William Hobert, Chair
Will Hobert is managing member of WH Trading, a global proprietary derivatives trading firm he founded in 1994 in Chicago. WH Trading provides liquidity to a wide range of futures and options markets including: Interest Rate, Foreign Exchange, Agricultural Commodity, and Energy products. He is also on the Board of Directors of the CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace. Mr. Hobert Chairs the Board of My Block My Hood My City, serves on the President's Board of UCAN, and is involved with AUSL. He lives in North Center with his wife Julie, is an avid Cubs fan and enjoys tennis, sailing, and walking their dog to the many different micro-breweries in their neighborhood.
Susan L. Abrams
Ms. Abrams is a recognized business and community leader who is passionate about guiding companies and not-for-profits to capitalize on market opportunities for transformative growth and innovation. As CEO of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (IHMEC), Abrams guided the museum's application of cutting-edge technology in interactive survivor holograms featured on CBS's 60 Minutes, and in VR products which enabled global scaling and transformed the IHMEC from a regional player to an international leader. Previously, she served as COO of JCC Chicago, President of the award-winning JCA Properties, Consultant at McKinsey & Company, and Analyst at Goldman Sachs. She is the author of The New Success Rules for Women: 10 Surefire Strategies for Reaching Your Career Goals, published by Random House and speaks regularly on leadership, women's business success, and leveraging technology. She has served on the boards of IHMEC, Chicago Children's Museum, and Leadership Illinois. She earned a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Business Administration from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.
Drew L. Beres
Mr. Beres is a Founding Partner of Croke Fairchild Morgan & Beres LLC, a corporate boutique law firm with offices in Chicago, Milwaukee and Lake Forest. Mr. Beres’ practice focuses primarily on the formation and operation of private investment funds and related securities matters, and general corporate and transactional representation for businesses operating in a variety of industries. Prior to Croke Fairchild, Mr. Beres practiced at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and served as General Counsel and Deputy Chief Operating Officer to former City of Chicago Treasurer Kurt A. Summers, Jr. where he provided counsel on matters related to public finance, public fund investment and various legislative priorities. Mr. Beres also maintains an active pro bono practice and served on the Steering Committee of the Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary Commemoration. A born and raised Chicagoan, Mr. Beres holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and a Juris Doctor from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law where he was an editor of the Law Review.
Ms. Caldwell is an innovative leader with a 30-year career in financial management. Ms. Caldwell currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Reform Alliance. Prior to her time with Reform Alliance, Ms. Caldwell was the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for National Housing Partnership Foundation and Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President at the New York City Housing Authority. Ms. Caldwell has been an active trustee with several financial organizations including Saba Capital Income & Opportunities Fund, Finite Solar Finance Fund, and Templeton Global Income Fund. Karen Caldwell received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University with a focus in Finance and Marketing.
James J. Fuentes
Mr. Fuentes is an entrepreneur currently serving as a Trustee for the Museum of Science and Industry. He is the former CEO of Clarity Communication Systems, Inc. and a former board member and chairman of ISCO International. Mr. Fuentes received the Hispanic Engineer of the Year Award for Technical Innovation and received six patents during his service at Bell Laboratories. Re-appointed as a Member of the Authority in August 2015 by Governor Bruce Rauner, Mr. Fuentes serves on the Authority’s Conduit and Direct/Alternative Committees.
Arlene A. Juracek
Mrs. Juracek is the former Mayor of the Village of Mount Prospect, Illinois. She is a highly regarded executive and civic leader with broad-based experience in the electric utility industry, local government, and social service delivery and governance. Mrs. Juracek served as the Acting Director of the Illinois Power Agency after a 34 year career at Commonwealth Edison and its parent Exelon Corporation, where she retired as Vice President, Energy Acquisition. She was elected chair of the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission in March, 2015 and also plays an active role in the Northwest Municipal Conference and the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency. A Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, Mrs. Juracek has served on a number of not-for-profit boards and as the co-chair of the Board of Overseers, Armour College of Engineering, at Illinois Institute of Technology. She holds a Masters of Management from Northwestern University and a BS in Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. Mrs. Juracek and her husband, Edward, have three adult children and reside in Mount Prospect, Illinois. They also own and manage Five Feathers Farm in rural Carroll County, Illinois, a certified Illinois hardwood tree farm and prairie restoration project. Appointed as a Member of the Authority in September 2015 by Governor Bruce Rauner, Mrs. Juracek serves on the Authority’s Governance Plus and Direct/Alternative Committees.
Steven M. Landek
Mr. Landek has over 30 years of distinguished public service experience in both the legislative and executive branches of government. Mr. Landek's work has been at the intersection of the private and public sectors. He has demonstrated expertise in bond issuances, employee pension management, public budgeting, and rating agency presentations. He currently serves as the Mayor of Bridgeview, a community with 16,000 residents and over 200+ businesses of various sizes. A former State Senator, Mr. Landek represented an ethnically and economically diverse district, including ten unique municipalities, multiple school districts, and numerous other governmental entities and businesses. Mr. Landek is the Chairman of Southwest Regional Publishing. He received his Bachelor of Arts in public administration from Roosevelt University.
Roxanne Nava is the Executive Director of Metropolitan Family Services North Center and Evanston/Skokie Valley Center. Ms. Nava is based at Metropolitan’s North Center, located on Chicago’s Northwest Side.
“As the human services funding landscape has dramatically changed, the need for Metropolitan Family Services to build integrated services with businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions is more essential than ever,” says Theresa Nihill, Metropolitan’s COO. “Roxanne’s expertise in fostering business and government relationships will complement Metropolitan’s leadership team, and position our agency to keep advancing to meet the needs of Chicago-area families.”
Ms. Nava brings more than 25 years of business expertise. Prior to joining Metropolitan, Ms. Nava was Chief Small Business Officer for the City of Chicago, where she helped to support and grow more than 70,000 small businesses. In that role she also helped create the city’s Neighborhood Small Business Strategy, which worked with 90 chambers of commerce to provide services to small businesses and launch programs that helped businesses access more than $8 million of affordable capital. Ms. Nava’s prior roles include serving as Director of the State of Illinois Division of Financial Institutions, Assistant Director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Vice President with The Northern Trust Company.
Her board memberships include Leadership Greater Chicago, the Cook County State’s Attorney Latino Advisory Council, the Illinois Latino Family Commission, and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation. Civic recognitions include the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation Leadership Award. Ms. Nava also is a 2010 Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.
Ms. Nava earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from DePaul University and an MBA from National Louis University.
On July 11, 2022, Governor Pritzker appointed Ameya Pawar as a Member of the Illinois Finance Authority. Mr. Pawar is a Senior Advisor and Chicago Director for the First Midwest Group, a Senior Advisor with the Academy Group, and a Special Advisor and Lecturer at the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab and Crown School. He recently spent three years working on public finance issues as a Leadership in Government Fellow with Open Society Foundations and is a Senior Fellow with Economic Security Project. Mr. Pawar served two terms as an Alderman for the City of Chicago from 2011-2019. Mr. Pawar received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy from Missouri Valley College, a Master’s in Public Administration from Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Master in Threat and Response Management and a Master in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Roger E. Poole
Mr. Poole, who recently retired after 30 years of service, was the Directing Business Representative for Machinists District No. 9. He has received the Labor Man of the Year Award from the Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council, the Community Services Labor Man of the Year Award from the St. Louis Labor Council, and the Labor Man of the Year Award from the St. Louis Port Council. Mr. Poole has served continuously as a Member of the Authority since 2009. Mr. Poole serves on the Authority’s Audit Plus and Direct/Alternative Committees.
Mr. Strautmanis serves as a Member of the Illinois Finance Authority. Michael currently works as the Executive Vice President for Civic Engagement for the Obama Foundation. Through civic engagement, Michael has built the Foundation's impact agenda in Chicago to create an anchor institution that will catalyze economic renewal on the South Side of Chicago and develop the city’s next generation of leaders. He also leads the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, an initiative to create safe, healthy, and nurturing communities for boys and young men of color. Prior to that, Mr. Strautmanis spent over a decade in Washington, D.C., working to increase access to economic opportunity, strengthen the judicial system, and champion equity and inclusion. He served in the Obama White House as Chief of Staff to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. After President Obama’s first term, he joined the Walt Disney Company where he led an enterprise-wide initiative to consolidate, focus, and deepen the impact of Disney’s corporate social responsibility programs.
Mr. Strautmanis serves on the Board of Directors of Everside Health, a company that provides direct primary care and virtual care to its members. He serves as Chair of the Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative, and is on the board of Thrive Chicago, and recently stepped down as a Member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Board of Directors, following almost two years of service.
Mr. Strautmanis received a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Lynn Sutton's career began over thirty years ago, and currently serves as the Managing Principal for Kairos Worldwide. For the last fifteen years, Ms. Sutton has supported a team of process engineers and project management professionals, managing several portfolios including Southern Company, U.S. Department of Navy, Fleet & Industrial Supply Centers, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, and U.S. Veteran Affairs. Prior to founding Kairos Worldwide, Sutton was the Business Systems Manager of Information Technology for Kraft Foods. Ms. Sutton is affiliated with multiple organizations including the Women's Energy Network, Women Impacting Public Policy, and Women's Business Enterprise National Council. She received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Master Certification in Project Management from George Washington University.
Mr. Wexler is a seasoned litigator and FDA regulatory lawyer with over 20 years of experience. Trained as a litigator and partner at global law firm Sidley Austin LLP, Mr. Wexler spent over fifteen years managing bet-the-company litigation and counseling companies in the food, supplement, and drug sectors as they prepared for and managed their interactions with FDA regulators. Mr. Wexler left Sidley Austin in 2015 for his favorite client, Van Drunen Farms/FutureCeuticals (“VDF”), where he is Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and a member of the Company’s Executive Leadership Team. In these roles, Mr. Wexler has leadership responsibility for corporate governance, strategic risk management (including the corporate insurance program), FDA and international regulatory efforts, and the development, implementation, and international protection of the Company’s intellectual property portfolio. Mr. Wexler also serves in a leadership role managing the Company’s R&D Department, including a chemistry discovery lab outside Chicago and a pre-clinical bio-research facility in Irvine, California. Mr. Wexler is also committed to public service, serving as a long-standing Board Member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, an organization that focuses on non-litigation pro-bono projects meant to promote systemic reform, including increased access to justice, immigration court reform, and criminal justice reform. Mr. Wexler graduated from Yale University with a degree in economics, and received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School.
Bradley A. Zeller
Mr. Zeller is chair of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners and serves on the Emergency 911 Board and the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation Board. He is a member of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce and formerly Vice President of the Alexander Businessmen's Association. Brad’s background is in agricultural economics including farming 1,300 acres among which are his family's 700-acre Centennial Farm. He resides in Alexander. Mr. Zeller has served continuously as a Member of the Authority since 2005. Brad serves on the Authority’s Conduit and Direct/Alternative Committees.