Board of Directors


Board of Directors

Steven Baer

Steven Baer is a turnaround advisor High Ridge Partners. He has also spent time as a guest lecturer at Chicago Kent and John Marshall law schools. He is a member of the Turnaround Management Association and The Economic Club of Chicago, and serves as a board member of Lake Forest Open Lands Association, The Lake Forest Land Foundation and FirstMerit Corporation.

Hon. Suzanne Bassi

Suzanne H. Bassi was elected to the Palatine District 15 School Board in 1987 after 10 years of teaching French in both Chicago and Hillside, Illinois. During part of her school board tenure, she served as chairman of ED-RED, a suburban education advocacy group. Suzie was elected as a State Representative for Illinois’ 54th District in 1998.  Suzie championed important legislation during her 12 years in the House, including a bill integral in creating the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and Cindy’s Law, an anti-stalking initiative to protect victims around the state.

Kristina Cercone

Kristina is an Associate at Jones Day in Chicago. Kristina represents clients in complex commercial and other litigation in federal and state courts. Her practice focuses on product liability issues facing pharmaceutical and health care clients. She is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and Harvard Law School.  Kristina is a former Paul Simon Fellow and worked at ICPR in 2007 & 2008.

Hon. Beth Coulson

Beth Coulson is a former member of the Illinois House of Representatives, where she represented the 17th District from 1997 to 2011. She is a trained therapist, physical therapist and was a Department Chair at the Chicago Medical School from 1981 to 2002. She is a member of various community and civic organizations in the Chicago area.

William Fehrman, Vice Chair

Bill Fehrman is Vice President of Development for Easterseals’ National Headquarters in Chicago. He has an undergraduate degree in Philanthropy from DePaul University and is working towards a Master’s Degree in Policy Studies, also at DePaul. Bill lives in Park Ridge with his wife and three children.

Hon. Susan Garrett, Chair

Susan Garrett is a former Illinois State Senator who represented the 29th District from 2003 to 2013. She had previously represented the 59th District for four years in the Illinois House of Representatives. Sen. Garrett earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Lake Forest College, and resides in Lake Forest with her family.

Oren Jacobson

Oren Jacobson currently works as a multi-sector consultant helping to develop effective strategies for the businesses and non-profits across the country. He holds an MBA and is currently working on his Master’s in Economics and Policy Analysis at DePaul University.

Carl Johnson

Carl Johnson is an associate at the litigation boutique, Novack and Macey LLP.  He earned his undergraduate degree in Sociology from Yale University and his J.D. from Columbia University. In the 2016 election cycle, Carl was a Deputy Voter Protection Director in Wisconsin, and in the fall of 2014, he was a Legal Research Fellow at ICPR.

Michelle K. Jordan

Michelle is on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Council of Lawyers and the Judicial Reform Issues Specialist for the League of Women Voters of Illinois. She works as General Counsel to Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.

Brian L. Kasal

Brian L. Kasal is the CEO and Founder of FourStar Wealth Advisors LLC. He is the chairman of the board for The Illinois Channel. He is the Chair of the Advisors of Philanthropy Chicago Midwest Chapter and is on the National Executive Board of the Advisors in Philanthropy. Brian is a trustee of the National Foundation of the Boy Scouts of America, sits on the National Finance Support Committee and is the finance chair of the Central Region executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America.

Hon. Jin Lee

Jin Lee is the Director of Business Planning & Development and Government Relations at the Albany Park Community Center. He is active in Chicagoland’s Asian American community, and received the President’s (life time) Call to Service Award in 2008. He was awarded a McCormick Tribune Foundation Scholarship for Loyola University Chicago’s Leadership Certificate Program, and serves as the Chairman of the Secretary of State’s Asian American Advisory Council, a Member of State Comptroller’s Asian American Advisory Council, and an Economic Development Commissioner for the City of Des Plaines. In spring of 2013, Lee was also elected to the Maine Township District 207 School Board.

Mark Levy

Mark Levy was Vice President – Tax at Henry Crown and Company where he led the Tax Department until his retirement. Previously Mark was a Tax Partner with Arthur Young and Company. Mark’s volunteer activities include serving on the Board of the Jewish Children’s Bureau of Chicago, where he was President at the time of its 100th Anniversary, Jewish Child and Family Services, and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Mark received his BBA degree from the University of Michigan and his JD degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

David Melton, Treasurer & Senior Advisor

David Melton was elected to the Board of Directors in May, 2013 and resigned that position in July to assume the duties of Executive Director. In January of 2016, he resumed his position on the Board as Treasurer and Senior Advisor to the organization. Melton was an attorney in private practice, most recently with Mayer Brown and Foley & Lardner, with extensive experience in intellectual property matters. Melton was part of the pro bono team of attorneys that sued the State of Illinois to compel compliance with federal statutes requiring “Motor Voter” registration. A former Board member (including a term as President of the Board) of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, Melton has devoted significant time and expertise to improving judicial selection and protecting civil liberties.

Hon. John Millner

John Millner is a former Illinois State Senator who represented the 28th District from 2005 to 2013. Previously, he had represented the 55th District from 2003 to 2005 in the Illinois House of Representatives. From 1986 to 2003, Sen. Millner served as Chief of Police of Elmhurst, Illinois.

Dana Pownall, Secretary

Dana Pownall received her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2014. During her studies, Dana focused on public interest law, access to justice issues, legislative advocacy, and civic engagement within the law school community. She served as Vice President and President of her law school’s student chapter of the American Constitution Society, and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the lawyers chapter of ACS. Prior to receiving her degree, Dana worked extensively in marketing and fundraising in both the private and public sector.

Peter Skosey

Peter Skosey is the current Executive Director for State Government Affairs at BNSF after spending 20 years with the Metropolitan Planning Council. He serves as Chair of the Midway Advisory Panel and Co–Chair of the Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee. He is a member of the University of Illinois Alumni Connections advocacy committee, Transportation for America’s Advisory Board and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Board. He was previously a part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Transportation and Infrastructure transition committee and Governor Rauner’s Transition Team.

Jonathan Tan

Jonathan Tan currently serves as a Strategic Initiatives Manager at Black & Veatch, a global critical human infrastructure engineering and construction firm in Chicago. His group, Smart Integrated Infrastructure is a leader in data management, analytics and technology for Smart Cities, Transportation, Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government.  He received his Master of Business Administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and has worked in energy, water, telecommunications and Smart City marketing and business initiatives.  Jonathan is an active member of the Cleantech Open, the world’s largest small business incubator focused on clean technologies, the Smart Cities Council, the International Organization of Standards’ (ISO) Technical Committee 268 on Smart Cities, and The American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Energy Executive Committee and its Committee for the Adaptation of Climate Change (CACC), among many others.


Advisory Board


Hon. Jim Edgar

Edgar served as Illinois’ 38th Governor from 1991 to 1999, having previously held office as Illinois State Representative and later as Illinois Secretary of State. Edgar is a distinguished fellow at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, and has been awarded the Order of Lincoln, Illinois’ highest honor. He currently leads the Edgar Fellows Program, an initiative at the University of Illinois that seeks to develop leadership and encourage bipartisan cooperation.

Hon. Adlai Stevenson, III

Stevenson is Chairman of the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy. Stevenson is also a former State Representative, State Treasurer and US Senator, and a two-time candidate for Governor of Illinois. Stevenson was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinoisand awarded the Order of Lincoln by the Governor. Widely traveled and an authority on East Asia, Stevenson is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of the Sacred Treasure with a Gold and Silver Star from the Emperor of Japan. He is a veteran of the Korean War and a former USMC Captain.

Suzanne B. Calder

Suzanne Calder is a former Board President for ICPR. Previous to that she has been President of the League of Women Voters of Illinois and is a member of the Evanston League of Women Voters.

Cynthia Canary

Cynthia Canary helped found ICPR in 1997 and served as executive director until 2011. After leaving, she served on Mayor Emanuel’s ethics task force. Prior to her work at ICPR, she served as executive director of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, where she helped Illinois implement the National Voter Registration Act. Ms. Canary has also worked in the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association.

Hon. Dan Cronin

Cronin is the current Chairman of the DuPage County Board. In this position, Cronin spearheaded the development of the DuPage ACT Initiativedesigned to improve efficiency and encourage resource sharing across county government and its independently administered agencies. Cronin has also provided leadership to Transform Illinois, a non-partisan collaboration of public officials, civic leaders and research institutions advocating for government efficiency. Prior to serving as DuPage County Board Chairman, Cronin was a member of the Illinois General Assembly, serving one term in the House of Representatives before moving to the Illinois Senate.

Mike Lawrence

Mike Lawrence a former director of the Paul Simon Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, which he joined in 1997 before being promoted in 2004. He was press secretary and senior policy adviser to Governor Jim Edgar for almost a decade. For 25 years previous, he worked as a journalist mostly covering Illinois government and politics.

Suzanne McBride

Suzanne McBride is an Associate Journalism Professor and Chair of Communications & Media Innovation at Columbia College Chicago. She has over three decades of experience in journalism as both a reporter and editor, and has worked for the Indianapolis Star, WTHR/13, and the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, among others. Suzanne currently works as a part-time editor for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ron Michaelson

Dr. Ron Michaelson served in Illinois government for 33 years, 27 of which as Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections. He currently has a joint appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Studies and as a Research Fellow with the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Government at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Hon. David Orr

As Cook County Clerk since 1990, David Orr is the chief election authority for suburban Cook County. A progressive voice in Chicago politics for 32 years, Orr has been nationally commended for his leadership on election reform, the Motor Voter law, early voting, and student election judge programs. Orr’s innovative efforts to boost productivity and improve efficiency in his office have also garnered recognition from Microsoft and the National Association of County Officials.

Kent Redfield

Kent Redfield is a professor of Political Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. There he works at the Institute for Legislative Studies, where he has been a research fellow since 1979. He also has an appointment in the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Dr. Redfield has been engaged in research on the financing of political campaigns in Illinois and political ethics since 1991.

Shari Runner

Shari Runner is the President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. Runner began her career in finance and trading with the First National Bank of Chicago. With more than 25 years in operations and financial management, Runner has also worked as an entrepreneur, management consultant, and community advocate. Runner’s civic leadership includes serving on the Board of Directors of Urban Gateways, and as the President of the Board of Directors of the Bright Promises Foundation. She has been actively involved with the Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity Program.


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