Seventh class of Edgar Fellows announced

Friday, August 3, 2018

Seventh class of Edgar Fellows announced

A group of 40 emerging leaders from across Illinois has been selected to be part of the seventh annual Edgar Fellows Program and will gather in Champaign from Aug. 5-9. The Edgar Fellows Program is an initiative designed by former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar to inspire respectful and collaborative leadership to address the state’s major challenges.

The men and women selected this year (listed below) were chosen from a field of 168 nominees and reflect Illinois' 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 Program brings together people from all over Illinois, people with different backgrounds, different politics, and different heritage. But what we have learned over the six years we’ve had this program is that these people learn they have more in common than they have differences,” said Edgar, who launched the program in 2012. “People who were strangers on Sunday become good friends by Thursday. As they leave, it is gratifying to watch them exchanging contact information and making plans to see each other again soon. This is what the program is all about, finding common ground and respect for each other so that, as they advance in their leadership careers, they can help shape a better Illinois.”

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. The fellows will engage with more than two dozen policy experts and experienced practitioners. But most importantly, they will learn from each other in discussions of issues such as economic development, health care, education, and intergovernmental cooperation.

The 2018 class will bring the number of fellows who have completed the program to 272. Fellows continue to meet at least twice each year in alumni gatherings designed to increase their knowledge and help build their professional networks.

The Edgar Fellows Program is funded 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:

  • 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
  • Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General 
  • Felicia Norwood, executive vice president and president government business division, Anthem, Inc., and former director of the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services 
  • 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, chairman, Illinois Capital Development Board and independent consultant on regional projects
  • Gene Reineke, chief executive officer of Hawthorne Strategy Group 
  • Robin Steans, chair, Steans Family Foundation, and former executive director of Advance Illinois
  • John Varones, managing principal of Systima Capital Management 

Edgar Fellows Class of 2018

Alma Anaya, Chicago, Cook County Commissioner-Elect, 7th District

Kristopher Anderson, Chicago, state and local government consultant and former manager, U. S. government relations, McDonald’s Corporation

State Senator Omar Aquino, Chicago

Amy Barry, Springfield, director of communications and public affairs, Illinois Senate Republican staff

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood

Nathaniel Brown, Fairview Heights, academic co-director, Study of the U. S. Institute for Student Leaders  

Helena Buckner, Decatur, commissioner, Macon County Board

Nicole Budzinski, Chicago, senior advisor, JB for Governor Campaign

Beniamino Capellupo, Chicago, executive director, SEIU Illinois State Council

Jeffrey DeHaan, Lakewood, senior wealth advisor and chief compliance officer, Clearwater Capital Partners, LLC

Courtney Eccles, Chicago, director of Secure Choice Program for Illinois State Treasurer’s Office

Charles Feinen, Champaign, counsel, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

State Representative La Shawn Ford, Chicago

State Senator Dale Fowler, Harrisburg

Magdalena Fudalewicz, Chicago, manager, Chicago Latino Caucus Foundation and chief of staff for Alderman Gilbert Villegas

Emily Gibellina, Oak Park, director of government relations, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System

State Representative LaToya Greenwood, East St. Louis

State Representative Mike Halpin, Rock Island

Frank Haney, Rockford, chairman, Winnebago County Board

State Representative Sonya Harper, Chicago

Sarah Hartwick, Chatham, executive director, ED-RED

Richard Irvin, mayor of Aurora

Ra Joy, Chicago, recent candidate for lieutenant governor with Chris Kennedy and former executive director of CHANGE Illinois

Staci Mayall, Canton, treasurer of Fulton County

Steven McClure, Springfield, Republican nominee for state senator in 50th District and former assistant state’s attorney of Sangamon County

Thomas McNamara, mayor of Rockford

Aaron Ortiz, Chicago, Democratic nominee for state representative in 1st District

Mark Pietrowski, Jr., Cortland, chairman, DeKalb County Board

Delia Ramirez, Chicago, Democratic nominee for state representative in 4th District

Prashanthi Rao Raman, Chicago, director of global policy, Lyft, Inc.

Chasse Rehwinkel, Chicago, chief economist, Illinois State Comptroller’s office

Bria Scudder, Chicago, senior government and community liaison, office of Illinois Attorney General, and program director for ColorComm, LLC – Chicago Chapter

Catie Sheehan, Springfield, vice chairman, Sangamon County Board

Mariyana Spyropoulos, Chicago, president, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

Brad Stotler, Peoria, district director for U. S. Congressman Darin LaHood

Curtis Tarver II, Chicago, Democratic candidate for state representative in 25th  District

Jennifer Walling, Chicago, executive director, Illinois Environmental Council

Brandon Zanotti, Marion, state’s attorney of Williamson County

Sarah Zehr, Savoy, assistant vice president for academic affairs, University of Illinois

Michael Ziri, Chicago, director of public policy, Equality Illinois