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CEG Announces 2022 Class of Civic Leadership Academy

Published: Jan 13 2022


On January 13, 2022, the University of Chicago Center for Effective Government (CEG) at the Harris School of Public Policy will welcome its 2022 class of Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) fellows—30 of the area’s most promising government and nonprofit leaders—to join the eighth cohort of the Center’s prestigious interdisciplinary leadership development program.

The 2022 cohort, which includes 15 fellows from nonprofit organizations, eight from city government, and seven from county government, joins a program that fuels an exchange of ideas across Chicago and Cook County that improves practices and civic outcomes while spurring greater collaboration and innovation across our institutions. 

“We are so pleased to welcome this group of accomplished leaders to the Civic Leadership Academy,” said William Howell, the Sydney Stein Professor of American Politics at the University of Chicago and director of CEG. “Strong civic institutions and effective policy-making depend upon capable, thoughtful leadership. The fellows of the 2022 cohort represent the promise and opportunity of our great city and have the capacity to effect meaningful change that makes a difference in the lives of those across Chicagoland.”

"The Civic Leadership Academy provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn from world-class academics and to connect with other civic partners,” said Caitlin McElroy, a member of the incoming 2022 cohort. “I look forward to collaborating with my cohort on thinking boldly about reimagining how government can serve and create equity for its residents.” McElroy is the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Cook County Board of Commissioners 15th District Office.

The new cohort will join a network of more than 200 Civic Leadership Academy alumni integral to the civic infrastructure of Chicago. CLA fellows and alumni are advancing reform in Chicago on a host of pressing policy issues, from COVID-19 to economic opportunity, education to criminal justice, and more.

Megan Cunningham, Managing Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health and incoming CLA fellow, said, “I'm excited to learn more effective leadership frameworks, strategies, and skills that I can apply as the Department of Public Health transitions from pandemic response to promoting long-term resilience and racial equity. So much of what we aspire to do will require linking arms across the civic sector to lift our city up, together."

Last week, fellows began a rigorous six-month program that teaches essential leadership skills and provides the time and space to focus on a specific leadership skill that will directly benefit their work. In addition to attending classes and discussions with world-class University of Chicago faculty, fellows participate in a civic practitioner leadership series, closed-door discussions with key Chicago leaders and CLA alumni; a week-long global practicum in Paris, where fellows engage with and learn from their counterparts in an international setting; and a collaborative, culminating project leveraging fellows’ cohort experience and the broader CLA network to envision meaningful opportunities for reform in Chicago. Upon completion of the program, they will receive a certificate in civic leadership from the Harris School of Public Policy.

“This class of fellows reflect the breadth and depth of experience, expertise, and identity that Chicago has to offer,” said Sadia Sindhu, executive director of the CEG. “As part of a broader community of practitioners, experts, and scholars at the Center for Effective Government, these fellows add to the growing pipeline of effective civic leaders from Harris ready to lead institutional reform in Chicago.”

The 2022 Civic Leadership Academy fellows are:

  • Cynthia Alfaro, Chief Operating Officer, My Block My Hood My City

  • Dennericka Brooks, Director, Housing Practice Group, Legal Aid Chicago

  • Maggie Clemons, Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Public Library

  • Daniel Cruz, Senior Director, Government and External Affairs, Chicago Housing Authority

  • Megan Cunningham, Managing Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health

  • Rodolfo De Jesus, Community Engagement Manager, Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities, Lurie Children's Hospital

  • Nyla R. Diab, Chief Strategy Officer, Chicago Commons

  • Sav Felix (AB’09, AM’16), Director of Legislative and External Affairs, Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender

  • Rachel Fink, Executive Director, Lookingglass Theatre Company

  • Luis Gonzales, Director of People and Culture, One Million Degrees

  • Jurema N. Gorham, Founder & Executive Director, Burst Into Books

  • Ashley Greer Shambley, Assistant Public Defender, Law Office Of the Cook County Public Defender

  • Gerald Blake Hankerson, Outreach Coordinator, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - Chicago Office & Illinois Chapter

  • Bradly Johnson, Director of External Affairs, BUILD Inc.

  • Robert Kline, Assistant State's Attorney, Cook County State's Attorney's Office

  • Eilene Ladson, Vice President of Program and Clinical Supports, Ada S. McKinley Community Services

  • Lisbeth Leanos, Legislative Coordinator for State & Federal Affairs, Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

  • Ricardo Magallon, Manager of Air Inspection Division, Cook County Government - Department of Environment and Sustainability

  • Victoria Marzullo, Sergeant of Police, Chicago Police Department

  • Caitlin McElroy, Deputy Chief of Staff, Cook County Board of Commissioners - 15th District

  • Dion McGill, Communications and Community Outreach Manager, Strengthening Chicago's Youth, Lurie Children's Hospital

  • Daveed Moskowitz, Juvenile Justice Manager, Chicago Public Schools

  • Robin C. Owens, Deputy Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Assets, Information & Services

  • Michelle Rashad, Executive Director, Imagine Englewood If…

  • Cindy Chan Roubik, Acting Deputy Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development

  • Yaritza Sandoval, Director of External Partnerships, Urban Alliance

  • Scott Smith, Chief Communications Officer, Cook County Assessor's Office

  • Sana Iftikharuddin Syed, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Inner-City Muslim Action Network

  • José “Che-Che” Turrubiartez, Paralegal, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

  • Roy Walker III, Dean of Health Sciences & Career Programs, Malcolm X College - City Colleges of Chicago

The 2022 cohort of CLA fellows will be introduced at an in-person ceremony featuring remarks from University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos (AB’81) and Katherine Baicker, Dean and the Emmett Dedmon Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy. Angela Rudolph (CLA’18), Director of Equity for the Grand Victoria Foundation, will deliver an alumni address on behalf of the broader CLA community. The event will be held Thursday, February 10th at 5:30 pm at the University’s David Rubenstein Forum. In-person attendance (subject to city and University public health protocols) is limited to invitation-only; members of the public are invited to join virtually via livestream here.

“I am so excited to be a part of the Civic Leadership Academy,” said Jurema N. Gorham, 2022 cohort member and Founder & Executive Director of Burst Into Books. “I look forward to engaging in meaningful conversations and developing relationships with other civic leaders. It is through collaboration that we will truly transform the city of Chicago.”

The Civic Leadership Academy is made possible through generous support from the Harris School of Public Policy, Harris Family Foundation, Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust, Walder Foundation and Waraich Family Fund, and has presented named fellowships to the following individuals: The 2022 Walder Foundation Fellows are Luis Gonzales of One Million Degrees and Sana Iftikharuddin Syed of the InnerCity Muslim Action Network (IMAN), and the 2022 Waraich Family Fund Fellow is Gerald Blake Hankerson of the Chicago chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Additionally, Michelle Rashad of Imagine Englewood If… is the recipient of the Jessica Bryar Scholarship, named in honor of CLA 2017 alumna Jessica Bryar, who passed away in 2019. 


About the Civic Leadership Academy

Launched in 2014 by the University of Chicago Office for Civic Engagement and Harris School of Public Policy, the Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) is an annual interdisciplinary leadership development program for emerging and high-potential leaders in non-profit organizations and local government agencies across Chicago and Cook County. CLA fellows engage in six months of programming and instruction with renowned faculty from across the University’s professional schools, including the Booth School of Business, the Graham School of Continuing and Professional Studies, UChicago Law School, and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. CLA is designed to challenge fellows to analyze organizational best practices, community impact, and institutional reform in the city of Chicago and beyond while developing a diverse pipeline of talented leaders to help Chicago nonprofits and government agencies—institutions and organizations critical to the city’s civic infrastructure—thrive. Since 2019, CLA has been administered by the Center for Effective Government.

About the Center for Effective Government

The University of Chicago Center for Effective Government (CEG) is a nonpartisan academic initiative that aims to strengthen democratic institutions and improve the capacity of government to solve public problems. Founded in 2019 at the Harris School of Public Policy, CEG works to solve the problems of government ineffectiveness with a multi-faceted theory of action. The Center builds bridges between its stakeholders—scholars, students, practitioners, leaders, journalists, and advocates—and organizes its work and activities around the key areas of ideas, education, and engagement.

About the Harris School of Public Policy

For more than three decades, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy has been steadfastly committed to advancing policy based on evidence, not ideology. Guided by this exacting perspective, our exceptional community of scholars, students, and nearly 4,000 alumni take on the world’s most important problems using the latest tools of social science. As the second-largest professional school at the University of Chicago, Harris Public Policy offers a full range of degree and executive education programs to empower a new generation of data-driven leaders to create a real social impact throughout our global society. This is Harris Public Policy: Social Impact, Down to a Science.