© 2021 American Business Immigration Coalition. All Rights Reserved
1805 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608
Rebecca Shi is the founding executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), a bipartisan coalition of 1200 CEOs, retired CEOs, donor class, employers and business associations across the country, from Texas to Maine, Florida to Idaho. ABIC’s mission is commonsense immigration reform to grow the economy, create jobs and keep families together. ABIC’s niche is delivering business support to hard-hitting national, state, and local campaigns that benefit the undocumented. ABIC understands the necessity of Right – Left coalitions and alliances to win concrete victories. ABIC’s victories include winning driver’s licenses, in-state tuition, healthcare equity, access to justice across red, purple and blue states; inclusive PPP and small business community navigator recovery programs in Washington working with Republican and Democrat Members of Congress.
Rebecca immigrated from China when she was ten years old; graduated from the University of Chicago with high honors and selected graduation speaker; and is tri-lingual in English, Mandarin, and Spanish. She has worked as a leader and organizer in the immigrant rights movement for 12 years, in part because her mother had a final deportation order for 19 years.
Rebecca was honored as “20 in their 20s” by Crains’ Business Chicago; is an Asian American Community Leadership honoree; and an Illinois Governor Jim Edgar Fellow. Rebecca’s work has been featured in the WSJ, Washington Post, New York Times, Texas Tribune, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Politico and Axios, among others. She has testified before Congress multiple times.
Rovika Rajkishun is the Deputy Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition Rovika Rajkishun is a senior nonprofit executive with two decades of experience especially in fundraising, communications, and organizational growth.
Most recently she was the Interim Co-Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC). Before being appointed to this position, Rovika served as the Vice President of Development and Communications, leveraging a statewide rapid-response fundraising campaign in the wake of the 2016 presidential election to more than triple the organization’s budget in just four years and win key legislative victories including restoring driver’s licenses access to every New Yorkers regardless of immigration status. She also served as Interim Co-Executive Director of NYIC Action, the NYIC’s sister 501(c)4.
During her tenure as Co-Executive Director, the NYIC worked on many successful advocacy campaigns including the inclusion of mixed status families in stimulus payments, a Federal Small Business Administration program for $100 million for nonprofits working with small businesses, fixes to the PPP Program to be more inclusive of small businesses, and a New York State excluded worker’s fund of $2.1 billion, a first-of-its-kind in the country.
Rovika serves on the Board of Directors of Girls for Gender Equity and Neo Philanthropy Action Fund, and was the Chair of the Brooklyn Community Board 7 Committee on Census 2020. Rovika was named as a City and State’s 2021 Power 100 and 2021 Nonprofit Power 100.
Born and raised in Guyana, Rovika immigrated to Brooklyn, NY at age ten and was undocumented for a decade. As a member of an extended mixed status family, she brings lived experience and the hopes and aspirations of her family to her work. Rovika has lived with her husband in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for 20 years where they are now raising three children. Rovika is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University.
Michael Deheeger has juggled organizing, communications, political and fundraising roles on a range of domestic and international issues, in both advocacy and electoral settings. He is a graduate of Colby College and received a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
Arianny Eduardo is the Central Florida Business Outreach Manager for IMPAC fund and a dedicated community advocate. Prior to her role, she was the Florida Campaign Operations Specialist for UnidosUS, where she helped oversee the operations of the Orlando, Miami, and Palm Beach office. Arianny also has prior work experience in the renewable energy and banking sector. An immigrant herself, she was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and has been a Central Florida resident for over 20 years. Proud of her roots and upbringing, Arianny has made it a priority to serve her community.
Arianny holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida and an A.S. in Business Administration from Florida Metropolitan University. As a devoted mother, faithful friend, and a loved and respected member of her community, she is ready to help move Florida forward.
Yahel Flores is the Director for the Carolinas. He is a DACA recipient. Born in CD Juarez Chihuahua, raised in Winston Salem, NC. Prior to joining ABIC he was in the supply chain industry. Handling international imports for multiple corporate companies. He was a multisport athlete growing up that honed his skills in leadership, work ethic, and helped him give back to his community.
He is a father to a 9-year-old little boy. After high school and during college, he started a few businesses to self-fund his education while attending Guilford College. While at Guilford, he was active with Soy Un Lider conference to help high school seniors navigate the college application process. He was also a part of Hispanos Unidos De Guilford. Yahel and his family are personally affected by immigration policies and reform, which is why he looks forward to working to improve the lives of immigrants in the Carolinas.
Dallin Adams is the Director of the ABIC Intermountain Chapter, based in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. Dallin is currently studying Finance at Arizona State University and is a passionate advocate for the business and immigrant community, with experience in grassroots organizing, local campaigns, and statewide initiatives.
Chief Executive Officer, Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending
Martin Eakes co-founded Self-Help, a community development lender, in 1980. Self-Help has provided $7 billion in financing to more than 85,000 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits. Self-Help reaches people who are underserved by conventional lenders—particularly persons of color, immigrants, women, rural residents, and low-wealth families. Self-Help has 50 branch offices in North Carolina, California, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Martin helped establish in 2002 an affiliate of Self-Help, the Center for Responsible Lending, which battles predatory mortgage and payday lenders across the country and fights to protect homeownership and family wealth for working families. He was designated “the greatest enemy in the world” to the 450% interest rate payday lenders, which Martin considers one of his most memorable and significant honors.
Martin has been honored with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Hubert Humphrey Award, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s MacArthur Fellow Award, Ford Foundation’s Visionary Award, the AARP Inspire Award, Credit Union National Association Wegner Award, National Consumer Law Center’s Father Robert F Drinan Leadership Award, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation National Families Count Award.
Martin holds a law degree from Yale, a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, and a bachelor’s in physics and philosophy from Davidson College. A native of North Carolina, he is a nationally recognized expert on development finance and on campaigns for racial and economic justice.
Founder, SkyMallFormer Republican member of the Arizona Senate
Senator Bob Worsley has been a Republican State Senator from Mesa since 2012 until Jan 2019. He and his wife Christi and 6 children (31 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren) lived in Arizona for almost 40 years and now spend most of their time in Salt Lake City, Utah where most of the family are now. He came to the Senate bringing with him an array of entrepreneurial skills having been named 1999 Arizona Entrepreneur of the Year. He began his career as a CPA with Price Waterhouse, went on to found SkyMall in 1989, and sold it to Rupert Murdoch’s corporate empire 13 years later. He then founded NZ Legacy which has been active in real estate, energy and mineral developments since 2002. He built an $80 Million 27-MW biomass energy plant, fueled by the remains of the Rodeo-Chediski fire which burned over 450,000 acres of Arizona forest land in 2002; Novo Power is currently fueled by 15,000 acres per year of forest-thinning and is staffed with over 100 employees and contractors. He started getting his feet wet with the future of housing with a wealthy friend in Provo Utah in 2018.
Bob was named by Capitol Times as “2018 Legislator of the Year” along with numerous other distinctions for his service in the Arizona Senate. Bob has also authored a book in which he analyzes the anti-immigration movement.
Founder & CEO of Greensboro, North Carolina-based Replacements, Ltd
Bob Page is Founder & CEO of Greensboro, North Carolina-based Replacements, Ltd., the largest retailer of tableware, collectibles, estate jewelry, and watches. Bob grew up working on his family’s small North Carolina tobacco farm and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. After leaving active duty in the U.S. Army in 1970 and his accounting career in 1981, Bob began Replacements in his attic. Today, the company employs 400 and serves over 10 million customers. Bob has dedicated the last 25 years to fighting for LGBTQ equality and health, progressive education, and community building and today is especially focused on civil rights and immigrant rights. He parents nearly 21 year old twins, Owen and Ryan, and enjoys sponsoring international students’ U.S. education.
President and Partner, Pulmonary Consultants, SC
Dr. Mohammed Zaher Sahloul is a president and partner of Pulmonary Consultants, SC, a medical group serving patients in Chicago and southwest suburbs. He is a board member of the Syrian Community Network that helps resettlement of refugee in Illinois.
Dr. Sahloul is a strong advocate for interfaith dialogue, social justice, global health, immigrants and refugee rights and human rights. He is an advisory board member of Bernadin Center at the Catholic Theological Union and and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a past board member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights and past chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.
He is senior advisor and past president of the Syrian American Medical Society, SAMS and founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of 14 humanitarian US based organizations working in Syria. He led SAMS to be one of the leading and cutting-edge medical relief organizations serving health care needs in Syria during the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011, SAMS has been supporting doctors, nurses and hospitals inside Syria, providing medical and psychological care to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey using innovative methods in communication, training and delivery to overcome the extreme challenges related to the scale, complexity, poor access, insecurity and ever-changing face of the crisis. He also founded SAMS Global Response to address the refugee crisis in Europe and provide medical relief in disaster areas.
He was awarded Chicagoan of the year for 2016 for his humanitarian work in Aleppo and received Dr Robert Kirschner’s Award for Global Activism by Heartland Alliance Kovler Center 2017 and Commitment to Change award by National Immigration Justice Center of Heartland Alliance for his commitment to human rights and to make healthcare more accessible and shine a light on global refugee crisis. He is appointed as a member of Illinois Board of Health.
He is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Former Chairman and CEO of Bank of America
Hugh McColl Jr. was born in Bennettsville in 1935. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1957 with a degree in business administration. He served 2 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
When he got out of the Marines, his father pointed his son toward the American Commercial Bank in Charlotte, where the McColl family had done business. He was first hired as a management trainee, and it is there that his career in banking first started. After a merger, and a renaming, Hugh worked as a loan officer and Vice President for the new North Carolina National Bank, until 1982 when he was named President. He was elected Chairman of the Board as well as CEO in 1983.
In 1983, at the start of his tenure, the bank had $12 billion in assets, $8 billion in deposits, and a market capitalization of $700 million. TNCNB employed 7,600 and generated a net income of $92 million. In 1991, McColl orchestrated a successful merger with C&S/Sovran resulting in the massive NationsBank.
Because of Mr. McColl’s leadership, NationsBank great to 16 states and DC.
Mr. McColl retired in 2001 at which point the bank had grown to $600 billion in assets, $8 billion in net income, and a market capitalization of $90 billion, making it one of the most highly valued financial services institutions in the world. They operated in 22 states and DC employing nearly 180,000. In 1989 he was named one of the “25 Most Fascinating People” by Fortune, and in 1993, he was named “Banker of the Year” by The American Banker and “CEO of the Year” by Financial World.
He has served on the following boards: Ruddick Corporation, Sonoco Products Company, Canal Industries, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, and Queens College. The McCooll School of Business at Queens College was named for him.
Hugh McColl has also served the UNC at Chapel Hill as a member of the Kenan-Flager Business School’s Board of Visitors, a trustee of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprises, a member of the Morehead Scholarships Central Selection Committee, and the UNC at Chapel Hill Board of Visitors. Mr. McColl is married to Jane Spratt. He was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1990.
Juan Carlos Cerda is a DACA recipient and the Director for the Texas Business Immigration Coalition (TBIC). Prior to joining TBIC, Juan Carlos organized immigrant communities at the Texas Organizing Project and taught kindergarten in Dallas ISD through the Teach for America program. He was also named in 2015 as an ambassador for fwd.us, a bipartisan political advocacy group working for immigration and criminal justice reform, and currently serves on the Bishop’s Immigration Task Force for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. Juan Carlos graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2015. He lives in Fort Worth with his wife.
Vena Nelson is the Small Business Recovery Specialist with the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC). In her role with ABIC, Vena provides technical assistance for small businesses applying for federal relief due to COVID-19.
Vena is also CEO of Go Big Accounting, she has over 25 years of senior level management experience in accounting and financial operations. Her previous financial executive positions held includes: Chief Financial Officer for Global Estates, LLC (family owned real estates/construction company), Chief Financial Officer for Rock of Ages Baptist Church (mega church), Associate Vice President & Controller for Tuskegee University, and Assistant Controller for Destination Hotel & Resort, all of which offered a wide variety of senior level responsibilities.
Highlights of Vena’s career and professional accomplishments include: financial management to an organization with $40 million in annual revenues, supervision of 30(+) accounting staff employees, growing a startup business to approximately $8 million in assets, and securing financing for a $7.5 million new construction project.
Vena received her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, BS from Illinois State University, and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed with the State of Illinois.
Larry Luster is the Small Business Recovery Manager at the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC). In his role with ABIC, Larry leads outreach efforts with the Black community during the COVID-19 crisis, including coalition building, digital marketing, media relations and direct technical assistance to businesses.
Larry is also the Director of Policy and Outreach at the Roosevelt Group/ Reyes Kurson (RK) Law Firm, where his clients include Rivers Casino, the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Illinois Hospital Association, ComEd, Peoples Gas and many more. He has extensive experience in campaign strategy and management, and was responsible for increasing voter turnout by double digits in various races for Illinois Senate. Prior to his role with ABIC, Larry served as the Political Director for Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Executive Director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, and management staff with the Illinois Senate Democrats.
A lifelong resident of Springfield, Illinois, Larry is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
Senior Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hunt Companies, Inc., and its affiliated companies
Mr. Hunt graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, and he subsequently received his MBA in Finance from UT. Mr. Hunt also earned an MA Degree in Management from the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.
In addition to his duties with Hunt, Mr. Hunt is a member of the Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and Complete College America; foundation trustee of the Texas Higher Education Foundation; member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center-Houston; Founding Chairman of the Borderplex Alliance in El Paso, where he now serves on the Board of Directors; member and former Chairman of the Texas Business Leadership Council; Vice-Chair for Texas Aspires; Vice-Chair for the Council for Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development; an Advisory Director for WestStar Bank; is a member of the Executive Council of No Labels.
Mr. Hunt was previously Chairman of the Texas Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee, which was charged with developing the Higher Education Plan for the State of Texas for 2015 to 2030; Vice-Chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents; served seven years, three as Chairman, on the Board of Directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO); was founding chairman and a board member of the Medical Centers of the Americas Foundation in El Paso; was chairman of the Texas Select Commission on Higher Education and Global Competitiveness; a member of the Western Governors University (WGU) Texas Advisory Board; was a member of the Commission for College Ready Texas and the Texas Tax Reform Commission; was a member of the National Board of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE); was a member of the Texas Advisory Committee on Higher Education Cost Efficiencies; was a member of the Task Force on Higher Education Incentive Funding; was a member of the Council for Continuous Improvement and Innovation in Texas Higher Education; was a member of the Paso del Norte Foundation; and was the chairman of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. He was a member of the Board of Directors for El Paso Electric (Nasdaq: EE) as well as serving as a member of the Board of Directors of PNM Resources (NYSE: PNM) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition, Mr. Hunt has served on numerous other civic, non-profit, and professional boards.
Mr. Hunt has received the Mirabeau B. Lamar medal which is awarded to individuals that have made extraordinary contributions to higher education in the State of Texas. Mr. Hunt received the Dick Weekley Public Policy Leadership Award from the Texas Business Leadership Council, which recognizes a business leader who has exemplified the positive outcomes that are derived at the intersection of volunteerism and public policy.
Mr. Hunt has also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas at Austin, been inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame, and the El Paso Business Hall of Fame. Mr. Hunt also serves as Chairman of the Hunt Family Foundation, a private family foundation he and his wife Gayle, established in 1987.
President, Ariel Investments, LLC
As president of Ariel Investments, LLC, Mellody Hobson is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning. Additionally, she serves as Chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust. Ms. Hobson has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education, and is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets and economic trends for CBS News. She also contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and pens a column for Black Enterprise magazine. In 2015, Ms. Hobson was named to Time Magazine’s annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world.
Co-Chair, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition
Chairman Emeritus, Exelon
John W. Rowe is Chairman Emeritus of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, an electric utility serving Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC.
Rowe led Exelon from its formation in 2000 through the completion of its acquisition of Constellation Energy in 2012. Rowe previously held chief executive officer positions at the New England Electric System and Central Maine Power Company, served as general counsel of Consolidated Rail Corporation, and was a partner in the law firm of Isham, Lincoln & Beale. Rowe is a past chairman of Edison Electric Institute. He is the non-executive Chairman of the Board of SunCoke Energy and previously served on the boards of Northern Trust, Allstate, UnumProvident and Bank Boston.
He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and the Advisory Council to the Oriental Institute. Rowe is a former chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, The Field Museum and Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a member of the boards of Artis-Naples, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, the Northwestern University Settlement House, The Pritzker Military Library, and is a past president of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. He is a co-chairman of the American Business Immigration Coalition. The Rowes have founded two Professorships of Architecture and a Chair in Sustainable Energy at IIT, as well as the Rowe Chair in the History of American Politics, the Rowe Professorship in Byzantine History and the Rowe Professorship in Greek History at the University of Wisconsin, the Rowe Center in Virology at the Morgridge Institute, the Curator of Evolutionary Biology at the Field Museum and the Rowe Professorship in Egyptian history at the University of Chicago. The Trust co-founded the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy and the Rowe Elementary School. The Rowes have served as patrons of the Pope John Paul II parochial school.
The Rowes have been widely recognized for civic and professional leadership: including the Chicago Humanities Festival Humanists of the Year presented to John and Jeanne, Henry Townley Heald Award from IIT, the Bertha Honore Palmer Making History Award for Distinction in Civic Leadership, presented to John and Jeanne, the “Hat’s Off” award from the Building & Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, The Spirit of Shakespeare Award from Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Misericordia Heart of Mercy Award, the Edison Electric Institute Distinguished Leadership Award, election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Daniel H. Burnham Award for Business and Civic Leadership, Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Humanitarian award, University of Arizona’s Executive of the Year Award, the Union League of Philadelphia’s Founder’s Award, the American Jewish Committee’s Civic Leadership Award, El Valor’s Corporate Visionary Award, the City Club of Chicago’s Citizen of the Year Award. In 2013, he was elected one of the six regents of the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Rowe holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. He has also received that university’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Rowe holds honorary doctorates from the University of Wisconsin, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Drexel University, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Bryant College, Thomas College and Dominican University.
Rowe and his wife, Jeanne, reside in Chicago, as does their son, William.
Mariana Castro has been advocating for her immigrant community since she was 19 years old. As a young advocate she helped start university programs that provide visibility to undocumented students statewide and has raised thousands in funds for scholarships specifically for undocumented students in Florida. She has organized issue campaigns that support and protect immigrant and farmworker families. Mariana has a strong legislative background having served as a legislative aide in the Florida Senate and as an intern for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Mariana graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology in May of 2019.
Born in Lima, Peru and raised in Orlando, Florida, Mariana understands first-hand the issues that the undocumented community faces and is ready to continue her work through IMPAC.
Kathy Bird Carvajal has been a devoted advocate for immigrants in Florida for over 15 years. She has led and won issue and electoral campaigns and has built and sustained coalitions from various sectors including directly impacted immigrant families, advocates, faith leaders, elected officials and small businesses. Born in Miami and raised in both Miami and Ecuador, Kathy is proud of her immigrant roots and of her parents who were both small business owners and entrepreneurs. A mother of 2 beautiful kids, Kathy is deeply grounded in Florida and looks forward to continuing to work to improve the lives of immigrants in her state.
Andrea Ramos Fernandez is the San Antonio and Austin Business Outreach Manager for the Texas Business Immigration Coalition. Before joining TBIC, Andrea served as a legislative assistant at the Texas House of Representatives during the 86th Legislature. She has also served as an intern for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and serves on the CHCI Alumni Association. Andrea has organized immigrant student communities in the past and was heavily involved in the creation of the UTSA Dreamer Resource Center. She graduated from UTSA with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration in 2018.
Alia El-Assar is the Communications Architect at the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC). Prior to joining the IBIC team, she worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a research project on migration governance in the Caribbean and co-authored a publication on the findings.
Alia is Palestinian-American and earned her Master’s in Arab Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her Bachelor’s in International Relations and Spanish from Rollins College. She has extensive experience working on immigrants’ rights and migration issues, both domestically and internationally.
Angélica Cruz Sandoval is the Director of Operations and Development at the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC). Angélica’s experience combines accounting non-profit and for-profit work with institutional advancement proficiency. Prior to joining ABIC, Angélica worked at First Nonprofit Unemployment Insurance and The Resurrection Project.
Angélica is a first-generation college graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. She emigrated to Chicago from Guanajuato, Mexico at the age of 6. A former DACA recipient, she has remained active in the undocumented student fight mentoring high school students, volunteering at DACA clinics and sharing her story.
James O’Neill is the Director of Suburban Outreach for the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC). Prior to holding this position, he worked as an intern at IBIC in the summer of 2017. During the summer of 2018, he spent several months shadowing caseworkers in Congressman Lipinski’s (IL-3) district offices.
James earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College at Michigan State University, with a minor in STEPPs (Science, Technology, Environment and Public Policy). At Michigan State, James was involved in student organizations to help register voters and held several leadership positions in the Marching Band and Pep Band.
Irakere Picon is the Director of Legal Services for the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC). Prior to joining IBIC, Irakere worked with the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Legal Protection Fund providing free legal services to low-income immigrant clients, the Community Activism and Law Alliance, and the Chicago Law and Education Foundation.
Irakere earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D. from Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) College of Law. While in law school, Irakere interned with NIU’s Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic, LAF, and competed in national moot court competitions. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois.
Chairman and CEO, Braman Motor Cars
Norman Braman owns dealerships in Miami, West Palm Beach and Denver, selling everything from Rolls-Royces to Hondas. He is the former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, an avid art collector and supporter of the State of Israel as well as local and national Jewish causes. President Ronald Reagan appointed him as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and nominated him to head the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Mr. Braman serves on the Board of Directors of various organizations, and is Chairman of the Host Committee of Art Basel Miami Beach. In 1995, he established the Braman Family Foundation, whose grants support a wide spectrum of philanthropic activity. Also, along with the Scharlin Family, he established the “I Have a Dream Foundation” which paid for the college education of 60 young people from the Liberty City area.
CEO, The Resurrection Project
Raul Raymundo is the recipient of the 2014 Richard M. Daley Friend of The Neighborhoods Award. In 1990, with the help of six Catholic parishes, he co-founded what is now known as The Resurrection Project (TRP) to ensure that working class immigrant neighborhoods built on their assets to address challenges. Starting with $30,000 in seed capital, TRP has become one of the area’s most creative and effective community development organizations, raising and leveraging more than $300 million to strengthen communities through the development of affordable housing, community facilities including child care centers, financial literacy centers, and a charter high school.
Executive Director, National Partnership for New Americans
Joshua Hoyt served as Co-Chair of The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) in 2012 and 2013, and became Executive Director in 2014. Under his leadership, NPNA’s members have assisted over 30,000 immigrants to become U.S. citizens in the past two years. NPNA advocates for a national approach to immigrant integration, resulting in the first ever White House Convening on Immigrant and Refugee Integration and eight National Immigrant Integration Conferences. Mr. Hoyt was also Executive Director and Chief Strategy Executive at Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights from May of 2002 to December 2013. He has testified before Congress and spoken to national media, including The Leher News Hour, The O’Reilly Factor, The Lou Dobbs Show, The Glenn Beck Show, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Former Chairman, Ingredion Incorporated
Samuel C. Scott III is the retired Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Corn Products International, Inc. (now Ingredion Inc.). Mr. Scott serves on the board of Motorola Solutions, Inc., where he is Chairman of The Governance and Nominating Committee. He also serves on the board of directors of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, where he is Chairman of the Human Resources and Compensation Committee, and on the board of directors of Abbott Laboratories. He also serves on the boards of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, The Chicago Urban League, and World Business Chicago.
Former Chairman, United Airlines
Glenn Tilton is the former Chairman of United Continental Holdings, Inc., the parent company of United Air Lines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. He was formerly Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of UAL Corporation from 2002 to 2010, and also the former Chairman of The Air Transport Association, the industry trade organization representing U.S. airlines. Mr. Tilton was Midwest Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee at JP Morgan Chase from 2011 to 2014. Currently, he serves on the board of directors of Abbott Laboratories, and is a member of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory Board.
Chairman, Greenberg Traurig
Cesar L. Alvarez is a Senior Chairman of Greenberg Traurig, one of the Top 10 law firms in the country. He previously served as the firm’s Executive Chairman and as its Chief Executive Officer for 13 years. During his tenure as CEO, he directed the firm’s growth from 325 lawyers in eight offices to approximately 1850 attorneys and government professionals in more than 36 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Mr. Alvarez is Chair of The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science board of Trustees, a Trustee of Florida International University and Chair of the FIU College of Law Advisory board.
Chairman, GAC Contractors.
Former Speaker of the House, State of Florida
Former Chairman of the FL Chamber of Commerce
Chairman, Florida State University
Allan G. Bense is currently Chairman of GAC Contractors, where he has been involved since 1974. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, and was Speaker of the House from 2004 to 2006. He is past Chairman of the board of the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, Past Chairman of the board of The Florida Council on Military Base and Mission Support, and Past Vice Chairman of Enterprise Florida. Mr. Bense is currently the Chairman of the board of The James Madison Institute and Chairman of the board of Gulf Coast Hospital.
President & CEO, Henry Crown and Company
James S. Crown has been a General Partner of Henry Crown and Company since 1985, and President since 2002. Mr. Crown also serves as Vice President and Director of Arie and Ida Crown Memorial Foundation. He served as Vice President of Salomon Brothers, Inc. from 1983 to 1985, and also as Vice President of The Capital Markets Service Group. Mr. Crown is a Trustee of The Museum of Science and Industry, The Aspen Institute, The University of Chicago and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestral Association, and serves as Director of The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
Founder & Chairman of PSP Capital and Pritzker Realty Group
Former Secretary of Commerce (June 2013 – January 2017)
Penny Pritzker is an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist with more than 30 years of experience in numerous industries. Named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world, Pritzker is the Founder and Chairman of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group, a global private investment firm that takes a long-term, fundamental approach to investing in and building market-leading businesses in sectors such as professional services, real estate, technology, agriculture, industrial services and consumer products. From June 2013 through January 2017, Pritzker served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration.
President & CEO, Aspen Skiing Company
Mike Kaplan began his career in Aspen, Colorado. in the fall of 1993 as Ski School Supervisor at Aspen Mountain, and rose through the ranks to become one of the youngest executives of a top U.S. ski resort when he took over as President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Company. Aspen Skiing Company operates the four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass area – Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk – as well as the award-winning Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass.
Chairman, Henry Crown and Company
Lester Crown is Chairman of Henry Crown and Company. He serves on the boards of Northwestern University, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Jerusalem Foundation, The Jewish Theological Seminary, and is board Chairman of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Formerly, Crown served on the boards of General Dynamics, Esmark, and TWA, and he is former Chairman of both The Commercial Club and The Civic Committee of Chicago. He is a Trustee of The Aspen Institute.
Steering Committee Member, IMPAC Fund
President, DiMare Distribution
Paul DiMare is the largest grower of fresh-market tomatoes in the United States, with DiMare Companies running operations in four states — Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and California. He has made major contributions to the industry in the areas of trade, product enhancement, and public awareness. He is active in the Dade County Farm Bureau and The Florida Tomato Exchange, serves on the advisory board of Farm Share, and is Founder and Trustee of the Paul J. DiMare Charitable Foundation.
Co-Chair, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition
Co-founder, Crate and Barrel
Carole Segal is co-founder of Crate and Barrel. Mrs. Segal is the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Foodstuffs, and the President of the Segal Family Foundation. Mrs. Segal is a Trustee of Rush University Medical Center and Chairman of the board of overseers at Rush University. She is a Trustee Emeritus of Bates College and is a life Trustee of Illinois Institute of Technology.
Founder, IMPAC Fund
Chairman, MBF Healthcare Partners
Mike Fernandez is the Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners, L.P. He serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Acquisition Corp. since June 2006. Mr. Fernandez also serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at CPHP Holdings, Inc. As a Cuban exile, growing up in New York, Fernandez has devoted his efforts to supporting immigrants in the U.S. by advocating for their rights. Through the IMPAC Fund, his latest initiative, he will fundraise to seek expanding currently existing legal services and programs to help undocumented immigrants fight unjust deportation procedures and grant them a path to citizenship.
Co-Chair, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition
Executive Vice President, CC Industries
William Kunkler is currently Executive Vice President – Operations for CC Industries, Inc. (CCI), a private equity firm focused on manufacturing companies and real estate investments. He is also Vice President of Henry Crown and Company, the parent company of CCI. Mr. Kunkler is also a Director of Sears Holdings Corporation and a Director of NIBCO, Inc. He is Chairman of the board of trustees of Brookfield Zoo; a Vice-Chairman of The Field Museum of Natural History; and a Director of The Northwestern Memorial Foundation. He previously served as a Trustee of Loyola University Chicago.