April 03, 2019

Media Advisory – Springfield forum to focus on women in leadership, public service

Southern Illinois University Carbondale students on Thursday will participate in an initiative in Springfield that promotes the contributions of women legislators and public sector leaders. The events are scheduled for the Illinois State Capitol and Illinois State Library. 

About 25 undergraduate and graduate female students will participate in the sixth “Women In Leadership, Public Service and Civic Engagement Day.” Sponsored by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the event’s goal is to foster continued development of women’s leadership and involvement in public service. 

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the events. 

The event includes panel discussions with state legislators, female professionals in private and nonprofit governmental organizations, interns and SIU Carbondale alumni. 

The schedule, starting with location, is: 

Illinois State Library, Authors Room

10 a.m. – Panel discussion, “Women in the Legislature: Philosophy of Leadership.” This bipartisan panel will discuss their varied approaches to public service and leadership philosophies. The panel will feature:

  • State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro.
  • State Rep. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago.
  • State Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago. 

Kimberly Palermo, health policy specialist with the SIU School of Medicine, will moderate. Palermo was a Simon Institute 2016 Cecilia M. Howard Fellow while pursuing her master’s degree in social work and a 2014 SIU Carbondale graduate in psychology. 

10:45 a.m. Panel discussion, “Internships: Ladder to Success.” The panel will address the importance of internships and mentoring in developing professional contacts and experience. The speakers will include:

  • 2019 Simon Institute Eugene Callahan and Alexander Lane interns MiKala Barrett and Nekya Hall.
  • Ryan Gougis, a member of House Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s staff and 2016 Simon Institute Eugene Callahan Intern.
  • Barton Lorimor, sponsorships manager for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education; former policy analyst and director of strategic initiatives for the Illinois Comptroller’s Office and a 2011 SIU Carbondale graduate in journalism and political science. 

Jessica Pickens, director of government and community affairs, NextLevel Health, will moderate. She is a former lobbyist/consultant with experience as chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Public Health and House liaison for the Governor’s Office of Legislative Affairs. She is an SIU Carbondale graduate in biology. 

From 11:30 a.m. until about noon, students will meet with State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields and State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, in Hutchinson’s office. There are plans for students to be introduced from the Illinois House and Senate galleries after the meeting. 

The students will then meet with Paris Ervin, director of communications, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office and Janelle Gurnsey, community outreach coordinator, Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton’s office. 

State Capitol, Room 402A

2:15-3:15 p.m. – Panel discussion, “Women Leading the Way: Pathway to Success.” The panel features professionals who are key players in private and non-profit governmental affairs-related fields including:

  • Nicole Magalis vice president, member advocacy, Illinois Health & Hospital Association.
  • Allison Richard Esquire, president/CEO of Allison Richard Consulting.
  • Tangela Feemster, vice president, legislative and affairs, IlliniCare Health. 
  • Ashley Munson, legislative affairs manager, Illinois Network of Charter Schools. 

The moderator will be Lori Reimers, Lori Reimers Government Consulting. 

State Capitol, Room 401A

3:15-3:45 p.m. – Meet-and-greet reception with several SIU alumni who serve in state government, including legislators and agency staff. Alumni expected to attend include:

  • State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, deputy minority leader.
  • State Rep. William Davis, D-Harvey, assistant majority leader.
  • State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg.
  • State Rep. Latoya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis.
  • State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo.
  • State Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy.
  • State Rep. Art Turner, Jr., D-Chicago, deputy majority leader.
  • State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis.
  • Steve Brown, press secretary for House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.
  • Liz Brown-Reeves, president, Liz Brown-Reeves Consulting, Inc.
  • Becky Locker, budget director, Illinois State President John Cullerton.
  • John Patterson, press secretary for Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton.
  • Giovanni Ranazzo, Cullerton’s chief legal counsel.
  • Dana Stoerger, policy and budget analyst, Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton.
  • Ryan Tozer, senior outreach coordinator for state Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, house minority leader.
  • Chad Hoosier, director of boards and commissions for Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

Linda Baker, a university professor with the Institute and long-time public policy and legislative consultant, mentors SIU Carbondale students who serve as interns during the spring legislative sessions. Baker noted women hold 37.3% of seats in the Illinois House and 33.9% of seats in the Illinois Senate. 

“One way to engage more young women to consider a career in public service is to provide support and role models that women desperately need to launch and advance in their careers,” Baker said. 

For more information or to arrange for interviews, contact Baker at lrbaker@siu.edu  or 217/553-6660.