Who We Are

Senior Staff

Stevie Valles

Executive Director

Stevie grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio but has lived all over the place – Virginia, Alabama, Washington DC, Dallas, Austin, and now Chicago. Even though he isn’t from the “Windy City”, he often says he got here as soon as he could. A graduate of Oakwood University with a Bachelors in Social Work, Stevie has committed his entire career to making sure all people have a voice and are welcomed as equals. Stevie joins the Chicago Votes family after working as the National Campaigns Director for the Alliance for Youth Action (formerly the Bus Federation). In this role he coordinated HUGE projects including National Voter Registration Day, which resulted in 777,321 new registered voters in 2017, and the American Voter Guide project. In addition to this experience he has worked in the United States Senate, the Texas Legislature and on a slew of campaigns ranging from presidential, gubernatorial, and affordable housing. Stevie loves music, dogs, writing, singing, and most of all playing basketball.

 

IMG_4445 (1)Rudy Garrett

Deputy Director

A Hoosier native, Rudy graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in political science and international studies. She moved to Chicago in August of 2013 to attend culinary school, but found her inner activist instead. She  completed the Chicago Votes Winter internship program in late winter/ early spring of 2014. After working at a law firm in the loop, she took a job as a Chicago Votes Field Organizer during the summer/ fall voter registration project and has been working with the organization ever since. Rudy is excited to show young Chicagoans that they can make a difference in their city and encourage the millennial generation to take an active role in the political system.

 

img_1673Jen Dean 

Director Of Operations & Finance

Jen’s passion for human rights and systemic social change began where she grew up in Utica NY, which is home to one of the largest refugee resettlement communities in the US.  At 18, she moved to Tampa where she obtained a BA in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s in Sociology. She began organizing right away focusing on issues relevant to young people. During this time she became a founding member of STAND, an organization that aims to prevent genocide by getting students to organize, advocate, and educate folks on how to hold elected officials accountable for legislative action world wide. She is also a co-founder of Baby University in Tampa which is a program modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone. During graduate school she moved to Chicago to study the growing violence epidemic, which resulted in a published book on activism highlighting the value of social capital and collective efficacy in violence prevention efforts. Jen is also certified in restorative justice peace circles for conflict resolution. After falling in love with Chicago she has since been a resident of the South Side and continues to mentor young people. When she is not organizing or keeping the office together, she is practicing yoga, chilling at “The Point”, cooking up something special or giving her dog Marley (named after Bob Marley) some lovin.

 

Camille Williams

Volunteer Coordinator

Camille began organizing when she was 13; she looks at herself as a community builder and leader developer. Camille is a Chicago native and currently resides in the Englewood neighborhood. Camille believes that communities stakeholders must hold themselves accountable and advocate for resources that they need within there communities. She Obtained her BA in Fine Arts from The Art Institute. Camille enjoys gardening, yoga, health and wellness.

 

Robert Moses

Field Coordinator

“Moses” has been a South Sider his whole life. He has organized extensively in his community focusing on youth development, criminal justice reform, and access to equal education. He has worked with students through Ada S. MicKinley and Male Urban Network. Moses is expected to graduate this May from UIC and is also an alumni of Malcolm X College. Moses believes in positive youth mentorship as key to social change in the city of Chicago. When he is not organizing you can catch him dancing – non stop – all day long.

 Our Action Fund

Board Of Directors

13221611_10101813155084495_158117334729045397_nAlex Sims

Alexandra believes that your birthplace and economic status should not disproportionately determine your life’s journey. Empowering Chicago’s communities can be the “great leveler” and she is impatient with the widespread acceptance of one’s social status at birth determining one’s success in life. The belief in the power of democracy and the commitment to advocating for the marginalized and undeserved has led Alexandra to create a way where none previously existed. While in at Northwestern University Alexandra was a co-founder of Promote 360 and the President of the Coalition of Colors. After graduating she moved to St. Louis MO to participate in the CORO fellowship program. Interested in where she could have the greatest impact on education Alexandra stayed in St. Louis to work as a Vice Principle for new school called, Jamaa Learning Center. It was then she realized that she could make a larger impact by influencing educational policy. She then took a role as the Regional Field Director for Obama for America and worked for President Obama for the next 3 years, bringing her back to Chicago.

11953591_10100568051881276_5740624233198052271_oBrian E. Sleet

Brian was born and raised in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood and is committed to his community and public service. In the tradition of President Obama’s often cited “Joshua Generation,” Sleet believes that those who gained opportunity from the civil rights struggle should repay society through public service. A lifelong resident of the 6th Ward, Sleet is a graduate of the Chicago Public Schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois, College of Law. He currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer or the 6th Ward. Balancing the issues of community development, economic growth and city governance Brian is guided by the idea that working in the best interests of the people leads to the best government. Prior to that, he worked as Deputy District Administrator for the Second Congressional District of Illinois. Before going into the public sector, Sleet worked as a litigator in his own law firm, specializing in criminal defense and family law.

9Joanna Klonsky

Joanna is a media and public relations consultant. With a background in public relations and political journalism, Joanna brings strategic insight into forging successful media and messaging campaigns. A Chicago native, Joanna has served as Communications Director on several high-profile political campaigns, both on a municipal and federal level. She was a senior writer and account executive at MK Communications. Joanna’s writing has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Newsweek, among other outlets.

 

11971_334600899976137_1628310893_nMatt Blizek

Matt managed his first campaign at the age of 19 while a student at the University of Iowa and has never stopped organizing. At 32, he is a nationally known progressive organizer with experience in field, fundraising, training and online organizing for numerous campaigns and organizations including the DNC, MoveOn.org, Russ Feingold, Jon Tester, Annette Taddeo, No on 1 Protect Maine Equality, Ilya Sheyman for Congress, Rebuild the Dream and Credo SuperPAC. From 2007 through 2011 he worked at Democracy for America, as the national training director & field director, organizing 87 trainings in 37 states and mobilizing DFA’s million-plus members to elect progressives at all levels of office. Matt is proudly serving his second term as a Board Member at Democratic GAIN, the premier organization for connecting talented people to campaigns and organizations in need of staff. He currently lives in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago and works as a Political Director at MoveOn.org

 

23Erika Wozniak

Erika Wozniak has been a Chicago Public School teacher since her graduation from DePaul University in 2004.  Wozniak was chosen as the American Federation of Teachers “Everyday Hero” Award winner this year, a national teaching award that is given out every two years to honor outstanding teachers throughout our country. Wozniak co-hosts The Girl Talk with Jen Sabella at The Hideout which features Chicago women who are doing amazing things in Chicago. She also proudly serves on the Chicago Votes board of directors as the Action Fund’s president.  She sits on the State Educator and Preparation Licensure Board for the Illinois State Board of Education.  She has been a fierce advocate for fair funding and education equality for all students in Chicago and a dedicated public servant for the past twelve years. She is firm believer in quality public education for public good.  Wozniak currently resides in Uptown with her husband, Brian.

Alex Han

Alex is a union organizer based in Chicago. He got his start in community organizing with New York ACORN in Brooklyn, New York, and since 2001 has helped tens of thousands of workers win a voice on the job with SEIU, both in Illinois and across the country. He is currently Director of Strategic Campaigns and Partnerships for SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana – the largest local union in the Midwest, representing over 90,000 healthcare and child care workers – where he works with allied unions and community organizations to build a stronger movement for social and economic justice.

Also, check out our Chicago Votes Education Fund Board Of Directors