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They heard from experts on issues such as the global economy, international diplomacy, energy, and the environment. In addition to meeting regularly as a class, they worked on individual projects with Council experts to examine key global challenges.

This cohort of leaders from around Chicago was chosen by an independent selection committee from a highly competitive pool of applicants.

Learn more about the Emerging Leaders Program.

Class of 2013

Carolyn Baer

Deputy Director, Center for Global Health, Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University

Carolyn helped launch the Center for Global Health in 2009 and currently manages medical research and educational opportunities around the world. In early 2010, she was a key coordinator for the Chicago Medical Response Team to Haiti, a collaboration of six Chicago institutions that has received multiple awards for its medical response to the earthquake in Haiti. Prior to Northwestern, she worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Nairobi, Kenya on the infectious disease surveillance and prevention program and was also a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso. She earned a B.A. from the University of Kansas, where she studied abroad in France, and an M.P.H. with a concentration in refugee health from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Kaberi Banerjee Murthy

Program Director
Crown Family Philanthropies

Kaberi leads the Education, Arts & Culture, and Civic Affairs work at Crown Family Philanthropies. Previously, she worked with the Picower Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, and Hemenway & Barnes. Her extensive civic involvement includes helping to found the Asian Leadership Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women and the Saffron Circle and serving on the boards of the Chicago Crossroads Fund, Resource Generation, and Grantmakers for Education. She chaired the Carleton College Multicultural Board and was selected as a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow in 2010. She earned a B.A. from Carleton College and an M.Ed. from Harvard University.

Brendan Carroll

Co-Founder and Partner
Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC

Brendan co-founded Victory Park Capital in 2007. Victory Park provides direct financing solutions to small cap and middle market companies in the United States and engages investors from around the world. He previously worked at Magnetar Capital and held positions in corporate finance with both William Blair and Robertson Stephens. Brendan also worked in various capacities for United States Senator Joseph Lieberman. He is a member of the Leader Advisory Council for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, a board member of Best Buddies Illinois and Loyola Press. Mr. Carroll received a B.A with Honors in Government from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

John DeBlasio

President and Chief Executive Officer
Sallyport Global Holdings

John founded Sallyport Global Holdings in 2004 to provide contracted support for reconstruction efforts in Iraq and has expanded its operations throughout the Middle East and Africa. He has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Joint Service Commendation Medal, and has worked in the private sector. He is a fellow with the American Assembly Next Generation Project and was appointed to the Commerce Department's U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue. He earned a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an M.I.B.S. from the University of South Carolina, and an M.M.S. from the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth.

Deb Fiddelke

Senior Vice President and Midwest Practice Lead, Public Affairs and Issues Management

Deb joined Edelman in 2010 and leads the public affairs practice. She recently served in the White House under President George W. Bush as a legislative liaison to the U.S. Senate, including the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees. She has also worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and in the offices of U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel and U.S. Representatives Deborah Pryce and Doug Bereuter. She worked on international and government relations for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, and serves on the Board of Directors for Almost Home Kids and on the University of Nebraska Foundation Campaign Committee. She earned a B.A. and a B.J. from the University of Nebraska and a M.P.M. from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.

Amy Francetic

Executive Director and President
Clean Energy Trust

Amy helped build the Clean Energy Trust which accelerates the development of clean energy technologies in Chicago and the Midwest. She has extensive experience in technology management and entrepreneurship, particularly in commercialization through her positions as Entrepreneur-In-Residence at the Stanford Research Institute and co-founder of Invention Bridge, one of several companies she has started. She was recognized as one of the "Top 100 Young Innovators in Technology" in 1999 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review for her work in videogames and high-tech toys. She earned a B.A. from Stanford University.

Bridget Gainer

Commissioner, Cook County Board of Commissioners
Director of Public Strategy, Aon Corporation

Bridget is a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, where she chairs the Pension Committee and leads the reform of the County's foreclosure policy and treatment of women and mothers incarcerated at Cook County Jail. She also leads Aon’s public strategy group, directing national policy issues. She previously served in a variety of positions for the City of Chicago and founded Senn High School Youthnet, a community center on Chicago’s north side. She has served on several boards, including the Big Shoulders Fund, Women Employed, the Center for Economic Progress, and the Parkways Foundation. In 2005, she was named a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and a British American Partnership fellow. She earned a B.A. from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Christian P. Hagen

Vice President and Partner
A.T. Kearney

At A.T. Kearney, Christian advises many of the world’s largest organizations across multiple industries – including retail, consumer products, high-tech, financial services, and government. He has led several global studies for A.T. Kearney and authored nearly fifty published papers on low-cost competition, organizational governance, e-commerce, technology innovation, and strategy. Prior to joining A.T. Kearney, he traded options at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange and worked at KPMG Peat Marwick LLP. Christian has a B.A. from Valparaiso University, an M.B.A. from Indiana University, and an M.S. in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Andrea Jett Fletcher

Senior Program Officer, Civics Program
Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Andrea manages the civic engagement, participatory democracy, and public policy initiatives of the McCormick Foundation. She has previously worked with the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Brookings Institution, and the African Development Bank. She serves on the boards of the Chicago Committee of the Human Rights Watch, the Mikva Challenge Foundation, and the Immigrant Child Advocacy Project, where she has acted as guardian ad litem to represent minors during the asylum application process. She earned a B.S. from Georgetown University, where she studied abroad in Spain, and an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Studies.

Murali Kanakasabai

Managing Director
Environmental Financial Products LLC

At Environment Financial Products, Murali specializes in inventing, designing, and developing new financial markets for the environmental marketplace. Previously, he served as senior vice president at the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) where he focused on research and new product innovation and led the its business development efforts in South Asia. At CCX, he was part of the core team that established environmental commodity markets in six countries across four continents. He is a frequent speaker on economics, environmental issues, and agriculture, as well as on India and South Asia. He earned a B.S. in Agriculture from the Tamilnadu Agricultural University, an M.S. in Extension Education and Rural Sociology from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, and an M.S. in Economics and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky.

Seema Kumbhat

Medical Director, Medical Devices

Seema directs medical device innovation, in addition to performing due diligence for strategic alliances and risk management activities, for Hospira. She has extensive experience in leading healthcare technology companies, including McKesson Provider Technologies, GE Healthcare Integrated IT Solutions, and Epic Systems Corporation, and has traveled the world to examine health care disparities in other countries. She interned in surgery at the Northwestern Medical Center, was a surgery resident at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, and is licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the state of Illinois. She earned a B.S. from the University of Miami, Florida, and an M.D. from its School of Medicine, where she was national student president of the American Medical Women’s Association.

Adolfo Laurenti

Deputy Chief Economist and Managing Director
Mesirow Financial

Adolfo analyzes global financial markets and economic trends for a variety of industries and is a frequent speaker to diverse audiences in the United States and abroad. He has worked as an economist in the United States and Italy and was also a noncommissioned officer in the Italian Army. He serves on the board of the National Association for Business Economics, is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Industrial Roundtable, was chairman of the Chicago Opera Theatre Bravo Club, and was awarded the N.A.T.O.-Fontainebleau Youth Foundation Scholarship. He earned an M.Sc. from the Università L. Bocconi in Milan, earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. A.B.D. from George Mason University, and has studied in Denmark and Hungary.

John Lucas

Associate Vice President and Deputy Director, Academic Programs Department
Institute for the International Education of Students (IES Abroad)

At IES Abroad, a national study abroad provider, John oversees academic programs in 35 overseas locations. He has extensive experience in Spanish language education and cultural training, having previously worked with the Council on International Educational Exchange in Barcelona and Alicante, Spain. He has advanced proficiency in four languages and has served as a member of the Fulbright Scholarship Selection Committee. He was a Rotary International Scholar in Spain and a Salzburg Seminar Fellow in Austria. He earned a B.A. from Central College in Iowa, an M.A. from Penn State University, an M.I.I.M. from the School for International Training, and a Ph.D. from Penn State.

L. Heather Mitchell

Vice President, Client Services and Public Affairs
Capri Capital Partners, LLC

Heather manages existing pension fund client relationships for Capri’s domestic commercial real estate business, and leads marketing initiatives for the firm’s global emerging market investment platform in Africa, India, and the Middle East. She also heads the Real Estate Executive Council and the Capri Foundation. Prior to Capri, Heather worked with the Delaware Public Policy Institute and Chamber of Commerce and in the education field with the Steppingstone Scholars Program. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of Chicago State University, as president of the board of the Primo Center for Women and Children and was a former board member of San Miguel Schools. Heather earned a B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. from the Dartmouth College Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where she was awarded the Graduate Student Community Service Prize and the Samuel McGill Graduate Student Award.

Justin Oberman

19 Vine, LLC

Justin provides strategic and financial consulting to companies in the aviation and transportation sectors, as well homeland security and aerospace/defense, where he has fifteen years of experience. As an official at the U.S. Department of Transportation on September 11, 2001, he was a founding member of the Transportation Security Administration and later a senior executive at the Department of Homeland Security. Justin returned to Chicago in 2005 and was a candidate for Illinois State Treasurer in 2010. Earlier in his career, he was one of the youngest managers at Arthur Andersen, co-establishing its aviation practice with clients in the United States, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Southeast Asia. He is a Truman National Security Project Fellow and graduated from Wesleyan University.

Girish Rishi

Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Computing Division
Motorola Solutions, Inc.

Girish leads the mobile computing business unit for Motorola Solutions which serves customers in retail, logistics, manufacturing, and other enterprise sectors. Prior to joining Motorola, Girish was with a start-up that was acquired by Symbol Technologies and was general manager for Symbol's Europe, Middle East, and Africa operations. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Leadership and Service award by Northeastern Illinois University and has written extensively on a wide range of topics. He received his undergraduate education from the University of Bombay, India, an M.B.A. from the University of Hartford Barney School of Business and Public Administration, and a Masters in International Public Policy from the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Christopher Roth

Managing Director
Jones Lang LaSalle

Chris directs a nationwide federal real estate team representing the U.S. General Services Administration and has testified about the G.S.A.’s National Broker Contracts before the U.S. Congress in 2009. His work with Jones Lang LaSalle since 1998 has involved a variety of public-private partnerships, and he has been recognized for his contributions with the company’s LaSalle Club and Top Gun awards in 2006, 2010, and 2011. He became a registered Architect in 1995 and has earned a B.Arch. and an M.Arch. from the Tulane University School of Architecture, where he studied vernacular housing in Guatemala and urban design in Italy, and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Joseph Seliga

Mayer Brown

Joe practices in state and local government law with a focus on major infrastructure public-private partnership transactions. He has advised on the leases of the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge and the Indiana Toll Road, which received the Project Finance North American Transport Deal of the Year Award, as well as many other projects in the United States and abroad. He was appointed to the Illinois Campaign Finance Reform Task Force and is a sponsor and mentor to students through Link Unlimited. He earned an A.B. from Georgetown University, an M.A. from the University of Leicester, and a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law, and was a Marshall Scholar at the University of Leicester and the University of Oxford.

Noah Toly

Director of Urban Studies and Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations
Wheaton College

Noah leads the Urban Studies and Wheaton in Chicago programs of Wheaton College. He has co-edited three books and has authored numerous other publications on topics such as global cities, environmental issues, and religion. He is editor of the Routledge series, Cities and Global Governance. He previously worked on energy and sustainable development issues with the University of Delaware and conducted field research in Costa Rica and Mexico. He is a member of the Council on Faith and International Affairs, the Urban Affairs Association, and the International Studies Association. He earned a B.A. from Wheaton College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware.

Eric Weinheimer

President and Chief Executive Officer
The Cara Program

Since 1996, Eric has led The Cara Program, a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive training, job placement and support services to individuals who are homeless and struggling in poverty. The Cara Program has become a national model for the alleviation of poverty and has won numerous awards for managerial excellence, including the Alford-Axelson Award and the Goldman Sachs Capacity Building Award. Eric has shared The Cara Program’s best practices and results with similar organizations in Europe and Africa. Eric earned a B.S. from Boston College and was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

James Wildman

Managing Director, Corporate Finance
William Blair & Company, LLC

Jamie joined William Blair in 2004 and became one of its youngest managing directors in 2011. He currently focuses on business development with private equity and venture capital firms and has previously worked in investment banking with Bear Stearns and Cowen and Company in New York. He works with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago on the Preparedness Committee, a group of business leaders who advise on strategies for the division of the Red Cross focused on preventing tragedies, and also serves on the Leadership Committee for the Red Cross Classic, an annual golf fund raiser. He earned a B.A. cum laude from Vanderbilt University, spent a semester abroad at Oxford University where he studied European economics and politics, and earned an M.B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.