Bill Gerstein

“My favorite work experiences are when I’m part of a team that is focused and committed to getting useful work accomplished. No matter what my role, I always hope my work will make neighborhoods better places to live and work.”


Bill brings exceptional experience in community engagement, development, education, and business to his work with our nonprofit clients. Leveraging his multi-sector relationships and expertise, Bill collaborates with nonprofits on strategic planning, leadership development, and community engagement to help them maximize their impact. Bill is a committed and thoughtful advisor with a unique perspective stemming from his work in the education and community development sectors and as an entrepreneur.

Before joining Conlon Public Strategies, Bill led a major effort within Chicago Public Schools to create comprehensive engagement strategies in South Side and West Side communities. He began his career as a Chicago Public Schools high school social studies teacher and track coach before taking over a small chain of supermarkets as an owner and operator. In this capacity as a South Side business owner, he became actively involved in community development work and became director of community relations for the Hyde Park Cooperative and executive director for Partners in Development in Bronzeville. Working with the community and a group of teachers, Bill organized high schools in the South Shore and Austin neighborhoods, serving as co-founder and principal of these two schools.


  • Board member of City Year Chicago, Firehouse Community Arts Center, and Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community
  • Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and senior advisor
  • Crain’s Chicago Business Forty under Forty
  • Prior board president of Seminary Co-op bookstores


Bill received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin and his master’s degree in school administration from the University of Illinois Chicago.