LaShon Gurrola is a Transitional Care Nurse with Social Work & Community Health at Rush University Medical Center. She has been a Registered Nurse for 23 years. She attended College of DuPage & Purdue University. She has developed a strong clinical background, including experience with surgical nursing on Ortho/Neuro /Spine units, Home Health Nursing, and Transitional Care Nursing. Currently, she facilitates the Lupus support group and serves on the Associate Board of Lupus Society of Illinois.
Bri is an artist, activist, and community mental health counselor. She considers herself to have a social art practice and combines her fine art, design, and work as a helping professional to change individual and societal insight. Bri is committed to utilizing the arts to show the varied, beautiful, and complex story of disability, as well as creating an avenue for other disabled folks to do the same.
A theorist, methodologist, and empirical researcher, Dr. Kate Caldwell received her Doctorate in Disability Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Having also received a Masters’ degree from the University of Chicago in interdisciplinary social sciences, she brings this expertise to approaching complex issues where various fields intersect and facilitating dialogue across disciplines.
Brenda Pino has over 45 years of banking experience. As Vice President of Physical Channels for the BMO Financial Group, Brenda’s responsibilities include assuring optimal customer and employee experiences when utilizing any of the Bank’s Physical Channels, which includes a network of over 4,000 ATMs in North America. Brenda is the co-chair of the BMO Without Barriers disability ERG.
Ann Manikas is a Leadership and Organizational Development leader with proven expertise in the areas of leadership and management coaching and development, team effectiveness, training development and delivery, large scale change, and mergers and integration. She is regarded by clients, peers, and business leaders as a collaborative partner focused on achieving business results through effective individual and organizational strategies. Ann serves as Co-Chair for ADA 25 Advancing Leadership’s Program Committee.
Tekki Lomnicki is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Tellin’ Tales Theatre, dedicated to shattering the barriers between the disabled and non-disabled worlds through personal story. Tekki performs her critically acclaimed solo work for schools, conferences and theater audiences, and works as a Marketing Copywriter for True Value Hardware.
Molly Wiesman has volunteered for disability organizations including Best Buddies, Easter Seals DuPage, and the Human Library of Chicago. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Tellin’ Tales Theatre. She is currently employed at an IT Security firm in Chicago’s western suburbs.
Becky is the Illinois State Chairperson for In-Abled Business Resource Group at Health Care Service Corporation. In her role on the council, Becky supports the mission to champion inclusion for people with disabilities by increasing awareness and providing educational and professional development opportunities for employees. Becky also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for L’Arche Chicago. In her full-time role as Program Manager, Becky supports the employer group line of business for specialty markets.
Anne Nash is a Google for Education Senior Program Manager who works to create tools and programs that empower all learners to reach their highest potential. She has been with Google since 2012. Anne believes strongly in enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion; and is particularly passionate about accessibility and improving opportunities for everyone. Anne holds a degree in psychology and international studies from Northwestern University.
Rosalind Moore, Director of Programs at Teamwork Englewood, oversees internal operations and initiatives including the CPS Safe Passage and Parent Mentoring programs designed to improve the lives of community residents. Through effective grant writing and partnerships she secured and manages programs totaling $700K of the current $1.8 million agency budget.
Shannon Maher is currently part of the Exelon Talent Acquisition Team as a Recruiting Programs Specialist. As a rising Human Resources professional she creates and implements recruiting programs strategies that maximize best practices to attract and hire top talent.
Abdul Hakim Khan grew up in Pakistan and relocated to Pittsburgh to study Engineering. After graduating he worked for John Deere in Iowa and then joined Honeywell in the Chicago area. He has worked in different roles since then and is currently a Manager in the Honeywell Energy Services Group.
Angel received her doctorate in women’s studies at the University of Maryland College Park. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she became Healthcare/Home and Community Based Services Policy Analyst at Access Living. She is responsible for monitoring disability rights developments in healthcare and home and community-based services and facilitating systems advocacy efforts through an intersectional lens.
At KPMG, Valerie Gilles brings over seven years of experience working on national and global transformations, and specializes in strategic planning, acquisition integration, and process improvement. In her role as Manager, her key responsibilities are managing targeted strategic projects to help determine business and/or operating model changes required to stay competitive across our network, including financial forecasting, public trust strategy development, etc., managing the organization and developing the content of leadership meetings (e.g. Board meetings, wider international leadership conferences, etc.) to leverage them as channels for strategy approval or dissemination, and identifying opportunities for improvement in our team’s ways of working and internal processes. She also is involved in recruiting and onboarding of new team members and continuous mentoring at KPMG. She serves as the Chair KPMG Chicago’s business resource group for employees with disabilities and caregivers and is responsible for developing our local vision for the next 3-5 years and its associated strategy and managing our local team and collaborating with our national team. Valerie earned a B.S. in Biology at Iowa State University, accompanied by minors in Chemistry, General Business and Spanish.
Christina McGleam serves as the Assistant to the Commissioner at the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. Christina’s responsibilities include the daily operations of the Commissioner’s Office and representing MOPD on two transit committees. Christina has a B.A. from John Carroll University and a Masters in Human Resource Management from Roosevelt University.
Paulette Jagers is responsible for BMO’s enterprise careers and leadership strategy, leadership planning and development programs, enterprise learning facilitation, and supporting workplace transformation. Paulette is an Executive Committee member of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership and serves on the Chicago Business Leadership Network Board of Directors. Paulette is a graduate of Northwestern University and has completed the Advanced Human Resource Executive Program from the University of Michigan Business School.
Peter Berg coordinates and provides technical assistance, and trains on various aspects of the ADA at Great Lakes ADA Center. Peter serves as a member of the Illinois Attorney General’s Illinois Accessibility Code Task Force. Peter chaired the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Disability for the City of Naperville and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Peter is a graduate of North Central College.
Andrés Gallegos is a shareholder with the law firm of Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd. and is the founder and director of its national disability rights practice. Andrés is a frequent speaker and has authored numerous articles on matters relating to the application of disability-related laws to healthcare providers and the disability rights movement. Andrés is a member of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency that provides advice to the President, Congress, and federal agencies on matters affecting persons with disabilities nationwide. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Access Living and was a two-time governor appointee to the Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois. Andrés earned a B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi and a J.D. from the St. Louis University School of Law.
Kareem Dale grew up in Chicago and received his BA, JD, and MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently serves as Director and Senior Counsel with Discover Financial Services. In 2009, he was appointed by President Obama as a Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, the highest ranking position on disability ever to be created by a President. At the White House, he also led outreach and engagement to the legal community, including coordinating outreach for nomination of two U.S. Supreme Court Justices and numerous federal appellate and district court judges. Before joining the Obama administration, he was the Managing Partner of The Dale Law Group, and a litigation attorney at Winston & Strawn.
Kareem was a 2017 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, a past president of Black Ensemble Theater, a Steering Committee member of ADA 25 Chicago, and a member of the Access Living Board of Directors. He was recently appointed by Governor Pritzker to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
Greg Polman (Sr. Vice President of Public Policy)’s career at The Lighthouse spans over 30 years, and has managed 14 different programs and serves as The Lighthouse’s representative on a number of governmental and community Board, committees and panels. Greg serves as co-chair of the Service Delivery Committee of the Chicago Cook Workforce Innovation Board and is Chair of the RTA Transit Access Citizens advisory Board and is the former Chair of the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. Greg is a member on the Mayor’s Task Force for Employment for People with Disabilities. He also sits on several other committees for the City that advocate for accessibility issues. Greg has a B.A. from Southwestern Minnesota State University and a M.A. from Southern Illinois University.
Ben is Senior Counsel in the Law & Regulation Department at Allstate, where he advises the company on regulatory, legislative and compliance concerns affecting property and casualty insurance operations. He is also the Co-President of ABLE, Allstate’s Disability ERG. Ben is a current member and past Chair of the Board of Directors at Access Living, a nationally recognized change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables people with disabilities in Chicago to live fully–engaged and self–directed lives. He has been a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow since 2004, and is a past recipient of the Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award, given to lawyers who have made the law and legal profession more accessible to and reflective of the community at-large.
Karen Tamley was named the new president and CEO of Access Living in January 2020.
Before that, she served as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in Chicago for 14 years, where she tackled disability policy and accessibility initiatives under three Chicago mayors. Karen led disability-related work in the areas of transportation, city infrastructure, technology, emergency planning, education, and employment. She also oversaw the delivery of direct services including in-home supports, home accessibility modifications, and employment services to thousands of youth and adults with disabilities.
Karen was appointed by President Obama in 2016 to serve on the United States Access Board, which develops national accessibility guidelines and standards. In March of 2019, she was elected Chair of the Access Board.
In becoming CEO of Access Living, Karen is returning to her roots. She worked at Access Living from 1996 to 2005, under founding CEO Marca Bristo, first for three years as the Housing Policy Coordinator and then for six years as the Director of Programs.
Prior to that, she was the Housing Director at Atlantis Community, Inc. a Center for service and advocacy for people with disabilities in Denver, Colorado.
Tamley has a depth of experience serving on a wide variety of community and nonprofit boards that focus on cultural experiences and diversity and inclusion.
In 2015, Karen received the Motorola Solutions Excellence in Public Service Award from the Civic Federation, which recognizes a non-elected government official for having an extraordinary impact on the quality of state and local government services in Illinois, and she received the Distinguished Fellow award from Leadership Greater Chicago.
Karen is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Kevin Irvine, and their adopted teenage daughter, Dominika. All three have disabilities themselves and are actively involved in grassroots disability advocacy locally and nationally.
As Director of Civic Engagement at SPR, Pat Maher manages non-profit relationships within the tech sector. Pat supports the success of historically overlooked and discounted segments of the workforce – including professionals and aspiring candidates with disabilities, girls and young women, and younger candidates who lack social capital in the continually evolving technology industry. SPR’s strategic focus is supporting students through early-in-career (EIC) professionals to have the greatest impact.
Daisy Feidt has worked at Access Living for more than 20 years. She has held a wide variety of management positions and led the organization through multiple strategic planning processes. She has extensive management experience in fundraising, evaluation, and program implementation.
Daisy is an alumna of Leadership Greater Chicago, a prestigious and competitive program that provides community awareness and networking opportunities for leaders in Chicago. Daisy is on the board of BPI, a public interest law, and policy center and is the vice president of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, the state association of centers for independent living.
At Discover, Sarah Helm is responsible for managing all aspects of the Diversity & Inclusion program corporate-wide, including providing ongoing support to leadership on various diversity and inclusion initiatives, managing ERG strategy and teams, and overseeing related internal and external communications. She serves on the Board for the Center for Enriched Living and as a member of the ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Program Committee. Sarah graduated with a B.A. from Illinois State University, an M.S. from Bowling Green University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Kim Brown is a Senior Business Analyst for Commonwealth Edison. Prior to coming to ComEd, Kim worked for Chicago Public Schools as a Teacher and Reading Coach. Kim is Ms. Wheelchair Illinois 2012 where she advocated for persons with disabilities focusing on wheelchair accessibility in the workplace as well as assisted rehab technology legislation. Kim is the former President and current Liaison of the Exelon Resource Group ENABLED which educates employees about disability awareness. Kim has recently been elected to Project A.L.E.X Board of Directors as the Co-Director of Outreach. Project A.L.E.X. is a charitable organization working together to creating a safe living environment for young adults with disabilities and individuals without disabilities, thereby fostering a community atmosphere. Kim earned a B.A. and M.A. at Saint Xavier University and an M.A. from Concordia University.
Mark Williams develops and manages foundation and government grants at United Way of Metro Chicago. Mark has served the nonprofit and disability communities for many years and was a member of both the Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois and the Illinois ADA Project Steering Committee. Mark earned his B.A. in American Studies from Lake Forest College and M.S. in Human Services Administration from Spertus College. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors at Blind Service Association, and Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago.
Michele Lee is a diversity leader at Aon and founder of the Empowering Abilities Employee Resource Group. Michele is passionate about disability employment, universal access, and accessible transportation. Michele represents Aon on the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Business Advisory Board. Michele earned a B.A. from the University of Arizona.
Chad Turner is a Director, Senior Treasury Product Manager at Bank of America in Chicago. Previously Chad worked at JPMorgan Chase, where he was a member of Chase’s Access Ability Business Resource Group’s national board as the liaison to the Midwest state chapters. Chad serves on the board for ADA 25 Advancing Leadership as Treasurer and is also an incumbent member of Access Living’s finance committee. Chad is an alumnus of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity (APO). Chad previously served as a governing member ambassador for the Chicago Zoological Society, and as a member of the Museum of Science & Industry’s Mission Accessible Task Force. Chad received both an undergraduate and a graduate degree from Bradley University, where he currently serves on the Department of Accounting Advisory Council.
At Discover, Chaitanya Manchanda is the founder and co-chair of the Discover’s employer resource group, “Accentuating Discover Abilities.” Chaitanya is actively involved in spreading awareness, advocating for disability rights and representing the Deaf/Hard Of Hearing (HOH) Community. Chaitanya was an Executive Committee Member of the Hearing Loss Association of America in Chicago Lincoln Park for two years. Chaitanya earned a B.S. from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.
Risa Jaz Rifkind is a justice advocate who seeks to make change by shifting access to power and influence.
As Director of Civic Engagement and Marketing, Risa propels the organization to realize its vision to have people with disabilities lead with power and influence. By identifying and developing strategic partnerships, Risa positions Members to take on leadership roles that advance their careers, civic engagement, and equity for people with disabilities. By integrating this vision into all internal and external communications, she leads Advancing Leadership’s brand awareness, public and private Member programming, and community engagement and outreach. She is also an Advancing Leadership Member.
Previously, Risa was Program Manager at The Chicago Community Trust where she developed their disability inclusion priorities and practices and managed several disability inclusion initiatives including the Disabilities Fund, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, and ADA 25 Chicago. With the Disabilities Fund, Risa supported a rebrand and strategic plan redesign that resulted in a 500% increase in annual grantmaking for which she acted as the program officer. During 2015, ADA 25 Chicago leveraged the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act to move the spirit of the law forward. This included engaging and supporting over 200 partner organizations’ commitments and event.
Risa is passionate about the arts and serves as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium as well as on its Board of Directors as Treasurer. Risa also serves on the Accessible Airports Advisory Committee for the City of Chicago and the Access Advisory Committee for the Chicago History Museum. Risa received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.
Mary is an attorney on Access Living’s civil rights team. She represents people with disabilities in discrimination cases, conducts education and outreach about disability rights laws, and is involved in public policy advocacy. Formerly, as an attorney at Prairie State Legal Services, Mary represented homeowners in foreclosure. Prior to law school, Mary taught middle and high school special education in New York City. She completed her undergrad degree at Loyola University in Chicago and received a master’s degree in special education from Pace University. She graduated from John Marshall Law School in the top 3 percent of her class.
Kelly Pierce is a Legal Assistant for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, focusing on disability-related issues. Kelly has served on the Technology Watch Committee of the National Council on Disability and worked with the Cook County Clerk and the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners to develop improvements in accessibility to electronic voting machines. Kelly is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.
Sam Knight is an Independent Living Advocate and community organizer focused on promoting the rights of people with disabilities. Sam is a member of the ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Program Committee. He is also a graduate of Concordia University.
Justine Fedak is the Senior Vice President of BMO Financial Group and is responsible for all Brand, Advertising, and Sponsorships across North America. Justine serves on the Board of Directors of The Noah’s Arc Foundation, The Magnificent Mile Association, Gilda’s Club Chicago, Access Living, and the Chicago Police Foundation. Justine is Chair to the Municipal Marketing Advisory Council for the City of Chicago and serves on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Sports Commission. Justine received the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 2013 Woman on the Move Award. Justine earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and an M.B.A. from Dalhousie University.
Kaney O’Neill is a Navy veteran and founder of O’Neill Contractors. In 2015, Kaney was the recipient of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association Woman Vetrepreneur of the Year Award and the Annual Woman Veteran of the Year Award from the Women’s Business Development Center in 2014. Kaney serves on the Board of Directors for the Federation of Women Contractors and the National Board of Directors of Bunker Labs. Kaney received a B.S.Ed. and a M.A. from Northwestern University.
Jose Mendez consults with businesses to improve programmatic and physical accessibility and to increase disability diversity in employment. Prior to consulting, Jose was previously Program Director at the Illinois Department of Human Services. Jose was a member of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Workforce Employment Resource Collaborative, and the Anixter Center Human Rights Council. Jose earned a B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Professor, author, and legal consultant, Kathleen Dillon Narko is a prominent member of the Chicago Bar Association, currently serving on the Editorial Board of the CBA Record. Kathleen is a past member of the CBA Board of Managers and a current member of the Membership Committee. Kathleen serves on the Board of Advisors of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago as a member of the Legal Advisory Committee. Additionally, Kathleen is a member of the Leadership Council of the National Immigrant Justice Center. Kathleen received a J.D. from Cornell Law School and a B.A. from Yale University.
Bill Bogdan is responsible for the coordination, development, and implementation of programs and services for persons with disabilities for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. In 2010, Bill was appointed by the Governor of Illinois to Chair the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities. In addition, Bill serves on the Illinois Elevator Safety Advisory Board, the Illinois State Library Talking Books and Braille Service Advisory Council, the Board of Directors for the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois and the Diveheart Foundation. Bill graduated with honors from DePaul University, and is active in many sport and recreational programs offered through Adaptive Adventures and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Adaptive Sports & Fitness Program.
Stephanie Anderson brings commitment and drive to ensure that all Vaughn High School students have opportunities to engage within the community. Prior roles include Diverse Learner Supporter at Chicago Public Schools and an Intervention Specialist/School Psychologist for Northern Suburban Special Education District. Stephanie founded Friends of Vaughan. Stephanie earned a B.A. from Western Michigan University and an M.A. from Concordia University.