Brian Novelline most recently served as Vice President for Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Inc. where he was responsible for manager selection across the capital structure and leading the firm’s co-investment efforts. Prior to joining Mesirow, Mr. Novelline co-managed a multi-strategy portfolio for DRW Holdings and was an equity analyst at Compass Asset Management. Mr. Novelline is a member of the Organizing Committee for Cycle for Survival, a national fundraising event for cancer research. He also serves as an advisory board member of Tree Global, an international sustainable agriculture and environmental restoration program. Mr. Novelline received his B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College and his M.B.A. from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
David Chizewer is a principal in the Litigation Group of Goldberg Kohn. He is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and has been featured in the National Law Journal’s list of 10 of the nation’s top litigators. He has been named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Public Justice Foundation and was separately a runner-up for that same award. He has also been named Lawyer of the Year by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, and has received the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service by the Federal Court in Chicago on two separate occasions.
Mr. Chizewer served as co-lead trial counsel in two widely acclaimed cases. He was co-lead trial counsel for Plaintiffs, and obtained the largest verdict and judgment in the history of the federal False Claim Act ($334 million), in the case captioned, United States of America ex rel. Cleveland A. Tyson, et al. v. Amerigroup Corporation, et al. Mr. Chizewer was also co-lead trial counsel for a class of 600,000 children on Medicaid against the State of Illinois in the federal case captioned, Memisovski, et al. v. Patla, obtaining some of the most sweeping reforms ever to a state Medicaid program. Mr. Chizewer's false claims act cases have returned more than a half billion dollars to government treasuries.
Mr. Chizewer received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1991 and his B.A. in economics, magna cum laude, from Pomona College in 1988. He was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Laura Thonn is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in their business assurance practice. She is a licensed certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Ms. Thonn has previously served on the board of directors for Onward Neighborhood House, as a social worker for high school students, and as a program assistant for Voices for Illinois Children, the leading advocacy organization serving children and families in Illinois. She earned her B.S. from Boston College and has a Master's degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Aylon is co-founder of Transcend, a new organization dedicated to the creation and proliferation of breakthrough school models. Since 2012, Aylon has been an independent designer providing strategy and design services to education organizations, schools, and foundations. Most recently, Aylon has been designing and building two new “Greenfield” school models for the Achievement First Network to be launched in 2015. In 2013, Aylon pioneered the Chicago Breakthrough Schools Fellowship in conjunction with New Schools for Chicago, NGLC, and the Broad Foundation. Prior to his independent work, Aylon served as Chief Schools Officer at Rocketship Education; leading the highest performing network of low-income schools in the state of California, designing the academic model and blended learning approach, and growing the network from 3 to 7 schools. Aylon also spent a few years as a Senior Vice President at Teach For America leading pre-service institutes and in-service support for corps members in their 2-year teaching commitments during a period of growth from 4,000 to 8,000 corps members.
David Blinderman is the CEO of Blinderman Construction, a general contracting firm based in Chicago. Mr. Blinderman previously worked as a portfolio manager for Aetna Real Estate Investors, and as a senior consultant for Ernst & Young specializing in real estate securitization and valuation. As a firm believer in access to quality public education, he is a strong promoter and supporter of STEM-centric career development and mentoring for underserved student populations. Mr. Blinderman earned a B.S in civil engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Evan Sharp is a member of the Chief Marketing Officers Practice and advises clients as part of the firm’s Consumer Sector. He works with leading organizations across consumer goods, services and retail. Evan has recruited and consulted for clients on a wide range of growth-oriented roles and leadership challenges related to marketing, sales and business development, merchandising, technology, strategy and operations. He conducts searches for outstanding leaders at the C-suite, President, Senior Vice President, Vice President and General Management levels. Evan is based in Chicago.
Prior to joining Russell Reynolds Associates, Evan worked in management consulting and financial services. Most recently at Accenture, Evan advised technology and communications clients on their strategic and operational challenges, including sales process and sales enablement, operating model design, merger integration planning and mobile app product strategy. Prior to Accenture, Evan was in the Wealth Management Group at Goldman Sachs, where he was responsible for analyzing high-net worth client portfolios, supporting business development initiatives and advising clients on their investment needs.
Evan earned a BSBA in finance and accounting from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA with concentrations in management and organizations, entrepreneurship and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Ileana is the President of Colectiva LLC, a consulting practice that provides strategic planning, executive coaching, and culture building support to education and non-profit organizations. Originally from Puerto Rico, Ileana moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in Social and Personality Psychology at Michigan State University where she specialized in leadership and cross-cultural psychology. From 2000 to 2008, she served as a tenured faculty member of Psychology in the Behavioral Sciences Department at Triton College in River Grove, IL while concurrently holding administration positions including Director of Institutional Research, Assessment and Curriculum, and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services. After Triton College, Ileana joined the leadership at the College Board, serving for five years as a Vice President in the Region & Account Services Division. Prior to launching her consulting practice, Ileana also served for five years as Senior Vice President at Teach For America, leading the Collective Leadership & Engagement team which oversees the support and engagement of the TFA alumni community.
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