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New Leaders Council

2017 Fellows

Sean Anderson
Communications Associate, World Business Chicago

Sean Anderson

Sean Anderson is the Communications Associate for World Business Chicago. He strategizes and executes public affairs, media relations, social media, messaging, and branding for WBC and its underlying initiatives.

Prior to WBC, Sean worked at Kivvit, a national public affairs and communications firm. He handled public affairs and brand messaging for clients such as Google, nonprofit-coalition Forefront, the University of Chicago, and the US Olympic Committee.

Sean’s time before Kivvit straddled business and politics: directing operations for Andrea Zopp's U.S. Senate campaign, managing marketing for an investigative consulting firm, and expanding Loyola University Chicago’s student-run enterprise, Loyola Limited.

Valuing civic engagement and public service, Sean is a Board Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and an Associate Board Member of Chicago Scholars – the largest college-access program in Chicago. He previously served two terms on the Illinois Board of Higher Education, representing nearly one million students throughout the state.

Sean graduated from Roosevelt University with a BSBA in Business Management. He put himself through college as a financially independent student, eager to cultivate skills in strategy and organizational leadership to effect social and political change.


Anna Bethune
Graduate Student, Northwestern University

Anna Bethune

Anna Bethune is a Co-Founder and Director of Research Development and Community Relations at Brave Initiatives. Brave Initiatives is a non-profit that empowers youth to view themselves as powerful agents of change. They offer a 5-day BraveCamp to young girls interested in solving meaningful community problems through design thinking and technology. The camp exposes participants to expert mentors, leadership, public speaking training, coding skills, and community organizing practices.

Anna is also pursuing doctoral studies at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Her research interests include civic engagement, design-thinking, education technologies, development economics, and education policy. Before moving to Chicago, she worked as an Economics Researcher at the Edward Seaga Research Institute. Her projects included an examination of the impact of floating and fixed exchange rates on the Jamaican economy, and the creation and publication of one of Jamaica’s first and largest open data platforms — The Edward Seaga Database Collection.

Prior to that, she worked as the Director of Social Entrepreneurship and Outreach at a start-up in Silicon Valley where she designed and implemented a community outreach program and technology platform aimed at connecting local businesses with charities. While pursuing undergraduate studies at Stanford University, she researched the impact of microfinance on consumption patterns and the living standards of a group of women receiving micro-credit in Mukono, Uganda. Anna graduated with a BA with honors in Economics.


Colin Bird 
Senior Analyst, IHS Markit 

Colin Bird

Colin Bird is a recognized community leader on the northwest side of Chicago. After being inspired by the new leaders emerging from the 2014-15 municipal elections, Colin decided that he could help his community by bringing together neighbors to form a community group that would bring forth positive changes for Hermosa, Chicago. Colin founded the nonprofit, Hermosa Neighborhood Association (HNA), in late 2014. As HNA’s President, Colin oversees its business strategy, marketing, outreach and grant writing, as well as legal issues.

Colin graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana with a degree in Sociology and Pre-Law. Since graduation, Colin has worked in the automotive industry as a journalist and, more recently, an analyst at IHS Markit where he analyzes and forecasts the evolution of automotive cloud-, telematics-, infotainment- and new urban mobility-services. Colin has combined his expertise of journalism with his expertise of task-oriented-, workflow-, management and business planning to help develop a long-term sustainable strategy for HNA: This includes the development of a community center to help ground the neighborhood with a sense of identity as well as to help Hermosa stand up as its own distinct neighborhood.

In addition to his work at the HNA, Colin is heavily involved in politics on the northwest side. Colin is frequently engaged with the 31st, 35th and 36th wards through their Participatory Budgeting efforts. In the 35th Ward, Colin is a part of the community-driven zoning process. Colin is a founding, former, board member of the United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, an independent political organization that is helping to drive progressive politics in Chicago. Colin is also a member of the local school council (LSC) at Nixon Elementary. As a LSC member, one of Colin’s priorities is to reverse the downward trend in enrollment at the school. Attendance from 2014 to today is down approximately 100 students. The budget at the school has also been severely cut over the past several years. Colin was instrumental in bringing an almost entirely new council to the school in 2016. A part of those changes includes a new principal and further community engagement through weekend neighborhood meetings, cleanups of the school grounds by community members, and fundraisers. One of the latest achievements for both HNA and the LSC has been funding a new $125,000 playground for the school which is scheduled to be built over the summer of 2017.


Cynthia Brito
Chicago Director, Inter-University Program for Latino Research

Cynthia Brito


Cynthia Brito is the Chicago Director for the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR), a national consortium of university-based centers dedicated to expanding the pool of Latino scholars and leaders and increasing the availability of policy-relevant Latino-focused research. Cynthia is also the current President of Dare to Dream: Get Educated!, an organization built to motivate young Latinas to pursue higher education degrees. As a former teen mother, Cynthia serves as a youth mentor for Atabey, an Intergenerational Teen Mother Mentorship Program at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Humboldt Park, Chicago. Prior to joining IUPLR, Cynthia worked for the Chicago law firm Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick and Dym, Ltd. as a civil rights paralegal with a focus on constitutional law, labor, and employment.

Cynthia holds a Masters degree in Latin American and Latino studies with high distinction from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is a well known Chicago community organizer and was recognized as an upcoming Chicago Leader in Latino Leaders magazine 2015 and profiled as activist of the month for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice in 2012. She also had the opportunity to work in the Chuy Garcia campaign Chicago mayoral race as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff.

Cynthia originates from a working-class, first generation Mexican family that settled in Uptown, Chicago. Cynthia now resides in Oak Park with her two teen daughters, Jocelyn and Marlene, husband Mario, and cat Ohtli. She enjoys biking, camping, playing soccer, dancing, and spending time with family and friends. She continues to work on various issues including immigration, education, reproductive justice, and youth issues.


Dr. Ian Coelho
Physician, Northwest Community Hospital

Ian Cohelo


Dr. Ian Coelho is a Hospitalist physician at Northwest Community Hospital. He also works as an Internal Medicine physician at Edwards Hines Jr Veterans Hospital.

Dr. Coelho became Co-Chair of the Associate Board at Vocel, an early childhood education organization in October 2015. He also serves as a board member on the Affiliate Board for the Ounce of Prevention Fund.

Dr. Coelho achieved his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He received his Medical Doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He completed his internship and residency at Rush University Hospital.



Bridgett Colling
Director of Content Strategy, See3 Communications

Bridgett Colling 

Bridgett Colling is a communications strategist and community-builder. She is currently the Director of Content Strategy at See3 Communications, helping nonprofits and social causes use digital tools to move their missions forward. Bridgett manages projects for an impressive roster of do-gooders, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, YouTube for Good, and the BUILD Initiative for early childhood systems building. Bridgett led the development and implementation of See3's diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, leading staff meetings on anti-racism and anti-oppression, and establishing a new, more equitable hiring process in partnership with the See3’s leadership team.

Bridgett was born and raised in southeast Michigan. She moved to the west side of the state to attend Kalamazoo College, where she studied Human Development and Social Relations, Economics, and Media Studies. While in college, she studied abroad in Ecuador and wrote a thesis on social media, marketing, and human development. She received numerous awards for her leadership and community service during her time at K, and continues to serve as a Class Agent.

Prior to joining See3, Bridgett consulted on digital communications and event planning for civically-minded nonprofits, including NPR Detroit, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and Chicago Ideas Week. ​In 2015, Bridgett founded the Chicago chapter of Women Get It Done, a national organization that connects collaborative communities of diverse women to the resources they need to fuel big ideas.

Bridgett is a sought-after speaker on topics related to nonprofit marketing, productivity, and digital media. Her previous speaking engagements include the Nonprofit Technology Conference, Netroots Nation, Social Media Week, Forefront, 501TechClub, and the American Marketing Association. Bridgett enjoys working on a heavy rotation of passion projects. She’s currently producing the first season of Serious Commitments, a podcast about risk, faith, and love. She also founded and manages Awesome Resume, a resume and cover letter editing service that helps people land their dream jobs.


Alicia Crosby
Executive Director and Co-Founder, Center for Inclusivity

Alicia Crosby 

Alicia Crosby has always been the type of person to color outside the lines—a trait that comes in handy as the co-founder and executive director of Center for Inclusivity (CFI). Her passions for justice, spiritually engaged activism, and community engagement led her to pursue a M.A. in Social Justice and Certificate in Non-Profit Management & Philanthropy at Loyola University Chicago. She also has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Hollins University.

Having previously worked in religious, social service, and community empowerment contexts, Alicia saw a need to address the spiritual, systemic, and interpersonal harm people experience through the promotion of inclusion and equity for all people through her work. She is proud that CFI is a place where people can bring the fullness of who they are forward and find community that gives them life.


Steve Gorodetskiy

Steve Gorodetskiy
Senior Consultant, Deloitte

Steve Gorodetskiy is a strategy consultant with a strong interest in the civic community and the public sector. He currently works at Monitor Deloitte, where his project work is focused on commercial strategy transformations for Fortune 500 consumer and industrial companies. Prior to Deloitte, Steve was the CEO and co-founder of a seed-stage mobile payment technology startup in Boston, SplitNGo, with responsibility for the company’s sales, business development and fundraising.

Steve came to Chicago with his family from Belarus when he was 10 and has lived in several communities within the city and the suburbs. And, over the past 5 years, Steve has gotten opportunities to work with his hometown’s government agencies on several projects. These projects include a strategic vision initiative with the Park District, an internship with the Department of Family and Support Services where he worked with the City’s Community Service Centers, and special projects for the Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Office.

He looks forward to exploring opportunities to offer his business skill set to the Chicago civic community, whether in government, non-profit or social enterprise.


Everett Gutierrez
President, Legacy Leaders International

Everett Gutierrez 

Everett Gutierrez is a respected leader, entrepreneur and speaker as he works with various groups and organizations to inspire change. Everett holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising, along with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Development from Loyola University. He also holds a Masters in Nonprofit Management from North Park University and in 2015, he received an Executive Masters of Leadership degree from Georgetown University as part of an elite cohort.

In leaving a legacy, Everett has worked with teams and agencies throughout the United States, South Africa, and Canada with a huge passion for developing people through leadership enrichment programs. His contributions and connection to the national and international public has allowed him the privilege to speak in front of over 30,000 people from various political groups, corporations, educational institutions and other non-profits.

Everett’s work has allowed him to receive the Reflejos “Reflecting Excellence Award” and the recognition as a nominee for the "Latino Entrepreneur of the Year" award through the Chicago Latino Network. His organization has also been noted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council for contributions to youth work in the city of Chicago. Through the vision he has set for his company, Legacy Leaders International and his life, he is committed to developing future world changers with the highest performance standards.


Christopher Hansen

Senior Performance Analyst, City of Chicago Office of Inspector General

Christopher Hansen 

Christopher is a Chicago-based young professional with a passion for civic engagement. He believes strongly in the potential for progressive, evidence-based public policy to positively impact the quality of life for a community and an individual, and he has been building his career advocating for and advancing such praxis. Professionally, Christopher works for the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) as a Senior Performance Analyst (SPA) in the Audit and Program Review section. As part of the evaluation branch of the City’s independent and nonpartisan watchdog office, he conducts performance audits of City programs in the areas of municipal infrastructure, utilities, and community services. As OIG’s youngest SPA, he has identified through his work millions of dollars in potential savings for the City.

Originally from the Washington, DC area, Christopher began his career as a paralegal at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee (WLC), a nonprofit civil rights law firm in the District. In this capacity, he worked primarily with the firm’s undocumented, Spanish-speaking clients in class-action lawsuits involving unpaid minimum and overtime wages as well as discrimination in employment and housing. He also served as the WLC’s community outreach liaison, leading bilingual “Know Your Rights” presentations in venues throughout the city.

Outside of work, Christopher actively invests in the life and advancement of his community. He holds various volunteer positions, including roles with Justice for Our Neighbors and Center on Halsted, which focus on immigrant and LGBTQ rights advocacy, respectively. He is also an avid cyclist, tap dancer and nonfiction bibliophile.


Douglas McGinnis
Captain, Illinois National Guard

Douglas McGinnis

Douglas McGinnis is an east coast native who is passionate about community development. He was an undergraduate at West Virginia University during the attacks of September 11th. In response, he enlisted in a West Virginia National Guard military police unit where he deployed to Iraq and responded to several state emergencies. Following graduation with a degree in urban planning, Doug became a commissioned infantry officer in the U.S Army. During his 14 years military experience, Doug deployed a total of four times to Iraq and Afghanistan where he conducted counter insurgency operations, community building, and security force training. As a company commander leading over 150 soldiers, Doug was responsible for training U.S. Army commissioned officers in leadership and for mentoring foreign government officials.

Doug worked hand-and-hand with local communities to identify issues and partnered with their local governments to develop sustainable solutions. In Samarra, Iraq, Doug helped stimulate economic growth by enabling small businesses access to needed resources. In Afghanistan, Doug encouraged community connectivity and improved commerce travel by improving road construction and safety. He also worked with farmers on crop choice and irrigation methods in order to increase farmer profitability at local markets. Doug has trained both U.S. military forces and Iraq and Afghan police forces on community interaction through less aggressive postures. These approaches promoted safety for security forces and the community. Through his military service, Doug has been honored to receive a number of distinguished awards including two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and the Ranger tab.

Doug has recently left active duty as a Captain and moved to Chicago to be with his fiancée. He is continuing his military service through the Illinois National Guard and is a recent member of the Truman National Security Project. Doug is excited to bring these experiences to the city of Chicago by focusing on comprehensive solutions that will drive safety, stability and growth.



Kevin A. Moore
Manager of Walk-In Clinic, Howard Brown Health

Kevin Moore 

Kevin A. Moore is Manager of Walk-In Clinic Services at Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s leading LGBTQ+ healthcare, education, and research nonprofit organizations. Their passion for social justice, health equity, and advocacy—both at the individual and community level—is what motivates them to create a more equitable world. At Howard Brown, Kevin strives to improve access to essential health and social services to Chicago’s most vulnerable, resource-restricted populations. Kevin envisions a world in which people are recognized on the basis of their humanity; until then, they are working to cultivate capital/agency among marginalized communities as part of an effort to dismantle systems of oppression.

Outside of their occupation, Kevin serves as Co-Chair of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago Associate Board, a diverse group of young leaders working to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic through advocacy, education, fundraising, and direct service. Additionally, they serve on the Steering Committee as Co-Chair of Membership & Community Engagement with the Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council (CAHISC), a group of committed leaders working alongside the Chicago Department of Public Health to address challenges in HIV/AIDS funding, prevention, and care.

Kevin graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology—concentrating in Neuroscience—and having completed pre-requirements for entry into medical school. They intend to pursue graduate studies in Medicine and/or Public Policy, and will remain determined to reduce health disparities and social inequities throughout Chicago and beyond. You’re likely to catch Kevin running around Chicago (when it’s warmer, of course) in a bright pair of sneakers, or exploring Chicago’s eclectic landscape in search of their next favorite dish or performance.


Thomas Ogorzalek
Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Thomas Ogorzalek 

Thomas Ogorzalek is Assistant Professor in Political Science and Urban Studies and a Civic Engagement Fellow at Northwestern University, and the Co-Director of the Chicago Democracy Project @ Northwestern.

He is an avid student of politics and policy that help the well-being of big cities and their residents, and his research focuses on urban politics, the politics of race and ethnicity, and the history of American politics.



Juliana Pino
Policy Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

Juliana Pino 

Juliana Pino is the Policy Director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and the Digital Strategist and Technology Manager at the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health (NCDVTMH). Born in Tuluá, Colombia, and raised in both Colombia and the United States, Juliana’s life is transnational and her labor is interdisciplinary. As a queer Afroindigenous Latina activist, Juliana’s personal and professional work focus on subverting, mitigating, and challenging patterns of systemic violence committed by institutions and individuals against marginalized people in society.

At LVEJO, Juliana analyzes, researches, and advocates for environmental justice in local, state, and federal environmental policy. Her work focuses on: advancing energy democracy and community self-determination in regulatory and legislative policy arenas; creating just transition with meaningful collaborative and participatory management of shared environmental resources; and centering frontline community leaders as generators of transformative policy ideas and visionary governance models. At NCDVTMH, Juliana focuses on leveraging design and technology to disseminate complex information and build public awareness about the issues impacting agency and systems-level responses to survivors of intimate partner violence and other lifetime trauma.

Juliana is committed to cultivating collaborative processes that promote social justice and public health. She has facilitated in a number of coalitional and agency spaces and believes ethical collaboration and jointly confronting power are key strategies for doing accountable organizing in groups. Juliana also has experience in multi-party negotiation and mediation, and she works to build robust decision-making frameworks that center the perspectives of those most affected by both broader structural oppression and the specific policies being deliberated.

Juliana has recently joined the Board of Directors of the Illinois Environmental Council, a statewide organization that promotes sound environmental policy and protections for land, air, water, wildlife, and human health. Juliana is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (MS, Environmental Policy and Planning; Environmental Justice), the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (MPP, Public Policy Analysis), and the University of Chicago (AB, East Asian Languages and Civilizations). Previously, Juliana has contributed to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Great Lakes Commission, and the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce, among others.


Ariel Rainey

Ariel Rainey
Creative Consultant, Ariel the Mogul Consulting

Ariel DeNey Rainey (Ariel the Mogul) is a young entrepreneur that believes that change only occurs when one has faith! Born and raised in Englewood on the Southside of Chicago she works hard to be the "Enabler of Change" that is needed for today’s millennial generation. She is a creative consultant and mommy activist that is dedicated to creating powerful brands and impacting the lives of moms.

Having two children by the age of 19 came with many life challenges that inspired her to develop the nonprofit “Hustle Mommies” where she works with moms in inner cities by developing them into leaders for their homes and communities. The organization has received awards from Mayor Aja Brown and the City of Compton for her work with moms in that community. Ariel desires to impact the world by helping moms thrive in their businesses and positioning them to become the champions that can change their environments. 


Xavier Ramey

Xavier Ramey
Senior Assistant Director for Social Innovation and Philanthropy, University of Chicago, Office of Civic Engagement

Xavier Ramey is a social strategist, community activist, and educator from Chicago. He serves as the Senior Assistant Director for Social Innovation and Philanthropy at the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement. He also serves as the Operations Director for The #LetUsBreathe Collective: an artist-activist organization focused on the restoration of divested black and brown communities in Chicago, the dismantling of state violence through policing, and building community devoid of scarcity-focused programming. His previous work was in philanthropy.

Xavier served as the Senior Program Manager for the economic and workforce strategy for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago as well as the Director of Development and Marketing for the Young Men's Educational Network. He volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology, as well as on the Executive Board of Young Chicago Authors.

In his free time, he operates a photography company, Xavier Paul Photography, and is frequently speaking or writing for platforms such as WVON1690AM, ThinkChristian magazine, Sojourners, and various video blogs.  

Swapna Reddy
Co-Director, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) at the Urban Justice Center

Swapna Reddy

Swapna Reddy is founder and Co-Director of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) at the Urban Justice Center, as well as an Equal Justice Works Emerson Fellow. Since its founding, ASAP has prevented the imminent deportation of more than 200 refugee women and children and secured their release from detention; provided legal information to thousands of refugee mothers; and mobilized hundreds of volunteers. ASAP’s clients and founders have also been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and, among other publications.

Prior to law school, Swapna conducted technical and empirical research for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Indianapolis Colts, and TERC, an educational research nonprofit. Swapna also worked abroad, assisting a community organization to develop a microfinance program on the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, and designing randomized controlled trials to identify the best means of educating low-income voters in India. Swapna graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2009, with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and minor in Economics. A John Harvard Scholar, her thesis research was published in Artificial Intelligence.

Swapna earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2016, where she co-founded ASAP. As a member of the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, Swapna argued in the First Circuit on behalf of the Reid v. Donelan class of immigrants subjected to prolonged detention, and directed a Know Your Rights program for immigration detainees in Greenfield, Massachusetts. She also traveled to Jordan to assist Iraqi refugee clients as Legal Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project at Yale, and gain legal experience providing civil rights and immigration legal services at Brooklyn Defender Services, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Ross Silverman LLP. Born in Illinois, she is the daughter of Indian immigrants.


Nils Robbins
Communications Director, Democratic Municipal Officials

Nils Robbins


Nils Robbins is a shoes on the pavement style organizer with a passion for uphill battles. Nils serves as the Communications Director for Democratic Municipal Officials, the DNC association that advocates for mayors, council members, and other local electeds who identify with the values of the Democratic Party. In addition to communications, he manages day to day operations, data, and events for the organization.

Before joining DMO, Nils was a campaign field organizer. He got his start in politics volunteering on Ilya Sheyman’s congressional campaign, soon leaving Illinois to work for We Are Wisconsin, Obama for America 2012, and Beveridge for City Attorney. Unable to stop knocking on doors, he continues to advise and support quality progressive candidates in the Chicago area.

Nils is active in the fight to maintain reproductive rights for the women of Illinois. He co-chairs the Political Committee for Personal PAC’s Future Voices Council, and is a Founding Member and Board Member of Men4Choice. These organizations enable him to help elect pro-choice candidates who hold the line in Springfield. Nils continues to activate men and support the women leading the movement, promoting fundraisers, organizing days of action, and serving as a clinic escort.

He graduated from The George Washington University with a double major in Political Science and International Affairs, adding on a minor in biology for fun. Nils enjoys listening to podcasts and eating breakfast at all hours of the day.


Paw Say Ku
Youth Case Manager, Heartland Human Care Services 

Paw Say Ku


Paw currently works as a Youth Case Manager at Heartland Human Care Services for Refugee and Immigrant Community. She works closely with refugee youth and family from all over the world. She runs and facilitates the after school programming and coordinated youth coalition group in the refugee and low income community. Also, she organized special events and field trips for refugee youth.

Paw is one of the Karen ethnic groups originally from Myanmar. Due to civil war in Myanmar, her families were forced to flee and resettled in Thailand Refugee Camp. Paw lived in the refugee camp for 14 years and resettled in the U.S. in 2007. After resettled in the U.S, Paw recognized that her family and other refugee families struggled with learning the new language, the system, as well as seeking employment due to lack of skills and language barriers. Once she learned how to speak English, she started to help other refugee with interpreting, seeking jobs, and performing other basic duties relating to social services, school, and hospital. She has an understanding of first-hand struggles of what refugees go through especially when entering a new country and finding a way to survive. She works hard to catch up with her peers to learn the language and was the first person in her family generation to graduate from college. She is a vice president board member at Chicago Burmese Community Center and an Educational Ministry Chair at North Shore Baptist Church. In May, 2015, Paw graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a major in Justice Studies and minor in Human Resource Development. In addition to her work, Paw continues to get involved in her community.

During her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, singing, cooking, and going to gym. She is looking forward to developing her leadership skills and continue to advocate for social justice for refugees and vulnerable people.


Tatyana Shestopalova
Founder and CEO, GiftOn


Tatyana ShestopalovaTatyana Shestopalova is the founder and CEO of GiftOn, an online community where users share real-life gift stories. GiftOn takes a new approach to solving a fundamental gift-giving problem: people want to give great gifts but don’t always know how. The stories shared by the GiftOn community offer new perspectives on gifting that transcend the traditional retail focus on product suggestions. Tatyana is also a full-stack web application developer.

Before coding, she studied mathematics and economic theory at New York University and worked as an investment banker at Wells Fargo Securities. While at Wells, she took an international assignment in Hong Kong to advise companies on mergers and acquisitions. When she’s not stringing together code, you can find Tatyana volunteering as a Ruby on Rails teacher, composting food scraps, and training for her next marathon.



Victoria Thomas
Doctor of Medicine Candidate, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Victoria Thomas
Victoria is currently a fourth year medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. While at Pritzker, she served on many community service boards and volunteered at several free healthcare clinics throughout Chicago.  She is one of the charter members for the White Coats for Black Lives initiative at Pritzker. Her research explores the relationship between cardiovascular disease, healthcare disparities, and women’s health. Victoria is a registered nurse and before attending medical school she worked in the cardiac critical care and step down units in Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, she started a “Let’s Move and Make Healthy Choices” campaign at a local Head Start, a program that provides comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families.

She has attended many health care fairs in the role of educator or speaker discussing high blood pressure, heart failure, and CPR. Victoria has served on international mission trips delivering quality healthcare in Nyahururu, Kenya, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Victoria lives by the motto  “lifting while climbing” in her daily walk. She looks forward to continuing her service as a healthcare provider to underserved communities and fighting for quality healthcare access to all. 


Sierra Wallace
Assistant State’s Attorney, Cook County

Sierra Wallace

Sierra’s passion is fighting for justice. As an Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County, ensuring equity and justice reform remains the focus of Sierra’s career. Sierra was born and raised in Chicago public housing and believes her formative experiences and struggles have helped shape her passion to serve and empower underserved communities. Despite consequences and obstacles, Sierra is committed to being the voice for the voiceless and is not afraid to stand up for what’s right.

Presently, Sierra is Regional Director of the National Black Prosecutors Association and is a progressive prosecutor promoting holistic and progressive policies in prosecution. She believes in moving forward and creating innovative approaches to address societal challenges. Sierra currently serves as an Auxiliary Board member for Lawyers Lend a Hand and Junior Board member for Just the Beginning- A Pipeline Organization. Sierra has also previously served as a constitutional law adjunct professor in the city of Chicago.

Sierra received her Bachelor's degree and Juris Doctorate from Howard University and is a proud “double-bison.” While in law school, Sierra was Vice President of the Criminal Law Society, an elected Graduate Student Representative and a member of the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Team. In 2013 Sierra was selected as a NAACP Legal Fellow and gained firsthand experience addressing national civil rights issues. She has held various legal internships which include United States Senate Committee of the Judiciary and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington D.C. While in D.C., Sierra also worked for Vestige Strategies, a public affairs firm that specializes in grassroots community and civic engagement strategies.

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