Emerging Leaders Class of 2017
The Emerging Leaders Class of 2017 spent one year examining key issues that affect the world and impact the global city of Chicago.
They heard from experts on issues such as the global economy, international diplomacy, energy, and the environment. In October 2017, they traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with senior government leaders. 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.
Class of 2017
Lead Consultant, Strategy, Amplifier
Jailan Adly leads strategy for Amplifier’s philanthropic partnerships, and plans and executes internal strategic initiatives to build the agency’s capabilities. She is a social impact strategist who believes in the power of business to tackle and solve complex global challenges and brings over 10 years of experience building the capacity of impact-driven initiatives around the world. Adly has designed, developed, and managed corporate social responsibility, international development and employee engagement programs for various Fortune 500 companies from the IT, health, agriculture, finance, and transportation sectors in countries including the United States, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Morocco, India, Tunisia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.
Director, Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois
Khadine Bennett is Associate Legislative Director with the ACLU of Illinois. She drafts, testifies, and lobbies on a wide variety of legislative issues. Bennett began her ACLU of Illinois career as a Legal Fellow with the Reproductive Rights Project where she was involved in the Project’s litigation and advocacy efforts. She began her social justice career in the California Bay Area where she worked as an organizer, program director, consultant, and director of various human rights, juvenile justice, youth development, and reproductive justice organizations including WILD for Human Rights, Youth Force Coalition, and the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. Bennett has served on the boards of the Third Wave Foundation, WILD for Human Rights, Exhale, the Chicago Abortion Fund, and the juvenile justice initiative.
Executive Director, World Sport Chicago
Kam Buckner leads the living legacy of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games at World Sport Chicago, an independent non-profit that use sports as a tool to provide an opportunity to Chicago youth in under-served communities. Prior to that, Buckner lead the Government and Neighborhood Relations efforts for the Chicago Cubs as the team worked through several iterations of the $675 million plan to renovate and expand Wrigley Field. Previously, he worked for Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and as an aide to US Senator Dick Durbin. He is on the board of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire Foundation and is a member of the Business Leadership Council and the Economic Club of Chicago.
Director, Global Corporate Citizenship, The Boeing Company
Mike Cassel is director of Global Corporate Citizenship (GCC) for The Boeing Company's corporate offices in Chicago and in the broader Great Lakes Region. Cassel manages the region’s charitable portfolio to ensure that all investments and activities align with company strategy and result in lasting success within the local community. Prior to his current role, Cassel was chief of staff for the State & Local Government Operations team where he managed enterprise-wide strategy related to public policy issues that impact the company across the United States and helped guide Boeing’s GCC strategy and charitable investment efforts. Cassel also served the President of the United States as the director of White House Services within the Office of Management and Administration.
Associate, Sidley Austin LLP
Patrick Croke is an attorney at Sidley Austin LLP, where he has represented a wide variety of clients, including Fortune 100 companies, technology start-ups, venture capital and private equity funds, the US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, and international companies, in a variety of litigation regarding transactional, regulatory, business, political, and criminal matters. Croke also teaches at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering. Croke has been named a Super Lawyers Illinois Rising Star every year since 2012 and was named an Irish Legal 100 Rising Star in 2016. Prior to joining Sidley Austin, Croke worked in politics and government as a lawyer for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, in Senator Ted Kennedy’s Committee Office, and in the City of Chicago’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Associate, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Rebecca Delaney is the youngest engineering team leader for the design firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s (SOM) sustainable engineering studio in Chicago. SOM is one of the largest and most influential architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. Delaney leads multidisciplinary sustainable-engineering project teams for projects including the design competition for the world's tallest office tower, a LEED Gold high school for Chicago Public Schools, and a boutique high-rise art museum in New York. She was selected as the ASHRAE "New Face in Engineering" in 2014, received the Penn State "Alumni Achievement Award" in 2015, and was named one of Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2016.
General Manager, Prince Castle
Mark Fastabend is the General Manager for a newly launched foodservice equipment division within the Marmon Group. He has spent his career building businesses around innovative solutions that meet the needs of the global market ranging from medical devices to food and beverageware. Specializing in new product development, Fastabend leads a team of professionals with the unique expertise necessary to grow conceptual ideas into full-scale commercialized businesses. Today, his efforts focus on tailoring solutions to the diverse and specific needs of customers in more than 100 countries including major food service companies like McDonald’s and Restaurant Brands International.
Senior Vice President, Government Programs, AAR Corp
Nicholas Gross is the Senior Vice President for Government Programs at AAR Corp, a leading provider of aviation services to the worldwide commercial aerospace and government/defense industries. He oversees a diversified portfolio of capabilities, including aviation supply chain and contractor logistics support (CLS), supporting government agencies and commercial customers in established and emerging markets. Prior to joining AAR, Gross previously served as the Chief Operating Officer, International Operations for Michael Baker International, an engineering, development, intelligence, and technology solutions organization with global reach and mobility. In this position, he was responsible for over 3,000 international employees, supporting operations that have spanned over 150 countries and six continents.
CEO, NuMat Technologies
Ben Hernandez is an entrepreneur, founding and serving as the CEO of NuMat Technologies—a venture-backed start-up reimagining how the world stores, separates, and transports gasses. Since its founding in 2013, NuMat’s been recognized by Google as a "Solve for X" innovator, won the Kleiner Perkins "Green Tech Innovation" prize, and has been recognized by the Department of Energy as one of the most promising energy start-ups in the United States. Based in Chicago, NuMat is a global-facing organization with a partner base in Asia and Europe. Prior to NuMat, Hernandez worked at a global private equity firm based in the Middle East with over $30 billion in invested capital.
Schuette Clinical Fellow in Health and Human Rights, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Anna Maitland works alongside marginalized communities to support locally-owned-and-led struggles toward progressive and sustainable change. She has engaged in the Americas and Africa on statelessness, asylum, sexual rights, and social and economic rights. She currently serves as the inaugural Schuette Clinical Fellow in Health and Human Rights at the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where she works with the Access to Health Project (ATH). ATH partners with local communities around the world to build targeted, interdisciplinary strategies to address barriers to health. Prior to coming to Chicago, Maitland cofounded and co-directed a social and economic rights non-profit in Nigeria, Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI).
Director, Strategic Projects, Chicago Public Schools
Luis Narváez was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. As the Director of Strategic Projects for the Chicago Public Schools Office of Language and Cultural Education, he helps ensure that the city's over 70,000 English language learners receive adequate instructional support at school, along with recognizing graduating seniors bilingual and biliterate skills through the implementation of the State Seal of Biliteracy. His work is also focused on the promotion of postsecondary access within Chicago's immigrant and Latino communities.
Director of Customer Intelligence & Insights, Citi/Citi Retail Services
As a Director of Customer Intelligence & Insights for Citi Retail Services, Hinsley Njila helps develop strategy and mitigation solutions for Credit Customer Lifecycle Management. Citi Retail Services delivers consumer and commercial credit card products, both private label and co-brand, to retailers and their clients across North America. Backed by the global power of Citi, the business serves nearly 90 million accounts for a number of iconic brands, including Best Buy, ExxonMobil, Macy's, Sears, Shell and The Home Depot.
Vice President for Global Business Development, Allscripts
Jacob Plummer's background is in management, operations, and investment in technology-enabled health services, and he leads global business development at Allscripts, an international health software company. At Allscripts, he has led a variety of investment initiatives covering North America, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, and the Middle East, where he also served as acting managing director of Saudi Arabia. Currently, he is engaged with leading US and global hospitals to enable precision medicine software powered by insights stemming from the mapping of the human genome.
Executive Director, Heshima Kenya
Alisa Roadcup believes when you empower a girl, you empower an entire community and generations to come. Her career spans 20 years as a human rights defender, social entrepreneur, and advocates passionately about creating a safe and just world for women and girls. Roadcup started with Heshima Kenya in 2012 overseeing US operations and transitioned into the role of executive director in 2014. Before joining Heshima Kenya, Roadcup was director of communications and development at The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. Her previous roles include program associate at Amnesty International USA's Urgent Action Network and vice president of the board of directors at Rape Victim Advocates.
Chief Executive Officer, iConnect Technologies
Kais Salhut is the Chief Executive Officer of iConnect Technologies, a software development and outsourcing company based in the Chicago area. In 2009, after visiting his hometown of Jerusalem, Salhut started a software development outsourcing company in Ramallah, Palestine to tap into the largely underutilized talent pool Palestinian universities produced each year. The company he started merged its operations into iConnect Technologies in 2014. While in Palestine, Salhut was very active in promoting the development of the technology echo system where he spoke at Palestinian universities and sat on the board of Peeks (Palestinian Geeks, a grassroots organization aimed at building a sustainable knowledge-based economy in Palestine).
Executive Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle
Based in Chicago, Julie Steffen leads the Midwest hub for the International Desk. In this role, she is responsible for expanding the growth of our international business across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific regions, as part of the International Desk. Prior to her move to Chicago in October 2012, Steffen was part of the Palo Alto hub of the International Desk, working with clients such as Levis, Hitachi Data Systems, Twitter, and Halliburton during this time she oversaw and facilitated approximately 70 global transactions a year. Steffen joined JLL in 2007 as a member of the Regional Transaction Management team in Shanghai, China, where she was responsible for leading major MNC accounts such as Nortel, Whirlpool, Unisys, Computer Associates, and Motorola.
Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University - College of Law
Morse Tan, elected for promotion to full professor at Northern Illinois University's College of Law, directs the international law certificate program. A US Supreme Court Fellowship Finalist and a member of the US Supreme Court Bar, he previously worked at the University of Texas Law School as a Visiting Scholar and Senior Research Fellow. His book North Korea, International Law, and the Dual Crises was published by Routledge. He has spoken extensively domestically and internationally, such as at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Queens Law School in Canada, and in media outlets including the National Law Journal, United Press International (UPI), the Jurist, and Radio Free Asia.
Assistant US Attorney, Northern District of Illinois
Kruti Trivedi is an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, where she currently serves in the Securities and Commodities Fraud section. A federal prosecutor based in Chicago, Trivedi has investigated and prosecuted a wide array of crimes, ranging from complex frauds to corruption to violent crimes. Trivedi has been recognized by the FBI for her work prosecuting a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme and received a national Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force award for her work prosecuting a violent drug trafficking organization on Chicago's South Side. Trivedi has also received recognition from the Department of Justice for her work with victims. Recently, Trivedi has helped develop an inter-agency working group on human rights prosecutions.
Rebecca van Uitert
Senior Attorney; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, and Loewy, LLP
Rebecca van Uitert has created a unique professional pathway that combines a successful business immigration practice with a sustained commitment to pro bono representation of vulnerable immigrants. At Fragomen, the world’s largest immigration law firm, she serves as primary outside immigration counsel to multiple Fortune 500 international corporations, advising them in all aspects of hiring and retaining top global talent. She also established and leads her office's thriving pro bono program, serving as co-counsel for dozens of asylum, DACA ("Dreamer"), and U visa (criminal victim) applicants each year. Van Uitert was the first Fragomen attorney to volunteer at a family immigration detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico.
Manager, Strategy and Operations, Deloitte Consulting
Shawn Zhou is a strategy consultant with a passion for addressing global healthcare needs. At Deloitte Consulting, Zhou leads projects for multi-national life sciences companies on their R&D, business development, and commercial strategies. Recently, Zhou worked with a pharmaceutical company to improve access to care for patients who struggle to afford medications. Previously, Zhou worked at the Clinton Foundation's Health Access Initiative (CHAI) where he led programs to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment for over 10,000 patients across China and South East Asia.