URBANA — Forty emerging, public policy leaders from across Illinois have been selected to be part of the 10th annual Edgar Fellows Program and will gather in Champaign August 7 through 11.
The Edgar Fellows Program is an initiative designed by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar to inspire respectful and collaborative leadership to address the state’s major challenges.
The 40 participants selected this year (listed below) were chosen from a field of nearly 160 nominees and reflect Illinois’ political, racial, ethnic and geographic diversity. They include elected and appointed officials from all levels of government, leaders of non-profit organizations and individuals who are making their mark in the business world.
“Each year, the Edgar Fellows Program brings together a group of leaders, with different backgrounds and different politics, from all over Illinois. They share and learn from those different life experiences, but they also find out that they have more in common than they have differences,” said Edgar, who launched the program in 2012.
“People who were strangers on Sunday become good friends by Thursday. It has been gratifying to watch that happen with the members of the nine classes who have already been through this program. It’s what the Edgar Fellows program is all about, finding common ground and respect, so our fellows can work together throughout their careers to help shape a better Illinois.”
The week in Champaign includes an intense executive training program designed and hosted by Edgar and his staff, some of whom are housed at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. The fellows will engage with more than two dozen policy experts and experienced practitioners. But most importantly, they will learn from each other in discussions of issues that include economic development, climate change, education, Medicaid, negotiations and intergovernmental cooperation.
The 2022 class will bring the number of Fellows who have completed the program to 393. After completing the initial program, fellows continue to meet at alumni gatherings designed to increase their knowledge and help build their professional networks.
The Edgar Fellows Program is funded by donations from a diverse group of individuals, organizations and companies interested in promoting competent, ethical and solution-oriented leadership in Illinois.
Edgar Fellows Class of 2022
Shweta Baid, Aurora, Alderman
Representative Chris Bos, Lake Zurich
Christopher Brown, Mayor of Morris
Senator Terri Bryant, Murphysboro
Jacob Butcher, Springfield, Chief of Staff, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus
Representative Lakesia Collins, Chicago
Mimi Cowan, Naperville, Will County Board Member
Magda Derisma, Springfield, Legislative Director and Staff Attorney, Illinois AFL-CIO
James Donelan, Springfield, Alderman and Executive Director of Township Officials of Illinois Risk Management Association
Kelly Edwards, Bloomington, State Counsel, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Companies
Representative Amy Elik, Alton
Celeste Flores, Gurnee, Director of Community Building, Mano a Mano Family Resource Center
Representative David Friess, Redbud
Christy George, Chicago, First Assistant Deputy Governor for Budget and Economy, office of the Governor
Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Glenview
Representative Edgar Gonzalez, Jr., Chicago
Lanyea Griffin, Chicago, Executive Director, Illinois Tollway
Laura Hepp Kessel, Canton, Fulton County Board Member and Director of Telehealth Medicine, SIU School of Medicine
Patrick Hoban, Bloomington, Chief Executive Officer, Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council
Rory Hoskins, Mayor of Forest Park
Kevin “KJ” Johnson, St. Joseph, President and CEO, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association
John Kahl, Mayor of East Peoria
Erica Martinez, Chicago, Public Health Administrator, University of Illinois at Chicago Alumni
Jodi Miller, Mayor of Freeport
Jenna Mitchell, Springfield, Chief of Staff, Illinois Senate Republicans
Senator Laura Murphy, Des Plaines
Chris Nelson, Mayor of Village of West Dundee and Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Comcast
Jim O’Connor, Oak Park, Project Director at Advance Illinois
Cesar Orozco, Chicago, Assistant Comptroller for Chicago, Illinois Office of the Comptroller
Michael Reid, Jr., President of the Village of Hampshire
Leigh Richie, Chicago, Deputy General Counsel and Deputy Chief Compliance Officer, office of the Governor
Daniel Serota, Lake Zurich, Director of Public Affairs at Aon
Representative Dave Severin, Benton
Senator Mike Simmons, Chicago
Representative Dan Ugaste, Geneva
Roberto Valdez, Jr., Chicago, Associate Director of External Affairs, Latino Policy Forum
Don Villar, Chicago, Secretary-Treasurer, Chicago Federation of Labor
Jaclyn Vinson, Danville, Executive Director, Vermilion Housing Authority
Ben Winick, Chicago, Chief of Staff, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Asif Yusuf, Oak Brook, Trustee, Village of Oak Brook