Sixth class of Edgar Fellows named; Program’s goal is to encourage respectful and collaborative leadership

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sixth class of Edgar Fellows named; Program’s goal is to encourage respectful and collaborative leadership

For the sixth consecutive summer, a group of 40 emerging leaders from across Illinois has been selected as Edgar Fellows and will gather in Champaign from Aug. 6-10. The Edgar Fellows Program is an initiative designed to inspire respectful and collaborative leadership to address the state’s major challenges.

The men and women selected this year were chosen from a field of more than 140 nominees and reflect the state’s rich political, racial, ethnic and geographic diversity. They include elected and appointed officials from all levels of government, leaders of non-profit organizations, and individuals who are making their mark in the business world.

The Edgar Fellows week includes an intense executive training program designed and hosted by Edgar and the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA). The fellows will engage with policy experts, experienced practitioners and, most importantly, each other in discussions of issues such as economic development, health care, education, and intergovernmental cooperation.

“We bring the Edgar Fellows together each year expecting they will discover they have much more in common with each other than they have differences,” said former Gov. Jim Edgar, who launched the program in 2012. “Each year, we see strangers get to know each other. People who have different viewpoints become friends. They learn about and develop new respect for each other, and they form bonds that we know will serve them and our state well as they advance their leadership careers.”

Subsequently, the 2017 class of fellows will join with the members of the five classes before them and classes to come in alumni gatherings designed to increase their knowledge and help build their professional networks.

The program is funded primarily by donations from a diverse group of individuals, organizations and companies interested in promoting competent, ethical and solution-oriented leadership in Illinois. 

An advisory board chaired by Alexander Lerner, the chief executive officer of the Illinois State Medical Society, helps to guide the program. Other board members are:

  • Attorney General Lisa Madigan
  • MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council
  • Mark Boozell, government policy advisor in the Dykema law firm
  • Kirk Brown, a director of Hanson Professional Services and former Illinois secretary of transportation
  • Kevin Callis, vice president for operations of State Farm
  • Miguel del Valle, former state senator and Chicago city clerk
  • Julian D’Esposito, retired partner in the Mayer Brown LLP law firm
  • Jason Francque, director of U. S. government affairs, John Deere
  • Allen Grosboll, legislative director, Environmental Law and Policy Center
  • Carter Hendren, Hendren Taylor Consulting, former chief of staff for the Illinois Senate Republicans
  • Mike Lawrence, former director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University and former press secretary and senior adviser to Governor Jim Edgar
  • Felicia Norwood, director of the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services and former president of the Mid-America region for Aetna
  • Howard A. Peters III, HAP Incorporated, who was the first secretary of the Department of Human Services
  • Mark Peterson, president of Business Development for Bridgeview Bank
  • Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum
  • James Reilly, Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Planning Council and former Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
  • Gene Reineke, chief executive officer of Hawthorne Strategy Group
  • Robin Steans, former executive director of Advance Illinois
  • John Varones, managing principal of Systima Capital Management


2017 Edgar Fellows

  • Aaron Ammons, Urbana, Alderman in Ward 3 on Urbana City Council, president of SEIU Local 73 Chapter 119 and trustee on the State Universities Retirement System board
  • State Representative Avery Bourne, Raymond 
  • Eira Corral-Sepulveda, village clerk of Hanover Park 
  • Sam Cunningham, mayor of Waukegan 
  • Jonathan Doster, Chicago, policy specialist, Illinois Policy, Ounce of Prevention Fund 
  • Jessyca Dudley, Chicago, program officer at The Joyce Foundation 
  • Jamey Dunn-Thomason, Springfield, deputy director of communications for Office of the Illinois Comptroller 
  • Paris Ervin Doyle, Chatham, chief communications officer for Office of the Illinois State Treasurer 
  • Julian Federle, Chicago, chief policy and programs officer for Office of the Illinois State Treasurer 
  • Joshua Gibb, Galesburg, president and chief executive officer of Galesburg Community Foundation 
  • Mitchell Holzrichter, Chicago, partner at Mayer Brown LLP and former deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs and special counsel for Office of Governor Bruce Rauner 
  • Bethany Jaeger, Chatham, senior manager at Kerber, Eck & Braeckel LLP (KEB) 
  • Elsa Jaramillo, Chicago, legislative counsel in the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel 
  • Ashley Jenkins, Springfield, deputy chief legal counsel for Office of the Senate President 
  • Holly Kim, Mundelein, director of constituent affairs for Vernon Township and former trustee for Village of Mundelein 
  • Carl Larson, Freeport, state’s attorney in Stephenson County 
  • Jacob Lee, Kankakee, county auditor for Kankakee County 
  • Antonio Martinez, Jr., Chicago, director of development for The Chicago Community Trust 
  • Viviana Martinez, Chicago, assistant special legal counsel for Cook County, Office of President Toni Preckwinkle 
  • State Senator Patrick McGuire, Joliet
  • Angie McLaughlin, Downs, executive director of Community Health Care Clinic, Inc. 
  • Sharone Mitchell, Jr., Chicago, program director for Illinois Justice Project 
  • Shiva Mohsenzadeh, Glenview, trustee of Northfield Township
  • Rebecca Neale Hampson, Chicago, chief of staff and CEO Council Director, the Paulson Institute
  • Michael Negron, Chicago, chief of policy to Mayor Rahm Emanuel 
  • State Representative David Olsen, Downers Grove 
  • Zachary Oyler, Peoria, member-at-large of Peoria City Council 
  • State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst, Kankakee 
  • Donovan Pepper, Oak Park, national director, local government relations, Walgreen Company 
  • Shareese Pryor, Aurora, assistant attorney general, civil rights bureau, in the Office of the Attorney General of Illinois 
  • Franklin Ramirez, Elgin, Elgin Township supervisor 
  • Robert Reiter, Jr., Chicago, secretary-treasurer, Chicago Federation of Labor 
  • Elliott Rodgers, River Forest, senior vice president, logistics, Ulta Beauty 
  • James Rowe, Kankakee, state’s attorney in Kankakee County 
  • Jodi Scott, Knoxville, regional superintendent of schools for Henderson, Knox, Mercer and Warren counties 
  • State Representative Carol Sente, Vernon Hills 
  • William Stephens, mayor of Murphysboro 
  • Casey Urlacher, mayor of Mettawa 
  • State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, Springfield