I am running for Oak Park Library Board Trustee to inspire learning and create more connections in our community. I will do this by enhancing the library’s role as a community center and investing in our young adults in partnership with other village service providers. We need to continue to break down the silos between village taxing bodies to collaborate and be creative about solutions, so that Oak Park continues to be a diverse and vibrant place where we all want to live and work.
I began my commitment to public service more than 16 years ago, working for Sen. Richard Durbin. Since then, I have become a leader in nonprofit fundraising and community relations. I work to make social services providers, education programs, and arts and cultural organizations more sustainable and effective. I’ve been fortunate to focus my career on supporting local community partners, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, Youth Guidance, and After School Matters, along with dozens of others.
I currently direct the community investment team at United Airlines, managing our global nonprofit partnerships. I hold organizations accountable to their goals and budgets, drive collaboration across sectors and ensure efficiency. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to support our Oak Park Library staff in providing exceptional programming. It also prepares me to craft effective policy and promote transparent financial management.
If elected, I will work with the Park District of Oak Park, Oak Park Township, District 97 and District 200 to better support young adults. I hope to expand library tutoring resources and develop a youth corps that can be deployed across the village to actively improve the education gap that persists in Oak Park. With a cooperative approach, I also aim to work with the library staff to create “maker spaces” across Oak Park. These spaces should be envisioned and designed by our youth corps, built with their needs and goals in mind and staffed by community mentors as well as librarians. The mission and goals of the library should not be contained within the four walls of our library buildings. We can work with other government agencies to expand learning and take advantage of all village facilities and resources to enhance engagement.
I also want to ensure that nonprofits and community organizations that strengthen our village have more access to complimentary meeting rooms and media channels. Our facilities can host more programming from social service agencies, workforce development, and arts partners to ensure we are providing residents with tools to improve their skills and foster lifelong learning.
Most importantly, I want to encourage outreach and feedback to shape the priorities of the library to serve all our residents with diverse materials and access to technology. We have beautiful library buildings with talented staff, but we can do more to increase utilization to serve all residents and work harder to bridge the Austin Boulevard divide to create opportunity and leverage the diversity of opinions that make our community great.