OUR TEAM

The Conlon Public Strategies team consists of entrepreneurial business and nonprofit experts with well-established executive track records for effective leadership across multiple sectors.

KEVIN CONLON
Founder and President

Kevin Conlon founded Conlon Public Strategies in 1998, after practicing labor and employment law for 15 years. As president of the firm, he offers clients a unique understanding of the public arena derived from over 30 years of experience in law, government, venture capital, and non-profit organizations. Kevin’s background and relationships give him an exceptional ability to assist clients at all levels of government and in the business, civic, and nonprofit communities.

Kevin has played leadership roles in numerous political campaigns at the national, state, and local levels. These include serving as Illinois State Co-Chair for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns. During President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, Kevin was national co-chair of the Obama Leadership Circle and a member of the national and Illinois finance committees (one of top 100 fundraisers nationally). In 2004, he served as Illinois state chair and vice chair of the national finance committee for Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Kevin’s campaign work led the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association to select him as the recipient of its first annual Party Builder Award in 2017. Kevin has also served in elected office and appointed positions in federal, state, and local government.

Kevin has been active in the community throughout his career. He is past president of the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago; a standing member of the Economic Club of Chicago; chair of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association Leadership Circle; a member of the board of directors for Equip for Equality, National Public Housing Museum, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation; and a member of the advisory committee for the Illinois Connection/University of Illinois Alumni Association. He has taught classes at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies, Chicago-Kent School of Law (Illinois Institute of Technology), and DePaul University.

Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois, and a J.D. from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

JAMES B. FADIM
Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Before joining Conlon Public Strategies in 2003, Jamey practiced commercial real estate as a partner in various prominent law firms in Chicago.

Jamey is known throughout Chicago for his extensive support of the performing arts. He assists Conlon Public Strategies’ nonprofit clients to achieve their goals through his in-depth work with them on board development, capacity building, strategic planning, and fundraising strategy.

Jamey is a Life Trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and has served on its President Search Committee and its Music Director Search Committee. He is currently an active member of the Symphony’s Marketing, Artistic Development, and Board Development Committees. He is the past secretary and a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park and currently serves on its Marketing and Resident Company Partnership Committees. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Grant Park Orchestral Association and a past member of the board of directors of the Center for Performing Arts at Governor’s State University in University Park, Illinois.

Jamey attended Francis W. Parker School and received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.

Griselda Garibay
Senior Advisor

Griselda Garibay brings important perspectives and expertise to Conlon Public Strategies and its clients as a Latina immigrant, first-generation college graduate, and strategist. She is deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice initiatives, as well as empowering others, especially women and children.

Throughout her career, Griselda has helped equity-focused nonprofits expand their reach and fulfill their social impact mission. This has included serving as the national director of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement Mujeres de HACE Program, a women’s professional and leadership development program geared to empower high-potential Latinas to succeed professionally and thrive personally.
She has also served as finance and marketing director for the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative (VFHI), a portfolio of microfinance, human development, and social business initiatives that create opportunities for Haitians living in poverty to achieve sustainable human and economic development.

Griselda’s community service includes serving as a DEI committee member for the American Cancer Society and chair of the advisory council for Café Ama Love. She holds a BA in French business from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an MBA in international business, and master’s in public service, both from DePaul University.

William Gerstein
Senior Advisor

Bill adds extraordinary expertise in education, community engagement and development, and business to the Conlon Public Strategies team. Bill began his career as a high school social studies teacher and track coach at Englewood High School and what is now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School before taking over a small chain of supermarkets (Mr. G Finer Foods) as owner/operator. While in business, Bill was actively involved in many community activities on the South Side. After merging his business with a local retail cooperative as part of a revitalization of the North Kenwood-Oakland community, Bill became even more involved in community development as the director of community relations for the Hyde Park Cooperative and executive director for Partners in Development in Bronzeville.

Bill returned to education after obtaining a master’s degree in school administration. He was a Chicago Public Schools principal for 10 years, during which he worked with the community and a group of teachers to co-found two high schools in the South Shore and Austin neighborhoods, where he served as principal. Before retiring from CPS, Bill served as director of family and community engagement, and he continues to consult on projects for the district, recently leading a major effort to create comprehensive engagement strategies in communities on the South Side and West Side of Chicago.

In recognition of his community leadership, Bill has been named to the Crain’s Chicago Business Forty Under Forty list and a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and senior advisor. He has served on the boards of schools and other community organizations as well as Seminary Co-op Bookstores, where he was board president for many years. Bill is currently a member of the boards of City Year Chicago, Chicago High School for the Arts, Firehouse Community Arts Center, and the Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community.

 

Dr. Joanne Howard
Senior Advisor

Joanne Howard joined Conlon Public Strategies as a senior advisor in December 2020. She offers Conlon Public Strategies clients extensive experience in nonprofit management, program evaluation, and strategic planning.

In addition to her work with Conlon Public Strategies, Dr. Howard is a clinical assistant professor of public administration at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Stuart School of Business. She has taught courses in public management, social capital, performance measurement, policy design, ethics, and professional responsibility, and she received the Stuart School’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019. Dr. Howard’s research interests include pipeline programs for underrepresented students, public school finance, and continuous improvement for nonprofit organizations.

Previously, Dr. Howard served as the director of administrative services for the Office of Development at The University of Chicago and for the Northwestern University School of Law. Other roles have included director of professional development with the Government Finance Officers Association and senior consultant for nonprofits and education at the Metro Chicago Information Center (MCIC) and Designs for Change.

Dr. Howard has served on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Planned Parenthood of Illinois; the local affiliate of the American Society for Public Administration; and the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference.

Dr. Howard earned her BA in sociology at Hampton Institute (VA); her MA in public administration from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh; and her doctorate in public administration from the College of Urban Planning and Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to teaching at IIT, Dr. Howard has been a faculty member at Roosevelt University, DePaul University, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Carl F. Hughes
Senior Advisor

Prior to joining Conlon Public Strategies in 2020, Carl served as the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of an Ohio based bank for 30+ years. Under his leadership, the bank tripled the size of its asset base with a capital ratio that placed it in the top 4% nationally and top 1% for its peer group.

Carl’s extensive domestic and international network allows him to serve in a variety of professional capacities, including as an ambassador for John Carroll University, where he fosters fellowship programs and facilitates institutional growth. He co-developed and co-funds an internship program for John Carroll University with the United Nations World Food Programme and Jesuit Refugee Service.

In addition to his work for clients, Carl is a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Edward High School, which is sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross; Marion Catholic School’s Endowment Fund; the Father Frederick Furey Endowment Fund, and Rotary International.

Carl has served in numerous leadership roles for political campaigns at the national, state, and local levels. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from John Carroll University.

Jeff Lande
Senior Advisor

A Washington DC veteran, Jeff offers Conlon Public Strategies clients his extensive experience in government relations, public affairs, coalition building, research, geopolitical and market analysis, business facilitation, and strategic planning services. He has particular expertise in assessing and helping to shape the potential impact of public policies and politics on corporate and nonprofit organizations.

Among the issues and sectors that Jeff has worked on during the past two decades are IT services and BPO, technology, immigration, globalization and trade, US-India relations, tax, innovation, education and workforce, economic development, health care and social services, and veterans affairs. He played a prominent role in the formation of both the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group and US-India Information and Communication Technology Working Group. He also organized and spearheaded the U.S. Technology Partnership, which was a cooperative effort sector between the US Department of Commerce, US Office of Thrift Supervision, and the technology industry to increase opportunities for and engagement by minorities with the technology sector. Further, Jeff played a leading role in technology and policy consortiums spanning nearly 40 states and 72 countries.

Previously, Jeff served as executive vice president of TechAmerica and senior vice president of the Information Technology Association of America. During the 1990’s, Jeff served as the national legislative director and Washington office associate director of United Jewish Communities and the Council of Jewish Federations. He has also held legislative and committee staff positions in the US House of Representatives; lectured and served as a researcher at the University of Virginia; owned several small businesses; and served on the boards of directors for several privately-held businesses and nonprofits. Jeff holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in psychology from the University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively.

Emily Liao Master
Senior Advisor

Emily Liao Master brings to the Conlon Public Strategies team nearly 20 years’ experience in executive management, marketing, communications, operations, revenue growth, and strategic and program planning for nonprofit, for-profit and governmental organizations. For many years, her professional home was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association where, in addition to roles in the marketing, artistic planning and audience development departments, Emily ran the office of Music Director Riccardo Muti. She subsequently served as chief of staff for the U.S. head of a global executive search and leadership advisory firm. Since 2018, Emily also serves as the executive director of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a connector of people and projects in Israel.

Emily helps clients forge and sustain avenues of mission-awareness and support and ensures that organizations offer meaningful engagement opportunities that contribute to the growth and long-term health of significant projects. Emily’s strategic planning and implementation projects have spanned industries and goals but have always been characterized by inspired, big-picture thinking. Her record in revenue enhancement and fundraising includes distinguished achievements. She continues to lend her expertise in the area of strategic advising and furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for artists and performing arts organizations.

Following pre-professional studies at the Juilliard School, Emily received her AB cum laude from Princeton University and her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She also completed executive education at the Guanghua School of Management (China), IPADE (Mexico), Kellogg School of Management specifically in nonprofit management, and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice in arts and culture strategy. Her current community leadership roles include co-chairing the Princeton Alumni Schools Committee for the Chicago Western Suburbs. She is also an active Business Volunteer for the Arts with the Arts and Business Council of Chicago.

Kady McFadden
Senior Advisor

Kady McFadden brings Conlon Public Strategies clients more than a decade of experience leading, and winning, strategic advocacy, legislative, and political campaigns. A veteran of community organizing in rural, urban and suburban communities, Kady has cultivated deep and authentic relationships with elected officials and leaders across the State of Illinois. She has founded and led multiple coalitions and campaigns to make meaningful progress on climate, labor, and women’s policy. Kady is adept at working with stakeholders from the private, government, and nonprofit sectors and is skilled at building consensus across multiple organizational levels for creative solutions amidst complex political dynamics.

Previously, Kady served as deputy director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter, the largest statewide environmental organization, with over 130,000 members. At Sierra Club, Kady managed organizing, communications, and policy staff to build effective advocacy campaigns at the city, state, and federal levels. Kady grew the Sierra Club Illinois PAC to be the leading environmental political voice, working to elect more than 100 environmental champions to office.

Kady has a BA in political science and environmental studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She earned an MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where she was an inaugural Civic Scholar. Kady was a 2016 New Leaders Council Chicago Fellow and serves on the board of Illinois Environmental Council.

Ruth Reiner
Senior Advisor

Ruth Reiner is an executive leadership coach and consultant committed to creating positive change for individuals, teams, organizations, and communities with a focus on inclusion, insight, and action. She joined Conlon Public Strategies in June 2022 with more than 20 years’ experience assisting organizations, teams, and leaders to align their business models and people strategies with their business goals through strategic planning; leadership and team development; change management; and organizational capability development.

Ruth created and led the Global Career and Leadership Development team for the Executive MBA Program at Chicago Booth, serving hundreds of Executive MBA students across 40+ countries, virtually and in-person at campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong. Prior to joining Chicago Booth, Ruth held a number of roles in organization development, talent development, learning, and change management at Motorola, BP, and CSC Index Consulting.
Ruth’s coaching and consulting clients have included a variety of large public organizations, as well as the City of Chicago and a number of nonprofit organizations, including Chicago Urban League, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and a Federally Qualified Health Center.
Ruth received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in electrical engineering from Yale University.

LINDA DIAMOND SHAPIRO
Executive Vice President

Linda Diamond Shapiro advises nonprofit clients in areas related to sustainable growth, including strategic planning, preparation for partnerships and mergers, and growth and positioning opportunity.

A health and human services leader in the Chicago area, Linda has previously assumed key external affairs, government relations, and strategic planning positions with leading nonprofit organizations. Linda served as a board member and interim CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois and held the position of chief strategy officer at Cook County Health and Hospitals Systems, leading the growth strategy for the County’s start-up Medicaid managed care organization.

For the better part of two decades, she championed the expansion of Access Community Health Network into a regional community health enterprise. She has also held executive positions at the American Medical Association, University of Chicago Medicine and the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group.

In addition to chairing the board of the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, Linda chairs the Strategy and Program Committee of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and is on the board of the Leadership Fellows Association of Leadership Greater Chicago. Linda serves on the field liaison faculty of the University of Chicago’s Crown School of Social Work, Policy and Practice and is a mentor for the Harris School. Linda is a graduate of the University of Chicago where she obtained her bachelor’s degree as well as master’s degrees from the Crown School and the Booth Graduate School of Business.

Dr. David Soglin
Senior Advisor

Before joining Conlon Public Strategies, Dr. Soglin was the chief medical officer at La Rabida Children’s Hospital. In that role he was responsible for the overall medical care delivered by physicians at La Rabida, promoting patient safety, developing medical staff relationships, developing mechanisms to provide/track/improve clinical care delivery, facilitating patient satisfaction, engaging/aligning physicians with system initiatives, recognizing and enacting changes in overall health care delivery, and facilitating dispute resolution. He was previously chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Cook County Health and Hospital Systems from 2002-2015, serving as director of the Pediatric Emergency Department and Pediatric Residency Program from 1994-2002.

Dr. Soglin’s clinical background is in pediatric emergency medicine, but his professional career has been focused on improving health and health care access for under-served children in the Chicagoland area. He serves on a number of voluntary boards including the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Namaste Medical Fund, the Partnership for Resilience, the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, and the Clinical Advisory Committee for BOUNCE.

As a founding member of the Partnership for Resilience, Dr. Soglin has been very active within the educational community in bringing awareness to the issues of toxic stress, childhood trauma, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their impact on children’s health, academic, and social outcomes.

Dr. Soglin earned his medical degree from Rush Medical College and completed a pediatrics residency at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center and a fellowship in pediatrics at Rush Medical College. He is board certified in pediatric emergency medicine and also has a master’s degree in health professions education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Catherine Voigt
Senior Advisor

After more than 10 years in the public sector, Catherine Voigt joined Conlon Public Strategies in 2006. Catherine uses the advocacy, writing, and research skills developed throughout her career to help Conlon Public Strategies clients develop the powerful messages, materials, and strategies needed to achieve their goals in the public arena.

Catherine began her career working in the Illinois appellate and supreme courts as a law clerk and practiced labor and employment law and school law before focusing on criminal appeals with the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor. As a member of the Conlon Public Strategies team, Catherine specializes in strategic communications and nonprofit consulting. From the development of fact sheets for legislators to the preparation of press releases, Catherine helps clients educate key stakeholders and generate support for their initiatives. She also offers Conlon Public Strategies clients a range of grant writing and consulting services, including researching public and private funding opportunities; designing program objectives, logic models, and budgets; developing grant proposals; and managing relationships with funders.

Catherine earned a law degree from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and an undergraduate degree with Highest University Honors (Bronze Tablet) from the University of Illinois. She serves on the boards of directors for the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center and West Suburban Philanthropic Network.

Elizabeth Vincent
Senior Advisor

Elizabeth Vincent joined Conlon Public Strategies in June 2022, adding new expertise in public policy research, writing, advocacy, and project management to the CPS team. She began her career practicing education law and later accepted a position as an assistant to Mayor Richard M. Daley for policy. In this role, Elizabeth advanced impactful legislation, long-term policy agendas, programmatic best practices, and new initiatives, with a particular focus on programs and policies helping Chicago’s children. She assisted with two policy forums on protecting Chicago’s children from violence and improving early childhood literacy.

After obtaining her master’s degree in public policy and administration, Elizabeth served in a government affairs role at CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) Institute, where she helped shape policy on issues impacting commercial real estate, including infrastructure, incentives for green buildings, taxation, and the impact of climate change on real estate. In addition to tracking legislation and advocating, Elizabeth prepared the Institute’s policy position papers and wrote policy-related articles for Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine.

Elizabeth earned her law degree and master’s in public policy and administration from Northwestern University. Her capstone project for her master’s degree examined public school finance reform with recommendations for Illinois. Elizabeth also has undergraduate degrees in English and art history from Northwestern University. She has served as a school board president and member of Saint Andrew School in Chicago, and she volunteers with her family at the Common Pantry.