Our Team test

HERO Our Team 090223

Illinois Humanities is powered by a dedicated team of Board and staff members whose care and commitment have helped to increase our impact across the state. Get to know the people who make our work possible and browse available opportunities at Illinois Humanities below.

Our Board

For information about our Board, please contact us at development@ilhumanities.org

Jai Winston IL Humanities 2468

Jai L. Winston, Chair

Program Director, St. Paul
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Rikeesha Phelon, Vice Chair*

Director of Marketing and Communications
SIU School of Medicine

Mea Konopasek, Treasurer

Vice President, Commercial Banking
BMO Harris Bank

Bridget Hayman IL Humanities 2503

Bridget Hayman, Secretary

Communications Director
Access Living

Antoinette Burton

Maybelle Leland Swanlund Endowed Chair, History Department
University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana

Teresa L. Córdova

Director, Great Cities Institute and
Professor, Urban Planning and Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago

Sylvia Ewing

Principal Director, Strategic Partnerships and Communications 

Juana Guzman IL Humanities 2657

Juana Guzmán

I Juana Know, Inc.

Erica S. Hubbard*

Director of Chicago Programs
Obama Foundation

Susan Manning

Professor of English, Theatre, and Performance Studies
Northwestern University

Tawa Mitchell IL Humanities 2578

Tawa Mitchell*

Senior Program Officer
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Julio Paz

Chief External Affairs Officer
Chicago Commons

Larry Sophian IL Humanities 2421

Laurence (Larry) Sophian

Director Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams

Debra Yepa Pappan IL Humanities 2191

Debra Yepa-Pappan*

Director of Exhibitions and Programs
Center for Native Futures

Lifetime Directors

Deborah Epstein

Consultant to
Foundations and Not-for-Profit Organizations

Alton B. Harris

Nixon Peabody

J. Paul Hunter

Professor Emeritus
The University of Chicago

 *Denotes Gubernatorial Appointee

Our Staff

Contact Illinois Humanities staff by emailing [first name].[last name]@ilhumanities.org. Photos by GlitterGuts.

Fairouz Abughazaleh IL Humanities 0561

Fairouz AbuGhazaleh

Director of Statewide Programs

Rebecca Amato IL Humanities 1997

Rebecca Amato

Director of Teaching and Learning

Jane Beachy IL Humanities 2229 2

Jane Beachy

Artistic Director

Alyssa Bierce IL Humanities 1891

Alyssa Bierce

Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications

Maddie Cruz IL Humanities 2318

Madeline Cruz

Administrative Coordinator

Michael Foley IL Humanities 2289

Michael Foley

Manager of Operations and Human Resources

Vicki Garza IL Humanities 1969

Vicki Garza

Director of Finance

Mark Hallett IL Humanities 1996

Mark Hallett

Director of Grants Programs

Morven Higgins IL Humanities 1924

Morven Higgins

Director of Development and Communications

Joanne Hsu IL Humanities 2113

Joanne Hsu

Grants Programs Manager

Kurt Kindt IL Humanities 2101

Kurt Kindt

Staff Accountant

Martin Krause IL Humanities 2063

Martin Matsuyuki Krause

Special Projects Manager

Karen Loda IL Humanities 2335

Karen Loda

Development Manager

Gabe Lyon IL Humanities 2520

Gabrielle Lyon

Executive Director

Matt Meacham IL Humanities 2256

Matt Meacham

Program Manager, Statewide Engagement

Willy Palomo

Program and Events Coordinator, Envisioning Justice

Hannah Sugarman

Foundation and Corporate Relations Coordinator

Zerline Thompson IL Humanities 2033 1

Zerline Thompson

Programs and Grants Coordinator

Bobby White IL Humanities 2359

Robert White

Senior Director of Programs

Tia Williams IL Humanities 1938 2

Tia K. Williams

Digital Communications and Database Manager

Photos by GlitterGuts

Contact Us

General Information


Staff Retreat Karen Zerline Natl Mm Puerto Rican Arts Culture

Staff members share ideas at a retreat in Chicago.

PHA23 Fairouz

Board member Rikeesha Phelon (left) and Director of Statewide Programs Fairouz AbuGhazaleh present an award at the 2023 Public Humanities Awards (Photo by Glitter Guts Photography).

EDI Committee

The purpose of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee is to guide and support Illinois Humanities in its efforts to integrate the ideals of EDI into its daily work, workplace culture, and relationships with our partners statewide. We strive for equitable representation and access to opportunities with regard to our staff, our communities, and the people and organizations we serve. We aim to examine and recognize Illinois Humanities’ role in perpetuating historical trauma, and we commit to dismantling systems of oppression. Contact the EDI Committee at edi@ilhumanities.org.

Committee Members

Jane Beachy
Artistic Director

Madeline Cruz
Administrative Coordinator

Karen Loda
Development Manager

Martin Matsuyuki Krause
Special Projects Manager

Zerline Thompson
Programs and Grants Coordinator

Robert White
Senior Director of Programs