PSPPI header - Forde

February 11, 2022

Director of Illinois government’s ‘operational engine’ to speak in Simon Institute event

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Janel L. Forde, director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, will join Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute for a virtual conversation at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18.

Forde and John Shaw, institute director, will discuss Forde’s career in government and business, her work at CMS and her insight into the future of work.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held live via Zoom. Registration is required to access to the Zoom webinar. Visit to register.

Forde has been the director of the Department of Central Management Services since 2019. According to its website, CMS is “the operational engine working behind the scenes” of Illinois state government departments. It provides administrative services to units of state government, including state employee benefits administration, facility management, purchasing support and vehicle fleet oversight.

Before leading CMS, Forde was the chief operating officer for the city of Chicago. She also served as the director of the Office of the CEO for Chicago Public Schools and was chief operating officer of the Illinois State Board of Education. She previously worked with the Boston Consulting Group and in marketing and business development at American Express.

"Director Forde has been a creative and visionary leader in both the private and public sectors,” Shaw said. “We are very eager to learn about her innovative strategic initiatives as the director of CMS, a critically important — but little understood — agency in Illinois state government."  

Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for Forde ahead of the event. Questions can be submitted on the registration form or sent by email to

The event is part of the institute’s Understanding Our New World virtual conversation series with government and private sector leaders, policy experts, political analysts, authors and journalists.