Emerging Leaders Class of 2020
Each year, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs selects a highly competitive cohort of Chicago’s up-and-coming professionals to participate in its Emerging Leaders Program. Meet the class of 2020.
Emerging Leaders at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs become part of a network of globally fluent leaders who will continue to raise the bar for Chicago as a leading global city.
Principal, Boston Consulting Group
Jenna Anderson specializes in advising global industrial goods corporations on strategic issues and in developing cutting-edge marketing, sales, and pricing solutions. In 2019, she actively worked on turning around global automotive companies and industrial distributors across Asia, North America, and Europe. Prior to joining BCG, Anderson worked in finance at a boutique mergers and acquisitions firm, in Chicago Public Schools, and in exhibit design at the Chicago Children's Museum.
Vice Chancellor, Innovation, University of Illinois at Chicago
As vice chancellor, TJ Augustine oversees information technology, distance and adult education programs, corporate partnerships, and technology commercialization. Previously, Augustine served as associate vice president for economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois System, where he was responsible for identifying public-private partnerships and creating programs to foster innovation.
Chief Investment Officer, Beyond Capital Fund
Brian Axelrad is chief investment officer at Beyond Capital Fund, a nonprofit social impact fund that invests in social enterprises in India and East Africa. In this role, he oversees investment decision-making and advises on portfolio and overall fund strategy. Axelrad is also a partner at Horwood Marcus & Berk Chartered (HMB), a Chicago-based law firm, and serves as a member of a firm-wide executive committee.
CEO, Prominence Advisors
Bobby Bacci is the founder and CEO of Prominence Advisors, a technology firm focused on helping the nation’s leading healthcare organizations do more with their data. He has led Prominence to support over 50 healthcare organizations, including seven of the top 10 hospitals in the United States, and fostered a culture that has been recognized as a great place to work by multiple outlets each year.
Founding Chicago Site Director, Braven
Jonathan Chaparro leads the Chicago region of Braven, an organization that works to empower underrepresented young people with the skills, confidence, experience, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong first jobs and meaningful careers. He is committed to expanding opportunities for the historically disenfranchised.
Vice President, Goldman Sachs
At Goldman Sachs, Regina Cross leads a team that works closely with family offices, foundations, and endowments to provide customized financial advisory, portfolio optimization solutions across all asset classes, and incorporates impact investing tailored to clients’ missions and values. Previously, Cross was the brand CFO for the US Affiliate Neuroscience Business Unit of Eli Lilly and Company.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Global Strategists Association
Appreccia D. Faulkner is the founder and CEO of Global Strategists Association, an international nonprofit striving to increase global engagement among the African Diaspora. The organization promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in global affairs. She has hosted and curated several events designed to platform emerging and established women and leaders of color on today's issues.
Director, Health and Wellness Partnerships, National Dairy Council
Janice Giddens is a registered dietitian, and at the National Dairy Council, she leads collaborations with thought leaders to promote awareness of the link between agriculture, sustainable food systems, and health. Previously, as the nutrition manager at a food bank, she designed and implemented the rollout of a system that assessed the nutritional adequacy of 70 million pounds of food annually.
Founder and Managing Director, Axxum Consulting
Mariam Huss is the founder and managing director of Axxum Consulting, a management consulting firm providing services in change management, organization design, and program management. She has 15 years of experience in professional services and has held roles at IBM, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and The Hackett Group, and has served on the board of the Women’s Global Education Project, among others.
Director, Obama Foundation Scholars Program, University of Chicago
With over 10 years of experience in international affairs, Jamia Jowers designs and delivers strategic programming for rising global leaders through a newly developed curriculum, a one-of-a-kind toolkit, and unparalleled practitioner expertise in coordination with the Obama Foundation. Her multifaceted approach ensures scholars are well-equipped to develop solutions to complex global challenges.
Federal Project Director, US Department of Energy
At Argonne National Laboratory, Dan Misch's work contributes to the innovation ecosystem of world-class laboratories, universities, and businesses in Chicago. He's an advocate for international collaboration and investments in advanced energy technology to strengthen US national security. Previously, Misch served in the US Navy as a Lieutenant and nuclear engineer on a ballistic missile submarine.
Manager, KPMG LLP
As a manager in deal advisory at KPMG LLP, Matt Pelton leads engagement teams that provide accounting advisory and finance integration services to clients involved in complex transactions and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. He's a national facilitator for KPMG Business School, supports local recruitment, and volunteers in entrepreneurship and education initiatives throughout Chicago.
Senior Advisor, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA)
As a senior advisor, Jon Quinn works with individual, family, institutional, and corporate donors on the strategy and implementation of their charitable giving. In his time at RPA he has supported donors' strategies around confronting climate change, worked with a number of foundations’ re-tooling strategy in post-bankruptcy Detroit, and managed a family foundation’s grantmaking focused on land conservation, among many other projects.
Cofounder and Chief Investment Officer, Safe Rate
In addition to her role at Safe Rate, Shima Rayej is a managing partner at Persee Ventures, a venture technology firm. She previously served as a venture capital associate at OCA Ventures and a summer associate at Deutsche Bank's structured products group. From 2004 to 2010, she developed autonomous vehicle technology for the US Army's Future Combat System program.
Economic Sanctions and Export Control Officer, KPMG LLP
In her role at KPMG LLP, Amanda Spikes leads the operations of the internal export controls and sanctions compliance programs for the United States and Americas region while devising, recommending, and implementing strategies to continuously improve their effectiveness. Prior to her current appointment, Spikes was a senior manager in KPMG’s trade and customs practice
Senior Manager, Grant Thornton
Ed Weaver is a senior manager at Grant Thornton’s international tax group, based in their Chicago office. He has over 13 years of experience advising multinational clients on international and domestic tax issues. He also serves an associate board at Ladder Up, a nonprofit organization that provides free tax return preparation for low-income individuals.
Lecturer, Northwestern University
Nina Wieda teaches at Northwestern University in the Chicago Field Studies program, which helps undergraduates explore career options in fields ranging from social justice to business. Since 2016, Wieda has taught Business Field Studies, a class that introduces aspiring investment bankers, financial consultants, and private equity specialists to current topics at the intersection of business and society.
Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Austin Wright is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. His research on substate conflict largely focuses on the political economy of insurgent violence, examining how rebel groups adopt new technologies of war to undermine state rivals. He also studies the political economy of crime and corruption.
Assistant United States Attorney US Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Indiana
Abizer Zanzi is an alumnus of the Council’s Emerging Leaders Program (class of 2020) and is an assistant US attorney for the Northern District of Indiana. He leads investigations and criminal prosecutions involving public corruption, human trafficking, terrorism, cybercrime, health care fraud, and child exploitation, and serves on the district’s public corruption task force and as the human trafficking coordinator.