Emerging Leaders Class of 2022
The Emerging Leaders Class of 2022 spends a year examining key issues that affect the world and impact the global city of Chicago.
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.
US Tax Counsel and Director, US Tax Planning, BMO Financial Group
Hassen Al-Shawaf advises BMO Financial Group (BMOFG) on a range of tax matters, including cross-border and related-party transactions, financial products, corporate reorganizations, and acquisitions. He represents BMOFG before the IRS and in transactions with counterparties. Previously, Al-Shawaf practiced tax law at a Chicago-based international law firm and worked at a public accounting firm.
CEO, Further Faster Venture Studio
Throughout her career, Eloise (Ellie) Diaz Bahrmasel has leveraged human-centered design and systems thinking to advance collaborative initiatives in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors with domestic and international partners. From venture-backed startups to Fortune 100s, her prior work includes projects with The Kennedy Forum, Comcast, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Manager, Business Transformation, LinkedIn
Kate Besser is a manager on the business transformation team at LinkedIn with the responsibility of leading strategic initiatives that drive global sales and business performance by scaling technology, analytics, and processes. In her previous role at LinkedIn, she served as an insights lead supporting LinkedIn's largest and most strategic partnerships in the professional services industry.
Neuroradiologist, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
Sonia Bobra is an assistant professor of Neuroradiology at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital and Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. Bobra serves as education director for radiology residents and medical students and as a mentor to international medical students and women in medicine. As an active physician educator, she regularly leads interactive case-based conferences and lectures.
Director, STEAM Pathways, Center for College Access and Success, Northeastern Illinois University
In his current role, Aaron Cortes directs the TRIO Upward Bound, TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science, and 21st Century Community of Learning Centers. He's also a computer science department adjunct professor; and an advocate of promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education, international access, and college readiness for low-income and first-generation college students.
Partner, Mayer Brown LLP
Dan Fenske is a partner in the litigation and dispute resolution group at Mayer Brown LLP. His practice focuses on antitrust litigation, in particular the defense of cartel, monopolization, and class action cases. Fenske represents clients before courts and agencies, including the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission.
Chief Operating Officer, Pangea Money Transfer
Josh Gordon-Blake was a founding member of Pangea Money Transfer and currently serves as the company's chief operating officer. In that capacity, he is responsible for setting corporate strategy and managing business operations, including finance, law, compliance, corporate development, and customer experience.
Senior Policy Advocate, Environmental Law & Policy Center
MeLena Hessel is a senior policy advocate with the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), a midwestern public interest environmental advocacy group that drives transformational policy. She focuses on clean energy access and development, as well as transportation initiatives. Hessel collaborates with many stakeholders, including frontline organizations, government offices, and private companies.
Deputy Commissioner, Partnerships, City of Chicago
While in her role working for the city, Maggie Cullerton Hooper created the first cohesive, long-term plan for public-private partnerships on a citywide scale. She's responsible for Chicago’s strategic engagement with the philanthropic, corporate, and nonprofit sectors as she builds infrastructure and develops innovative initiatives grounded in the lived experience of impacted populations.
Associate Director, Employee Giving and Engagement, AbbVie
Tanya Jeong leads employee engagement and giving for AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company located in northern Chicago. In this role, she spearheads volunteerism, giving, and assistance programs for the company. Jeong launched AbbVie’s fifty-million-dollar long-term philanthropic commitment addressing racial inequity, as well as several COVID-19 philanthropic initiatives.
Political Candidate, Illinois 17th District
Esther Joy King began her legal career as an associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago and later had the opportunity to serve the State of Illinois in the office of entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology. Her entrepreneurial spirit also led her to start a marketing firm after obtaining her law degree, GRP21, where she learned firsthand about creating jobs and opportunities.
Executive Vice President of Innovation & Venture Strategy, World Business Chicago
Abin Kuriakose is executive vice president of innovation and venture strategy for World Business Chicago (WBC), the city's economic development organization chaired by the mayor. In this role, Kuriakose manages WBC's portfolio of programs driving inclusive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy and innovation ecosystem.
Vice President, Foreign Exchange Trading, US Bank
At US Bank, Joyce Merkel is responsible for driving the strategic growth of electronic platform trading for her company and mitigating the ever-changing risks present in the global currency market. She executes quotes for over 400 domestic and international corporate clients, collaborating with the sales team to trade twenty-four hours a day.
Senior Manager, Forensic & Integrity Services, EY
Will Miller is a senior manager in Ernst & Young's (EY) Forensic & Integrity services practice in Chicago. EY is a multinational professional services network and a global leader in assurance, consulting, strategy and transactions, and tax services. Since beginning his career with EY in 2009, Miller has gained experience in assisting clients with anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs.
Director of Data Science, William Blair
Satya Pandey is a data science and artificial intelligence (AI) leader at William Blair, driving business growth and transformation-building advanced analytics solutions. Pandey specializes in the application of AI to solve complex business problems. Before joining William Blair, he started a real estate tech company providing AI-powered mobile apps for home sellers.
Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada in Chicago
Julien Rosan joined Global Affairs Canada in 2019 and serves as trade commissioner at the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago where he's responsible for trade and innovation initiatives to support Canadian technology companies seeking to do business in the US market. He simultaneously serves as the co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee at the Canadian Consulate.
First Assistant Deputy Governor, Office of the Governor, JB Pritzker
In her current role, Bria Scudder helps manage more than ten state agencies, including the Department of Corrections, State Police, Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency. She also directs and implements the administration’s top policy initiatives, including energy and criminal justice reform.
Vidisha Suman is a partner with Kearney’s digital transformation practice in the Chicago office, with over fifteen years of industry and consulting experience in the digital space. She regularly works with companies to help them become digitally enabled and position themselves for growth through digital business models, all while safeguarding their business from cyber exposure.
Regional Prevention Coordinator, Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner and researcher focused on preventing violence through strengthening human networks. Windisch began her career with the US Department of Homeland Security in 2008 and currently serves as the Regional Prevention Coordinator in Chicago for the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3).