the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals, a court-appointed arbitrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County, and a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois.
Kevin has been active in the community throughout his career. He is past president of the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago, a standing member of the Economic Club of Chicago, and a member of the advisory committee for the Illinois Connection/University of Illinois Alumni Association. He has taught classes at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies, Chicago-Kent School of Law (Illinois Institute of Technology), and DePaul University. In 2003, Loyola University of Chicago awarded him the Loyola Council of Regents Order of Merit.
Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois, and a J.D. from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.
Kam Buckner is a native of the Southside of Chicago. He represents the 26th Legislative District in the Illinois House of Representatives. The District, completely situated in the city of Chicago contains parts of South Chicago, South Shore, Washington Park, Woodlawn, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Bronzeville, the South Loop, Downtown, River North, Streeterville and the Gold Coast.
He previously served as Executive Director of World Sport Chicago, the non-profit legacy of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games; an organization that uses sport as a tool to provide positive life skill training and opportunities to youth in Chicago’s most under-resourced communities. Buckner previously worked in the Front Office of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, where he led the team’s government and neighborhood relations efforts; serving as an integral part of the contingent that successfully negotiated a deal to renovate and expand historic Wrigley Field; a first of its kind stadium deal that is expected to yield $1.2 billion in economic activity.
He previously spent a number of years in the public sector on the staffs of Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, LA and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was a member of the Fighting Illini football team and received a B.A. in Political Science. He holds a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.
Kam has served as an adjunct professor in the Undergraduate College of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and has been a contributor for the political newspaper and website the Hill and Crain’s Chicago Business. He formerly served on the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University.
As a first-generation American, Michael Cabonargi knows that our community only works when everyone has an opportunity to succeed. Mike’s father came to Highwood, Illinois from a mountain town in Italy with little more than the clothes on his back, and he found full-time employment in the service industry. He met his wife Francine while managing the dining room at a local country club. They worked hard their entire lives to ensure Mike and his brother had a roof over their heads and a good education.
One of the first people in his family to go to college, Mike graduated with honors from Miami University of Ohio. It was there – long before he would become an attorney and elected official – that Mike discovered his passion for advocacy. He and a small group of like-minded students fought to change the laws and policies so that his school could donate unused food to the needy in their community through a new Good Samaritan law. As Student Body President, Mike continued to fight for economic empowerment and social justice.
After college, Mike dedicated himself to public service, working as an aide to U.S. Senator Paul Simon and then U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, handling economic development initiatives to help ensure that Illinois families are always put first. Inspired by the power of people to make positive change through the law, Mike then attended the University of Illinois College of Law, where he received his law degree with honors.
After graduation, Mike was selected for a prestigious federal clerkship with the Honorable William Hibbler of the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. While a law clerk, Mike helped found the court’s first help desk for pro se litigants who represent themselves in court but still need guidance. For his leadership, Mike received the Award for Excellence in Public Interest Service from the Federal Bar Association and the U.S. District Court.
Mike left the courthouse for private practice before returning to public service as an award-winning senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission, where Mike investigated and prosecuted fraud, insider trading, Ponzi schemes, and other offenses against innocent victims. During his time there, Mike passionately fought corruption and fraud, and his hard work made a difference. Mike received both the Chairman’s Award and the Directors Award for Excellence for his hard and smart work.
In 2011, Mike was appointed to and later elected to the Cook County Board of Review, where Mike has ensured Cook County families pay only their fair share in property taxes while also ensuring our schools, libraries, and local governments receive necessary funds on time.
Mike has made the Cook County Board of Review more transparent, open, and effective. His office has held more than 250 community outreach sessions to allow homeowners to appeal their property taxes in their own neighborhood in their own language. Mike obtained translations for his office’s tax appeal forms into Spanish, Polish, Korean, and other languages spoken by Cook County homeowners.
In 2015, Mike led the development of the Board of Review’s innovative digital appeals processing system that digitizes operations and removes the paper in the process. Now, more than 93% of appeals are filed online. The National Association of Counties recognized Mike’s digital system with an award for innovative, effective county programs that enhance services for residents.
Mike, his wife Erin and their teenage sons William and Jack are active members of their community, where the family continues Mike’s commitment to giving back through community service.
Mike Ciaccio has served as the Director of Government Affairs for Teamsters Joint Council 25 for 15 years, representing 25 local unions and over 100,000 working men and women in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Mike represents the Teamsters at all levels of government and has advocated for workers across dozens of different industries, including transportation and logistics, construction, health care, law enforcement, aviation, and gaming. Mike also coordinates political operations for the Teamsters in Illinois and served as state director for Teamsters for Obama in Indiana in 2008 and Wisconsin in 2012.
Prior to joining the Teamsters, Mike spent 5 years as Research and Appropriations Analyst for the House Democratic Caucus in the Illinois General Assembly, where he prepared analyses on several policy issues, including labor, higher education, elections, and agriculture.
Mike graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in History. He currently lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.
As a principal in the Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies group, Matt helps clients navigate the complex legislative and regulatory landscape in Illinois. His background in politics, government, and managing in-house government affairs operations for large corporations, allows him to bring unique value to his clients.
Before joining Cozen O’Connor, Matt served as the national director of Government Affairs for American Water, overseeing legislative and regulatory policy in 47 states for the largest privately owned water utility in the country. He also has extensive experience handling policy and regulatory matters before the Illinois Commerce Commission, the state’s primary utility regulator.
Prior to American Water, Matt worked in several high-level positions for former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, including director of the Office of Business Development and chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Additionally, he previously served as deputy press secretary to U.S. Senator Richard Durbin. He has worked on several political campaigns in Illinois and worked at a large law firm in Chicago handling consumer and class action defense cases. Matt is a member of the board of directors for Equality Illinois, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization and is a graduate of Loyola Chicago School of Law and Illinois Wesleyan University.
Monica is the Executive Director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation where she is responsible for overall operations of the foundation. Her previous experience in medical sales allows her to be comfortable with budgets while penetrating a territory with concise messaging. As the Interim Executive Director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, Monica has raised over $300,000 in less than a year within her appointment. She is a long-term relationship builder who practices collaboration and team building.
Monica is a compassionate advocate for human service programs that assist others during times of hardship. She is certified in emotional intelligence assessment and loves connecting with people. Due to her community service involvement in the south suburbs, Monica has had the opportunity to meet many of its amazing residents.
Previously, Monica Gordon was a state lobbyist with Pugh & Associates. She received her B.A. from Northern Illinois University as well as a M.A. form Governors State University. Prior to advocating in Springfield for various clients such as PhRMA and the IL Trial Lawyers Association, she worked in pharmaceutical/medical sales for 11 years. During her career in medical sales, she won several sales awards with Johnson and Johnson and Mead Johnson and was promoted to a management role. Monica has always been dedicated to community service, extending her expertise to various non-profits and causes such as Girls 4 Science, Plan 4 Success, South Suburban PADS, the west side NAACP branch and the Flossmoor Cares MLK Project. She is also politically involved, serving on various committees for state legislators as well as local political campaigns. Monica is a member of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association’s Leadership Circle and was recently appointed to the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission by the village’s mayor. Furthermore, she is fiercely committed to the education and empowerment of young girls and women. Monica resides in Flossmoor.
In January 2020, Don Harmon was elected by his colleagues to serve as the 39th President of the Illinois Senate, vowing to lead a new era of ethical progress as the Senate works to rebuild trust in public service and rationalize state tax policy.
Harmon, an Oak Park native, was first elected to the Illinois Senate in the fall of 2002. During his time in the General Assembly, he championed early childhood education, ethics reform, curbing gun violence, protecting civil rights and expanding voter access.
He also worked to protect Illinois’ natural resources, promote renewable energy and enhancing economic opportunity for all.
Harmon was an early supporter of Preschool for All programs and sponsored the Illinois Early Learning Council.
Harmon led efforts to win legislative approval of the Fair Tax constitutional amendment that will give voters the opportunity to overhaul the state’s antiquated tax system.
In the Senate, he previously served as president pro tempore and chaired the influential Executive Committee.
Harmon has an undergraduate degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and a law degree and MBA from the University of Chicago. He was a founding member of the Boat Drink Caucus band, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who set aside politics to perform at small venues across the state.
He and his wife, Teresa, are the parents of three children: Don, Frances and Margaret.
Ron Holmes is the co-founder of The Majority-Minority Group, a Chicago-based company with an aim to create more minority-owned businesses. Their first mission has been to specifically help minority and female business owners in the cannabis industry. Ron is also the founding principal of Ron Holmes Consulting LLC, a government and political affairs consulting firm founded in 2015.
Before starting his consulting practice, Ron served as Communications Director for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s re-election campaign. In that capacity, Ron was responsible for shaping a winning vision and message in a cycle in which national Democrats would eventually lose control of the Senate and Illinois Democrats would lose the Governor’s mansion. Prior to the Durbin campaign, Ron built a statewide network of elected officials and media contacts through his work as a spokesman and speechwriter for Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton. At the time, Cullerton was the leader of the largest state senate caucus – Republican or Democrat – in the country and in Illinois history. Cullerton placed Ron at the center of reforms and initiatives to improve the well-being of the state and its taxpayers.
During his time in Springfield, Ron was tapped by leaders of both chambers to serve as the public facilitator of Illinois’ historical legislative redistricting process that included the signing of the first ever Illinois Voting Rights Act and was the most open and transparent redistricting in the state’s history. Ron’s other experiences in public policy include serving time in the offices of IL Senate President Emil Jones Jr., the National Urban League’s Policy Institute and the Chicago Public Schools. Ron has also served as political advisor to candidates and officials across the state of Illinois.
Ron is an alumnus of Morehouse College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and minor in Economics. While at Morehouse, Ron served in various leadership capacities including President Pro-Tempore of the Morehouse Senate and Vice-President of the Morehouse Chapter of the NAACP.
Arielle Maffei currently serves as a Vice President at McGuireWoods Consulting. In this role, Arielle provides clients with direct advocacy at the state and city levels.
Arielle began her political career as a White House scheduling and advance intern under President Obama. From there, she went on to work at the Clinton Foundation where she worked directly with President Clinton, senior staff, and the board of directors to advance the mission of the Foundation. After five years at the Foundation, Arielle transitioned to events manager in the President’s Office at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore prior to moving to Chicago in 2017.
For three years she was the in-house government affairs associate for Simmons Hanly Conroy, a nationally-recognized law firm that represents families affected by mesothelioma and asbestos-related cancers. Most recently, Arielle served as vice president of Alexander, Borovicka, & O’Shea Government Solutions where she supported multiple client accounts in several industries.
In Illinois, Arielle continues her passion for policy and politics. She is the founding and current president of the Young Democrats of Chicago and the immediate past president of the Young Democrats of Illinois. In addition, Arielle serves on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. She represented Illinois as an at-large delegate at the 2020 National Democratic Convention and is a member of the prestigious Illinois Women’s Institute of Leadership (IWIL) Training Academy Class of 2020.
She is a first-generation American, the proud daughter of her Cuban immigrant mother, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, and has a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University.
Joyce Mason was born and raised in Chicago and has spent the last 23 years in Lake County, Illinois, where she currently lives with her two children. She has represented the 61st Legislative District in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2019 after being elected as the first Democrat to hold the seat. The district contains all or parts of Gurnee, Wadsworth, Lindenhurst, Lake Villa, Antioch, Winthrop Harbor, Beach Park, Zion, Old Mill Creek and Third Lake.
Joyce earned her BA in Communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and her MBA at Keller Graduate School of Management. Prior to becoming a full time legislator, Joyce had a long career in Human Resources, working in the corporate, non-profit, and consulting arenas. She also spent more than fifteen years writing curriculum and teaching graduate level courses at Keller Graduate School of Management. She has held her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) certification since 1999 and her SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional) since 2015. She has been a Professional Member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) since 1998.
Joyce was part of the Edgar Fellows Class of 2019 and the Inaugural CSG (The Council of State Governments) Elevate Program in 2021. She is especially proud to have been part of the very first IDCCA Candidate Boot Camp, which inspired her to run for State Representative.
Joyce previously served as the Vice President of the Woodland District 50 Board of Education and has been a member of the Board of Directors of A Safe Place Lake County Crisis Center since 2014. Additionally, she has been an active volunteer for many years in classrooms and throughout her community supporting causes, organizations, and political candidates whose values align with hers.
43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman Lucy Moog is a longtime Democratic activist and a 20-year resident of Lincoln Park. Passionate about community action and grassroots organizing, her vision is a ward where citizens are engaged in the political process by advocating on behalf of candidates, issues, and causes they care about. As Committeeman, Lucy wants to inspire activism in politics and help build our Democratic base.
Since her youth, Lucy has been involved in Democratic politics. She led community outreach efforts on four presidential campaigns, as well as numerous gubernatorial and congressional races. She served as the District Director for the 5th Congressional District from 1997 to 2002. In 2007, she took a leadership role to help launch the critically acclaimed environmental advocacy campaign and public art project “Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet,” which has since exhibited in 13 cities worldwide. Lucy’s personal Cool Globe creation was selected among a myriad of finalists to be displayed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
After attending Francis W. Parker School in Lincoln Park, Lucy studied government and psychology at Connecticut College. Immediately after graduation, Lucy moved to Washington, D.C. to work on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant focusing on health care and reproductive rights issues.
After spending five years in Washington, Lucy returned to Lincoln Park to live, work and raise a family.
Lucy is a member of the Board of the Chicago Sinai Congregation and serves on the Advisory Committee of Chicago Ideas Week’s YOU(th) initiative. She is a dedicated volunteer with Personal PAC, the Know Tomorrow movement and Francis W. Parker Parents’ Association.
A devoted Cubs fan through thick and thin, Lucy and her husband, Matt, live with their three boys in Lincoln Park.
Josina Wing Morita is a Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Elected in 2016, she is the first Asian American elected to a countywide board in Cook County—the second largest county in the country. As an urban planner and policy advocate, Josina brings expertise in equity policy, land use, stormwater and regional planning. She sits on the boards of Woods Fund Chicago, Delta Institute, and the National Blue Ribbon Commission for On-Site Non-Potable Water Systems. Josina’s human rights, racial justice and water justice work has been recognized locally and nationally. In 2007, she was named one of the top 35 leaders under 35 fighting racism and poverty in Chicago by the Community Renewal Society. In 2013, she received the Emerging Leader Award from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and the Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women. In 2016 she was named one of 50 Young Asian American Stars in Politics by Asian Fortune Magazine. In 2017 she received the Spirit of the River Award from the Friends of the Chicago River. And in 2018 she was recognized as a National Water Hero by WaterNow. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and International Race Relations from Pitzer College and a Masters in Urban Planning and Public Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Olivia leads The Consensus Group’s client advocacy and strategy efforts. She is an experienced government relations and public affairs consultant and has been engaged with Illinois and Chicago politics for over sixteen years. Her expertise includes identifying impact on diverse stakeholders, building dynamic partnerships, and collaborating with client leaders to isolate initiatives and tackle emerging issues and challenges. Olivia has represented various industries, such as hospitality, healthcare and professional sports teams on initiatives like supplier diversity, procurement and the environment. She has extensive experience in representing business organizations throughout Illinois.
Bob Reiter is the President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, the third largest central labor council of the national AFL-CIO. He previously served two terms as Secretary-Treasurer of the CFL from July 2010 to May 2018.
For Bob, the labor movement has always had an influence on his life. His parents instilled the values of solidarity and social justice in Bob from a young age, and as he got older, he realized that everywhere he went and everything he did kept bringing him back to the labor movement.
Bob’s appreciation for the history of labor informs his understanding of the need to reposition the labor movement in light of its history. He is a third-generation member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. Throughout his career, he has worked as a labor attorney, an organizer, a negotiator and a lobbyist. When the opportunity to run for elected office of the Chicago Federation of Labor presented itself in 2010, Bob saw this as an opportunity to bring the values that his parents taught him to a bigger stage, allowing him to affect people’s lives in a way he could not do at his local.
While each union has its own unique successes and challenges, the broader issues and struggles are universally the same. Bob’s role as President allows him to be the voice of every CFL-affiliated union on these big picture issues. One of his responsibilities is to represent the interests of labor throughout Chicago and Cook County. Through his work on the Cook County Health and Hospital System’s Board of Directors, Bob works to build partnerships between health providers and the community, and he advocates for policies that improve the overall well-being of all people across Cook County. His involvement with various community groups, including Chicago Jobs with Justice’s Executive Committee and Arise Chicago’s Executive Board, allows him to fight for the rights of workers through education, organizing and shaping public discourse. As a member of the Citizen Action/Illinois Policy Council, Bob influences the organization’s public policy positions, the legislative agenda and any candidate endorsements for public office. On the Metropolitan Planning Council Resource Board, Bob is helping to build a strong economy and reinvigorate Chicago’s neighborhoods. In his previous work as a Board member for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, Bob helped to strengthen the economy of Chicago by bringing tradeshows, conventions and other public events to Chicago. Bob is also lending his voice to issues related to international trade, meeting periodically with dignitaries from various European countries and experts from the agricultural, manufacturing and financial industries.
Bob holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from Eastern Illinois University, and a Juris Doctor degree from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. He currently resides in Orland Park, IL. with his wife, Diana, and their two children.
Gillian Rosenberg Armour is the Managing Director for Wildfire Contact, a political direct mail firm. Gillian was named to the top “40 Under 40” in 2019 by AAPC. Gillian has over fifteen years of campaign experience, including helping lay the groundwork for President Obama’s historic Iowa Caucus win. Her resume includes multiple statewide and legislative campaigns. Gillian was the first National Director of Campaigns for J Street and from 2012-2016 she served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership. In 2018, Gillian was the lead direct mail strategist for Congresswoman Sharice Davids (KS-03), Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and a dozen legislative and municipal elections across the country. Gillian lives in Chicago with her husband and her dog Avon.
David P. Saunders (CIPP/US, CIPM) is an experienced litigator who focuses his practice on privacy and cybersecurity matters. David helps clients mitigate and manage risks related to data privacy and cybersecurity, from counseling on compliance with privacy regulations and managing data incident responses, to navigating regulatory investigations and handling biometric and other privacy-related litigation.
David works collaboratively with a diverse range of clients, from small business and pro bono clients to multinational Fortune 100 companies, understanding and advising on their data practices to provide guidance on the myriad issues that arise in today’s digital world.
Additionally, David has experience conducting risk assessments, developing privacy programs, drafting privacy policies, performing due diligence for corporate transactions, negotiating vendor agreements and working with clients through data incident response. He regularly counsels on HIPAA, HITECH, GLBA, CCPA and state law privacy obligations, including engaging with key rulemakers at the state level to advance clients’ interests. He has litigated and helped resolve matters related to data privacy and cybersecurity issues, including navigating potential and actual regulatory investigations.
David has successfully worked with a number of state attorney general’s offices and federal regulators, and advocated on behalf of clients in the telecommunications, consulting and financial services sectors whether in response to routine inquiries or in response to reported data incidents. This work has included collaborating with clients to provide testimony and comment on existing and planned data privacy legislation at the state and federal levels and respond to investigations and inquiries by state AGs and federal regulators.
David maintains an active pro bono practice, having represented inmates in various actions in state and federal courts, and providing privacy program development, counseling and training to non-profits.
Kristine M. Schanbacher is a senior managing associate of Dentons’ Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice. Her focus is on complex commercial litigation in both federal and state courts. She has experience in a wide variety of commercial disputes, including class action, contracts, media law, business torts, and insurance matters. She also has experience in patent, trademark, and copyright matters. Kristine has helped address major class action litigation issues affecting property and casualty insurers in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States.
Kristine has served as the lead associate on a complex commercial and media law trial and a high exposure personal injury trial.
Kristine’s pro bono work includes successfully obtaining political asylum on behalf of her client and obtaining a reduced sentence for a juvenile unconstitutionally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On January 3, 2011, Edward M. Smith was elevated to Chief Executive Officer of Ullico Inc. after serving as its President since May of 2008. Ullico Inc., founded in 1927, provides insurance and financial solutions for labor unions, union employers, union benefit funds, and union members. Prior to becoming President, Mr. Smith served as Ullico Inc.’s Executive Vice President from January 2007 until May 2008.
Before joining Ullico, Smith had a long and distinguished career at the Laborers’ International Union of North America. After joining LiUNA at age 13, he was elected Business Manager of Laborer’s Local 773 at age 21. Smith later became International Union Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager serving over 58,000 members. He also served as Assistant to the General President.
Smith formerly served as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment, Chairman of the National Alliance for Fair Contracting, and a member of the Illinois Department of Labor Advisory Board. He has also been a key benefactor to the Therapy Center in Carterville, Illinois, the Shawnee College Foundation in Ullin, Illinois as well as the Connell F. Smith Homer Brown Scholarship Fund in Marion, Illinois.
Smith attended Shawnee College and graduated with an Associates of Arts degree in 1974. He was the first member of the Laborers International Union (LiUNA) to graduate from the National Labor College with a bachelor’s degree. Smith went on to graduate from the Harvard University Trade Union Program. He is now an active board member for the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP), Laborers’ Charitable Foundation, Laborers CARE, America’s Agenda-Healthcare for All, and serves as a trustee for the AFL-CIO Staff Retirement Plan.
After spending nearly fifteen years managing campaigns ranging from U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial races to big city Mayoral and County Executive races, Ken launched his own media firm in 2004. Ken is known for his intense commitment to clients, and for his creative ad making that has helped dozens of candidates score stunning victories.
Ken’s “on-the-ground” experience of working with reporters and running campaigns gives his candidates a value beyond paid advertising. His practical experience helps campaigns plan budgets, earn free media and meet their overall goals and objectives. His philosophy is simple: the big ad firms take on too many races and frequently take too many of them for granted, resulting in a boring cookie cutter approach. Ken and SP Media’s outside the beltway approach takes the time to make each campaign unique – tailored to individual districts, states and candidate personalities.
Elected to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board of Commissioners in 2010, Mariyana Spyropoulos served as Board President from 2015-19. As president, she embraced green infrastructure and oversaw the disinfection of Chicago’s waterways – a project that directly benefited the water environment while creating thousands of jobs. Mariyana also maintained MWRD’s AAA bond rating and pushed for transparency by introducing independent oversight of the District and live-streaming board meetings.
Mariyana emphasizes community outreach and engagement by speaking to community groups throughout Cook County about water, good government and environmental issues. In 2017, she received both the Illinois Water Environment Association Public Official Award and the Spirit of the River Award from Friends of the Chicago River.
A former Assistant State’s Attorney, Mariyana earned her law degree at The John Marshall Law School and her MBA from Loyola University Chicago. She also completed graduate work in American Government at Georgetown University.
The daughter of immigrants, Mariyana grew up on Chicago’s South Side. She attended Chicago Public Schools and took an early interest in civics.
Mariyana is a member of the Chicago Sierra Club, the John Marshall Alumni Board, Hellenic Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association and Sankofa House Board. She lives with her husband in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.
Anna Valencia is the Clerk of the City of Chicago. Since Anna was sworn in, in January, 2017 she has been dedicated to building a Clerk’s office that benefits all Chicagoans.
Anna Valencia grew up in Granite City, IL a small town in Southern Illinois. Her father is a union painter and her mother worked for a non profit. Anna’s father’s family immigrated from Mexico. Anna learned the value of hard work and opportunity. Anna was the first person in her family to graduate from college.
After college, Anna dedicated her career to public service and working with various elected officials to create change for Illinois and Chicago. Clerk Valencia uses her middle-class roots to guide her office and make city services more accessible to all Chicagoans. Anna implemented the City’s first Municipal ID program which is available to all Chicago residents, regardless of age, housing status, gender identity or immigration status. This government-issued ID combines access to government and city services into one card.
As the second Latina to hold the office, Anna has been an outspoken advocate of women’s rights and encouraging Chicago Public Schools to participate in civic engagement. Anna lives in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood with her husband and dog.
Alderman Gilbert Villegas has spent his entire career serving others. Since being honorably discharged from the Marines, he has served in government, non-profits and for profit companies, each time successfully bringing new opportunities to businesses and employees.
Alderman Villegas served as Chief of Staff position at the Illinois Capital Development Board. Ald. Villegas oversaw a staff of 140 State personnel, a $25 million operating budget and a $3.9 billion dollar capital construction program. As the construction management agency for Illinois state government since 1972, the Capital Development Board (CDB) oversees the construction of new state facilities, such as prisons, colleges and university classroom buildings, mental health hospitals and state parks. In addition, CDB is responsible for renovation and rehabilitation projects at the State’s 8,500 plus state-owned buildings containing more than 96 million square-feet of floor space.
From 2008 to 2011, Ald. Villegas was the Associate Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association. At HACIA he oversaw Government Affairs for the organization and spearheaded the development and lobbying efforts behind passage of two instrumental Illinois Senate Bills (SB 351 and SB3249), ensuring minority and women owned businesses have a principal opportunity to participate on state funded projects. Ald. Villegas successfully created the Minority Contractor Training Program, which trained over 300 businesses that sought to perform on federally and state funded infrastructure projects.
Prior to joining HACIA, Ald. Villegas served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Business and Workforce Diversity at the Illinois Department of Transportation. As the Deputy Director he oversaw two departments: the Bureaus of Small Business Enterprises and the statewide District Equal Employment Opportunity Contract Compliance Officers.
Ald. Villegas was previously a member of Teamster 734 where he served as the Teamster Union Steward, representing over 300 Teamster drivers and dockworkers. As the Teamster Union Steward, Ald. Villegas ensured that workers’ rights were protected and the collective bargaining agreements were adhered to.
Ald. Villegas currently represents the 36th Ward in City Council. The 36th Ward is located on Chicago’s Northwest Side and covers neighborhoods ranging from Portage Park to Hermosa. The Alderman sits on six committees, Aviation, Rules and Ethics, Economic, Capital and Technology Development, Health and Environmental Protection, Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, and Transportation and Public Way. Elected in 2015, the Alderman is focused on bringing his engineering expertise to the 36th in order to spur development and job creation. He has started a new Veteran Caucus in City Council to make Chicago the best city in the world for Veterans.
Jen started as executive director of IEC in January of 2011. In addition to managing the organization, Jen lobbies on behalf of IEC’s member organizations on a wide range of issues.
Prior to her time as executive director, Jen worked as chief of staff to State Senator Heather Steans. She has also worked for the Environmental Law and Policy Center and SCARCE, an environmental education non-profit, and interned for then Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn. Jen obtained her law degree and master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Law School in 2006, after gaining her undergraduate degree in NRES at the University of Illinois
Kim grew up in a middle-class household in Freeport, Illinois. Her mother was a nurse and her father was a teacher. They taught Kim the value of public service at an early age. Her father served as his region’s union representative to the Illinois Education Association and served on the IEA State Board of Directors. Kim put herself through college, earning a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown. She moved to the 12th District in 2000 and started working for then Commissioner Quigley.
Over the next 10 years, as Quigley’s Director of Policy and Chief of Staff, she authored or co-authored seven reports on reinventing Cook County Government. She was responsible for the development and passage of legislation including ethics reforms, LGBTQ protections, women’s health programs, and fiscal accountability measures, to name a few. Kim later helped Quigley get elected to Congress and served as his District Director and Deputy Chief of Staff.
Since that time Kim served as Senior Vice President for Evergreen Health, a non-profit health co-op created under the ACA. In that role she oversaw all outreach to individuals during open enrollment – many of whom had never been insured. She later founded and ran Illinois Women for Hillary, responsible for women’s outreach in Illinois for the Hillary Campaign.
For the past three years she has worked for Walgreens, serving as a bridge between communities and the company. During Hurricane Harvey she was instrumental in coordinating the first pharmacists on the ground at the emergency shelters to provide medications and immunizations to evacuees and first responders.
Along the way, Kim has never lost sight of who she is, and the lessons instilled in her in childhood. She regularly volunteers at the House of Good Shepherd, a domestic violence shelter in Lakeview and has been a part of the Team to End Aids for three years, completing three triathlons while raising funds for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Kim serves on the Boards of ChildServ, Smart Policy Works and is on the Leadership Circles of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs and The Haymarket Center. She lives in Lakeview.