We’re guided by world-changing leaders.

Kenneth Johnson, Board ChairManaging 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.

Anthony R. Ashe Senior Partner, Head of Client Partnerships – Modern Executive Solutions

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.

Ciere Boatright Commissioner – City of Chicago Department of Planning & Development

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.

Ed Bourelly Chief Marketing Officer – University of Michigan

Coming soon…

Terrance “Terry” Dee Partner – Winston & Strawn

Coming soon…

Craig Dunham

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.

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.

Stephen HackneyPartner – Kirkland & Ellis, LLP (Retired)

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 Senior Managing Director – Mesirow

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).

Yolanda K headshot
Yolanda Knight Managing Director – Steans Family Foundation

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 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.

Gregory Mathurin Sr. Human Resources Business Partner – Robert Half International

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* 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* Head of Access to Capital & DEI – US Bank

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.

Steve Napolitano Corporate Partner – Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Steve Napolitano is a corporate partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  Steve represents private equity funds, family offices and public and private corporations in connection with leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, going private transactions, growth equity financings, senior and mezzanine debt financings, joint ventures, recapitalizations and restructurings. He also has substantial experience representing private equity sponsors, corporations and senior management teams in connection with a broad range of management equity arrangements. In addition, he regularly counsels corporations and their boards of directors in connection with general corporate law, corporate governance, business and fiduciary duty matters. Steve has particular experience with private equity, merger & acquisition, joint venture, financing and restructuring transactions in the heavily-regulated for-profit healthcare industry, where he has served as lead counsel in numerous private and public transactions involving complex federal and state healthcare regulatory considerations. Previously, Steve served as the Co-Chair of DLA Piper’s U.S. Private Equity Practice and was a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee and Policy Committee. Steve has spoken extensively Omicron Epsilon Delta on private equity and mergers and acquisitions topics throughout the U.S. and internationally.
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.

Eric Patton Sr. Advisor, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago
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.

Tom Sampson Independent Director | CEO

Mr. Sampson is an accomplished executive and independent director with a track record of developing Board partnerships with management that drive strong results for all stakeholders. Recognized as a transformational leader who consistently achieves results through devising executable strategies, driving tight fiscal discipline, and creating engaged cultures. Tom serves on the board of three Private Equity owned companies: Fontaine Sante (Arbor Investments), Belvika Trading (Fulcrum Capital Partners) and Gourmet Culinary Partners (AUA). Mr. Sampson brings over 40 years of experience in the Food and Beverage Industry. Previously, he served as CEO of Peacock Foods, one of the largest outsourced-manufacturer of major food brands. He also spent 28 years at Kraft Foods in a variety of executive roles including a decade as the President of the North American Foodservice & Ingredients Division.  Tom has served on the Board and Advisory Board of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center for over 17 years. Mr. Sampson holds a MBA from Northwester Kellogg School of Management and a BA degree from Notre Dame University. He and most of his family live in the Chicagoland area.

Gilda Spencer Former 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.

Mark B. Williams Managing Director - Global Debt Private Placements Group at BofA Securities

Mark is a Managing Director in the Global Debt Private Placements Group at BofA Securities and heads the team responsible for marketing and executing private placements across a variety of industries in North America, Australia, and Europe.  Mark also maintains primary sales coverage of several, key institutional investors.  Since joining the private placements group in 1997, Mark has been involved in the execution of nearly 400 transactions aggregating almost $80 billion. In addition to his execution responsibilities, Mark leads the origination and structuring activities for the group’s sports-related transactions.  Over the last 20 years, Mark has led more than 125 transactions aggregating approximately $34 billion for leagues, teams, and venues throughout the sector globally. Mark has over 25 years of banking experience.  Prior to joining the Private Placements Group, Mark worked in Bank of America’s Atlanta Corporate Finance Group as well as the Procter & Gamble Company and IBM.  Mark earned a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University and an MBA at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Dr. Toinette Gunn LINK Unlimited Scholars President & CEO

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.

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

William M. Fausone
Senior Advisor – Colliers International Chicago

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

George Lombardi
Partner – Winston & Strawn, LLP

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

David Neithercut
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

*LINK Alumnus

Together we impact the life trajectory of our Scholars.

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