We’re guided by world-changing leaders.

Stephen Hackney, Board ChairPartner – Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

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.

Heidi Albert Research Manager, Investment Management – William Blair

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 R. Ashe VP of Sales, Marketing, & Business Development – United States Steel

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 Partner, DLA Piper

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 Executive Director – Mitchel & Titus, LLP

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.

Nancy Baker Founder – Chicago Area College Access Counselors Retired Executive Director – WE Program, Evanston

Nancy Baker is the retired executive director of the Evanston Work Ethic Program and founder of the Chicago Area College Access Counselors organization. She has over 15 years of college counseling experience targeting first-generation/underserved students and is a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors and the Illinois Association of College Admissions Counselors. Her impressive professional experience includes positions at Boca Burger, Kraft Foods, and Arthur Anderson. She holds business and humanities degrees from Michigan State University and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University, Chicago. Evanston, Illinois, has been home for Nancy and her family (which always includes dogs) for more than 35 years.

Dan Cox

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 impressive 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 Partner – Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP

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.

William M. Fausone Senior Advisor – Colliers International Chicago

Bill Fausone has over 35 years of commercial real estate experience and served as president and chief operating officer of Colliers International Chicago for 25 years. As one of the two managers of BK Equities, LLC, Bill developed and operated more than $2B of real estate investments. In 2008, he led its sale of a majority interest to Colliers International Group, Inc. Bill remains affiliated with Colliers International as an advisor. He serves as a board member and mentor for LINK Unlimited and is a volunteer for the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation.

Nick Freeman Co-Founder + President, Innovare

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* Sr. Marketing Development Specialist – Metra

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.

Tom Hynes Senior Managing Director – Mesirow Financial

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).

Kenneth Johnson Managing Partner – Johnson Blumberg & Associates, LLC

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.

LeeAndra Khan Executive Director – EPIC Academy

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.

Aisha Laviner Partner – Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

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.

George Lombardi Partner – Winston & Strawn, LLP

George Lombardi is a partner in the international law firm of Winston & Strawn, where he serves as the co-head of the litigation department. He is a trial lawyer who has tried numerous cases involving a wide variety of subject matters in jurisdictions throughout the United States. George is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Angela Miller-May* Chief Investment Officer – Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

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* Senior Director of Community Development – LISC Chicago

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.

David Neithercut Retired President/CEO – Equity Residential

David Neithercut is the former president and CEO and a member of the board of trustees of Equity Residential. Prior to joining Equity Residential, David was senior vice president of finance for Equity Group Investments, an affiliate of Equity Residential’s predecessor company. David is a member of the executive board of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), which he served as chair in 2015. He also serves on the Policy Advisory Board of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and the MBA Real Estate Program Advisory Board at Columbia University. David holds a bachelor of arts from St. Lawrence University and an M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Matt Panzica Managing Partner – BDO USA, LLP

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.

Michael Revord Founder & Managing Partner – Aldine Capital Partners, Inc.

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* Senior Account Manager – Amazon Web Services

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 Managing Director – Accenture

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 Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel – Allstate Insurance

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.

Dr. Julie Welborn* Assistant Pastor Youth & Family Life – LaSalle Street Church

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 T. Swain* President & CEO – LINK Unlimited Scholars

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.

Emeritus Members

Dr. Maria Ashley
Dentist, DDS, PS

Robert L. Berner Jr.
Partner – Baker & McKenzie, LLP

Howard Blumstein
Retired Partner – BDO, USA LLP

B. Victoria Cook
Retired ,Director – Citigroup, Inc.

Patrice P. DeCorrevont
Lead Region President, Mountain Midwest Region – Wells Fargo

Patrick J. Flynn
Retired, Executive Vice President – McDonald’s Corporation

Joe Gaffigan
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

Colleen McCaffery
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

Kevin A. Price
President – PartScription

Thomas A. Reynolds, III
Partner – Winston & Strawn, LLP

Philip F. Suse
Partner – Baker & McKenzie, LLP

*LINK Alumnus

Together we can change the life trajectory of our Scholars.

LINK Unlimited Scholars, 2221 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60616-3894 • 312-225-5465 • info@linkunlimited.org