Chicago Council on Global Affairs Announces Emerging Leaders Class of 2018

July 25, 2017

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs today announced the 2018 class of its Emerging Leaders program. Over the next year, the ninth class of Emerging Leaders will engage in a rigorous program that will further develop their knowledge of American foreign policy and elevate their leadership capacities. The Council will deepen the class’s understanding of global affairs and policy through a year of discussions, site visits, and skills trainings.

"As a global city, Chicago must cultivate strong, diverse, and internationally savvy leaders,” said Council President Ivo Daalder. "With a shifting global and political landscape at home and abroad, the Council will play a critical role here in Chicago to position and prepare the next generation to lead from a wider perspective and with a deeper understanding of the global issues at stake for our city, the nation, and the world."

The Emerging Leaders class will participate in briefings with Council experts to explore global security, global cities, economic inequality, immigration, food insecurity and other topical global issues defining U.S. engagement abroad. They will attend Council events and train in important leadership skills, applying what they learn in individual and group projects and exercises.

As in the past, the Council’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2018 was selected from a pool of highly competitive applicants and represent some of Chicago’s best and brightest from some of its most prominent organizations including the United States Attorney’s Office, Edelman Chicago, the global public relations firm, Chicago Public Schools, the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, Rotary International, and Sinai Health System, among many others. This year's class participants are:

  • Amrith Aakre, Sikh Coalition
  • Chad Adams, Sullivan High School
  • Ryan Blackney, Freeborn & Peters LLP
  • Vamsi Bonthala, Arbor Lodging Partners
  • Joel Braunold, Alliance for Middle East Peace
  • Lauren Buitta, Stele Consulting, LLC
  • Chad Doobay, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Josh Ellis, Metropolitan Planning Council
  • Rodrigo Garcia, Illinois State Treasury
  • Adrienne Irmer, Cook County Bureau of Asset Management
  • Tim Jones, Willow Creek Community Church
  • Shermin Kruse, BFKN
  • Daniel Levin, Cain Millwork
  • Benjamin  Levy, Sinai Health System
  • Rebecca Neale, Paulson Institute
  • Shoba Pillay, United States Attorney's Office
  • Rebekah Raleigh, Rotary International
  • Lisa Reijula, Metro Chicago Exports, World Business Chicago
  • Stephanie Sutton, Edelman Chicago
  • Nitida Wongthipkongka, SC Johnson
  • Kristin Ziemke, Ziemke Consulting, LLC

The Emerging Leaders program was established in 2008 and has graduated 160 participants to date. More information about the Emerging Leaders program is available at