We’re guided by world-changing leaders.
Kenneth Johnson is the co-founder and managing partner of the law firm of Johnson, Blumberg & Associates. He has over 20 years of experience representing and working with fortune 500 companies and is rated an AV PREEMINENT® attorney by members of the bar and judiciary, receiving the highest possible rating for legal abilities and ethical standards. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and serves on the CEO Council for Chicago United. Kenneth graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of science in organizational psychology and political science and received his juris doctor from the University of Iowa Law School. Recently, he was elected by the residents of his township to serve as trustee for the Village of River Forest, Illinois.
Heidi Albert is the research manager for the investment management department at William Blair. Prior to joining William Blair, Heidi was a financial literacy instructor and a co-curriculum developer for Magnetar Youth Investment Academy; founder of Live It To Learn It, where she created and led Money Locker, a teen credit union program for under-banked youth; and CEO and co-founder of Dr. Bobby Skin Caring for Kids. Heidi has also worked in equity sales at Lehman Brothers, investment banking at Morgan Stanley, and as a lawyer at Simpson, Thacher & Barlett in NYC. Heidi graduated with honors from Trinity College and New York University School of Law.
Anthony Ashe serves as vice president – sales, marketing, and business development for the automotive, packaging, & appliance segments of United States Steel’s North American Business. Recently, Anthony was selected as a fellow in the CEO in ACTION for Racial Equity, and he is an active member with the National Society of Black Engineers. He holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Santa Clara University and a master of business administration in marketing/electronic commerce from Seattle University. Anthony, his wife Nichole, and their three sons live in the Chicago area.
Allen Ashley is a partner at DLA Piper where he represents publicly traded and privately held multinational corporations and privately held real estate funds. With experience in a broad range of business-related U.S. federal income tax matters, Allen advises clients with respect to the tax aspects of domestic and international corporate acquisitions, dispositions, and other reorganizations; capital market transactions; joint ventures; acquisition, ownership, and disposition of real estate; intercompany transfer pricing; and general tax planning. Allen received his master of laws in taxation, with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center, his juris doctor from Georgetown University, and his bachelor of arts from DePauw University.
Brent Baccus is an executive director with Mitchell & Titus, LLP. He serves as team leader over audits of employee benefit plans and not-for-profit entities. With over 20 years of experience in auditing and accounting, he has served clients in various industries, including employee benefit plans, financial institutions, not-for-profit, and corporate entities. Brent is a CPA and received his bachelor of science in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
Ciere Boatright joined CRG in the summer of 2021 to help oversee planning and development of some of CRG’s high-impact real estate projects. Prior to joining CRG, Ciere served as the Vice President, Real Estate and Inclusion for Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc. Active in the civic space, Ciere serves as a commissioner for the Roseland Medical District as well as a board member for Chicago Community Land Trust, ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, Metropolitan Planning Council, and Landmarks Illinois. Ciere is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and was recognized as one of Crain’s 2019 Notable Women in Commercial Real Estate, a Crain’s 2020 40 under 40 honoree, and a Crain’s 2021 Notable Black Leaders and Executives. Ciere holds a master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from University of Illinois – Chicago and earned her bachelor’s in Psychology from Hamilton College.
Marcy Carlin is an equity analyst for the micro, small, and SMID growth strategies. Prior to joining Essex in 2005, Marcy spent three years at Burridge Growth Partners; two years as the Director of Corporate Development for the Levy Organization, specializing in the identification and evaluation of potential acquisition/merger/expansion targets; and five years as an Associate Financial Analyst for the Zell/Chilmark Fund. Marcy earned a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.
Dan Cox is a strategic communications leader who currently advises a variety of social ventures and nonprofits. His pursuits in marketing, communications, and public relations have spanned more than 20 years and substantively driven the growth of organizations large and small. His professional experience includes leadership positions at Jabil, Underwriters Laboratories, and JP Morgan, and he also founded a full-service marketing agency. Dan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts in communications. He lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife and two children.
Jason DeJonker thrives on finding spot-on solutions for his clients. As an experienced deal maker and litigator, he is something of a law firm rarity: adept in the courtroom, in the boardroom, and at the closing table. Private equity investors, financial institutions, special servicers, Fortune 500 corporations, trustees, and receivers bank on Jason’s creative approach to problem solving in both litigation and transactional matters. At Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, he serves on the Global Leadership Board and is actively involved in the management of the firm as the Co-Global Practice Group Leader of the Global Finance Transactions Practice Group. Jason earned a bachelor of arts and juris doctor from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
Craig Dunham is a passionate marketing technology professional and serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Lumar.io, with responsibility for leading the company vision and strategy globally. In his previous professional experiences, he served as General Manager of Financial Services and Hospitality verticals at Guild Education, responsible for leading client growth and retention strategy and execution. Craig was also the General Manager of Financial Services at Seismic, a leading sales and marketing technology platform. There he was responsible for driving go-to-market strategy, customer success and product innovation within Seismic’s Financial Services market vertical. During his time at Seismic, Craig was responsible for leading Seismic through its 2018 acquisition and served as a member of its executive leadership team that grew the company’s valuation from $15 million in 2013 to a $1.6 billion Series F in 2020. Craig currently serves on two other boards: The Humane League, an animal rights organization, where he actively participates on the finance and diversity, equity & inclusive committees and Lumar, his current employer.
Nich Freeman is co-founder and president of Innovare, an education technology company empowering and equipping leaders in education as key levers of social change. Before Innovare, Nick was a data strategist in Chicago Public Schools, an Education Pioneers & Surge Institute alumnus, and a graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Social Innovation Design. He is a self-proclaimed data geek, a great relationship-builder, and a proud Chicago native.
Robert Griggs is a proud Chicagoan who currently works for Metra in marketing. He has extensive experience in sales, advertising, and account management. Robert is a graduate of The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Williams College. He is also a proud alum of LINK Unlimited Scholars. He and his wife are parents of triplets and reside in Chicago.
Steve Hackney is a litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis. As an experienced trial lawyer, Steve has first- or second-chaired hearings and trials across the United States. He focuses his practice in the restructuring and private equity contexts, and is a member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Steve earned a juris doctor with honors from the University of Chicago Law School and a bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Rice University.
Tom Hynes is a senior managing director for the global investment management distribution team for Mesirow, a financial services company based in Chicago. He leads the team responsible for marketing and distribution of the firm’s investment capabilities to institutional investors and investment consultants in North America. Tom earned a juris doctor, cum laude, from the University of Chicago Law School; a bachelor of arts with honors from the University of Notre Dame; and a master of business administration from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Tom serves on the finance committee for CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy).
LeeAndra Khan is a leader in the charter school world, working to redesign and innovate the school experience for students of color to ultimately improve student outcomes. Currently, LeeAndra serves as the executive director of EPIC Academy, with past experience as the CEO of Civitas Education Partners (a multi-school charter network) and a CPS high school principal, assistant principal, and math teacher. She also spent 10 years as a civil engineer at Parsons Brinckerhoff, A. Epstein & Sons, and Patrick Engineering. LeeAndra is a 2019 Chicago Urban League/University of Chicago Booth School of Business Impact Fellow, a guest author for the Chicago Reporter Magazine and Education Post, and serves as a faculty member of ASCD. She is an associate board member of Chicago Scholars and serves on the advisory council for Chicago State University’s College of Education.
Yolanda Knight is the Managing Director at the Steans Family Foundation. In this role, she leads the Foundation’s staff and supports its partners to deliver programs and processes that positively impact those who live, work, and attend school in the North Lawndale community. Yolanda’s core work includes strengthening the outcomes and capacity of community-based organizations through the strategic use of data, frequent communication, and most importantly, through strong and enduring relationships. Prior to her work at the Steans Family Foundation, Yolanda established a long track record as a leader on successful startup and turnaround teams.
Yolanda graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Psychology and African American Studies. She earned an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Yolanda enjoys traveling, practicing yoga, studying neuroscience for fun, listening to all kinds of music – from Beethoven to Burna Boy—and cooking healthy meals. More than anything, she cherishes spending time with her two amazing children. Yolanda also serves on the board of Hothouse, a proud alumna of LINK Unlimited Scholars and a native of Chicago’s Westside.
Aisha Lavinier is a corporate partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP. Aisha advises private equity sponsors and public and private companies on complex business transactions, including structuring and negotiating strategic mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, leveraged buyouts, equity and debt financings, recapitalizations and restructurings, executive compensation and incentive equity arrangements, as well as other general corporate matters. Representative matters have ranged in size from several million dollars to more than $6 billion. She is a faculty member and speaker for Practising Law Institute and a member of the Associates Committee of Women in Law Empowerment Forum. Aisha received her juris doctor, cum laude, from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and her bachelor of arts from Rice University.
Greg Mathurin is a Sr Human Resources Business Partner at Robert Half International. He has over 20 years of diverse HR experience and has worked at mid-size and large organizations to lead strategic HR programs. An accomplished professional, he is responsible for aligning HR initiatives to business results by fostering inclusive work environments, developing team member capabilities, and designing agile organizational structures. Greg holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from DePaul University. He is also a board member of South Shore Drill Team.
Angela Miller-May was recently named the chief investment officer for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Prior to this appointment, she was the CIO for the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, a $12.2 billion pension fund for 88,000+ active and retired Chicago Public School teachers. Angela is a member on many boards, including the First Women’s Bank, Women Investment Professionals, Private Equity Women Investor Network, and NASP Africa Institutional Investors Advisory Council. Among her many honors, Angela recently received the Women Investment Professional 2020 Trailblazer Award. Angela holds an MBA from Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University and a BA in economics from Northwestern University.
Torrence Moore is an entrepreneur and finance professional with over 25 years of experience in private equity, consulting, alternative investing, commercial banking, and economic and community development. Torrence is currently the senior director of community development at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) where he develops capital stacks and financing for catalytic real estate projects. Prior to LISC, Torrence was managing director of lending for IFF and spent two decades at JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America. He is founder and partner of TMA Consulting and one of the founding managing directors of Kiwanja Capital Partners. He serves on several boards in addition to LINK Unlimited: Morgan Park Academy, the Edward G. Irvin Foundation, the Mid-America Club of Chicago, and ECM Chemicals. Torrence obtained his bachelor of arts in economics from Hamilton College and a master’s of urban planning & policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Matt Panzica has spent his entire career with BDO where he is the office managing partner. His portfolio includes a wide array of clients, ranging from individuals to privately held and publicly traded corporations, with varying degrees of size and complexities. While his clients span many industries, Matt has developed a strong focus in manufacturing and distribution and construction and real estate, specializing in corporate entities with multistate and multinational operations. In addition to ensuring his clients’ compliance with all applicable tax laws, Matt’s overarching objective is to deliver holistic and proactive service while seeking to provide tax planning and consulting solutions. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society. Matt received both a bachelor of business administration in accountancy and a bachelor of arts in Spanish from the University of Notre Dame.
Mike Revord is the founder and managing partner of Aldine. Prior to founding Aldine, Mike was a senior executive with Banc One Mezzanine Corporation, the mezzanine finance arm of Bank One, and he was president of ANB Mezzanine, the predecessor company to BOMC. Prior to joining ANB Mezzanine, he was vice president and division head in commercial banking at American National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago. Mike is a two-time former member of the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies’ board of governors and is a board member of the Springboard Foundation. He received a bachelor of science in finance from the University of Illinois in Urbana–Champaign.
Franklin Reynolds is a business transformation strategist with 15-plus years of experience pushing boundaries and uncovering hidden opportunities to reduce cost and support profitable business growth. Today, he is a senior account manager, strategic independent software vendor sales for Amazon Web Services. A proud LINK Unlimited Alum, Franklin holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Williams College, a master of arts in engineering management from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, and an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Craig Richey leads Accenture’s strategy and consulting business in the Midwest Market Unit, which delivers key services across all industries and functions including the functional domains of finance, talent & human potential, supply chain and operations, customer sales and service, applied intelligence, and technology strategy. Craig is an advocate for diverse perspectives at all tables and carries that passion with him while supporting teams and mentoring within Accenture and to his work within the community.
Gilda Spencer is senior vice president, deputy general counsel of dispute resolution services for Allstate where she leads a team of 60 associates. Before Allstate, Gilda was vice president, chief litigation counsel for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company; assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and an associate with Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego. Gilda is on the advisory council of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms; a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel serving as a Minority Summer Internship Program Mentor; and a YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago board member. Gilda is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she earned a bachelor of arts in political science. She earned her law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, where she was president of the Black Law Students Association.
Julie Welborn is the associate pastor of youth and family life at LaSalle Street Church in Chicago. She is a skilled teacher and preacher who has worked at the Office of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago, as the director of Catholic Identity, as a program director for LINK Unlimited Scholars, and as director of youth and young adult ministries for the Faith Community of Saint Sabina. Julie holds a doctorate of ministry, a master of divinity, and a certificate in biblical spirituality from Catholic Theological Union; a master of arts in communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago; and a bachelor of arts in theater from Williams College.
Jonathan Swain has always been a strategic thinker driven to solve problems, specifically those that affect the individuals and communities in Chicagoland. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Duke University, Jonathan earned a juris doctor degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He served in several prominent government roles as he completed his MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Today, Jonathan is the visionary leader of LINK Unlimited Scholars as its CEO and president. He is also the president of Kimbark Beverage Shoppe and director of Eat Drink and Be Events. When he’s not serving as president, director, or CEO, Jonathan is a husband and father who remains deeply committed to the concept of proactive, strategic community and economic development in Chicago.
Dr. Toinette Gunn has over 20 years of experience in the area of educational non-profits. Most recently serving as the Executive Director of Chicago Debates, a Chicago-area non-profit that leverages debate as a means of improving academic outcomes for Chicago’s youth. Her leadership in nonprofit impact extends throughout her career as Executive Director of Student Mentor Partners in St. Clair Shores, Michigan; Executive Director of The Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids (PEAK); and as Vice-President of Programs for Chicago Scholars. Dr. Gunn is a CPS grad and was the first in her family to graduate from college. Her drive and commitment to educational advancement for students stems from believing that our future will be shaped by how we prepare young people today.
Dr. Maria Ashley
Dentist, DDS, PS
Robert L. Berner Jr.
Partner – Baker & McKenzie, LLP
Retired, Partner – BDO, USA LLP
B. Victoria Cook
Retired, Director – Citigroup, Inc.
Patrice P. DeCorrevont
Lead Region President, Mountain Midwest Region – Wells Fargo
William M. Fausone
Senior Advisor – Colliers International Chicago
Patrick J. Flynn
Retired, Executive Vice President – McDonald’s Corporation
President – TCF Capital Funding
Steven J. Gavin
Partner – Winston & Strawn, LLP
John J. Gearen
Partner – Mayer Brown
Jerome D. Girsch
Executive Vice President – LKQ Corporation
William R. Haljun
Vice President – EYES for Learning, LLC
Wallace Harris Jr.*
President – BMO Harris Financial Advisors
Robert M. Heskett
Retired, President – FBOP
Partner – Winston & Strawn, LLP
Senior Vice President, Private Client Advisor – Wells Fargo Bank
Arthur J. Massolo
President – Straticon International
Cheryl E. Mayberry McKissack
CEO – NIA Enterprises, LLC
Kenneth R. Meyer
Retired, CEO & Managing Director – Lincoln Capital Management, LLC
John E. Neal
Partner – Linden, LLC
Retired, President/CEO – Equity Residential
Kevin A. Price
President – PartScription
Thomas A. Reynolds, III
Partner – Winston & Strawn, LLP
Philip F. Suse
Partner – Baker & McKenzie, LLP
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