More Rahm Emanuel board appointments

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced additional appointees to City of Chicago boards. These appointees, to the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors and the Community Development Commission, add to the 28 that have been announced over the past few weeks.

“These individuals have demonstrated their commitment to Chicago’s communities during their careers and are dedicated to serving the people of this city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “My administration is committed to providing the most effective services to Chicago’s taxpayers and I am confident these appointees will help work towards this goal.”

Chicago Public Library Board of Directors

Israel Idonije

Israel Idonije is the defensive end for the Chicago Bears and the founder of the Israel Idonije Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to extend positive, life-changing opportunities to families and individuals in economically disadvantaged communities across Chicago. Idnoije and his foundation organize programs for Chicago’s youth and community members to promote education and the pursuit of knowledge. Idonije attended the University of Manitoba in Canada.

Josephine Gomez

Josephine Gomez is currently the School Director of the UNO Hector P. Garcia MD High School. Gomez has over sixteen years of education experience in urban schools as an educator and an administrator, implementing innovative teaching practices and integrating writing and reading into curricula to increase student achievement. She has served Chicago’s students as the Dean of Academics and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for North Lawndale College Prep High School; a Program Assistant for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s “Integrating Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum” (IWRAC) Project; and a science teacher and department chairperson at Acorn Charter. Gomez received her Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and her Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Cristina Benitez

Cristina Benitez is currently a member of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors. She is the Director of Latino Media and Communication at DePaul University in the College of Communication. She is also founder and President of Lazos Latinos, a specialty Hispanic, Consultancy in Marketing and Latino Leadership based in Chicago. Previously, Benitez served as the senior vice president of ethnic marketing at DraftFCB. Before her work at DraftFCB, Benitez taught high school and college for 8 years. In addition to serving on the Chicago Public Library Board, Benitez is a Director for The Luna Negra Dance Theater. She also serves on the Audience Development & Diversity Committee of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Benitez received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Furman University.

Cherryl Thomas

Cherryl Thomas currently serves as a member of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors. She is the founder and President of Ardmore Associates LLC. Prior to joining Ardmore, Thomas was the Chairman of the United States Railroad Retirement Board and the Chicago Department of Buildings Commissioner. Thomas received her Bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and earned her Master’s from the University of Illinois.

Julia Zhu

Julia Zhu currently is a member of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors. She is the Vice President of the Commercial Banking Group at Citigroup and previously served the Director of Chinese Banking for Citibank. Zhu is active in a number of community organizations across Chicago, serving as a member of the Chicago-China Sister Cities Committee and previously serving as a Committee Member for the Shanghai Club; a member of the Chinese-American Service League’s Advisory Board; a member of the Board of Directors for Friends of Downtown; and a member of the Board of Directors of the Urban Gateway. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in Chicago.

Community Development Commission

Robert Buford

Robert Buford is the President and CEO of both Planned Realty Group, Inc. and Planned Property Management Inc. Previously, Buford served as Director of The Heartland Institute and Director of Corus Bankshares, Inc. Buford received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, his MBA from the University of Chicago and his JD from DePaul University.

Jorge Perez

Jorge Perez is the Executive Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA). Before joining HACIA, Perez served as the Vice President of Strategic Planning and Policy for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and as the Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Aviation. Perez has been a member of civic and community boards throughout his career, including the Chicago Area Public Affairs Group, Advocate Trinity Hospital, and Claretian

Associates. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University and his MBA from Loyola University.

Roxanne Ward

Roxanne Ward is currently an independent consultant for several organizations around Illinois. Prior to her consulting work, Ward was the Vice President & Corporate Secretary/Corporate Liaison for Ariel Investments and the President of the Black Corporate Directors Conference. Previously, Ward served the people of Chicago at the Chicago Park District as the First Assistant General Counsel, the Board Liaison and the Legislative Liaison. She is active in civic organizations across the state: currently she is a member of the Safer Foundation’s Board of Directors; was recently the co-chair of the Collaborative on Prisoner Reentry; and was recently a member of the Chicago Board of Education. Ward received her Bachelor’s and Master’s from the University of Chicago and her JD from Harvard Law School.

Marina Carrott

Marina Carrott currently serves on the Community Development Commission. Carrott is an independent consultant for a non-profit agency that provides reentry services to formerly incarcerated men and women. Prior to her independent consulting work, Carrott was the Director of Finance and Administration for the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Previously, she was the Director of Operations at St. Leonard’s Ministries; the Senior Vice President for Supportive Housing at The Renaissance Companies; and the Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Housing. Carrott received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her Master’s from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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